Smoke billowed from multiple windows of the old apartment complex, filling the night sky with ash. It was difficult to breathe, even more difficult to see as the numerous engines and rigs flashed their lights, staining the darkness with neon reds and blues.
Maya stood outside, the building schematics in her hand, and despite her frustration at being named temporary captain while SFD investigated Beckett, she had to admit that taking charge of the scene was exhilarating.
“Captain Bishop, we’ve cleared floors three to five. Herrera and Gibson are in the basement – there’s reports of people trapped,” Ruiz’s voice crackled over Maya’s radio. She reached for it and brought it close to her mouth.
“Copy, Ruiz. Herrera? Gibson? Report.”
There was a pause and Maya eyed the map in her hands again, her gaze drifting to the building’s lower levels. The fire had started on the second floor and quickly burned through the ceiling and above. While it was also spreading downward, the poor ventilation and ancient wiring system meant that the flames were unpredictable. With Station 19 on civilian extraction, Maya couldn’t be entirely sure of the status of the fire. She just wanted her people to get out safely with anyone trapped inside.
“Bishop, we’ve got a problem.” Jack called out and worry pricked at Maya’s spine.
“Gibson, what do you see? Are you with Herrera?”
“Maya,” Andy’s voice was as serious as Jack’s, “everyone is out except one.”
“Let’s go, Herrera, you need…”
“We can’t move her.”
Maya’s frown deepened. Were they trapped?
“Herrera, the structural integrity is unknown, and Captain Park is getting ready to flood the east side. Is she dead? Because if she’s dead you…”
“Negative, Captain Bishop. She’s pregnant,” Jack said.
“And you can’t move her?”
“I’m pretty sure she’s crowning. There’s a lot of blood and she’s unconscious, but if we move her…I think she might bleed out if we try.”
Maya noticed the Incident Commander walking by and immediately flagged him down. While she was in charge of her team, she didn’t have command of the entire scene and she needed to run any decisions by him first.
“Captain Kowalski, we have a situation,” she said, setting her tablet on the hood of a nearby car. Kowalski’s face was covered in sweat and soot, but unlike Beckett, he was a fair man and an excellent captain.
“My team has a pregnant woman trapped in the basement. They can’t move her without killing her and the baby,” Maya explained, awaiting further instructions.
Kowalski checked his own tablet, pointing to the basement.
“Where are they?” He asked and Maya understood why it mattered.
The fire was on the east side of the building, but the west side remained mostly untouched.
“Gibson, I need a location update,” Maya said into her radio, relieved when Jack answered back immediately.
“Southwest corner, lower level. Air quality poor, but no visible signs of fire.”
Kowalski nodded to himself, confirming the information, and then took his radio.
“Dispatch, call ahead to Grey-Sloan, we need an OB, maybe a trauma surgeon, tell them to send a team now.”
Maya blinked in surprise as an odd feeling settled into her bones. She kept her work life and her personal life separate. Even though Carina was a familiar face around the station and heavily involved with the clinic, Carina was over there and Maya was over here and the fire was over here too, and the two worlds could not overlap.
“Sir,” Maya shook her head, “there’s no time!”
“Tell your team to prep that PRT of yours. Let’s be ready.”
Kowalski turned and walked away before Maya could say another word.
The minutes ticked by and Maya found herself quickly distracted. She checked in with her crew, ensured the safety of Gibson and Herrera, and stayed in contact with the other captains on scene. When she heard the sirens of an ambulance, she at first ignored it. There were lots of ambulances around the area, helping former occupants of the building with smoke inhalation and burns.
This ambulance was different. It was clearly labelled Grey-Sloan on the side and Maya prayed that Jo Wilson was about to step out the back. Except when the doors opened, Carina hopped out with an intern, and Maya grumbled.
Dressed in pink scrubs and a blue Grey-Sloan jacket, Carina looked out of place next to the endless array of firefighters in turnout gear. She hoisted a bag over her shoulder and when her eyes met Maya’s her expression turned unreadable. Maya was about to join her when Ben appeared, drawing Carina’s attention.
“I have the PRT ready,” he said, “not sure if we’re looking at a C-Section, but we should be good to go.”
Carina nodded and handed Ben her bag.
“Gibson,” Maya spoke into her radio, finally moving closer to Carina. It all felt too out of place, her worlds colliding, and she felt her concentration slip.
“Captain Bishop the bleeding is getting worse and the baby is definitely crowning.” They could all hear the worry in Jack’s voice. When Carina grabbed Maya’s radio off her chest, Maya startled, but quickly calmed herself.
She was not looking at Carina her wife. She was looking at Carina DeLuca, one of the world’s preeminent OB/GYNs.
“Jack, can you see the baby’s eyes?”
“No!” That was Andy, her voice sounded distant.
“Is the bleeding continuous?”
Jack spoke again. “Uhh…I think so. We tried to lift her, but the baby moved, so…”
“Okay. I’m coming to you,” Carina said, her voice commanding.
Maya yanked her radio back, anger burning in her chest.
“Absolutely not,” she said, staring Carina down.
“I go in or they both die, Captain Bishop.”
Ugh, of course Carina had to pull the rank card. Hearing “Captain Bishop” was enough to remind Maya that she couldn’t let emotions guide her decisions. If Jo Wilson was standing before her, saying she needed to enter the scene, how would Maya react?
“Dr. DeLuca, we cannot allow civilians inside, the building is unstable,” Maya tried to reason, though she knew that doctors had been taken into similar situations more than once to help with rescue and recovery.
“If I don’t go, she dies. And so does the baby.”
“Carina…” Maya whispered, but what she was about to say was cut off when Kowalski appeared again.
“You’re from Grey-Sloan, I presume?” He asked, pointing at Carina’s jacket.
“Yes, Dr. DeLuca.” Carina shook his hand and then turned back to Maya who realized that if Kowalski gave Carina the go ahead, Maya could do little to stop it.
“Sir, we’ve just spoken to Gibson. They cannot move the final civilian. Dr. DeLuca has volunteered to go in, but…” Maya explained, praying Kowalski wasn’t going to say what she expected him to say.
“Excellent.” Kowalski clapped his hands together. “Captain Bishop, I leave you in command of this situation. Dr. DeLuca will need turnouts, but I need all of you in and out in twenty minutes. Understood?”
“Yes, sir.” Maya wanted to tell Kowalski that Dr. DeLuca was her ridiculously stubborn wife, but she kept quiet. Instead, she turned to the task at hand.
“Take off your shoes,” Maya pointed at Carina’s runners, “Warren, find her some turnouts. Now.”
It took a few moments to find a firefighter that matched Carina’s height, but soon Maya was doing something she never thought she’d do. She watched Carina step into the turnout pants, the suspenders thick against her scrub top. Next came the boots and then the jacket.
“Do the braids you do for surgery,” Maya reached up to lightly tuck a strand of hair behind Carina’s ear, but the familiar touch was too intimate, too personal. She tore her hand away and busied herself calling Sullivan and preparing their oxygen tanks and masks.
When Sullivan came running to the scene, Maya took a deep breath and tried to remember who they were and where they were.
She was Captain Bishop. Carina was Dr. DeLuca.
“I’m going to guide you in,” Maya said, helping Carina with her oxygen cannister, “Sullivan will be right behind you. Do not let go of my shoulder. Okay?”
Carina nodded. She took her bag from Warren and with a determined look, set her hand on Maya’s arm.
Captain Bishop moved forward then, Dr. Carina DeLuca by her side.
Carina’s hand on her shoulder felt heavier than all of their gear combined.