A Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons Story
This is an idea bouncing around since reading some old comics, featuring Black and one in particular called We Will Destroy Unity City (reprinted 1993). It features a part where Black and Scarlet are prisoner and Scarlet says, “Its not too late, we can help you.” To which Black replies:
I’m re-watching the series and the idea of Black returning is a favourite of mine, although this cannot happen. I hope this receives some good feedback.
It follows on from events kicked off in Angels of Deception and recently Heat Wave.
14 May 2004
Cloudbase was quiet, this was not that unusual but it was usually during the day not night when it was normally so quiet. Lieutenant Green tapped his console idly and turned to face Colonel White; the colonel was watching the wall screen behind quietly, his finger stroking his chin.
“I’m sure the mission is going as planned, colonel.”
White didn’t turn, “I’m sure too, lieutenant, but we need to be realistic. The Mysterons have evaded us before.”
White turned and glanced at the coloured lights on his console, waiting for one to flash.
Captain Magenta watched the motorway ahead with boredom. The hedge he was hiding in was not comfortable and not designed for such, yet it was his mission. The motorway passed by the hill on which his hedge rested and was busy, cars streaking by every so often.
His pips flashed red, “Yes Captain Scarlet?”
“Still in position Magenta?”
Magenta sighed, “Sure. Haven’t moved an inch.”
The precise English voice on the other hand was quiet, “Soon. Has to be soon.”
Magenta hoped so, he was hungry but he forced his sometimes over-eager mind back to the road and gripped the butt of his gun harder.
Captain Black drove the unremarkable saloon down the M24 towards the English city of Portsmouth; his clothes were nondescript but were black. Beside him was his Spectrum uniform; he would require it for infiltration. The green hills rolled by indifferently, not that Black cared much for them. Some small part of him did but it was one that Black didn’t concentrate fully on. The Mysterons had instructed him to Portsmouth to kill the World Navy First Sea Lord based there. Just then the ghostly voice that was his master spoke:
“Captain Black, the Earthmen are ahead. It might be a trap.”
“I shall be cautious,” he rumbled quietly, his eyes however peeled and were wary. A bridge approached; it spanned the wide M24 and carried traffic across to Southampton. He noticed a Spectrum SPV on top and braked hard, his hand reaching for the handbrake.
Captain Blue ran for the SPV his cap radio down, “Paul he’s seen us! Making back up the M24.”
Scarlet further down the road in a Spectrum Saloon Car was calmer, “Relax Adam, this is part of the plan. All units move in now. The password is NIGHT.”
After that, even as Black’s car sped back up the motorway, the Spectrum units left their cover and began moving in. Magenta reached the roadside where a SSC sped to a halt, he climbed in and Captain Ochre floored the accelerator. The excitement was building, they almost had him.
Scarlet’s SPV bounced down the hillside and onto the M24; his monitor showed the saloon. Beside him, Doctor Fawn wearing his uniform gripped the control. “Now it gets bumpy,” grunted the Australian.
“Sorry Doctor but there is no other way.”
Beside him, Fawn had an attaché case. In it was what might capture Black. Scarlet could make out beyond Black’s car three speeding SSCs. One contained Ochre and Magenta, one Grey and the other Lieutenant Burgundy from London HQ. Above, soon to appear, would be the Angel flight. Scarlet’s eyes narrowed as he tapped some controls and brought the SPV’s gun up. According to his instruments, Black was doing close to ninety and at this rate if they collided, then they might both be obliterated.
Magenta leant forward in his seat; despite the road whooshing by the blood-red SSC, his eyes were fixed on the SPV and Black’s car. “Scarlet can’t be serious.”
“If they hit…this will all have been for nothing,” stated Ochre. “All for nothing.”
The radio crackled and Blue’s steady voice came over, “All units break pursuit. Captain Scarlet is going in alone.”
Ochre’s coloured boot gently pressed the brake and the gap opened, beside him Grey and Burgundy did the same. Magenta then heard the loud roar of three Angels in flight; they sped low and peeled off aiming skywards.
What was Scarlet doing?
Captain Scarlet, whom fate had made indestructible, looked to Fawn and said bluntly: “I’m sorry Doctor, but I have to do this to get Black.”
Before Fawn could complain, Scarlet’s hand pulled the eject lever for the co-pilot and Fawn sped into the sky. Scarlet accelerated, the SPV closed the gap and now Black was his; the Mysteron agent’s vehicle would be too committed to avoid the collision. Indeed it was, for some seconds later, Scarlet’s SPV rammed Black’s saloon. The car’s engine exploded under the sudden strain and the ensuing fireball blew the SPV into the air. It landed on its side some feet away trailing black oil and flames. Black’s car however sped right, away from the SPV and into the road’s steel barrier.
The SSC of Ochre and Magenta came to a stop a few seconds later. They got out and began running for the saloon, as they reached it, Black was staggering out, holding his head. Magenta dived for him and held him down; Black fought and so Ochre also joined the fray. The scene was getting more hectic as Black struggled more and it took Grey to hold his feet down before they managed to get Black under some control. Eventually Fawn, emerging from his landing place in the woods on the hill verging on the motorway, came down and pressed a hypospray to Black’s pale neck. Black stopped struggling soon thereafter.
A SPJ was called for; it would not only carry Black back to Cloudbase, but also the seemingly dead Scarlet.
“Operation Night has been a success, we have captured Captain Black.”
The officers and pilots of Cloudbase sat in various places around the lounge; Colonel White was standing by the window. Nobody celebrated outwardly, despite the success of their mission to get Black back, it wasn’t the kind of thing you danced from foot to foot about. Scarlet was missing, still recovering from the SPV crash. Fawn was working on Black, the procedure was technical as it was different to Scarlet’s Mysteronisation. White clasped his hands together before him, “Doctor Fawn will be working on Black for the time being. Freeing him from Mysteron control.”
“What will happen once Black is normal sir?” Ochre asked.
“He’ll be debriefed and then integrated back into normal duties.”
Magenta dipped his head; he remembered the week that Black was assigned the Martian mission. Back then, no Mysterons, no problem. They had Captains Brown and Indigo, now both deceased in separate incidents involving the Mysterons.
I’ve got the Martian mission, I’ll be going this weekend.
That’s great Conrad, you are after all the best man for the job.
Magenta brought himself back to hear White continue, “…will remain on readiness. Dismissed.”
Magenta got to his feet, Blue paused by him with Ochre in tow. “Want a game of pool?”
“Sure, I’ll double with Grey.”
Magenta felt another presence after Blue and Ochre moved off; it was Rhapsody. As ever she looked resplendent, her coppery-red hair fell past her shoulders. “You okay Patrick?”
“Sure, why you ask?”
“You seemed far off during the briefing.”
Magenta shrugged, “Just thinking back. Before all this started.”
Rhapsody nodded, “I know. A long time ago. I had better go, I’m on flight readiness.”
He watched her go and then followed, for now Magenta was fine.
“Okay lieutenant, let them have it!”
Darkness again. Hazy visuals, something solidifying and a voice rumbling.
“We are the Mysterons…”
More darkness, and fuzziness. He accepted it and vanished into the darkness.
Captain Scarlet had recovered from his injuries and stood by the operating door looking in. Doctor Fawn wearing surgical whites was operating on Captain Black. The procedure involved unlocking the Mysteron effect on him. Scarlet felt a figure at his shoulder and turned. “Colonel White.”
“Relax captain, the procedure is still underway?”
“It would appear so sir.”
White was silent. “He was my best man before going to Mars. Hopefully this is it.”
Scarlet didn’t answer; he watched and a few minutes later Fawn stood back. He turned, lowered his facial mask and waved for the two officers to enter. As usual Scarlet sniffed; he hated the smell of the sickbay, medical smells. He could see Black stretched out, covered from foot to head with a green sheet.
“He’s done. I’ve done what I can, the effects of the Mysterons on Black were different to those on Scarlet.”
“When can he be ready for duty?” asked White.
Fawn sighed. “Two days.”
Fawn stroked his chin. “A way of making sure this has worked, would be for Scarlet to walk up to Black’s side. Remember Scarlet feels the Mysteron presence? Dizziness and the like…”
Scarlet walked steadily to the bedside and as he neared, waited for the dizziness but nothing came.
The darkness was getting brighter, the pain in his head was gone, going, gone.
His eyes opened slowly; the brightness was unfocused but he could make out something with red and black. He tried to focus, he knew he could, just had to try. The shape was becoming clearer he was doing it. The shape focused and he found himself smiling.
“Welcome back Conrad, you’re home.”
Conrad Turner smiled and felt sleep come again, “Home,” he murmured
Doctor Fawn took Scarlet and White to one side:
“The Mysteron control has gone, like a puppet whose strings have been severed. Captain Black is not retrometabolic. He’s just like any one of us.” Fawn smiled a little. “Except for Captain Scarlet.”
White nodded, “Thank you Doctor.”
What mattered though was that Black was home.
Black slipped from the bed. He remembered this room, he once slept in this room often. He wore black pyjamas. That was funny, he thought walking into the bathroom. Black paused by the mirror and taking a deep breath, stared hard into it.
What he saw –at first – shocked him. His face was no longer the lined pale white face with eyes as dead as a corpse but with colour, cheeks a little rosy and eyes bright and vivid with life. He was back. Conrad Turner, Spectrum’s top agent. The smile he felt start, disappeared. For how long would he last?
The intercom chimed; he walked out and pressed it:
“Ah.” White’s voice was crisp and alert. “Morning conference is at 0900.”
“I’ll be there.”
Magenta was adjusting his cap when the doors to the lift began closing. “Hey!”
Blue dipped his hand to the door, holding it back. Magenta ran inside, his boots clattering. “Thanks.”
“No problem, almost missed it,” The Bostonian said with a gentle smile.
Magenta smiled back; nothing fazed Captain Blue that much. Blue was much calmer than Magenta. The Irishman could easily get heated as he had recently after Rhapsody was shot down.
Magenta’s thoughts were rushing and numerous as he left the lift with Blue. What about Rhapsody? He and she were an item, but could it last? He seemed to remember something had happened between her and Black before the Zero-X mission; maybe it would again. Granted, Blue and Symphony were steady –as steady as duty allowed – but Rhapsody had once been close to Scarlet, although Scarlet seemed to be with Destiny these days – or near enough.
As he walked into the conference room, the air-conditioning humming loudly, Magenta shoved the thoughts back. They were irrelevant now. He slid into his seat by Blue and next to Grey. The other officers were also present as four of the Angels and – to Magenta’s surprise – Lieutenant Burgundy who had helped them with capturing Captain Black. Burgundy’s uniform was a cross between a dark red and purple.
Lieutenant Burgundy was English, hailing from the Dorset region in the southwest. He was one of the coloured-coded officers on the ground, being there for the uniforms ‘upstairs’ when needed. Burgundy had brown hair and green eyes, his voice was steady and almost without accent.
White took his own seat and clasped his hands before him. “No threat as yet from the Mysterons. However…” He paused, eyes twinkling with some excitement. “…This is the first day back for Captain Black, who, as you all know, was recently recaptured by our captains.”
Magenta crossed his legs at the ankles, aware of a coy glance from Rhapsody. He directed his gaze at White.
“The transition back into Spectrum life will be hard for Black, I know you will do your best to help him do this.”
Black steadily walked down the corridor, his boots making soft landfalls on the red carpet. He paused briefly at a mirror on the grey wall, next to a painting of three Angel Interceptors in flight.
His cap was on straight, his zip done to the top backed by white and dash it all, he looked smart. Black smiled.
Black resumed his walk and did not pause before entering the conference room. As he did he stopped, the doors sliding quietly behind him. Black looked around.
On the console was a dozen bottles of champagne –presumably non alcoholic – and standing by the console were the officers and Angels. White stepped from the front row of officers and extended his hand:
“Welcome back to duty, Captain Black.”
Black returned the handshake warmly, “Thanks Colonel White.”
Black stepped past White before Scarlet, he grinned jokingly. “Sorry for the hard times I’ve given you.”
“Forgiven,” grinned back Scarlet.
Black went down the line, feeling like someone else, not a Spectrum agent. He reached Magenta who was more sombre than the others; of course Black had recently tried to kill Magenta and Rhapsody.
Black moved onto the Angels. “Bonjour Destiny.”
Destiny dabbed at sudden tear. “Bonjour Conrad.”
As Black reached Rhapsody, Magenta watched. There seemed to be something that passed between them, something more concrete than colleagues. Magenta shrugged it off as they returned to the console and given duty rosters.
The planet Mars rotated as it had done for millions if not billions of years, the glowing red ball where man had set out to find life. That life, so found in 2068, was in the form of the Mysterons. The city that had been so ruthlessly destroyed by ignorance, had resurrected mysteriously and now raged war against Earth.
A war of nerves.
“Captain Black is no longer under our control. This much has been proved. We must take steps.”
Once more the Mysterons began plotting –but this time, they will not issue a threat to the Earthmen.
Lieutenant Burgundy glanced at Captain Magenta as their Spectrum Saloon Car sped along the Weymouth-London motorway in a Spectrum Saloon Car.
“It had been a real honour to have helped you and the other captains in getting Captain Black back.”
Magenta’s lips curled in a faint smile, “Your help was very helpful.”
“I hope I can get more time on Cloudbase.”
“You did a good job, you still might have a chance to get more time on the base.” Magenta replied.
Magenta noticed a fuel tanker coming the other way; it was the same type of tanker that Spectrum used for undercover work. He didn’t pay it much attention, instead noticing the road curving away from Dorchester.
If he had been watching the tanker more closely, he would have seen one of the tyres explode. The tanker slewed to the right, across the path of the SSC.
“God’s teeth!” swore Magenta slamming on the brakes. He turned left but the tanker’s rear clipped the front of the SSC. The car somersaulted into the air, away from the exploding tanker that spewed blazing oil across the motorway. Magenta saw the countryside hit him and then blacked out.
Burgundy was dead and it was not long before the ghostly green circles floated over his twisted body beneath the SSC. As fire licked at the dead body, the resurrected Burgundy walked around to pull Magenta out. The Irish captain was unconscious, blood streaked on his face.
Burgundy stood silently.
“This is the Mysterons, you know what you must do.”
“I know.” Burgundy paused. “Captain Black will return to the Mysterons.”
“The SPJ with Captain Magenta and Lieutenant Burgundy is approaching,” Green reported.
White nodded, acknowledging the report by Green; he left his console and walked onto the observation tube. He could barely hear the muffled whine of the SPJ’s engines as it was making its approach toward Cloudbase.
White had been informed of the crash an hour ago. It had been Burgundy who had reported the crash and requested a SPJ for Magenta. The SPJ was quicker than getting Magenta to the nearest hospital – Southampton – and Cloudbase had better facilities.
Colonel White didn’t like officers getting injured or worse, killed, but when it happened he tried to act normally. In recent months, it had been Scarlet injured numerous times, Blue a few times and even Symphony after being downed in mysterious circumstances.
“This is SPJ Zero-Zero-Seven, we’re inbound on final approach.”
“Acknowledged,” Green replied in his Trinidadian accent.
White watched the SPJ run onto the runway and come to a quick stop. The SPJ was then swallowed into the depths of Cloudbase by the aircraft lift. Once inside the hangar, the injured captain was offloaded with Burgundy in tow.
“Order Lieutenant Burgundy to the control room.”
Burgundy snapped to attention before Colonel White, hands stretched behind his back. White was back at his console, his eyes coolly appraising Burgundy.
“You acted well lieutenant, this is the kind of duty we expect in Spectrum. You will go far.”
“Thank you sir.”
Black lowered the magazine as Rhapsody walked in. “Hey.”
“Hey.” She walked to the coffee machine and made some coffee. Black watched her from above the magazine; she looked as attractive as ever. She walked to a nearby chair and settled into it, sighing.
“That’s my standby over.”
“Tough being a pilot.”
She chuckled. “Too right.”
Scarlet then walked in, looking a little stressed. “Something bothering you?” asked Black.
“Magenta’s been wounded.”
“My God,” Rhapsody said straightening. “How?”
“Burgundy and Magenta were driving back to Spectrum HQ in Dorset when a tanker exploded.”
Black stood. “How bad is he?”
“Some head wounds, nothing too bad apparently.”
Scarlet turned on his heel and paused by the door having noticed Black’s curious look, “I want to check on him.”
Black moved to the Angel’s side. His left hand gripped her right arm gently. “He’ll be fine.”
“You care for him?”
Black remembered when trying to kill Rhapsody some months ago, Magenta had been the protecting captain as Grey had been with Harmony. Had in that time Magenta and Rhapsody grown closer together?
“He’ll be fine,” Black repeated softly.
Magenta sat on the edge of the bed. Fawn wrapped some bandage around his left hand. A couple of plasters covered cuts on his cheeks. “You’re quite fine, captain. You might be dead were it not for Burgundy.”
Magenta winced as the bandage was pressed down on his damaged hand. “I guess so, doc.”
“Humph,” Fawn guffawed. He stood back. “Voila.”
“You missed your calling as a parcel wrapper,” Magenta said standing up and reaching for his cap. He walked out thanking Fawn once more and making his way to the lounge.
Lieutenant Burgundy walked down the darkened corridors of the personal quarters. The new Spectrum Mysteron agent had not made his move immediately upon returning to Cloudbase. He wanted to get Black preferably by himself. His gun was holstered, to be used upon confronted by the enemy.
He paused before a grey door, the dividing line bracketed by thick black lines. A small white square was filled with the copperplate legend of CAPTAIN BLACK.
Burgundy dipped his fingers into the door and pulled it apart. The former Burgundy would’ve had trouble to do this, but this Mysteron had no problem at all.
Burgundy, once the doors open, was blanketed by darkness and heavy breathing. He walked in and silently moved towards the bed, where Black was asleep. He stood by the bed and then looked down.
Black’s eyes opened.
Colonel White couldn’t sleep and was sitting at his desk writing a detective story; it helped the commander in chief of Spectrum unwind. He stopped writing and stood; he paced the room briefly before sitting back at the desk.
The Mysterons, as usual, were bugging the colonel. Why hadn’t they made a threat yet? The threats had been routine, regular, and consistent. Maybe they were mourning the loss of their human agent.
A loud thump sounded next door. Black’s quarters.
White drew his gun, the pistol decked by a white stripe. He listened for anything else and heard the sound of scuffling, objects being knocked aside. White made for the door and stopped by Black’s doors. From beyond he saw Scarlet and Blue running, guns held high. They stopped in the corridor, White motioned for the door to be forced.
Scarlet raised his right boot and brought it crashing down into the door; it parted and he dived in, his hands pulling it apart easily. Scarlet would have simply pressed the automatic open button but due to the systems failure he had to pry the door open with his hands.
Black was struggling with Burgundy, the latter still wearing his uniform. The three spectators trained their guns on Burgundy. “Lieutenant cease your actions.”
Burgundy’s eyes burned as he glanced at White. “You cannot stop the Mysterons, Earthman.”
White felt disappointment enter his being: another agent lost to the Mysterons. “We will.”
Black and Burgundy crashed into the bedside knocking and breaking the lamp. They rolled away. Scarlet dashed past White and grabbed the broken lamp. He switched it on and the broken tip flashed blue angrily.
“Paul,” warned Blue.
Scarlet lunged at Burgundy and stabbed the tip against the Mysteron’s back. Burgundy straightened as if a steel rod had been placed up his back and screamed. He fell dead. Black shrugged the body loose and stood.
“No problem,” replied Scarlet, dropping the lamp.
White stepped close to Burgundy. “It would appear that the Mysterons want you back, Conrad.”
Black rubbed his unshaven chin. “Well I’ll be.”
“Members of Spectrum, as of now, Cloudbase is on red alert. The Mysterons have stated without doing so verbally, that they want Captain Black back and will do anything to get him. All leave is cancelled. That is all.”
Rhapsody looked dryly at the speaker and leant back in the pilot’s seat in the Amber Room.
“Just what we need.”
“Oui,” Destiny murmured reading her magazine. Symphony was up in Angel One. It would be Rhapsody and Harmony to take the next two Angel One shifts. Rhapsody left the seat and walked to the bookshelf plucking a copy of Moby Dick. She flicked through it idly, remembering school holidays in London when she would read.
“How is Patrick?” asked Destiny staring at a picture of her beloved Paris.
“Fine,” murmured Rhapsody.
Destiny turned in her chair, the magazine forgotten. “Is that all, mon amie? Fine?”
Rhapsody looked back at Destiny with unflinching eyes, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Destiny shrugged and her heavy accent replied, “You and Patrick have been so close, an item, now he has been wounded and you seem unabashed.”
“He’ll live Destiny, nothing bad happened.”
“Humph.” Destiny returned to her magazine. Rhapsody sighed and returned to the book.
White drummed his fingers on the console. “They’re going to try again. But how?”
Lieutenant Green sat quietly; it was best to let the colonel speculate silently without interruption. Green turned to his right as the walkway began moving; he nodded at Captain Black. The captain had his fingers dipped in his belt. He stepped off the walkway and sat on one of the stools before White’s console. “Colonel.”
“Good to see you Captain Black, I’ve been pondering how the Mysterons will strike.”
“Any way they can. I should bet they’ll use another Spectrum agent.”
White’s eyes fixed on Black’s, “You think so?”
Black shrugged, “It is more than likely unless they use their powers to manipulate something. On Cloudbase, an agent would seem the most logical choice.”
The Mysterons had done such a thing to start the fire at Rig 15. They used their powers to open the valve at distance, in order to create the ensuing inferno. They don’t seem to always need an agent.”
“Lets hope they won’t do that.”
“Once more the Earthmen have thwarted our plans, the agent known as Burgundy has been killed. Captain Black must return. But we must strike now. Strike we will.”
Black slept roughly that night, tossing and turning. Sweat marrying to his body as he pitched, his eyes screwed shut and the sweat gathering there. Black’s dreams were tortured, images changing and morphing.
The Mysteron complex exploding under the MEV’s shells…
…the Mysterons’ voice…
…God no, why him?
Black shot upwards in bed and immediately drew the cover back, his hands went to his face wiping the sweat sloppily. He looked around the room, after removing his hands and settled his breathing. Things were fine now, they would be fine, no more Mysteron control.
“I need some water,” he murmured heading for the bathroom. He switched on the light and heard the Air Conditioning kick in; it cooled the sweat on his neck and made Black shiver lightly. Black turned the taps on the basin, choosing to ignore the reflection in the mirror. The past couple of days had indeed been stressful as the Mysterons made clear their intentions. He splashed water into his face and felt a little fresher.
He then stared into the mirror and as he did, green circles hovered over the water and vanished.
Black dipped his fingers back in.
The movie, Day of the Martian, detailing an early Zero-X mission, had ended. Magenta and Rhapsody left Cloudbase’s auditorium with the small audience. The Irish captain paused in the corridor running past the cinema. To face Rhapsody, a question on his lips.
“Are you on standby now?”
Rhapsody shook her head. “Bed. I’m not on readiness until 0400.”
Magenta consulted his watch, the digital piece centre with the second hand sliding round the outer rim. 2257.
“I’ll walk you back to your quarters.”
They fell into step, the Angel dressed in her uniform in the event of instant scramble and the captain in his uniform after a long day. They were silent as they walked towards the Angel quarters.
“Here we are.” Rhapsody pointed out as they reached the quarters area, they eventually paused before a door marked RHAPSODY ANGEL. She turned to him, “Thanks.”
“No problem.” A silent pause. “Guess I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Yes.” She looked at his bandaged hand. “I hope your hand gets better.”
He then kissed her on the lips and turned on his heel, leaving Rhapsody behind.
Captain Black dried his face and moved to put on his uniform, sleep thus eluded for tonight, aiming to go to the lounge. Black felt his face twitch, as if something was bubbling under the skin. He felt it after zipping his jacket up and adjusting his cap. He walked back into the bathroom, once more switching the light on and staring into the mirror. His eyes widened and his heart missed a beat.
His skin was turning white, a deathly white, that of a corpse. As it had been when he was a Mysteron agent. His bright eyes were changing, becoming a dull black. Black drew his gun and aimed at his head; he sweated as he had done just a few minutes ago and then holstered it.
He had to leave.
Black turned and ran out the quarters; the dark clad officer ran down the corridor and straight into Magenta rounding a corner ahead.
Magenta hit the floor hard, the moment reminding him of the time Mysteron agent Doctor Magnus, while attempting to kill General Tiempo, had floored him. Magenta saw it was now Black and drew his gun. “Halt!”
Black disappeared into the lift, Magenta’s cap radio fell into place.
Lieutenant Green had been working the nightshift, most of the control room darkened. He listened to the radio from Switzerland as they passed over and gently bobbed his head. Suddenly, the pink coloured light on his console flashed.
“Yes Captain Magenta?”
“Code Red! Black is a Mysteron again! I can’t be sure but he seemed different.”
Green nodded and stabbed the Cloudbase tannoy button. “All Spectrum members this is a priority alert. Captain Black must be apprehended at once. Spectrum Is Red.”
Doctor Fawn heard the whooping of alarms as he drew a sheet over one of his beds in sickbay and heard clattering of boots. Captain Scarlet with two security men thundered past without stopping. As Fawn stood by the door frowning, he felt an arm across his throat.
“Do not move Doctor Fawn, do as I say.” The voice was Black’s, his normal voice but tinged with the Mysteronised voice.
“Relay this message to Colonel White.”
Fawn listened. Ten minutes later he collapsed at Black’s feet having suffered a blow to the neck. Black touched his forehead and drew his gun. “I am sorry doctor.”
Colonel White’s jacket flapped open as he walked into the brightening control room. “What in blue blazes?”
“Captain Black appears to have returned to Mysteron control. Captain Magenta reported him running out of the officers’ quarters area. His face was pale. Doctor Fawn has just reported him leaving sickbay, and confirms that Black does appear to be Mysteron once more.”
“Blast. Blast.” White sat down. “Seal Cloudbase. No one is to leave.”
Captain Black paused at the entrance to the hangar; the SPJ sat glistening under the lights next to two Angel Interceptors and four Spectrum Helicopters. Black began trotting towards one of the Interceptors, his mind was a raging torrent of thoughts. The Earthman in him was fighting the Mysterons’ control.
He felt his face changing as he jogged closer, but that was immaterial. It had to be for he had to get off Cloudbase. Black put away his gun and leapt onto the port wing of the Interceptor; the cockpit was open and Black leant in. He flicked some switches and the cockpit came alive. He started the jet and a steady whine began. As the jet got ready, Black jumped off and ran to the far side in the shadows behind the SPJ. He came to the control station and started the lift that carried aircraft to the flight deck. As it began to move, Black now grabbed a helmet. Coincidentally it was black. The captain returned to the Interceptor and briefly moved it to the lift. The Interceptor rose steadily towards the flight deck.
White was talking to Captains Scarlet, Blue and Grey, as the search for Black was co-ordinated. The captain was still on Cloudbase and according to both Fawn and Magenta, slowly returning to Mysteron control. Lieutenant Green listened with one ear, whilst monitoring the console before him.
A light flashed and he muttered, “What the…?”
“What is it lieutenant?” White asked, disrupting his conference.
“Colonel.” Green swivelled to face the colonel. “Sir, the aircraft lift is raising in the hangar.”
“Interior cameras now.”
The screen behind White shifted from that of the Spectrum logo to that of the hangar. White faced it and Scarlet stood, arm outstretched.
“Sir. One of the Angel Interceptors.”
“Black,” White commented his voice as heavy as hailstones. He spoke to Green without looking. “Lieutenant, halt that lift. Captain Scarlet.”
“On my way, sir,” Scarlet said moving for the exit.
The lift slotted into place too late for Green to stop it. Black looked at the dark sky and twinkling stars. He made sure his helmet was on tight. Black took the yoke with pale hands and pulled back. The Angel Interceptor rose in a graceful motion, Black quickly retracting the landing gear. Black cast one unemotional, disinterested look at Cloudbase before hitting the accelerator and moving off.
Rhapsody was at the helm of Angel One, as Black stole the Interceptor. She had cut short her sleep to replace Symphony, doing the American a favour by allowing her some rest.
The Englishwoman noticed the familiar, graceful lines of another Interceptor rising into the air to the left of the launch ramp. Its starboard side lit by Cloudbase’s lights, she immediately recognised the Black helmet. Rhapsody began starting procedures even as Green’s cool voice came over her radio.
“Angel One, immediate launch. Apprehend Captain Black.”
Rhapsody launched her Interceptor. “SIG.”
Behind her, Harmony and Melody assumed their aircraft upon Green’s further orders but Rhapsody had the edge. Using flaps and wind, Rhapsody glided the Interceptor after Black. The stolen jet was angling upwards; Rhapsody checked her altimeter.
“This is Angel One, pursuing Captain Black now passing Angels Four-Eight.”
She toggled another line of communication. “Captain Black this is Rhapsody. Don’t do it, we can still help you.”
Rhapsody tried several more times as they passed through Angels Fifty – 50,000 feet. Sooner or later her jet would not climb more. More in hope than anything, Rhapsody fired. Her shots sped wide but were a warning shot even so.
Then a deep voice, a low rumble, all too familiar:
“Rhapsody Angel, there is no point you pursuing me longer. I must do this, to save you all. Goodbye.”
The Angel ahead of her began to shimmer and vanished. Shock overrode Rhapsody, enough to make her not hear the warning sirens crashing in her ears.
Then she grabbed the yoke with both hands and dived the Interceptor earthwards.
“Captain Black has vanished.”
“Understood, return home Rhapsody. Spectrum is now Green.”
“Members of Spectrum. Captain Black has escaped, the Mysterons having succeeded in returning him to their control but let us not forget the fact that he was a great officer.” White took in the Spectrum officers and pilots, “For now Captain Black is once again a Mysteron but there will be a day when he will return to us, perhaps when this war of nerves is over. Now he left a message with Doctor Fawn, please doctor.”
Fawn cleared his throat, the mark on his neck a delicate purple.
“He asked me to relay the following. ‘I am sorry that events took this course, I could not control the Mysterons’ control once it took hold. I chose to leave to save any further attacks on Cloudbase to get me back. I will return, be sure of that’.”
There was silence, heavy impenetrable silence. Some had tears in their eyes.
They had lost a battle but not the war. There would be many more battles but for now they had to contend themselves with what they had.
Somewhere on Earth, Captain Black raised his binoculars to eye a new target for the Mysterons. Despite being an agent once more, Black had not totally forgotten his past or the brief time he had spent back on Cloudbase.
Deep down inside the Mysteron agent, a small voice said in that same tone he had when joining Spectrum at its creation.
I will return, I have to and it won’t be long in coming.
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