Click here for updated Character List ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jared<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 29<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'3\", 230 lbs of solid muscle, trimmed dark black hair and deep chocolate brown eyes<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic (Partner: Liam) \/ Shift Supervisor<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Liam<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Melanie Bear (cousin)<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Bear<\/li>\r\n<li>Nicknames: Masqua, Standing Bear<\/li>\r\n<li>Titles: Sacred Medicine Man of the People, President and CEO Bear Investment Group (secret)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Liam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 22<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'0\", blue eyes, curly blond hair, nicely toned and tanned<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic (Partner: Jared)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Jared<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Eagle<\/li>\r\n<li>Nicknames: Mikisow, Soaring Eagle<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Troy<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, blonde hair, solid but not overly muscular.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Tyler<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Tyler<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, dark brown hair, slim<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Police Officer (Partner: Josh)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Troy<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Josh<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'8\", blue eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Darrin could pass for cousins or even brothers.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Police Officer (Partner: Tyler)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Darren<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<li>Nickname: Ditch Pig<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Darren<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 26<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'0\", green eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Josh could pass for cousins or even brothers.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Fire Fighter<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Josh<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<li>Nickname: Hose Puller<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p> <\/p>\r\n<h4>Conner<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Age: 18<\/li>\r\n<li>Student<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline; color: #999999;\">Minor \/ Recurring Characters<\/span><\/h4>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Sgt. Frank Myers<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Job: Police Sergeant<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: A son and daughter. The son recently came out as gay.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Rob<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Job: Ambulance Base Manager<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p> <\/p>\r\n<h4>Melanie Bear<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Job: Executive Assistant to the CEO\/President, Bear Investment Group (3rd in command)<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Jared Bear (cousin)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p> <\/p>\r\n<h4>John<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Job: CFO and Acting CEO, Bear Investment Group (2nd in command after Jared)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p> <\/p>\r\n<h4>Zane<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Director of the LGTBQ2 Centre<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>")
They drove to the base and backed into the bay. There wasn't another ambulance parked at the base, and that was unusual. In fact, as they pulled up to the base they had noted there were no staff members anywhere. The only activity was the workmen installing new upgraded cameras on the outside and inside of the base. There was an attractive woman outside watching what they were doing. She was about 5'6", with olive skin and jet black braided hair to her waist.
As Jared got out of the unit, she ran up to him and gave him a big hug. "How are you doing, Cuz? You're looking so good." They exchanged kisses on each other's cheeks.
"I'm great Mel and you're looking good, too. Your hair is beautiful and I haven't seen it braided like that for a long time. You really do look like a beautiful Indian Princess."
"So, this is Liam," she said as she stepped back from Jared. "Bit on the skinny side, isn't he?" She gave Liam a big smile and wrapped him in a big hug.
"Will you join us for dinner tonight, where we can talk openly? Not like around here," asked Jared.
"Of course I will, and I've already booked a booth at Pierre's place for 2000 hours. There is nobody else here right now anyway except us and the workmen. The medics just seemed to disappear for some reason," said Melanie with a smile. Melanie was watching the workers again and let out a holler which would raise the dead, "I told you that camera was to cover the dead spot over there! Adjust it before I kick your ass!"
The man on the ladder looked at her. "Take a pill, Cuz. I'll fix it."
"Take a pill? Take a pill? I am going to kick your ass like I have been for the past 20 years, you little rug rat," she ranted.
Liam laughed, "Another cousin? Is this a family business?"
Melanie turned to Liam and spoke, "Large family, really large, about half the reserve and most of them work for Bear Investments. Working keeps them out of trouble... especially with me as their boss."
Liam smiled and asked, "Is that where Dragon Lady comes from?"
Jared ducked and put both hands over his head. The man up the ladder said, "Oh shit," and then slid down the side, assuming a similar position to Jared behind the ladder.
The young worker called over to Jared, "Shit, did he just call her what I think he did?"
Jared lifted his head slightly, "Yes, he did. It's too bad, he was a good partner."
Liam was watching this and turned to look at Melanie. She had her hands on her hips, her shoulders squared with an angry look on her face. Her eyes appeared to be almost black.
She marched up to Liam and stood in front of him. Being shorter, she looked up at him. Liam was actually concerned about this lady now and tried to step backward, but she followed him. A couple of steps later, his back was against the ambulance they had parked and she was still in front of him.
"Who are you talking to, little man?" Melanie asked with ice in her voice. "I have chewed up and spit out bigger guys than you. You are a scrawny little twerp, no muscle of any size on those bones. Do you hear me?"
Liam's body was shaking by now. She turned her head and barked at the man installing the cameras. "If you are still on the ground by the time I walk over there, your ass is getting kicked!" she yelled. The man got up and climbed the ladder quickly.
Melanie looked at Jared, "You little asshole, Jared. Did you set him up or was it that good for nothing fat ass, Tyler? It was one of the two of you because none of your other friends have enough balls to do it."
Liam squeaked when speaking like he was going through puberty again. "Tyler, he told me. I didn't know," he stammered.
"You god damned college graduates are good for nothing. He didn't tell you that was my name in the Marines when I was a Drill Sergeant?"
"No, ma'am," Liam said.
"That's No Sir, you maggot,"
“I thought it was the Air Force? Sir!”
Melanie sputtered and couldn’t even get words out her mouth for a moment. “Air Force?! AIR FORCE?! This coming from an ambulance driver? Who told you that I was in the Air Force?”
Melanie yelled into his face. "Wait till I get my hands on his scrawny little ass," she said. She stepped back and then a smile spread on her face. Gone were the hardened facial expressions of a drill sergeant, replaced by a beautiful smile showing her teeth.
"You were set up, you little twerp," she said. Jared and the man on the ladder started laughing. Jared was laughing so hard, he fell over onto his back.
Liam looked at them for a moment, running everything through his mind again, and then said, "You are both assholes, including Tyler."
Melanie started laughing too. Liam just blushed. "You know, Jared, he's not a bad kid," said Melanie as she hugged Liam. She then added, "Let's go talk to Rob."
They headed to Rob's office where Mel knocked at the door while entering. Rob looked up, "Jared, Liam, you guys are finally here," he said with a smile. "Come in, come in and pull up a seat." They did so while Melanie was closing the door.
She turned and looked at Liam, raising her voice she barked at him, "You're in my chair, boy!" Liam jumped up and over one chair. She sat down like a delicate lady. Rob and Jared were snickering.
Rob looked at Liam and said, "You should see the crews running since she got here. If they weren't on a call, they were scrubbing the garage and the outside of the building. She told them they were making good money to work, not sit on their asses and watch TV. Not one of the units has returned after a call. They are all driving around or having coffee in the community. Melanie, if I wasn't married I would propose to you."
"Your ass is too small," she replied. "Small ass means small dick."
Everyone started to laugh.
"Let's get to business," said Melanie.
"She reviewed everything going on around the base. The cameras at the base would be finished in a couple of hours. They had been installing the cameras in the units when the crews were out doing some manual labor. Jared's was the last one to be finished. The cameras in the units would download to the server automatically when the unit was in the garage. The cameras in and around the base would be fed wirelessly. Rob would have a large screen added to his office which was a duplicate of what was being recorded. A fake computer and hard drive were going to be installed in Rob's office as a decoy if anyone wanted to cause problems.
"The investigators have been in place a few hours and have taped the crew, who were supposed to be sick, out cutting their lawns and doing other outdoor work. They have been meeting at Tim's house for the last couple of hours, drinking beer and boasting about what they were doing. The investigators have a parabolic mic recording everything the crew said outside in public. They have also been told to continue for another 48 hours so we have lots of material to use.
"Now that we know where they are, we've dispatched two of the security people with letters for each of the employees, advising them of the acknowledgment of their illness and informing them of the requirement for notes from their doctors covering the illness. The other condition of no pay for their sick days is to be included as well. The two security people are going in as meter readers. The meter is next to the deck and they will talk their way into the group. Actually, it should be happening right about now. They weren't sent out under Rob's signature from the ambulance service, they were on my letterhead and my signature as the Executive Assistant to the CEO/President.
"I've already contacted a headhunter organization and my old outfit in the Marines for an HR person and they should get back to me tomorrow. I've also posted an ad to hire five more paramedics with immediate start dates," said Melanie. "You are going to need replacements for your little group who will be fired.”
"Rob and I also reviewed the vehicle maintenance files and have ordered three new units for the base. One is extra and two replacements. We can sell the old units and I already have them listed. One of the new units is for you, Jared. As the new Paramedic Field Trainer, you will have dual stretchers with extra equipment for teaching purposes and to handle special situations."
"Wait one minute," said Jared. "I'm not the Paramedic Field Trainer."
"Yes, you are, as of this afternoon. I promoted you," said Rob with a smile.
"I didn't ask for that."
"No, you didn't," started Rob, "but after talking with Melanie, who agreed, it is delegating some of my own duties to someone who will do a good job. It's a done deal, Jared, or do I have to call the boss. He told me he trusted my decisions..."
"You've created a monster, Dragon Lady! You have made a good man into your evil apprentice," said Jared. "I'll do it, to help out Rob as long as Liam is still assigned as my partner."
"No problems, Jared. You can still have the little guy with you. Rob and I are going to go through the personnel files tomorrow and take a look at the employees here and learn about them. It's also time for some time-wasters to be cleaned out and replaced with good, enthusiastic people. Your shift is fine, Jared, but I am sure we are thinking of the same people on the night shift."
Liam asked, "Do I get a new job and title, too?"
Melanie looked at him and calmly replied, "Toilet Bitch, as you will be in charge of the washroom detail."
Liam gave her the finger.
"I really like this kid, Jared," said Melanie.
The meeting broke up after Jared told everyone what a great job they had done. He also thanked them for their hard work. Rob had commented if Melanie came down a couple of days every week, they wouldn't need an HR person.
Melanie told him not a chance of an ice cube surviving in hell, and he could go fuck himself while he was delivering the ice cube.
Jared and Liam went out to the ambulance bay and cleaned up their unit as well as washing it. The end of the shift came quickly. The crews returned about fifteen minutes before the end of their shift. When the new crew came in, there was a lot of talk about the ads for new paramedics, an HR person, and they had also heard from Timmy about being served with a letter. One of the staff asked if the lady who was terrorizing the day crew had gone home yet. Jared just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
Melanie came through the door and looked at the group. Before she could even say anything, they all scattered like rats off a sinking ship except for Jared and Liam. In seconds, not one of them were left in the ambulance bay or even within eyesight.
"Ready for dinner, Cuz?" she asked.
"We just have to change out of our uniforms," replied Jared.
"Can I come and watch? I want to check out that impressive package on Liam. He's cute enough to be on the light side," she said.
Liam blushed and ran for the change room. "He's still shy, Melanie," laughed Jared.
After getting changed, they grabbed a taxi over to Pierre's restaurant. They laughed and talked half the night, usually at Jared's expense. Melanie told stories about her and Jared growing up. She was older by six years so she helped their grandfather to look after him a lot.
Melanie spoke, "I think it is time to call it a night, guys. We have to work in the morning." After she paid the bill, they were standing inside the front door when Mel hugged each one of them and kissed them on the cheek. She then said, "Jared, don't let this one get away from you, he is cute."
The two of them looked at her in shock. They could hear Pierre burst into laughter around the corner in the hallway. Jared yelled around the corner to him, "Payback, you know what they say about that, don't you, Pierre. It goes like this... Payback is a Melanie!"
Jared's head moved as Melanie cuffed him. They left the restaurant and got into the taxis with one heading to the apartment and the other to Melanie's Hotel.
When the boys got back to the apartment, they tore each other's clothes off. There was a sense of urgency from both of them as they made love quickly but passionately. After they had both came, they fell asleep in each other's arms.
They took a taxi into work as they had left their vehicle at the base knowing they would be having a few drinks with supper. For the years they had both worked in Emergency Services, they had seen the dead or injured resulting from mixing having a good night and driving under the influence. Jared had vowed never to do it like his dad had done many times.
After Jared and Liam had changed into their uniforms and grabbed their radios, they went into the shift change room. The night crew and oncoming day crew were all there with Rob and Melanie at the front of the room. Jared and Liam quietly stayed in the back of the room.
Melanie noticed them but didn't acknowledge the two men joining the meeting. Rob was just finishing his speech and asked if anyone had questions. No one had any.
When there were no questions, Melanie spoke, "The CEO/President of the company has become very concerned about this location. Between the sudden illnesses, the thefts, and damages, he is concerned things like this could jeopardize our patient's safety or yours as a staff member. To make it crystal clear, he wanted me to make sure you understand he will not tolerate it. You are treated very well here with top wages and working conditions. In return, you are expected to perform your duties to the best of your abilities. If any of you don't like this, come see me after this meeting and I will personally hold the door for you to leave so it doesn't hit you in the ass. Questions?"
"That's intimidation and bullying," said one of the paramedics. Melanie looked at the group. "Whoever said that, please be an adult and stand. I will give you an honest answer."
No one moved. "Someone made a valid comment, please stand so I can answer it. I do not address anonymous comments, but I will answer an employee's valid question with the best answer I can give," said Melanie.
Slowly, Geoff got up and stood. "I made the comment," he said.
Melanie walked over so she was near to him. "Thank you for standing, I believe it is Geoff, isn't it?"
Geoff looked shocked and nodded his head.
"I went through everyone's personnel files yesterday to familiarize myself with you guys. Geoff, you have been here two years, right out of college which in turn was right out of high school. You had a couple of part-time jobs during school." She looked at the group and continued, "Geoff, it is a pleasure to meet you. You've been a good employee here and you had good marks in college as well. You've attended all training sessions here at the base and asked for more to improve yourself. You can sit down Geoff while I finish my speech," she said with a smile. He sat down with a very big smile on his face.
"Geoff asked the question some of you had on your mind. That shows leadership. He stood when I asked him and that shows maturity. Is what we are doing intimidation and bullying? I will tell you no. We are providing an essential service which puts your lives at risk as well as responding to life or death situations of our clients. We will not compromise that service and risk any person's health, safety, or life. The employer has the right to manage their business, and that's what we're doing. Most of you in this room are already doing your best for us, others could do better, and there may even be a person or two who is performing under the acceptable level. We will take time to help every person here to be the best they can be at this job... if you want it.
"Let me ask you this, people. Do you guys like covering for people who call in sick when you know they aren't? Gives you extra work and pisses you off, am I right?" She waited for the crowd to react. There were a few murmurs as a few people nodded their heads and whispered to the person next to them.
Melanie moved to one side of the table where she had seen some heads nodding. "Do you guys like it when someone doesn't show up for work and gives a chicken shit excuse because he partied too much or wants a day at the beach instead of using his vacation time?" The group was shaking heads at this and Melanie even heard 'no way' being murmured by a couple of them.
She moved to the other side of the group and looked directly at them. "How many of you guys work your ass off and know of someone coasting on the job and managing to avoid the work?" She had them eating out her hands now, as the group was getting louder with their agreement.
"Do you like it when you pick your unit up at the beginning of the shift and it wasn't cleaned, restocked, or filled up with gas without a good reason?"
Melanie had the crowd really eating out her hands now. They were even answering her out loud so they could be heard when she asked questions.
Melanie then stood at the front of the room and crossed her arms. "We have good people here working at this base. I am proud to have most of you as employees. This is a young person's job and most of you were like Geoff who never had a full-time job or previous experience when we hired him. We took a chance and gave Geoff and many of you the same chance. We believe in you and we are giving you the training and experience you wanted in return for you to provide us with your work. It is not bullying to expect twelve hours of work for twelve hours of pay. It is not bullying to expect you to be honest with us and not to abuse sick time. When you call in sick, the rest of your shift has to make up for the shortage and we could kill someone because we weren't able to respond! This ambulance service is part of a group of companies owned by a multi-million-dollar company run by a very smart man. He is committed to this service and will do anything to keep the good employees, but has also said to clean out the ones who do not measure up. The owner has a tremendous tolerance for mistakes, goofs, bad choices or bad decisions and even a few fuck ups. But he will never tolerate lying, cheating or doing anything which jeopardizes your or any patients' safety. You know what is expected of you and today it is a clean slate. Go forward from today and do your best job. Questions anyone?"
Geoff stood and started to applaud along with many of the others. The ones who remained seated were the ones already in Melanie's crosshairs from what she read about them in the files.
"Get the fuck out there and go to work, or go home and get to bed. Dismissed troops!" she yelled. A couple even answered, "Aye aye, sir." Melanie smiled at them. Both of their dads had been in the Marines and they had recognized the well-practiced technique Melanie had been using for leading the meeting.
Melanie and Rob mixed with the staff who remained while Jared and Liam stepped outside to listen to the comments being made by the staff after the speeches. Everything being said was positive and even a few 'About time they got Tim' comments were heard. The two of them had just finished their inventory when Rob came to the back of the ambulance and asked them to come to his office.
Rob closed the door and said to Jared, "Can we clone her?"
Liam and Jared looked horrified and said together, "God, I hope not, one is fucking hard enough to handle." They both got cuffed in the back of the head by Melanie as she snuck in behind them.
Rob then looked at the two and said, "We have enough people today to keep you guys together. We pulled some full-timers in with over time and backfilled them with the part-timers. You guys are floaters today as usual."
"Rob, we are going up to the hospital today and..." Jared explained what had happened with Conner and then Conner's family. The notification of the family's deaths would be done this morning with Jared and Liam's help. They thought the two of them could be tied up for a while.
Rob thought for a moment and then looked at Melanie. "You finished your time in the Medical Corps, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did, and I'm still a registered nurse/paramedic for the volunteer service on the reserve," replied Melanie.
Jared coughed and gagged.
Melanie looked at him and smiled. "I stand corrected, Rob. It is a well-paid volunteer ambulance service and although it is a community ambulance, Bear Investment Group provides funding and equipment to make it one of the best-equipped services in the country." She looked at Jared and said, "Good enough?"
He smiled back at her. "You look so cute when you're humble, Cuz."
She stuck her tongue out at him.
Rob broke in before the two cousins could continue their banter. "Let's get you out in the trenches for the morning, Mel. You and I will run floater to cover these two while they work with the kid who has lost so much," said Rob.
"I like the idea," said Melanie. "What have you got for me to wear?”
Liam mumbled, “Paper bag?”
The slap to the back of his head was so fast he didn’t even see Melanie do it. Jared laughed.
“Rob, maybe we can even have coffee with a couple of the crews and talk with them to find out what is really going on. Plus, it gets your fat ass out of the office and moving around," she said with a smirk.
Rob laughed, "At least my ass has some padding. Your hard ass clunks when you sit on a chair."
Melanie stood and looked at him and started laughing almost uncontrollably. "You're the first non-family member to stand up to me in years. Shit, it is too bad you're married, even with that small ass of yours."
They both laughed.
Jared leaned over to Liam and whispered, "I agree, a paper bag would help." Liam started giggling. Neither of them saw the hand which delivered the slaps to the back of their heads.
Rob was laughing. "You two, take the Supervisor's SUV to go to the hospital before Melanie quits toying with you and actually hurts you. Keep your radios on you in case all hell breaks loose, though. Finally, may God be with you this morning, and if there is anything we can do to help you, let me know," said Rob.
Melanie then spoke up, "I forgot, John said he would arrive after lunch. He can spend the afternoon with Rob and me, and then talk to you at your apartment over supper. He needs to leave in the morning by 1000 hours. I will get him to the crossover shift tomorrow and he can make whatever announcements he wants, such as your new job. I hope there is information from our investigators today which seals the fate of the four troublemakers."
Jared spoke, "Would you also remind John I want information on the 'church of the poison mind' where Conner had belonged." Melanie acknowledged by nodding her head to him.