What you recognize I don't own, has the same title as last story but more expanded and different name asterisks denote foreign languages

well there was a major forest fire in Brazil due to severe lightning storms recently. The dry season had only exasperated the problem. Brazil had called for help and had been answered. America herself sent five forest fire companies and they couldn't do much against the fire. The Brazilian government had resigned themselves to containing the fire until ti burned itself out and they were thankful for the Rescue Heroes being there to help evacuate and contain the blaze

"how are things in your area Mary?"

"we're good Billy area's evacuated"

"good and how's Ariel doing?"

"she's complaining that she doesn't have enough water dumpers to handle the blaze"

"well she'll just have to manage with what she's got"

"right, well so far things are under control all things considered because she also managed to evacuate her area"

"that's good, how's the team classifying this fire anyways?"

"they all say it's a class eight fire, but according to my readings it's only a class seven, having jumped from a class five only twenty-four hours ago when we arrived"

"we'll go with your readings Mary keep me updated on the situation"

"right, hey Billy the wind's shifted your way you guys should move"

"we're on it"

and so they move

"hey Mary we're about as far as we can get right now, where's the water to help contain the fire?"

"it should be on it's way Billy Ariel just got some more water in her tanks not long ago"

"right"

and so for three more days they stayed and kept an eye on things but finally the fire burned itself out and the team went back to the MACC. Two weeks later Ariel was walking just doing some routine cleaning when suddenly she tripped

"what did I just trip on?"

"sorry Mary those were medical supplies that just came in this morning"

"haven't gotten a chance to move them yet?"

"no but I was wondering why you didn't notice them. Oh by the way Dr. Morrison called asking for you"

"oh I didn't realize it was that time of the year already"

"Mary I've worked with Dr. Morrison before and he's an..."

"look Matt if you want answers you're going to have to go to Billy because I don't want to talk about it but he has my full permission to discuss it with you and anyone else he feels needs to know"

and so Mary leaves for Dr. Morrison's office while Matt went to find Billy to find out why Mary needed to see an Ophthalmologist/Optometrist

"hey Billy why does Mary need to see Dr. Morrison"

"is that where she is?"

"well she's on her way anyways but that doesn't answer my question"

"it happened about two years ago when you went on your year sabbatical, about a month after you left we went to a rescue and that's how it happened"

two years ago

"hey guys we have a problem"

"what's wrong Ariel?"

"there's been an oil spill not to far from here, if it mixes with the water from the dam and the dam breaks it will cost a lot more to clean up the damage"

"we're working on it Ariel, but at some point we're going to have to call it and get those people to water proof areas"

well finally they had done all they could and had to get to shelter themselves, having failed in stopping the oil from mixing in with the water

"wait I have to go back, my two kids are out there, my daughter is deaf and while my son can hear the sirens they were out in the woodland park"

"I'll get them don't worry you stay here with the rest of the Rescue Heroes"

and so Mary gets to the kids just in time to get masks over them but she took the full brunt of the attack. At a break in the swell when she was above water she managed to get a mask on herself. Finally it was safe to start looking and fortunately two miles out they found them fairly easily. Part of that was because they were stuck in a tree but another part was because Mary had emphasized to the kids that they had to stay put if they wanted to be found

"hey Mary the kids are okay so you can look at me now"

"I can't Billy"

"Mary the kids are safe"

"Billy I can't...I'm blind"

and with that Mary looks at Billy with grey sightless eyes. They were all checked at the hospital and it was discovered that the oil had damaged her eyes causing the blindness

"there is an experimental procedure that could help you regain your eyesight but there are risks"

"if there's a chance I can see again I'll take it"

"all right you'll have the surgery in two weeks"

and so two weeks later she has the surgery. She recovers for another two weeks and then the bandages are taken off

"it didn't work I'm still blind"

"there's still a small chance that you'll regain your sight someday as your eyes heal from the damage. For now though if you want to remain a Rescue Hero you're going to have to go through intense occupational therapy"

he takes Billy outside to talk to him privately

"I was wondering if we could live at the MACC during her therapy"

"of course"

and so they go back in

"I understand that you're an avid rock climber which means your sense of touch is a bit more sensitive than most people. That's a good thing but we're going to be honing that sense even more as it will be vital to your survival, I won't lie to you this isn't going to be easy but if you want to be a Rescue Hero again you're going to have to work hard"

"don't worry I will"

and so for eleven months Mary works hard to be able to get around the MACC without a cane or a special device that had originally been made for more detail in situations but had been modified to explain to Mary what she should be seeing around her. The doctor was gone by the time Matt came back from his sabbatical and seeing as how he hadn't had a reason to see Mary he had no idea she was blind

present

"and that's basically the story Matt"

"wow she's amazing"

"that she is"

meanwhile Mary was at the office a bit shaken up after having a near accident on the way in

"so how are you doing Mary"

"a bit shaken up doctor"

"what for?"

"because on the way here I was almost in an accident because I regained my eyesight for about a minute and it was a bit disconcerting"

half an hour later Mary was finished and no closer to finding out a new procedure or anything else though she was told that the eyesight thing could have been a one time thing or it could happen at random and the times would vary in length

"so how are things in regards to your eyes Mary?"

"well I actually had a scare on the road but other than that no knew treatments and my eyes seem to be holding pretty steady right now"

"what scare?"

"I had a brief moment of vision Billy, but Dr. Morrison said not to expect it to happen again or if it does don't expect it to last for long periods of time"

"understood, for now let's just get back to routine, oh and Matt knows the story now"

"understood Billy hopefully that means he won't casually leave things laying around anymore"

well three weeks later there was an emergency in the Swiss Alps in regards to a train. During the evacuation period Mary felt the train move underneath her and had to use her rock climbing equipment to keep herself safe. Once on the line to be lifted into the air Mary did a scan and realized the rope was fraying underneath all the weight it was under

"Ariel, tell Billy it wasn't his fault, I made the choice"

Ariel looks down just in time to see Mary cut the rope just above her and fall into the mist below

"Rescue Hero down! Rescue Hero down!"

"what's wrong Ariel?"

"it's Mary, she just, I mean I saw Mary I mean..."

"Ariel calm down and tell me what happened"

"Mary just cut herself off the rope and fell into the mist below"

(sighs) "very well I'll tell Billy when we get back"

and so they head back to the MACC to report in on the mission

"so how did everything go?"

"all survivors are either at their homes or in hotels waiting for flights home"

"where's Mary?"

but instead of Wendy telling Billy as was planned Ariel responded in a monotone voice

"dead, she cut herself away from the rope as it was starting to fray even though we had enough time to get her in the plane she cut herself off instead she also had a message for you 'it wasn't his fault, I made the choice' those were her final words before she cut the rope"

"understood Ariel your off until further notice, Wendy I'll need your help to alert the rest of the Rescue Heroes about the loss of Mary"

"yes sir"

and so that's exactly what they do. Meanwhile Mary had been found and taken to the local hospital where it was found she needed higher level care than what that hospital could offer so she was transferred as soon as she was stable enough. Three days later the Rescue Heroes had a funeral for Mary while half way across the world Mary was declared to be in a coma. At the hospital where Mary was in a coma

*hopefully she'll wake up soon with her memory in tact but if not the government will help us take care of her until such a time that she can take care of herself*

*and if she has amnesia?*

*then we hope she can be easily retrained and also hope that one day she'll regain her memory*

*doctor the news is showing the funeral for the Rescue Hero recently killed in action*

*come on let's pay our respects, as I'm sure mountain rescue is doing at this very moment*

meanwhile at the funeral the team was solemn but stood firm

"we'll miss you Mary, but we'll keep rescuing people no matter what because that's our jobs, it's the risk we all signed up for when we chose to become a Rescue Hero"

and so they bury her and then head back to the MACC to continue the mission of saving lives whenever possible as they knew Mary would want it. For a year while Mary was in a coma she was in her own little world not really aware of what was going on around her. In her own world she had never been blinded which meant that her sense of touch was not as sensitive as in the real world but no one was questioning Billy about her staying on as a Rescue Hero. She was also well on her way to being a district leader as she had shown excellent leadership skills. For the Rescue Heroes it was much tougher, many in the media questioned Billy about Mary being sent on such a dangerous mission and if her blindness had finally affected her decision making. It had been discovered through computer simulations though that Mary had made the right call because if she hadn't cut the rope, instead of it holding like Ariel thought it would, she and at least three other people would have fallen to their deaths. No one believed the reports though at first because it came from the Rescue Heroes, but after an independent study group did the same experiments and produced the same results they weren't as many questions. Another change was that they never left anything lying around and if there was either the person who left it was told to pick it up or the person who had discovered the object moved it themselves, it was there way of remembering Mary. They also had a hard time getting into a pseudo state of normalcy and getting that far had taken three months

three months after Mary's funeral

"there's an oil fire in Texas, looks like the locals could use a hand"

"all right get Ariel Flier and Wendy Waters to the scene, and also try to alert Rescue Heroes in the area"

and so they get there and start planning, and they succeeded in helping put out the fire. What no one had initially noticed was that it was the first time in three months that they hadn't automatically asked for Mary's opinion about something. It was mentioned back at the MACC

"hey Wendy I was just re-listening to the radio communication and not one word was mentioned of Mary"

"you're right, maybe we're finally getting used to the fact that she's dead and won't answer to any of our questions"

"maybe, but no matter what she'll be missed and remembered by us for as long as we live"

"you're right about that"

present

and so they continued doing rescues and not asking for Mary during missions but they would always take some time during the week to review missions and imagine what Mary might have suggested to help them in the mission should she have been deployed. Meanwhile Mary had finally woken up from the coma and it was quickly established that she only spoke English

"what is the last thing you remember before you wound up in a coma?"

"not much I remember falling but not what caused the fall in the first place"

"understood is there anyone you can call or is that your only memory?"

"actually I'm a Rescue Hero so I need to report in"

"wait you're a Rescue Hero?"

"yes, what of it?"

"doctor do you remember how we watched the funeral of a Rescue Hero a year ago, after they had been killed in the line of duty?"

"actually I do, I think they said something about a fall in the report of her death and it was an empty casket because of no body"

well hearing all of that actually triggers Mary's memories and she finally remembered how she had fallen and wound up in the coma

"that's right! I was being lifted into the plane after having rescued all the passengers on the train when suddenly I discovered that the rope was fraying and I cut myself away from the rope to give the rest a chance to survive"

"wait so you're the Rescue Hero they failed to save?"

"yes I need to call the MACC and let them know I wasn't killed but in a coma instead"

and so the doctor's leave while Mary makes the call

"Mary to MACC, Mary to MACC come in please"

"this is Jake Justice, Mary is dead"

well Mary tries a few more times but fails, she then makes a decision that would impact the rest of the Rescue Heroes in a big way

"could you guys see if the Swiss Alps are open for the season? I want to do some skiing before I head home"

"sure anything else?"

"tell me what flights are available because I'm blind"

"that reminds me you were found with sunglasses, a broken device and a cane meant for the blind"

"that's my equipment that I'm required to have, so my special device is broken huh? Oh well I can still ski since I know those trails like no one else, plus I know how to fix the device"

"even though it was smashed to pieces?"

"yep, I was taught just in case"

and so she starts repairing the device by feel and actually got a surprising hand with her vision working again for about twenty minutes. By the time the device was fixed she found out that the best ski resort was open and they had gotten her tickets for a flight in a few days

"the reason we decided to wait a few days was because we need to make sure you're strong enough to walk about and actually manage to be okay on your own, after all you were in a coma for a year"

"understood doctors understood"

and so a few days later she was actually medically cleared to leave and leave she did. Once in the Swiss Alps she started enjoying her vacation and also hoped that she would be able to find a Rescue Hero and through them convince the rest of the team that she was actually alive. Three days into the vacation she would get her chance. She had been eating lunch along side a mountain rescue person when suddenly a call came over his radio that stated that there had been a major avalanche on a popular ski slope and that many had been caught in the avalanche as well as a nearby town

"I'm on my way"

"I'll help you, keep the change"

and so Mary quickly grabs her bag and gets on her skis and starts heading towards the avalanche sight along with the ski patrol who asked why she was helping

"it's part of my nature not to mention my job, I'm a Rescue Hero, but my team thinks I'm dead so I came here during the season to hopefully be able to meet them in person to convince them it's me, not to mention I needed to make sure I'm fit and still able to do my job so I came here to test myself and this rescue mission is the perfect thing to accomplish the two goals at once"

"so you're the Rescue Hero killed in the line of duty a year ago"

"except I wasn't actually dead, instead I wound up in a coma"

"that bag have all your equipment?"

"yes you see I'm an avid rock climber and as a Rescue Hero I understand that trouble can happen in an instant which is why I always have some basic supplies along with my rock climbing gear"

"good thing too"

and so they get to the sight and Mary brings out a special Rescue Hero device that allows her to scan underneath the snow, she also heard the dogs working as well. Not too much later she actually got in touch with her team who were very surprised and glad to see her alive. Once they had found all the survivors and the dead she and the team caught up with each other

"so you were in a coma for a year while we thought you were dead"

"exactly Billy and when I tried reporting in Jack didn't listen to me but I understand why"

"and you came here during open season because you figured we'd be called here eventually so you'd be able to meet up with us again"

"yes it also was a way of making sure that I was back in shape after being in a bed for a solid year"

"well for now we're going home"

"agreed sir, agreed"

and so that's exactly what they do they go back to the MACC and Mary is checked out by Matt Medic and Dr. Morrison who stated that her eyes were as healed as they would ever get unfortunately, which meant that she could only hope for sporadic eyesight until her death and Matt declared her physically fit for duty stating that while she had been in a coma and had lost some muscle mass, due to the fact that she had been exercising all her life the loss wasn't as severe a loss as it could have been

"what's next Mary?"

"I start off on easy rescues and go from there, hopefully I can get in some good rescues before I have to reveal myself to the media"

"sounds like a plan, okay for now you need to do some simulation training so that we know exactly what you remember and what needs to be refreshed"

and so she goes through a simulation and sees that she did need refreshed a lot more than she had originally thought she would need to be refreshed. Over the next two weeks she trained hard and got back into shape and soon started to take part in rescues again. It would take three months before the media was aware of her being alive and part of rescues again

"what's the blind person doing here?"

"she's a Rescue Hero just like any of us, she's been trained properly and certified for our type of rescues I'd suggest showing her some respect"

"she'll probably get herself and others killed because of her disability, it almost happened last time, even if your reports state that the cable had been pushed beyond it's limits"

"look you may not like it but she's part of the team so leave her be is that understood?"

"crystal"

Mary continued the mission no problems and easily reestablished herself as a Rescue Hero that was seen in public during emergencies. Over the next several years Mary would rise in rank to be Billy's replacement when he died, not just because it was stated in his will but because the rest of the Rescue Hero team trusted her to do as good a job as Billy had done