“Lime Doctor” follows “Gray Admiral, White Colonel,” and consists mainly of Dr. Lime’s life story, which she relates to Captain Scarlet after his emergence from Cloudbase’s room of sleep on Wednesday, 8 July, 2071, two days before Spectrum’s third anniversary.
“What do you want to do with your life, Jessie?”
Ever had anyone ask you that question, Captain Scarlet? Well, my stepfather kinda surprised me when he did. Living under the guardianships of these two people, who’d saved me from being killed in that fire, I had never really thought about what to do with my life. But now here was my stepfather, Sergeant Timothy Curtis of the Fort Dix, New Jersey, Fire Department, the paramedic who’d fished me out of that burning slum and brought me personally to that hospital here in Fort Dix, wondering what my plans were.
“Why do you want to know?”
“’Cuz I almost lost MY life so you could HAVE a life. I’d like to think that meant something to you.”
“Well, Daddy, what is it you do when you’re not picking people out of fires?”
Dad--yes, I know, he wasn’t my real dad, who was dead, but he was the closest thing to a dad I’d ever really had--gulped a mouthful of coffee. “I’m with the Army Reserve Medical Corps.”
“Reserve? What’s that?”
“It means backup. Like when something’s being saved for an emergency, that’s a kind of reserve.”
“Saved for an emergency? Sounds like you’re being wasted, doesn’t it?”
“Wasted nothing! It’s too easy for the Army to run outta people who can do those kinds of jobs. I’m there to see to it that it doesn’t.”
Being that close to death when you’ve only been three years out of diapers can change you in ways you never thought it could. For one thing, it can bring you face to face with your own mortality.
For another, it can bring your life into focus.
I knew from that experience that I wanted to be on the front lines of high-risk situations like combat zones, doing on a full-time basis what my stepfather did on a part-time basis.
With that in mind, I answered his question. “I want to join the Army Medical Corps.”
“Jessica Christie Logan, do you realize what you’re setting yourself up for?”
“Nothing worse than what almost happened to me last year. If I’m going to die, then at least I can die helping to make sure someone else doesn’t die right off the bat, seeing as there may be another war on in a few years.”
“Go for it, then.”
After that day, I hit the books like a bookworm. But I also started a physical fitness routine based on what my own stepfather pursued. There was one difference: I wanted to learn how to use guns.
“You gotta be kidding me,” Mama blurted three weeks after my stepfather had asked his question about what I wanted, when she heard how I’d answered him. “You wanna be an Army medic, and yet you wanna learn how to use guns too?”
“It’s not that far out of the way for a doc in uniform to know how to blast people apart if she has to, so the people she’s blasting apart don’t screw up her work trying to put other people back together.”
“Jessica, you scare me sometimes.” My stepmother, who’d been plain old Dr. Iris Conway, M.D., when my stepfather had met her for the first time, almost gagged on her scrapple. “I’m’a tell you right now--it ain’t’a be easy for you to have it both ways.”
She was telling ME!
As I took my high-school diploma from the principal, I had to bite my lip to keep from crying.
Not of joy, mind you; I’ve never had that in my life, and I still don’t, even to this day. No, what I was trying to keep from crying over was the fact that my step-parents were both dead--they’d both been killed in a car crash as Mama was trying to get Daddy to the Army base so he could show up for duty. I was just sixteen then, and it had all happened less than a month ago.
Worst of all, they hadn’t been killed in the line of duty, so I didn’t qualify for their pension benefits--I could’ve used them to care for the house, since I’d never earned a penny of my own and was flat broke by this time in my life! All the money I’d ever had was tied up in med school tuition. The next day I filled out a ton of paperwork...
...and then I was at Rutgers.
The dorm wasn’t much better than the house where my step-parents had raised me, which wasn’t much better than the one Daddy had fished me out of as it was burning down. At least, I could be thankful that Mama had been a nurse and then a doctor. Looking at me naked would take looking real close to find the scars from where I’d been burned, thanks to her.
But moving from dump to dump to dump--this was what it took to be a doctor like Mama used to be?
It almost made me think I should have died with my real parents--my real daddy, Frank Logan, and my real mama, the woman he’d once known as Lara Davidson--when that shorted space heater had burned down our house back in the winter of 2036.
“...but should I break or deviate from its conditions in any way, may the opposite be my fate.”
And then it was all over. I was now Doctor Jessica Christie Logan, Medicinae Doctor.
My professor, Dr. Joseph Anderson, was beaming as he handed me my diploma. “Congratulations, Doctor Logan,” he said. “I must say, this is quite a belated twentieth-birthday present you’re getting. And as valedictorian of your class, no less!”
But I was in no mood to celebrate. “Save it, Professor,” I answered him glumly. “I’m due to report to A-Rotsie in five minutes for discharge, and my Cee-Oh will rip my head off if I’m late.”
The professor rolled his eyes up. “In that case, Jessica, I won’t keep you.”
At the barracks, however, my Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Commanding Officer was actually far from ready to rip my head off as I had feared. In fact, U. S. Army ROTC Major Desmond Hill had good news for me.
“You made it, Logan,” he said to me with a huge smile and no small measure of pride. “You’re going to the Point.”
It relieved me to no end. “The Point” means West Point, New York, and even though Benedict Arnold had gotten so mad at the Continental Congress callously, and crookedly, ignoring everything he’d done for the American cause, in spite of all George Washington’s arguments for him, that he’d turned traitor, attempting to turn it over to the British--a plot that blew up in his face and ruined his reputation--in the Eighteenth Century, there was a war on, and the World Army Air Force needed all the help it could get. So the Point had opened its doors to cadets like you, Captain Scarlet, cadets who didn’t even come from the States!
Best of all, it was free. That meant I didn’t need the old United Negro College Fund to get me into uniform. True, a mind IS a terrible thing to waste, as the Fund’s administrators had always said, but I knew that I didn’t need to rely on it to keep my mind from being wasted.
“You’ll need my key to the barracks,” I said, pulling that key out of the pocket of my brand-new lab coat and handing it over to him. No sooner had he taken it out the hand I extended to him than Major Hill came to attention and snapped, “Ten-HUT!” I literally JUMPED to attention and whipped that hand into a drill-team-perfect salute so fast it almost made my head spin. He returned my salute and went on more softly, “There’s a doctor--and an officer--on base.”
How right Major Des Hill was!
This was what I had wanted to do with my life. Here I belonged for once.
The worst of it was the start of the plebe system--the Point’s coed now, has been for decades. Don’t ever let them tell you that women can’t be bullies. We can, and some of us are.
Case in point: Cadet Sergeant Kathleen Stein, my first drill-mistress; someone meaner than she was you’ll have trouble finding. She would’ve made a damned good Ku Klux Klanswoman except she was Jewish, AND she had a black step-mama like me.
Of course, my real parents were both black, and so were my step-parents.
“Black” is the reference; I’m NOT African-American! It’s that simple.
Dr. Lime paused in her story-telling to ask Captain Scarlet, “You want me to go into details, Paul?”
“Only what you feel like telling me, Jessica,” said he. “Please do continue.”
Cadet Sergeant Stein wasn’t too tough to handle--that year alone, I outstripped her in rank and became HER drill-mistress. Little touch of irony if you like that sort of thing.
Matter of fact, I outstripped everyone else who’d come into the Point with me that year and never looked back. Graduated from the Point as my class’s First Captain, just like you did four years later. We West Point First Captains all have to write and give speeches at the graduation ceremonies--yours was a hell of a lot better than mine, I’ll tell you that.
I still think the one I gave was unbelievably lame.
“Get me two amps sodium bicarb and get an airway in, double-time, then start an IV with lactated Ringer’s!”
I was in crisis mode, feeling like I was making a difference. Not that I liked war; I hated it then and I still do now! Nobody does if they’re in their right mind! What I like is seeing to it that people who fight wars come out alive, without pieces of them gone. That day I was keeping another poor soul from death. I’d just damned near lost him when he arrested right in front of me. We got shelled just then, and I kept yelling, “Where the hell’s that damned bicarb? Who’s sticking that airway in? Nurse, you got that Ringer’s for me?”
A nurse slapped the two amps of bicarb into my hands in less than five seconds, and another was shoving the airway in even as I fixed up the hypo, tapped it to get any air bubbles to the top, and then gave it a squeeze to get those bubbles out. Wouldn’t do shooting air into the victim--no way any of us wanted the bubble stopping his heart all over again!
I shot in the bicarb and helped a third nurse palpate an artery so that we could find a vein to stick in the Ringer’s.
We found that vein. The Ringer’s went in at two milliliters a minute.
Then we had sinus rhythm again. He was stable.
I called in another team to get the victim transported and moved on through the triage unit.
“That was a very brave thing you did out there, Lieutenant Logan,” the general was saying.
“My job, sir,” was all I could say, miserably and with my head hung low. “I’m not doing any of this for the tin--I think I’m allergic to some of the fruits used in salads.”
“Come on, Logan--don’t make deadpan jokes at the WAAF’s expense. It’s not worth it.”
“I’m not joking. It’s not right to accept medals just for doing a tough job that has to be done.”
The general said sternly, “Knowing you could’ve been killed? Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”
“That I was damned lucky, nothing else. It’s as simple as that.”
“For ignoring personal safety while bringing much-needed medical attention to severely wounded personnel on the front lines of battle...”
I wanted to dig a hole in the ground and sink into it.
We were getting pieces of fruit salad just for doing our jobs in that hell-storm yesterday? No thanks.
But the general had something else hidden behind that brass.
“...it is my great honor and privilege to promote, to the rank of captain in the World Army Air Force...FORMER SECOND LIEUTENANT DOCTOR JESSICA CHRISTIE LOGAN!!”
IT WASN’T POSSIBLE!!
All I’d been doing was my JOB!!
What I’d done wasn’t WORTH what they were trying to give me!!
“Calm down, Doctor,” Captain Scarlet urged. “You’re a West Pointer after my own heart; I can’t stand ceremonies or being decorated either.”
Dr. Lime was not mollified. “But making captain without really earning that rank--it just wasn’t done! Hell, it STILL isn’t!”
“Dr. Lime, you’re talking to a recipient of the Spectrum AND Victoria Crosses, and a Knight Commander in the Most Honorable Order of the Bath, who didn’t feel as though he had earned any of THEM either when he was originally decorated. What makes me proudest of them, in the final analysis, was that I earned both of them without any help. I’ve never allowed being a general’s son to make it seem as though anything was ever handed to me.”
“You had a family that supported you; I don’t even have that.”
“Because my mum and my dad knew that I was good enough to achieve things without needing them to help me. Even if they died tomorrow, I’d know that much about them.”
Dr. Lime had to concede Captain Scarlet’s point. “Well...that makes sense.”
“Go on with your story. Again, tell me only what you feel like saying.”
Feeling as miserable as I’ve ever felt in my whole life, I shuffled to the lectern feeling as though I’d just been found guilty of assassinating the World President at a court-martial and was about to be stood up before the firing squad. The ceremony took place; my butter-bar pins were taken off and captain’s pins stuck on in their places. But I saluted by folding my arms like a military prisoner, not with my right hand hitting my right eyebrow like you’re usually supposed to.
“HAND TO THE BROW, LOGAN!” the general snapped. “You’re not a military prisoner; don’t you dare start behaving like one--ten-HUT!”
The one reason I snapped to attention and gave a proper salute this time was my years of training at the Point.
Thank God, a chance to relax! I took it immediately. But right then I lost it and broke down in tears. I just stood there, crying like a baby, all because I’d been promoted just for doing my damned JOB!
“Permission hereby granted to speak candidly, Captain Logan,” the general added. “What’s with all this crying?”
I swear to God, Captain Scarlet, I’ve never been so mad as I was just then. “I didn’t earn any of this! I was just doing my job in that hell-storm! Since when do we get bumped upstairs or get pieces of ribbon and tin stuck on our clothes just for doing our jobs?”
“Let me get this straight, Captain Logan--are you turning down this promotion you’ve just received? And are you refusing this medal and this decoration now being awarded to you?” The general’s gaze wasn’t like I was getting raked over coals; it was like I’d just dropped out of a clear sky directly in front of him, without his having a clue why I was there.
“No, sir, I’m not refusing them--but with all due respect, I’m just not convinced I deserve them,” I answered between sobs. “All I was doing was my job, that of trying to see to it that those wounded got their bodies patched up again and could go back to their homes with their bodies in one piece, so they would have less trouble getting their shrinks to help them patch up their minds--and their priests to help them patch up their souls. God knows I’ll need that MYSELF.”
I reached for one of the pockets of my dress blacks, pulled a white bandanna out that pocket, and used it to wipe away tears and blow my nose.
“Jessica,” the general pointed out gently, “the reason you’re being promoted and decorated has to do with WHERE you did your job, and WHO you did it on when you did. That patient whose life you, personally, saved while under fire that could have killed you was no ordinary soldier. That was a newly promoted general officer--Brigadier General Charles David Metcalfe!”
Captain Scarlet was shocked.
Dr. Lime nodded.
“How did HE get involved?”
“IEDs blew up half his motorcade just as the shelling started.”
The retro-metabolic human was aghast. IEDs, “improvised explosive devices,” had been the bane of all too many armed forces fighting all too many wars; indeed, just such a Mysteron IED had almost destroyed Cloudbase just over three years before.
“Go on--we’ve come too far to turn back now.”
Learning that it was your own father whose life I’d saved that day felt like having my spine smashed with a twenty-pound sledgehammer. I knew of Charles Metcalfe by reputation, but knowing now that his life had actually been in MY HANDS in that hell-storm, and that I HAD ACTUALLY SAVED HIS LIFE, was ton-of-bricks knowledge!
“You said a mouthful,” I whispered.
My WAAF buddies started calling me “Doctor First Captain” after that day.
I’d had to cross the pond to get to where your dad was stationed.
Turned out he’d made major general the day after he’d almost died in that attack, for which I’d gotten promoted too. He was recovering in the WAAF Medical Corps hospital where I’d been stationed; he asked for me that day.
I got the impression he wanted to thank me for saving his life. I’d just made captain the day before, and I’ve just told you the story of how I broke down in tears at first, not convinced I had earned either that promotion or my decorations.
Anyway, Winchester Air Force Base isn’t too far from that WAAF Med Corps hospital--your dad would have needed just five minutes to get there.
It just so happened that I was on call that afternoon.
I noticed that your dad wasn’t walking to the nurses’ station, he was limping there.
Every step he took was making his face twist in pain, and he needed crutches to support himself.
So much for getting thanks from him; anyway, that’s not why I do this kind of thing. He needed my help again.
“Which foot is it?” I asked. Yeah, it was a dumb question, but Christ, what else could I ask?
“It’s both,” he told me. “It’s my left calf and my right thigh. They still had pieces of shrapnel stuck in them, and I think those may be getting infected.”
That was when I smelled the faint odor of moist gangrene and knew he was right about that. “Let me have a look at them,” I snapped, professional concern taking over.
Your dad was real fast getting onto the bed with my help.
I saw just how bad it was right off--the shrapnel pieces were still stuck in each of his legs, right where he’d said they were, and the wounds hadn’t healed right. Yuk!
I turned to a nurse.
“Get him prepped for surgery--we have to fish hunks of shrapnel out of both his legs and debride away the moist gangrene that’s already started setting into his wounds.”
“Would you mind taking a little nap, General Metcalfe?”
Your dad nodded with a pain-tinged grin. “Not at all, as long as it’s due to a sedative that also acts as a painkiller.”
“I’ll order that for you.”
We needed to wait two months before your dad dared try to walk again.
But when he did, and it didn’t hurt him in the least, that was all the thanks I needed. During the long time before he made that attempt, he bent my ear whenever he could with all manner of war stories; stories that made my head spin a time or two, stories that made my blood curdle and run cold, and sometimes stories that made me laugh my butt off. One thing I can say about your dad--he’s one hell of a raconteur.
Wonder if that was why you studied history in Winchester U?
Captain Scarlet was hard pressed to restrain his laughter. Yes, that was indeed Charles David Metcalfe, his father, who was now a full four-star general in the World Army Air Force.
He’s also not the kind to take “no” for an answer if he can avoid doing that.
For two full months, though, he HAD to, because it was all the answer we had!
I made colonel in 2064, after seven years on active duty.
The year I made colonel, we had this Aussie come on Gibraltar Base--you and I were both there at that time; I remember you were heading up the Red Berets unit there. Brought along some fancy gadget he called an AutoNurse--didn’t even bother to stay to demonstrate it himself, so I never met him.
I can tell you didn’t either.
I was so annoyed; I’d been hoping to work with this Edward Wilkie fellow but never got the chance.
“Spectrum?” I asked the guy in the rather funny-looking get-up, whose statements puzzled me. “Forgive me for asking, but exactly what is that?”
“You’ll find, Colonel Logan, that you’ll be called upon for more than you thought you were capable of before,” he answered. “I’ve taken a great risk by coming here, since our identities are supposed to be kept top-secret classified information to protect those closest to us. For example, my own Spectrum rank of colonel is only a cover--I’m actually superior in rank not only to any general in the World Army Air Force but also any admiral in the World Navy.”
“Terrific,” I groaned. “I get into Class A’s expecting a meet-’n’-greet with some high-flown World Government dignitary and here comes this limey in a funny-looking get-up.”
“’Limey,’ eh?” grinned the guy. “Great idea for a code name...Doctor Lime.” Then his tone became stern. “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll address me with more respect.”
“Is that very respectful, especially towards your superior officers?” The guy was grinning wickedly.
“Sorry, sir,” I said, coming to attention and saluting him.
“That’s better,” the man said, returning my salute.
Then it occurred to me. “What did you say your name was?”
The guy’s voice dropped to a whisper just before he answered. “It’s Charles Gray, really, and I used to be a full admiral in the World Navy, but in Spectrum I’m known as Colonel White.”
“That’s why you’re wearing that strange outfit?”
“This is my duty uniform, Doctor. Don’t let my rank of colonel fool you. My uniform doesn’t sport any rank insignia--our uniforms never do--because a Spectrum rank serves only to mask its wearer’s true self. As a member of Spectrum’s staff of senior officers, you’ll have a rank equal to your existing one of a WAAF colonel.”
“I’m beginning to understand why you wanted me to come here alone.”
“We’ll need to know your limits. While your record is exemplary and your known skills undeniable, you may need to improve yourself and learn much more to be a member of the Spectrum Organization. You’ll need to learn how to share the personal skills you have with other Spectrum personnel. As for the rest...we’ll be giving you one year of training at Koala Base. That training will be as intensive as you can imagine it to be. Understand this: it will not be easy. But then again, Spectrum does not have an easy duty. As the ultimate task team, answerable only to the World President, we will have to face the ultimate challenges.”
“This is kinda heavy, isn’t it?”
“More so than you probably think, Dr. Lime. It will mean giving up your present life, your job, your very identity, and even maybe your friends and family--if you have any of either. When you do enter Spectrum, it will be as a new person, complete with a new identity.”
“The identity of Dr. Lime. You enjoyed cooking up that code name for me, didn’t you?”
About a month after I graduated, we got news that tore us up in ways we’re still not expecting.
Captain Black was in command of the Zero-X Mission, but he’d botched it--it was just supposed to be a seek-and-report mission. But he up and panicked--turned it into an attack on a complex he and his men had stumbled onto, Colonel White’s orders to take no hostile action be damned!
The egg had hit the fan and was now spraying it all over the place--our faces included. That was when the Old Man had Lieutenant Green contact me.
“I have a rather unique assignment for you,” he said. “Do you know of any private medical clinics in England?”
“I think you heard me correctly, Dr. Lime,” Colonel White said. “If you know of any private medical clinics located in England, I want you to find work at one of them. I’ll have Spectrum arrange for your references there.”
“S.I.G., sir, but do I have a need to know why?”
“Your essential duties at any such clinic will be as a ’sleeper,’ Dr. Lime.”
“A sleeper?!?” I couldn’t make hide or hair of what the Old Man was saying.
“An agent-in-place, essentially. You’ll be serving as an at-post listener to any high-level confidences that the patients of any such clinics may share with their doctors, but strictly on a seek-and-report basis only. Under no circumstances are you to take any open action against any of them, and any such confidences that may both violate the Hippocratic Oath and lack relevance to Spectrum are NOT to be included in your reports.”
“How am I supposed to identify myself?”
“You can use your real name to work in any clinic that employs you. But you are expressly forbidden to reveal your membership in Spectrum, even to another member of Spectrum, unless it’s relevant to your assignment.”
“Is it up to me to decide when it’s relevant?”
“You’re an intelligent woman with good judgment,” Colonel White reminded me. “You should be able to judge each situation on its own merits.”
“S.I.G. to that!” I agreed readily. Then I added more calmly, “And S.I.G. to your orders, sir.”
“Good luck to you,” the Old Man said. “Hopefully, you’ll develop a splendid bedside manner from your work in such a clinic.”
“What did you say your name was?”
“Jessica Christie Logan, sir.”
The man I was talking with at the Norwich clinic where I’d just applied for a job was a dead ringer for Colonel White. Had a voice that sounded like the Old Man’s too.
He was looking in a file folder as he spoke--wouldn’t look me in the eye even once.
“Says here you don’t really have a specialty. Is that true?”
“Yep,” I confessed.
“Dr. Logan, this clinic specializes in obstetrics. That means mothers to be. Do you think you could handle the women who’ll most likely pass through my offices?”
“I know so, Doctor. I can handle just about anything.”
The man and I spent a few minutes in conversation, then he said, “Welcome to my clinic, Dr. Logan. I’m Oliver Watson.” Starting work that day, I began to get the impression that I’d be financially flush for the first time ever.
I was right.
Since Dr. Watson insisted on having all his patients pay him in cash, and paid all his employees in cash too, I soon saw more money than I’d ever before made in my life. Still got it, and it’s all invested too.
Oliver Watson was a twerp, all right, and he drank vodka like a fish drinks water, but drunk or sober, he was a good doctor AND smart with money. Oh, he did have one gripe: He blamed a certain Charlie Gray, once a World Navy admiral, for ruining his World Navy career. Never took a single patient who had anything to do with anyone who wore a uniform for that reason alone. Of course, you and I both know who Charlie Gray really is.
Another good thing about my work in Watson’s clinic: It did help me develop a terrific bedside manner. Watson himself had a rotten bedside manner, which didn’t have a damned thing to do with his drinking. So he left the dealings with patients to his staff, like me, and it helped me out like you can’t imagine.
“And just what do you think you’re doing there, mister?”
Shoving my gun into Captain Blue’s back was hard to do, since, like me, he was a member of Spectrum, but he’d used his Spectrum ID to get in and barged in like he owned the place. If I hadn’t stopped him, he would’ve broken into the file cabinet. Thankfully, he held up his hands as though I was sticking him up.
“Wondering exactly who in the hell you think you are,” he said, “interfering with an official Spectrum investigation.”
I’m not deaf. I’d heard the Mysterons say Colonel White would be ruined by his greatest injury. But Captain Blue didn’t know I was on his side--it wasn’t relevant then.
Or so I thought at the time.
“I’m the one asking the questions here--anyone could be a Mysteron phony,” was all he needed to know just then. “Now turn around real nice and slow and keep your hands up where I can see ’em.”
Captain Blue really had his dander up, but he did what I wanted.
“Now I mean to unzip and open the lower left pocket of your tunic and fish out whatever’s inside it,” I added. “Almost anyone who’s determined enough can forge Spectrum ID; the real thing has a few security details that can’t be duplicated.”
“I know about those details, lady--my Spectrum ID card is genuine!” Captain Blue’s protest sounded as lame as my valedictory speech at the Point.
“I’m sure you think it is. But I can’t take any chances.”
Opening the zipper of Captain Blue’s tunic pocket and keeping my gun trained on him were not easy for me, since I had to do them both at the same time. But I was able to fish out his ID very carefully, all while still holding him at gunpoint.
Keeping him stared down and keeping the muzzle of my gun pointed at him, I brought Captain Blue’s card over to a holographic scanner and held it under, till on came the green light to tell me it was copasetic.
Using my free hand to give him back the card, I went on, “Your ID card seems to be in order. But there’s one foolproof test I still have yet to run. Stand up against the wall.”
Captain Blue’s an easygoing guy, but even though you and he are field partners, you wouldn’t have known it from his mood as he did what I wanted him to do.
“Come on--take it easy, lady,” he urged me, and I saw that I’d rubbed him the wrong way.
As he was doing what I wanted, I backed up real slow and easy toward the shelves, keeping my gun and my gaze pinned on him. Taking that Mysteron detector off the shelf without even seeing it, just by feel, was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do--I’d never learned how to do that in the Point.
“This uses x-rays, and if you’re one of them it should give me a photograph of you in black and white.” I looked through the detector’s viewfinder, making sure I still had Captain Blue at gunpoint, and hit the top button. “One...two...three...four...five. There--that should do it.” I hit the bottom button, and out came the hard-copy sheet. I held it up and saw that it showed him in the skeletal view you’re supposed to expect of negative results.
Captain Blue was growing antsier by the second. “Well, what’s it say?”
I flashed my fangs in a grin you could’ve seen all the way to Cloudbase, gave him the hard copy, and put my gun down. “Negative--you’re no Mysteron, whatever else you are.”
But I’d still gotten on his nerves. “I could have told you that! That’s a Mysteron detector you used on me--are you with Spectrum?”
I didn’t think Captain Blue NEEDED to know--the more fool me. “Dr. Jessica Christie Logan, M.D., at your service, Captain Blue.” It wasn’t an answer, but I thought he didn’t need one. “I was one of Dr. Oliver Watson’s junior partners in this clinic.”
Captain Blue was in a real hurry and didn’t have time to push me. So he asked me, “What can you tell me about him?” While he was asking that question, he put the hard copy down on the desk.
The rest you know from his report.
Captain Scarlet nodded. “I do indeed,” he said. “And a fine story it makes. Now I know what annoyed Colonel White so much about your treatment of Blue.”
“I got a non-punitive letter of reprimand stuck in my jacket,” Dr. Lime noted. “So did he. I was dead wrong about Blue not needing to know who I was.”
“Forget it, Jess,” Captain Scarlet urged. “It’s over and done with, and I’ve got one question: Can you fly an SPJ?”
“Like a bird,” Dr. Lime said. “You want to satisfy your post-recovery appetite? I’m buying. Just so happens my thirty-eighth birthday’s this coming Friday, July 10, and I figure I can celebrate it quietly, two days in advance of the actual date.”
“I thought you had no money!”
“That was BEFORE I went to work for Ollie Watson, remember,” she reminded him. “AFTER that, I found myself swimming in dough--even after taxes. So I’m a genuine bona fide millionaire now.”
“That I am. Ollie Watson taught me how to handle huge sums of money if he did nothing else that could help me out. I’ve got investments in stocks, and they’re earning dividends.”
“Do you own any bonds?”
“Them too, and they’re earning interest. So what say we have dinner, my treat? I’m good for it.”
Captain Scarlet smiled. “Jessica Logan, Dr. Lime of Spectrum,” said he, “you’ve got a deal.”
After they had arranged it with Colonel White, Captain Scarlet and Dr. Lime switched to their best civilian clothes--for Paul Metcalfe, that ensemble meant wearing his best dinner suit with his scarlet dinner blazer in place of his black one--and left Cloudbase for the Markham Arms outside Norwich.
As she had promised, Jessica Logan picked up their check. It came to a total of three hundred and seventy-five British pounds sterling, almost six hundred dollars in American money, with the main three hundred sterling--over four hundred and fifty American dollars--being from Metcalfe’s dinner order alone.
Based upon the format developed by GERRY ANDERSON
and SYLVIA ANDERSON
from characters created by SYLVIA ANDERSON
Series producer REG HILL
Associate producer JOHN READ
Supervising producer, director supervising series,
and post-production executive DESMOND SAUNDERS
Executive Producer GERRY ANDERSON
(C) 2012 ITV-ITC Filmed Entertainment
and Gerry Anderson Century 21/Mentorn
Television and Cinema Productions