Black Out

4:45 - Jess Miller - Fire Station

"Miller," Jess stated, answering the phone.

"Jess, its me, Hugh. I'm running a little late. Can you cover till I get there?"

Seven words that sounded to simple. Jess smiled at Hugh's image-- he was calling from a payphone somewhere downtown. "Define 'little'," she answered.

"Fifteen minutes... half an hour at the most."

Jess nodded. Mario was baby-sitting her daughter and her husband was still on assignment. "No worries, hon."

Hugh rewarded her with a smile before hanging up.

Jess chuckled and headed off to the kitchen.

"Who was it?" her sometimes partner, Ray asked.

Jess lifted up her bangs and pointed to her forehead.

"Does it say 'sucker' here?"

Ray laughed. "Nah. We had it printed on the back of your uniform where you couldn't see it."

Jess grinned. "I knew it was there somewhere... Hugh's running late."

Ray shook his head. "You want me to stay?"

Jess shook her head. "Nah, I can cover till he gets here."


"Mario's got her. He knows what the job's like."

Ray nodded. "If you change your mind..."

"You're number 4 in my speed dial."

"Only 4, I'm hurt. Who has the honor of 1-3?"

"Case, LoneStar and Mario."

"I'm not even going to ask."

"Good idea," Jess assured him.


Jess ran a brush through her hair and gathered it back up in a pony tail. She'd already worked a double shift, and was ready to head home for a long deserved break. She looked at the clock on the wall and then at the parking lot.

There was still no sign of Hugh, but he still had 15 minutes before she'd start getting worried. He'd warned her was running late, done everything by the book. The only problem with covering for him was the fact that if a call came in before he got there-- she'd be on duty until it was over.


Jess swore as the lights went out. She grabbed her flashlight from her belt hook and headed to the breakers. It took her a minute to realize that the problem was bigger than just the station.

She walked back out to the communications gear and grabbed her headset.

"Central, this is M1-7... We seem to be in black out mode. Any information?"

"M1-7, be advised-- blackout is city wide."

Jess grimaced slightly. If it lasted more than an hour, she would have to call in the others. At least she was already at the station.

"ETA on repair?"

"None available.

Jess didn't like the sound of that. "Hospitals?"

"Emergency generators are functioning. Jess-- the grid is out..."

Jess swore. The grid that supplied the power for cars in traffic was on a separate circuit than the rest of the city. It meant the problem was far worse than a blown generator or a downed line. It also meant that only combustion engines and hybrid vehicles would be going anywhere for a while.

"Will advise when more information is available."

"Check," Jess answered as she shut off her link.

She headed back to the break room where the others were waiting.

"Miller, what did you do? I was watching..."

"Blackout," Jess answered. "City wide."

The others sat up and looked around. It was going to be a busy night


Jess listened to the call tones and knew she was up. After the blackout an eerie silence had descended. There had been nothing for almost half an hour and now, the calls were catching up with them.

"Edwards, Can you handle the beast?"

He looked at her and then the Harley. "I've got a better chance of fitting on it than you do. Don't worry 'bout it."

Jess took a deep breath and headed out into the darkened city.

Copyright 2002 - M.T. Decker

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