Johnny and Roy sat in their office grading the final tests of their latest
paramedic class. Roy glanced over at Johnny who was lost in thought.
The last ten months had been rough on the Gage family. Just when they
had all come to terms with the idea of Mayan being gone, something would
happen that would open the wound for one or more of them. At Christmas
each family member had received a very special gift that Mayan had hand
made for them. They were delivered on Christmas Eve by the Director of
the Watson Center where Mayan had volunteered.
Then on Valentine’s Day Nicole received a bouquet of flowers
that Mayan had ordered before the shooting. No one knew why. On the
anniversary of the twins’ death, a special miniature rose bush
was planted on each of their graves. When Johnny tracked down the
caretaker and later the florist, he discovered that Mayan had arranged
for them at the same time he had ordered Nicole’s flowers.
Then in July Nicole received a birthstone necklace that Mayan had
designed especially for her for her birthday. And then just yesterday
Johnny had received a hand crafted belt that Mayan had hand-stitched
and designed for his birthday.
“Are you ok?” Roy was a little concerned about his “brother”.
“Huh? Oh, yeah. I was just thinking about Jenny and William.” Johnny
couldn’t believe he had spaced out.
“William and Jenny?” Roy was surprised at Johnny’s
response. He had been sure that Johnny was thinking about Mayan. “Why
are you thinking about them?”
“Well, in case you haven’t noticed, Roy, William really
cares about Jenny and after the cookout last night I’d say
Jenny feels the same way.” Johnny was happy for his “little
princess”. After Andrew’s death, Jenny had withdrawn.
Johnny had watched as William had been the one to draw her out little
by little by just being her friend. He had seen the love blossoming
without either of them really realizing it was happening.
“She does? What did you notice?” Roy was surprised that
he hadn’t picked up on the apparent feelings of his daughter
for William Stoker. If Johnny was right, he couldn’t be happier.
Jenny deserved some happiness and William was a great guy.
“Well, when she wasn’t busy with Allen, Jr., she was
watching William. I don’t think she even realized she was doing
it. It helped that most of the time he was playing with Allen, Jr.
and making sure she was taken care of. And when she was busy, he
was watching her. I don’t think either one realizes what has
“Well, maybe we need to help them realize it.” Roy was
wondering if Mike realized his son was in love with Jenny. He hadn’t
“Right now, I think we’d better get these papers graded
or we are still going to be here tomorrow morning.” Johnny
grinned at the look on Roy’s face as he thought about what
Johnny had told him.
“Yeah, yeah, you’re right.” Roy shook his head
to clear his thoughts and returned to the stack of papers lying on
the desk in front of him.
Johnny’s mind was a million miles away when he arrived home.
Nicole noticed it when she had asked him the same question three
times and he hadn’t even realize she was standing next to him.
“Johnny, what are you thinking about?” Nicole put her
hand on Johnny’s arm to get his attention.
“Oh, Nicole, what did you say?” Johnny smiled at his
“I asked what you were thinking about. When you came in, I
asked you three times how this latest class of paramedics did and
you didn’t even know I was here.” Nicole leaned down
and kissed Johnny’s cheek.
“Well, I had a doctor’s appointment just before I came
home. Dr. Brackett was in Dr. Andrews’ office when I arrived.
The three of us had a long talk.” Johnny went on to tell Nicole
about his talk with the two doctors and his appointment.
Roy was telling Joanne about what Johnny had said when the doorbell
rang. Roy smiled when he opened the door to admit William. His thoughts
went immediately to what Johnny had said. “Come in, William.
What can we do for you?”
“Well, I just dropped off one of my shift mates down the road
and thought I would just stop in and say hi. I knew that Allen has
been under the weather and I wanted to see how he was doing.”
Roy worked hard to keep the smile on his face from turning into
a face-splitting grin. Johnny’s words kept ringing through
his mind as Jenny walked into the room with Allen in her arms. With
a quick glance at both William and Jenny, Roy followed Joanne out
of the room. He decided right then and there that if the two of them
didn’t recognize their feelings soon, he would do what he could
to give them a nudge. Jenny deserved to find love again and Roy couldn’t
think of a better man to have her find it with than William Stoker.
“I had an appointment with the doctor today. He wants to operate
on my back. He thinks he’ll be able to fix it so it will be
like new.” Johnny had been debating with himself all the way
home. He wanted to be able to walk again and get out of his wheelchair,
but he didn’t want to get his hopes and the hopes of his family
and friends up and then not have it work.
“That’s wonderful, Johnny.” Nicole knew that Johnny
really wanted to be able to walk his daughters down the aisle on
their wedding days and run with his sons again. But she also knew
he wouldn’t want to believe it could happen and then be disappointed
if it didn’t.
“Yeah, but I don’t want to get my expectations up and
then find it isn’t going to work.” Johnny had a pretty
good idea of what he would do, but he wanted to know what Nicole
felt about it.
“Johnny, if you decide to have the operation, just go into
it expecting nothing. Then if it works like the doctor thinks it
will, you will be surprised. But go in knowing, that no matter what
you decide or what the outcome is, I will be right here beside you
all the way. I love you, Johnny, and nothing will ever change that.” Nicole
put her arms around her husband.
Johnny had finally confided in Roy about the surgery and made up
his mind when Roy had urged him to have it. He had been hesitant
knowing that nothing would ever give Roy back his leg. Johnny had
mistakenly felt that he had no right to a chance to have his injury
corrected. Roy had chided him and told him that he had the same opportunities
he always had and that it wasn’t Johnny’s fault he lost
Johnny was embarrassed that he had even thought that way and called
the doctor as soon as he had finished talking with Roy. He was surprised
when the doctor scheduled the operation for the beginning of the
next week. To “celebrate” Roy and Joanne had the Gage
family for dinner. Roy knew his “brother” was going to
need a lot of support over the next few days.
Monday morning dawned bright and clear. Johnny had not slept the
night before. He was worried about the surgery. It didn’t
matter if it didn’t work. He had adjusted to life in a wheelchair.
It was just a feeling that he had and couldn’t really explain
that made him hesitant.
Nicole didn’t want to worry Johnny, but she had a bad feeling
about the surgery. It seemed strange that the feeling wasn’t
really about the surgery. Something told her the surgery was going
to be successful. But there was something else going to happen and
she just wasn’t sure what.
Roy and Joanne had both woken early. The Gage kids and the DeSoto
kids were going to spend the day with Chet and Kimberly not because
they needed a babysitter, but because their parents knew they would
need someone to give them support during the tense waiting time.
Chet and Kimberly had actually taken all the kids the night before
for a huge “slumber party” so the DeSotos were able to
go to the hospital with the Gages when they had to be there at 4:30
a.m. Before they met the Gages, both Joanne and Roy confided in each
other that they had a feeling that something was going to happen,
but they couldn’t explain what.
So although all four of them had a strange feeling, there was nothing
that would provide enough reason to postpone the surgery. It was
quiet in the car as Roy drove to the hospital.
He walked down the hall putting the final touches on his plan. After
he had figured out what the doctor at the state psych hospital wanted,
it hadn’t been hard to fool him. It had taken him five years
to figure it out, but he finally did. He smiled to himself as he
thought about the final report the doctor had presented to the court.
The doctor had said that he was a model citizen and was no longer
a threat to society. Well, he wasn’t a threat to society—but
he was a threat to two men who had let his wife and daughter die
six years ago. He had tried to get even with them then, but the police
had caught him and fouled up his plans. They had sent him away to
the psych hospital when he had convinced them that he was insane.
He had figured that he would get out in six months, but that was
all water under the bridge. He just had four and a half years longer
to let his anger build and fine tune his plan for revenge.
Changing the color of his hair, getting colored contacts that were
a different color than his natural eye color, and growing a beard
and mustache helped to change his appearance enough that not even
his friend would recognize him. He was sure of that when he had run
into his former neighbors and they had no clue who he was. He had
changed his name so that there was no chance anyone would recognize
him. That had enabled him to spend the last two months working as
an orderly at Rampart giving him the opportunity he needed to put
the finishing touches on his plan.
Dr. Bob Edmonds was the surgeon who was going to perform Johnny’s
surgery. Dr. Brackett and Dr. Early had both opted to scrub in. All
three doctors met with Johnny, Nicole, Roy and Joanne in the pre-op
room to let them know what to expect. As they left and the orderlies
pushed Johnny’s gurney into the operating room, Nicole, Roy
and Joanne exchanged worried glances. Each of them had an uneasy
feeling. Something was going to happen and none of them knew what.
With one last look as the elevator doors closed, Roy, Joanne and
Nicole turned and headed for the cafeteria for a cup of coffee with
a chill running down each of their backs. There was a thought niggling
in the back of Nicole’s mind. Something about one of the orderlies
really bothered her, but she wasn’t quite sure what it was.
She couldn’t get it out of her mind and was lost in thought
all the way to the cafeteria.
Johnny’s surgery was progressing nicely. Dr. Edmonds was pleased
with what he was finding. It was going better than he had expected.
If things progressed the way they were going, the surgery would be
completed at least an hour earlier than he had anticipated.
There was a commotion outside the operating room door. Because he
was engrossed in the surgery, Dr. Edmonds didn’t look up. Dr.
Early left Dr. Brackett assisting Dr. Edmonds and went to see what
the commotion was. Opening the door, he was shocked to see two security
guards and an orderly lying on the floor, all unconscious. He had
just started out of the door to see if he could help, when a huge
man stepped in front of him. “Excuse me, I need to see to those
“No doc, you need to go back into that room.” Sam Werdon
held a gun with a silencer in one hand and a large hunting knife
in the other.
Joe Early knew right away what had happened in the hallway. He knew
that someone would soon pass through there. He just hoped that it
was in time. So, with a last look at the three men, he turned and
preceded the man into the operating room.
“Well, well, well. The two men I am looking for together in
one room. But then I knew that. I have been waiting for this day
and wondering how I was going to make it happen now that Dr. Edmonds
is practicing out of another hospital. Imagine my excitement when
I found out he was going to be performing surgery here today and
Dr. Brackett was going to assist. It couldn’t have been more
perfect.” Sam smiled at the surprised looks on the doctors’ faces.
It was better than he could have hoped for. “Step away from
the operating table now.”
“I can’t do that. We need to finish this surgery and
get this man into recovery.” Dr. Edmonds didn’t want
to leave Johnny’s side. He didn’t know what this man
wanted, but he wanted to get Johnny’s surgery completed.
“Who are you and what do you want?” Kel was getting
angry. How did this guy get into the hospital, let alone the surgical
wing, with a gun and a knife? They were going to have to do something
about the security of the hospital.
“I’m disappointed, doc. You don’t remember me?
Well, I guess I can let that slide since it has been six years and
I did change my appearance. I’ll tell you who I am when I am
good and ready. As for what I want, that my dear doctors, is revenge.
I am going to see both of you ruined. But I don’t want any
innocent people dying or in trouble. I was hoping to get in here
before you got started. It looks like you are ahead of schedule with
this one. Go ahead and finish the surgery, but don’t try anything
funny.” Sam was walking around the room waving the gun with
his finger on the trigger. No one wanted to move for fear he would
accidentally pull it. As he allowed the surgery to continue he pulled
Dr. Early to a stool in the corner.
“Yes, we were able to get into surgery early than planned.
Can I ask what we did to you that you want revenge? Why do you want
to ruin us?” Dr. Brackett wondered how they were going to get
out of this one without someone getting hurt.
“I told you. I’ll tell you when I am good and ready.
If I had my way, you both would have been charged with murder.” Sam
pointed his gun at Joe Early’s head. “Now just get this
Trying to think of a way to get out of this mess, all the personnel
in the operating room moved to do as the man asked.
Nicole, Joanne and Roy made their way to the surgical floor. They
ran into Hank, Mike and Marco at the elevator on the first floor.
Just before the door to the elevator closed, the call over the loudspeaker
sent chills down all their spines. “Code silver, OR 2, Code
silver OR 2, all necessary personnel report immediately.” The
door shut and Roy urged the car to move. OR 2 was the operating room
where Johnny’s surgery was taking place. The feeling he, Nicole
and Joanne had experienced earlier became more pronounced and all
three couldn’t hide their worry.
When the elevator doors opened, the site that met the group was
enough to stop them in their tracks. The hallway was lined with so
many police officers they wondered how they could work without falling
all over each other. Vince Howard and Ron Crockett were the first
ones to notice the group standing just outside the elevator looking
lost. They started towards the group with news neither one wanted
“Vince, Crockett, what is going on?” Roy knew he wasn’t
going to like what they were going to tell them.
“One of the orderlies had been trying to get into the OR.
The head scrub nurse called security and the other orderly tried
to stop him. After calling security, the nurse got called away to
an emergency. The orderly trying to get in was armed with a gun and
a large hunting knife. He attacked the two security guards and the
orderly and then took over the OR. He has three doctors, three nurses,
the anesthesiologist, and the patient as hostages. From the window
it looks like he is holding the gun to one doctor’s head. The
other two doctors are still performing the surgery on the patient.” Vince
had withheld the identities of the hospital personnel and patient
with the hope that Roy wouldn’t catch on just yet who all the
“How much longer did Dr. Edmonds have to go to complete Johnny’s
surgery?” Roy was grateful for the fact that Vince and Crockett
were trying to protect them.
Vince sighed knowing he had not been successful in keeping quiet
who was in the the operating room. He should have known Roy would
have been aware of exactly which operating room Johnny would be in. “We’re
not sure. We do know that he was not finished. We are really trying
to get this resolved as soon as possible.”
“Do you know who the man is and what he wants?” Nicole’s
thoughts were still on the orderly.
“Not yet, we are still trying to find out a way to figure
out who he is and what his beef is. No one seems to recognize him.” Vince
wished he had better news for these people.
“Vince, I think I know who he is and what his problem is.” Nicole
suddenly remembered where she had seen the orderly before.
“Sir, I really would like to be able to understand why you
are upset with Dr. Brackett and me. Can you tell me a little bit
about why you are angry? Maybe I will remember who you are.” Dr.
Edmonds wondered what this man was going to do once Johnny’s
surgery was complete.
Sam had heard the code go over the loudspeaker and knew that there
would be several security guards as well as policemen waiting for
him outside the door. He had been trying to figure out what his next
step was going to be when Dr. Edmonds finished the surgery. Maybe
he could get them to admit they were at fault and turn themselves
in. Then everyone would know he was right in doing this. “There
was an accident on the 405 six years ago. My wife, daughter and I
were on our way to Disney Land and a truck carrying pipe was cut
off by another truck. The driver lost control and the restraints
holding the pipes broke sending them into
the vehicles all around.” He wouldn’t say anymore. What
he didn’t say was that he was the one driving the truck that
had caused the accident.
Trying to keep everyone calm, communication was kept to a minimum.
But Dr. Edmonds tried to think back six years. There had been a lot
of horrific accidents in the last six years on the 405 and he had
worked on a lot of the victims. He tried to remember all the times
he had worked on a family from an accident. There had been several.
The next hour found the room in silence except for the minimal communication
from the doctors and the mumbling Sam did under his breath as he
paced back and forth in front of Dr. Early waving the gun in the
air. The tension grew with every step he took as his finger was still
on the trigger.
Roy, Marco, Mike and Hank took turns pacing the small room across
from the OR where Johnny’s surgery was taking place. The police
had put them there so they could see the OR but still be out of the
way of all the policemen in the hallway. This time it was Roy’s
turn to pace. It had been 30 minutes since they had arrived on the
surgical floor and things were too quiet. With determination to find
out what was going on, Roy turned and was headed towards the door
when Vince came into the room.
“I just wanted to give you update on where things stand. You
were right, Nicole. The man is Sam Werdon. He blames Dr. Brackett
and Dr. Edmonds for the death of his wife and daughter six years
ago after they were injured in an accident on the 405. Their deaths
pushed him over the edge and he spent the last five and a-half years
in the Adams Psychiatric Hospital. He was released about three months
“I thought it might be him. I was the one who tried talking
with him after he was informed of his wife’s and daughter’s
deaths. He was so full of anger he wouldn’t listen to what
anyone had to say. Johnny’s station was the one who got the
call and his paramedics were able to get both Mrs. Werdon and their
daughter, Emily, to the hospital alive. So that’s why Sam blames
Dr. Brackett and Dr. Edmonds for their deaths. They were the doctors
who treated them. Both Mrs. Werdon and Emily had very severe injuries
that the doctors couldn’t fix. If Johnny’s crew had been
even five minutes later, Mr. Werdon would be angry with him and his
paramedics.” Nicole felt compassion for the man, but she was
beginning to get angry. The man had been drinking and had killed
three other innocent people in the accident. But his grief over losing
his family had incapacitated him so badly he had been sent to Adams
Psychiatric Hospital after he had tried to kill Dr. Brackett and
Dr. Edmonds at the time.
“But Johnny is in there right now, too.” Mike could
understand the man’s grief, but not his anger. “What
is going to happen to him? What was Mr. Werdon in the hospital for?”
“Well, the original accident was his fault. He had been drinking
heavily and his wife had been trying to get him to let her drive.
Johnny was there when she spoke her last words to her husband. He
turned away just in time to see the paramedics from station 110 cover
the three people he had killed in the accident. He was beginning
to feel guilty at that time. Then, at the hospital, when Johnny had
to tell him that his wife and daughter had died, it pushed him over
the edge. The police officer assigned to watch him wasn’t paying
attention and he grabbed the officer’s gun charging into the
treatment room where his wife and daughter had been taken. But before
he could hurt anyone, Johnny tackled him from behind. He never knew
who it was that tackled him—no one ever told him. Anyway, he
was knocked unconscious. They thought it was more from the stress
than from Johnny’s tackle. When he regained consciousness,
he was in a catatonic state and was admitted to Adams. I didn’t
know he was released. All of us were to be notified when he was released.” Nicole
was sure that the man had been faking his “illness” and
had probably fooled the doctor into releasing him when he did.
“Can’t they still try him for the original three deaths?” Hank
wondered how someone could kill five people and basically just walked
“I’m going to be checking into that. With this stunt,
I think he will either be facing jail time or be sent back to the
hospital. I am also going to find out why no one was notified of
his release as instructed.” Vince wondered how this man could
have been let out of the hospital and no one seemed to know it.
Nicole didn’t say a word. She was trying to remember her conversations
with Sam Werdon. There was something niggling at the back of her
mind and felt sure Sam Werdon had been lying six years ago and would
lie know to get out of being sent to jail. She knew that he would
do anything he could to stay out of jail—including faking a
Dr. Edmonds had heaved a sigh of relief when they had finished Johnny’s
surgery with no further problems—well, other than they were
still being held hostage in the operating room. He looked over at
Kel Brackett who was checking Johnny once again. Bob couldn’t
blame him—it seemed that right now there wasn’t much
else to do.
The surgery had been completed 45 minutes ago and all the medical
personnel were lined up against the wall waiting for Sam Werdon to
decide his next move. He was pacing back and forth in front of them
just out of their reach. They were leary anyway since he was waving
the gun around and still had his finger on the trigger. He was also
flinging the knife around enough that no one was able to even try
to get it away from him.
Johnny started coming out of the anesthesia and was beginning to
move around. Kel hurried over to his side heaving a sigh of relief
that Sam Werdon had let him by. Kel had to keep Johnny calm so that
he didn’t roll off the operating table. He should have been
in a hospital bed so that he could come out of the anesthesia without
any problems, but he wasn’t. “Johnny, you need to lie
still. If you don’t you are going to roll off onto the floor.”
Johnny heard Kel’s voice and stopped his moving around. As
he slowly inched toward full awareness, he realized he was lying
on something hard. It wasn’t long before he realized he was
still in the operating room and on the table. Was he coming out of
the anesthetic while they were still operating? It didn’t feel
like it, but why else would he still be in the OR?
Kel pulled over a stool and sat down so he was at eye level with
Johnny. He could see the questions in Johnny’s eyes as full
awareness returned. “We are still in the operating room, but
we finished the surgery an hour ago.” Before Kel could say
anything else, he saw Johnny’s eyes open wide as Sam Werdon
paced behind Kel still waving the gun.
Johnny’s throat was dry, but he pushed the oxygen max away
from his face so he could talk to the man behind Dr. Brackett. “Sam?
Sam stopped in his tracks. Neither of the doctors had recognized
him. Who was this guy and how did he know him?
“Sam, what are you doing waving the gun around? You know you
could hurt somebody with that.” Johnny had known when he tackled
Sam Werdon six years before that he would never forget the man. He
found out how right he was when he knew immediately who the crazy
man was when he woke up from his surgery even though the guy had
tried to completely change his appearance.
“Do I know you?” Sam still didn’t have any idea
who the man lying on the table was.
“I was the captain of the fire station that handled the accident
you were in six years ago. I held your wife while my paramedics cut
her out of your truck.” Johnny realized just why this man was
in the operating room. He remembered tackling him before he could
hurt anyone the last time he had seen the man.
“Captain Gage?” Sam was surprised that Johnny would
remember him after so many years.
“It’s Chief Gage now, but yeah it’s me.” Johnny
was desperately trying to figure out a way to get everyone out of
the OR without anyone getting hurt and soon. He was starting to feel
the pain as the anesthesia was wearing off. He saw that Sam had a
knife as well as a gun. “You didn’t answer my question—what
are you doing waving that gun and knife around?”
“These two doctors let my wife and daughter die six years
ago and they never had to pay. I have spent the last five and a half
years planning a way to make them pay.” Sam really didn’t
want anything to happen to Johnny—he was the one person that
had really helped Sam.
“Sam, do you remember the very last words your wife said to
you that day? Or are you remembering the accident the way you want
it to have happened? Only remembering it as it really happened will
get rid of the grief you feel.” Johnny knew that he probably
was pushing it, but he wanted this whole thing to be over with. The
pain was beginning to become unbearable.
“She told me she loved me.” Sam knew he was lying, but
he didn’t want to face the truth anymore now than he had six
“That’s not totally right, is it, Sam? Think about that
last conversation.” Johnny wasn’t sure he wouldn’t
make the situation worse, but he plowed ahead anyway.
“She did tell me that she loved me.”
“Yes, she did. But what else did she tell you?”
“That the accident was my fault because I was drunk and if
she and Emily died, I would be the one that was to blame. But your
paramedics got them here alive. These doctors let them die.” Sam
didn’t want to admit that he was the guilty one.
“But what did I tell you when the ambulance pulled away?” Johnny
thought he was getting through to the man.
“That their injuries were serious enough that you would be
surprised if they made it to the hospital alive. You said that they
probably wouldn’t make it even if they did get here for the
doctors to examine.” Sam’s shoulders began to slump
“Sam, don’t you think that it’s time you faced
up to what really happened that day?” Johnny really needed
some pain medication.
“Yeah, I guess so. What happens now?” Sam held out the
gun and knife for Kel Brackett to take as the anesthesiologist opened
the operating room door and motioned Vince inside.
“That’s really up to you. You can make it hard or easy
depending on whether or not you cooperate.” Johnny was loosing
the fight to stay awake because of the pain he was feeling.
“I’ll cooperate. I know that I need to face the charges
for the other three people who died that day. I am so sorry. Do you
want to know what’s really ironic about all of this?”
“What’s that, Sam?” Johnny watched as Vince carefully
handcuffed Sam Werdon.
“I hate guns.” Sam looked at each of the people in the
room. “I am really sorry. I just didn’t want to admit
that what happened to the two most important people in my life was
really my fault. And the doctors at Adams kept telling me that it
was ok and that what happened was just an accident.”
Johnny lost the fight to stay awake as the pain medication Kel Brackett
had been able to give him took effect and Sam was led out of the
Nicole looked up as the OR door opened and Vince was motioned inside.
She held her breath until she saw Sam being led out of the room.
Then she watched as Dr. Brackett and Dr. Edmonds pushed Johnny into
ICU. She let out her breath when both doctors smiled at her and kept
their smiles as they quickly left the operating room.
Roy, Hank, Marco, and Mike all surrounded Nicole as they, too, watched
Johnny being wheeled out of the operating room. All four men were
glad this nightmare was over. Roy and Joanne led Nicole away as the
police took over the area and cordoned it off with crime scene tape.
Roy could tell by the slump of the man’s shoulders when Vince
led him out that there wouldn’t be any trial or problems, but
he also knew the police had to do their jobs.
Kel Brackett and Bob Edmonds walked out of the OR after having given
their statements to the detective. They both knew they would have
to give a more detailed account later, but they were just relieved
the whole thing was over. Kel looked up to see Mike, Marco and Hank
waiting at the end of the hallway. He smiled as he saw the anxious
looks on their faces as the two doctors headed away from the nightmare.
“Dr. Brackett, Dr. Edmonds, are you guys alright?” Hank
had watched the two men as they came down the hall.
“Yeah, but boy are we glad that is over. What are you doing
here?” Kel was surprised to see the three men still there instead
of in the ICU waiting room.
“Roy and Nicole asked that we stay and make sure you both
were alright because that is the first thing Johnny will ask when
he wakes up.” Hank put his hand on Kel’s shoulder as
they all entered the elevator.
“Yeah, you’re right. Johnny’s first thought will
be about us and how we are.” Kel just shook his head. “Well,
we’ll be the first ones they call when he wakes up so that
he can see for himself how we are.”
Nicole had just stepped out of Johnny’s cubicle. Since both
Dr. Brackett and Dr. Edmonds had been detained in the OR, they had
not been able to give orders for Nicole and Roy to have unlimited
visiting with Johnny. So they had been following the ICU visiting
rules. A smile lit up her face when she saw the two doctors.
“How’s our star patient doing?” Kel pulled Nicole
into her arms and held her close. Things could have turned out a
lot differently. There were prayers of thanks going up from Hank,
Mike, Marco, Roy, Joanne, Nicole, Kel and Dr. Edmonds. They all knew
that the Lord had protected them this day. “Let’s go
see that husband of yours.” Kel released Nicole but put his
arm around her waist and led the way as Dr. Edmonds followed.
Johnny had tried to go back to sleep after Nicole left but slowly
opened his eyes as he heard them enter. A weak version of his grin
graced Johnny’s face as he saw the three people enter. He was
relieved to see that everything had turned out like he had remembered. “Hi,
“Hey, Johnny, how are you feeling?”
“Better now that I know that everyone is ok. I didn’t
just dream about something happening in the OR, did I?” He
had wondered if it was just a dream.
“No you didn’t dream it. It really happened and thanks
to you, it ended peacefully.” Dr. Edmonds had not gotten to
know Johnny on a personal level, but after what he had seen today,
he knew that Johnny was one special person and someone he wanted
to be able to call a friend.
“I couldn’t let a grieving man hurt himself or anyone
else. Doc, can I get something for the pain?” Johnny wanted
to talk with his wife about it all. He had not said anything earlier
because he hadn’t been sure it had really happened and he didn’t
want to scare her. But he needed something to help with the pain.
He also knew it would put him to sleep.
“Sure, let us do a quick check and then we’ll make you
comfortable.” Kel pulled out his stethoscope and quickly completed
his exam and stood back as Bob Edmonds did his. Then he ordered pain
medication for Johnny. By the time the doctors and Nicole left, Johnny
was asleep again.
The story had made the papers and TV news reports, so Johnny had
consented to giving an interview in order to get the reporters out
from under foot of the hospital staff. Johnny didn’t feel he
was a hero. He had only been trying to keep a man who had lost everything
from totally ruining his life. It was a few days before Johnny’s
room was free from reporters trying to get a story. They had finally
posted a security guard outside of Johnny’s room. When things
started calming down, Johnny sighed with relief because he had been
confined to his room. Now he could begin his therapy and find out
if the surgery was successful or not.
The first day Johnny headed for therapy, he was surprised to see
the entire original A-shift members there along with all his children
and Nicole. The love and support he saw in the group made him determine
to work hard. But the thing that made Johnny most determined to make
the most of his physical therapy was the memory of Mayan and his
love of life. Nothing ever seemed too difficult for Mayan—he
always tried to make the best of his life and he lived it to the
fullest. The thing that gave Johnny the greatest inspiration was
his memories of Mayan and how he would never given up no matter what
trials he faced during his lifetime and the ultimate sacrifice he
had willingly made to save the lives of his family and friends. If
a little four-year old boy could overcome the abuse he had received
the first three plus years of his life and become a wonderful, loving,
caring young man, Johnny could work his hardest at regaining whatever
he could with therapy.
Johnny fought the urge to give up. It seemed like all the hard work
he had been putting in was for nothing. But Mayan’s memory
and Nicole’s encouragement kept him trying—beyond the
point that even the doctors had expected of him. And finally, after
three long, hard months of intense work, it paid off. Johnny walked
out of the physical therapy room on his last official day without
the aid of any crutches, canes, wheelchairs or shoulders. He marveled
at the fact that there was no limp and he had no pain. All involved
had agreed that the surgery had been a great success.
As he walked out of the door, Johnny was met by the same group of
people that had been there the first day he had started physical
therapy and had been there through it all. But the presence of the
one person that meant the most to Johnny was Roy. Roy had always
been right there and next to Nicole was the one that gave the most
encouragement to Johnny when he was ready to give up.
With his famous lopsided grin, Johnny put his arm around Nicole. “Everyone
is invited out to the ranch for a special Thanksgiving celebration.
As of today, I will be joining Roy in going back into the field to
do in-field training.”
“Welcome back, Junior. Let’s go celebrate.” Roy
was pleased that life was finally getting back to normal—well
as normal as could be for the Station 51 A-Shift family.
Roy watched as William and Jenny played with Allen at the Station
51 family Christmas gathering. They seemed to be oblivious of everyone
around them. He smiled and thought of what a neat family they would
make. William was as protective of Allen as if he was his father.
He prayed that Jenny and William would soon admit their feelings
and become a family. As he turned back to get a soft drink out of
the cooler, he noticed Mike watching the three of them, too. Mike
turned and caught Roy’s eye and smiled. He had seen how Jenny
and William cared for each other, too.
Johnny walked over to Roy, grabbed his arm and pulled him over to
Mike. “Ok, guys, I think it’s time we took matters into
our own hands. William and Jenny belong together and if we leave
it up to them, it will be three years before they finally admit their
feelings. Is it ok if I give them a little push?” Johnny looked
back and forth between the two men. Receiving nods from both of them,
Johnny headed towards the two young people. Mike and Roy wondered
what he had in mind, but both were glad that someone other than themselves
had taken control of the situation. They watched as Johnny headed
towards William and Allen.
Johnny reached the area where they were playing. Scooping Allen
up in his arms, he smiled at William. “Can I talk to you for
Although he wasn’t quite sure what Johnny had in mind, William
nodded and followed him. Johnny led the way over to Jenny. “Hey,
Jenny, would you join us for a few minutes?” Johnny really
hoped Jenny would be willing to come with them. Otherwise, he would
have to revamp his plan.
“Sure, I’d love to.” Jenny smiled shyly at William
and joined the group as they headed out to the closed-in porch on
the back of the house. Johnny smiled to himself—he knew the
reason Jenny had agreed so readily was because William was with him.
Maybe this wouldn’t be so hard.
Johnny put Allen down and smiled as William took one of his hands
and Jenny took the other. They swung the little boy between them
and then watched as the Gage’s dog, Tim, bounded up to him.
Allen squealed in delight and then started chasing the dog around
the enclosure as fast as his little legs would carry him. Johnny
smiled as the three adults found seats.
Johnny didn’t waste any time. “As I said I have something
I want to talk to you about.”
“What’s that, Uncle Johnny?”
“Well, I’ve been watching both of you for several months
now. I’ve seen how you both feel about each other and I think
it is time that both of you admit your feelings. You both deserve
happiness and it’s time you got together.”
William looked at Jenny and taking a deep breath, he took a chance. “Jenny,
Uncle Johnny is right. I love you and have loved you for a long time.
I love Allen as if he was my own. I just wasn’t sure how you
would take it. I didn’t want you lose your friendship.” He
was afraid to look at her.
“Oh, William, I have loved you for a long time, too. I just
never thought that I would find happiness again and that you could
love me.” Jenny smiled as William pulled her into his arms.
Then suddenly William was on one knee. “I don’t have
a ring to give you yet, but will you marry me?”
“Oh, yes, William, I will.”
Johnny tried to take Allen and quietly leave the two love birds
alone. But he never made it. Jenny looked up just as Johnny reached
the back door. “Uncle Johnny, thank you so much!”
“For what?” Johnny was glad that Jenny could find happiness
Then as if to say he agreed, Allen reached out for William. “Dada,
take me.” As the three adults laughed, William took Allen in
one arm and put his other arm around Jenny’s waist. “Let’s
go tell everyone, there’s going to be a wedding.”
“And it’s about time,” Johnny ducked as Jenny
swung to hit him in the arm.
Mike and Roy were taking turns pacing across around the living room.
Joanne and Nicole watched them for about 20 minutes and then decided
they would go find out what had the two men wound tighter than a
“Roy, why are you and Mike trying to wear out Johnny’s
carpet?” Joanne wondered at the worried look on Roy’s
Both Roy and Mike had been concentrating so hard on what might be
happening out back, they had not been aware of the women’s
approach. At the sound of Joanne’s voice they both jumped so
high Joanne and Nicole could not keep from laughing.
“We’re just waiting for Johnny, William and Jenny to
get back.” Roy didn’t want to say anything about Johnny’s
mission for fear of jinxing it.
“Why? Is something happening?” Joanne looked at her
husband in expectation.
Before he could answer, Mike’s face split into the biggest
grin anyone had ever seen. Beth had joined the group and she turned
to see what had her husband in such a good mood. When her face as
well as Roy’s mirrored the grin on Mike’s face, Joanne
and Nicole turned to see William and Jenny walking into the living
room with their arms around each other and Allen riding on William’s
shoulders. As the entire group gathered turned to see what had Roy’s
and Mike’s attention, the number of grinning faces grew.
Just as Johnny, William and Jenny reached the living room Chris
DeSoto could not keep his happiness any longer. “Yahoo, It’s
about time.” Jenny and William blushed as the rest of the group
broke out in laughter at Chris’s proclamation.
“Well, I guess we don’t need to worry that someone wouldn’t
approve.” William looked at all the grinning faces.
“Not approve? Are you kidding, we’ve all just been wondering
when the two of you were going to realize what the rest of us have
known for the last several months. It took you both long enough.” Brandon
Stoker couldn’t help but tease his younger brother.
“Yeah, big brother, I was wondering when you were going to
wake up and realize we need another wedding in this group.” Lisa
joined her oldest brother in teasing their sibling.
“When is this big event going to take place?” Michelle
Gage loved dressing up and was excited about the chance to look like
“I hope it doesn’t take them as long to pick a date
as it did for them to decide they wanted to get married.” Jason
DeSoto ducked as William threw a pillow off the couch at him.
“Can we put a wedding together in a month?” Jenny was
as ready as everyone else to have the wedding now that she realized
William loved her as much as she loved him.
“You bet we can. Why don’t we get started right now?” Nicole
smiled as all the women gathered around the coffee table in the living
room and were soon engrossed in making plans.
As she stood in front of the mirror, Jenny thought back to the day
she had married Allen. Although she knew that he would have wanted
her to go on with her life and even find happiness in getting married
again, there was a little tug of guilt on her heart. She still loved
Allen and always would, but she also loved William. He had helped
to ease the pain of losing Allen just by being a friend. And out
of that friendship, their love developed and deepened.
Nicole walked into the room to see Jenny lost in thought. Having
an inkling of what might be going through Jenny’s mind, she
quietly stepped behind the younger girl, turned her around and pulled
her into a hug. “Allen would approve. He and William were friends.
And I know that Allen would want you to love again. Just because
you are marrying William does not mean you will ever forget Allen
or love him any less. You will have a daily reminder of that love
in your son. Keep that love close, but don’t let it ever get
in the way of the love you have for William. He knows you will always
carry Allen in a spot in your heart. His love is deep enough for
you that he will not ask you to forget Allen and what you shared.
As a matter of fact, I know he will be there to help you remember
the good times—and help Allen to learn about his father. What
better day to get married than on Valentine’s Day?”
“Aunt Nicole, thank you. I know that Allen would want me to
be happy again. I just needed to be reminded of that. And you are
right, I will always have a small part of my heart that will belong
to Allen, but the rest of my heart belongs to William. Just the other
day, I heard him talking with Allen, Jr. about his father. He was
making sure that Allen knew that even though William would be his
daddy, Allen would always be his father.” Jenny had pulled
out of Nicole’s embrace and realized the tears that had threatened
were gone. She knew the step she was taking was the right one.
“Are you ready?” Roy stuck his head into the room after
Nicole’s quick “come in” in response to his knock. “Jenny,
you are beautiful.” Roy stopped dead in his tracks. His daughter
was finding happiness again and her face glowed.
“Thanks, Dad. Let’s go.” Jenny gave Nicole a quick
peck on the cheek, accepted her father’s outstretched arm and
walked out of the room to start the next phase of her life.
The Gage and DeSoto families decided to use the kids’ spring
break to take a camping trip at Yosemite National Park to do some
hiking. They all could feel the excitement in the air as they loaded
the vans with all the camping gear and food they would need for the
week. Johnny smiled as he realized that although they were 14 and
16 year-olds, all the kids were just as excited about this trip as
the adults. As a matter of fact, they had the vans loaded and were
impatiently waiting for the adults to get the trip started.
Checking to make sure the house was locked one more time, Johnny
started laughing when he walk down the steps to the loud singing
of “She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain” from
both vans. One van was all female voices and the other all male as
the kids had decided to split up by gender for traveling purposes.
The Gage van held the five girls and the DeSoto van held the four
boys. At lunchtime they were going to switch vans. Johnny knew that
this was one trip they would all enjoy. His heart did break just
a little when the thought that Mayan would have enjoyed this trip
passed through his mind. His presence was still missed, but Johnny
knew that he would want them to go and have fun. So with the promise
to himself that this trip was for Mayan, Johnny started the van and
took the lead to Yosemite National Park.
Roy and Johnny stood watching as the kids took over setting up the
two adjoining campsites. There had been some discussion, pleading
and cajoling on the kids part, but the decision had been made that
one campsite was for the girls/women and the other was for the boys/men.
Both couples determined that at least one hour a day would be for
them to get away and spend the time together. Just as Jason and Matthew
were putting the finishing touches on the last tent to go up, a car
pulled up to the next campsite over.
Johnny glanced over at the occupants of the car and then did a double
take. Using his elbow into Roy’s ribs, he got Roy’s attention.
Just as Roy realized the same thing Johnny did, three more vehicles
pulled into the three campsites across the small dirt road. Roy’s
face broke into a huge grin as did Johnny’s when the two men
realized the campers next to them were Hank and Emily. The three
campsites across the road were being occupied by Chet and Kimberly
with their family, Marco and Rebecca with their family and Mike and
Beth Stoker. The whole “family” was there.
The Gage and DeSoto kids didn’t waste any time in splitting
up to go and help the others get their camps set up. With the 15
kids splitting up the work, the adults sat back and watched. It didn’t
take them long and all six campsites were set up and ready for the
week. Using the Gage and DeSoto campsites, the group gathered for
dinner. They were all surprised to learn that none of them had been
aware of the others planning to go camping. They were all happy they
had ended up camping in the same area.
The gang was enjoying their vacation. Sometimes they would all go
on hikes together and other times individual groups would hike. They
had camp fires and enjoyed swimming in the lake.
It was the middle of the week and the older kids had sent their
parents on a hike with the younger kids while they fixed dinner for
the group. The hikers were on their way back when the seasoned firefighters
realized all at the same time that there was a problem.
Johnny was at the back of the group and yelled up to Roy who was
leading the group. “Hey, Roy I think we need to pick it up.”
“I think you’re right. Let’s go guys.” Roy
had caught the scent coming on the breeze at the same time Johnny
and the rest of the firefighters did. The women then looked around
and realized the same thing the guys did.
The group picked up their pace and were almost at a run when they
reached the camp sites. None of them were surprised when they arrived
just as the park rangers were going through.
“We are L.A. County firefighters. Can we be of help?” Hank
spoke for the group of men that gathered around him in front of the
“Thanks, we can sure use all the help we can get. We don’t
want to lose anyone in this fire.” The rangers then quickly
mapped out a plan for the group to go and help evacuate the campsites
Having finally completed the evacuation, the group started gathering
the stuff they absolutely needed and load up the cars. They would
leave the tents and other stuff because it would take too long to
pack everything up. Everyone started getting into the cars when Chet
realized that Larissa and Kenneth were not around the campsite.
“Hey, has anyone seen Larissa and Kenneth?” Chet was
starting to panic.
“I saw them over by the camp manager’s animal pens.
But the manager came and opened the pens and loaded his animals about
20 minutes ago.” Matthew had seen the twins, but hadn’t
thought anymore about it.
“Ok, let’s all split up into groups and start looking
for them. Each group take a HandiTalki with you so that we can contact
each other.” Johnny hoped they found the kids soon. The fire
was headed their way.
It wasn’t long before Johnny’s group came upon the Kelly
twins. “Hey guys, we’ve got to get out of here. The fire
is headed our way and if we don’t leave now, we might not be
able to get out at all. Let’s go.” Johnny felt they could
deal with the danger the twins had put all of them in later. He would
leave the discipline up to Chet and Kimberly—he just wanted
to get everyone out of the campgrounds safely before the fire reached
“But Uncle Johnny, there’s a fawn with a broken leg.
We followed it when we saw it trying to catch up with its mother.” Kenneth
had a special spot in his heart for all animals. He had just a caring
and gentle way with them. Johnny felt he would be a vet when he got
“Ok, where?” Johnny knew that he would have done the
same thing if he had seen the fawn and wanted to help.
“Right here.” Larissa knew that Johnny would run interference
with their father now that he was aware of why they had left the
group without telling their parents where they were going.
Johnny picked the frightened fawn up into his arms after handing
the HandiTalki to Nicole and started back towards the camp site.
Nicole took the HT and immediately contacted the rest of the groups
who gratefully headed back to the campsite at a quick pace.
Immediately upon reaching the campsite, Johnny laid the fawn in
the back of the Rover and went to get into the driver’s seat
while everyone else loaded their vehicles. He watched as his kids
and Nicole piled into their van and then did a visual check of the
rest of their group. With a satisfied sigh that everyone was loaded
and ready to go, he slid into the driver’s seat and started
the Rover. Just before putting it into gear, he picked up the HT
to contact the Rangers to let them know they were the last ones out
and they were on their way.
“Ranger Stevens, this is John Gage.” Johnny waited for
acknowledgment from the Ranger.
“John, this is Rick Stevens. Where are you?” Johnny
noticed the tension in the Ranger’s voice. He knew that the
others had their HTs on in their vehicles listening to their conversation.
“We are just leaving our campsite right now. All other campers
have been evacuated.” Johnny again waited for acknowledgment,
but there was an uneasy feeling in his stomach.
“John, I am sorry to be the one to tell you, but you are surrounded
by fire. It just closed the road out off. You need to see if you
can find a place of safety somewhere.” Rick’s heart broke.
Not only were these people campers in his campground, they were firefighters
without equipment and no way to protect themselves.
Johnny’s mind was moving quickly. “Rick, isn’t
there a lake near here that has an old fire barn near it?” Johnny
remembered the barn and lake because there were two older fire engines
that had been restored and were waiting to be repainted before going
to the county fire museum. He also knew that these two engines were
operable. “Is the way there clear?”
“Yeah, you’re right. Let me check something. Hang on
a minute.” It only took a few seconds for Rick to get the information
“The way is clear. Just get there as fast as you can. We’ll
try to get someone in to rescue you before the fire gets there.” Rick
was pleased that Johnny had come up with at least a chance for this
group to make it through the fire.
“Rick, there are two operable engines there and at least six
firefighters here right now. Can we be of assistance from this side?” Johnny
had started driving towards their destination while talking with
Rick so that they wouldn’t have that exit closed off, too.
“Yeah, thanks, John. I think there is some fire gear there,
too. It was also going to the museum, but use it—you’ll
need it.” Rick sent up a word of thanks that these people were
firefighters and were willing to help out.
“Thanks, Rick. We’ll contact you once we get there and
get set up. John Gage 10-4.” Johnny was glad there would be
gear there for them, too.
“Ranger station 10-4.” Rick turned and knew that the
other Rangers who had heard the conversation were sending up prayers
for these people, too.
Mike, Chet and Marco had jumped out of their vehicles and ran to
the barn while Roy, Johnny and Hank looked for a place for the others
to stay. Johnny had grabbed the fawn and was carrying it in his arms.
It was only when he tripped over a small log that Johnny noticed
a cave hidden behind the brushes. Pushing aside the branches of one
of the bushes, he found the opening to a large enough cave for the
entire group to wait in.
“Hey, Roy, bring everyone back. I’ve found a cave that
is big enough for everyone.” Johnny held the bush back as everyone
headed into the cave. Kenneth and Larissa took over the care of the
fawn as Johnny, Roy and Hank hurried out to help the others.
Entering the barn Johnny smiled. Mike had started both engines and
was behind the wheel of one of the engines. Chet and Marco were both
waiting outside the engines with the gear for the others in their
arms. Hank grabbed his gear and ran for the driver’s seat of
the other engine. Johnny and Roy ran to Mike’s engine putting
on their gear while Chet and Marco ran to the other. Once they were
on the engines, Mike and Hank drove out of the barn and down to the
lake where they were able to fill the tanks with water.
The six men easily fell back into being a crew under the command
of Hank. There was no hesitation in the way the six men worked together
and they were soon fighting the fire. They still worked together
like a well-oiled machine and soon were making progress from their
After gaining headway in one area, the six men stopped and picked
up shovels to try to make a fire break in case the fire turned and
headed back towards them. Then they started in again pouring water
on the fire. They had been working about four hours when two groups
of firefighters—one group from each side—converged in
their area. The Rangers had been with the group that came from the
“Hey, John. You guys have done a great job. We can’t
thank you enough.” Rick was the first one to reach the group.
“Hi guys. It’s about time you got here.” Johnny
was glad to see the other firefighters.
“Why don’t you all take a break? We’ll take over
for a while from here. We are winning and it won’t be long
before we have this thing licked.
“Thanks, Rick, I think we will. We’ll go check on our
families.” Johnny wanted to hold Nicole and feel her arms around
“Where are they, by the way? We didn’t see any sign
of them coming in.” Rick had wondered where the rest of the
“In the cave.” Johnny let the firefighter who had tapped
him on the shoulder take his place on the hose.
“What cave?” Rick had been a Ranger in the campground
for over four years but he didn’t know of any cave in this
“Over here.” Johnny realized they had found something
that even the Rangers didn’t know about as he led them towards
where the families had been protected from the fire.
Rick followed Johnny and was shocked when Johnny pulled back the
bushes that had been hiding the cave entrance. He realized that the
bushes in front had been watered down so that they would not burn. “Hey,
this is great. They say you learn something new everyday and I guess
they are right.”
Johnny laughed as he followed Rick into the cave. The group had
just emerged from the cave when the handi talki in Rick’s hand
sounded telling the group they needed to get out of there because
the wind had turned and the fire was coming back their way.
Johnny had overhead the communication. “Alright, everyone
in the vehicles now!” He was headed for the Rover as he yelled.
Not asking why, everyone trusted Johnny and ran towards the vehicles.
Rick shook his head in amazement and told the firefighters to get
out because the wind had changed directions. As he was closer to
Johnny’s Rover, Rick jumped into the passenger seat as the
other vehicles passed them. He realized that Johnny was going to
be the last one out making sure the others were out safely.
As they drove, the wind picked up strength as it blew through the
trees. Johnny silently urged the vehicles ahead of him to hurry a
little faster as the fire blew through the top of the trees and was
growing closer to the only way out of the area.
Mike was driving the lead vehicle with Hank right behind him. Chet
followed Hank with Marco following him. Roy was in the van he and
Johnny had rented to carry their families in. Johnny was bringing
up the rear. Mike and Hank made it out of the area with no problems.
Chet and Marco had to drive through fire that was slowly encroaching
close to the road. Roy watched with trepidation as the fire starting
lapping at the vehicles trying to escape its grasp. He had just cleared
the area when he looked into his rearview mirror and watched the
road disappear in a wall of fire with Johnny on the other side.
Roy made sure he was clear of the fire before stopping the van and
getting out. As he looked back at the area they had just come through,
Nicole joined his side.
“He’ll be alright, Roy. Johnny will find a way out.” Nicole
wasn’t sure if she was trying to convince Roy or herself.
Johnny looked at the wall of fire in front of him. “Rick,
it’s not too big right now, so we have to go.” Both men
had seen the fire closing in behind them. “I don’t know
if it will work or not, but I have an idea.” He laid his plan
out to Rick in a hurry.
Both men jumped out and talked to the firefighters on the rigs behind
them. All men agreed it was a chance, but one they were willing to
Roy and Nicole watched as one of the fire trucks came through the
fire with water covering them. They stopped and started spraying
the fire from where they were as Johnny’s white Rover coming
through next. Johnny stopped and both he and Rick jumped out and
ran to pull off a hose and helped spray the fire as the last fire
truck came through. Then they all grabbed the hoses and ran to head
out. Johnny jumped into the Rover and started it pulling out almost
before Rick had his door closed. Pulling up beside Roy, Johnny rolled
down his widow. “Let’s all get out of here.”
Roy shook his head as he and Nicole quickly got back into the van
and all of the vehicles headed towards the safety of the command
post. It was only when they all arrived safely that the members of
the original A-shift surrounded Johnny and let him know how grateful
they were he had made it through.
Rick was still amazed they had made it through the fire. But Johnny’s
suggestion had worked. They all knew if the fire had been any larger
it wouldn’t have worked. All the firefighters and Rangers were
grateful they had made it through. Johnny made sure, though, that
everyone knew he wasn’t sure that it would work. He also made
sure that they knew if the fire had been any bigger they wouldn’t
have made it.
Everyone agreed that it was indeed a miracle that they had all made
it. With one last moment to contemplate, the men all hurried towards
the command tent to see where they could be useful as the women gathered
the children and headed towards the tent set up with sandwiches and
beverages all sending up prayers of thanks.
Roy and Johnny were almost as nervous as they had been on their
wedding days. The Gage quadruplets and the DeSoto twins were graduating
from the fire Academy. Chief Hank Stanley had teased the two Battalion
Chiefs and said the Department had better watch out now. Captain
Chet Kelly had said that Rampart had better add another wing if the
Gage quads followed in their Father’s footsteps. But when it
came down to it, all the station 51 family was proud to have another
generation of firefighters.
The graduates had filed in and the ceremonies were now ready to
start. Roy and Johnny were seated on the platform with the other
battalion chiefs. They thought they were there in the same capacity
as the other men—as representatives of the departmental brass.
But they were in for a surprise.
The Next Generation
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