A series of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons vignettes for Christmas 2003
by Tiger Jackson
Model Officer: 20 December
The Christmas tree’s fairy lights still twinkled but the Officers’ Lounge was deserted. It usually was this late at night. And if it hadn’t been, the fumes of modelling glue and paint would have driven everyone out. Which suited Captain Ochre just fine.
He’d been working on this model for weeks. Just a few more touches and it would be finished. He eyed his work critically, looking for any flaws or imperfections. It hadn’t been an easy task, adapting various model kits for this project; he didn’t often design and build original model aircraft. But with patience and skill, he’d selected, trimmed, fitted, and painted the assorted pieces and finally create a scaled down Angel Interceptor. All that remained was to paint the pilot’s name beneath the canopy. None of the real Interceptors were personalized, Ochre knew, but since this was a special gift, he didn’t think it would matter.
It would have been nice if he could have made a model of the pilot, too, but he just wasn’t very good with human figures. He knew someone who was, though. Or had known him once. As hard as he tried to forget, every year, as Christmas Eve approached, he remembered his first mentor. And Josh.
Chad Glenn had been an outstanding World Police officer and also an enthusiastic aeroplane modeller. He’d struck up a personal as well as professional friendship with his teenaged protégé, Richard Fraser, and the two men had spent a lot of time together. And Chad’s son, nine-year-old Josh, had often joined them, to watch and listen as the men meticulously worked on their miniature aircraft. Josh was an only child, and looked up to his father’s friend, whom he called “Uncle Rick.”
Because of his high rank and heavy responsibilities, Chad wasn’t required or expected to answer emergency calls that were routinely handled by uniformed local police. But out of habit, or maybe just to keep himself reminded of his own humble start as a city patrol officer, Chad kept a police-band radio tuned in at all times when he was at home.
It had been Christmas Eve. Officer Fraser was enjoying dinner with the Glenn family when a shop burglary was reported over the radio. There had recently been a prison break and the police dispatcher warned that the dangerous escapees might be the burglars. The shop’s address wasn’t far from the Glenns’ house.
“C’mon Rick,” Chad said.
“But Dad,” Josh protested. “We’re still eating. And it’s Christmas Eve! I wanted to watch ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ on TV with you.”
Chad ruffled his son’s hair. “Can’t let someone else’s Christmas be spoiled, can I?” He smiled at his wife and his son. “I’ll be back before Santa comes. I promise.”
That promise had gone unkept. Chad hadn’t made it home that night or ever again. For one little boy, Christmas would never come again. It had been murdered, along with his father. Ochre shut his mind against the details of the ambush he and Chad had walked into.
Rick had tried to fill some of the emptiness in Josh’s life. He’d spent hours with him, working with him on models, hoping he would talk to him. The boy was adept at modelling. He also showed a remarkable talent for crafting, especially for sculpting original designs. He wasn’t even a teenager when he first attempted to mold a bust of his late father from play clay.
But Josh could not stop being angry at Richard Fraser for surviving when his father had died, for not somehow saving his father from death instead of the other way around. It made no difference that “Uncle Rick” had worked tirelessly with the detectives who had successfully pursued and captured Chad Glenn’s killers. Josh pushed his father’s friend away, and finally broke off all contact when, aged 16, he went to formally study art at the prestigious Ecoles des Beaux-Arts in France.
But Josh had never forgotten Richard Fraser. And, eventually, he had forgiven him.
When Richard Fraser, supreme commander-elect of the World Police, had died in the line of duty, Josh had attended the funeral and left a token. Captain Ochre of Spectrum had arranged, as his own heir, to receive that token.
It was a perfect scale model of himself, thirteen–inches tall and dressed in a World Police uniform. On a card, Josh had written, “I’m sorry, Uncle Rick. I know Dad’s death wasn’t your fault. I miss you. Goodbye.”
Captain Ochre regretted that he could not ask Josh to sculpt a pilot for the Interceptor. He could tell no one he’d left behind that he was still alive.
With a sigh, he dismissed the heavy memories, took up his finest one-haired brush, and began to paint the Angel’s name onto her fighter jet.
This story is based on fact but the names and some other details are fiction.
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