It was 09.55pm on Wednesday and all was quiet for Captain Scarlet. He was in his room, annoyed he couldn’t join Captain Ochre on her latest mission on finding the missiles Russian insurgents had stolen. These men were nasty pieces of work, hell bent on killing anyone they thought didn’t share their own distorted ideal of their country. He also was upset that he couldn’t find all the presents he wanted to give Destiny for Christmas.
‘Well, it’s already the 22nd of December and all I have are two presents for Destiny. I didn’t have much time off lately and being stuck in here due to recovering from being “blown up”, it’s been difficult to get out and shop. I wonder how Adam’s been doing with Serena’s gifts.’ Scarlet sat on the edge of his bed looking at two lonely bags on his quarters’ floor. Scarlet was in his room resting as Doctor Gold ordered him a full week’s rest before considering him for any type of duty.
‘Adam and shopping,’ thought Scarlet. ‘Like chalk and cheese. Serena would be lucky to get a Christmas card!’
Scarlet lay back down and thought about what other things he could hopefully get for Destiny and when he can get back on duty.
In his office, Colonel White was reading the newest bestselling novel – about a man who was in charge of a Naval fleet and started to lose his mind after losing five of his best men, one of whom was his best friend and second-in-command.
Suddenly a message came up on his computer screen in front of him. It was Lieutenant Green. The colonel pressed the Enter key on his keyboard.
“Sir, I’m sorry, but it’s Captain Ochre. I think she might be in trouble. I’ve just spoken to her and just as she was about to update me on the whereabouts of the case of the stolen missiles, I heard a gunshot in the background, then it went dead.”
“Where was she?” the colonel asked in concern.
“About sixteen miles from a town called Rustia, in Russia, Colonel.”
“Ok, Lieutenant. Get Captain Blue and Melody Angel, I’m on my way.”
Green contacted Blue and Melody. Colonel White was already in the control room, waiting for them, when they arrived.
“Captain, Angel, we have a code red with Captain Ochre. She last contacted us about fifteen minutes ago. Before she could update us, Lieutenant Green heard a gunshot in the background then communications were cut. I want both of you to fly to Rustia, Russia, her last location, and see what is going on.”
“Yes, sir,” they both said, standing to attention.
Blue was worried she might have been kidnapped or worse, but knew Ochre could look after herself.
“Good luck and I want all three of you to come back safely!”
Captain Blue and Melody Angel were getting on board the Albatross when the colonel called Blue on his Spectra-Tech.
“Colonel? When, sir? Ok, Colonel. I hope she can. Is there anything to indicate she’s alive?”
Melody was listening to everything Blue was saying.
“Ok, sir. If it is, then they will pay for that. Thank you, sir.” Blue shut his communication device and turned to Melody.
“Well?” she said looking at him with those space black eyes.
“There’s been some footage come through on Ochre’s Spectra-Tech. It shows some views of what looks like a very damaged, abandoned building and the name of it,” Blue said. “The image is not clear, so Green’s trying to improve it right now, so she’ll be able to read the name,” Blue explained. “There is a female voice talking very quietly. Green’s also trying to improve the quality of the sound to hear what’s being said. It has to be Ochre! There’s no one else in the short footage,” he finished, feeling better.
Once they sat down and strapped in, the Albatross took off for the town of Rustia, Russia.
Lying on the floor of the small room she had been locked in, with her wrists and ankles tied up with Ty Rap straps, Captain Ochre was trying to cut through the bonds holding her hands with a sharp bit of glass she had found near her, revealed by a bright light beaming through a small broken window.
As she finally was able to free herself, she started work on the bonds of her ankles, looking around, when she heard the rattling of the door handle that led into her dusty, abandoned prison. The plastic strap snapped at that moment, and she pretended she was still tied up, when one of the three men who had kidnapped her opened the old creaky door and walked up to her with a big gun.
“You’re coming with me, and my boss will discuss the terms of your... life!” the man said in quite good English.
As he got right up to her, she kicked him in the groin; groaning, he fell to his knees, and he dropped the gun. Ochre quickly grabbed the weapon, got up and aimed it at his head.
“Thought you could hold me and tell me what to do? I don’t think so!”
She kicked him in the head and tied him up with some Ty Rap straps she found on him.
She zipped her jacket up to the top as she was getting rather cold. Then she ran to the door, gun at the ready.
‘God, I hope Skybase got my video,’ she thought. She slowly opened the door, checking that no one else was around and walked out of the room and to her right, down a badly lit corridor. She heard footsteps but couldn’t quite tell where they were coming from until she heard the voices speaking in Russian and hid behind a big greyish statue. From there, she saw the two other men who had captured her. She had no idea where she was, but wasn’t going to hang around to ask those lovely men!
The snow covered the whole landscape. It looked amazing from up high. The Albatross landed about two miles from the town of Rustia on a flat field. Blue and Melody had their cold weather gear on and carried a rucksack with them. They climbed into the Rhino and drove off the Albatross.
“I just hope we’ll find some indications of where she could be,” Blue said looking hard into the screen. “Maybe she was able to leave a clue behind her?”
“Let’s go find out,” Melody Angel replied. “Where do we start?”
“The coordinates she gave on her last report,” Blue said. “Before she called again to give updates on her investigation and was... ahh, interrupted.”
Ochre saw the two men enter the room she had just left, and she came out from behind the statue to continue down the corridor. A few minutes passed and she eventually saw rays of light coming through gaps from a door that was hanging only by one hinge. She pulled it back, hoping it wouldn’t fall off and make a loud noise, checking behind her to see if no one had found her. The coast was clear. Ochre walked out of the run-down building, and into the freezing temperature and thick white snow that covered the ground. Once her eyes sorted themselves out, she could see that she was in a vast snow-covered town; a small settlement at that, by what she could see. Ochre knew straight away that she wasn’t in Rustia anymore, but she had no idea what this place could be or how far away from her latest location.
She walked around, keeping her eyes open for the kidnappers or anyone else.
Blue and Melody were about half a mile from Rustia when Blue stopped the Rhino, at the approximate location Captain Ochre had given on her last complete report. He zoomed his screen image around the town and noticed two big trucks parked outside a building. He could see the back of one of them was open.
“Looks like the place she was investigating,” said Blue. “I can’t see anyone. I’m guessing they are holding the missiles here. Oh, wait a minute; I can see two men… They’re pulling something out… It’s the missiles!” He turned to Melody excitedly. “She did find them!”
Melody contacted base, using the Rhino’s onboard radio. “Melody Angel to Skybase.”
“Come in, Melody Angel,” said the voice of Colonel White.
“We’ve found two trucks, sir. Captain Ochre had found the missiles. we’ve just seen someone pulling one out from the back of one of a truck. We don’t know whether Ochre is still here. No building around fits the description of the building seen on the video she sent.”
“I might be able to help you with that. Lieutenant Green has improved the image of the footage received by Captain Ochre’s Spectra-Tech. The building is named ‘Old Dog’. Green searched the name and it was a company that made dog food for the Russian police dog unit years ago. It’s in a small settlement, about ten miles west of your present location. Lieutenant Green’s sending you the details now.”
“S.I.G., sir. What about the missiles?”
“Don’t worry about the missiles. I’m sending a task force at your location. Rhapsody Angel will escort them, and will provide back up. They’ll be there in ten minutes. I want you to find Captain Ochre.”
“S.I.G., sir, Melody out.” Melody cut communication.
“Right, here is the information,” Melody said. Blue looked at the image displayed on the onboard screen.
“It’s a wreck of a building!” he said, amazed it was still standing.
“Here’s the co-ordinates,” Melody added.
Blue typed them in, waited a few seconds, then drove off at typical Blue speed.
Ochre was looking inside the window of a house and it was just dust and ‘past it’ furniture like the rest of the buildings she’d seen so far. It looked like everyone had left the settlement many years ago. Just then, she heard a rumbling sound, and darted inside the house – which had no front door to speak of – to hide from view. The rumble got louder until she realised it was an approaching truck. She took her gun from her holster and put it to her chest. The truck got nearer and nearer, so she made sure she was well hidden by kneeling under the window. The pace of the truck suggested the driver was looking for her. As it went past her hiding place, she stood up and sneaked round the door. She saw no one and then looked at the truck as it drove away.
She recognised it as one of the trucks carrying the stolen missiles.
“Right, here’s the place. It looks like it’s been deserted for ages!” Blue stopped the Rhino not far from the small abandoned settlement. “Let’s go find Ochre.”
They opened the doors and both got out with their guns drawn.
Blue and Melody quickly found the building they were looking for. As they got nearer to it, Melody saw someone standing by a door; it was a man with a gun.
“Look!” she said, pointing at him.
“Yeah, I saw him. He’s obviously guarding something. Or someone?”
“Ochre you think?”
“She must still be in there?” Blue scrutinized the rest of that side of the building. Just then, they both heard a noise. It sounded like an approaching truck and as it got nearer, they realised it was just like one of those they saw earlier in Rustia.
“Well, well, well. How did you get here so quick?” Blue wondered.
“It must have left when we were looking at the info from Green,” Melody suggested.
“It can’t have. I would have seen it leave on the screen. It must be another.”
“We’ll worry about that later, Blue. We must get Ochre!” Melody looked round, and a plan came to her mind.
“See that mountain of snow over to your right?”
“When that bloke isn’t looking our way, run and hide behind it. You should be able to shoot him from there.”
“S.I.G.,” said Blue.
He waited for the guard to look the other way. When he did, Blue ran low to the ground and hid behind the mount of snow. He set his gun to stun and waited for the right moment. When he got his shot, he fired and hit his target.
“Bingo!” Blue said to himself, watching the man fall to the ground. However, if he had hoped the operation would go that smoothly, he was mistaken: just then, two other men ran to their fallen companion, appearing out of nowhere. At the same time, the truck pulled up behind them.
“Damn! I think will have to shoot our way to get Elaine,” Melody muttered to herself.
One of the two men ran towards the mountain of snow behind which the two Spectrum officers were hiding. Thankfully for Captain Blue and Melody, the gunman ran around the side of the building as there were a couple of good hiding places for Captain Ochre to hide in. He didn’t see any of them.
The other man other ran to the truck driver and asked whether he’d found their escaped prisoner. The driver answered with a negative shake of his head, as his accomplice, still talking to him, didn’t noticed Ochre sneaking up behind him. She took him out with a hard blow to the head with the butt of her gun. The man fell down and landed heavily in the snow, unconscious. The driver jumped out of the truck and was then joined by the other gunman who aimed his gun at Ochre’s head. Ochre aimed her gun at them.
“There she is!” Blue said in an excited tone. “Let’s put these guys to sleep!”
Melody turned her gun to stun, and they ran out and started firing. Captain Ochre shot the one threatening her in the head, whilst Captain Blue and Melody fired at the two remaining Russians, who were now firing at them. Neither Blue nor Melody were hit and because they were better shooters, the two men fell to the ground.
“Thanks guys!” Ochre said smiling.
Blue lowered his gun. “Good to see you’re alive. You ok?” he asked, watching to see if anyone else appeared. Then he went towards her.
“Yeah, I’m fine, Adam. Could do with a nice hot shower though!”
Whilst they were talking, a helicopter flew towards them; it was a Hummingbird. The team covered their faces and waited for it to land. It picked up so much snow from the blades, and they almost turned into snowmen.
After the craft landed, Purple and Grey came out.
“Hey, Ochre!” shouted Grey. “Good to see you’re alive and in one piece.”
Just as Grey was about to say something else, Purple got his gun out and aimed it Ochre’s way. “GET DOWN, OCHRE!”
She did and so did the other three by instinct. Purple fired his gun and hit a man who stood behind Ochre. Everyone looked at the dead man on the ground, a gun sliding out his hand
“Thanks, Damian!” Ochre said with relief. “I guess you just saved my hide here.”
”Where was he hiding?” said Melody.
“It looked like he came from behind the truck,” Purple replied.
Ochre got her gun and along with Purple, they checked around and inside the truck. There was no-one else – and nothing either: there were no missiles in the back.
“This truck is empty,” Ochre said, walking back to her colleagues
“Were there two trucks when you lot arrived in Rustia?” Blue enquired to Grey.
“Yeah, there were,” Grey answered.
“So, where’s this third one come from?” asked Ochre. “I never saw three trucks when I was there.”
“I don’t know. Maybe it was hiding somewhere. It’s probably used as a decoy,” Grey replied.
“Oh, that would make sense,” Ochre realised. “Just in case someone is tailing you, you use the decoy for them to follow and the drivers carrying the missiles would just drive off to their destination.”
“Exactly,” smiled Grey.
“What happened when you arrived?” Blue asked him.
”Well, we got all four of the Russian thieves,” Grey explained. “Two tried to escape but we stunned them and handcuffed them. The colonel contacted the Russian military to tell them to come and collect their stolen missiles, whilst Orange, Magenta and Rhapsody flew the four thieves to Russian custody in the second Hummingbird.”
“Wish I was there!” Ochre said angrily. “But they found out I was checking them out when the sun reflected light on my binoculars. Oh, well.”
“I think we should check the rest of the place and round them all up before we go home. I don’t want any more surprises, thank you!” said Blue.
“Yup, I agree. Let’s wrap this up quickly,” Ochre said. “It’s too darn cold to hang around any longer than we have to.”
Once they handcuffed the Russians that weren’t killed, they checked the rest of the place out and found no other living soul.
A few hours later, the team arrived back on Skybase; they changed into their regular uniform, and went to report to Colonel White.
“Well, it’s safe to say the Russian insurgents will not be stealing missiles or any other weapon again, as they will be put on trial,” the colonel said with a smile.
“What were they going to be used for, sir, do you know?” asked Rhapsody.
“Yes, I do. The Russian government think their new building and science laboratory were going to be targeted. Thankfully, these men didn’t get that far.” White paused for a moment, before adding: “You all did a fantastic job today. You helped stop a disaster from happening. As it is very close to Christmas, I think you have a few things to do to get ready for it. Anyone who needs to do a spot of Christmas shopping can have a day, starting tomorrow, to do so. As long as you’re not all going all at once!” Just as he said that, Captain Scarlet walked in.
“Hi, Paul, how you feeling?” Blue said, smiling to his friend.
“Oh, much better, thanks,” Scarlet answered. “I seem to have missed all the action in Russia. Did I hear there will be a Christmas shopping day? That would be nice. I want to get a few more things this Christmas.”
Ochre and Rhapsody were all excited about it. They loved buying presents for their friends and boss. All Blue had to do was think what to get something nice for Serena. But shopping wasn’t exactly his strong point.
Three days had passed and they did one more mission on Christmas Eve.
The members of the team were sitting around the Christmas tree, which was decorated with coloured lights, lots of shimmering tinsel and plenty of other decorations. They each had a glass of orange juice.
They started opening their presents. Destiny got CDs and a new pair of PJ’s from Scarlet. She gave him a new pair of running shoes and a t-shirt saying ‘Tall, dark and indestructible, what more do you want?’ Surprised, Scarlet looked at Destiny and then smiled.
“Exactly,” she said, winking at him. Paul’s smile got bigger.
When Blue opened his box, he was to find a brand new watch. It was bullet proof. Which, for a Spectrum officer, was perfect. Blue looked at the back and saw something written on it:
‘To Adam, lots of love, Serena. XX.’
Blue looked at her in surprise but was glad she wrote it. He loved the present.
Serena opened her present. It was a picture of her and her dad in a real silver frame. She loved it so much. It was a lovely thought from Adam. She looked at him and her eyes started watering.
The others opened their gifts, and then waited for Colonel White to open his.
It was a largish sized parcel. He opened it and saw another box inside. He opened the other box, and discovered what looked like a television screen. He looked at it closely and realised it was a digital photo frame. He turned it on and used the buttons on the screen to flick through the pictures of his family that had already been loaded by Lieutenant Green. The colonel thought it was different but really liked it.
He put his present down, picked up his glass and said, “Merry Christmas, everyone!”
They all drank to that.
This story was beta-read by the Spectrum Headquarters panel.
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