Patrick Donaghue, aged thirty-four, collected two slices of toast, buttered them and took them out to the Promenade Deck on Cloudbase. The view was quite amazing; at least he thought so as he rested his boots on the table.
“Didn’t your mother teach you anything?” said a English-accented voice from behind him.
“Sure,” Captain Magenta responded. “Be a good little boy.”
Captain Scarlet laughed lightly and sat in a chair with a glass of orange juice.
“Something big is coming,” The Winchester born captain said as if discussing the weather.
“Really? Like what?”
Scarlet smiled. “That would be telling.” He tapped his nose as an addition.
Captains Blue, Grey and Ochre entered at a somewhat relaxed stroll.
“You guys still here?” asked Blue.
“Nothing planned, so why rush?” Magenta quipped biting into his toast.
“Because Colonel White has called a meeting,” Ochre said.
Magenta snapped to his feet, scattering the toast, and then heard the laughter, “Got you again.” Scarlet laughed.
“Second time this week, you…” Magenta lunged for Scarlet. The friendly tackle between the two grew into a larger fight. Then came a booming voice, “Captains!”
The captains quickly untangled themselves and came to a loose attention, Magenta jabbed Ochre in the ribs before Colonel White. The colonel’s hands were placed on his waist and a scowl had placated itself on his face.
“Of all the things to happen,” he managed to get out. “The finest officers in the organisation fooling around like kindergarten children. Really!”
Scarlet began to speak but a smile worked its way onto White’s face, “Never mind, it was a boring day.”
“Was?” asked Grey.
“A new mission, but please to the conference room.”
* * *
Joining the captains and colonel in the conference room, was the Angels and Lieutenant Green. “I, along with Captain Scarlet, have devised a plan to capture Captain Black.”
The colonel allowed his personnel to murmur briefly. A mission to get Black.
“I know it sounds ridiculous but, well, I’ll let Captain Scarlet explain.”
Scarlet felt everyone’s gaze fall on him.
“Recently a major from the WAAF was killed by Black but in fact wasn’t dead, despite the Mysterons recreating him.” Scarlet paused. “My plan is an agent, preferably a top agent, to be killed. The Mysterons to recreate him and then himself to be brought back by Dr Fawn.”
A shared look, some concerned looks exchanged. The emphasis was on the captains mainly. Blue, Ochre, Grey and Magenta all knew they could be chosen.
Colonel White coughed and then began to speak, “Understandably you are all worried, for even an Angel could be chosen. However, there are two ways to settle this. Lots or direct choice by me.”
At first there was no response but then, gradually one by one, arms began rising. Colonel White smiled in thanks.
“Thank you all, this will be noted in my report. However, lots will be taken. Lieutenant, please write a captain’s name on a piece of paper not including Scarlet. In fact include the Angels as well.”
There was a nervous, tense pause as the Trinidadian scrawled a name on separate pieces of paper no bigger then a small ruler. He handed them to the colonel. White took his cap from below his chair and placed it upside down on the desk before Scarlet and placed the pieces of paper in it.
“You’ll do the honours Scarlet.”
Scarlet’s blue eyes flickered across the table and then settled, “SIG.”
His left hand snaked into the cap and scooped the pieces up; he dropped them like feathers and snagged one with his forefingers. He took the paper and held it before him.
“Captain…” he sighed and his eyes settled on Magenta, seated between Grey and Destiny.
Magenta groaned audibly and Colonel White looked at him, “Sorry captain. All others apart from Scarlet and Magenta dismissed.”
Rhapsody lingered but left quickly. White watched Magenta; the captain had slumped slightly in his seat.
Magenta struggled up and eventually stood his chair skidding back slightly. “Sorry sir.”
“You have been chosen randomly. Looking on it, I see it has been a good choice. You have been a valued member of Spectrum and one of my best officers.”
“Thank you sir.”
Colonel White gestured to Scarlet, “Captain Scarlet will go over the plan with you.”
Colonel White left.
As the doors slid shut behind him, Magenta collapsed into his chair. Scarlet walked to him, “I’ll make it quick.”
“I’ve died several times, you get used to it.”
“This is different. I won’t become indestructible.”
Scarlet sighed. Magenta was right; he wouldn’t be.
“I know,” He said softly.
* * *
The SPJ hurtled across southern England at high speed. At its controls was Magenta, beside him, Scarlet. Magenta spoke into his radio, “Magenta to Cloudbase, nearing our target, Captain Scarlet reports himself ready.”
“Understood Captain, good luck on procuring the new SPV.”
On the ground, Captain Black stared at the radio in his car. A new SPV… Interesting.
Captain Black this is the voice of the Mysterons, we have just learnt of the new Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle. Your mission is to capture this vehicle and use it for the Mysterons. Captains Scarlet and Magenta must be killed.
Black’s lifeless eyes seemed to glow feverously for a second. “The work of the Mysterons shall be done.”
He put the car into gear and drove off; he knew where the nearest SPV was to his location and no doubt as he heard the SPJ approach from afar, that was where Magenta and Scarlet were going.
* * *
The sleek black car pulled up to the old barnyard in a Buckinghamshire field slowly and its wheels crunching on twigs. Tall pine trees surrounded the area; it was a secluded base for a SPV.
Beside a tree’s base and behind a hedge, Captain Ochre pushed aside a branch. He spoke into his cap mike, “Captain Black has arrived.”
“SIG,” came Captain Blue’s voice.
Sure enough, there he was, his pale face clashing with the black Spectrum uniform he wore. Black walked into the barn.
Black’s boots also crunched the twigs covering the barn’s floor. The SPV was in the far right corner of the large barn, slightly darker due to the lack of artificial light. Black drew his gun as a figure emerged from beside the SPV.
“You must be here for the SPV, I heard that Spectrum was sending someone,” said a man in his fifties and wearing typical farmer’s gear.
Black’s voice rumbled, “Captain Black, Spectrum.”
Black was drawing his pass when someone with a distinctive accent shouted, “Hold it Black!”
Captain Magenta was running towards him; he must have come from the front of the vehicle. It didn’t matter now.
Black’s gun barked twice and Magenta fell with a cry, hands clutching his chest wound instantly. Black went to shoot the farmer but he had gone. Something made him look up; he fell to his right knee and fired at Captain Blue. Blue had been standing on the rafters and armed with an electrode gun. He didn’t get Blue but the captain fell; he managed to get a handhold on the rafters and was hanging.
Black didn’t have time to worry about Blue; he got up and looked at the person standing before him.
“You are to come with me.”
Captain Magenta, with a distant voice replied emotionally, “It shall be done.”
As Black and Magenta disappeared into thin air, Blue expertly swung himself towards a bale of hay and landed in it as Scarlet, Ochre and Grey entered.
“Damn!” swore Ochre seeing that Black was gone.
Scarlet however, ran to Magenta still clutching his chest. “He’s dead. Lets get him to Cloudbase.”
* * *
Dr Fawn emerged from surgery, his greens covered in blood, with a stern look on his face.
“Well doctor?” White asked, perhaps impatiently.
Fawn sighed and in his Australian accent replied, “Magenta died not long after Scarlet got to him. Fortunately Black did not wound him too badly; the shots were meant to stun not kill. He aimed for less important areas.”
White frowned and said to Scarlet, “Compassion?”
“Possible. He did show compassion towards Symphony at Culver but he said that the Mysterons also had compassion.”
White had shrugged by then and asked the doctor, “So the verdict?”
“He’ll live, but the resuscitation unit has only just started, an hour at most.”
The sound of footsteps on the corridor announced the arrival of Rhapsody Angel. Her uniform was ruffled and there were lines under her eyes. “Shouldn’t you be on duty, Rhapsody?” asked White.
“Sorry sir, but I had just got off.” To Fawn she asked, “May I see him?”
“Just for a second, he may not hear you.”
Fawn stepped aside to let her in and then followed her. White noticed Scarlet watching them go. “Something bothering you captain?”
“No sir. Just wondering about Black.”
“Me too Captain, me too.”
Magenta was lying in a coffin long chamber that had a machine next to it. The machine had a mask extending on the end of a tube, the mask had been placed on Magenta’s mouth and the machine now pumped air into Magenta gradually in an effort to give him a fighting chance to live.
Rhapsody walked up to it and standing by it, she looked down at Magenta. Wordlessly, she placed a hand on the top and mouthed a silent prayer. Taking her hand off she left quickly, her tears splashing soundlessly on the floor.
* * *
“We were lucky to escape the clutches of Spectrum. But now our vengeance against the Earthmen must continue.”
The Mysteron Magenta – Dark Magenta as Black dubbed him – nodded in answer to Black’s comment.
“Since the SPV was not advanced and therefore a lure, we will strike back at Spectrum by stealing a SPV and destroying Spectrum London.”
Dark Magenta’s eyes locked with Black’s, “I shall comply.”
* * *
This is the voice of the Mysterons. Our act of aggression will continue by destroying Spectrum Headquarters in London. We shall do this using a speedy weapon.
White rubbed his unshaven chin, the message had sounded through his bedside radio. “Speedy weapon? Unimaginative but nonetheless a threat.”
Reaching to the intercom he pressed it, “All senior officers report to the conference room.”
White didn’t change; he had still been wearing his uniform.
The captains looked as tired as White did; it was now evening yet the day had taken its toll on everyone.
“You all heard it, if you didn’t, then the Mysterons have threatened to destroy Spectrum HQ in London using a speedy weapon. Opinions?”
“They are most likely planning on something mobile, equipped with weapons. Anything that drives or flies,” Captain Grey said.
“I agree, if Captain Black is going to carry it out then he might try and use a Spectrum vehicle,” Scarlet suggested.
Colonel White turned to Lieutenant Green, “Lieutenant go and alert all Spectrum agents in the London area to beware of Captain Black procuring a vehicle. I don’t care what vehicle, whether it’s a SPV, SSC or MSV.”
“Yes colonel.” Green stood and hurried out.
“Slow but nonetheless effective,” muttered White.
* * *
Devon Averill did not hear the footsteps entering his garage in Hounslow outside London and near Heathrow. He was working beneath a van and listening to loud music.
“SPV 0412,” an Irish accented voice said, cutting through the music.
“One minute buddy.”
“No now,” the voice said again, sternly.
Devon slid out on the tray and saw the coloured boots of Spectrum. “Okay, okay.” He stood wiping his grubby hands on a handkerchief. “ID please.”
The pink uniformed officer wearing shades reached down to his right leg and pulled up a gun. “Here, will this do?”
He fired six times, Devon was dead before he even knew what had happened. Dark Magenta walked towards the radio inside Devon’s office and pressed the eject button. The service trench central of the garage parted and a SPV was raised into the garage. Dark Magenta grinned ruefully, “Nice wheels.”
He drove SPV 0412 past Devon’s body and out into the open; a Fireflash raced overhead, Dark Magenta stopped by a street corner. Black climbed into the SPV and sat in the co-driver seat. “Now for the completion of the Mysterons’ work.”
* * *
Lieutenant Green at his console turned towards Colonel White.
“Sir, Lieutenant Maroon in London reports finding a dead body in our Hounslow garage.”
“Who was the body?”
Green consulted his slip of paper, “Devon Averill, he housed SPV number zero four one two.”
“That’s it! An SPV!” White announced triumphantly. “Get Scarlet and Blue down there, they are to take any means possible to destroy it. Also, get the Angels scrambled.”
“Angels One, Two and Three. Immediate launch, once airborne you are to find stolen SPV approaching Spectrum HQ London and destroy.”
Destiny, Symphony and Harmony were airborne within seconds.
“Angels airborne, Captains Scarlet and Blue report they are procuring a vehicle.”
“Lets hope they get there in time.”
* * *
Scarlet gripped the controls of the SPV he and Blue got from Baker Street, with sweaty hands. His eyes narrowed as he watched the monitor.
“You’re doing fine Paul,” Blue said.
“Quiet Adam!” snapped Scarlet. “Better driver,” he grumbled.
Spectrum Headquarters London was near the city’s centre, on Park Lane and opposite Hyde Park. The two captains were approaching Oxford Street.
Above, Destiny Angel glanced down and saw something speeding across Hyde Park, dust whirling in its wake. Her shoulder pips flashed red, “Captain Scarlet. SPV sighted on Hyde Park.”
“SIG Destiny, we’ll head them off at the Serpentine.”
Scarlet turned roughly onto Park Lane and drove across the lanes, breaking traffic before finally bouncing onto Hyde Park.
* * *
Captain Black, a Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle driven by Captain Scarlet has entered Hyde Park and is heading towards your position. You must succeed.
“We shall not fail,” Black said and looked at Dark Magenta, the double of Patrick Donaghue had paled considerably. “You understand what we must do.”
Dark Magenta did not answer but understood.
Scarlet began to feel faint. “They’re near.”
Blue studied the screen and saw a blue blur on the shoreline of the Serpentine. “I’ll take over.”
The controls were switched quickly and did not affect the SPV at all.
The two Spectrum vehicles were now on a collision course.
Dark Magenta fired at the approaching Earthmen, explosions rocked the ground around the SPV, shaking it but not stopping it. “The Earthmen are persistent.”
“They will succeed. You have failed, Captain Magenta.”
Dark Magenta began to protest but failed to as Captain Black disappeared and Captain Blue’s missiles homed in. The Mysteron double for a moment saw a concerned face looking at him. He shook his head but it remained. The face was a woman’s, angelic looking and framed by a brace of red hair flooding past her shoulders.
The Mysteron felt a twinge of compassion as if he knew the woman. Her face dissipated as Blue’s missiles hit his SPV and the vehicle shortly thereafter exploded. The SPV was hurled into the Serpentine, the secondary explosions throwing up water. Blue stopped and with Scarlet, ran towards the Serpentine. The water here was a foot deep and as people gathered, the captains walked in. The SPV had stopped burning and they peered in the wrecked driving compartment. Nothing was left of Dark Magenta but his cap.
The Mysterons had lost this battle.
* * *
Doctor Fawn addressed Colonel White in the Control Room; sitting on stools beside Fawn was Scarlet and Blue.
“Captain Magenta made a full recovery just after his counterpart was killed. He had been breathing naturally a minute before. Yet something strange happened.”
“Explain Doctor.” White said.
Fawn hesitated but forced himself to speak, “Before regaining consciousness, Magenta began to raise his hands as if driving a SPV. Rhapsody leant over him, thinking he was trying to get her attention and then he shouted loudly as if something had happened to him.”
Scarlet frowned, “What does that suggest to you Doctor?”
“That Captain Magenta and his Mysteron double had somehow been linked during the counterpart’s final seconds.
The counterpart may have seen Rhapsody and when he died, Magenta shouted as if dying in a fireball.”
White nodded slightly, “I see. Yet another fact about the Mysterons’ incredible abilities. The main thing is that Magenta is fine and the fight against the Mysterons continue.”
* * *
Darkness once again had fallen over Cloudbase. The moon was high in the sky. Magenta clutching a pinkish mug of coffee was watching the stars from the Promenade Deck and his boots propped on the table before him.
“Is this chair free?”
“Rhapsody. Sure please.”
She slid into a chair next to him; she wore a white overcoat made from cotton and bearing the Spectrum symbol on her right breast pocket and her name below it. She too propped her boots on the table. “Stars are quite pretty, are they not?”
“Sure,” mumbled Magenta, forgetting their brilliance and acknowledging the woman beside him. “Shouldn’t you be asleep?”
“No, I have the afternoon shift tomorrow.”
She shuffled, “Did you see what he saw?”
She meant the double and Magenta sipped his coffee before responding, “I saw the SPV monitor, Blue and Scarlet approaching. I felt his anger at something, maybe Black bolting. Then I felt the flames.”
“I was there, maybe he saw me.”
“Well at least he went out seeing something beautiful.”
She leant over and rested her head on his left shoulder. “He’s dead now and we have to go on as usual.”
Magenta placed his left arm around her shoulders and looked back at the stars.
Back to their usual lives.
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