ALL THE COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW
A Captain Scarlet Novel
The London Head Quarter of the Universal Secret Service, British Section.
Colonel Conrad Turner, of the World Space Patrol, has an appointment with the chief commander of the World Intelligence Network, Charles Gray, in his office. The two men have important matters to discuss, over to course of action of a new World Government project they’re both closely involved with.
As far as Gray is concerned, things don’t get so smoothly as his friend seems to thing.
“You got to be kidding!” he exclaims at one moment of the conversation.
“Come on, Charles, it can be that bad!” is Turner quiet response. “ You know these men were specially handpicked by the members of the Committee, just like you and I. They’re the best there is!”
Gray shows to Turner a tick piece of paper documents that he just had picked up from a folder on his desk: “One could dispute their choice, Conrad! I’d wish the Committee had consulted with me before deciding to make up that list…”
“I don’t see why they should have contacted you, Charles.” An amused Turner replied. “ Why, with your temper, you would have dismissed half of the names on that list…”
“As I would!” Gray almost exclaims. Then he mumbles: “Well, no… maybe not half of it.”
“Ah! You see that it’s not so dramatic as your tend to think.”
“You have seen the list…” Gray still mumbles.
Turner sighs. “Yes, just prior to my departure in space, some weeks ago.”
Gray seems to notice at this instant the tired look in Turner’s face. He calms down a little, even seems unsettled by his outburst.
“I have almost forget… Since when did you return?”
“Well, you certainly worked fast!” Gray remarks with a look of surprise.
“There was a lot done when I arrived up there, you know.” Turner explained. “All the material had already arrived at the satellite, and the men had begun the assembling. “
“You’re sure that base will be…” Gray asks suspiciously.
Turner interrupts him abruptly. “Safe? You shouldn’t concern yourself with that! You know I personally supervise its construction in space. And I took it down myself in the atmosphere, once it was finished. She’s sitting now, quietly, at forty thousand feet above Earth. “ He smiles tiredly. “She’s a beauty, Charles. You’ll fall in love with her.”
“Well, if you say so…”
“I know so. I’d dare say she was made especially for you, ‘Admiral’.”
Gray raises an eyebrow. “Oh? How so?”
“Well, she looks a little like a carrier, except…”
“Except it’s floating forty thousands feet up in the air, instead of sitting above the sea.”
Turner looks at him, with an amusingly suspicious look. “Why, Admiral! One would think that you are afraid!”
Gray scoffs. “Afraid? Don’t be ridiculous! And stop calling me ‘Admiral’. It’s a long time away from me, now.”
Turner salutes him mockingly. “Yes, sir.”
“Joke all you like for now, Conrad.” Gray says smiling lightly. “Once this thing is all taken care off and done, you won’t have the chance anymore!”
“Well, be sure that working under your orders will be my privilege, Charles.”
“And it will be mine to take command of your…” He pauses a second, then frowns. “How it this base called, anyway?”
“Cloudbase.” Gray repeats thoughtfully. He doesn’t seem to notice that Turner had called him ‘Admiral’ again. “Well, the name sure fits it well. It is operational?”
“Perfectly so.” Turner assures him. “It will give us all the manoeuvrability our new organisation will need. And since it won’t be located in any country in the world…”
“It will not be used for political interest for anybody.” Gray nods. “And this organisation will serve the entire World…”
“As it is intended to.”
“Yes, quite. Your personal dream seems to take form, Conrad.”
Turner smiles again. “So, Charles, you don’t have seconds thoughts after all?”
“I’d never had second thoughts!” Gray protests. “When the Committee called on me and told me that I had been chose to be the commander-in-chief of this new organisation… Well, I just knew I would find in this a new way of doing something really good. And special.”
“You’re echoing exactly my thoughts, Admiral.” Turner then frowns. “But you have some reserve, is it not?”
“Yes.” Gray says. “About some of the men named in that list.”
“Well”, Turner sighs”, do tell me what preoccupy you.”
“The names on that list are those of the men that should compose the senior staff of field agents of our new organisation.” Gray says shaking his head. “Now, you said you saw the list… So you know of the candidates the Committee has finally chosen…”
“Very carefully at that.” Turner nods. “This is their definite list, is it not?”
“Maybe it should be revised…” Gray grumbles again.
“Hand it to me, will you?” Gray hands the thick document to Turner, who consults it for a moment, before looking up to Gray once more. “What’s the matter, Charles? Not enough Brits for your ego?”
“Oh! Do stop joking!” Gray says with an exasperated gesture. “That’s not the problem and you should know it! Some of those men don’t even have military background… I think this should have been a prerogative.”
Turner looks back at the list. “Permit me not to agree with you… Yes, Richard Fraser might not have done a military service, but you got to admit he’s done a marvellous job in the World Government Police.”
“One of them is even a known criminal…” Gray continues.
“Yes, I think we should keep an eye on Mister Patrick Donaghue. Though I fully expect him to adept perfectly. His psychological profile indicates that he could be totally trustworthy.”
“… And there’s even a kid in the lot!”
Turner looks at his friend, smiling maliciously. “You’re referring to Seymour Griffiths, I think? Don’t worry, he won’t even be a field agent.”
That’s exactly the problem.” Gray mumbles again. “ The Committee has chosen a twenty-four years old kid to be my aid and my communication officer!”
“This kid may astound you, Charles.” Turner replies somewhat abruptly. “ He’s a real wizard when it comes to computer, communication, and such. I’ve heard only praises of him, from the WASP. You know he is the chief of communication at the Marineville Tower Control? Bradley Holden has personally vouched for him. You should forget Griffiths’ age and give him a break.” He smiles. “Who knows? He may even grow on you.”
Gray dismisses that notion with a shrug.
“Well, we will see about that.” He says. “ All right, I’m willing to give him a try.”
“Good for you, Admiral.” Turner consults the list once again. Do you have anything else to say about the names appearing on that?”
“I was thinking of Fraser… Is he really thinking of leaving the World Police? As you said, he’s doing a great job, there… As I know, he’s already refuse the promotion for supreme commander…”
“Yes, so he can continue to do more good, without being held to a desk job. Well, he certainly should know that the Committee is offering him anything BUT a desk job!”
Gray shows the document Turner is holding. “Anyway, the report says that he’s already giving his agreement to think over the proposition of the Committee.”
“I see that.” Turner frowns as he reads on. “He says he won’t be with the organisation straight from the start… Has to make some arrangements before he decides to join in.”
“I wonder what king of arrangements he’ talking about.” Gray says thoughtfully.
“One could only imagine.” Turner sighs.” Fraser is known for his flair of melodramatics. If he leaves the Police Forces, it will be with a bang!”
Gray frowns. “Not too much of a bang, I hope so. He must remember that this organisation membership must be shroud in total secrecy.” He clears his throat. “What about Donaghue? What make the Committee so certain that he will accept to work with the right side of the law, for a change?”
“You have seen the report… “ Turner replies. “The Committee has communicate with him and offered him a pardon if he agrees to join us.”
“But so far, he had not respond to the Committee.” A gloomy Gray notices.
“Oh! I suspect he will…”
Gray seems a bit surprised. “What make you so sure of that?”
Turner laughs softly. “You know I’ve always been a good judge of character, Charles! Maybe I have some kind of a hunch, about that fellow?”
Gray smiles in return of this remark. He decides to move on: “You have mention lieutenant commander Bradley Holden, a bit earlier… Hasn’t he hurt his back, some months ago, which has confined him to a desk job?”
“Well, it’s not on the report, but I know for a fact that he’s completely healed now, and that he had recently return to full active duty in the WASP.” Turner says. “I’ve talked to him, just recently. He seems eager to join the organisation.”
“You talked with him about top-secret information?” notes Gray, frowning. “ That’s not like you, Conrad!”
“Relax, Charles!” Turner replies smoothly.” Holden is totally reliable. Anyway, if you can’t trust a Navy man, whom can you trust? Is it not true, Admiral?”
“I should denounce you, Conrad.” Gray sighs tiredly. “Or, at the very least, take disciplinary measures against you.”
Turner is not a bit intimidated. “Well, for now you can’t do that. You’ll see about it when you officially take your command.”
“Anyway, Holden is really a good man.” Gray agrees thoughtfully. “ He will be a very useful element for the organisation. As will be that test pilot, Blackburn.”
“Yes, Steve Blackburn. Excellent pilot. Without fear. Perhaps the only put down about him is that He doesn’t have experience, what-so-ever at being a field agent. What do you think, Charles?”
Gray finds a way to pay Turner back for his earlier joke. “He will grow on you, Conrad.”
“How about that other guy, who was with Blackburn in the World Aeronautic Society?”
“Yes, Adam Svenson. I’ve heard of him. Not only is he a brilliant pilot, but also a security agent without pair.”
“He had the same problems with WAS security as you, when you took over WIN, here in London, Charles. And he seems to have done as well as you.” Turner remarks with a smile.
“Even survived three assassination attempts.” Gray adds. “Never lose his confidence, always prepared. Good element. And he has training as a military AND a field agent.”
“You’re willing to take a chance with him?” Turner asks jokingly.
Gray frowns yet again. “Are you mocking me, per chance, colonel Turner?”
“No, Admiral, I would never dare to do that!” a half laughing Turner responds back.
“I would hope so, but I sincerely doubt it. Now, have we yet finished with that list of field agents?”
“Not exactly, Admiral. We left out one name.”
Gray revises the list in his head for a quick moment.
“Ah, yes! We left out young colonel Paul Metcalfe, haven’t we?”
“How could we?” Turner smiles. “He has quite an impressive record.”
“More impressive than yours, he, Conrad?”
“Give him time, and it will be even more impressive than yours, Charles. Graduated from West Point… The youngest colonel in all of WAAF history… One could not even say that being the son of a WAAF general had helped him. He fought by himself to win promotions after promotions. I know his father. And if his son is only half as efficient as him, he’s a perfect choice.”
“I know of young Metcalfe. A bit over-confident and a reckless daredevil. That will kill him someday.”
“He’ll fit right in our little get together, don’t you think, Admiral?” Turner says with amusement.
“And, after all, he’s of British stock…”
Gray finds it rather difficult not to smile upon the remark. For even if Conrad Turner is speaking with an American accent, because he was raised by American relatives, he is indeed an Englishman himself. And Gray knows that fact perfectly.
“You really think yourself as a funny fellow, isn’t it, Conrad?” He sighs exasperatly.
“Not really. But I don’t often have the chance to joke about with an old friend and comrade-in-arms.”
Gray has noticed the emphasis on the word “Old”. He does nothing but smile.
“We will see which one is “old”, Conrad.” He says back. “It’s not me who’s going to run with much younger men in the fields. I fully expect them to give you a ride for your money, while I’ll quietly be at control command, sitting, giving you orders and waiting for your reports.”
“I sense that you’ll love every minute of it, Charles.”
“Yes, thoroughly.” Gray clears his throat, then regains his serious. “Now, to be sure that all of these men will fit in the organisation… Don’t you think they should pass some kind of test, or something?”
“Well, the members of the Committee have thought about it.” Turner agrees. “And I think that’s why they have calling to see me this afternoon.”
Gray smiles lightly. “That exactly why they had calling on you for this afternoon.”
Turner gives him a suspicious glance. “You’re behind this, aren’t you?”
“Yes, exactly so.”
“What do you have in mind, Charles?”
“You’ll see this afternoon, Conrad.” Gray answers with a mysterious twinkle in his blue eyes. “I should think I have the right to let it be a surprise for you… Speaking of surprise…» He smiles. “The Committee has selected the name they had chosen for the organisation. They had communicate it to me yesterday…”
“I already know it, Charles.”
Gray is completely taken aback. He frowns, totally disappointed by that news.
“You know? How is it possible that you have learnt that bit of information before me?”
Turner smiles. “Quite simply. One of the last tasks of the construction of Cloudbase, before taking it down in the atmosphere, was to apply the markings of the new organisation on its fuselage. I must say it gives it quite an impressive look.”
I must REALLY speak of the Committee about how things are being done about this new organisation. Gray mumbles. “If I am to be its chief-commander, the least they could do is to make sure I’m the first to receive information about it.”
Turner laughs. “Why not calling it by its name, Charles, instead of keeping calling it ‘the new organisation’? At least, you will have the privilege to be the first to name it out loud!”
Gray gives his friend an intended smile.
“Spectrum.” He gives himself time to get familiar with the name, and then repeats it, a little more heartily.
“Spectrum. Why, it’s a good name, don’t you think, Conrad?”
“It’ s really a good name, Admiral.” Turner agrees. “ And I think it’s very well chosen. It will demonstrate that this new organisation can and will touch every aspects of what the other governmental organisations are doing.”
“I suspect Spectrum will create some jealousy in all those organisations, Conrad. I hope it will be up to the task.”
“With you at its helm, I’m sure it will be.”
Gray decides to chance the subject. He’s never been too good at taking compliments. He gestures toward the paper Turner is still holding in his hands.
“Have you taken a look at the other list in there? This is the definite choices for the fighters pilots of our… of Spectrum.”
Turner turns the pages. “Great! I wonder if I know some of the men whose names appear on that list…”
“Yes, I know you were an ace pilot, once”, replies Gray, looking at him. “But I think these people on that list are rather a bit young to have served with you in the past…”
Turner finds the list of the pilots and reads it for a quiet moment. Then, he raised his head to Gray, who’s waiting quietly, with a smile on his face.
“Is it by choice… or simply pure luck, that those names are all those of women?”
“Well, I don’t really know, Conrad.” Gray responds still smiling. But you got to admit that their records are quite impressive.”
Turner consults the list a little more closely. “Yes, they all seem to be good pilots… One of them was in the Universal Secret Service… You know her?”
“Young Wainwright? Gray says, recalling the name. “Yes, a little. Did you see how the Committee had decided to name these fighters pilots? It’s quite fitting, don’t you think?”
Turner finds the name Gray is talking about, and nods. “The Angels. Yes, quite fitting indeed.”
He says nothing else, as he continues to consult the list. Gray eyes him thoroughly, then produces a big smile.
“What’s the matter, Conrad?” he asks him mockingly. “Not enough men in there for your ego?”
Turner looks directly at him. “Very funny, Charles! I’m just surprised that you didn’t have a fit over THAT list!”
“Well, I very nearly did. And I was going to talk to the Committee about it. But…”
“But? What make you change your mind?”
“You. You just make me realize that the members of the Committee seem to know exactly what they’re doing. After all, they had chosen YOU, Conrad. Who am I then to debate with their choices?”
“Well, you’re the best there is, Admiral.”
“No, I’m not. You are, Conrad. I’m just glad we’re on the same side.” Gray pauses, then frowns deeply. “And do stop calling me “Admiral”, will you?”