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        En Route
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Subject: Early Risers
From: patti k (
Sent: Tue 8/31/10 3:39 AM

One young man spoke up. "So you're paramedics, DeSoto and Gage?"
he began, reading off of his notes.

Roy nodded. "That's right. Mr.--?"

"Stanley Dubois." he offered, pushing his glasses up a little higher onto
his face. "Call me Stan."

Johnny inclined his head as well.

The EMT folded his arms. "We've all heard that our probationary period's
gonna be tough, patient skills wise, in the ambulance, right off."

DeSoto smiled. "Oh, not so much, Stan." he shrugged."Maybe once or
twice, we'll have you all try to confirm what the station paramedics have
already concluded, during transport, about a patient's condition. A paramedic
will pretty much be guiding you as to what needs doing for the more serious
cases. This job is nothing to worry about, except perhaps, learning the county
street map." he joked, pointing to one wall where one displayed prominently
by a chalk board.

"Now that's a lifetime commitment." Gage piped up. "And a real
challenge. Mayfair's service area, like the fire department, is beyond
huge, covering everything from inner city neighborhoods to isolated
mountainous rural areas that you can only navigate by using canyon
names and directionals sometimes triangulated by a chopper to find
your bearings."

"I'm up for it." said the cheerful young man, wandering over to it. He
drew out a small camera and snapped a picture of the map. "I'm gonna
blow this up and stick it on my own wall at home. I think the garage is
big enough." said Stan.

The room full of folks laughed.

Another employee spoke up, "Are we actually starting work today?"
a woman asked. "On the ambulances, with patients?"

DeSoto shook his head.
"At first, for a few days, army corpsmen will be handling all the non-
precepted calls assigned by dispatch. They're doing so right now."
he said, sweeping a hand over the half empty ambulance garage.
"Eventually, everyone will be scheduled a ride along shift with either
Johnny or I, to learn all the duties. Some will start a little sooner. This week.
And all the rest before the month is out. We've scheduled the order based
on previous patient care experience. That way, Mayfair can get their new Los
Angeles County acquisition numbers up to snuff in the quickest time possible."
Roy said. "Until those shifts happen, the rest of you will be going over the
supply inventory in detail on each ambulance in the fleet while you await your
turn. The only thing that differs equipment wise between them all, is what
you'll be driving."

One very young beefy man, piped up. "And that'll be fast and furious,
code three!" he crowed.

"May I have your name, sir?" McCall asked, studying her attendance chart.

"Mel. Mel Turner." he replied.

"Well, Mr. Turner. Sorry to disappoint you. The answer to your
comment is a definite no." Dixie eyed him up evenly. "All company vehicles
will be driving the speed limit at all times. There'll never be cause to hurry.
For every ambulance on duty will always be two minutes away from its nearest
neighbor on the distribution grid. Your lights and siren while in use are only
asking permission to enter intersections out of signal light turn, is that clear?" she
pegged the hot rod type. Her role as manager was suddenly crystalized for him.

"Sure ma'am." said Mel respectfully. "I got it. It's cool."
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Another attractive looking hispanic man standing near his blond haired, shorter
western garbed friend spoke up. "Law enforcement's been known to ticket
ambulances for speeding."

"During an emergency call?" asked a slightly built petite gal. "Hi, I'm Daisy

"No. Of course not." replied Rosalie Arnold told her kindly. "I've heard of some
of my colleagues getting warnings before, but only after they've arrived at the
hospital and were completely unloaded."

"That's right." replied the first darker skinned man. "Or sometimes, they'll
receive actual citations."

The eye glassed Stan spoke up. "You sound like you know this for a fact, sir."
he observed keenly.

"I do. I'm from the California Highway Patrol. My name's Frank Poncherello and
this is my partner, Officer Jon Baker."

"Well, what are you doing here?" asked Daisy. "Shouldn't you be out on your
motorcycles ticketting automobiles or something, Mr. Poncher..Poncherell-?"

"Call me Ponch, please." he smiled, waving, with a polite grin. "It's easier."

Jon Baker scratched his head thoughtfully around his cowboy hat. "We joined
an EMT training program two months ago at UCLA and we've just graduated,
ma'am." Baker shared. "This opportunity for us with Mayfair is not an actual
career switch, just a visit to see how things work and operate once sick or
injured folk have actually left one of our highway scenes. It's something we've
never had the chance to experience in any great detail before in real life. We're
usually too busy to watch what happens once all the excitement's over."

"Oh, so before now, you guys got to do all that heroic stuff only, eh?" Daisy
winked, teasing. "I read about CHiPs officers saving the day all the time in the

Jon Baker and Ponch had the maturity to stay humble. They didn't encourage
the young lady's infatuation one bit and stayed all business.

Gage cleared his throat."Yes, well. We're glad to have ya." he said, offering his
hand to Ponch and Jon. "We weren't sure exactly when your superiors were gonna
cut you loose from your regular work shifts. All we heard was that two highway
patrollers were coming in from Burbank Headquarters sometime soon."

"Wouldn't make any sense to start later than the usual, Mr. Gage." Ponch told Gage,
grasping his hand in greeting. "We didn't want to miss out on anything." he grinned.

"Welcome aboard." said Roy following suit.

Dixie did likewise, shaking their palms one by one. "Gentlemen." Then she addressed
the room at large. "Okay, everybody, gather round. I'm the order taker for all of our
pizzas. Follow me once you've grabbed something for yourselves to drink."

"She's the financier." Johnny winked at McCall. "Owns your paychecks!" he teased.

"Johnny, don't push your luck." she retorted in mock, disappearing into her office on
the other end of the garage away from the rec center wing. "The bills might pile up
enough to need help real soon."

Roy wandered over to a large refrigerated cooler near the wash bay and opened
it. "In here's soda, water and--"

"Hey! Milk!" said Stan. "Thanks. I missed breakfast this morning." he said, scooping
up a couple of cartons.

"This will always remain full." DeSoto finished. "And yes, it will be searched periodically
for after shift alcohol storage. None of that's allowed on property, ever, even inside  
the trunks of your cars. Mayfair's county property now. Everybody, got that down pat?"

A round of comprehending nods blossomed.

Mel was thoughtful. "Yeah, party at home." he said seriously, in appreciation.

Ponch snatched up a Cola and one for Jon. "Hey, partner." he said. "Think fast." he
said arching a bottle up over his head.

Jon Baker caught it neatly. "Thanks, Ponch. Shall we go order?"

"Jalapenos, here I come!" said Poncherello, joining the line that was starting to snake
out of Dixie's office as she wrote down people's preferences.

Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto just watched, leaning on the table containing the  
untouched coffee pot. "Looks like the three of us are the only ones who're gonna be
addicted to coffee." he said, lifting the pot ruefully to top off his chilling mug.

"Don't count your horses before they're in the barn." DeSoto chuckled. "Just wait until
our recruits have a few graveshifts in under their belts. They'll be grabbing for the
nearest source of caffeine before ya know it." Roy said, holding out his own for a refill.

As if on cue, the early morning quiet was shattered by the start of a busy day of dispatch
calls over the loud speakers. ##L.A., Mayfair Twelve, single car crash. Two occupants
have been extricated by fire department personnel in stable condition. PCH off ramp
northbound at Sepulveda. PCH off ramp northbound at Sepulveda. Time out : 0549.##

Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage caught the wave of the passing pair of corpsmen in Rig
Twelve as they pulled out of the garage. Johnny saluted them, military style, and was
return saluted crisply to show him how it was done, in mock.

Gage just chuckled and ansed in embarrassment. "I'll never get that down right." he

"Never will until you join the Army." DeSoto said, shaking his head. "Here's to Mayfair
and a new beginning." DeSoto said, toasting the air and the newly painted garage
surrounding them.
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From: patti k <>
Sent: Sat, September 4, 2010 10:53:28 AM
Subject:  Progress..

Johnny led the new employees to the first parked Mayfair
ambulance in a row and casually opened all of its doors,
one by one while he talked. He glanced up at the six EMTs
shadowing him. His smile grew even bigger when he saw
that Dixie had assigned Rosalie Arnold with him instead of
Roy. His whole body radiated an unconscious swagger as
he tried to impress her with nonverbals. "This shouldn't
take long." he said to the group as he moved slowly about
the displaying ambulance. He hung on a door handle matter
of factly as he faced them. "Folks, in here's the basic equipment
you already know from your skills and practice sessions: oxygen,
splints, a backboard, suction. What you won't be seeing are the
more advanced things like a pharmaceuticals box beyond
activated charcoal and glucose, or a Tetronix monitor." he said,
pulling the double access hatch open.

The group of EMTs started chuckling. Gage, who was leaning
on the door with his back to the patient care cab space, was

Rosalie covered her mouth politely, coughing. "Oh, you mean
like that EKG machine right over there?" she asked, pointing
over his shoulder.

Johnny's cocky grin immediately wilted into one of confusion,
until he turned around. Then his mouth flopped open in utter
stupefaction. The inside of the Mayfair was stuffed with gadgets,
devices, bulging supply bins and fancy state of the art life support
gear. Clear glass bins full of airways, I.V. solutions, tubing sets,
splints and dressings of all shapes and sizes and even an advanced
O.B. kit. "Wow!" Johnny said, climbing in. "Everybody get in here!
This is.. this is great!" He eyed up a white defibrillator and opened
it. It was the same Datascope MD2J the fire station squads carried.
Then his forehead wrinkled. "We have everything we could ever
possibly need at any scene?" he gaped, surprised at the sight of
all the paramedic gear surrounding him. He held up a finger.
"Excuse me a sec. Could you just wait a minute for me? Feel free
to dig around anywhere you'd like to." He popped open the side
access door and set a foot onto the sharps catch bin shelf and
a railing. He stood up until he peeked over the roof of the ambulance
until he spotted Roy and his first group already swarming over their
own newly restocked ambulance. "Hey! Roy!" he shouted.

"Yeah?" DeSoto said, pausing in his lecture at the back of his
door splayed Mayfair, a Modular Two type.

"Did ya see what they've done? This is incredible!"

"Yeah! I already knew about it." Roy yelled back, cupping his
hands around his mouth. "Didn't you get the memo?" he asked.
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"What memo?" Gage said, gripping two of the dome lights to keep
his precarious perch on the door and struts.

Dixie McCall appeared and tugged on one of Johnny's pants legs
firmly. "No climbing on the equipment, not unless you're in the middle
of an active resuscitation or something and there's no other room to
work." she chided.

Johnny clambered down and joined his eagerly chattering EMT throng
who were like kids in a candy store, emptying out bins and showing
each other the nifty gadgets and things they knew nothing about from
the pile they had gathered together onto the stretcher from storage.

"What did they do?" he asked Dixie about the stunning outfit. "I'm
utterly speechless."

McCall smiled demurely. "Isn't it obvious?" she shrugged, sitting onto
the top step of the ambulance's cab. "They did away with supply nurses."

Johnny choked in shock, trying to hide his happy reaction. "That's
terrifi--I mean, that's horrible. Somebody lost their job for this change?"
he said, pointing vaguely at the row of rigs surrounding them.

"Johnny Gage." Dixie said, looking at him sideways while she enjoyed the
enthusiasm of the EMTs exploring all the compartments. "Nurses do
far more than just issue replacements to fire department paramedics after
every run. That duty used to be our replacement chore, only because the
hospital's pharmacy department was always too busy to handle it. The
county did this because it got too tricky keeping straight, between all the
hospitals, which fire department squads were using what the most, for
ordering." Then her face quirked and she leaned in mischievously. "You do
know that afterwards, you're gonna be stuck putting everything back exactly
as you guys found it?" she said, tossing a head at the happy tornado
carnage taking place all around them.

Johnny's look further horrified. "Dixie I-- I'm so sorry. I thought we could do
whatever we--"

She let him off the hook. "I planned ahead. I had Requisition label all
the bins and shelves for ya. How else to keep everything precisely organized
between rigs? The county figured the new EMTs could handle restocking as
a closing shift duty that way, even for the things they won't be using directly for
patient care. All except advanced medications. That will be the duty of
any paramedic who's been put on the slightly injured list from off of regular fire
department duty from now on."

"Good idea. We get hurt guys all the time."

"Including you?" she teased.

Johnny made a face and smacked her shoulder in mock. "Who keeps track of
what's used for inventory?" Gage fired back.

"You do. And they do." she said happily of the EMTs. "Not us nurses. Not any

"Cool." he said finally. "One less nurse chore. But who pays for all the stuff if
not the hospitals anymore?"

"The patients. Each is billed according to what you check off as used on their run
sheets." She plopped down a bundle of forms onto the rider's bench. "Be a hon
and spread these around all the ambulances. They all go here into this slot." she
said tapping such a place on the right side door. "If you need more, they're
in the office in a basket right next to the coffee machine. When you guys go out
and meet the rescue squads, tell them about the new forms, too, would ya?"

"Sure. It'll just be another thing to do in transit. Shouldn't be a problem."

"Good. That's one task down." she said, checking off her manager to do list.
"Listen, I really do have to get back. I wanna keep up with the pace of things."

Johnny was thoughtful and suddenly disturbed while Dixie had fun tossing a
complex oxygen regulator into the hands of a really excited EMT. "Dixie. Are
you thinking what I'm thinking? About a global job change?"

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"About what's coming very soon for the future? You bet." she replied. "Isn't it
wonderful? Someday, some paramedics are gonna ride on ambulances with
EMTs exclusively and not have to be supermen firefighters in order to do it."

"That's not gonna happen here. Nuh uh. No way." Johnny sputtered.

Dixie angled her head. "Maybe not in California. Our county's the founding force
in the EMS world apparently. It doesn't like to change what works due
to budget reasons. They change only when they have to."

"You mean like now with Mayfair? Because emergency runs are going up
exponentially every year?" Johnny suggested.

"Uh huh." she nodded. "And kind of like how fire departments are springing up
everywhere to keep up with the rise in brush fire numbers."

"How'd you know about that?" Gage asked surprised.

"I work with fire department paramedics. And boy, do they like to gossip."
she winked, walking away with amusement. "And I thought nurses were bad."

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Date: Sun Sep 5, 2010 9:24 am
Subject: The Sunday Sell...
From: patti k <>

Joe Early left Treatment Five with a rueful shaking of the head.
"Mothers.." he muttered as he walked down the hallway to the
ER desk to where Sharon Walters, now a full R.N., manned Dixie's
old stool. "Hey, Sharon. How's it going as interim head nurse?
Those pins feeling heavy yet?"

"These?" asked the bright faced young brunette, groping at her
white uniform collar. "Not a chance. I've learned from the best."

"It's that." he agreed. "Dixie's always been a great mentor. She hand
picked you, you know, to eventually be groomed as her permanent
successor. This is just your final victory lap proving grounds period
while she's away. And when she retires in ten or fifteen years, you'll
gain her spot. Did you know that?" Dr. Early asked her gently.

"I think I've always had that feeling, even when I was just a nervous
Dr.-Brackett-intimated nursing student running around, crashing into people.
In those days, Dixie was more than just my teaching R.N.. She really drove
home my skills, over and over again, and never once became disappointed
in me. That meant a lot to me, doctor, even when I thought I was a complete

"Oh, you weren't that bad." Joe smiled, turning the rings on his fingers.
"You didn't kill any one with any of those hallway spills so I wouldn't worry."
he joked. "Even Kel stopped cringing around you once you figured it all out."

Sharon's eyes twinkled in calm merriment, her usual coy was finally mellowed
with a quiet maturity. "Wow, I still remember wearing that ridiculous blue smock
back then." she chuckled. "But my easy street smile today so far as ER head
probably has a lot to do with the fact that Carol and Betty are doing the schedules
for me. I feel like singing like a canary for being relieved of that task."

"Yeah. But you'll gain all new ones real soon. Like heading off nervous students
cowering from Dr. Brackett?"

"Got that nailed, Joe. Kel's just mean. Doesn't he remember being newly
into the field?" Sharon wondered.
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"No." Early grunted with amusement. "And that's part of the problem. He expects
everyone to revolve around him like the moon around--"

"..Earth. Yes, I've heard the analogy." grumbled Dr. Brackett, walking up
to attack the coffee machine behind Sharon. "Morning, Sharon. Joe, that's
no longer true. I've told Dr. Morton to teach the nursing students the same
trick Dixie taught Sharon here about me, with a glad heart."

"Solves their personality complex. What about yours?" Early asked.

"I'm G*d. I don't need to be human." Kel muttered, poring over a chart.

"Oooo." Sharon dribbled. "That sounds like a "stupid patient" re-lash."

"A what?" Kel barked. "Sorry, I'm still a little keyed up."

"A re-lash. You can't lecture the crankier, less intelligent patients who've caused
their own folly so you emote to everyone around you until the effect wears about three hours, twenty minutes....mark." she said, looking at
her elegant silver watch.

"You know me as well as Dixie does." Kel growled, storming away after
finding a second file he wanted.

Both Joe and Sharon waved toodles fingers at Kel's fake bluff and bluster
and billowing white coat.

Then Joe turned back to the desk. "So. First things first. The electricians are
here to start the renovation project in ICU as scheduled."

Sharon didn't even draw in a deep breath.
"We're ready. There are four patients coming down for today, tonight
and tomorrow, for us to take care of until the upgrade's done. We can put
the iron tablet poisoning in Three Quarantine, the two diabetic comas into
Plastic Surgery One, they won't mind being roomies, and the new car crash case
into Stabilization Six. That way all our main Treatment Rooms can stay open for
our normal, wild Sunday shift chaos." Walters shared confidently. "I've
already shown the ICU nurses where to find everything and moved a crash cart
into each room. Oh, and I've grabbed four orderlies to help control and monitor
any new squad run admits from Station Eight. It's their neighborhood's smack
fest junkies night on the calendar according to the notes Dixie left me."

"You're a genius." Early dipped his head. "Matching Kel's godhood status yet?"

"Bow to me. I'm finally being paid enough." she glared.

Then they both laughed.

"What's so funny? Morning, guys." said Dr. Morton.

"Us." Joe said. Then they both laughed again.

Morton just grinned, understanding immediately. "Thanks for the coffee, Sharon."

"Anytime. I like my doctors awake for Sunday." replied Walters, R.N.

"Oh, don't remind me." Mike moaned. "I'm working a double."

Joe thrust out his metal chart still tucked under one arm. "I'll trade you cases.
Mine're easier." he dangled.

"No." Mike grumbled, almost sounding like Brackett. "I just heard Mom and son that
you're curing of firecracker finger. She's still arguing away about the inadequacies of
hospital and staff." he said archly. "Doesn't she know that powder burns never get third

"I told her." Joe shrugged.

"I guess it must be the dark skin staining throwing her off." Morton sighed.

"It does every time. Doesn't help that her son's still acting like his fingers
are missing."

"Need a woman's touch?" Sharon asked, overhearing.

"Feel free." Mike and Joe both gestured with like hands.

"I'll be right back. Man the phones. This won't take long." she promised.

"Good luck." Morton retorted at her retreating back.

She just smiled evenly and continued on in smooth, smugless confidence.

"Uh, Mike..." said Joe.

"What?!" Dr. Morton groused, still dealing with the emotional baggage
of six I'm-an-idiot-so that's-why-I'm-in-the-E.R. cases.
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"Sharon's got her natural secret weapons armed and ready." Joe said.

"Oh, yeah?" Mike asked, leaning on the counter and crossing his arms
as they both watched the door Sharon had disappeared into. "Pray tell."
he said, interested. "Not a Dixie style dressing down?" He was now

"Nope. It's those doe eyes and friendly teeth." Early whispered.

"D*mn. I should have been born female and Haole. That would have come in real
handy a few minutes ago." Morton snorted, storming away, almost matching Dr.
Brackett's earlier departure and style, stride for stride.

Joe took a sip of his coffee. "Glad I was born a Type B personality." he
said, raising his mug in a subtle toast to his two doctor friends.

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From: patti k <>
Date: Tue Sep 7, 2010 6:00 pm
Subject: Needle In The Station Stack..

At Station 51, the gang was in the apparatus bay, doing chores.

"It's not quite lunch, Cap. Who's got KP duty today?" Kelly asked, mopping
the floor. He was having fun playing keep away with Henry who was enjoying
a very rare tug of war game with the mop head Kelly was sloshing around.

"You do. For asking." Hank's voice said, floating out of the office.

"Hey! No fair!" Kelly groused.

"You asked. Nobody else did." Cap interjected, still out of sight.

The others laughed, even Craig Brice, where he was checking and
double checking the accuracy of the placement of red headed pins
stuck into the large county map next to the rescue squad. He was matching
up the station's run cards that Cap had typed out, to each location
stabbed on the map.

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"Now why are you doing that?" asked Bob Bellingham, Brice's paramedic
partner, with mild annoyance.

Craig was unoffended. "I want to see if there are any patterns or trouble
spots developing. I've noticed that in past months, areas that did not have
pins positioned at one time, later develop a significantly greater frequency
of emergency calls just under two weeks later, in all the empty spaces."

Bob chuckled. "Is that a fact?"

Brice nodded.  

Stoker was watching the conversation with interest from where he was polishing
the chrome on Engine 51."I try to predict brush fire flare ups sometimes by
doing the same thing, but I can only get within a month or two for guessing
future hotspots. Your theory's that precise, Craig?" he asked.

"Oh no! Don't encourage him." Bellingham moaned. "He's worse than Ga--."

Brice pushed up the glasses onto his face. "Yes. I've been keeping records
for nine years, Stoker."

"Where?" Chet asked, looking at Craig as if he was a runaway science project.

Craig simply pointed to his head. "When it comes to numbers and dates, I have
an eidetic memory."

"Far out." said Kelly, admiring a fellow nerd.

"Too bad it doesn't work for you and girls, Brice." Bellingham poked.

"I'm not dating, I'm already married." Brice replied.

"Oh. Guess I forgot about that." Bob said, sniffing, smiling at the others for his
successful repartee.

"Just like you always forget to zip up your fly after you use the head." Brice
said, pointing.

Turning red faced, Bob ducked behind the squad's front bumper, checking himself.

"Made you look." Craig said.

"You little liar!" Bellingham growled, only half amused.

"I wasn't the one who fell for it, Mr. Bellingham." Brice coughed.

"Don't challenge Brice the Ice, Bob. You'll lose every time." Chet crowed,
laughing his head off. "That's why nobody plays jokes on him any more."

"Except for Johnny." Marco chuckled.

"Yeah?" said Stoker, laughing.
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Craig nodded again.
"Gage is a slow learner. I like a small measure of fun so I egg
him on by becoming good at sporting events."

"It really pisses him off, Brice.." said Cap, still tucked away in his office
doing paperwork.

"Ooooooooo." winced all the guys.

Chet smiled a cock eyed smile. "Hey, Cap, is that a warning or just
an observation?" he called out.

"Depends on my mood at the time and on whether or not people are
interrupting my work like some pesky, dilly dallying firefighters are doing
right now." suggested Stanley.

"Being out of the room doesn't count." Chet said. "Those are your
rules, Cap. I got what you said on tape in my locker." he hollered back.

Bang! The office door slammed loudly. Finally standing on Kelly's mop,
Henry whined nervously a little afterwards.

Kelly bent down and smooched the basset hound on the nose. "Oh.
Cap's not gonna bite, you big baby. He's all bark, Henry. Ignore him
like you usually do the rest of us, pal, and you'll be fine."

Woof! said Henry.

"Now get off my mop you mutt, my shoes are getting wet." Chet said.

Henry just yawned.

"So where's the next hot spot, Brice?" Stoker asked.

"According to my data here, the block of 7th and Byron St. somewhere
on the north side. It's most likely going to be a fire. They've already
had five medicals transported this year."

EeeeooowwOOO000oooooo... The tones went off.

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"Five dollars if Craig's right!" Kelly called out.

"Ten if he's wrong by at least a whole block!" Bob shouted
in a counter bet.

Chet crossed his fingers and closed his eyes.

##Station 51. Truck 127, Engine 9. Semi truck fire. At
mile marker 117, PCH northbound. Call Box 285, Pacific Coast
Highway, northbound. Time out :  9:45.##

The gang started clearing out the chore debris and getting into
their coats and helmets. Chet and Bob were still frowning at each

Cap noticed as he hurried, buckling up into his seat. "Pay up, Bobby boy.
Knock those puzzled maws off your faces right now. That's right next to a
warehouse on Craig's block, you twits. Learn your geography!"

Brice began to smile at his partner's suddenly thinner wallet.
"This is gonna be a bad one because it's too far away from the marina for
us to use as a water tap." he said, rubbing it in.

"I'm driving!" Bob groused, jerking a thumb at his chest.

"Suit yourself. Remember, don't drive angry." Craig shared happily.

"Shut up!" Bellingham snarled. "That was grocery money."

"You'll survive. And if you're in danger of not doing so, I promise
I'll start an I.V. on ya. You know how good I am." Brice joked.

"Not funny, Craig. You did that to me while I was sound asleep last week."
Bellingham bellowed.

"You looked dead." Brice admitted. "I thought your diabetes was acting up."

"I crashed after being up all night. Well, excuse me for being a little tired." Bob
told him. "Seventeen runs on a shift will do that to ya."

"Better safe than sorry. Your Glasgow was a nine." Craig self defended.

"I'm a sound sleeper! Jeezus."

Marco was in a full smile when he called out the station. "Station 51,
10-4, KMG 365."  Lopez caught Engine 51 in a leap as she was pulling
out behind the accelerating squad.

Henry started barking at the sirens from his lonely spot on the water dampened
floor on top of the mop, until the outer doors shut mercifully between them.

Chet looked at Cap and Marco next to him in the engine and scoffed. "G*d,
they're just like an old married couple, aren't they?" he grinned widely, shaking
his head.

"Guess we won't be missing Johnny and Roy quite so much around
the station after all." Hank chuckled. "Those two are the perfect replacements.
Thanks, Battalion Fourteen. Ya chose wisely."
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From: patti k (
Subject: The Magnification Factor
Date: Thurs 9/9/2010 6:58 PM

Engine 51 crested the top of the hill leading into the next suburban
valley. A high plume of fire, glowing orange, greeted them over the
treetops of well sculpted Joshua populars lining the freeway system.

"Oh, Lordy." Cap exclaimed. "Why does the public always under report
these things?!" he yelled in dismay. He snatched up the CB mic into
a glove. "Engine 51, L.A., approaching our scene from the east along
Wilshire Boulevard and 223rd St. I'm seeing evidence of low brush
incineration and white smoke. Looks like the hillside's gone up. Respond
a full brush assignment and a third alarm to our incident." he ordered.
"I will let you know casualty numbers as soon as I know them. I suspect
further vehicular involvement. Traffic is backing up into a parking lot."

##L.A., Engine 51. 10-4. I copy your truck fire escalating into a wildfire.##
reported Sam Lanier. ## *BEEP*BEEP*BEEP* Trucks 29, T11, 32, 35 and
519. Engine 51 reports a brush fire and probable secondary MVAs at their
incident. Report to Engine 51 as your incident command base for
assignments. Division One's Battalion 14 is en route.## hailed L.A. Then
Sam returned onto the air. ##L.A., Squad 51....##

Brice came over the airwaves to answer Headquarters. ##Squad 51,
L.A. We copy your transmission.## he said with a puzzled voice.
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##Squad 51. All other paramedic units in the vicinity are tied up on other
responses. I've put Mayfair ambulance company on triage alert status as
your backup. Report to them on Tact Three with victim totals, patient
conditions and locations.##

##Squad 51, L.A., ten four.## said Craig, acknowledging. ##Switching
one of our HTs over to Mayfair Tact Three.## he replied, nodding at
Bellingham that he had done so on his own handy talkie. ##Squad 51
off main.##  "So it looks like we're the search and rescue IC." he told
Bob. "I'll remember everything precisely." Brice nodded seriously as he
hung up the CB mic.

"That's probably why you were chosen. Sam's real smart. He really
knows his personnel's strongest abilities on any given day." Bob eyed
up the building blaze on the horizon that did seem to be framing a
viaduct on the freeway they were heading for. "This is worse than bad.
That's the Sepulveda tunnel, isn't it? It's completely on fire." he said,
gripping the steering wheel tightly as he guided the engine through
the wider, more open lanes of stalled traffic leading to the highway.

"That must be where the truck is." Brice guessed.

"Or was." Bellingham frowned. "I can't see anybody surviving that. The
bridge's outer concrete is glowing already." he said.

Bob lifted his HT. "Squad 51 to Engine 51. Shall we use the dirt median
at Call Box 285's Y-fork for staging?"

Engine 51's radio crackled into life.
##That's affirmative. That location's uphill and upwind and near several
off-ramps. Those will be well suited for resources incoming and outgoing.
Get as much support as you need for traffic control. I'm depending on your
sole judgement call for this. I'll be too busy setting up operations and
finding an available Safety Officer to take up a post before the rest of us
engage ourselves fully into an active attack.## replied Hank. ##Whatever
you do, wear your scba at all times. We have no idea what that truck's
payload is, especially now that it's burning.##

"Understood, Cap. Scene sweep in full gear with air." said Bellingham.

The scanner in Dixie's office was still gushing active information when
Dixie peeked her head into the ambulance garage. "Boys?" she
addressed Ponch and Jon. "You're needed. There's been a major
accident and brush fire on the PCH northbound. Nobody knows the
number of vehicles or injured yet. I just overheard on the scanner
that Squad 51 is asking for help with their immediate scene traffic."
she said. "CHiP headquarters says they're shorthanded."

"I'll call the Sarge." said Poncherello, hitting the garage open release.
"Sorry, Roy, Johnny. But we're skipping out on ya. Duty calls."
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"No problem." said Roy instantly. "You're shadowing so that means
volunteering, and not officially working as hired help. You're always
free to go when the primary job calls."

Jon looked equally focused. "Thanks, Miss McCall, for the message
and the news. Listen for us on your scanner for more details. I know all
of your radios can't connect with police frequencies."

McCall nodded.
"No doubt some of us will be meeting you out there ourselves. One of the
station captains has just confirmed a need for triage." Dixie shared.

Jon and Ponch started running out of the ambulance bay.

"Where?" DeSoto asked Dixie once the CHiP officers had
left on their police bikes with lights and sirens blaring.

"Call Box 285." Dixie reported quickly. "So far, the wind
is cooperating. There are no fumes being reported there."

Roy and Johnny started snapping orders.

Gage whistled, getting everyone's attention. "All of you. Leave
the two rigs we've messed up by playing. Grab two new ones
along with others, two to a rig, and familiarize yourself with all
of the dash controls. We don't know how many transports we're
gonna get yet, but we're gonna be standing by in instant idle,
regardless, until we do know." he told all of the EMTs.

DeSoto added more. "Johnny and I will be taking our own ambulance
to oversee yours, if they're needed, at the scene. We'll call you in as
soon as we know patient numbers. Sorry, you're being thrown off the
deep end so suddenly like this. But looks like real life can't wait
any longer for all of our help. Now gather round the map. I'll show
you where staging is."

They rushed to obey.
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