P.S.I.--An "Emergency!" Story

Chapter 1--"I Wanna Be With Her"

Home | Cast of Characters | Soundtrack | Chapter 1--"I Wanna Be With Her" | Chapter 2--As Mike Lay Dying | Chapter 3--The Three Clues | Chapter 4--A Bullet With Her Name On It | Chapter 5--"Beauty Doesn't Belong in the Ground!" | Chapter 6--Cassie Lou Remembers | Chapter 7--The Video, The Ad, and The Interview | Chapter 8 --The Perfect Wife for a Firefighter | Chapter 9--"Win It For Dixie!" | Chapter 10--Angel in Topboots | Chapter 11--"Don't Have a Stroke, Mike!" | Chapter 12--Waterloo | Chapter 13--Retail Murder | Chapter 14--The Mares | Chapter 15--Notes | Chapter 16--A Homecoming--Sort Of | Chapter 17--PSI Means What Again? | Epilogue | Author's Notes | Gemma's E! Vision in the Monastery | Guestbook

Southland Derby at Paradise Park--Los Angeles, California--The pack of twelve thoroughbreds tilted into the turn for home.  As they neared the head of the homestretch, a red beam of light, seen only by the assassin in the bushes next to the track, landed on the woman jockey's side.   In a split second, she was limply falling off her horse into the infield.  She came to a stop on her face and didn't move.  Blood pooled under her mouth and nose as well as staining the right side of her white racing colors jacket.

C'mon, Brin, get up! the jockey's husband, Firefighter Specialist Mike Stoker, willed.  He jumped the rail and tried running in the cuppy track soil.  An outrider gave him a ride.
Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto, and Dr. Kelly Brackett of Rampart General Hospital,  were already on the scene, crouched over Stoker's fallen spouse.  They had been at the races to watch jockey Sabrina Stanley-Stoker ride in this particular high-caliber stakes race.
His coworkers weren't doing anything, except looking at her.  A wave of nausea washed over him.  No, he thought to himself.  No, she can't be. . .
"Why aren't you doing anything?!" Mike exclaimed when he dismounted.  Track security had arrived; Dr. Brackett was talking to a guard.  Johnny and Roy were still crouched next to Sabrina.
"WHY AREN'T YOU DOING ANYTHING?!?!?!" Mike screamed.  Johnny and Roy looked up at him.
"Not that look!"  Mike said, choking.   He knew that solemn facial expression all too well.  They only wore it when. . .
Gage and DeSoto got up and walked over to Mike, as did Dr. Brackett.  The track ambulance had come on scene.
"Lockdown," said the security guard into his Handy-Talkie.
"Mike," said Dr. Brackett, voice cracking. "I'm extremely sorry."
Mike looked at Dr. Brackett with disbelief, then at Johnny and Roy, who were both dabbing their eyes.  He then heard himself scream, "NOOOOOOO!"  He felt himself break through the arm-fence with which the men had attempted to contain him.  Now he was floating, seeing himself sitting on his heels next to her.

Sabrina's uncle, Captain Hank Stanley, and Firefighters Chet Kelly and Marco Lopez ran up to the scene.
"Johnny, Roy?" said Cap.
Johnny, Roy, and Dr. Brackett turned to him.  Roy was dabbing his eyes with his handkerchief.  Cap ran past the three to Mike, who was still sitting on his heels, sobbing.
           Mike was once again reclined on
           his back under a tree in a park
           with Sabrina, on a rare day that
           they both had off from work--
           the day he proposed to her.  She
           was propped on his chest.  His
           blue eyes looked into her sapphire
           blues, and she knew he was
           thinking of something. 
           "Those cog wheels are turning,"
           she said.  "Penny for your thoughts,
           I'm getting gypped."
           He rolled to his left, which put her
           on her back.   He put his right hand
           on the back of her head.
           "Just thinking how much I love you;
           (kiss) how I can't hardly breathe
           without you; (kiss) and how much
            I want to spend the rest of my life
            with you.  (Kiss).   Please give me
           the great honor of marrying you."
          "Oh, Mike, that's so sweet!" she
          exclaimed.  "Of course, I will!"
And now the very breath seemed to be sucked out of him, as every fiber of his being felt like an inferno.  Mike put a hand over his heart as he fought for breath, but no air came.  His chest felt crushed.  He lost all cognizance of his surroundings, and as he found his breath, he heard what sounded like the wail of a wounded animal as the inferno within burning for her living presence seemed to speed out his mouth.
Cap knelt on one knee next to Mike, who gyrated like a wet noodle as he wailed.  Cap hung his head, and wept bitterly, silently, as he kept a hand on Mike's back.  The rest of 51's crew stood stunned.
"Jockeys, after weighing in, please report to the stewards' office," said the track announcer over the P.A. system.
"The Phantom would love to get his hands on whoever did this," wept Chet.
A security guard caught Dr. Brackett's attention, then pointed to Mike and Cap.
"Johnny, Roy," said Dr. Brackett, "You and I will take Mike.  You two," he said, pointing to Chet and Marco, "Take your captain."
The weeping Captain went with Chet and Marco with no problem.  Mike, on the other hand, was quickly becoming dead weight.  "I wanna be with her," he moaned.  Johnny and Roy pulled his arms over their shoulders and supported him around the waist.  Dr. Brackett walked slightly ahead and kept an eye on him.
Mike's head lulled back and he nearly pulled Johnny and Roy over as he collapsed.
Back in the stands, the silent fans were riveted to the situation on the turn.  They completely ignored the Winner's Circle ceremonials, which today was going through the motions.
A man watched the turn of events with his binoculars.  Above him in the stands was a group of school-aged equestrians with their advisor.  The pre-teens had all been Sabrina's fans.
"Is she moving yet?"  asked the blonde girl.
The man shook his head.
"Ladies and gentlemen," said the track announcer.   "The rest of today's racing card has been canceled due to these unfortunate circumstances.  You may receive a refund for any wagers placed on the 9th race.  We regret that no one, by order of track security, may leave our complex at the present time.  We will notify you as soon as possible of a change in orders.  Thank you for your patience in this extremely serious matter."
"What's that mean?" asked the red-headed girl.
"What are they doing???" the brunette girl asked the man with the binoculars.
He lowered his field glasses slightly, drew a sharp breath, and looked as if he was having difficulty finding the words.  "They've covered her with a white sheet.  Apparently, her husband's fellow firefighters were here, and they're trying to comfort him."
"You mean her widower's fellow firefighters?" blurted the girls' advisor.
"What's a 'widower'?" asked the red-headed girl.
The man with the binoculars and the girls' advisor looked at each other.  "You wanna tell them?" he asked.
The cat was out of the bag, and there was no getting it back.  No sense beating around the bush.  The advisor knew what kind of situation she could potentially have on hand;  her girls were dyed-in-the-wool fans of jockey Sabrina Stanley-Stoker.  "A man whose wife has died," she said as gently as possible.

Chaos ensues. . .