The approach that the Mysterons have taken to fighting their war of nerves against the people of Earth has been the subject of much speculation, not least among the senior staff of the Spectrum Organisation, myself included, about the subject of the psychology of the Mysterons as a people. What follows is a personal speculation that I, who have perhaps the greatest insight into them that any Earthman can possibly possess, have decided to write down for the benefit of Spectrum personnel who may also be so interested.
There are some details of that psychology that are quite obvious from the Mysteron reaction to Captain Black’s activities during the Zero-X Mission to Mars. After all, when he was in command of that expedition, Captain Black did violate the orders that he had received from Colonel White to make peaceful contact with whoever was sending radio signals that we monitored at Spectrum. He did order an unprovoked attack on the Mysteron complex, located in the Valles Marineris region of Mars, after mistaking a surveillance camera for a weapon being armed. And worst of all, he did destroy that complex, even though the Mysterons reconstructed it with less effort than the missiles launched from the Martian Exploration Vehicle had had to use in destroying it, through their knowledge of the secret of reversing matter. (The civilian operative who’s transcribed my report TO the Centre, an American by the name of Parker Gabriel, has also transcribed another highly informative report FROM the Centre, Mysteron Reversal Of Matter. In that report, the reading of which I strongly encourage, he details the speculations regarding how they do this.)
I find myself forced to confess to having had, before Captain Brown and I were killed and replaced with Mysteron likenesses, a personal grievance against the World President, James Younger, in his capacity as President of the World Government of Earth.
Though I was convinced, in the election to his current office that he eventually won, that Younger was a better candidate than the man he ran against, I still did not consider him the best candidate for the office at the time. I suppose it’s partly bias based on my being a general’s son, and being multiply decorated at that. But I believed that Younger could not perform the World President’s duties as civilian Commander-In-Chief of the World Armed Forces with real effectiveness because, to my knowledge, he had never faced an immediate life-and-death crisis himself.
Captain Brown, who was then my field partner, was entirely different in his views. He had voted against Younger in the election. When Younger won anyway, it sent Brown spare with rage, a state in which he spent several days and nights. He was on the verge of exploding in fury, and it took very little to trigger that fury. Only Colonel White’s decision to place him on administrative leave and order him off CloudBase till he had pulled himself together kept him from losing his resolve. However, the rage was still there, and the Mysterons took perfect advantage of it.
Then there was the case of the brain surgeon, Dr. Theodore Magnus, in consequence of which we learned how to detect and destroy Mysterons. His cerebral pulsator, which Dr. Fawn tells me was designed to act as a kind of maser and burn away unhealthy brain tissue using focused microwaves, was a device he had not wanted to use on General J. F. Tiempo, whom he considered worse than just a difficult patient.
The original Magnus had had few good things to say about how General Tiempo was carrying out his duties, but not until the Mysterons took him over did his likeness bother to act on the original Magnus’s aggravations.
These and other cases lead me to conclude that the Mysterons never choose close friends of their targets for takeover, as such close friends would be more difficult for them to control.
From what we know about them, the Mysterons are almost certainly not indigenous to Mars. Since Operation Sword landed its probe on the surface of Phobos, we have been able to determine that there is no possible way they could have originated there--Mars has a stormy climate, very little surface water, and almost no ozone layer that we have been able to detect. This means that they must be discorporate, as Mr. Gabriel’s other report says. If they are, then they must have evolved to that condition from a corporeal state, probably one that was once not dissimilar to our own. If that is true, and if they had, as Mr. Gabriel writes, more than five hundred thousand years to study what we now call “the human condition,” then I cannot doubt that they have developed a far better understanding of the way a species adapts for survival if it finds itself facing otherwise inhospitable conditions than we would like to believe we now possess. Such a species often becomes highly territorial and fiercely protective of its own habitat. Its specimens become stern, stubborn, and determined to survive at just about any cost. More than a few predatory species on Earth are like that. So were both the American rebels who won the War of the Insurrection against our Empire, whose descendants still call it the Revolutionary War, and the Confederates in the southern United States under Union blockade and Union siege during the American Civil War. In all my dealings with the Mysterons since becoming “virtually indestructible” due to the power of retro-metabolism that they gave me, I have found them to be no different.
I have also found the Mysterons to be possessed of what may be called a sense of justice. Certainly they realised that Captain Black was not being as obedient to orders as he should have been when he attacked their complex with no real provocation other than his own misjudgement. In that case, they obviously wish to see to it that he remains obedient to orders whilst he remains their agent. This partially explains both the Mysterons having taken direct control over Captain Black himself and their jealous guardianship of him. They originally asserted both of these, and have maintained them since -- and it is imperative to remember this -- without killing him. Evidently, they wish him to suffer a fate worse than the death they have made him bring to their many victims, among them me.
The possibility that the Mysterons might once have been corporeal beings themselves would also seem to explain their perceptiveness when it comes to the various known flaws in the human mind, among them the certain exhilaration involved in the risk that often comes with gambling. No doubt this led to their takeover of two extortionists who were operating out of the Dice Club in Nevada, near Nuclear City, when they threatened to destroy the entire continent of North America.
Since the Spectrum’s regulations prohibit gambling on duty because of its capabilities of inducing the disease of addictive compulsion, or leading to various financial crimes that compulsive gamblers may commit to cover their monetary losses, which makes the practise grounds to be asked for one’s resignation, Colonel White ordered me to gamble, AND lose heavily, in the line OF duty to unmask the extortionists. He also ordered me to gamble at roulette, the most chance-oriented of all gambling games. All this was meant to find out how the Mysterons planned to carry out their threat. After we successfully prevented the extortionists from breaching Nuclear City security using a Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle that I was forced to steal, carrying a trigger aboard it that could have detonated every reactor there and triggered a massive chain reaction that could have destroyed the continent of North America, Lieutenant Green worked out a roulette wagering system.
But I never gamble if not so ordered, so I refused to help him test it.
Dr. Fawn has discovered that one side effect of my retro-metabolic powers is the inability to get drunk. A total immunity to alcohol intoxication is also a good way to expose a Mysteron impostor, especially if the original Earthman was a notorious alcoholic prior to takeover, even though it’s nowhere near as reliable as a Mysteron detector. The Mysterons apparently have less familiarity with the diseases of alcohol abuse and alcoholism than we do; I can only assume that wherever they originally came from, either there were almost no opportunities for them to prepare or consume alcoholic beverages there or they somehow developed a tolerance of alcohol that only their likenesses of Earthmen retain. This means that they seem to have less knowledge than we do of what motivates heavy drinkers to attempt, however vainly, to drown their problems in liquor.
Romance is a tricky subject when discussing Mysteron psychology, since we don’t even know if Mysteronised humans can even procreate with any success. I won’t bother to speculate, especially not in view of the relationship I’m developing with the Rhapsody Angel, on whether I can even sire children. But the Mysterons are certainly not about to consider the various aspects of love as we know it on Earth, especially not with the possibility of their being a dying race. I can only assume that the Mysterons themselves lost the ability to reproduce long millenniums ago, when they discovered the secret of reversing matter.
Moreover, the difficulty some Earthmen have adjusting to such sudden and rapid changes, not least in themselves, as Mysteronisation, seems not to be something Mysterons comprehend, or can comprehend, any more than we can comprehend their powers. This could account for Captain Black’s failure to break my will to fight them when he restored my memories of the six hours I spent under Mysteron control. It could also account for what happened to Rainier Blackheart, who had been a captain in the German Army when the Mysterons took him over and had him and his unit attempt unsuccessfully to assassinate the German Chancellor, after they gave him up. Like me, he had been taken over during the limbo between life and death; like me, they had released him after his body had seemingly been irreparably damaged; like me, as a result, the normal personality of his original incarnation had resurfaced to reassert control over his likeness.
But he had not been as mentally stable as I was before he was taken over, which had led to his being rejected for recruitment into the Spectrum, and he went over the edge into utter psychosis after he emerged from his release, never really regaining his humanity. I could regain mine because I was used to unusual situations; I won my Victoria Cross as a second lieutenant in the WAAF Special Forces by surviving an ambush that had resulted from compromised intelligence--and killed all fourteen of the other members of the unit assigned to rescue the British ambassador, his chargé d’affaires, and their staff from the British embassy in Tunis when the French African terrorist Euan Uqdah and his forces overran it. I had to deal with any survivor’s guilt I might have felt then simply by doing my job. I earned a promotion to first lieutenant for doing all that, but Blackheart could never have handled such missions. The Mysterons are very familiar with mental toughness; they have displayed that in abundance in fighting this war of nerves.
It is also evident that the Mysterons connect their violence and terrorism with a reason for that violence and that terrorism. For example, their attack on the Hotspot Tower, the location of the only known tritonium mine on Earth, was meant to ground the World Space Fleet, and thereby keep us marooned on Earth, by denying the WSP the only metal useful for spacecraft nose-cones with heat resistance high enough to withstand the temperatures increases in friction and compression would cause.
Those increases would, in turn, result from higher speeds to which a recently formulated fuel would propel the spacecraft.
Similarly, their attempt to immobilise the whole Spectrum, or render our aircraft and vehicles useless, consisted of attempting to destroy the fuel those aircraft and vehicles require to operate. Hence their attack on our Bensheba drilling and refinery facilities, from which we obtain that fuel. Their logic in doing this is simple: Deprive your opponent of his ability to counter your assault whilst keeping him pinned in his own position, and you hobble him against you.
Surprisingly, the Mysterons have shown no signs of willingness to adopt the strategies Japan used in combat, which consisted of highlighting the obvious target, then attacking the reverse of that target. They have been devious on occasion, true enough, but they have not employed THAT form of misdirection to date. I may hedge somewhat when it comes to the President Roberts, but not much. They definitely planned to destroy the ship; that much we know. But they might also have decided to kill the man whilst they were at it; we may NEVER know that.
In conclusion, I wish to make it clear that I cannot regard the Mysterons as evil simply because of their terroristic activities. They simply have an overall psychology that leaves little room for much more than determination against an enemy that may have destroyed them, and which they are thus determined will share their fate as they face their own extinction.
Acknowledgements are hereby given as follows.
Mary J. Rudy, for references to her stories “A Cross To Bear;” “Moonlight Rhapsody;” “Good Knight, Dear Lady,” and “Do Thunderbolts Strike Twice?”
Kimberly Murphy-Smith, for references to her story “Differences” and the story she wrote in collaboration with Richard A. Spake, “Whose Heart Is Blackest?”
Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson, for developing the format of the series programme, with references to the instalments “The Mysterons”--which is also called “Mars 2068” and which I, personally, call “One Man Fate Has Made Indestructible”--“Operation Time,” “The Shadow Of Fear,” “Special Assignment,” “Noose Of Ice,” “Fire at Rig Fifteen,” and “The Launching,” written by various authors.
The reference to Mysteron Reversal Of Matter is to my own work, of course. But I cannot ignore the contributions of either D. Lynn Bivens or (thanx again!) Ms. Murphy-Smith, for the explanation they gave me, jointly, of why Captain Scarlet 'came back,' so to speak, from Mysteron control after his fall off the London Car-Vu Sky Park Tower in “Pawns Of Evil, Parts One And Two.” That, in turn, gave me the answer to why Captain Scarlet is different from so many other Mysteron likenesses of Earthmen, and I built on that to speculate about exactly HOW the Mysterons reverse matter.
The reference to Captain Black restoring, to Captain Scarlet’s memory, the six hours he spent under Mysteron control is taken from a forthcoming story I have been working on for a while, “The Scarlet ThunderBird.”
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