A ‘New Captain Scarlet’ story for the Christmas Challenge
No one knew who was responsible, though most people blamed Mario.
They always did whenever anything strange or odd happened on Skybase. He wasn’t sure why. For example, why would no one believe that the accident with a racoon and Captain Black’s locker had been just that – an accident? It had nothing to do with Black calling him Captain Pink the day before.
Normally it annoyed him, but this time, he didn’t mind, only wishing he could take the credit for this. It was a great idea.
Perhaps it had been Lieutenant Green. She was in charge of the internal mailing system after all and she did have a slightly strange sense of humour.
When the first message had arrived in the intranet mail inboxes, it was safe to say no one had paid much attention to it.
Skybase was still new then, smelling of fresh paint, carpeting and metal. They had all thought it was another of the “team building” exercises they’d been required to take as part of training. Most of them had worked well at removing the caution they felt around each other, and they saw no reason why this should be any different.
That was until someone sent Harmony an angel’s delight.
White chocolate buttons, white frosting, vanilla sponge and white butter cream filling; a near perfect score. No one knew who had sent it, it was just sitting in the Angel’s Lounge one day, but everyone suspected that it was whoever had sent the first message. That was when everyone started taking it more seriously.
Suddenly, everyone was trying to beat this mystery guy.
The winner was Ochre, who’d drawn Scarlet, and somehow, while they were munching their way through the red Smarties, Skittles, M&Ms, strawberry gateaux, and jam, they became friends.
The rules were simple enough: You were each assigned a Captain or an Angel by a message in your internal inbox. Then you had to send your assignment candy or sweet things associated with their colour codename, without them knowing who it was from. A wrapper was worth one point, outer layer/shell/frosting was worth two points each, fillings three points each and you could only use each item once. In other words, no getting around the lack of blue candy if you drew Blue by filling his Skybase personal mail box with M&Ms, only one of them would count. On the other hand, if you mixed Smarties, and Skittles in with the M&Ms, you’d score more points, just as Ochre had. An email would arrive about two weeks after the first one, letting you know who had won and the scores.
Everyone had enjoyed the contest, but no one had really thought it was anything but an official exercise until Spectrum suffered its first death.
Captain Campion suffocated in his own Rhino after being trapped under the ice in Alaska in the middle of a terrible snowstorm. There was nothing anyone could have done.
Three days after the funeral, a message appeared in the internal inbox, declaring ‘Chocomail, round two’.
At first opinion had been that it was another official exercise, and in very bad taste. But when Campion’s partner, Captain Violet, went to the Colonel to complain, the latter denied all knowledge of any training exercises.
Suddenly the game had changed. It wasn’t an official exercise, more like some clandestine operation, and one of them must be running it. But no one admitted responsibility for the game, and so it seemed that they would have to keep playing. Eventually whoever was responsible would reveal themselves. Someone, and it might have been Black, suggested that the best way to find out who was to run it though to the end. Like a secret Santa game. No one else had a better idea.
Everyone had worked hard, especially at keeping it a secret from the colonel. It was fairly certain he wouldn’t be impressed with the abuse of the internal mailing system.
This time, the winner was Scarlet, who sent purple Smarties; M&Ms, Skittles, fairy cakes and damson jam to Captain Violet, winning the first smile out of the man since the death of his partner.
When Captain Black died, there was no time between his funeral, the business with Scarlet’s being taken over by the Mysterons, Scarlet’s death and his subsequent resurrection for the chocomail to be sent out. However, a couple of days after things had been somewhat restored to normal, the message appeared in the inboxes again.
No one knew who gave Scarlet the idea for blueberry cheese cake for Blue, but it did go a long way to restoring the trust between them, even if technically, the real winner was Ochre, who’d drawn Magenta. The black forest gateaux had been a huge success, even if the rest of her offerings of pink Smarties, Skittles and M&Ms – again – had caused some arguments about whether they counted being pink, not magenta.
As the war with the Mysterons increased, so did the incidents with chocomails. They were never frequent enough to be called regular occurrences, but rather, they happened when they were needed. Like after Scarlet nearly died when a technician called Story betrayed Spectrum and nearly destroyed Skybase: the winner was Monty Barker, the chief engineer, who showered Lieutenant Green with the usual Skittles, Smarties, M&Ms, as well as crystallised watermelon, which everyone agreed was worth extra points.
The day after the colonel’s daughter, Victoria, was rescued from the kidnappers who attempted to blackmail her father, Green achieved her own victory with a double chocolate cake addressed to Captain Brown. It was widely agreed she was the only one who could have slipped it into Brown’s mail box; no one else could have got the code to access it, Brown being notoriously private and everyone else knowing they hadn’t asked Green for it.
A week after a computer virus attack on Skybase, Doctor Gold surprised everyone by winning with Captain Grey. It had been agreed that the man was even worse than Blue to draw, but Gold got around it using sugar tablets. There was a lot of debate about whether this really counted as sweets, but the mysterious instigator apparently agreed, as Gold was declared the winner.
Four days after the Enigma machine (as it had been nicknamed), messed with the minds of some Spectrum agents (and caused considerable trouble with the security council of the UN), Captain Magenta was unbearable, after drawing Ochre. Lemon drizzle cake, Lemon ring cake, lemon slices, candied peel, along with the usual make up of coloured sweets, had Magenta strutting around the base for days. At least until Ochre threatened to throw him out of a hatch.
Three days after Blue nearly died in Alaska, the Angels achieved their first victory – all sent to Captain Orange, who despite threatening death and disaster, complaining that it ruined his reputation as head of security, did look quite pleased to be included.
Colonel White shut down his screen, having finished reading Scarlet’s report. The Mysteron trick with Black on Mars was a bad blow to Skybase, not least for the impact it was having on morale. To have the promise of a final victory snatched from them like that, it made his blood boil.
Destiny still kept suffering bouts of “hay fever” at importune moments, weeping for her lost lover and Scarlet could barely meet anybody’s eyes, so hurt and angry at being taken in Black’s trick. Blue sulked around the corridors like a tabby cat caught in the rain, and the rest of the captains weren’t much better.
He moved to the windows of his office and stared out. Some would undoubtedly argue that he should leave things as they were, after his talk with the senior staff. That within a few weeks Spectrum would return to normal.
The trouble was, he highly doubted that they had a few weeks. The Mysterons had proved their power once again and even if they didn’t attack soon, there were enough of the terrorist elements around for Spectrum to fight – so something was bound to happen. And at the moment they were singularly ill equipped to handle it.
He walked back to his computer and typed in a password to bring up an anonymous internal mailing account. Something had to be done, and the sooner the better. With the New Year coming up, perhaps it was time to try something. Most of the captains had received packages for Christmas. At least one of them should contain something that would be useful.
He leant back and took a sip of coffee, before beginning to type.
“Chocomail round twenty seven.
The victory last time was
unexpected, but who will be triumphant
He paused for a moment, then deleted ‘triumphant’. It would not do for his agents to realise who was behind the scheme.
The original idea for Chocomail came from Sage Harper’s story, “Brown eyed boy”, which unfortunately cannot be published here, as it is a slash story. I would like to thank her for letting me use it and urge everyone to check out her account, as it contains some excellent Captain Scarlet fan fiction.
As ever, I am indebted to Chris Bishop, Hazel Kohler and Marion Woods for their work as beta readers and for putting up with me in general.
Happy Holidays everyone.
Any comments? Send an to the site