A “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons” story
Final part of the duology started in “Angels of Deception”
Lieutenant Gold appears in a comic strip in the Captain Scarlet 1993 annual
We are the Mysterons. We will continue our vengeance for your attack on Mars by striking the Australian Western Test Centre. We will be avenged.
“The Australian Western Test Centre or Awtec is where we test our new SPV’s in the southern hemisphere.” Colonel White took in Captains Blue, Scarlet and Grey seated before him at the control console. “If the Mysterons take out the Awtec then we will be unable to put new SPV’s into action without a safety check and then their work will carry on by Spectrum officers being killed by faulty equipment.”
“Such an unusual target,” murmured Scarlet.
“Maybe so but safe vehicles matter to Spectrum,” White said. “Lieutenant Green launch a flight.”
Green tapped a button, “Angels One, Two and Three immediate launch.”
Angel One, with Destiny onboard, roared down the flight deck and into the dark skies first. Rhapsody and Symphony slid into their seats and were shortly rising into their Interceptors. Before long they too were accelerating down the deck. “Your destination is the Australian Western Test Centre, any hostile aircraft are to be destroyed if they don’t respond to challenges.”
“SIG Colonel White,” Destiny said in her French accent.
Cloudbase had been over the Pacific at the time so the Angels were quickly over Australia. They came in low. The outback sped by and then Awtec appeared. It was a facility that covered ten square miles; it included dips and peaks for the SPV’s to race over and mock vehicles to attack. A large hangar dominated the facility that housed approximately thirty-one SPVs and two SPJs. A barracks block and control tower was ten yards to the right; the barracks were home to the SPV test drivers and Awtec personnel. Destiny glanced back, banking to lead the flight back around, “Colonel White, AWTC reached. At moment no sign of trouble.”
“Carry on with patrol Destiny, White out.”
Captain Magenta was in the sensor room, his boots propped on the console below the main screen. He was reading an old comic. He at first didn’t notice the high pitched beeps but he then swung his boots off the console looking at a smaller screen on the console with a label above marked AUSTRALIA. He magnified it and saw that the object was nearing the Awtec. “Colonel, unidentified object closing in on Awtec.”
“Thank you Captain.”
Above Magenta, in the Control Room, White clasped his fist close, “So this could be the start of the attack.”
“Destiny Angel, be alert that an UFO is on course for your area, make visual confirmation.”
“SIG Lieutenant Green.” Destiny changed frequency to address the others, “Symphony, Rhapsody, we’re going in.”
They formed a three-pronged formation with Destiny central and the others either side of her to her rear. The object became a smudge on the horizon. Destiny could see what it was. “Object is circular in appearance, dome roof, and a gentle sloped roof.”
“Your typical UFO,” Rhapsody quipped.
“Attack and destroy,” ordered White.
“I’ll go first,” Destiny said. She peeled off, her engine screaming; the UFO fell below. She hit the airbrakes hard turning and descending simultaneously. She had fallen quickly on the UFO’s tail; she squeezed the red trigger. Missiles were fired and hit the UFO; thin wisps of black smoke trailed aft from the it. “I have hit the UFO. It is damaged but its course is unchanged, Symphony, Rhapsody make your attacks simultaneously.”
“Tally Ho, Destiny.”
Destiny pulled up and ahead noticing that Awtec was approaching rapidly, Symphony and Rhapsody pressed home their attack. They fired striking the UFO several times. The UFO began to descend, was it making its final attack?
“Hurry,” she whispered. Rhapsody passed below raking the underneath with cannon fire. The UFO exploded. Destiny looked back, “Colonel White, UFO destroyed.”
“Copy. There are no more contacts in area, threat must be over. Return to base.”
But something was wrong, the explosion had cleared and Rhapsody was in trouble. The rear of her Interceptor was missing, it was plummeting earthwards rapidly. “Rhapsody!” shouted Symphony.
Rhapsody’s pained voice came back, “Craft’s been damaged by the UFO’s shockwave, going down.”
“We’ll get help Rhapsody,” Destiny promised.
A moment later, a parachute blossomed and there was a brief explosion as the Interceptor crashed. “Good luck Rhapsody, we’ll be back soon.” Destiny pulled clear with Symphony in tow.
“You did all you could Destiny; it was unknown if Rhapsody’s craft would be damaged in the attack, or any one else of you,” White was saying to Destiny in the Control Room, “Return to the Amber Room.”
“But colonel, Rhapsody…”
“We will get her back, but a weather front is moving in. It will hinder the rescue; hopefully Rhapsody will take the initiative and get to AWTC. It’ll be a trek but I have faith.”
Destiny nodded and left, she passed Magenta who was looking concerned. “Destiny, is it true about Rhapsody?”
“Oui,” said Destiny sadly. “The Colonel is not sending help, a storm.”
“But he has to!” protested Magenta. He took off at a run, Destiny turned, “Patrick no!”
Colonel White was watching an area of dark clouds at the observation port as a voice shouted, “Colonel White I demand we go and get Rhapsody!”
White whirled, Green turned in his seat. Both turned to see Magenta standing by the door, “Captain Magenta, what is the meaning of this?” White angrily snapped.
“Rhapsody is an important part of Cloudbase, she must be rescued.”
“This is outrageous Magenta. A breach of conduct.” White’s eyes narrowed, “Is there something more personal behind this?”
Magenta’s eyes darted away from his commander, “No sir.”
White knew better; he also heard from Captain Blue and also in part from Destiny that Magenta and Rhapsody had seem closer after the previous mission and trouble with Black.
He walked to the Irishman and placed a hand on Magenta’s right shoulder. “She is a resourceful girl, have hope Captain.”
All they could have was faith.
Rhapsody couldn’t believe her luck. First attacked by Black, nearly drowned, now downed and stuck in the middle of the Australian outback and on top of that in the middle of a storm. Rain and dust hit her constantly; she had pulled her chair and parachute next to a large boulder and then proceeded to form a makeshift cover. What way had Awtec been? Her compass was gone. She took a blind guess and began to walk, the parachute wrapped around her like a blanket. The storm was blinding and hurtful on her face. They never had weather like this back in England; bad weather but not like this. Her hair lashed across her face and she snarled angrily; she took her right collar in both hands and began tearing at it; eventually it came free and with it she tied her hair into a loose ponytail. She trudged on into what she hoped would be the right way.
“Awtec reports there is still no sign of Rhapsody,” Green reported, now two hours after Rhapsody had crashed. “Hmm, she should have been there even in this storm. Is the storm still over the area?”
“It is moving west, away from AWTC, leaving it clear.”
“Get them to start searching for Rhapsody and prepare a helicopter.”
Green pressed a button, “Flight deck crew prepare a helicopter for launch.”
Magenta was now pacing the lounge; the only other occupant was Ochre, nursing a glass of water. “Blast it, Patrick stop it, you’ll work your way through the decks.”
Magenta shrugged. “Maybe.”
“You’re not even listening.”
“I wish Colonel White would let me go.”
“What is it with you and Rhapsody?”
Magenta faced Ochre, “None of your business, Richard,” he said stepping closer to the Detroit born officer. Ochre too stood just as Blue entered the lounge. “What is going on here?” he said in a calm tone but despite the calmness of the tone it conveyed the desired effect. Magenta and Ochre stared at each other. Blue looked to Magenta, “Colonel White wants you up there.”
“Why didn’t he use the intercom?”
“I don’t know. Just get there, Patrick.”
So Magenta left leaving an exasperated Blue behind.
The storm had intensified, the rain thickening, the dust getting heavier as it mixed with the rain to form a potent combination. Rhapsody was reciting the rules of the FAB as she trudged. By now her profile was slumped and the parachute she was trailing, dirtied and bedraggled. She looked upwards but could not see the sky; this was more of a hurricane then a storm, as she knew them back home. Images flashed through her head; good times, bad times, they sped by at lightning speed. She blinked; surely she should have been at the AWTC by now?
High above in Cloudbase, Colonel White was briefing Captain Magenta perched on a seat before the control desk. “The storm is worsening, it is now definite that Rhapsody did not reach AWTC, allowing for time to walk in a storm and all that, so I am allowing you to go and get her.”
“Why me, sir?” Magenta asked.
White blinked. “You are a good agent and also I think you should.”
Lieutenant Green revolved in his seat, “Colonel, Captain Magenta’s helicopter is ready.”
“Lieutenant I want you to accompany Captain Magenta down.”
Green smiled, “Yes sir!”
“Well don’t just sit there gentlemen, get moving.”
Five minutes later the helicopter was approaching the storm front dominating the sky. It was nearly ninety feet high from the ground and was making the sky black; it was a broad cone shape, however it was not a tornado. Green was speaking into his cap mike, “Copy that, Lieutenant, we’re going in now.” As it flipped back up he reported to Magenta, “They’re going to enter the storm ten minutes after we do.”
‘They’ was the AWTC search party consisting of ten Spectrum Pursuit Vehicles all untested prototypes; well they were getting tested now. Magenta lowered the nose of the helicopter, increasing its speed; the craft shortly began getting buffeted in the wake of the storm.
“Standby for action,” quipped Green.
“What?” asked Magenta his brow sweating, his hands grasping the controls tightly.
“Oh, something Commander Shore used to say.”
The helicopter disappeared fully into the storm and was shaken like a child’s toy. “We’ll never survive in this storm!” shouted Magenta fighting the controls as well as the storm. “Go lower, twenty feet!”
Magenta nosed the chopper even further down; the altimeter dial raced through the numbers and slowed as it twenty. The storm didn’t affect the helicopter that much at this altitude yet still shook it slightly. “We’re on the edge of the storm here, by my calculations it should be clear in a few minutes.”
“Keep your eyes peeled, lieutenant.”
Rhapsody noticed the storm rapidly loosing its integrity and thought she heard the noise of an aircraft. Looking behind her, she saw the helicopter in the clearing sky; she dropped the parachute and began to wave, building its speed up. It shot over her and began banking to face her. In the helicopter Green signalled Cloudbase, “Colonel White, this is Lieutenant Green. Rhapsody Angel has been found. She looks okay.”
“Good job Lieutenant, I’ll alert Awtec to call off their SPVs. White out.”
Green was by now alone in the helicopter as Magenta left running for Rhapsody who collapsed gratefully into his arms, tired and dirtied by the storm. Rhapsody was in safe hands.
Rhapsody entered the Amber Room to be welcomed by the Angels there presently; Melody, Harmony and Destiny. Symphony was on stand-by in Angel One. “Welcome home!” Destiny exclaimed wrapping her arms around Rhapsody. “Steady Destiny, let me breathe!”
Rhapsody laughed, “It is good to see you all, I thought I’d never get back.”
“As we likewise thought,” Harmony said quietly.
Rhapsody headed past the chairs to a wall drawer and pulled out a wooden box marked with the initials DS. “Going somewhere already?” asked Melody.
“Sure am, Magnolia. Can’t you see I am dressed casually?”
The Atlanta born Angel cocked her head slightly to the right, wearing a smile, “Yes.”
Rhapsody left, heading straight for the lounge. She entered and saw Lieutenant Gold seated by the window. “Evening, Rhapsody,” he said politely.
“Evening Lieutenant. Have you seen Colonel White?”
Colonel White’s voice came quietly from behind Rhapsody, “You are dismissed, lieutenant. Please sit, Rhapsody.”
Outside the sky was dark and the full moon caught some of the clouds brilliantly. Rhapsody sat opposite White at a flat table and laid the box down just as Gold made his exit. Inside the box was a magnificent chessboard with pieces made from ivory, replicated ivory as to preserve what elephants and Rhinos were left. “You’ll be white, sir?” Rhapsody said with a warming smile.
“Very well, Rhapsody.”
The game began slowly and after a few moves from each opponent, White spoke in a low, slightly rumbling voice. “I wish to talk about Captain Magenta.”
“Colonel?” Rhapsody answered not wanting to appear she knew what he was about to say.
“I need not remind you that although relationships between officers is not a good thing, I tend to let it happen as you can’t stop life from happening.” He clasped his hands before him placing them on the table before the board; he didn’t look at Rhapsody but knew the Angel was paying undivided attention to him. “However I will not allow it to interfere with the work that we do here on Cloudbase and in Spectrum. Is that understood Rhapsody Angel?”
Rhapsody raised her right hand and held it over the board, “Certainly, Colonel White.” She lowered her hand, moved a chess piece and looked at the colonel sweetly. “Checkmate Colonel.”
“Hmm, what?” he said looking a the board, “That was quick! Well, thank you, Rhapsody for coming here tonight.”
“Certainly colonel. Permission to return to duty tomorrow?”
“As long as Doctor Fawn has declared you medically fit.”
Rhapsody folded the board back up and it formed the wooden box that so protected it, “He has.”
“Then report on duty as your roster sees fit.”
Rhapsody walked to the door, “Good night, Colonel.”
She was gone before White could respond.
A radar station on the moon’s dark side scanned the depths of space endlessly for anything of interest. Only one man manned the station. Each so-called shift at this station would last six months, it was a lonely job. The sole crewman did not notice the silent pulsing of the radar as it swept over several objects on the edge of the scope. If he looked closer he would have seen that the objects were near Mars and slowly moving. Their destination was Earth.
Once at the third planet, they would await a signal from their top agent, Captain Black. The time was near and they would be avenged.
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