A ‘Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons’ short story
“What are you reading?”
Captain Scarlet looked up from the computer screen towards his friend and answered absently, “Fan fiction.”
“Which is what, exactly?, Blue asked.
“Well, it’s stories written by fans.”
Blue rolled his eyes. Clearly it was going to take a session of Twenty Questions to get all the details. He thought about asking another question then arrived at a simpler solution. Blue leaned over Scarlet’s shoulder and looked at the computer screen.
“Hey, don’t to that! I hate people looking over my shoulder when I’m reading,” said Scarlet.
Captain Blue silently agreed but continued reading nevertheless. He frowned in surprise when he recognised his name. “What’s going on here?” Blue read on a bit further. “What’s this all about – these ‘details’ never happened!”
“Agreed,” said Scarlet. He continued, “I think that’s the whole point – it’s fiction not fact.”
“But who would write this… and why? And where did the writer get all these details about Spectrum from?” Blue wondered if there had been a security breach somewhere.
Scarlet also wondered. He ventured a theory, “Spectrum is a military organisation after all and there are certain typical procedures common to all military organisations. Quite a lot of procedures could be considered generic.”
“Yes, but they’re not fighting the Mysterons,” objected Blue.
“True. But then again, not all the information here is accurate. Given Spectrum’s tight security quite a lot of what has been written has be supposition, and some stories seem to have taken Spectrum into the realms of fantasy.”
And the Mysterons haven’t, thought Captain Blue whimsically, briefly considering Spectrum’s original purpose. “Seems a bit self indulgent spending time reading stories about yourself, don’t you think?” asked Blue.
Captain Scarlet grinned. “Well it wasn’t deliberate. I found all these stories by accident. There’s a whole New World of adventures out there…written about us.” He thought about some of the stories he had read and wondered if he should tell Blue… On second thoughts, maybe not. Let him discover things for himself if he wanted to. Scarlet continued, “In any case they’re not all written about me…or you. There’s lots of stuff about the other Captains as well and the Angels. Even the Colonel.” Not to mention Doctor Fawn figuring in a lot of stories, thought Scarlet, probably due to me, considering the amount of dangerous situations I seem to end up in.
Captain Blue took another look at the screen. “Don’t you find this all a bit weird?” he asked.
“Yeah. Not to mention a bit disorienting as well. Some things really sound like me, that is, given similar situations I might speak or react in the same way.”
“Well, in SOME situations I said. Not all, obviously.” said Scarlet. “It’s a fan fiction site not the psychic hotline. In fact the more I read the more it blurs the line between reality and fantasy. Some stories relate real incidents that DID happen …but not quite the way I remember them or have read in Spectrum reports. See here, when I was Mysteronised and you had to shoot me.”
Blue read a passage of text. “I don’t remember suffering any angst about it. I mean…” Blue floundered, wondering how he was going to get out of that one.
“Quite.” Scarlet said rather frostily. He took his eyes off the screen and looked straight at the Spectrum Captain, noting Blue’s discomfited expression. Suddenly relenting, he grinned. “Spectrum training you mean. See the Mysteron – take out the Mysteron.”
“Exactly,” said Blue relieved.
“Understood.” Scarlet nodded. “It was the correct decision. The only one in fact and somehow it freed me from the Mysterons. If it had not been a matter of Spectrum training it would almost have been a ‘lucky’ decision. For me.”
Captain Blue, remembering his friend’s fall from the Car-Vu tower, mentally shuddered. Luck wasn’t how he saw it and he certainly hoped he’d never have to make that choice again, but the end result did seem like providence. The fight against the Mysterons had moved on since that incident yet it still made him uncomfortable to discuss it. Angst? Not then, but afterwards maybe… Blue decided it would be prudent to change the subject. He asked, “So what else have you found?”
“Ahh. Interesting bits and pieces...on all kinds of subjects. These writers don’t like the Mysterons to win any more than we do. Good thing too.”
“They always lose?” asked Blue hopefully.
“Well no,” said Scarlet, “but most of the time they do. The Mysteron messages are suitably cryptic too. I’ve been considering whether they can be used as a training aid to help with interpreting the real thing.”
“Good idea. I think. You might have a problem convincing Colonel White though.”
“True.” Scarlet briefly considered some of what he had read so far…then tried to imagine Colonel White’s reaction to fan fic. Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea.
Scarlet yawned and leaned back comfortably in the chair when he suddenly recalled he was supposed to report to sickbay. He glanced at his watch. “I’ve just remembered - I’m supposed to see Dr Fawn about something. Only take a few minutes he said. I have a sneaking suspicion he’s got a new theory about retrometabolism and, as per usual, would ‘like to run a few tests’.”
Blue tried to look sympathetic, which he found impossible as his first thought was profound relief Dr Fawn didn’t want to see him. Scarlet correctly interpreted Blue’s expression and gave him a wry smile. Blue glanced at the computer screen, and with curiosity winning out, clicked on one of the titles and became absorbed in the story on the monitor. He didn’t notice Scarlet leave.
Two hours later Captain Scarlet returned to the lounge and was surprised to find Captain Blue exactly where he had left him.
“Adam, you were supposed to have met Rick in the gym an hour and a half ago.”
Captain Blue looked around puzzled, “What time is it?”
Scarlet told him the time. He also told him Captain Ochre had given up waiting and had returned to his quarters after a workout and a few laps in the pool.
“Well I’ll square it with him later,” Captain Blue decided. He glanced at the computer monitor again and realising what he was reading, quickly backstepped to the homesite page. Too late it seemed. From the expression on his face it appeared Scarlet had already seen the monitor. One name featured heavily in the text: Symphony.
“Ahh…” began Blue, “well…there was this story and it got quite absorbing.” His voice trailed off.
Scarlet smirked, “Yes, I’ve read that one. Looking for inspiration?”
A sudden burst of static over the loudspeaker heralded the start of sombre tones, “THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS…”
“Time to go. Duty calls,” said Captain Scarlet, leaning over to turn off the computer.
Blue looked back at the screen. “Yep. Bookmark that story for me will you? I want to see how it ends.”