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   The Fire Within
   Movie One
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               Page Nine

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From:  patti k (  
Sent: Fri 6/12/09 8:36 AM
Subject: Connections..


Roy, Thib and Trap and Stoker wheeled Ken Baxter's stokes into the park hospital on
the gurney that had been provided once 240 Robert Air had landed in the parking
lot of Park Headquarters at Appalachian Central.

Paul Carnes, the park ranger captain, trailed along to get a verbal report from
the three paramedics and one firefighter as they rushed their patient in to the doctor
awaiting them. "Don't worry about his personal info, we have that. Just a condition
status on Ken. And then I'll take one on the chopper." he ordered.

DeSoto replied dutifully, "Hypovolemic shock, with estimated 1400 or more CC's of blood
loss. In respiratory arrest. He's tubed, EOA with that ambu. He's got an open fracture
of the left femur, with one point arterial involvement, managed. We found signs of
possible light internal abdominal injuries, just deep bruising no guarding. I think it's
most likely from his seatbelt. The MAST trousers have his pressure back up to 90 systolic.
Pulse is 124, thready. EKG is showing sinus tach, regular. Pupils reactive but
sluggishly dilated. We think it's possible coma. Deep tendon reflexes are absent. He's
got Ringers running in full. Blood glucose is 130, up from 70 following IM glucagon."

"Got it. I'll give this to Dr. Almstedt, direct." said Paul, writing quickly on his report form.
"Wainwright?" he prompted.

Morgan reported on Bluebird Five. "She's salvagable, total front and rear rotor damage but
just some minor cabin dents and dings from what I could see.  I'd assume electrical
shearing to some of the equipment in the patient cubicle. All her windshield flight glass and
both cabin access doors will need to be replaced. Only one fuel tank was leaking. The
other's still intact. And what I saw of the hydrolic system's fine. A paratrooper fire crew's
remaining behind to prevent any ignition points until the military air crane comes in to airlift
Bluebird Five free of that pine tree."

"Fuel's pooled on top of clay. It'll be easy to clean up with absorbent sand, sir." offered

Paul then nodded to Wainwright, as the rescue and recovery group rounded the corner
and went through the emergency entrance side of the national park's tiny hospital. "Is she
going to be lifted to ISLIP airport?" she asked about the crash damaged helicopter.

"Yes, for the investigation and any later restoration." answered Paul.

"I take it I'll be staying behind to take over Bluebird Five's regular duties?" she asked.

"You got that right. Until further notice." said Carnes. "I'll keep you posted." he added, about
Ken. "Go ahead and refuel from the pump. I've unlocked it. Grounding wire's all laid out.
Thanks, Morgan."

"No problem, captain. Glad I could help." the red haired pilot said, falling back to return to
her chopper. "I'll keep my radio tuned to base for when it's time to fly Ken to a Level One
for orthopedic surgery."

Soon, the rescuers delivered Ken into a patient treatment cubicle. Joanne Almstedt and
her team got to immediate work. Joanne began shouting out care orders to her staff.
She caught the chart that Paul tossed to her neatly while an intern took over Stoker's
bagging efforts on Ken.

By the curtains, Paul noticed that Sarah Collins had followed them, carrying a sleeping,
blanketed Joey in her arms with the assistance of Ted Cassidy, into a nearby cubicle.
A nurse followed them in. "How's the boy?"

Roy answered.
"Banged up, but all right.  He's just sleeping. He said he was feeling tired and hungry.
His vitals signs checked out fine on the way in." said DeSoto, hanging up Ken's I.V.s onto
a pole.

Trap grinned, thinking about something, as he helped unblanket Ken for Joanne's
examination. "You know, we really need to be grateful to Joey once he wakes up."

"I heard. Did he really keep up manual resuscitation on Ken for that long?"
Carnes asked, surprised.

Applegate gladly shared the news.
"Yep. And stopped that arterial bleed. He saved his life." replied Trap. "I have a feeling
that Ken'll come out of this whole thing without suffering any damage from lack of oxygen.
Baxter's color was still a good shade when we got there despite all that blood loss. He
never lost a regular, viable carotid. Signs of that would have shown up on the EKG monitor
as irregularities due to ischemic effects."

"Lucky." Carnes said, nodding as he studied the rhythm on the screen. "Things still look

"Let me be the judge of that." bristled Joanne, overhearing. "Fellas, you've done your
job for the day. Give us some room please."

Her hint of dismissal was unmistakable.

All five men held up amused, mock surrendering hands and retreated from the bay.
"Yes, ma'am." Paul said, his eyes twinkling.

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Joey Collins opened his eyes and let the nurses fuss over him as they cut off
his soiled gory clothes and fitted him into a warm patient gown. His hand never
let go of Sarah's the whole time. He just kept mumbling random thoughts over
and over again in his fatigue. "...All that Dad was, everything that he believed in,
is now a part of me..." he whispered.

"Yes, Joey. That's true of everybody you get to know." frowned Sarah, worried.

"He's just emotionally stunned, Mrs. Collins. Anybody would be, surviving the kind
of ordeal he's just been through. Rest'll fix him up faster than anything I suspect.
You can stay with him if you like." the nurse offered.

"That wasn't even questionable.." Sarah snapped, holding a soft hand on
Joey's cheek through his rambling. "Easy, love. I'm here. Just close your eyes."

"No!  I want to talk to Ken...." Joey hollered, still figetting under the warm wash
towels the staff was using to clean him up to look for more minor injuries.

Terri Blake hurried into the boy's curtained cubicle. "Shhh, he can't talk right now
Joey, remember? He's got a tube down so they can breathe for him by machine
while he's being drugged into sleep."

"Roy said he's in a coma, Terri." Joey cried, distraught.

"Yes, he wouldn't lie to you." Blake agreed.

"An induced, protective one young man." said the older nurse kindly. "He's got
a lot of mending to do before he's healed enough to be awake."

"For how long?" Joey frowned, anxious. "He's gotta eat."

"A couple of days at the most." smiled Margaret the nurse. "Now enough about your
friend. Tell me what YOU want to eat and drink. That's the next step."

"I'm not hungry."

"Fib.." Sarah said, tipping her chin up at her grandson in warning. "Tell the truth.."

"Okay, okay. I am. How about a soda?"

"Oh, Joey.." Sarah grinned.

Margaret shrugged. "It's sugar at least. Good enough for the doctor, it says here."
she said, eyeing up Joey's chart. "Clear liquids if nauseated." she read.

"But Joey hasn't thrown up." Sarah wondered.

"No, but I'm sure he feels like he wants to right about now." said Terri in
sympathy. Then she sat down on a stool right next to the boy as he was
covered up in thick heated blankets. "Joey, you can relax. Ken's responding
to treatment. He's getting transfusions and his pulse's stronger. Can you hear that
EKG monitor coming from over there?" she asked, pointing towards one curtain.
A beat that was no longer rapid was sounding softly, very near them.

"Yes." said the boy.

"That's his, so you can keep tabs on him from right where you are. I had Joanne
turn on the audible." said Blake. "And you'll be able to hear everything the doctor
does for him. DeSoto told me you wanted to be informed as soon as it happened."

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On cue, they heard Almstedt's orders to the stabilization team she had assembled
around Ken in next cubicle over. "I want a full series; skull, spine, chest and pelvic films.
Draw another red top for arterial blood gases, baseline hematocrit, and a hemoglobin
study. Ann, just use a dipstick urinalysis to rule out occult hematuria. I don't want
to waste time with a foley before we fly him out of here. Oh, and Matt? I want a serum
potassium level to see if rhabdomyolysis is going to be a factor for us. What's his
pressure?" she asked at large.

"120/88." reported a nurse.

"Good. Keep the abdominal part of the suit inflated for now. I'll let them worry
about it later." said Joanne about the surgical team in Long Island who had been
alerted that Baxter was going to be sent to them. "How's that foot?" she asked.

"Pulse's weaker." said an intern monitoring circulation. "Swelling's worse."

"Turn it until you get a better one." Joanne told her. "We've got that repaired artery
retracted away from the bone end so don't be shy about experimenting with
repositioning." she told him. "I want to see pink toes."

"Yes, ma'am." he replied.

"He's starting to gasp." said the staffer on Ken's head, working the bag.

"How often?" Joanne asked.

"One every four."

"Get him on a portable bird. Easy vents on PEEP, 80% O2." Almstedt concluded.
"We'll support him for now that way until he takes a more active interest in
breathing on his own."

"Right away, doctor."  he said.

Listening intently, the boy held his breath. "His leg. It's so bad.." Joey sobbed,
tearing up.

Terri Blake smiled to reassure him.
"Ken's not feeling it anymore. And we're gonna fix it with surgery so it's as good
as new. The doctor said the break isn't serious. It just slipped out of place while
he was out there and made a small hole in that artery. They've already sewn it


The Station 51 five was ever grateful to see a set of free hotel rooms.

Reaching his room, Cap pulled down a penned note somebody had left taped to
his door. "Our deer was sent to town." he said, reading it. "It'll be at the butcher's
when we leave ISLIP after airport training, already dehydrated and preserved for
us and packed up. Says all our luggage is already in our rooms, too."

"Who did that? Wow,.." Marco asked. "..that was nice of 'em."

"Doesn't say." Hank told him, flipping the note over.

"Give me that. I can tell." insisted Chet, snatching the paper out of Cap's hand.
He looked at it. "It's a girl's writing. And it's curly. I'll just bet this was Terri."

"The younger one?" asked Stoker.

"Yeah, the cute redhead." Kelly nodded.

"She gets everywhere, doesn't she?" Roy laughed. On a thought, DeSoto paused
in opening his room's door with his key. He moved over to the door directly across
the hall from his that had a do not disturb sign on it, and knocked.

"DeSoto.." Chet chided.

"It's okay." Roy laughed. "I'm sure we can guess who this is."

Johnny Gage opened the door. He was clean, dressed in a cowboy shirt,
jeans and boots, wearing a cheeky grin. "Hi guys." he said, leaning on his door
frame. "Boy, do you look like something the cat dragged in." he joked.

Stoker snorted. "Don't we always after rescues?"

Chet countered, nailing Johnny in the chest with a finger tip. "And you look
like the cat that ate the canary."

Johnny snickered. "Well, I did."

"Who was she?" Marco asked excitedly.

"It's not what you think. Joanne Almstedt and I had lunch together. To patch
up a rough start." Gage said matter of factly.

Cap just harrumphed neutrally, already on a different track. "Is the food any good?"

"It's great! I had a roast beef sandwich and a salad." Johnny said, patting his very
full stomach.

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The grimy, hunter clad firemen five eyed up his sated condition jealously.

"Oh. The cafeteria's only open until seven now that all the excitement's
over. You've got twenty minutes." Johnny told them urgently.

"After I shower. Then we can meet over supper to do our reports for the park
people." Hank told them.

"Aw, Cap. Let's do that later.." said the other five men in sync.

Marco raised his eyebrows. "Yeah, I thought the dinner table's for downtime."

"Say, that's right. I forgot." said Cap in mock discovery. "Could have fooled me that
we're on vacation." he chuckled. "I feel like I've just finished a four alarm fire. I sure
smell like one."  He entered his room and closed his door vigorously, leaving the
rest of them standing in the pinewood hallway, alone.

Chet was still reading the note. "Hey, guess who's coming to dinner."

Johnny just winked at him. "Everybody." Then he looked dismayed. "Oh, no. I sure
hope Morgan's going to be there."

"Why? Does she have a vendetta against you, too?" asked Kelly.

"No, the opposite." Gage grinned. "She likes my cheeks."

Johnny saundered away, whistling happily with his hands in his pockets for the lodge
and its warm fireplace, leaving Chet behind to scratch his head in puzzlement.


The special of the day was grilled venison a la cranberry and sweet
potatoes, irresistable to the California six.

"You just ate." Kelly scoffed at Gage as a steaming plate of deer flank was laid before
him by one of the park's wait help.

"I'm still recovering. I was cold injured, remember?" Johnny told him, reaching for the
pepper mill on the plastic red and white plaid covered long table the main rescue crowd
now occupied. "Yum. This one was taken by bow." he said taking a bite on a fork.

"How can you tell?" Cap asked him, incredulous.

"No metallic aftertaste." Johnny said, cheeks bulging with meat. "Steel shot leaves
a residue that .....circulates around."

"Eowww.. I'm eating.." said Chet, picking at his venison steak.

Next to him, Deputy Paramedic Dwayne Thibideaux chuckled. "Think of the savory
grasses and herbs he must have eaten this morning, Chet. Free seasoning."

"Thanks a lot." Kelly grumped, still remembering his bad kill a few days before.

"What's with him?" Thib wondered, looking up at the others mildly.

"Virgin hunter." Gage told him seriously.

"Oo, sorry pal. I was that once, too. It'll pass. Game meat'll forever taste good
once you get over it." Trap Applegate shared with Kelly.

"I sure hope so." Chet moped.

"Yours is worse because of the city dweller effect." offered Sierra Ranger Ted
Cassidy. "Bet only Johnny here's been raised out in the country. Am I right?"

The firefighters nodded.

Roy added more. "I helped on a farm once. Processing pigs."

Kelly slammed his fork down in disgust. "Do you mind.." he grunted loudly, glaring
at Roy.

"Sorry. I thought I said it discreetly enough." DeSoto told him. "Here, have my
chicken." he said, trading plates with Chet. "That at least, has still gotta to be neutral
memory for ya."

"Thanks, pal." Chet smiled. "I owe you one." he said diving in hungrily.

"Just take hunting lessons or something when we get back home and we're even."
DeSoto said.

At another part of the table, Joanne Almstedt and Terri Blake were talking quietly
over non alcoholic wine and pie. The doctor nudged her younger companion with
an elbow. "So, are you gonna ask him out?"

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"No.." said Terri, nervously eyeing up her mentor and object of affection, Paul
Carnes, who sat obliviously near them, chatting up the fire crew from L.A. "Well,
I wouldn't know what to say.."

"Terri, you're a grown woman. You've rehearsed this in your head for the last year
at the very minimum. Just do it." Almstedt encouraged lightly, in a whisper.

"Ohfine.Okayheregoes." Blake sighed deeply, sliding her chair over to where all the
men had gathered to eat. She licked dried lips and opened her mouth. "Paul..."

Carnes was engaged in animated, laughing conversation. ".....and there we were with
snow up to our butts and forty eight hungry kids trapped in the lodge along with us
for the duration..." he shared with the rest of the group.

"So how did you feed everybody?" Stoker grinned.

"Turned it into a sleepover around the fire: hotdogs and soda cans. With extra blankets
on the floor. Turned off the lodge lights to keep everybody calm. The boyscouts were
fine. They treated the whole affair like it was part of the tour." Paul laughed.

"Uh, Paul.." Terri started in again weakily, afraid to tap his arm.

Carnes was captivating to his audience and equally lost in mirth.
"I've never seen such a well behaved group of kids in all my years as a captain. They
didn't kick, fight, or scream to high heavens. They just told ghost stories. Those even
frightened the girls. Didn't they, Terri?" he suddenly asked, looking right at Blake.

"I...uh.. " Terri stammered, feeling all eyes on her from around the table. She flushed red
and promptly dismissed what she was about to do. "Well, yeah, one of them." she offered
lamely. "Remember that creepy account of a mass murderer running around upstate New
York? They told it in incredible detail."

"Ah, but that guy was real." Carnes agreed. "He was on the news just that night, still
at large from the authorities." Then Paul turned to Joanne. "Didn't they catch him only
a mile or so from here, holed up in one of our cabins?"

"Uh,.. yeah." Almstedt agreed. "Living on poached deer."

Joanne jerked her eyes towards Paul with a small urgent head bob at Terri, but
Blake shook her head vehemently, her movements equally miniscule.

Then the moment was gone when Paul slid up close to Marco to tell him something
else. And so went the young woman's courage. She wilted in her seat.

Joanne just buried her head in sympathic frustration.

"I'll say it again." Paul said animatedly to Lopez, hefting up his root beer glass
and sipping it. "Here's to a day full of successes. This is certainly one night I'll never

"Same here." Terri mumbled under her breath, disappointed in herself. She slid her
chair back over to Joanne's end of the table and unenthusiastically nibbled at her

"Better luck next time?" Joanne shrugged, topping off her friend's glass with more
pink catawba.

"There might not be a next time. I'm hopeless." she frowned.

Joanne did not give up. "Try asking him when it's just the two of you around."

"I can't do that. I'll... I'll chicken out for sure because you're not there, poking me."
Terri sighed, mortified.

"Then we've got a real problem here. You want Paul to notice you. But he's too dumb
to know that you're even interested."

"Joanne..." Terri stage whispered, chiding her.

"What? It's the truth. I'm an expert at assessing people." she sniffed. "So.. What's the
next best approach here?" she eyeballed her friend seriously.

Terri gritted her teeth. "I hit him over the head with a baseball bat?"

"That'll work. But then I'll have to treat him and you'll get arrested for assault." Joanne
joked, deadpan. "And then for sure, you'd lose your job."

"Yeah.... .." she sighed. Then she tensed up again. "Oh, I don't know what to do." Terri ansed.

"Use your imagination. You've got a great one. And I'm not the only one who knows that."
she said significantly, angling her head back in Paul's direction again. "I'm getting up to go
sit by the fire. There's room enough on that free couch over there for two." she hinted.

Terri studied her twitching hands uncomfortably, and sucked in a big nervous lungful.  

Joanne took one of them, and stilled it.
"Do you have that letter of reprimand Paul gave you? Maybe that can be the topic of your
conversation to start with. That way, your first excuse to talk to him alone can be your worry
over it."

"You really think so?" Blake asked, her lip quivering.

Joanne just nodded fractionally, sincere. "Just be yourself.  And Terri. Always remember
that he's a friend first and a captain second. There isn't a man alive who'll ignore a best
friend in distress. Trust your instincts. Once he's looking at you undistracted, there's no way he'll be blind to your other feelings once you've expressed them."

Terri didn't say anything and she looked down, becoming very quiet then with new private

"Go. I promise I won't watch." Joanne whispered, seeing the moment at last in her friend.

A few minutes later, Joanne smiled out of the corners of her eyes when she saw Paul Carnes
place his hand over Terri's in something more than just reassurance, in the fire's romantically
warm glow.

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"Write me?" Johnny said, grinning out the driver's window of his rover at Morgan
Wainwright. He was eating breakfast, a cojoined pair of cinnamon sweetrolls.

She was wearing a fetching exercise suit under her ski jacket, now that she was off duty.
"You bet I will." she said, giving Johnny a light kiss on the lips. "I have to see if those
buns are still warm." She moved her teeth to take a big bite out of his food and he
enjoyed holding it for her the whole time, delightedly. She smiled. "See you when
I get to California, Johnny. Thanks for the taste." Pilot Wainwright winked.

Chet and Marco hooted from the back seat while Cap, Stoker and Roy just rolled their
eyes at the innuendo.

"Gage, move it out. We're late." Cap gruffed. "We should have been there half an hour

"Ah, duty calls." Johnny grinned with mock reluctance at his new love interest. Then he
rolled up his window and he took their luggage laden rover into the main lane of the
parking lot, which led out to the highway.

He kept Morgan's waving image in his rear view mirror for as long as possible until a tree
forced him to yank the steering wheel around sharply to the right, to avoid hitting it.

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Subject: The Bonding..
From:  patti k (  
Sent: Sat 6/20/09 5:27 AM

"We're here." announced Chet happily, as he drove Gage's land rover over
yet another non descript low set bridge over salty marsh. "Out of the city

"We're where?" Johnny jilted sleepily from the back seat. "Just looks like
more of the same to me. Too many people." he groused limply, yawning and
wincing in the bright, winter sunlight that was in full force on this side of the
Appalchian mountains.

"Those skyscrapers we passed were two burroughs, Brooklyn and Queens. That
was New York. Now we're in the 'burbs according to the map; Nassau and Suffolk..."
said Stoker, "..on the way to Patchogue, where Chief Joe Rorchek lives. His house
is where all of us are going to be staying when we're not training with his crew."

"Well, when are we going to get to Long Island?" Johnny asked, complaining
miserably, feeling up a cramped aching back from sleeping in a poor position.
"Isn't that where their fire station is at the airport?"

The others just laughed.

Cap spoke up. "We've been ON Long Island for the last hour, Gage. We're
surrounded by the ocean. Can't you smell it?"

Johnny quickly rolled down his window. "Yeah. Holy cow. Just how big is this
island? It must be huge." he said sitting up, thoroughly awake now and surprised.
The snow scented air billowed in his hair and refreshed him.

Mike chuckled. "118 miles long, 23 miles wide with a population of 7,400,000 people."
"No sleepy eastern seaboard islet is this." Kelly giggled. "Out here, they do everything
grand scale. You missed seeing the World Trade Center, Johnny. Man, those towers
were BIG. We could see them all the way from our island."

"Sorry I missed them." Johnny whispered sincerely. "I've heard they're something
really special."

A camera click filled the rover as Lopez hooted in touristy excitement. Marco pointed
animatedly as they passed another road sign. "Hey, you'll never guess the name
of the avenue we just passed."

"What was it?" Hank asked, still interested in learning the topography.

"Stanley Avenue."

"Oh, no way." Cap chuckled.

"It's true. I took a picture of it for you as a souvenir." Marco said, patting Cap's shoulder.

"I'm so loved." Hank rolled his eyes. "But donuts would have been appreciated much
more." he sniffed, scanning the businesses around them for their appointed goal.
"Oh, yeah.. Chet, pull over. There's the place right there. The one Joe mentioned in his
phone call last night. He said to pick up some ribs from that joint to be part of lunch today
for the bunch of us."

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"The Bobbique?" Kelly scoffed, squinting at the sign out front of the low, red brick building.

"Don't ask. If a fire chief says the food's good, it is. We're stopping." Cap said no


Leaving the BBQ ribs and another foil covered tray the gang had prepared,
everyone spilled out of the rover and into a virtual paradise. "Wow, flowers?"
peeped Chet as they viewed the extensive gardens around a quaint white New
England cottage.

"Must be sheltered from the north winds down here if Indian summer's still hanging on."
DeSoto guessed. "It's almost hot now."

"It's the air masses off the ocean that do that. Kind of like our fog banks at home along
the PCH." Stoker shared. "Guess it all depends on which way the wind's blowing. Here,
it must be from the south all the time." he said, licking a finger to hold it up to test the breeze.

"Which is why my wife and I built our home here thirty five years ago." said a rich stenorous
voice from behind a bush.

The gang turned and spied an older man with white hair and dark eyebrows making his
way towards them in a carnigan sweater and naval trousers.

Cap paced forward and warmly took Joe Rorchek's hand. "Chief, thanks for having us.
We got the chow okay." he smiled. "This is Roy DeSoto, Johnny Gage, our paramedics,
Marco Lopez, Michael Stoker, our engineer, and Chester B. Kelly."

"And you're Captain Henry Stanley." Joe remembered, greeting the others briskly.

"Please, call me Hank." Cap said quickly, much to the amusement of the other five.

Joe didn't miss the inside joke, but neither did he ask the reason why.
"Will do. Come on, let's get your secondary things inside and then I'll pull around ahead
and guide you the rest of the way to my station at MacArthur. The backroads around here
get kind of tricky to avoid the deeper marshes." Rorchek told them. "We'll be floating back
and forth between the two places depending on whether we're either on or off duty."

"Where are we going exactly, sir?" Mike asked, ever thorough, with his map out and a

"100 Arrival Ave in Ronkonkoma, NY. The telephone number's 467-3279 if we
get separated from each other in traffic."  Joe replied.
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Soon, the two fire crews were united in the great yawning bay holding the airport's
crash apparatus and other rescue and medical units. Joe Rorchek introduced his
two sons, Chris and Ted and then Hallie Green, spunky and fair haired followed
by Al Martelli, pump operator and lastly, Rags Harris, the large hazmat rescue fireman
of football stature who demonstrated his gentle nature with an easy going smile.

Rags showed a rapid fire cooking prowess by divesting Cap of their purchased beef ribs
in trade for a twenty, and then the hunted venison tray offering, by heating them into
rich, steaming savory fare in less than five minutes over an open fire pit grill standing
outside under the eaves over sand.

The chief invited Cap and the others to sit at the long table that Hallie and his other crew
had prepared with potatoes, salad, rolls and cheese. "What'll it be? Coffee?" he asked
them as they sat at seats very like the ones they were used to back in Carson.

"What else?" Cap joked. "Don't we all live on it?"

"Like gas." Chet Kelly commented.

Hallie laughed lightly as she placed warmed china in front of their guests, one by one.
"By the gallon. Gentlemen, for later, the head's out that door and up the stairs just down
the hall from the chief's office. All the showers and stalls are right next to the locker room.
Eat up."
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The gang smiled appreciating the view and blinking a little at the glare of sunlight coming
in through the skylights and reflecting off the white painted brick walls surrounding them
in the kitchen space.

Martelli took a seat next to Chet, sporting identical hair. They eyed up each other
and nodded in mutual appreciation of their hairstyle choices. Then Al grinned. "Hi guys.
Nice to meet all of you. I've got attendants from the terminal coming who'll hang all your
stuff up for you except for the personals in your duffle bags."

"Thanks." said the Station 51 gang, savoring their freshly poured coffee mugs.

Ted, the light brown haired, small but athletic firefighter, was curious. "Hey, did
you bring your Cally uniforms? Those have been authorized as a go by HQ."

"Yeah." replied Cap. "Turnouts, helmets, shirts, pants, shoes and boots."

"We've set out scba harnesses in your sizes." replied Chris. "And a few
sweaters. There's a blow coming in later tonight according to the tower boys."

Marco looked up from his eager feasting in dismay. "Whoa, more snow?"

Hallie shrugged. "A little ice. Nothing big." she said, working quickly at her meal.

Roy DeSoto shivered in reflex. "Brrr.."

The others chuckled at his still oversensitive reaction.
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Stoker spoke up, asking the question that had been on his lips for weeks.
"Any chance I'll get to play with the rigs as a driver?"

"Ohhh, yeah." drawled Martelli happily. "I could use a break. I've got the cones
already set out on a spare runway around the first scenario we've got planned
to go over with you guys, in the morning."

"Just what have you got planned?" Gage asked of the chief.

"A stationary jumbo jet aflame, with all passengers exited. A mock hot tire
blow that got into the hydraulics." replied Joe.

"Oo, messy." Hank winced in sympathy.

"It's not so bad. We have a clean formula to burn around the fuselage." the
square shouldered and square jawed Chris Rorchek replied. "Smokes a bit,
but then again, that's the point."

"Speaking of smoked. These ribs are terrific." said Stoker, eyeing up their
food host.

"Thanks." said the bass voiced Harris. "My father was a top notch sous chef.
One of the best in all of New York in his day. He taught me everything I know."

"Including firefighting?" Ted Rorchek chipped in, baiting.

"No, dad hated fire, only liked it at heel under his meal, if you know what I mean."
laughed the big African American firefighter. "He always told me flames are best
small and tamed, not big and wild. But I liked that side of things. So I went seeking
it out. And soon, I found taming fire back down to the tiny is exactly the spice of life
for me."

"It shows." said Marco, hefting up a deer steak bite in token respect. "Can I get
the recipe for this?"
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"Sure, the cards are in the Dalmatian cookie jar over there." said Harris, pointing
with a knife. "I made copies for anyone who wants them."

"They're almost gone." said Green, reminding him yet again on an old subject.

"Really? Now how'd that happen?" Rags smirked, pleased that he had his fans.

"The tower boys raided our frig last night while we were sleeping." Martelli told him.
"Made off with a few choice items. Like the TV remote and your recipes."

The smile wiped right off of Harris's face. "Those lily livered.." he bubbled.

Chris, Ted and Rags instantly mourned the lost electronic, promptly forgetting all
about food.

Joe grunted in amusement. "You boys and your wars. You all deserve each other."

Chet's eyes lit up. "You mean there's a hot practical joke battle going on?"

"The very thing." Ted grumbled, mad at being outmaneuvered once again. "Between
us, and the control tower."

Kelly face melted into a feral grin. "Ooo, Cap. Permission to pounce?" Chet asked.

Hank snorted.

"What's he talking about?" Chris wondered, looking at Hank while pointing a fork at Chet.
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Cap neatly set down a folded napkin and fixed the bigger Rorchek brother with an arched
brow. "You're looking at a station clown with the worst reputation in all of the Los Angeles
County Fire Department." Cap attributed to Kelly with respectful head bob. "If you turn Chet
loose on your target bunch, I guarantee they'll never ever bother you boys again once he's
through with them."

Rags, Chris and Ted leaped out of their chairs and grabbed Chet out of his by the
seat of his pants, and both arms, hauling him away with them to the radio room, unmindful
of his protests at being kidnapped from a plate that still had one last tasty rib left on it.

Chief Joe smiled, enjoying his uninterrupted meal with zest. "Yep, we firefighters fit right in
with each other no matter where we go."

"Woof!" barked a large dog loudly from somewhere nearby.

Hallie reached over and snagged Chet's food. "Here, Sophie. Have a bite." she said,
tossing the meat over to a large spotted Dalmatian that came sailing into the room as
if she was psychic. "He's done."

"Not by a long shot." sniggered Gage.
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   The Fire Within
   Movie One
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