A Captain Scarlet short for Christmas
by Gabi Howard
It was Christmas Day, and the senior Spectrum staff was gathering in the Amber Room for the yearly present distribution. Amidst the laughter at Ochre’s new book (’50 ways of getting away with it’, which Scarlet had apparently decided would be an appropriate title for the prankster), Destiny stepped into the room and was about to sit down when Rhapsody called over.
“Juliette? I think this one’s yours,” she said, picking a small box off the Christmas tree in the corner and holding it out to her friend.
“Merci, Dianne.” She smiled, taking the box and picking a relatively uncluttered seat to sit on.
Aside from the thin white ribbon, the box was entirely black. A small, neat tag bearing her name in a vaguely familiar handwriting was attached to the bow on top, which her slender fingers made short work of undoing. The lid lifted slowly, as if prolonging the moment. Inside was a slender silver ring set with onyx, lying in black tissue paper which contrasted with the white lining of the box. A note was buried amidst the tissue paper, just visible:
If you have forgotten or given me up for gone, I do not blame you. Tell no one of this.
He knew they were angry. Incensed, even, that their number one agent had slipped from their grasp, even if only for a few hours. And they were punishing him for it, even though the whole thing had happened days before.
As if he cared.
Because, on Boxing Day, Captain Black had received the best present he’d ever had.
One e-mail. That was all. And that was enough.
And the four words it had contained comforted him, gave him strength to fight, even if only for a while longer. He knew that a deadly assault was coming. He knew Spectrum would be virtually defenceless against it.
But only virtually. And if he knew Paul and the others, they’d find a way through. He doubted he’d be able to help them, but had managed to accept that.
And all on account of those four words:
Merci beaucoup, mon cher.
Thank you, my dear.
His own thoughts exactly.