Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
The attendant of the West Hampstead petrol and vehicle maintenance garage glanced up from the local paper, as a man paused in the doorway of the outbuilding.
He looked the stranger up and down; the man wore all black: boots, tunic, cap, undershirt and trousers. He was a Spectrum officer, the uniform and logos tallied with what they usually wore.
“Can I help you, guv?”
The Spectrum man stepped up to the counter; his face was deathly pale, the eyes sunken and when he spoke, his voice was a deep rumble:
The Officer produced an ID wallet, flicking it open.
The attendant looked at the picture. It was the same man all right, but on the picture his face had colour to it, he looked healthier there. At the moment he looked as if he was overtired; which would also explain the unshaven face.
“It’s round the back, Captain Black," he said, and flicked a switch under the counter.
Black tipped his head. “Thanks.”
The attendant watched him go and then returned his interest to his newspaper.
It was 6am.
Black drove the SPV southwards on Finchley Road, away from West Hampstead and down into Central London. The sky was dark, but a dark blue from the first sign of sunrise.
It had been all too easy attaining the SPV. Spectrum would have sent his picture to every corner of the globe in the three months since his failed mission to the Culver Atomic Power Station. Black assumed the garage attendant to be new to Spectrum for he had forgotten to register Black’s serial number in the logbook of agents commandeering vehicles. Colonel White would not have approved of such sloppiness. But, conversely, it was this very sloppiness that had saved his life, for Black would have had no hesitation in killing the man, if he’d dared to resist the Mysterons’ demands.
“Captain Black this is the voice of the Mysterons. The Commander of the United Asian Republic’s Army is scheduled to leave at 0630 local time. You know what must be done.”
Black nodded as he steered the SPV onto Baker Street. The road ahead was quiet; there were few cars about. Once Captain Black had cared about London, but now he saw it as nothing but another city.
“I know what I must do.”
The Commander of the United Asian Republic’s Army –UARA – was one of the most important men in the Republic, commanding millions of men spread throughout the UAR. He was in Britain to talk with the British Prime Minister en route to visit Colonel White.
He was at the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, no doubt under Spectrum protection. The thought of Spectrum did not resonate as it used to with Captain Black. They no longer mattered.
Black stopped his vehicle at the lights at the end of the street where it adjoined Oxford Street. He checked his watch; the luminous display read 0615. I have plenty of time, Black thought to himself.
The lights changed and the SPV motored on, turning right onto Oxford Street and heading towards the lit facade of Marble Arch. The headlights of cars and buses played upon the Arch as Black now turned left onto Park Lane. At this time of morning there were some cars about, but not the veritable flood of later hours. Black followed Park Lane south and saw the outline of The Dorchester rising beyond the row of buildings that lined the road.
On the forward computer screen, he could see, parked against the curb outside the Dorchester Hotel, a bullet-grey Maximum Security Vehicle. Black nodded to himself. Yes, an MSV is an ideal choice to transport someone as important as the UARA Commander. He stopped the SPV some metres away and waited. He knew he would have to make his every shot count; even an SPV could not inflict that much damage against an MSV.
Two officers in Spectrum uniforms appeared in front of the Dorchester. A third man in a greyer uniform, with oak-leaf decked shoulders, walked in between.
The Commander of the UARA.
…Captain Blue and Captain Scarlet.
Black’s mouth turned up at the corners ever so slightly, in his approximation of a smile. His snow-white hand moved the SPV's handbrake. His foot pressed the accelerator down as Scarlet, Blue and the defence chief reached the MSV. Black pressed a button on his steering column.
A hatch slid open on the nose of the SPV above the white bumper. From this hatch a Heavy Machine Gun appeared like the bird in a cuckoo clock. Black adjusted course fractionally, preparing to overtake the MSV at speed. On the screen he saw Scarlet pausing by the driver's door and looking in his direction.
Black floored the accelerator and at the same time hit the firing button. The machine gun spat a steady and furious stream of bullets at the MSV, which only ended as Black passed it at high speed, heading south.
A cursory glance in the smaller rear-view screen showed Scarlet holding a hand to his chest, and Blue running around from the back, gun in hand. But there was no sign of the UARA commander.
Black lost sight of them as he turned onto Wellington Arch.
“The Commander of the United Asian Republic’s Army was killed Captain Black. Head west and we will make good your escape.”
“I shall obey,” Black said as if in a dream.
Shortly afterwards, the SPV drove into a road tunnel on Knightsbridge and a moment later vanished into thin air.
As ever, Spectrum would find no trace of Captain Black.
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