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        En Route
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Subject: The Boys In Brown..
From:  patti k (
Sent: Tue 7/20/10 6:16 PM

"Beechwood? What is it? Single story duplex or triplex?" Johnny wondered,
looking at the address he had scribbled down onto a piece of paper.

"It's a tri." Roy replied, recalling the area in his mind. "We may have to do
a search once we get there. Three families in the same building."

"Split up?" Johnny suggested.

"Yeah, if we have to. We can use our HTs to keep in touch with each
other while we look."

"Okay. Do it standard. A, B, C, D." Gage said.

"With side A being where we park?"

"Uh huh, and Side B clockwise adjacent." Johnny clarified.

For three long minutes, Squad 51 banked and turned around curves and rushed
along straight aways, heading for their destination. The area surrounding
the boulevard went from cheerful middle class sprawling suburbia to something
much older, more run down, and tired.

"I sure hope we have police on the scene." Johnny sighed.

"It might not be a domestic." Roy said. "A lot of folks might still be at work
and separated from each other."

"Does it look like a lot of people are working in this neighborhood to you?"
Johnny asked seriously.

Roy eyed up the vine covered broken chain link fences and litter strewn streets
again. Both firefighters noticed a fresh graffiti patch glistening wetly across the side
panel of a glass cracked bus shelter. And signs of a wire mesh can nearby filled
with the soggy remains of a half burned out garbage pile inside that someone had put
out with a hastily dumped bag of ice. It was still smouldering.

"I think the war's still going on.." Johnny finished up, rolling up his window protectively.
"Who did Marco say lived over here?"

"The Red Lobos..."

"And the Surenos. Now I remember." replied Gage.
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"Not a good match." DeSoto said grimly, cutting off their sirens as they entered the
quieter network of confusing cul de saacs that Beechwood Haven consisted of.
It was far from a haven. And only half dead Queen's palms and yucca decorated
the yards. The rest was an arid morass of dirt and blowing dust in front of plaster
cracked adobe dwellings painted in gay pastels.  

A distant sound of a sudden gunshot echoing over a small grassy hill in front of
where they cruised cautiously, made both paramedics duck nervously. Johnny
snatched up the radio mic. "Right. The trenchs are still a little too active for
me." he said tightly. "Squad 51, L.A. Requesting P.D. support to precede our
patient contact. Shots are being fired less than a quarter of a mile from our location."

##L.A. , Squad 51. Police are aware of your presence in the area. A cruiser has
been dispatched to assist. Stand by for a rendevous.##

A new voice broke into the fire department's channel.## Seven Charlie Six to Squad
51 on main fire channel. Do you copy?##

Gage grinned. "It's Vince!" He toggled the talk button. "Squad 51, go ahead."

##Put on your ballistics as a precaution. I've already told the Mayfair to wait four
blocks away out in the open along the busy street for safety. We'll be there in two.##
Howard advised. ##Come to a halt under cover.##

Roy pulled them over under some overgrown bushes and killed the active reds.
"I'm liking that idea." he said, nodding his head in the darkness of the newly
growing evening.

Johnny continued to rubber neck around, looking for signs of other people. Both of
them kept their helmets on. Gage got back on the air. "10-4. Holding position at.."

Howard's transmission crackled over his.
##Don't broadcast your whereabouts. We'll find you. They have scanners.##

"Holy sh*t.." Gage breathed in shock. "What kind of gangs do that kind of---"

## We can triangulate. Keep a mic on open air.## he ordered. ##We can trace
you directly that way without depending on visuals.##

Gage froze in place and pressed the button. "We're on the air." he said, softly.

##We're receiving you.## the policeman confirmed.
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Just then, Roy realized that L.A. had cleared the channel just for their use. The usual
fire and medical calls for other stations had gone totally quiet. ::Or they've been
masked.:: he realized. "Johnny, I'll get those vests." DeSoto said. "Stay put." he
told Gage, who still held the active radio mic in his hand. Highly disturbed now, Roy
quickly got out of the squad, shutting the driver's door quietly without making a sound,
as he hurried for a side compartment outside that held their bullet flaks in storage.

He returned a few seconds later with his on, holding up the second as he climbed back
into the squad's cab compartment. "I'll take that." he said, taking over Johnny's hold
on the talk enabled mic. "Put this on."

"I don't know why we just can't leave." Gage whispered harshly, with some stress, as he
swiftly buckled up into the thick vest. "We're not safe."

"It's because we have to get there. There may be a woman's life on the line." Roy said, just
as quietly, to avoid being heard on the radio. DeSoto was calm, having years of army
active combat under his belt, most recently, Viet Nam's first tour. But Johnny, had never
been on tour. "We're never safe in a burning building....." DeSoto suggested, trying some levity.

"Burning buildings aren't trying to shoot at us with metal bullets!" Johnny hissed,
sinking down into his passenger's seat miserably.

"No, they're just trying to blow us to smithereens on occasion. Do you find that somehow
less dangerous than where we are right now?" he smiled.

"Yes! The other way, we can at least fight back with water hoses. Not just sit here
like a huge, vulnerable, red painted targ--"

##Squad 51. We've got you covered.## came a voice on an overhead bullhorn. ##Proceed
to your house call.## Vince told them. He briefly flicked on his red lights. They were right
on the rescue squad's bumper. ##We'll back you up. Weapons, out, men!## he

Across the street, cracked blinds that nobody noticed earlier on that had opened in
several houses, snapped shut.

Roy lifted the radio mic. "Uh, Seven Charlie Six. The address is.. uh.... right around the
bend on the corner, left hand side. Where do you want us?"

##Not in the driveway. Park between us.##

"Between us?" Gage wondered. Johnny tilted his head and looked in the rear view side
mirror. Howard's headlights suddenly duplicated into a second police squad car on
stealth mode. Its motor was completely quiet.

##Squad 51, this is Seven Mary David from the California Highway Patrol. He'll take your
outer flank.##

Roy waved at the spotlight that suddenly hit them.

The new voice rang out with authority. ##Go about your business.##

Roy restarted the squad's ignition, put the drive in gear, and pulled carefully forward.

"Should I feel better about this?" Gage asked, still uneasy.

"A little." Roy replied.

"What do you mean, a little?" Johnny exasperated.

Vince suddenly popped up right next to Gage's window, startling him as he jumped
onto their running board. He, too, was fully armored in flak gear. "Welcome to my
world, gentlemen." he said, inviting Johnny to roll down the window for easier
communication. "Lovely night, isn't it?"
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"No.." Gage gaped. "But we're really glad to see you at any rate." he tried to grin.

"How bad is it really, Vince?" DeSoto asked, keeping his steering straight.

"Seriously?" Howard grinned, relaxed, watching where they were going.

"Yeah." Roy prompted, only slightly down in his guard.

"Okay, I'll tell you the truth." He seemed almost jovial.
Vince sighed, and shifted his safety released assault rifle to his other shoulder.
"In here, even being just on the edge of the projects, we're outnumbered. We're
on their territory now." came his reply. "It's up to the closest resident gang
to decide if we save that woman. Or not. We're just here to try and convince them
to do the right thing."

Johnny, just swallowed. "Remember that war I was telling you about?"
he muttered to Roy. "Well, I think we're gonna be in for a real battle."

"It's not a full moon. We might get lucky." DeSoto shrugged.

"I'm counting on it." Gage muttered. "Boy, am I ever."
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Subject: Ill Moon..
From:   patti k (
Sent: Mon 7/26/10 2:00 PM

Vince's squad tailed Roy as he drove to their addressed location. The assisting
CHiP cruiser stayed ahead of them, dark and lightless in the shadows as the last
of the sun's sky glow faded.

"We're here." said Roy to Johnny and the three officers with them. He pointed
with his arm and finger to show them where the triplex was out the window.
"That multiplex."

"Aim your headlights at the house, Roy." Vince ordered, jumping off of the
squad's running board. "Leave a space for us next to you towards the curb."
Howard gestured toward his partner behind them to pull up curb side parallel.

DeSoto slowed to a stop.

##We'll locate the correct family for you.## added Officer Barry Baricza over
the radio in the stealth car. ##Stand by.## he said as he nimbly backed up
until he flanked the squad's street side.

Gage and DeSoto watched as Vince and Barry soon moved into a well practiced
approach towards the shrub shrouded dwelling using their weapons' line of sight
as cover. Somewhere close, a dog began to bark.

"Oh, no." Johnny breathed, eyeing up the overgrown yard. He spotted where
a brindle striped bulldog was chained and on alert. "I hope that dog isn't theirs.
He'll give our location away if he keeps on hollering like that."
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"We're not gonna be here long. We'll make it load and go no matter what."
Roy promised. "We can treat her on the way."

Gage informed an intently listening Sam of their status. "L.A., we're on scene
with P.D."

##Squad 51. Time out : 19:04.##

Roy glanced at his watch reflexively, completely conscious of how much time was
passing without contact with their patient or the caller. "Six minutes, five, Johnny."
he mumbled. "If she's not breathing..." he let his comment fade away.

Johnny's fists curled on the dashboard and he began muttering a mantra in
frustration. "Scene safety. Scene safety...."

"I know." Roy said.

The two paramedics peered cautiously through the windows of the police car
protecting them, towards the house. They heard Vince and Barry begin to knock,
announcing their presence from either side of the first door. Vince held his tactical
rifle, out of view.The door didn't open.

"D*mn." Gage heard Vince's partner swear from where he was guarding their
vehicles in the street.

"Somebody at home made that phone call. They'll answer the door." Roy told him.

"Hope you're right." said the younger policeman, fidgetting with his gloves. He
looked nervous.

The hair on the back of Roy's neck prickled and old instincts came suddenly to the
foreground. Unbidden, he began looking into the darkness surrounding the park next
to them by the hill. He saw nothing, but a wind began to sway the chapparel bushes
planted there, obscuring details. "Feel that?" he asked Johnny and the officer.
"We're being watched."  Vince's partner moved to his squad car for a set of
binoculars quickly. Roy sighed, "Like fish in a barrel."

"Shut up, please." said Gage. "My nerves are shot as it is." He twitched in
his seat, fiddling with his HT. He jumped when it suddenly activated.

##We found them. Side C.## said Vince over the frequency.

"Let's go." said Johnny. The firemen grabbed absolutely everything, moving as
quickly as they could in their bulky bullet vests, loading gear boxes, cardiac
equipment and oxygen into their arms and hands. They closed the squad's
compartment doors afterwards, unprompted.

As they made their way to the house, Roy only relaxed when he saw Baricza exiting
again to stand on the porch in a vigil with Vince's long distance weapon. "What do
we have?" DeSoto asked him as he and Johnny hurried towards him.

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"Haven't gotten that far yet. We only know the two adults inside are unarmed and
that there are children's toys for under age five in there. Vince's with the husband.
The woman's on the couch and she's breathing." Barry replied.

That's all Roy and Johnny needed to hear. Thinking ahead, Johnny left all but the most
critical medical gear, by the door at Barry's feet.

Immediately, a heavier set man from Mexico spoke up, his words slurred, when he
saw them."That's right, boys. Get her up, the good for nothing-- The dishes still need
to be done."

Roy frowned as the stench of warm beer floated up from half a case of empty beer
cans piled high on the table next to the man. The TV was blaring in front of him, on a
night baseball game. He was seated clearly from a firm request made by Vince
who was standing above him to one side.

Johnny knelt by the woman's head. "She's pregnant." he said. He saw that she was
breathing, but partially obstructed, on her back where she lay sprawled ackwardly on
the couch. "Ma'am, can you hear me? Are you all right?" he commanded, digging a
few knuckles into her breast bone in a pain check. The woman's eyes flew open and
her pale legs and arms flailed as she was jolted awake.

"What?!" the small woman blurted in a sleepy question, her fists coming up into curls.
Her attitude belied the clean, flowered maternity sun dress she was still wearing.

Johnny leaned back, out of reach, keeping clear of her. "Are you okay?" he asked
again. "My partner and I, we're paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire

Roy spoke up, too. "We had a call that you were unconscious and unresponsive."

Her pretty Irish eyes immediately hardened. "Do I look unconscious to you, fireman?
I was sleeping. It's my second trimester. I got a little tired an hour ago and thought
I'd lay down. I've been doing chores all day long."

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The house was neat, and everybody could still smell fresh floor wax and laundry starch
lingering in the air around the beer odor.

"Not long enough." chuckled her drunk husband in a toast as he took another drink from
his Olympia beer can.

His young, gracefully boned, freckle skinned wife whirled to glare at him as she awkwardly
tried to sit up around her swollen belly.

Johnny helped her."So you're all right then? N- No problems with the baby?" Gage
asked, pointing down at her stomach.

"Of course not. I was only taking a nap!" she declared, trying to straighten her messy
hair. Unconsciously, both Roy and Johnny's eyes fell on the beer can pile spilling onto
the floor. The young wife went ballistic even as her large spouse starting laughing
again when he noticed DeSoto and Gage's glances.

"Does it smell like I've been drinking to you?!" said the red hair braided wife, smacking
the couch cushions.

Gage let go of her elbow and stood up to get away from her. "Uh, no ma'am." he
answered, rubbing his aching forehead in frustration. "You look--"

"...strong and healthy as an ox." said her amused, beer sodden spouse in the lazy
chair. "Just the way I like em!" he crowed, belching loudly. "And Alannah here sure is
one... b-beautiful... ox." he declared, not making any sense.

Vince got mad. "Listen, mister. Did you notify the operator because you genuinely
felt that your wife was actually sick here?"

The husband couldn't meet Vince's eyes clearly, intoxicated as he was. "She's sick
all right. Sick in the head. Always trying to get me to exercise." he laughed. "Now get
up and fix me some dinner, my exquisite Celtic beauty!" he roared in mock threat.

The young mother's expression changed to one of active scolding. "Sancho! Tell me
you didn't bother these fine gentleman with an emergency call." she lilted in a rich
Irish accent.

"I did." he burbled.

"You should be ashamed of yourself Sancho Diaz!" she said, shaking a soap and water
wrinkled finger at her giggling spouse. "There are REAL sick people out there and
you've just taken all of these on duty services men away from them!"

The husband's expression immediately changed into one of pure rage. He didn't say
a word. He just flew up onto his feet in seconds and started moving towards his
slender, enraged, pregnant wife who began equally, to go after him, both hands

Vince shifted his radio strap out of the way onto the back of his shoulder. "Whoa.
Whoa. Stop right there you two."

Roy and Johnny immediately started talking simultaneously.
"Nah, you don't wanna fight here. Think of the baby." DeSoto tried.
  "Sancho. You're plastered. You don't know what you're doing. You're
   gonna hurt somebody." Gage added.

But the husband and wife ignored them all started raining blows onto each other's
faces, violently, in what must have been a normal everyday scuffle for them. Blood
immediately began to flow. It shocked their rescuers into action.

Vince shouted out loud.
"Baricza! They've gone physical. Get in here and help us get them apart!"
Howard leaped onto the wife's arms, pulling them behind her shoulders firmly,
even as Roy and Johnny went for the husband's.

Barry flew through the open front door and immediately helped out Roy
and Johnny who were being lifted and flung around as if they were made of paper.
He tried two tackle moves to drop the husband. They didn't work because of the
involved beer and bulk.

"ArrGGGGHHHH. Nobody's gonna cuff me! I'm a fully legal U.S. C-Citizen!" Sancho
slurred, now turning his attack onto the two paramedics and CHiP officer.

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Barry drew out his pepper spray. "Let go of him. Everybody back!" he ordered.

DeSoto and Gage needed no encouragement and hastily slammed against a wall
to avoid contact.

Barry sprayed Sancho's eyes and he went down onto his knees as if pole
axed, screeching, as he clawed at his face. Then he began to retch and choke.
Barry easily cuffed him after he shoulder tipped him over onto his side onto
the carpeting.

Meanwhile, Howard had tripped and pushed the wife back onto the couch face down
and had her in cuffs. He was already helping her back into a seated position.

"What did you do to my poor Sancho? Did you hurt him?" Alannah asked, spitting out
blood. "We were only boxin', our agreed way to end an argument. He wouldn't have
hit below my belt."

Roy just stared at her.

Officer Howard just shook his head when she continued to fidget in his hands.
"Ma'am. We're cuffing you for your own protection. Now settle down!"
Vince kept her controlled with a grip on her cuffs where she sat. "Notice something odd
about all this, boys?" he asked Roy and Gage as they knelt in rubber gloves, to
see if Sancho was truly breathing all right through the capsaicin's burning. His screams
had died off into faint groans of pain and violent coughing.

"Notice what?" Gage asked, his eyes still bugging out at the bizarre couple's antics.
"He's still doing fine here." Johnny said in annoyance as he opened the man's mouth
and eyes, looking for signs of allergy. There were none.

Baricza looked up from the locked handcuffs he was double checking for safety.
"Vince means where's their first kid? Wouldn't a child come running in to mom and
dad at all this commotion?" he asked, kicking a polished boot out at a stack of
neatly piled and brightly painted building blocks still sitting on the floor in front of the
TV set.

"Yeah, now that I'm thinking about it." Roy said. "Something's not right here."
DeSoto's ill at ease quickly spread.

"I'll.. go look in the hallway. There are bedrooms down there." Barry said. "Ma'am,
what's your first born's name?" he ordered.

"Ryan. Why? He just went to bed right after his supper."

"What time was that?"

"Around four thirty." Alannah replied, still mystified. "He always goes to bed
early at night. There's nothing strange about this. He's a sound sleeper,
like me."

"I'm going to go check in on him anyway." Barry told her.

"You can't do that." said the wife. "I didn't give you permission."

Barry blistered.
"Oh, yeah? Your husband just attacked me and these firemen. I have
every right to determine my own safety and the safety of those around
me. Care to argue the point?! If you do, it's off to jail for the both of ya."  

Alannah just harrumphed in her throat, offended.

Barry left Roy and Johnny's sides, letting go of Sancho's cuffed wrists.

"You're leaving him?" Gage asked, indicating their peppered patient, now
leaning against the side of the easy chair on the floor, streaming tears.

Baricza just smiled. "He's not going anywhere. He's too heavy to work back up
onto his feet without his arms. Don't worry, I'll be right back." said Barry.

"Wait a minute! I don't feel comfortable with--"  Johnny protested.

"No, Johnny. Let him go." urged Roy, the hair prickling on the back of his neck again.
"A normal reacting child would be here. Crying or not." he said, feeling his fathering
instincts acutely.

That shut Johnny up. "Oh, uh, in that case. I'll go, uh, I'll go after him to find the
kid." he said, serious and soft. He got up and ran after Barry. "Barry, I'm right
behind you." he announced to alert the officer into not shooting him. "Try not
to fill me with a bunch of holes."

His vested back disappeared into the darkness of the hall.

Barry began calling Ryan's name loudly as he turned on light switch after
light switch.

In the neighbor's yard, the bulldog began to bay once more, continuously.

Roy noticed a fan on the floor and turned it on, aiming it at Sancho's upper
body. "You'll be fine. Let this air get to you. I'll wash your face off with a water
bottle and that'll start helping a lot. You'll be okay."

"I'm sorry.. I'm.. *cough*" Sancho burbled. "It's the beer. I can't resist it."

Alannah was near tears but her eyes were full of love.
"Yes, you can, dear. I keep telling you that. Start drinking the cola I buy you
every week. The garage is full of it."

The husband just sobbed.

"Is he all right?" Vince asked about the pepper spray.

"Yeah, no signs of an allergy." Roy reported as he reached over into a gear box for a liter
bottle of saline with which to start irrigating the husband's eyes and skin.
"Sancho. This burn you're feeling will last only an hour or two. Just relax and
don't panic. You'll recover just fine. There's no actual damage being done." he told
the panting, scared drunk. Then he looked up at Alannah. "Ma'am, does he have
a history of any medical conditions past his obesity here?"

"No, G*d, no. Sancho's fine that way! He just needs to exercise you stupid oaf!" she
glared at him. Vince shook the cuffs he was holding behind her back, to remind her to
control her temper. "Sorry, mister. I'm just a little irritated." said Alannah, shooting a
nervous glance back up at Vince.

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"I can see that." said Roy, not smiling. He got to work rinsing down Sancho to ease
his pain.


In the last bedroom, they found him. And all was not right.

A flick of a light switch revealed a pool of bloody vomit by the child's head
near his open mouth. He lay on his side, tangled up in a baseball blanket, not
moving.  His mother's purse lay dissected across his bed sheets.

"Ryan!" Gage rushed in and carefully tipped his head back where he lay
and bent over in a listening check for signs of breathing. They were there, faint
and very fast, barely adequate. Johnny shifted a few fingers to his neck. His carotid
pulse was almost unpalpable. Johnny noticed the purse and some breath mint wrappers
scattered about. Gage sniffed one of Ryan's breaths as it came out his faintly stained
mouth. "He's been into something real bad. I'm smelling a metallic odor over the mint."

"I'll check the medicine chest." Barry said, grabbing up a book bag that
rested on one of the bedroom chairs.

"Roy! Get in here with the gear! Bring the mother!" Gage shouted. "We've got a
possible poisoning!"

"We're coming!" DeSoto hollered back.
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From: patti k (
Subject: Iron Will
Sent: Wed 8/11/10 7:14 AM

"What do you got?" Roy asked hurrying in with the first load of medical gear,
the oxygen resuscitator and the defibrillator/EKG monitor.

"Ingestion.." Gage replied swiftly, cutting away the pale boy's clothes to look for
wounds and bruises, signs of contamination or other reasons for his unconscious
state. "His breathing's borderline. But he's doing it."

Roy knelt by the bed and grabbed out the suction wand to probe the boy's mouth,
clearing it of all the debris. "I can't tell what this is." he said of the material.

"Certs for sure. And other things." said Johnny, holding up the wrapper
ribbons of breath mints. "He's been in his mom's purse. Smell that?"
he said, tapping the boy's cheek.

"Yeah. It's not just blood and food. There's...something metal." DeSoto said,
quickly fitting a temporary oral airway into the boy's mouth where he lay on his
left side along with a high flowing nonrebreather oxygen mask.

"We really need the mother in here." Johnny grumbled, baring the boy's chest
for EKG pads placement. "He's already totally unresponsive to pain." Gage said,
stringing the long leads and snapping them into place. He turned on the scope.
"128 and tachy. Regular. I'll listen to his chest. I don't think he's aspirated into his
lungs yet. He's real quiet." he said, feeling the boy's chest for lung bubbling.

"I'll go get the biophone." Roy said, his breath catching in his throat as his worry
for the boy began to sky rocket upwards. "He's real bad." he said, feeling the
cold sweat glistening through near bluish skin on the boy's upper body as
he peeled back the boy's eyelids for a pupillary sign. "They're dilated. He's

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"Yeah, tell me about it. Barry, I need those bottles!" Johnny shouted at the police
officer digging through the medicine chest across the hall.  He leaned in and
began to listen to the boy's shallow breathing efforts with his stethoscope.

"Almost done!" Baricza replied. "Sorry. There's a ton of stuff in here, guys." he
said hastily throwing bottle after bottle into the bag he had placed propped open
into the small sink. "Vitamins, over the counter stomach and cough remedies,
and five adult prescripts with no safety caps!"

"Oh, wonderful.." DeSoto muttered as he rushed by the bathroom to go
retrieve the I.V. and drug boxes along with the biophone. "After you hand those
to Johnny, see what's holding them up."

"Okay." replied Barry, moving even faster. He emptied the medicine chest,
dumping shavers, and toothbrushes onto the floor in his haste. Then he knelt
and started collecting from the bottom vanity cupboard underneath the sink.
There, he found even more things; drain cleaner, glass cleaner, hydrogen peroxide
and rubbing alcohol. "Oh, man." he said, eyeing up all the containers.

Back in the bedroom, Gage froze as he listened for breath sounds.
"Light rales. D*mn."  He left his stethscope dangling about his
neck as he began to write down the vital signs he had taken onto a notepad.
"Ryan, hang in there. We'll figure you out here, I promise." he said, rechecking
the boy's airway status and breathing. Then he bent over for a fast BP
reading with a peds cuff.

He switched the EKG monitor to audible so he could listen for changes.
The fast beeps were still steady. ::Point in his favor.:: Gage thought, rolling
the boy over enough to check his back, butt and legs for problems. He
found nothing. Thinking ahead, he got an ambu bag ready for use on
another oxygen line.


Vince grasped Mrs. Diaz's shoulder and guided her back onto
her feet from the couch. "Alannah. Something's wrong. Your boy's in trouble."

"What?!" she exclaimed, her attention instantly pulled away from her happy
floor seated, handcuffed husband.

"The paramedics are with Ryan now. Come on, they need you to answer
questions. Now." Howard told her, leading her by the elbow to the hallway.
He raised his eyebrows at Roy coming the other way.

"Poisoning." DeSoto said as he hurried by them for the living room.. "Something
he ate."

"Poisoning?! Oh, no. Our Ryan would never do that. He..he.. knows better."
Alannah sputtered, suddenly defensive. "My son would never do that!"
she screamed.

"Easy, Mrs. Diaz. Right this way." Vince said, walking with her to the
boy's bedroom. Once inside, his helmet hit a low hanging model
airplane strung from the ceiling. It was a red baron. He swatted it aside
and led Alannah over to an empty hamper. "Sit down, ma'am. Right here.
They need room to work on him."

"Ryan!" Alannah said, trying to get to her son. Vince prevented her gently.

Gage looked up. "Ma'am. He's unconscious, and breathing. Now I'm gonna
need to find out a few things from you so we can contact the hospital okay?"
he said calmly. "Just relax a little more and don't get too excited. It's
bad for the baby." he said of her advanced pregnancy.

Alannah fought to control her breathing with effort. She ran fingers through
her red hair anxiously. "Okay. Uh, what do you need to know?" she trembled.

"Does your son have any allergies?"

"No. None."

"Is he on any medications right now for any illnesses?"

"No, he's a very healthy boy. Oh, G*d.. am I seeing blood?!" she gasped,
seeing the stain on the blankets next to Ryan's oxygen masked face.
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Gage covered it up with part of the bed sheets. "Ma'am, his stomach's
irritated from something he took. We need to find out what that might
be. Can you concentrate on that?"

She nodded, and began to shiver.

"Easy." said Vince, supporting her shoulders. He kept one eye on
the living room where he could see Sancho's sneakered feet still
sticking out across the carpeting down the hallway.  Mr. Diaz
was humming a bit in his cheery drunkeness, totally oblivious to
the emergency now involving his son. "Just answer the questions
as best as you can."

Alannah sputtered, wringing her hands in her neat white apron.
"Uh.. I don't know! Oh, Ryan." she sobbed, white as a sheet.

Gage snatched and held up Alannah's empty purse. "He got into
this, Alannah. Do you remember what you had in here? It's important
that you remember exactly what he might have been tempted to try and
eat or drink."

"Nothing dangerous. I just had what you see there, makeup, my checkbook
some breath mints."

"Think Alannah. Did you have any medications in your purse that he
might have found?" Johnny probed, trying to keep Alannah's focus.

"No, uh. All of those are in the bathroom."

Vince noticed something on the floor near Gage's knee. He picked it up.
"Johnny. This is a pharmacy prescription bag and a receipt. It might
have been in the purse."

Gage snatched for it. "Prenatals. That's gotta be it!"

"My vitamins? I only got those this morning. They're not poisonous."
Alannah insisted.

Gage explained. "Ma'am. These are dosed for an adult." he said, reading
the label on the paper prescription receipt. "They're iron tablets. We need
to know how many are still in it. Do you know what the bottle looks like? "

"No, I hadn't opened them up yet. The bag was still stapled shut. I..I..
I only got those this morning. I've been anemic." she sobbed.

"It's okay, uh, we'll find it. Just relax." Johnny said, casting his head around
for the missing bottle. "Vince? Help me?" he asked, picking up the boy
into his arms to get him off the bed.

Howard immediately started stripping the sheets and blankets off
the mattress from underneath Gage's lifting arms right down to the
pad. Johnny eased the boy back down again, guarding his airway.

The police officer began shaking the bedding vigorously.

"Found something?" Roy asked, hurrying back into the bedroom.

"Maybe. Mom had prenatals in her purse. A new bottle." Johnny
replied as he took the biophone from Roy and began to set it up
on the bare mattress of the bed. "She hasn't opened them yet."
he said significantly at DeSoto as they both glanced sidelong at
her with grins to ease her worry a bit.

"I'll get a tube set." DeSoto replied referring to a more advanced
airway instead of an I.V. kit.

Gage continued to smile softly for Alannah's benefit. "How long
has it been since he's eaten dinner?"

"About four hours." Mrs. Diaz replied, hanging onto the dresser
with a death grip.

"How long has he been alone?"  Roy followed up. "For his nap?
This is very important. We need to know how long it's been
since he might have taken those vitamins."

"Are you sure that's it?" Mrs. Diaz quailed.

"Here, fellas." said Barry, entering the room quickly.

"No ma'am. We're not sure. But it's a good first guess." DeSoto
replied as he took the heavy bag of medications and solutions
Barry had gathered from the bathroom.

"What are all those?" Alannah asked.

"Things he might have gotten into from the bathroom." Vince said,
still searching under the bed with his flashlight for the missing pill bottle.

"Do you have any medications in the kitchen?" Gage asked.

"No, nothing. I keep all of my cleaning chemicals in the bathroom
because I have so many pots that I cook with in the kitchen cabinets."
Alannah cried. "You have everything."

"You sure? Take a look." Gage said, handing her the bag.

"Yes, yes I'm sure. Please, just help my son." she sniffed, barely
looking into the bulging bag of chemicals.

"Okay." Johnny said, turning back to the biophone. "Vince keep
looking around the room."

"I'm on it."

"So am I." said Barry, joining Vince in opening drawers and lifting
throw rugs.

There was a flash of a car's headlights through sheer lamay
curtains in the bay window as a motorist turned down the
street from a driveway. Roy noticed a cylindrical silhouette
shadow on the window sill. "There. On the window ledge."
he pointed.

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Barry grabbed it up. "It's them. The cap's still on it."

"Dump em out." Gage said. "And count em."

Baricza did so, fumbling with the cap in his leather gloves.

Roy looked up from the boy. "Vince, come help him over
here on the bag a bit, all right?"  He didn't mention that Ryan's
breathing had just nearly stopped.

Howard sat onto the bed and took the bag valve mask Johnny
had laid out and started using it on the boy. "I've got chest rise."
he said of his ventilations.

"Keep 'em minimal." Johnny told him. "He's nauseated."

Barry shouted. "Forty one tablets." he said, double checking his

Roy lifted his chin from where he was getting intubation equipment
set out. "Out of how many?"

"Sixty. And the dose is 29 mg elemental iron per pill."

"Okay, got it." Roy said, writing that down. "Gather them up and
add that bottle to the rest of the bunch." he said, pointing to the substances
Barry had collected for them from the bathroom. Then he turned to Alannah.
"Ma'am I have to ask. Is there any reason to suspect that Ryan may have
been emotionally upset by anything recently?"

Mrs. Diaz's green eyes grew cold. "Are you telling me that my son may
have been suicidal?! He's only six. How DARE you!!" she said rising to her feet
and holding onto her pregnant belly carefully.

Barry stepped forward to intercept her.
"Hey. He's doing his job here. It's nothing personal, Mrs. Diaz. Knowing that
might help the doctors treat Ryan better when he gets to the hospital. Now
sit... down...." Baricza told her, firmly following up with a grip on her shoulder.

"Ryan!" Alannah sobbed, finally breaking into fear once again.

The paramedics got to work.

"Rampart this is Squad 51, how do you read?" Gage broadcast.

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