Original series Suitable for all readers

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 spectrum_hq@hotmail.com




By Flic City






Paul Metcalfe stared at himself in the mirror. ‘Still no signs of what’s happened to me,’ he thought. His reflection winced, blue eyes skipping nervously over the unblemished skin. ‘So why can I feel every wound?’


Crawling in my skin
These wounds they will not heal



He ran his fingers over his chest. ‘Gunshots, broken ribs… I’ve been punched, shot, crushed, drowned – or have I? Am I starting to forget what’s been done to me?’ He stared at himself anxiously, hoping to see the truth reflected back – but the eyes that met his were unsure, and scared.

He swore, and raised his fist to punch the mirror. Only the realisation of how badly it would worry his friends kept him from shattering the glass.

‘I have to be strong,’ he told himself, turning away from the perfect body in the mirror. ‘They’ve given me so much more than I ever expected – I have to prove that I deserve it.'


Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real


“Hey, Paul, something wrong?” asked Captain Blue, looking concerned.

“Huh?” Captain Scarlet looked at his field partner, startled. “Wrong? No, nothing.” He smiled reassuringly, but his eyes seemed to be distant.

“You sure?” insisted the American. “Because you haven’t been acting yourself, lately. We’re starting to get a little worried for you.”

Scarlet looked directly at him – then turned his eyes aside, hiding the shadows that he’d begun to notice in them. “I have been feeling a little unsettled, lately,” he admitted carefully. “But it’s nothing serious, honestly.”

Blue didn’t look convinced. “Have you been to see Dr. Fawn?” he asked.

Scarlet pulled a face at the suggestion. “No, thank you!” he retorted. “I see more than enough of him already!”

Blue grinned for a moment, but his eyes were serious as he told his friend, “I know, but you should really go see him if you’re having problems.”

Scarlet looked away. “I’ll think about it,” he sighed.

“Paul –” Blue started.

“I said, I’ll think about it!” Scarlet exploded, turning on him furiously before storming away. Blue stared after his partner in disbelief. “What happened to the legendary Metcalfe self-control?” he asked under his breath.


There's something inside me that pulls beneath the surface



Paul Metcalfe glared at the mirror in his room. He’d had a full-length mirror installed, which spent most of its time underneath a heavy covering. His friends wondered about that, but it was simple enough – he couldn’t stand the proof that he was a Mysteron. Every time he was free from any obligations, he would strip off his clothes and stand before the mirror, searching desperately for a scar, or even a sunburn – any sign that he was nothing more than an ordinary human being. And when the mocking perfection of his new body grew too much to bear, he covered the mirror again, and swore to himself that he wouldn’t look again.

Recently, though, the search had been more desperate. He hadn’t been searching his body – just his face. Searching for some sign of the influences he’d started feeling.


This lack of self-control I fear is never ending


He hadn’t noticed when exactly it started. Suddenly, he’d be on the flight deck with no memory of how he got there, or wandering towards the Amber Room without knowing why. He’d laughed at himself the first few times.

He’d stopped laughing when he found himself struggling not to smash open a window. There was no other way of opening them; Cloudbase was 40,000 feet above the ground, and the difference in air pressure meant that they had to be sealed shut. He knew how dangerous breaking one of them would be, and yet – he was fighting a desperate urge to get to some fresh air. The struggle gave him a headache – for a second. Then it was gone, along with the crawling need that he had been fighting.

It was taking more and more concentration for him not to do something dangerous, or stupid, or both. The urge was less around his friends, but he was starting to worry them with his distraction.


Controlling/I can't seem
To find myself again



Privately, he was sure that it was the Mysterons. They had finally found a way into his mind, and they were going to use it.

He had thought he was free of their influence, but he wasn’t sure any more. He stared into the mirror, and whispered, “Paul? Paul Metcalfe?” Anguished blue eyes looked back at him, but he could not tell whether they belonged to Paul Metcalfe or the Mysteron impostor, Captain Scarlet. “Paul? Where am I?”

The mirror was silent.


My walls are closing in
(without a sense of confidence and I’m convinced that there's just too much pressure to take)



His friends had noticed that something was wrong. They started waiting for him, standing watch. At first, he was touched by their concern, but recently it felt restrictive, as though he was trapped. They couldn’t do anything to help him. Why did they keep trying?


I've felt this way before
So insecure


“Hey, Paul!” Magenta called. “Paul! PAUL!”

“What?” asked Captain Scarlet, startled into looking up from his book.

“What are you reading?” asked Magenta.

Scarlet stared at him blankly. “You yelled at me just to ask me that?”

“Ha ha, Paul,” said Magenta sarcastically, hiding a shudder at the too-even gaze. “No, but I wondered what was so enthralling. I was going to ask whether you’re all right. We’re all your friends, and we’re worried about you. I haven’t seen you act like this since you found out what happened to you.” ‘And I hope I never see that again,’ he thought. ‘I’m not sure I could stand seeing you break down like that twice.’

The official story was that when Paul Metcalfe was told what had happened to him, he immediately volunteered for duty. In reality, the young man had had a nervous breakdown as he tried to understand what had happened to him. The officers tried to help him, but they couldn’t understand. Things came to a head when Adam found him cutting his wrists with a razor. “Why does it close?” he’d screamed. “Why can’t I even bleed?” Adam stared at the red-brown stains on Paul’s clothing, and froze in shock – then called for Dr. Fawn.


Crawling in my skin
These wounds they will not heal



‘I remember that time,’ thought Scarlet in surprise. ‘I was terrified of my new body.’ He stared at his wrist, tracing a line on it where he thought the blade had cut. There was no sign, of course. Mysteronised bodies don’t scar. But the pain still echoes, and there was a line of it down each of his wrists.

Scarlet looked up to say something to Magenta, but stopped. The room was empty. He picked up his book slowly, and walked out. ‘Was Magenta even here?’


Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real


The mirror was laughing at him again. He could hear it, underneath the dust-sheet. ‘It isn’t real,’ he told himself firmly. But the sound grew, until he ripped away the cover to reveal – nothing. He stared into the glass. ‘Where am I?’ he screamed inside his head, but no sound came.

He flung himself onto his bed, blocking out the reflection of the empty room.

Someone knocked on the door. “Paul? You coming?”

He raised his head.

His reflection stared back at him, pale and scared.

Discomfort, endlessly has pulled itself upon me



Scarlet absently traced the burns he’d received to his palms so long ago. He sat perfectly still, his fingers running over the flesh again and again.

“Paul?” Dr. Fawn’s voice broke his reverie. “Why are you here?”

Scarlet took a deep breath. “U-unfit for duty, sir,” he said. Despite his best intentions, his voice trembled on the words.

“Good God! Colonel White didn’t say –”

“Colonel White doesn’t know about it,” Scarlet interrupted him. “I’m reporting myself unfit for duty before he finds out.”

Dr. Fawn looked at him. “I see,” he said doubtfully. “Well, we should start the tests.”

Scarlet’s hands clenched. “Yes, doctor,” he said, staring at the wall.

His hands screamed with the agony of burning.


Against my will I stand beside my own reflection


Scarlet stared at the wall. The reflective wall. The mirror wall.

“How long has he been like this?” asked Blue quietly, shocked by the emptiness in his friend’s gaze.

“Since I put him in there.” Fawn was just as shocked and appalled. “He hasn’t said anything, hasn’t done anything… it’s almost like he isn’t there any more.”

Scarlet’s reflection stared at him. From the mirror.

‘Which of us is real?’ Scarlet asked it silently.

What do you mean?

‘Which of us is Paul Metcalfe?’

Which of us bleeds?

Scarlet stood up. Before anyone realised what he was doing, he slammed his fists against the mirror, over and over again.

Which of us bleeds?

“Neither of us,” he grunted. “Neither of us…”


It's haunting how I can't seem...



“My God,” breathed Colonel White as he saw the destruction in the quarantine room. “Why would Scarlet do this?”

Fawn shook his head. “I’m afraid I don’t have an answer yet,” he said. “And I don’t think either of us will like it when I do.”

White shot him a questioning look. “Why not?”

“As far as I can make out, he was attacking the mirror. Or, more accurately, his reflection in it.” Fawn nodded as a grim comprehension began to dawn on the Colonel’s face. “It’s one step away from actual self-harm. And we both know that he’s done that before…”

“Will he recover?” asked the Colonel.

“I just… don’t know,” said Fawn bleakly. “I don’t know.”


To find myself again
My walls are closing in



Scarlet stared at the wall. ‘Where am I?’ he thought. ‘Am I in an alien clone? Or am I scattered over the mountains with my ashes?’ He began to rub his hands over his arms violently. ‘Am I me, or just a copy of myself? And if I am a copy, what does the real me think of it?’

Something knocked on the door. He looked over at it – as it was opened by Captain Black. “You are to follow the Mysteron instructions,” he intoned, his pale skin ghastly in the fluorescent lights.

“NO!” Scarlet shook his head violently, refusing to believe the image in front of him.

Then you will pay for your disobedience,” the Mysteron figurehead droned. He stepped out of the door. “He is useless. Crush him.” The walls began to move with a grinding sound Scarlet had never heard before.

Scarlet screamed, throwing his hands up to protect himself.


(without a sense of confidence and I’m convinced that there's just too much pressure to take)



“Is he as bad as he was before?” everyone asked Blue, crowding around him.

“Worse.” Blue sat down heavily, and rested his head in his hands. “Much worse.”

“Is that even possible?” asked Green. Ochre looked at him, ready to snap that he shouldn’t make stupid jokes; then he saw the expression on the young man’s face, and realised that his question had been completely serious. ‘Of course,’ he remembered belatedly, ‘Seymour is the one who kept watch when Paul was in the isolation room.’ No one knew what Paul had said, but Seymour had been pale and quiet around him for several weeks.

‘Why does everyone call me Paul Metcalfe? He’s dead! He died, and I can’t!’ The voice echoed in Seymour’s mind. ‘Why can’t I die? I want to, I’ve tried to, but I always wake up again!’


I've felt this way before
So insecure


“It wasn’t real.” The comforting voice made Scarlet lower his arms. Rhapsody smiled at him understandingly. “It was just one of your fears. Captain Black isn’t on Cloudbase.”

“Rhapsody?” breathed Scarlet.

“You shouldn’t be here, you know. You’re supposed to be out fighting the Mysterons,” Rhapsody told him.

Scarlet shivered. “I-I don’t want to…” he started, but his attention wandered to the door. Wasn’t that a green glow coming from it?

“You didn’t want to what, Paul?” asked Rhapsody, leaning forwards, concerned. Scarlet met her eyes, and reached out to her. She shook her head slightly, her eyes steady on his. “What didn’t you want to do?”

“I didn’t want to hurt my friends,” Scarlet answered her reluctantly. “I couldn’t risk them! I couldn’t risk you! This is the safest place for me,” he finished.

“But I can’t come see you,” pouted Rhapsody.

Scarlet frowned, bewildered. “You are here,” he pointed out.

“No, I’m not. I’m no more real than Black,” Rhapsody told him, and to prove her point, she vanished.

Scarlet stared at the wall.


Crawling in my skin
These wounds they will not heal



The Colonel stared at Dr. Fawn in disbelief. “You’re sure of this?” he asked. “Captain Scarlet can still feel every injury he’s ever had?”

Fawn nodded silently. Adam swallowed, trying to imagine the amount of pain his friend must be in. He was ashamed to find that he was glad his imagination wasn’t up to the task. “How?” he managed.

“I wish to God I knew,” said Fawn tiredly. “Physically, he’s in perfect health. Mentally – every injury he ever had is coming back to haunt him. I can’t imagine how much stress he’s under,” he said bluntly.

Blue and the Colonel exchanged concerned glances.

“So there’s nothing we can do?” asked Blue desperately.

Fawn shook his head. “Nothing,” he responded. “BUT – he might pull through this. He’s a strong person in his own right, and that should help.”

“So it’s all up to him,” said the Colonel with a particular horror in his voice. The horror of someone who is utterly helpless, when a friend is in desperate need.


Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real


Scarlet shivered. ‘I have to fight the Mysterons… I don’t want to risk my friends… I have to fight the Mysterons… I don’t want to risk my friends…’


Crawling in my skin
These wounds they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing, Confusing what is real


The once-brave Spectrum captain huddled against the wall, trapped in his mind and in his alien body.


There’s something inside me that pulls beneath the surface
Consuming/confusing what is real
This lack of self-control I fear is never ending
Controlling/confusing what is real....










I do not own Gerry Anderson’s TV show ‘Captain Scarlet’, or any of the characters thereof. The song used in this is ‘Crawling’ by Linkin Park, which I also do not own. I do not have any idea where I am going with this story; I just wanted to try a songfic, and, well… you see the result before you.






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