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   A Day In The Life
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Page Four

**Warning- Flashing photo image below. Seizure risk.**

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"I got it." Johnny said with irritation that he hadn't thought of it yet.

"Easy. You're a paramedic. Any airway always comes first." Quincy said with
amusement as he watched Chet's stabilization proceedings with a curious eye.

"Where's Mike and Cap?" Roy wondered, glancing around after he started
Chet's I.V. and another piggy backed round of meperidine.

Tony replied. "Watching those two thugs. I think they're chaining them up to
the fire engine out in the bay until the police get here. Speaking of which,
my buddy's still out there." He jogged to the door and flung it open. "Hey, Frank!  
Get in here, we've still got a communications net to fix-- Oh, yeah, fellas..
I think your dog's alive."

"What? He is?!" Gage said.

"Yeah, I heard him whining somewhere under the engine right before the young
crazy one grabbed me."

Gage looked at Quincy.. "Doc."

Quincy handed Roy the baby eagerly. He was ecstatic that she was happy
once more following a little glucose paste under the tongue. "I'll see what I can do."
And with that, he grabbed the trauma box from the table to hurry out to the bay.
He turned back a second later. "Uh, is it okay to treat him? I don't have a license
for it."

"He's not our dog. He's nobody's dog. He just shows up whenever he feels like it.
Go ahead. Just go and take care of him if you can. I won't tell." Johnny grinned.


Out in the bay, Cap was snapping out orders. "Once you've made sure we
got those two secured, pop open the main doors for the future calvary, will
ya?" he asked Mike.

"Sure thing, Cap." said Stoker, testing the chains around Ice and Stu.

Hank noticed Quincy coming in at a jog from the kitchen. "How's Chet?"

"Awake and complaining with every breath." Quincy reported. "He
seems stable to me,  but what do I know? I'm not a paramedic."

"Then what are you doing with that?" Hank asked, pointing at the medical
gear box in the coroner's hand.

"This? It's for your dog. That radio repairman says he was still making some
noise by the engine when he got here. Shot was he?"

"Boot? Yeah. I thought he was a goner." Then he looked down at the gagged
and chained pair of convicts that had lorded it up over them all. "Whew! Thank
goodness these guys were lousy shots." he said with some heat. "Let's go look for
him, we've got time now. Stoker!"

"Yeah, Cap?"

"Watch them! If they so much as peep, brain 'em in self defense."

"With pleasure." said Mike, hefting a halligan tool openly as a control measure.

Stu said nothing. He was calm in his tight metal chain link bindings, sitting with
a gentle dignity. Ice continued to sob with permanently lost sanity, next to him.

A piercing whine that wasn't a siren echoed through the bay, shifting every head.
And there was Boot, crawling out from behind one of the Ward's tires. He clutched
an H.T. radio in his mouth as he whimpered, dragging himself towards them.

Cap took it gently from his jaws as the blood damp shaggy dog collapsed into
his arms with a sigh. "Hey there, pal. Easy. We've got you. And thank you for
the extra ear. Just relax. It's about time we rescued you for once." Then he
hefted up the handy talkie. "L.A., this is Station 51. We're Code 4. Two suspects
have been apprehended. Send an ambulance and an additional paramedic squad
for a Code I and a neonate, along with P.D. to take our escaped convicts into
custody. And see if 905 Wild is available for a pick up. We have a canine
with a GSW." he replied. He set down the radio and began gently putting
pressure onto Boot's shoulder wound with a dressing Quincy handed him.

##10-4, Station 51. Ambulance and squad E.T.A. is four minutes. 905 reports
they are a block away. Time out 2103.## replied a very happy Sam Lanier.

Boot sighed, and lapsed into grateful unconsciousness.

"Oh, no no no.. Boot! Open your eyes, pal." Cap worried, placing a hand
on top of Boot's ribcage to feel for respirations.

"He's fine." said Quincy, tossing his head downwards at a grip he had
around one of Boot's hind legs. "There's a femoral pulse point here.
It's still strong, Captain. I suspect he's just tired. This bleeding isn't
arterial and there isn't much of it at all on the floor. I wouldn't
be surprised if this was just a creasing shot with no pulmonary

"I'll get some oxygen from the Ward.." Cap said eagerly. "That should
amount to something."

"It sure would. I'll take over." said the coroner, applying a new
4 X 4 on top of the old one on Boot's shoulder.  "Easy, Boot. I know I
smell like something the cat dragged in, but really, I'm one of the good
guys." he smiled, stroking the black and tan dog's matted head.

Gage came running in from the kitchen. Then he did a double take
and screeched to a halt on the concrete, his shoes squealing. "Oh,
my God, Boot! I forgot all about him."

"He's alive and... well, maybe not kicking. But this gun shot wound
appears superficial. We've got his bleeding under control." Quincy
said in answer to Johnny's unspoken question.

Gage didn't lose his dubious expression until he felt a good pulse on
Boot's other hind leg. "Man, this has all been too much... Where's Cap?"

"Getting oxygen for your dog. What's happened? Do you need me?"

"Not yet." Johnny grinned. "Chet's definitely lost that halo chance for
today. And we're not going to be needing your services on the
baby either. She's rallying. Guess she was just getting a little hungry
a few minutes ago during the big surrender. We've fully corrected that
blood sugar imbalance. Oh, yeah. How's our jail bait doing? By law, I
gotta check." he said, tossing a head at Ice and Stu with barely
veiled hostility.

"One's in a break down, and the other, I'd say, has found his final peace.
But then again, I'm not a psychologist."

Gage grinned gratefully.
"No, you're just an incredible forensic detective. I wanna thank you. From
all of us. You probably saved our lives."

"That's refeshing. Not exactly a concept I'm used to in my line of work. You're
welcome." Quincy said, shaking his hand.

Johnny rose to his feet again, hurrying for the squad.. "I gotta run. I'm supposed
to be grabbing a stokes for Chet so we can move him outside for a faster
rendevous. Rampart wants him transported A.S.A.P. They haven't seen a
popped bleb without a spontaneous pneumothorax before. Brackett's
just itching to get his hands on him to see what it looks like on film."

"Now that's language I understand. A minor lung insult, finally resolving as just
another routine medical curiosity for the journals." Quincy said.

Cap rushed up with the engine's resuscitator. "Gage, put him on six liters. That's
an order."

Johnny skidded back over to Boot's side and landed neatly on his knees.
"Willing and able." Johnny said, deftly curving a mask around Boot's crusted muzzle
as the flow Cap dialed up began. "See you at Doc Coolidge's, Boot. Expect a whole
bowl full of Livasnaps when you wake up." He said, stroking Boot's head around
Quincy's aiding hands.  "Maybe we'll try to sneak you into Chet's room later on."

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"Now, Gage! The stokes?!" Hanks prompted again, pulling a yellow plastic shock
sheet over Boot's body.

"Make up your mind already, geesh.." Gage complained, skidding once again across
the blood encrusted floor for the squad. "Johnny do this, Johnny do that. Paramedics
aren't super human, you know."

"Only dogs.." whispered Cap fondly, staying near Boot's ear, so he could hear him.

Sam Fujiyama rushed into the fire station's open front garage doors with a pair of
S.W.A.T. who brandished their weapons in a crisp 360.

Quincy tossed up his head. "Ah, that's enough guns for one day. They're disarmed,
gentlemen. There's been a murder in the alley. The mother's body is already
at the hospital but her unborn baby was saved and is being treated in the kitchen.
And that one did it." he said, pointing to Ice as he displayed his coroner's I.D. and badge.

"We'll take it from here, sir."
The two armored police officers moved swiftly to take over for Mike Stoker. They still
smelled faintly of riot gas from an earlier incident. And just beyond, a Mayfair and
the second rescue squad pulled up. Personnel scrambled, also noticing the bloody
footprints surrounding the others.

Sam crouched over where Cap and Quincy were working. He eyed up the blood on
the floor. "His or yours?"  He said pointing between Quincy and the station's dog.

"All his. I'm fine." the coroner grinned. "Now I'm just playing visiting veterinarian for
this sweet little boy of theirs. Give me a hand?"

"Sure." and Sam joined them in sliding the limp Boot onto a short spinal board in prep
for transportation. "Remind me to never let you do that kind of thing again. You had
me worried sick."

"But you weren't worried to death. You're still here, so no harm done." Quincy quipped
as he watched Cap do up the safety straps around his pressure applying hands.

"So say you. Just wait until you hear what Dr. Asten has to say to the both of us."
Sam snapped. "I just got off the gas station payphone with him and believe me, my
ears are still blistering."

"After the last half hour I've had, that sounds divine." Quincy said. "But only
after I've hit a shower, huh?"

"Youcanuseoneofours." Cap said, swiftly, eagerly, trying not to make a face.

Quincy finally caught on as he sniffed himself. "Phew! Sam, do our autopsies always
smell this bad?"

Sam just looked at him. "Don't tell me you've always been too busy to notice...."

Quincy just shrugged in apology, his eyes saying that it was all true.
"Thanks, Cap. I .....think I'll take you up on your offer. Last thing my boss would
want is me stinking up a county vehicle without good cause."

"You're welcome. Oh, look, 905 Wild is here. Guess you gotta make tracks now
for the bathroom to defumigate. Sam, is it? Could you take over for your friend?
I'm sure Boot's nose would really appreciate it. Look, it's twitching even inside
his oxygen mask so anything to make a victim more comfortable..."

"I'm off. I can take a hint easily." Quincy said, mildly chuckling.

"You didn't take mine too well." Sam groused, gingerly taking over Boot's direct

"You're my partner. I don't have to listen to you all the time." said Quincy
as he jogged for the locker rooms.  "Oh." And he came jogging back much to Sam
and Cap's dismay. "What do I wear afterwards?"

"Anything else but what you're wearing now! *is that man daft?*" Cap said aside
to Sam.

"Yes." Sam said deadpan. "Story of my life."

Hank blinked at Sam. Twice. "Okay." And then he waved the coroner off vigorously.
"There are plenty of extra clothes to choose from in there. Choose Marco's. He's
your size. Locker's named."


"Hey...." said Lopez in protest, walking by, carrying off Chet in his stokes with Johnny
and two new paramedics.

"Marco, I'll foot the cleaning bill myself." Cap promised with
passion. "Just trust me. He needed to decontam immediately."

Roy was following with the baby girl in his arms and a fresh oxygen tank for her under
his elbow. "What? Where?" His ears had perked up over the whisper along biohazard

"Nothing. It's minutiae." Hank replied.

"Not to me..." Lopez glared..

"Just go." Cap told his men. "And that's an order to all of you."

Roy and Johnny shrugged and continued loading their two patients with only occasional
side glances at Boot being loaded into his emergency vet pound truck by Cap and Sam.

Les and Dave from Doc Coolidge's spoke up. "What do we got?"

"GSW. Bullet, not buckshot.." hollered Gage across the driveway from their ambulance.

"Okay.. we'll let him know." they said of their vet. "Thanks, but..." Dave gestured to Sam
and Hank who were trying to open one of the rear compartments. "Over here. He rides
up front with me. We'll swing back to return your equipment once we're done with it."

"Just get him back in one piece." Cap said, stabbing his finger down on their closing window.
"A lot of guys are very testy around here."

"I can see that."
Les gave him a thumbs up and activated the truck's light bar, Code Three, and then they
were roaring off down the deserted boulevard.
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From: patti keiper (
Sent: Sat 3/03/12 9:52 PM
Subject:  Aftermath..

"Gun..  Gun! He's got a .....!" slurred Kelly on the cot through his oxygen

Gage grinned and leaned over his favorite firefighter and put a hand
on his chest to keep him from jarring himself in drugged panic.

"Missed a half hour there, did ya? Chet! You're fine. He's gone.
We're all safe. You're in an ambulance.That's why you're tied down.
These are just the straps."

Roy, next to them on the rider's bench of the sirens wailing Mayfair,
crouched protectively over their newborn charge with one of the EMT
attendants. They were heating warming packs and giving her some
physical stimulation to improve her circulation. DeSoto set a Datascope
paddle he had warmed up on top of her body to get a cardiac reading.
"Think he understands you? We really torked him out on that

"Yeah. He understands. A part of him anyway. See?" Gage said as Chet
cocked his head drowsily, but with some relaxation, at the sound of the sirens.
"How's she doing?" he said, tossing his head at the swaddled newborn.

"Her apgar score's five. Better, but there's a new issue going on. I think
I know what it is." he said, nodding to the EMT to take another apical
pulse rate check on the baby to double check the monitor.  He picked
up the line to Rampart on the Apcor once more. "Rampart,...Squad 51."

Brackett picked up the line. ##Still here. How's our two patients?##

"Victim number one. Stable, breath sounds unchanged. Altered level
of status but that may just be the intervention med. Victim number two,
is showing mild hyperkalemia, with peaked T waves, some
widened QRS complexes, and a disappearing P wave. Rhythm is
now sinus tach at 160. Respirations 55. Permission to separate the
umbilical cord and placenta. This may be the start of secondary

##Granted. I concur with your diagnosis and choice of treatment.
The baby's heart rate should begin to slow once necrotic toxins stop
entering her body. Be sure to save all parts of the after birth to reaffirm
lack of rentention in the u--- Sorry,.. Never mind on that last order. Dr.
Early just updated me on the DOA status of the baby's mother.  Since
it's been hours since birth, counteract her cardiac difficulty through
the umbilical stub vein with a 10cc's isotonic colloidal challenge. Administer
another five if her heart rate does not drop down within a short interval.
Begin chest compression support at 100 times a minute if her cardiac
rate falls below 60."

"10-4, 10cc's iso-colloid push, 5cc's secondary to lack of
improvement. CPR on bradycardic limit." DeSoto repeated back.

##51, how's her perfusion?##

"One on Apgar, limbs are still blue, but she's conscious on the O2
without an adjunct."

##Good enough. Give me a set of vitals on Victim One.##

Johnny Gage took Roy's phone receiver. "Vitals are: BP 92/60,
pulse rate 54, respirations, shallow at 9."

##That's the meperedine. Lungs?##

"Clear and patent left side, dull on percussion with wheezing
on the lower right. Some epistaxis shows light pink phlegm due
to previous coughing."

##Maintain suction as needed and keep his I.V. wide open. Bring
them in A.S.A.P.. Gently!##
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Johnny sighed. "10-4, Rampart. Our E.T.A. is three minutes."
Gage tossed down the phone. "We think we had it bad? How much
you want to bet Brackett and the others have seen prison riot carnage
worse than ours?"

"No bet." said Roy, keeping a few fingers on the baby's brachial pulse.
He took the syringe of I.V. solution the EMT had prepared a few seconds
later and began to use it. "One thing I can't figure out.. is why that county
coroner risked his skin for us. He didn't have to."

"Like the man said, he's crazy." Gage shrugged, steadying himself
against the sway of the rushing ambulance. "All I know is that his office
is going to get a hefty load of donuts come tomorrow morning, for doing

"Can you afford that?" DeSoto asked.

"Yes, I can afford that. I....well..."

Roy smiled ironically, unsurprised.
"I'll help. Cause we both know that Cap will eventually reimburse us both
back once the unofficial paperwork goes through about the mutual aid." he
smiled. "Speaking of which, I don't think I'm going to tell Joanne about
this one."

"I'm afraid you're going to have to." Johnny said. "I think I saw a press van
pull up as we were pulling away. They must have seen the police crime tape
going up."

"Don't remind me. I think I'm starting to shake about it." Roy said,
rubbing his face to wake himself up out of a slight daze.

Gage set a hand on his shoulder. "Hey. We're gonna be okay. Just a few
nightmares for a few days and then it'll be all over." He leaned back in the
treatment chair. "It already is." he said with levity.

"Yeah." DeSoto grinned back. But it was only half hearted at best.

A new wail of sirens behind them got their attention.

Gage straightened up and peeked out the Mayfair's back windows.
"Is that the Engine following us?"

"Uh, huh. We still needed our follow by a backup. Squad Ten got another
call after ours." He started to pick his fingers absently. "Uh, Cap also said
that we're getting our first crisis debrief session, right at the hospital."

"Oh, terrific. I can hardly wait." Gage said sarcastically. "I wonder
when the cops get their first crack at us." Johnny groused.

"Probably at the same time. That Quincy said his Lt. Monahan overheard
most of the live dialog going over Boot's radio from Sam's comm station."

Johnny was quiet for a long time, studying Chet's sleeping face without
seeing it. Then he spoke again. "I don't know about you, but scared or not,
I didn't eat anything while those convicts ate. I could use the good food
chance at Rampart."

"So can I."

Gage's stomach grumbled. "Listen...  Roy, what do you say we try to get
Brackett to hold off Headquarters' CISM counselors for a while. Think
we can do that?" Johnny wondered. "I... I really think I need a chance to
soak it all in, know what I mean?"

DeSoto nodded, agreeing with his partner.
"Any fire personnel's physical emergency treatment always come first.
Hunger is a need that has to be treated in my book. And Dr. Brackett's."

"Good. Let's have a really long meal then. And an even longer shower."
Johnny's stomach began to growl even louder. "Hot d*mn. Now I'm really

"So's she.." Roy quipped, letting the distressed baby clasp a grip
around one of his gloved fingers. "I guess that means we're all getting

Gage shook a doubtful head at him. "Not by a long shot.  
I left all the confidence I ever had in myself back at the station."

Roy, troubled, didn't know what to say in reply.

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From:  patti keiper (
Sent: Sat 3/31/12 3:22 AM
Subject: Nightingales

Dixie McCall met the ambulance with two orderlies and a running incubator
on a gurney.  She didn't even blink when the huge Ward La France from Station
51 pulled up alongside the fence adjacent to the ambulance entrance. She
waved over a pair of nurses to check out the three firefighters who were numbly
climbing out of the engine cab. "Their names are Marco, Mike, and Hank."
she told them.

"Right." they replied, moving forward with cups of hot coffee to soften a very
gentle medical welfare status interview they had to begin.

Sharon Walters, backing up Dixie, pulled open the Mayfair's rear unloading
doors even before the two EMTs had fully set it into park. "Johnny? Roy?
We were so worried about you."

"You had us on the airwaves?" Gage said, unlocking Chet's stretcher from
the floor brackets.

"Yes." Dixie told him, no nonsense. "How's Kelly?" asked, turning his EKG
monitor that was resting on top of his blanketed legs so she could see it.

"Very stable.  What you're seeing is just drugs." Johnny shared tiredly.

Dixie's eye fell appraisingly on Roy's shirt and the blood stains there. "Did
any other firefighters get hurt?"

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"Not physically." replied an EMT honestly when none of the gang spoke up
in answer to her question as they slowly gathered around the Mayfair to
help unload the stretcher and Squad 51's paramedic gear.

Dixie reached out eager hands even before Roy slid down towards
her along the rider's bench. "I'll take her, Roy. The Mayfair's stopped

DeSoto was surprised when his cradling grip holding the newborn in his
arms didn't loosen. "Huh?...I'm.. I know, Dixie. I.. just can't seem to let
go." he said a little dully, his eyes suddenly empty with exhaustion.

McCall's face was calculating as she studied the pale faces around her.
"More than one kind of shock going on in the rig and both of you don't even
realize it. And it doesn't help that you have kids of your own, Roy. You're
a father even before you are a paramedic." she said climbing in quickly,
helping him out by pulling Roy's fingers off the baby's blanket one by one, as
she gathered the little girl into her arms. "Malcolm,.. get ready use the bag
on her with the heated oxygen a.s.a.p." she told her orderly helpers outside.
"She's breathing fine. Just offer it for warmth." she decided as she
deftly assessed the child.

"Yes, ma'am." he replied, receiving the baby from the head nurse gingerly.
The tiny child began to cry at the pass off as cold night air seeped into
her bloody blanket. He dropped it to the ground and replaced it with a
hot one from the incubator.

Roy added more."She wasn't cut up during the-- the--" he mumbled.

"...killing." Dixie supplied gently. "I know. You said as much during your
transmissions to the base station." she said, her face now lined with worry
for the gang as well.

"We're.. mostly fine, Miss McCall." said Stanley as he got out of the way
of the Mayfair EMTs as they unloaded Chet. "This is probably shell shock."

Dixie looked at him appraisingly, with a smile for his benefit.
"I remember from Viet Nam. Head for the showers, captain, or the cafeteria.
Whichever you prefer first. We'll meet up with all of you fellas only
when you're ready." Dixie replied.

Sharon helped an unsteady Johnny step down when he almost dropped
Chet's I.V. bag. She took it from his shaky hands and hung it onto the
portable stretcher's pole. "Johnny, easy. It's over. We're all here."
she soothed out loud, one hand also going to Chet's shoulder to
help end some of his drugged agitation. "Dr. Brackett says he doesn't
need a report from either of you for this run. Concentrate on relaxing.
Starting right now."

"Is that an order?" Gage tried to grin at the blue smocked, doe eyed nurse.

"If that's what it takes." Sharon blinked back, suddenly sheepish. But then
her new R.N. training took over. "Any other symptoms that appear past the
current ones we're seeing, and I want to hear from you." she said, pointing
a sweeping admonishing finger at the gang.

"You'll get no argument from us." Hank agreed wholeheartedly.

"Cap, should I lock up the engine?" Stoker asked.

Hank did a double take at his fireman in fresh worry. "You already did."

"Oh." Mike said very softly. "Must have... slipped my mind."

Hank smiled lightly at his engineer.
"Better drink up that coffee. And guys, we're all gonna stick together!" he
admonished. "Nobody leaves property until I say so." he said, taking a
big gulp of his.

"And that includes trying to make a phone call to friends and family."
added a new voice. It was Lt. Monahan from L.A.P.D. "Get yourselves
checked out first. And that includes you, too, captain. You're all off
duty as of right now for the duration!" he grumbled as he handed Roy
and Johnny their therapeutic cups of coffee.
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Gage and Roy dully took them as they watched painfully as their patients
and gear got taken away from them by suddenly appearing additional
support staff.

"And no talking to the press either. They're here." Frank shared
unenthusiastically, as he eyeballed the news van already filming
the E.R. entrance's view and the parked fire engine from behind
the triage cones taped barricade.

"You're the boss, detective."  Hank inclined his head as he took off
his helmet. "I do realize that my whole station is now a crime scene."  
Then he turned off and pocketed his H.T. radio into his turnout.

Seconds later, Captain Stanley, Marco and Stoker were herded in
by their nurses, after the others, into Rampart.

As they walked, Gage suddenly turned to Walters. "Sharon, could you,
stay with us? I mean, we could really use a really good friend right
about now for the rest of the night."

"Sure." she smiled. "Right after I make sure Chet gets squared away
with his doctors." She stopped him at the door of the treatment room
with a hand to his chest, barring his entry in after Kelly's gurney.

"Well, who's got him?" Gage fretted.

"Dr. Early and Dr. Brackett. Personally." Walters promised. "I wouldn't have
had it any other way." She told him no nonsense. "It didn't seem right
not to have the best doctors possible when they were just standing
around and available."

Nearby, Roy got distracted by a drinking fountain.

Something very taut in Johnny's eyes crumbled into sudden tears
that quickly mirrored in Sharon's own.

"Oh, Johnny." she sighed. "I was so scared for you." she sniffled,
wiping away tears with an embarrassed arm, suddenly self conscious
about being seen as she broke down and seeped at the seams.

Gingerly, Gage reached out, took her hand, and squeezed it. "I'm
all right. If not now, I soon will be. It's okay."

Quickly, they hid their emotions and dropped their hands as Roy
returned to their side, his thirst slaked.

DeSoto broke the tension with five words. "So she's your date, huh?"

"You knew?" Gage asked incredulous.

"Not until now. And I never would have guessed it." Roy reassured
them back. "Want to keep it a secret?"

"Too late." Sharon said as the three of them received a curious but
amused glance from a passing orderly.

"Oh, too bad. I guess no betting pool this week then back at the station."
DeSoto mused tiredly.

"You bet on dates?" Sharon asked, suddenly incensed at Johnny.

"Not me. I mean, they do. About me and who I--" Gage sputtered.

"What?!" Sharon levitated.

Johnny burbled.
"It's not as bad as you think. I mean, I never get dates. Roy can tell you
that. And if Chet were here, he'd tell you that all I ever do is crash and burn
all the time. That is, until we started going out." Gage defended.

Sharon's face fell into a delightful, shy pout. "Really?"

"Yeah. Sharon..." Johnny urged, taking up her hand again. "I was totally
floored when you said yes the other day. And I plan to be a perfect
gentleman about the whole thing."

"Okay, I guess betting isn't so bad." said Walters. Then her nose wrinkled.
"Whew, smells like somebody needs a pair of showers around here. Why
don't you two go pretty up now. Johnny, I'll see you later." she said, winking
and opening the door into Chet's emergency treatment room.

"It's a deal." Gage said, finally smiling without stress, as the door closed
between them.

Beside him, Roy visibly relaxed, unconsciously having been comforted
by some normal, healthy, witnessed social interaction. "Best bet I
ever lost." he mumbled.

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From: patti keiper (
Sent: Wed 4/11/12 2:21 PM
Subject: Bedside Buttkick

It was an hour later, and Chet Kelly was still waiting in the treatment room to
be admitted to a bed on the general floors. The three ring doctor circus his
rare pulmonary injury had caused upon his arrival to Rampart had long since
died away. Dr. Morton, Dr. Early and Dr. Brackett were already so bored with
the fireman's findings, that they had disappeared into the bowels of the hospital
for a much needed break and a few meals.

"I wish I could eat." grumbled Kelly to Dixie McCall, the nurse who was nearest
his gurney. "Everybody else is doing it. Probably even Boot by now."

McCall cracked an amused grin as she checked the rate of his I.V. flow above
his head. "Can't eat if you're on narcotics. Doctor's orders. It's a choking risk. You
can't swallow decently enough right now to make sure anything you chew goes to
your stomach properly. You might try to fill up that lung again. That's why I handed
you that suction tube to suck on whenever you feel those clots making good on
their escape."

"You have medicine that makes a guy hack up lung scabs, but not one that allows
him to feed himself? That's messed up." Chet grimaced, coughing again through
his oxygen mask to liberate a few more.

"Easy." Dixie said, raising his gurney's head a little higher. "It's either that or a
state where you're feeling a whole lot of pain."

"I'm a man, I can take it."

"Well, I'm a nurse and it's my job to make sure you don't." she quipped right back.
"Believe me, you don't want to be on the receiving end of an exploratory
bronchoscopy if stress from pain starts making you bleed out again."

"That's funny, Johnny said pretty much the same thing on the way in." Chet
mused thoughtfully as he began to tie his oxygen tubing into loose fireman's knots
just to amuse himself. He finished and held up a mock hangman's noose, making
a funny face about it for her benefit as he staged a fake execution of his I.V.-less
hand and wrist through it.

"Smart paramedic." Dixie shared. "For your information, you're awake for those and
you can feel every finger jammed down your throat while they poke around with
microscope cameras, probes, and suction tubing."

"Doesn't matter, does it? It wouldn't have hurt." Kelly said confidently.

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Dixie just gave him a very long look and sat down on an exam stool near his head to
run out another EKG strip for Chet's medical chart. "When was the last time you
swallowed a spaghetti noodle the wrong way?"

Chet finally squirmed under his sheets. "Oh, really?" he grimaced with disgust.

"Picture being subjected to that after they paralyze you so you can't gag." McCall
shared spookily. "You're left awake so you can hold your breath on cue."

Kelly finally moused down. "Should you.... really be sharing the nitty gritty truths of
ER hospital procedures like this?" he said, quietly horrified. "You know I hate
hospitals with a passion."

Dixie just shrugged.
"You're a friend.  I have to say something to keep you behaving like a good trauma
patient now that the meperidine's worn off."

Kelly's face gaped big into sudden worry. "Whoa, wait a minute. M-my pain killer's,..
....all gone?"

"Yep." McCall nodded, still writing in her chart. "We changed it out for some Versed
a few minutes ago. You're feeling your lung pain right now.." she said, indicating the
fast heartbeat on the EKG monitor. "... but you aren't remembering it from moment to
moment. That way you can keep your brain active normally. It's much safer that way."
she shrugged again.  

Chet stayed silent, feeling his EKG stickered hairy chest for sore spots with ginger

At his continued look of horror, McCall reiterated. "Oh for Pete's sake, Chet. Versed's
an amnesia drug. Short circuits short term memory pain signals from your nerves. We
tricked the awake side of your brain into thinking you're fine for a while. That's much better
than sedating you into a coma, don't you think?"

Kelly made a face. "I'd rather see pink elephants." he grumbled.

"Uh, uh.. Bad idea." came a new voice, chidingly.
Behind them, Carol the nurse began chortling where she was preparing another I.V. bag
for Chet's use. "You said you saw all of us nurses running around in bikinis when you
first got in here."

"I did not!" Chet said loudly, blushing right down to his toes.

Dixie grinned. "You said I was in one that was black with white polka dots."

"And mine was all yellow bananas." Carol smiled, before putting a mock surprised
finger to her lips. "Oh, but that's right, you can't remember any of it." she teased about
his Versed dose.

Chet regained some shreds of humor, but it was mixed with some very self conscious
doubt. "Did I say what the doctors were wearing?"

McCall stopped writing but didn't look up. "I...think you mumbled, 'Just stethoscopes.'
Isn't that right, Carol?"

"I can't recall." Evans replied professionally. "I was too busy tying Chet's arms down
so he wouldn't leave the bed to go chasing after them."

Chet's look of horror magnified expotentially and he began sputtering in utter

Both nurses finally let him off the hook. "Relax, Chet. We're teasing you. Laughter
is the best medicine as they keep saying." Dixie said no nonsense.

"For you or for me?" Kelly said, almost hyperventilating, which made him start another
clot clearing cough, which is what everybody medical wanted.

"Hopefully for all, Mr. Kelly." Carol told him. "But apparently your leg is too long for
any pulling tonight."

Kelly sighed, making a face at the tickling he imagined in his lung at the height of it.
"I've been through a lot. Can you make me forget what happened today?"

Carol and Dixie fell into seriousness and neither nurse spoke for a second or two.
"Afraid not. That'll be something for the crisis counselors to deal with." Dixie finally

"Oh, great. I forgot about Cap's usual debriefing order. When are they coming in?"
Chet scoffed with displeasure.

Dixie answered truthfully. "On the afternoon right before you're scheduled to get
discharged. In about three days or so. I.........figured we could talk a bit about it
before then. Doesn't that sound like a decent plan?" she said, finally meeting his
eyes gently in concern.

Kelly looked away, emotionally uncomfortable. He began to untie his creative tubing
artwork so his oxygen mask no longer strained to deliver its flow. "Yeah. I could use
a mental load off or two." Chet said afterwards.

Reaching out, Dixie took his still shaking hand into her own soft one and smiled.

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Subject: Different Strokes for Different Folks..
From:   patti keiper (
Sent: Tue 4/24/12 1:14 PM

It was three a.m. in the hospital parking lot. All signs of Carson's
city wide rioting were gone except for occasional passing squad
cars roaming slowly with silent red lights on to reassure the public.

A dark figure swiftly left Rampart's emergency entrance
and made a beeline for the looming silhouette of Engine 51.

A fire gloved hand quickly keyed the lock on the front passenger
door and Hank Stanley tiredly clambered into his seat. He
startled at the smell of dog blood that hadn't lessened inside the
cab despite the number of hours that had passed since the
hijacking. He hastily rolled down the window for some fresh air.

::Boot.:: he thought, studying a large smear of gore that Cap realized
he must have left on the dashboard as they all rushed to the hospital
after Chet's ambulance. :: Oh, no. I forgot to call the vet's office.::
he frowned. He peeled out of his fire jacket in disgust at its sour
smell and dumped it onto the floor on top of his abandoned helmet.
::The guys are going to flay me alive if I don't get some news
about him soon.::

He slumped into his seat, burying his hands into his hair as
he leaned wearily on the dashboard and rubbed his burning eyes with
a forearm.

Soon, the night hawks calling from the air as they hunted bugs filtered
through the engine's open window and began to soothe Cap bit by bit.
It was the first truly normal thing he had encountered since Mike Stoker
had opened the backyard door and had found the bloody baby.

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Sighing, Hank finally thumbed his handy talkie. "L.A., Engine 51."

##Engine 51.## came Sam's reassuring voice.

"Establish a patch to Battalion One. This is for general
communications only. It's...follow up to Station 51's incident."

##10-4, Engine 51, stand by.##

Soon, Chief McConnikee was on the channel. He was still at Station 51,
overseeing that all of its equipment was accounted for and secured, along
with completing a roof to foundation property damage assessment.
##Hank? How's your firefighter doing?##

"Out of danger. No surgery necessary." Cap replied wearily.

##And the fire department debrief session I authorized with you and
your men?##

"Finished for now.  The cops are done with us, too. That is, until we're called
in as witnesses on their prosecuting court date hearings. Chief,, uh...I'd like to
send everybody home from crisis observation at the hospital soon if I may."

## Of course, Hank. At 0600. I've already pushed that through.
Also, all the big brass think it'll be at least three days before your station's been
cleaned and repaired enough for its return to active duty. The cops are done
with their investigation of the crime site here. I've already assigned 51's other
shifts to nearby firehouses in a temporary double up to finish off this week's
schedule without a gap in their pay checks.  I'm also giving Chet, you, and your
uninjured men paid leave for two weeks to start to get a grip on this whole
thing. From what I've seen so far, your night has been truly nasty. ##

"Chief, we don't need a vacation. We're fine. In fact, getting right back
to work might be the best therapy of all for any of us." Cap insisted.

##Not my choice, captain. This comes from the very top. I'm just following
policy. It'll also keep the press from breathing down your necks until the heat
of the moment passes. I want to get back to normal business as soon
as possible.## McConnikee said. ##And I'm sure you do, too, so that means
we both jump through all the hoops HQ feels necessary like good little

Hank didn't toggle the talk button for long moments as a wash of flashbacks
during the fight with Ice and Stu swept over him.

##Hank. Call me anytime if you'd like to talk. I know this incident has probably
reawakened some war vet memories in everybody who was over there. This
may sound like department mantra, but my door's always open. Even at

Hank shook himself to snap out of it.

##Hank, are you still there?##

Cap startled and suddenly remembered what he was holding.
Hank found himself tearing up unexpectedly. He fought to keep it out of his voice.
"I appreciate it, Chief. Thank you. I'll give you updates every few days
to the office." Cap replied.

##I'll keep myself available, Hank. Talk to you soon.## And the handy talkie went

Cap sat for a few minutes to compose himself before he switched frequencies
and requested a patch from Sam to Dr. Coolidge's office to find out about Boot.


Mike Stoker and Marco Lopez found the most reassurance for their frayed
nerves, by remaining in public view. Instead of hiding in the nurses' lounge like
Roy and Johnny were doing, they stayed out in the waiting room, neatly stowing
their turnout jackets and helmets underneath their chairs while they pretended to
look through magazines.

Lopez finished chewing the last of his hamburger from its paper wrapping. "Did
your vitals check out?" he said, slumping in his seat.

"Yeah, no more hypertension. They figured I was just mad." Mike answered, not
seeing the fishing magazine he was holding up before his eyes, pretending
idleness for the benefit of the curious, waiting kid patients who were staring at their

"I was mad, too. But there was no point to it anymore once we got those inmates
tied up." Marco agreed.

"I just kept thinking about what they were doing to Chet, even after they already hurt
him. And that's what kept pissing me off." Stoker whispered. Then he took in a deep
breath. "Are you going to tell your mom?"

"Nope." said Lopez immediately. "It'll kill her. For real." he insisted unhappily.

Mike was quiet for a time. Then he spoke softly.
"I don't think I'll tell my wife, either. Whatever she sees on TV, I'll just say we were
ordered into silence by the police. I'm banking on my lack of injuries to help blow it all
on by."

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"Good plan." Marco smiled, closing his eyes and dozing. "I think I'll copy it."

Mike shifted in his seat, thinking carefully before he spoke.
"Want to come over for dinner tommorrow night? We'd be glad to have
the two of you over. You know, just to hang out."

Lopez opened his eyes, and grinned at Mike in gentle surprise.
"Sure." Lopez accepted. "Just expect Mama to help cook up a storm. She'll
practically demand it."

Stoker finally laughed, his stress wrinkles melting into smile lines. "At
seven it is. I'll have lots of beer chilling in the cooler."


In the nurse's lounge, DeSoto and Gage were sitting stiffly at the table,
trying in vain to relax.

Roy DeSoto was nursing his fourth filled coffee cup. "Are you sure
you don't want to spent the night with Joanne and the kids, and I?"

"Not this time. Sharon told me she wants to escort me home personally to
take care of me." Gage answered, grinning.

"When did that happen?" Roy asked.

"While you were in the shower a few minutes ago."

"Geesh. That was fast. Definitely can't compete with that." Roy teased,
throwing levity into his statement. "I wonder if you plied just a touch of
patient power motivation there."

"I'm not taking advantage of her. She offered and... and.. I figured I was due
since I was kinda a real victim here." Gage minced.

"You were most definitely one." DeSoto insisted, sipping away.

Johnny ignored the retort. "The idea of a date is really appealing right now.
More than normal. And.. I think it'll get my mind off things."

"If you say so." Roy said, doubtfully.

"Sharon says so. And... I ...just agreed with her." Johnny minced. Then his
face fell into an annoyed frown. "Look, I don't need your platitudes or approval,
Roy, so don't give me any."

It was Roy's turn to take offense. "I wasn't trying to say yey or neigh one way or
the other. Stop being so defensive. We're both tired, Johnny."

"Yeah? Sharon'll be good for me. I just know it. For your information, I DO
feel like crap."

"I, do, too, if you must know." DeSoto insisted. "Keeping up Chet and the baby
wore me plum out so stop complaining about it since I know it wore you out
just as badly."

Gage opened his mouth to snap back, but caught himself when he replayed Roy's
last statement back in his mind.

Finally Johnny pushed away his untouched coffee mug. "I just don't think a couple
of clinging kids fit the bill right now, Roy. I don't feel like babysitting any more."

"Babysitting?!" DeSoto exploded, completely forgetting his charitable mood.

Gage held up self defensive hands.
"All right, visiting.. Poor choice of words? Sorry. Is visiting better terminology?!"

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Right then the nurses' lounge door opened and Dixie came in.

Roy and Johnny completely forgot their argument and surged forward out of
their chairs.

"How is he?"
  "Is he conscious?"

Dixie just smiled and folded her arms across her chest from where she stood by
the closing door. "Chet's fine. I just heard from him."

In a like move, Roy and Johnny both melted back into their chairs in utter relief.
"Oh, well, we already knew that." said Roy.
      "We are paramedics after all." said Johnny at the same time.  

Gage looked down and saw that his hands were still trembling. With a wan,
unconvincing grin, he pulled them into his lap.

"What?" Roy asked him defensively.

Johnny shushed him with a hiss, as he eyed up McCall uncomfortably.

Dixie joined them at the table at a third. She daintily nibbled an untouched
tray's cold french fries. "Who didn't eat here?" she said, no nonsense.

Gage immediately squirmed. "I,..uh, that was me."

"So eat." McCall glared in mock sterness. "I got a hot oven on right over there
behind you." she said, pointing. "Go stick your tray in to warm it back up again."

"Uh, okay." And Johnny immediately followed instructions.

Dixie eyed up the two paramedics appraisingly. "Why are you two fighting? Both of
your faces are pure red. Aww, guys... I thought the crisis debrief counselor got a
good handle on things." she said with worried disappointment.

Roy and Johnny immediately denied her reading with a lot of fast talking, both
at once.

"Stop." Dixie said, snapping up her head. "Do I need to call her back in here?"

That hushed both paramedics instantly.

"It was nothing serious." DeSoto finally said.

"Good. So kiss and make up or whatever you guys do when you argue with each
other." McCall said. "I'm not in the mood to deal with any pettiness. My head feels
like it's about to explode if I don't get some real coffee in me."

"Take mine.." both DeSoto and Gage offered, each shoving their mugs forward.

She accepted one daintly and began slurping the old stuff down until it was
completely drained before taking a breath. "Now apologize."

"Sorry, Roy."
  "Sorry, Johnny." both the firefighters murmured sheepishly.

Only then did Dixie smile. She changed her tact. "Chet's asking about Boot.
Wanna go tell him? Doc Coolidge says he'll be on his feet by morning."

She chuckled without turning around at the breeze their passing made as they
fled the room to share the good news.

"And yes, I'll make sure your food doesn't turn into a pile of cinders." she said
to the open air as she stole the last abandoned coffee mug.

Sharon Walters came through the door seconds later. "I've already packed
an overnight bag, Johnny, and-- where'd they go, Dixie?"

McCall grinned happily. "They're following nurse's orders by sticking together."
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   A Day In The Life
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