***This is a missing scene from the original Sons of Thunder Episode, taking place just after the struggle on the catwalk when Rod Barkley meets his demise.  If you haven’t seen this awesome episode, then this scene isn’t going to have the proper impact. 

SONS  OF  THUNDER:

THE  CATWALK

by  Gail  R

            Trent moved between Walker and Carlos, linking his arm in each of theirs.  Both of the other men were having trouble, Carlos from the acrophobia, Walker from a bullet in the back.  Trent himself was in a state of shell shock, having dangled upside down eight stories at death’s door, Walker’s good arm the only reason he wasn’t splattered on the concrete beside Rod Barkley.          

            They slowly made their way across the catwalk, the bridge between the two buildings, and without speaking, supported each other down the stairs.  Once on the ground where additional police units had rolled in, they let themselves be led to the waiting rescue squads.  Walker sat on a gurney, his back and entire left arm and shoulder burning with the pain of the bullet wound.  A gentle hand helped him remove his coat.

            “Is this some kind of contest between you and Jimbo?”

            He looked up into Maisie’s kindly mahogany eyes and shook his head, too weary to reply.

            “I swear, Walk-Man, I’m getting tired of scraping you and Jimbo up from the streets.”  She fussed with the wound in the back of his shoulder, then put a bandage over it.  “Maybe you should think about less dangerous jobs, like kamikaze pilots.”  She chuckled as she checked his BP, then reached for his left wrist to take a pulse reading, doing a double-take at the blood flowing from his palm.  The hand was torn in several places.

            “Sheesh, Redbeard.  This hand is a mess.”  She reached for more bandages.

            Waving off an EMT, Trent made his way to Walker and sat down on the edge of the stretcher, motioning to the injured hand. The vision of Walker’s fingers digging into the chain link fence would never leave him.   He wasn’t sure how to put his thoughts into words.  

            “You weren’t going to let go.  You would have gone over with me, wouldn’t you.”

            “Moot point,”  Walker said softly.  “Thanks to Carlos.”

            Hearing his name, the DPD officer approached them, still white-faced and shaky from his ordeal.  He grimaced at Walker’s bullet wound, and with a shake of his head, sat on the bumper of the squad.  Maisie was struck by the expressions on the three men’s faces.  The air was electrified with unspoken emotion, admiration and thanks.  Something extraordinary had happened, and as much as she wanted to let them have some private time to talk, she needed to get the Ranger to the hospital.

            “Fellas, I hate to break this up, but Walk-Man has a date with the ER.”

            They nodded their understanding and moved aside as Maisie guided the Ranger down on the stretcher.  He turned onto his right side, the left shoulder throbbing terribly.

            “You boys can follow along,”  Maisie told the two.

            Maisie monitored her patient during the ride to St. Matthews, relieved that the wound didn’t appear to be serious.  The Ranger was very quiet, however, and she knew his mind was on recent events.

            “The dead guy back there --- he’s the one who shot Jimbo?”

            Walker nodded.

            “And the other cops, and you too?  Shot you in the back?”
            Again Walker nodded.  “Yeah.”

            “And now he’s a grease spot on the pavement.  Kind of fitting, don’t you think.”

            Walker cracked a small smile, meeting Maisie’s dark eyes.  Death was not something he celebrated, but today he had felt a great sense of satisfaction when Barkley crashed to the ground.  After what he’d done to Trivette, a gory end was deserved.

            “Maisie, thank you for being there for Trivette the other day.”

            The paramedic smiled and nodded.  “Hey, I talked to Alex about an hour ago. They took Jimbo off the respirator this morning.  He’s doing much better.”

            “Really?”

            “Yes.  Alex and C.D. were some kind of happy.  I’ll go up to his room as soon as we get there and let them know what’s happened.”

            “No,”  Walker replied abruptly.  “I don’t want to put any more worry on them.  I’m okay.”

            Maisie gazed at him with skepticism, but she’d honor his wish.  They arrived at the hospital moments later, having to drive around barricades that partitioned off a new addition being built onto St. Matthews.  Maisie helped her partner Paul zigzag the gurney through the construction, then grinned as Carlos and Trent met up with them in the ER lobby.

            “This new part should be called the Walker Wing.  I think his insurance company funded it.”        

            They laughed as Maisie gave up the gurney to a trauma doctor.  She looked at Walker again.

            “Are you sure you don’t want me to go upstairs?”

            Walker shook his head.  “No, but thanks, Maisie.  I’ll take care of it.”

            She nodded her understanding, gave his beard a pat and headed back to the squad.              What Alex, C.D. or Trivette didn’t need was to be concerned about him.  But word would be spreading soon.  He’d go up there himself, show them he was all right.  And besides, he had to see for himself that Trivette was okay.

            “We’ll hang around out here,” Carlos said as Walker was wheeled into the trauma room.  Walker nodded, catching both their eyes.  Not much was needed to be said about what had transpired on the catwalk.  Probably none of them would have come down alive without the help of the others.  They each knew that, and the bond they’d formed today was everlasting.

            A half hour later, a nurse led Trent and Carlos into the trauma room.  Walker was pale, but alert.

            “We’re prepping him for surgery,”  the doctor explained.  “They’ll probably take him up within the hour.”

            Walker frowned, but waited until the doctor was gone before he spoke.  “Trent, let me borrow your shirt.”

            “What?”

            “Your shirt.  I need to go somewhere for a few minutes.”

            Trent hesitated, trading a stunned look with Carlos. “Walker........”

            “Look,” the Ranger said,  “There’s something I have to do.”  He paused, not entirely comfortable with revealing his inner thoughts to the younger men, but the two of them were close friends,  they’d understand the need.   “I need to see Trivette before I go under. I have to see that he’s all right.”

            Trent nodded.  He knew where Walker was coming from, but he also knew the Ranger had a nasty bullet wound.  “Okay, but be back in ten minutes or we send out the cavalry.”

            He and Carlos helped Walker put on the shirt, then ran interference as Walker slipped into the elevator.

            “I hope we did the right thing,”  Trent mumbled to Carlos.

            The DPD officer smiled.  “We did.”

            Walker quietly stepped into Trivette’s room.  The black Ranger, awake and reasonably chipper, put a finger to his lips and motioned to the chairs.  Alex and C.D. were napping, both exhausted from the vigil at the younger man’s bedside.

            Smiling, Walker moved to the bed and took Trivette’s hand.  “Welcome back, partner,”  he said softly.

            Trivette, very touched, had to swallow the lump in his throat.  “I think I’m gonna need a few days off.”

            Walker nodded, still smiling warmly, forcing back his own emotions.  The picture of Trivette in the trauma room was still too fresh in his mind, the blood strewn on the floor,  the V-tach on the monitor, the paddles as they shocked his heart back to life. But now he could see for himself that his partner was going to make it.  A huge weight rose from his chest.

            Alex stirred and sat up, shaking herself fully awake as she saw Walker.  She nudged C.D.

            “Cordell!”  he uttered. “What’s happened?”

            “We got him,”  Walker stated, taking in Trivette’s appreciative expression.

            “Hot damn!”  C.D. shouted.

            Alex stood up and moved to Walker, suddenly noticing the bandaged hand.

            “Are you okay?”  she asked.

            “Yeah,” he lied in a convincing tone, suddenly feeling the room begin to twirl and the sweat pop out on his forehead.  He backed toward the door.  “I have to take care of something.  You two look after my partner.”

            Confused, Alex nodded, suddenly realizing how pale Walker appeared, and how he held his left arm still, close to his side.  As their eyes briefly met, he passed her a look of reassurance and she started to say something, then thought better of it.  Trivette too knew something was up, but if Walker wanted them to know, he’d tell them.  He waved a hand at his partner as he left the room. 

            C.D. patted Trivette’s arm.  “All’s right with the world now, Jimmy.”

            Alex agreed with a nod, but her gaze lingered in the doorway moments longer.  Walker was hiding something, but he generally had his reasons.  She’d go check it out in a bit.

            Walker thought the elevator would never reach the ground floor.  People got on and off at each floor, packing themselves in and jostling him with each stop.  By the time he made it back to the ER, waves of weakness and nausea were coursing through his body.  There was commotion in the rooms as security and staff searched for their AWOL patient.  Carlos and a shirtless Trent were shrugging as the trauma doctor questioned them.

            “Walker!”  Trent called, spotting his mentor slowly approaching.

            The doctor sighed with relief, then squinted in anger as he took Walker by the arm.

            “Ranger, what the devil were you doing?”

            “Checking in with my partner.”

            “Are you insane?  You’re in no condition to be up and about.”

            “You’re wrong, doc.  You just don’t know how much better I feel now.”   The Ranger turned to Trent and Carlos.  “Thanks.  For everything.”

            They nodded, message received.

            With those words, Walker’s legs gave out.  Trent and Carlos each grabbed an arm, linking theirs in his, forming a connection, a catwalk between their lives.

THE  END