WARNING: This story is unfinished and will remain so, unless the author comes back to complete it.
If you are the author of this story, please contact the webmaster of SPECTRUM HEADQUARTERS at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Flic City
THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS. WE KNOW THAT YOU CAN HEAR US, EARTHMEN. WE WILL HAVE OUR REVENGE FOR YOUR UNPROVOKED ATTACK ON OUR MARTIAN COMPLEX WHEN THE STATION OF THE MARSUPIAL BECOMES THE NEST OF THE PHOENIX.
All over Cloudbase, the Spectrum officers stared at each other blankly.
“It’s a Mysteron threat,” said Blue.
“But – it can’t be,” said Symphony, then blushed uncomfortably. “Sorry. That was a stupid thing to say, but – they can’t be threatening us. Not with Captain Scarlet – ill.”
There was silence. Obviously, it was ridiculous to expect the Mysterons not to attack until Captain Scarlet could take part in the missions again, but everyone had, all the same.
“All officers, report to the Control Room,” Lieutenant Green announced over the speakers. The captains and off-duty Angels went, each wondering what was going to happen.
Everyone sat down, and waited. The Colonel looked around at them all, frowning slightly when he reached the empty space beside Captain Blue. Part of him had expected that Captain Scarlet would be ready for the mission. He had never missed one before…
“Well, I assume that you all know why we’re here,” he said dryly. The staff nodded soberly. “Does anyone have any idea what the Mysterons intend to do this time?”
“We’re looking for references to phoenixes on the computer now, sir,” Magenta said. “It’s the only part of the threat that was specific enough for us to research,” he added bitterly.
Colonel White raised an eyebrow at his tone, but nodded. “Very well. Captain Magenta, work with Lieutenant Green and Captain Grey on the search. Captain Ochre, Captain Blue, you are to hold yourselves ready for action.”
“S.I.G,” the officers acknowledged. Captain Blue paused, then turned to Dr. Fawn.
“Is there any chance of Paul being able to help…” he trailed off as Fawn shook his head emphatically.
The mood darkened with the unasked question as the officers rose and left, heading for their stations. Magenta paused, looking at Colonel White, and said quietly, “Sir, may I talk to you privately?”
The Colonel raised an eyebrow. “Privately?”
Magenta looked uncomfortable, but determined. ‘It doesn’t appear to be one of his jokes,’ decided Colonel White. “Very well. Lieutenant, go and have a coffee,” he suggested.
Lieutenant Green looked surprised. “S.I.G, sir,” he said, leaving the room.
“Well?” asked the Colonel, turning back to Magenta.
“It’s about what’s happened to Scarlet,” Magenta began.
Dr. Fawn sighed, and pushed the door open. “Hello, sport. How’re you doing?”
Scarlet looked at him. ‘At least he’s started acknowledging people since I let Adam in here,’ Fawn consoled himself. The problem was, sometimes the people he acknowledged weren’t real…
“Hello, doctor,” Scarlet said courteously. “What’s happening?”
Fawn wondered how he should answer that question. “Not too much, really,” he said finally.
Scarlet frowned. “I see.”
“Well, that’s more than I do.”
He glanced at the wall, then looked back at Dr. Fawn. “So what did the Mysterons threaten to do this time?”
Fawn stared at him in disbelief. “How did you know that?” he asked.
“I’m not stupid!” Scarlet snapped at him.
Scarlet threw another glance at the wall, looking irritated. “I can tell when something’s happening to disturb the sickbay, you know, and if you aren’t around to deal with it then that must be because you’ve been ordered elsewhere, and that only happens when the Mysterons make another threat. So what was it?”
‘The insanity doesn’t affect Paul’s reasoning abilities, just his decisions on when to apply them,’ Fawn reminded himself. Out loud, he pointed out, “I thought that you didn’t want to be involved in the war any more.”
He had been careful not to sound judgemental, but obviously from Paul’s expression not careful enough. ‘This is not my area of expertise,’ he thought grimly. ‘Dr. Weiss had better recover from that operation soon.’ Normally, the psychiatrist would be dealing with Scarlet, but she had had a serious case of appendicitis since the day before Scarlet approached Fawn asking to be relieved of duty, and she was still recovering from it.
‘It’s been – a week?’ Fawn thought, surprised by how little time had passed. ‘A week since she fell ill. Scarlet’s been here for less then six days.’
“You should ask him again.” Scarlet turned for a moment and frowned at Conrad again. ‘Shut up,’ he thought in irritation.
His old partner raised an eyebrow at him. “Is something wrong?”
‘You’re not real.’
Conrad scowled. “What is this, Scarlet, do you think I’m some kind of mind reader? You’ll have to say what’s annoying you out loud. I can’t hear your thoughts, for Chrissakes!”
Scarlet remembered the first time Conrad had said that to him. They were on one of their first missions, and were still figuring out how to work together as a team. Scarlet had thought that Conrad was too curt with the ground agent who was helping them, but hadn’t known how to bring the matter up. He’d been distant to his partner, until Conrad finally snapped at him to say what was wrong.
Scarlet looked at Black in surprise. “You don’t know?”
Black’s lips tightened. “I just told you, I’m not a mind reader.”
“Do you expect me to ignore the way you just treated Agent Putatin?”
“What?” Black was genuinely puzzled, Scarlet could tell. “What about the way I treated him?”
“You didn’t need to be so brusque, surely! The poor man ended up asking me what he did wrong, and I had to think of an answer – I could hardly tell him that one of the elite members of Spectrum is a graceless idiot!”
Black blinked, and looked away – the equivalent of a blush and look of burning shame from Scarlet’s reserved partner. “I didn’t realise,” he said, his voice clipped.
Scarlet raised his eyebrows. “You didn’t realise?” he repeated. “Con- Black, you desperately need to develop some social skills!”
Black shrugged, looking faintly bored. “I’ve managed without them just fine so far,” he said, his accent becoming more pronounced.
Scarlet looked at him sceptically. “Do you really believe that? Black, you do know that most of Spectrum is convinced that you hate everyone. If you could just smile occasionally –”
“They’d wonder what was wrong with me,” Black said immediately.
Scarlet forced down a smile. “Not necessarily.”
“No, they might think something was wrong with them. Scarlet, I’m not a people person.”
“Believe me, I know that!” Scarlet assured him. “But it couldn’t hurt you to loosen up a little, surely?”
Black shrugged. Scarlet could tell that he was becoming uncomfortable with the conversation, and decided to close the subject. “Just try and be more polite tomorrow,” he sighed.
Black looked startled. “I thought I was polite!”
Scarlet rolled his eyes. “Good night, Con- Black,” he said firmly, turning to go to his room.
“Good night,” Black said. “I’ll try not to scare the poor helpless ground agent tomorrow.”
Scarlet rolled his eyes again.
Fawn sighed as Scarlet’s eyes suddenly glazed over again. ‘He won’t be talking to anyone for a while,’ the doctor noted as he left. He wondered what Scarlet was thinking about, those times when he spaced out. It had happened twice before now that Fawn knew of – three times, actually, since the behaviour that Magenta had described him displaying the day before he reported himself unfit for duty was exactly the same as he was displaying now.
‘He just goes somewhere private in his head,’ mused the doctor. ‘I wish I knew how to reach him…’ He shook the useless thought from his head, and started working on the reports which needed to be filed.
Magenta looked uncertainly at Colonel White. “It might be useful to ask him whether he can figure out their latest threat,” he finished.
Colonel White sat in silence, considering the theory that Magenta had just presented him with. It made sense, he had to admit.
“Very well. If Dr. Fawn agrees, you may go and tell him the threat and ask for his help. And if he explains it too quickly, we could take that as proof that there is something to your theory.”
“S.I.G,” Magenta said uncertainly. He got to his feet and saluted, before turning and leaving the Control Room.
Colonel White turned over the implications of Magenta’s theory in his mind as he summoned Lieutenant Green. ‘This could cause a great deal of trouble. For everyone.’
Magenta swallowed as he walked into the room. “Hey, Paul,” he began nervously.
Scarlet looked up at him. “Hi, Magenta. Will you tell Conrad to go away and stop bothering me? Because he’s ignoring me.” Scarlet waved a hand at the wall.
Magenta stopped. “Paul, Conrad isn’t here.”
There was a pause. “You are? Really?”
“Ye-es,” said Magenta.
“I thought you were another hallucination,” Scarlet explained. “So you would be able to see Conrad, and tell him to go away – unless my delusions have begun to stop seeing each other…”
Magenta winced at Scarlet’s rambling. “I came to see if you might have any suggestions about the latest Mysteron threat,” he said, changing the subject hurriedly.
“Why?” asked Scarlet, looking suspicious.
“We’re all running out of ideas.” Scarlet considered the statement.
“What is the threat?”
“ ‘The station of the marsupial will become the nest of the phoenix’,” Magenta quoted.
“The station of the marsupial…” Scarlet repeated slowly. His eyes sharpened. “Koala base!”
‘And if he explains it too quickly, we could take that as proof that there is something to your theory.’
Magenta flinched as the Colonel’s words echoed in his mind. ‘That was too quick,’ he thought miserably.
“Thanks, Paul,” he managed, backing away. “I’ll let the others know.” He turned and fled the sickbay, his face pale.
Colonel White looked up as Magenta hurtled in to the Control Room.
“They’re after Koala Base,” he said simply.
The Colonel sat back. “He knew... this soon?”
The Colonel closed his eyes. “Then it appears that your theory could be right, Captain Magenta.”
“Believe me, sir, I’m hoping that it isn’t,” said Magenta in a heartfelt voice.
“Attention, all personnel. We have just learnt that the Mysteron threat is against Koala Base – ‘the station of the marsupial’. Focus your research on that connection, and try to discover what the rest of their threat means.”
“Finally! Someone’s found something out!” cheered Ochre.
“Koala Base – bah! We should have realised,” commented Destiny from where she’d been helping research the possibilities for marsupials.
“Kinda strange, though,” remarked Blue thoughtfully. “The Mysterons don’t usually repeat their targets like that. And they tried to destroy Koala Base when they sabotaged the hovercrafts.”
“Yeah, but that was them trying to bring down Spectrum, not just Koala Base,” Grey pointed out.
“Hmm.” Blue didn’t look convinced. “I hope this doesn’t mean that they’re gonna start going after all their past targets,” he muttered.
The rest of the officers shuddered at the thought. “Another round with General Frost?” muttered Ochre.
“Or trying to protect the World President again,” Magenta shuddered.
“Frost is worse,” said Ochre grimly. Everyone nodded agreement. “Frost is definitely worse.”
‘How long are you going to stay in here?’
“Shut up,” Scarlet ordered Conrad.
‘It’s been five weeks since you decided to just start lazing around, you know,’ Conrad told him.
“Five weeks?” breathed Scarlet. “You’re – you’re lying,” he added, but his voice quavered uncertainly.
Conrad cast him a derisive glance. ‘Why would I lie about that?’
The door burst open, and Captain Black stood there.
Conrad froze, staring at him with wide eyes. ‘No! NO!’ he yelled, shaking his head. ‘You’re not getting me again! I won’t go back! NO!’
“The Mysterons have need of you,” intoned Captain Black, reaching out to Conrad and ignoring Scarlet, who was staring from one to the other in disbelief.
‘Conrad Turner – and Captain Black?’ His eyes widened, as he realised the point his mind was making. ‘They are two different people!’
“Conrad and Black are two different people!” he repeated aloud.
He frowned. ‘Does that mean that – Scarlet and Paul are two different people?
‘Am I really not Paul Metcalfe?’
TO BE CONTINUED…
Dr. Weiss is borrowed from Mary J. Rudy. The idea that Scarlet and Black were partners is borrowed from Hazel Köhler’s story ‘Cause and Effect’. Please don’t complain about my using them, ladies!
I still do not own any of the characters or places I have used in this fanfiction. Those characters I have not already mentioned in these acknowledgements belong to Gerry Anderson’s show.
Please let me know if you have any comments.