A “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons” short story
by Lady Hawke
Copyright October 25, 2002, Revised 1/23/12
To Chris Bishop: A gift isn't necessarily a tangible thing. May you continue to give of yourself always. You define friendship with every kind word and intention.
Merry Christmas to all!! Enjoy, Lady Hawke
The Promenade deck of Cloudbase had been strewn with bows, tinsel and colorful balls. White lights glistened from the frame of every window. Cloudbase was ready for its annual Christmas celebration. Alone among the festive decorations, Captain Scarlet stood in the shadow of a glittering twelve foot evergreen. His inward thoughts were not of the spectacle beside him, nor of the many presents huddled beneath its weighted boughs with such names as Colonel White, Captain Magenta and Harmony Angel written on the tags. Ignoring the discomfort of his recent battle wounds, Scarlet's concerns were for the long-term safety of his injured comrades below decks. They had nearly died today.
Now the sun was setting on the glowing horizon, the eve of a sacred birth. The sky beyond the Promenade's portal windows was thick with orange and purple tinted clouds. They shrouded the Earth like a winter's down comforter. On the surface far below them, snowflakes were beginning to flutter. As Scarlet stood there contemplating the end of a grievous and burdensome day, he considered the upcoming holiday and how many of his friends would spend it in sickbay because of the Mysterons’ incessant threat. As the British captain stared out at the darkening sky he allowed his troubled thoughts to wander. He began to reminisce ...
Once again on the windswept battlefield of earlier, Scarlet stood among his fallen comrades. Blue, collapsed beside him on the dirt road, grimaced as he clutched at a bleeding shoulder wound. Ochre was behind him, face down in a muddy ditch, unconscious from a severe blow to the head. Grey, his leg shattered, was trapped beneath the overturned and smoldering Spectrum saloon. Even Lieutenant Green was panting, crouched against the damaged vehicle with cuts and a bullet wound to his side. The marshy trap had snapped closed on them, despite Scarlet's caution. Now his friends were about to die, defenseless against the force which had ensnared and deceived them on this ancient coastal promontory.
The British officer faced the opposing battle line, shoulders squared stoically against the enemy. His one chance was in reasoning with their leader. A dozen transformed and camouflaged soldiers of war flanked Captain Black. "This has to end, Conrad," Scarlet entreated with one opened and dirtied palm. "You can't do this. Their lives are too precious to lose because of a simple misunderstanding between us." In response to Scarlet's plea, Black pointed a raised finger at the downed Spectrum team. Among the swaying marsh grass the squad of Mysteronized Green Berets aimed their high caliber rifles for the final blows. A wintry gust tasseled the dark hair of their Spectrum opponent who continued his argument. "Compassion, Captain Black. Do you remember that emotion? Compassion is a much nobler sentiment than revenge," Scarlet assured. "Please stop the fighting. Find the strength within you to turn the Mysterons' hearts."
"You say this to spare your own discomfort, Scarlet?" Black droned in challenge.
"I'd gladly trade this Mysteron gift for their lives. Take my weapon," he offered, dropping their singular electron-gun onto the road. "Kill me, but spare my friends. Is there no mercy in your masters' souls to end this conflict?"
Black's pale face constricted in irony. "Do you believe in an everlasting soul, Captain Scarlet?"
"Of course I do. I also believe in the gift of forgiveness."
"Yes," Scarlet reasoned, even as the soldiers momentarily relaxed their grips on their rifles' triggers. "Once, long ago, a great gift was given to us, a man to forgive our sins. He may yet save this earth and all its people. I have faith in that, as I did in our friendship, Conrad." With an open hand Scarlet pressed the issue. "You were human once. Think about it. What would Jesus do?"
"Are you preaching gospel to me, Scarlet? In the face of your friends' deaths?" Again that ironic brow. "It is already too late."
"I'm pleading for the Mysterons' mercy, Captain. You don't have to do this. Not today, not this day. We can find a peaceful resolution. Christ would have wanted it that way. Surely your masters believe in a creator?"
"God?" The word nearly chuckled over Black's tongue. His only outward response, amidst the buzzing breeze through the reed grass, a twisted smirk. "What are you saying, Scarlet? Do you see yourself as Earth's Savior returned?"
Though Scarlet was not lost to the parallel, he spouted, "Of course not. But ... But I share his mission. I'm on Christ's team." To elaborate the British officer swung a hand at himself. "I'm a military man, Conrad. So are you. We stand by rules, traditions, and codes of honor. On this one day, of all, can't you find it in yourself to forgive? To cease the battle for just one day of peace?"
"You want a gift. From the Mysterons?"
Scarlet glanced down at his dusty, blood splattered boots to see a wrapped package lying beside his discarded gun. Had the box been ejected from the saloon's back seat in the crash? He bent to retrieve it. "A gift. Yes. Just one. For all of us," Scarlet acknowledged as he extended the present to his former friend. "Peace on Earth." A slow smirk tickled the corners of the Mysteron's lips. Before Captain Black could move to accept the present, someone interrupted his reverie.
"Did you say something, Buddy?"
Scarlet blinked back to the safety and warmth of the Promenade. He lowered his outstretched, empty hand and turned to consider the man standing behind him, his arm wrapped in a protective sling. "Adam? Dr. Fawn let you loose?"
With a cock-eyed smile Captain Blue nodded. "My Christmas wish granted." He changed the no doubt touchy subject with a chin jerk toward the now star-filled night beyond the portal. "Peaceful. Isn't it?"
Returning his gaze to the heavens Scarlet agreed. "Yes. I ... I was daydreaming, I suppose. Talking to myself."
Blue slipped his good hand into his sling and produced a small package. "Merry Christmas, Paul," he said, jabbing it playfully into his partner's rib. "It's not much, but it's heart-felt."
The British captain gingerly took the present from his friend's hand and considered the symbolic scarlet wrappings. "I'm sure it is. Thank you."
"Peace on Earth. Goodwill toward men," Blue added with a pat to Scarlet's arm. "So. Were you wishing on a star?"
Captain Scarlet raised crystal blue eyes to his partner and smiled. "In a way. Yes. I was."
"Well, then, I hope your wish comes true." With a shrug of his good shoulder Blue added, "Personally I have faith in such things."
"I have faith too, Adam." With that Scarlet turned back to the expansive heavens, cradling the gift in his hand. "Merry Christmas to all," he murmured.
As Blue again left his friend to his inner thoughts he finished, "And to all a good night."
Let there be peace on Earth. And let it begin with me...
Peace and love to one and all. Lady Hawke
Lady Hawke can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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