of “Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons”, Episode 1
This story is a free adaptation by myself of the TV episode "The Mysterons", and contains scenes taken from the audio adventure "Introducing Captain Scarlet" and the original script of the TV episode, as well as from the fanfic "Chance for a Lifetime", by Mary J. Rudy, and "A Question of Trust", by Chris Bishop. Special thanks to both authors for allowing their work to be reprinted. Any feedback is welcome and appreciated and I can be contacted at email@example.com
The MEV slowly picked its way across the sand-red of the Martian landscape. Inside were three men from Earth, Lieutenant Dean, and Navigator Conway from the World Space Patrol, and Captain Black from Spectrum. They had been combing the surface of the planet searching for the origin of strange signals, which had been interrupting normal communications back on Earth. The MEV pulled up to a ridge overlooking a large canyon. Lieutenant Dean shut off the motors and turned to face Black, seated on his left.
"Well, that completes the third survey run, Captain. And, once again, nothing to report."
A look of confusion flashed across Black's face, but he did not let it last. "But those signals we monitored at Spectrum," he protested, "they must have come from somewhere. We'll take a look over that next rise, Lieutenant, and then we'd better be heading back."
Dean threw a lever on the console, and the Martian Excursion Vehicle taxied down the slope and onto the valley floor. Although Zero-X had been running extensive surveys on the Martian planet and its moons for over 40 years, it was still a largely unexplored planet and great care had to be taken when traversing its harsh terrain, and great care had to be taken to avoid disturbing the clusters of rock snakes scattered across the face of the planet.
The MEV grumbled as it forced its way up the slope, and an eerie yet beautiful site gradually unfolded before the eyes of the startled men.
"Will you take a look at that!" exclaimed Dean.
Down below them was a city, a series of fluorescent surfaces and clear walls. What looked like solar panels arched up above the main city, and the buildings were interconnected with red, blue, and yellow travel tubes. There appeared to be no sign of life.
"What do we do, sir?" asked Dean.
"Wait, Lieutenant, I'm thinking. Conway, start making scans and taking pictures. We've got to get this back to Earth!"
Inside the city, screens began throbbing and a large computer hummed into life, orbited by strange luminous shapes. A deep booming voice resounded throughout the complex as a monitor displayed the image of the MEV.
"IT IS TIME. THE FIRST OF THE EARTH SPACE TRAVELLERS HAVE ARRIVED. WE MUST WELCOME THEM. OUR FIRST CONTACT WITH AN ALIEN RACE IS AT HAND. LET US TAKE A CLOSER LOOK."
The hum changed pitch, and out on the surface sand encrusted cameras long unused activated and slowly swung to face the Earth spacecraft.
"Look sir, look!" called Conway.
"Be ready with the cannon, Lieutenant!" shouted Black.
The cameras still continued to turn on the MEV. "They're obviously hostile!" shouted Dean.
"Ok Lieutenant, let 'em have it!"
Missiles billowed from the underbelly of the MEV, and screamed across to the far side of the canyon where the city was located. Three more rounds followed, and, as the missiles connected with their targets, the entire complex exploded. The MEV crew watched as one of the installations exploded in a terrific fireball and engulfed the entire city. The smoke quickly dissipated.
The MEV crew had no idea what to do. Both WSP officers looked at Black for instructions, but Black himself seemed unsure of what to do next.
"We'll go down and investigate the wreckage," he said finally.
Dean seemed to welcome this break in the silence, and rose out of his chair, "I'll go get the spacesuits."
"Wait Lieutenant!" called Black.
The three men from Earth sat transfixed as five towers rose from beneath the remains of the Martian complex. They opened up and emitted a strange, hypnotic light. Before the eyes of the MEV crew the whole of the city reformed, as if someone had literally run time back to before the attack.
"Let's get out of here!" shrieked Dean.
"NO!” called Black. "We wait."
The city had been reformed for about a minute before the towers shrank back below the surface again.
Suddenly a booming voice resounded throughout the MEV, and the three men had to hold their hands over their ears to avoid being deafened.
"EARTHMEN, WE ARE PEACEFUL BEINGS, AND YOU HAVE TRIED TO DESTROY US. BUT YOU CANNOT SUCCEED. YOU AND YOUR PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR THIS ACT OF AGGRESSION. THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS. WE KNOW THAT YOU CAN HEAR US EARTHEMEN. OUR RETALLIATION WILL BE SLOW, BUT NONETHELESS EFFECTIVE. IT WILL MEAN THE ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION OF LIFE ON EARTH! IT WILL BE USELESS FOR YOU TO RESIST, FOR WE HAVE DISCOVERED THE SECRET OF REVERSING MATTER, AS YOU HAVE JUST WITNESSED."
The WSP officers continued to hold their hands over their ears, but Black had removed his, and seemed strangely unaffected.
"ONE OF YOU WILL BE UNDER OUR CONTROL. YOU WILL BE INSTRUMENTAL IN AVENGING THE MYSTERONS. OUR FIRST ACT OF RETALLIATION WILL BE TO ASSASSINATE YOUR WORLD PRESIDENT!!"
By this time the WSP officers had almost passed out, and the last image etched onto the mind of Lieutenant Dean was the cold, determined look of contempt on Captain Black before he slipped into unconsciousness.
The Mysteron threat had been received on Earth, and the World Security Council had ordered Spectrum to handle the matter of protection for the World President.
Colonel White, Spectrum's Commander in chief, had already dispatched two of his top agents, Captains Brown and Scarlet, to arrange the security at Spectrum New York, where the World President would be held until the affair with the Mysterons had been dealt with.
"Lieutenant Green," he called to the communications station.
"Angels One Two and Three, immediate launch!”
In the Amber Room, the four off-duty multinational Angel Pilots heard Green's voice signal in over the intercom "Angels One, Two and Three, immediate launch!"
"S.I.G." called back Rhapsody as she and Harmony moved towards the launch tube.
As Melody wished them luck, they took up their positions in their chairs, and rose up to their Angel Jets as the doors closed behind them.
Angel One, with Destiny inside, fired up its engines, shot across the Cloudbase deck, and out to open air. Angels Two and Three soon followed, and Colonel White's voice called over their helmets, "Angels One, Two and Three, your orders are to proceed to Spectrum New York and provide aerial protection for the security convoy to the Maximum Security Centre."
"S.I.G!" said Destiny, as the three Angel jets streaked into the distance. Colonel White turned back to Lieutenant Green.
"Lieutenant, put me in touch with Captain Scarlet's car."
Down on a quiet American road, a Spectrum Saloon Car was driving along. Inside, Captain Scarlet's cap radio swung into operation.
"Yes Sir?" he said.
Colonel White's voice replied, "After the rendezvous at the Security Centre has been effected, return here to Cloudbase."
Captain Brown's mike also swung down as the Colonel continued. "Captain Brown, I'm putting you in charge of this operation."
"Thank you Sir," replied Brown. Colonel White had already cut off the link.
Scarlet turned to him. "Well, this is your first big assignment, I wish you luck."
"Thanks, but is all this really necessary? Do you think the president's life really is in danger?"
"Well, judging by what happened on the Martian expedition, I'd say the Mysteron's have the capability of carrying out their threat."
Brown frowned. "If only we were fighting something we could understand, something tangible, something in 3 dimension."
Scarlet agreed. "I know what you mean. We can only here them over our radios, but I've got a feeling they're with us all the time."
Without warning, the Saloon's left front tyre blew out, and Scarlet struggled to hold the vehicle as it careered off the mountain road and down into the valley below. The car exploded before it hit the ground, and the wreckage plummeted down the slope. The flames totally claimed the car, and the entire valley was almost alive with fire.
Scarlet and Brown's bodies had been thrown clear of the wreckage. Brown's eyes were open but his head was twisted at a ghastly angle, whilst Scarlet's face was covered in blood. Twin rings of light, of Mysteron origin, sifted through the wreckage, and within moments, the bodies were being dragged away by Mysteron doppelgangers of the two dead men. The car was recreated in every detail up by the roadside.
The two Mysterons had a blank expressionless look on their faces, but they understood their task: the destruction of the World President!
Up on Cloudbase, Colonel White was unaware of the accident that had claimed the lives of his two staff officers. He had dispatched Captain Blue to investigate a report of a sabotaged Fireflash jet at London Airport several ours ago, and Captain Ochre had been assigned to organise the security convoy’s route through New York. He had met up with Captain Scarlet to discuss the convoy security arrangements, and now Scarlet's jet was just touching down on Cloudbase.
Colonel White had received a report of Scarlet and Brown's car crashing near the city, but neither man was injured, so there was little point in substituting in any other officers.
White had ordered Captain Ochre to oversee the investigation into the crash as soon as the World President was safely inside the Spectrum Security Centre. Right after his jet landed, Scarlet proceeded to the control room. He related the details of the crash to Colonel White.
“May I congratulate you on your escape. You're a very lucky man, Captain. Now, may I have your report?”
“Thank you sir.” replied Scarlet. “Everything is going to plan. The World President was picked up safely and should soon be inside the city limits.”
Lieutenant Green interrupted, “Excuse me, sir. Call from London Airport. Captain Blue on Channel 5.”
“Right Lieutenant, I'll take it here. Well, you may as well go relax, Captain Scarlet. Dismissed.”
Scarlet made his way down to his quarters, passing Captains Grey and Magenta on the way.
“Hey, Paul, heard about the crash. You and Steve OK?” asked Magenta.
Scarlet ignored them and entered the lift to the lower decks. Magenta turned to Grey. “Gee, what's eating him?”
“Probably just shock. He's lucky to be alive,” said Grey.
In his quarters, Scarlet lay on his back on his bed. His face took on a vacant expression, and in his mind's eye, he could see the security convoy making its way through the deserted New York streets. Inside the MSV, being flanked by two patrol cars, sat Captain Brown and the World President.
Brown hadn't spoken much during the journey, and the nervous President Younger was desperate to relieve some of the tension. He noticed the lack of people as the convoy picked its way slowly through the empty streets.
“Spectrum is taking no chances, Captain.”
“Indeed not, sir,” Brown replied. “If you'll look to your left, you'll seen Spectrum Security Officers lining the building, and the Spectrum Angels are over flying the area.”
Younger smiled and relaxed in his chair. “Angels is the right word for that team. I'm impressed with all the precautions taken, Captain. Nonetheless, I’ll be happier once we reach our destination. We're dealing with forces the likes of which we don't understand.” Brown nodded. He DID understand the forces Earth was dealing with, and soon, the World President would too...
The MSV entered a heavily guarded warehouse a short distance from the Security Building. Once it had rolled to a halt, it was transported down, by a hidden elevator, into an underground car park. A tube extended from the far wall and connected with the MSV door. Captain Brown escorted the President through the travel tube and out into the maze of corridors, until they reached the conveyor belt at the security checkpoint. They were now in the Security Centre.
The President stepped on, followed by Brown. The conveyor belt began to move slowly along, as six Spectrum Guards, positioned on chairs behind a bulletproof transparent shield trained heavy machine guns on them. All of them were very nervous, but tried not to show it in their faces.
Midway along the conveyor belt was a scanner, which would automatically detect any unregistered item on a person moving through it. There were no guards past this point, as a wall separated it from the guarded conveyor belt. The World President moved through it without the scanner registering anything. The conveyor brought Brown close to the scanner. As it did so, alarms began blaring and a metal shield slid down separating the World President from any danger.
The entire security squad swung their guns to face Brown who already had his hands up.
“It's alright!” he called. He slowly lowered one hand and brought out a small case from his zip pocket.
The guards locked their weapons on him as he tossed it aside. It opened on impact, revealing cigarettes.
The guards cut the alarms, and the metal shield retreated revealing a relieved President Younger.
“For a moment you had me worried there, Captain,” he smiled.
The conveyor belt brought them to a lift, which automatically closed and began to descend as soon as both men were in it. After a few seconds, the doors swung open again, and the men saw where they were to be held until the crisis was over. A large area, two bedrooms, bathroom and main sitting room with books, games, TV and audio entertainment to break the monotony.
“Well, this will be our home for the next few weeks. I hope you play a good game of chess, Captain,” joked Younger as he crossed to his desk.
“I play a very good game, Sir,” replied Brown.
Younger then noticed an electronic device, camera lenses-like, protruding from the wall and pointed at it.
"What's that?" he asked Captain Brown.
"Don't worry sir. It's an electronic eye." Brown answered, as he settled down in a seat opposite the President. "They're watching our every move."
“I'm sure glad of this, Captain, but I wish it wasn't so necessary. What information has Spectrum compiled on these Mysterons?”
“Very little, Sir. The immediate concern is your safety.”
“Well, at least I've got Spectrum guarding me. Your organisation is doing a first class job Captain.”
Brown didn't answer. He had frozen in his chair, and his face was held in an expression of contempt.
“Captain? Captain Brown?” The President was worried. “Captain Brown, are you alright?” he asked.
Suddenly he noticed faint wisps of smoke coming from Brown's neck. I'm imagining it, he thought, all this is getting to me.
But the smoke was increasing, and Brown was shaking violently, as if suffering spasms.
The President quickly pressed a button on his desk. The back wall of the room swung up, and the President's chair was whisked away into the darkness. Brown's body was only visible as a shuddering grey mass, so thick was the smoke.
Suddenly he exploded, with a blast so powerful the Security Building was blown to pieces...
Back on Cloudbase, Colonel White was debriefing the World President on the events at the Security Centre. “And so, Mr President, the first attempt to assassinate you by the Mysterons has failed. It is now our intention to move you to a new place of maximum security, but before we do so, lets take a look at what really happened.”
As Colonel White revolved in his chair to face the monitor on the wall behind him, the President whispered to Scarlet, “I don't understand, Captain.”
“You'll see in a moment, Sir. The pictures from the concealed cameras in your suite were recorded in another building, so luckily they are still safe.”
The President was puzzled. “You mean where going to see the whole thing re-enacted?”
“That's right, Sir.”
The President slowly stood up as Colonel White spoke into a microphone on his console. “Spectrum Information Centre, roll the tape.” On the monitor, they saw Brown and the President moving down the conveyor belt. “Roll on,” the Colonel ordered, and the picture sped up. “OK,” he called, and the picture returned, showing the elevator arriving in the President's suite. “Roll on, OK, try it now,” ordered White.
The film played as Brown's body began to smoulder, and the President's chair whipped back behind the protective steel door just seconds before Brown exploded, blotting out the picture. The Colonel turned his seat to face the President.
“The first thing that recording tells us is that you only just escaped with your life, and the second thing it tells us is that Captain Brown had a bomb on his person, which was possibly a trigger for a larger device planted elsewhere in the building.”
The President was amazed. “The whole thing is just incredible. Are you suggesting that Captain Brown was part of this plot? Surely he was a man you could trust?”
“Mr President, Captain Brown was one of my finest men. That is one of the few things I can be sure about, as of this time. Since the Zero-X mission to Mars, there have been a number of peculiar happenings. Captain Black, who led that expedition, again a trusted man, disappeared during the mission, and hasn't been since. Now this.” He paused. “Captain Scarlet.”
“You are to proceed with the President to London, and you be escorted by the Angel Flight. The life of the World President is in your hands. I do not have to remind you that we are fighting forces we do not understand. Anything could happen.”
“S.I.G Colonel,” replied Scarlet.
Within ten minutes, an S.P.J was on its way to London.
* * *
Captain Ochre was puzzled. How on Earth had the Mysterons succeeded in getting a bomb into the Security Building, to begin with? The security there was so tight he could have sworn even a mouse couldn't get in or out. Then he was even more perplexed when Colonel White had asked him to go check a car crash site, just outside the city. Ochre did know that, prior to the Security Building explosion, Captains Brown and Scarlet had been in a car accident, while en route to meet the President. That they both had escaped with their lives was a miracle, as he understood it. Ochre didn't see Brown after that, since Scarlet had left him with the President, but he did meet with Scarlet. He didn't even have a scratch. “Just lucky, I guess,” Scarlet had simply said with a smile. And then, following orders, he had gone back to Cloudbase, without Ochre having the chance to ask him more questions.
The car crash site wasn't difficult to find. Getting to it was another matter, though. The car was way down a ravine, reduced to a burned-out shell by an explosion. Ochre's perplexity then changed to amazement. For Scarlet and Brown to have survived without getting hurt in any way wasn't a miracle… it was plainly impossible.
An officer from New York Spectrum Headquarters, Lieutenant Tan, was with him when Captain Ochre investigated the crash site. What they discovered there shook Ochre pretty strongly.
They found the body of Captain Brown. Nearly intact, bruised, with a broken neck, hastily hidden under some bushes, a few feet from the wreckage of the car. The crash had obviously killed him.
The first thing that came into Captain Ochre's mind was sadness. Brown had been a good friend. They had trained together, when they were first selected to join Spectrum as senior staff officers. Steve Blackburn was so full of life, never afraid of anything. His eagerness to serve had more than compensated for his lack of experience in the field, and he had become such a good agent. Then, Ochre's thoughts went to Brown's wife, Becky. She was about to give birth to their first child… How would she ever be able to handle the death of her beloved husband? Why did that have to happen to them? It was so unfair, to them and to the child, who would never have the chance to discover how wonderful his father would have been to him.
And then, the professional side of Ochre took over. If Brown had died in that crash, who was with President Younger, then? Who had died as Captain Brown in the explosion of the Security Building? And stranger still, why hadn't Captain Scarlet told him about Brown's demise?
* * *
Back at Cloudbase, Lieutenant Green was on duty as Captain Ochre radioed in a report. “Spectrum New York reports body of Captain Brown found at scene of car crash.”
Green was puzzled. “What does this mean, Sir?”
Colonel White thanked Captain Ochre for his report and then closed the channel.
“That Captain Brown who escorted the President must have been an impostor,” he answered Green. “Something must have happened at that car crash that we don't understand.”
“But Captain Scarlet was there, surely if anything had happened…”
“Captain Scarlet! Whatever happened to Captain Brown may also have happened to Captain Scarlet. Lieutenant, contact Destiny Angel immediately and tell her to escort Captain Scarlet back to Cloudbase.”
In the President's jet, Destiny's voice rang in over the radio. “Captain Scarlet, turn back. You will return to Cloudbase.”
“Turn back,” Scarlet murmured.
“That is correct Captain. You are to return to Cloudbase immediately.” There was no answer. “Captain Scarlet, did you receive my message?”
Still there was no answer. “Cloudbase, Captain Scarlet does not answer. Please check the radio, is he receiving?”
Colonel White's voice came over her helmet radio, “Confirmed Scarlet is receiving. There's no doubt now. The Mysterons have affected him. The President is in grave danger.”
He turned to face his map on the monitor, which displayed the route the jet was taking. “They're just crossing the English coast. Put me in touch with Angel Flight Leader and Scarlet's jet.”
In Angel One, Destiny listened as the Colonel relayed his message. “Destiny Angel, Captain Scarlet is also receiving this transmission. As soon as you have crossed the English coast, intercept his aircraft and shoot it down!”
A few moments later, her helmet radio swung back into operation. “Destiny, only you are receiving this message. Ignore previous order. Now, listen carefully. I want you to make a dummy attack on Captain Scarlet's aircraft. Open fire, and make sure you miss!”
“S.I.G!” called Destiny.
Angel One dived towards the jet, firing its missiles either side. The explosions rocked the jet, but were too far away to do any damage.
The President turned to Scarlet. “This is crazy. You heard what they said. Why don't you give up before it’s too late?”
Scarlet didn't reply.
* * *
Captain Ochre looked around at the site of the car crash. Something was nagging him about this. And nagging him big time. He gave one last look at Captain Brown's body, fighting emotions that were threatening to overwhelm him.
“He was a friend of yours, wasn't he?” Lieutenant Tan asked him.
“Yes,” Ochre said, trying to make his voice as firm as possible. “A very good friend.” He shrugged, in order to regain his composure. “We should take his body back to New York HQ. But before that, I want to have another look around.”
“To find out how this accident happened?” Tan asked.
“Maybe. I don't know.” Ochre sighed heavily. “I've got a bad feeling about this, Lieutenant. Something strange happened here. Strange and frightening.”
Tan nodded his acknowledgement. The two men spread out to look around. While doing so, Captain Ochre called a helijet to collect his friend's body. He glanced over at Tan who was going further down the ravine, toward the burned remains of the car. He saw him turning some wreckage over and then turned his back to pursue his own investigations on his side.
A sudden cry from downhill made him jump.
“Captain Ochre! Over here!”
Tan was standing very close to what was left of the main body of the car, looking down at the ground, obviously stunned. Ochre almost slid down the slope separating him from the Lieutenant. The feeling he was having about all this was beginning to take the form of a dreadful reality.
When he arrived, Lieutenant Tan, his face very pale, showed him what he had found.
Almost hidden under what was left of a car door, a half burned hand was protruding from the ground. Ochre saw the black sleeve with the rainbow Spectrum logo upon it and his heart skipped a beat.
“Give me a hand!” he ordered Tan.
Together, they heaved at the door and flung it aside. Half buried under it was a body. Ochre got on his knees and started digging frenziedly with his bare hands. The first thing he uncovered was the red tunic of a Spectrum uniform. Even if he already knew by then what he would find, Ochre continued to throw the dirt aside. He just had to be sure.
He almost crumbled when he finally uncovered the handsome face of Captain Scarlet, now rendered pallid, almost grey, by the cold touch of death.
“God!” Ochre gasped, not wanting to believe it. “Paul… Not you too!”
His worst fears had become almost too real. Not one, but two of his colleagues and friends were now dead. Killed in a car crash. And probably not by a simple accident. All of this had the feel of a cold, well-calculated murder.
If Brown's body was almost intact, it was unfortunately not the case with Scarlet's. Ochre didn't need to dig much further to know his friend had had a very ugly death. Part of his uniform was burned, the skin beneath blackened… there were burn marks on the back of his head. Ochre didn't want to think about how badly the rest of the buried body might look.
“Captain…” It was Lieutenant Tan's voice, trying to shake Ochre out of his shock. “Captain, I'm sorry… but you gotta snap out of it…”
“Leave me alone, Lieutenant,” Ochre responded brusquely.
“I can't, Captain. Think, sir: how is it possible for Captain Scarlet to be here… when we saw him taking an SPJ back to Cloudbase, a few hours ago? The accident happened BEFORE…”
It hit Ochre right in the face. His friends' bodies had been hidden in a hurry. Probably by their killers… Killers who had taken their respective identities to carry out some deadly mission.
“Look-alikes,” Ochre murmured, astonished. “Oh, my God… the Mysterons!”
* * *
In Scarlet's jet, the President noticed the microphone in its holder. He reached out and grabbed it.
“Spectrum this is your World President speaking. I order you to shoot this –“
Suddenly Scarlet delivered a vicious backhander which sent the President back in his chair with a split lip and a gash across his forehead.
Out of the corner of his eye, Scarlet saw the Angel making another attack run. He quickly tugged on a lever and the canopy above them blew off, and then the two men were blasted off into the air.
Destiny radioed Cloudbase. “Captain Scarlet and the World President have ejected. Repeat, ejected.”
“S.I.G.,” replied the Colonel. “Monitor their position and report back to me.”
He opened another communications channel. “Colonel White, Cloudbase. Captain Scarlet and the World President have jested, approximately sixty miles northwest of London City Centre. Have the nearest SPV on the road immediately.”
“Yes Sir,” came the reply.
Another channel opened up as Captain Ochre radioed in.
“I'm busy, Captain Ochre. Make it quick.”
“Sir,” Ochre said with a catch in his voice. “I don't quite know how to say it… We've found Captain Scarlet's dead body.”
There was a silence over the communicator. Then Colonel White's voice came in again, sounding even more urgent than before. “You have a positive identification?”
“I found him myself, sir,” Ochre said tiredly. “Sir, I must warn you…”
“Have the bodies flown here to Cloudbase,” Colonel White interrupted abruptly. “And come with them. We may need you here.”
Ochre frowned. Talk about a cold reaction! He knew Colonel White was all work and professionalism, but he had thought that, at least, he regarded his senior staff more highly than that! And Scarlet was a compatriot of his…
“Yes, sir,” Ochre answered back to his commander. “But you've got to hear me out… There's a phoney Scarlet on Cloudbase, an impostor, and he's bound to do something against President Younger!”
“We already know that, Captain,” Colonel White sighed in response. “Your report has just confirmed what we were suspecting…”
“You were suspecting…” Captain Ochre's voice broke out. “You've arrested him?”
“We're actually after him. I'm afraid we reacted too slowly. Captain Scarlet has already kidnapped the World President…”
Destiny still had visual contact with Scarlet and the President as they drifted to the ground and landed in a field near the side of a road next to a parked car. From her aerial viewpoint, she saw the President undo his straps and make a break for it, charging across the road and into a nearby field.
Scarlet simply walked to the car, tore the door open, climbed into the driver's seat, and soon the car raced into the field after the President.
The speed of the President was no match for the car, and Captain Scarlet smashed the car into the President with a sickening thud, and veered off. The President struggled to get up, but saw Scarlet had got out of the car and was walking towards him. His left leg was broken, and he passed out again from pain and shock.
Scarlet dragged the President over to the car and lifted him into the passenger seat. The car sped out of the field and rejoined the main road.
Destiny reported in to Cloudbase. “Captain Scarlet has taken the President to a nearby car, and they are now proceeding in a northerly direction.”
“S.I.G.,” came the Colonel's reply. “Pass positional radio fix on car and local map references. S.P.V will be on the road in 5 minutes.”
The Colonel opened another channel to Captain Ochre. “Captain, have you left for Cloudbase yet?”
“No sir, we're almost ready. We're just getting the bodies into the jet. Is there a problem, Sir?”
“Previous orders S.I.R. Take jet and proceed to London City Centre. How soon can you arrive there?”
Ochre paused. “Well, if I went flat out, in an SPJ it’s theoretically possible to make it in 2 1/2 - 3 hours.”
“Good, have Lieutenant Tan bring the bodies back to Cloudbase.”
“S.I.G,” came the reply.
A few miles further down the road from where Scarlet and the President had landed, there was a small petrol station, with a single attendant. Suddenly a bright red Spectrum Patrol Car tore into the station and screeched to a stop. The man inside leaned out of the window towards the attendant and held up a pass card.
‘Captain Blue, Spectrum. Pursuit Vehicle A69 please.”
“S.I.G,” called the attendant, as he ran back into the shop and punched in a code on the cash register.
Suddenly, a removal van near the Patrol Car exploded, and the SPV was revealed. The Angels were following Scarlet's car as it tore along the country roads at breakneck speed. Destiny radioed in a report to Blue, who was now rapidly gaining on the car in his SPV.
“Captain Blue, Captain Scarlet's vehicle - white saloon, registration CR 2X00 - has just turned onto M.27 in direction of London car-vu.”
“Destiny, I'm turning on to M.27 I should make visual contact with the car in a few minutes.”
“Destiny opened up a channel to Rhapsody. “There are only two roads Captain Scarlet can now take. One of them terminates at the London Car-Vu. Peel off and destroy the London Road viaduct.” '
“S.I.G.,” and Rhapsody's aircraft screamed out of the sky. Three well-aimed missiles totally obliterated the viaduct, and from her cockpit, Destiny could see Scarlet's car turn off the motorway and off towards the Car-Vu.
On Cloudbase, Colonel White was tracking the progress of all Spectrum helicopter traffic in and out of London. He opened up a communications channel. “S H A42, divert to London Car-Vu. Captain Blue's going to need your help.”
He then opened a subsidiary channel. “Calling Spectrum Angels, Captain Blue, Captain Ochre, and Helicopter A42. Captain Scarlet is now trapped. Soon he will be climbing the Car-Vu, and when he gets to the top, it’s the end of the line. Overall field commander will be Captain Blue. You must take great care - the president's life is the hands of a desperate man. He must be saved at all costs!”
Scarlet's car tore up the access road and onto the main spiralling ramp of the Car-Vu tower at breakneck speed. The tyres screamed in protest as they began the long climb to the top of the London Car-Vu.
The President was defiant but helpless against the seemingly mute Captain Scarlet's behaviour. “You must be crazy!” he cried. “Your escape route's blocked. Why not give up now before it’s too late for both of us?”
Scarlet remained silent, ignoring the President's plea.
About 100 feet beneath them, Captain Blue began his ascent to the top of the 800ft superstructure that dominated the London skyline. He was struggling to clear his racing brain, trying to figure out what was going on, trying to make sense out of this strange and inexplicable situation. His thoughts were interrupted by a call from the Spectrum Helicopter. “Captain Blue, I am already within a mile of the Car-Vu tower. I'll rendezvous with you in approximately 1.5 minutes.”
“S.I.G A42, but hurry. I can't make any move against Scarlet until you're in position.”
“S.I.G Captain,” came the reply.
No sooner had Blue's radio microphone swung back up into place than it came down again, his radio-epaulettes flashing ochre. “Captain Blue, I've landed the SPJ at London International Airport. Am proceeding to Car-Vu tower in SPV 839. Will be with you in about half an hour.”
“S.I.G Captain Ochre. What is your current position?”
“I'm just passing through disused industrial district on way to join the M21.”
“S.I.G,” replied Blue.
As Ochre's SPV continued its journey, he passed a derelict warehouse, with windows smashed in, contents burned out and floors covered in puddles of water. Up on the second floor, a dark sinister figure stood in a tattered Spectrum uniform. Captain Black lifted his binoculars to his face, and focusing on the Car-Vu, he watched as Scarlet's car drove out onto the east-facing wing of the sky park.
Scarlet dragged the President from the car and took him out on to a satellite maintenance platform on the side of the Car-Vu.
The Angels tore overhead as Destiny reported to Captain Blue. “Captain Scarlet is leaving his car. He has the President at gunpoint, and they are climbing out on a girder maintenance structure at the side of the sky park.”
“S.I.G.,” Blue replied, and was plunged back into his thoughts. He had lived and worked with Captain Scarlet. He was a friend, as well as a fellow officer in Spectrum, but other forces now held him in their power.
His thoughts were broken again as the SPV screamed into the top car park. He opened a channel to the helicopter. “A42, you know the situation. As soon as you arrive, your first target is Captain Scarlet. And make sure you shoot accurately; he's close to the President. Then, winch the President to safety. All this if I don't get there before you myself.”
Blue pressed a button on the SPV control panel, and the SPV power pack, concealed in a hatch in the floor, rose up. He hurriedly grabbed the pack and clipped the main motor unit to the support harness. He opened the door and his seat jutted out of the SPV and descended to ground level. From their vantage point across the park, Scarlet and the President watched as Captain Blue attached the power jet pack to his back and took off towards them. Blue would have trusted Scarlet with his life, yet here he was, intent on Scarlet's destruction, and Scarlet on his.
Up ahead, he saw the helicopter swing into view and make towards his position, missing an excellent chance to gun Scarlet down. He opened his radio channel. “A42, I can see you. Standing by here during your attack, you've got better cover than me. Captain Scarlet is on the west corner of the sky park.”
There was no reply, yet A42 swept closer towards him every second.
“A42, please acknowledge. Unable to - ”
He was cut off as the helicopter let loose with a volley of the shots from the cannon. Blue swung under the car park as the helicopter screamed over his head.
“Destiny Angel, A42 is firing at me. Must now be considered as hostile. Attack immediately!”
Destiny pealed off and dove towards the helicopter as it dived under the car park to try to gun down Blue, who was confused once more. Why was the Spectrum helicopter firing on him? Then he realised the terrible powers of the Mysterons and knew that there was no turning back.
He was fighting for his life.
The helicopter rose into the air again, swinging round in another attempt to pick off Captain Blue. By now, Destiny had the helicopter in her sights, but she had to pick her moment carefully. One mistake here could mean disaster. She watched as the helicopter continued its dive to the Car - Vu, and, realising the limits of her options, she opened fire.
The blast caught the tail end of the helicopter, and smoke began belching from the engines. The helicopter keeled over, and, out of control, it ran screaming towards the sky-park. Blue could see what was going to happen, and rapidly moved out from his safety point under the base of the Car-Vu, hoping that Destiny's shot had disabled the machine gun. He watched in horror as the helicopter raced towards the support structure. He could see the President hanging on tightly to the side of the maintenance tower. The helicopter careered into the centre of the Car-Vu, some girders ripping away its rotors.
The whole tower shook as the helicopter fell bouncing down the access road tower, finally exploding about half-way down, shattering the support structure. The tower swayed precariously, and part of the access road was sliced away, making deafening scraping sounds as it fell down the side of the Car-Vu. Blue knew that his time to do anything was rapidly running out. He had to move in to end it, and called out to Scarlet.
“OK, Captain, you don't stand a chance. You throw your gun away, and I'll come in to pick you both up.”
The President, pale-faced, turned to his captor. “You heard him Scarlet. Do what he says.” Scarlet seemed confused for a moment, and for a few seconds Blue thought he was actually going to give himself up. But that thought was short-lived, as Scarlet finally raised his gun up and began firing, his face rigid and expressionless once again.
Blue quickly swung himself out of Scarlet's range as three bullets whizzed past his head. He gazed sadly down at his gun, but he knew what he had to do. “OK, Captain Scarlet. Its either gonna be you, or me.” He flew back out to finish the fight. He felt a chill as he saw the icy glare of Captain Scarlet setting his sights directly at him, remembering the man he once knew. Scarlet began firing on Blue, who was able to anticipate Scarlet's actions. The World President quickly brought his arms up to shield his face from a falling beam, but the beam clipped the framework of the Observation Tower and fell away from him, and fell the dizzying drop to the ground. Scarlet swung round to check that the President was not about to attempt an escape back to the main Car-Vu platform. Blue saw that he had a chance as Scarlet's attention was briefly distracted. He lined his gun up for Scarlet's heart ... and fired.
Scarlet spun round to see the man who had dealt him the fatal blow, and the image of agony that Blue would never forget as long as he lived staggered backwards from the President, miscalculated how much space he had, and fell screaming in agony from the side of the Observation Tower. Blue had no time to contemplate the loss of his former friend - the agony that he was suffering at that moment took second place to securing the safety of the World President. He manipulated the jet pack controls and the jets swung him in towards the President, but he could tell that he was not going to have enough time.
The structure of the Car-Vu tower was by now practically non-existent, and it began to sway towards Blue. The sudden shake caused the President to loose his grip on the observation platform framework, and he pitched off the platform, only just saving himself by grabbing onto the platform again and pulling himself back onto it with both hands. Blue could see that the Tower was likely to go over before he could reach the President, and decided to call out to him.
“Mr President! When I tell you, run and jump off the platform towards me! Ready?” The President, clearly unsure that the plan had any chance of success, just nodded and clung tightly to the girders. The Tower screamed as it began to disintegrate at the base, and explosions rocked the parking platforms. “NOW!” shouted Blue, and the President ran off the platform and out towards Blue, who only just managed to get a hold on him before operating the controls and moving down and away from the Tower.
His mind was reeling from the shock of having to shoot down Captain Scarlet. Memories of the man he had just sent screaming to his death flashed before his eyes, A sharp beeping sound in his helmet quickly brought him out of his trance. "Captain Blue, come in please," said Colonel White. “Report your situation!”
"Captain Blue here, Colonel."
"What's the situation? Is the World President safe?"
"Yes, sir, he's unharmed. We're currently descending to the surface via SPV jetpack--"
"Jetpack?!" White repeated in surprise. "Captain, your orders were to retrieve the World President and secure him in either the SPV or Helicopter A42. Why the devil are you out in the open?"
"Colonel, Helicopter A42 was hostile. I ordered Destiny Angel to shoot it down. The wreckage fell right into the Car-Vu and damaged the tower--"
Blue stopped in mid-sentence as he heard a loud cracking sound coming from above. He turned and saw the top section of the London Car-Vu tilting precariously toward him. The car Captain Scarlet had commandeered and the Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle slid across the cloverleaf-shaped observation deck as if they were toys.
Blue opened up the jetpack's throttle and sped away just ahead of the tons of falling concrete and steel. "Hold on!" he shouted to the World President as the air displaced by the collapsing tower slammed into them.
After they had reached a safe distance, Blue radioed Cloudbase back. "Colonel, if we'd gone to the SPV we'd be under that observation deck right now."
"Good thinking, Captain." There was a short pause. "Scarlet, I assume, is--"
"Yes, sir," Blue sighed. "He's dead. I had no choice."
"Pity. I wonder what I shall tell his father."
Blue swallowed hard and cleared his throat, quickly changing the subject. "Request rendezvous with Maximum Security Vehicle."
It took but a few seconds for Lieutenant Green, the colonel's aide, to retrieve the proper information. "An SPV will arrive at the London road viaduct in approximately five minutes," the young black man replied.
"Your orders are to hand the World President over to Captain Ochre at the viaduct and return to the Car-Vu. The colonel wants Scarlet's body brought back to Cloudbase."
"Doesn't Spectrum Medical Center usually handle an autopsy, Colonel?" queried Blue.
"Yes, Captain, they do. But I want Dr. Fawn to do the post-mortems this time."
Blue noticed that the Spectrum chief spoke in the plural. "How many bodies do we have up there, sir?"
White did not answer the question, but instead he turned the frequency back over to Green. "Helicopter A38 has been dispatched to the Car-Vu. You will be debriefed upon your return to Cloudbase. Out."
Captain Blue carried out his orders, and first off made certain that the President was handed over to Captain Ochre, before going back to the Car-Vu to tackle the grim task of locating Scarlet's body. He took the shocked President out to the viaduct, where an anxious Captain Ochre was waiting for them. Lieutenant Crimson made the President comfortable in the SPV, whilst Ochre had a word with Blue. He tried not to mention what had almost certainly happened at the Car-Vu tower, but instead just placed a hand on Blue's shoulder.
"The Colonel wants you back up to Cloudbase as quickly as possible. An emergency meeting of the World Security Council has been arranged and the old man wants you to be there to give them a full report. Another 'copter’s on its way to pick up Scarlet's body."
"Right." replied Blue wearily. "How is the World President, Lieutenant?" he asked as Crimson came back out of the SPV.
"He could have been much worse, Captain Blue. Just a broken leg, the gashes on his face, and some general bruising. He's not in any danger and I've done what I can for him. He's out of it at the moment. I'd recommend we get him full medical attention as soon as we get to the Maximum Security Centre, Captain Ochre."
" Right, well we'd better get going then Lieutenant. Get her started up."
"Yes Sir" replied Crimson, and he climbed into the SPV Driver's cabin.
Ochre turned to back to Blue. “Who was that clown up there, Adam? It couldn't have been Paul."
"That's what I keep telling myself. He would never turn traitor like that. But..... there was something about him..... the way he acted...no. No, it had to be Paul."
"Well then... who the heck was that Tan took back to Cloudbase?"
"What!?!" replied a shocked Blue.
"We found the bodies ... hidden in bushes along the road they took to New York... car wreckage.... Steve and Paul's bodies out on show for all to see. The Colonel ordered them taken back to Cloudbase."
"Then what the hell was that I took down on the Car-Vu? I'd better get up there."
"Now, gentlemen, you know the circumstances of Captain Scarlet's death. I think we can assume that Captains Black, Brown and Scarlet were all taken over by the mysterious agency of the Mysterons. The real issue now is to find out how!" Colonel White looked across at the grim faces of the members of the World Security Council as he made his contribution to their meeting over the Cloudbase video-link. Lieutenant Green had sent them footage from the surveillance cameras from the Maximum Security Centre, the SPJ, and Captain Blue's jet pack. Captain Blue himself had made his report to the Council, and had been dismissed to get some rest.
"Once this has been ascertained, we can..." He was interrupted as Captain Blue burst back into the control room.
"Colonel White. It’s INCREDIBLE! Scarlet's body... he's… regenerating... His wounds have all but healed!"
"What!" cried the Colonel, then remembered the Security Council eagerly listening to the proceedings as they unfolded. "Gentlemen, it would appear there are further mysteries to this event that have yet to be explained. I'm afraid I shall have to close this channel, for the time being at least. I shall contact you again as soon as any further information becomes available. I apologise for the delay."
He cut off the channel and turned to face Captain Blue. "Alright Captain, lets have it. You say that Captain Scarlet's wounds are healing?"
"Its..... its almost as if he's coming back to life, sir. Doctor Fawn has detected breathing and a definite heartbeat."
"I think I had better take a look at this for myself. Lets get down there, Captain."
"Good God," gasped White as he entered the recovery room. He looked first at the unconscious man on the bed and then at Blue, who had come in behind him. "Captain, please forgive me for having doubted you."
"It's all right, sir. I didn't believe Dr. Fawn myself," the junior officer replied. The doctor nodded silently in agreement, listening as he adjusted one of the many pieces of equipment in the room. "It's not every day that one of his patients falls 800 feet and recovers without his help."
White turned his attention to the Spectrum medical officer. "Is this body healing its own wounds then? Internally as well as externally?"
"Yes, Colonel. We've been scanning him every few minutes."
"Aren't frequent doses of X-ray radiation dangerous, Doctor?"
Fawn smiled. "Colonel, you're behind the times. The only doctors I know who still use X-rays are brain surgeons. Dr. Magnus, the top man in that field, swears by them, won't use anything else in fact. What we use up here is much more sophisticated." The doctor handed White two pieces of film. "These were taken only ten minutes apart."
White's eyes widened. "That fracture's completely healed!"
"That's correct, sir. I estimate he'll be right as rain within the half hour."
"Will he have regained consciousness by then?" White continued.
"He's already got full brain activity, Colonel. He can wake up any time he wishes, but I can't predict his actions when he does."
"I don't understand."
"Last time this guy was conscious he was trying to kill me, sir," Blue reminded him.
"Yes, quite." White smoothed his silver hair. "I trust all necessary precautions have been taken?"
"Yes, Colonel," Blue replied. He nodded at the armed Spectrum security guard standing in the doorway. "Besides Jarvis outside there, we have heavy-duty restraints on the bed, and Dr. Fawn has prepared a strong sedative just in case."
"Good." White turned to leave. "I'll tell Lieutenant Green to recall Spectrum Intelligence. If there are any developments, I'll be up in the Control Room--"
Suddenly the unconscious man emitted a loud groan, stopping the colonel before he reached the doorway. He whirled around to see Fawn beckoning to him, Blue standing expectantly over the body. "He's coming round, Colonel!" the medical officer exclaimed.
The security guard stared at the scene from the other side of the instrument table, a tight grip on his weapon.
The man's eyelids fluttered and slowly opened. He blinked several times, his eyes adjusting to the bright light of the room, trying to focus on the faces above him.
"Dr. Fawn!" he finally said, attempting to move against the restraints. His voice was weak but coherent. "Am I on Cloudbase, then?"
Fawn nodded, not knowing how to react.
His patient looked up at him blankly. "Why the long face, Doctor?" He paused and then frowned. "How's Brown?"
"Captain Brown. Did he survive the crash?"
Fawn and White exchanged glances. This man was behaving exactly as they would have expected a loyal Spectrum officer to act, not at all like the homicidal maniac Blue had described. "Er--no, he didn't make it," Fawn finally replied.
"He was a good man," the patient sighed. "Did the rest of the mission go smoothly?"
"Not quite," answered Blue. "But I did deliver the World President safely."
"You?" the man said in surprise. "The President was in New York, but you were in London--" His voice trailed off and he passed out.
"Me and my big mouth," grumbled Blue.
Fawn shook his head. "No worries, Captain. It's better if he rests."
"It's better if we let Spectrum Intelligence question him," White added. "Our primary concern is to find out whether this man is our own Captain Scarlet before we make our next move." The colonel turned toward the door again. "Until then, Doctor, keep your patient comfortable. He should be afforded the same treatment you give to all our other officers."
Several days later, Colonel White called a meeting of his senior staff. The members of the World Security Council were also listening over a secure communications channel.
"Members of Spectrum. Our first operation against the Mysterons has been a success. The World President is now safe. However, the following facts need our immediate consideration. The bodies of Captains Scarlet and Brown were recovered near the scene of the car crash, and yet we know that Captain Brown was blown to pieces - we have the evidence on tape. Similarly, we now know that helicopter A-42 was destroyed in mysterious circumstances half an hour before the very same craft appeared at the London Car Vu and opened fire upon our own men. We can deduce from this that the Mysterons are capable of reconstructing objects on Earth and sending them here as booby traps. The man who hijacked the World President and fell 800 feet from the London Car-Vu tower has been positively identified as Captain Scarlet. He too has seemingly re-appeared in another form, and after having fallen from such a fantastic height, Doctor Fawn reports that despite his fatal injuries he is indeed returning to life. He appears to have no conscious re-collection of his experiences under the Mysteron influence, and it would seem that this Captain Scarlet is now indestructible. In other words, he could become our greatest asset in our newfound conflict with the Mysterons."
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