Winter's Hardships


A "Lieutenant Lake" story

by Scarlet Lady



Captain Scarlet had been taking Spectrum’s newest recruit, Lieutenant Lake, through her paces. He, Captain Blue and Captain Tourmaline had been given the task of introducing the ‘art lecturer come ex-mysteron’ to the hardships that Spectrum faced. So far, Lake had had it fairly easy. The Colonel had practically insisted that they be compassionate and build her up to her tests gradually. On this occasion, however, things had been hard for her for reasons beyond Spectrum’s control.


Lake scrabbled at the rock face, desperately. “I can’t make it – I’ll fall!” A cold wind tore at her, and she no longer had any feeling in her frozen fingers.

The Captain turned to her. “Not much further, now. Keep going.”

Finding a ledge a little further up, the Lieutenant stopped for a rest. The cold was becoming unbearable, and she wanted nothing more than to go to sleep.

Scarlet climbed up beside her. “You can’t stay there. We have to keep moving.”

Shivering, Lake stood beside him. As she did so, an icy blast of wind almost knocked her off balance. “I can’t go any further,” she whispered, sitting back down. “I’m too tired, and it’s too cold.”

“Lieutenant, I can’t leave you here!” the Captain stared down at her, anxiously, and then made his decision. “I’ll help you climb back down. We’ll leave this exercise for now.”

“It’s too far!”

Scarlet could see the frightened look in her eyes. He frowned – this was meant to be an easy exercise, one that tested only stamina and determination: get to the top of a cliff and climb back down. Lake had been looking forward to it – she’d even chosen this stretch of cliff herself. Staring at the sky, the Captain wondered why the weather had changed so suddenly. It was as if someone had wished it onto them… He was brought back to reality by the Lieutenant’s voice.

“Let me sleep, then I’ll have the energy to climb down…”

“You can’t sleep out here – you’ll freeze!” He shook her, anxious to keep her with him.

“Gerroff! Leave me alone!” she tried to pull away.

Scarlet shook his head. “Listen, Lieutenant. I’ll try to carry you a little way… it’s pretty dangerous, but…”

Lake opened her eyes to stare at him. “You can’t carry me! You’ll fall.”

“Well, at least you’re talking sense, now.”

The Lieutenant forced herself to stand. “D’you think we can make it to the top? There’s a little path round the back – it’s sheltered by trees, an' all, if I remember rightly…”

“Good girl – ingenuity! You’ll make a Spectrum Officer yet! Now, where would this path lead?”

“Back to the car park, Sir. It’s only a little dirt track, I’m afraid, but…”

“That’s better than nothing. And it’s sheltered by the trees, that’ll make all the difference.”

The two began to climb again. Scarlet sent Lake up first, so that he could help her. It felt like ages before the top finally came…


Lake lay on the grass, gasping for breath. “I feel as though… I just performed… the impossible!”

Scarlet sat beside her, laughing in spite of himself. “I should think so! You climbed that last stretch as if there were no tomorrow!”

Suddenly serious, the Lieutenant looked up at him. “For a minute, that’s what it felt like!”

“Well, it’s over, now. And I’ll be sure to give my report to the Colonel as soon as we get back.” With that, he stood and helped the young woman to her feet.

“I thought you said the exercise was over, and that we’d just get out of here…” Lake stared at him, confused.

Scarlet laughed, shaking his head. “Why? Even when you were close to giving up, you kept going. I was considering carrying you, so you found the strength to move yourself. And you knew that the climb down would be long and hard, so you found a better way. Determination, ingenuity, courage and stamina – your brother will be proud!”

The Lieutenant sighed. “I still feel as though I let you down, Sir. I held you up a great deal…”

“Well, don’t put yourself down. These things take time, you know. The main thing is, you have the base qualities needed to be a military officer…” he winked at her, “even if your stamina needs work.”


Lake and Scarlet huddled together in their SPC as the icy wind howled around them, tossing snow upon them from all sides. They’d made their way down the dirt track – which was steeper and narrower than Lake remembered – only to find that their car wouldn’t start. Scarlet said nothing to the Lieutenant, but he was worried. Their SPC should have been able to cope with these conditions easily, yet no matter what he did, the engine wouldn’t respond. Finally, he gave up. The problem was the Lieutenant. She was exhausted, and close to falling asleep. He tried his radio again, but received only static as an answer.

Scarlet shook the Lieutenant’s shoulder, roughly. “We can’t stay here,” he told her, for what felt like the hundredth time, “we’ll freeze!”

Lake shivered and tried to cuddle into him. “We’re more likely to freeze out there, Sir,” she commented.

“What shall we do then? Just give up?”

“I vote that we wait for this storm to relent a bit.”

Scarlet shook his head. “Lieutenant, we aren’t prepared for weather like this. The snow is coming down much too fast – we’ll be buried alive, soon.”

“I have an idea, Sir. Why doesn’t one of us try to find shelter, and call the other when they find something?”

The Captain stared at her. “I’m not sending you out in that!”

“Leave me here, then.”

“And risk losing you under all this snow? Never! The two of us are going to stay together.”

Lake chuckled humourlessly. “And I always thought you couldn’t stand me…”

“Lieutenant, I know how your brother would feel if something were to happen to you,” Scarlet told her, with a frown. Shuddering, he added, “I promised him I’d look after you.”

Lake leaned her head against his shoulder.

“Is something wrong?”

“Me ‘ead… too cold.”

Putting an arm around her, Captain Scarlet tried to reassure her. “Alright, Lieutenant, we’re going to have to walk to the City Centre – it’s not far.”

“It is – I’ve lived here, remember. S’a long walk!”

“Perhaps you know a better way, Lieutenant?” Scarlet asked, in a tone that was both sarcastic and annoyed.

“Not unless you think calling my parents and asking them to send us a taxi is a better idea…” Lake remarked, in a similar tone.

Scarlet shook his head. “I don’t like asking for civilian help.”

Lake coughed loudly, and stared out at the snow. “Captain, I know we can’t stay here, but I just can’t imagine walking to the City Centre. You saw how slow I was coming back from our climb…”

This was true. Scarlet couldn’t imagine the Lieutenant making it all that far, right now. He frowned. “If you came with me to the phone box, who would you be able to call?”

Shrugging, the Lieutenant looked somewhat awkward. “I don’t know many numbers – I’m not good at that sort of thing.”

Scarlet kept himself calm. “The mobile telephone that you’re so fond of… do you have it with you?”

“I was told to leave it, Sir.”

“And did you?”

Lake narrowed her eyes as she tried to remember. She often carried it with her, but couldn’t actually remember picking it up… on the other hand, that might well mean that she’d picked it up without thinking. She smiled, suddenly, and pulled it out of her pocket.

“Naughty girl! Well done, Lieutenant – who can you call now?”

“I have Kelly’s – that is, Captain Aquamarine’s number, Sir. I just hope she’s on Cloudbase…” she began to text feverishly.

“What are you doing?”

“It would most probably take all my credit to contact Cloudbase, Sir. By the time she’s got the message, I could run out… that is, if the signal will reach.”

Scarlet nodded. “It should via satellite. Right, send a few. Do you have Sapphire’s number?”

Lake nodded, still typing away. “And Captain Cerise’s.”

“Splendid. What have you said?”

Lake gave him the small device. On the screen was a short message:


SIR. Stranded at Avon Gorge.  


“I don’t think that will give them much to go on. Let me have a go,” Scarlet was already editing the message as he spoke. He gave a nod of satisfaction and handed the phone back to its owner. The message now read:


 SIR. Stranded at Avon Gorge. Weather bad - blizzard. Require rescue party. 


“You just like long-winded messages,” the Lieutenant commented, dryly, as she watched him type.

Ignoring her, the Captain tried to send his text. “Da… blast it!”

Startled, Lake stared at him. “What’s wrong?”

Scarlet handed her the phone. “We’ve lost the signal, Lieutenant. It looks as if we’re on our own.”

She saved the message, and stared at the thick snow she could see packed against the window. “It’s probably all this…” she pointed at the window, “I can’t see out, anymore.” She coughed violently and rubbed her front as a pain began to spread through her lungs.

The Captain shivered, suddenly. “Are you beginning to feel feverish?”

“You mean… sort of hot and cold, at the same time?”

He nodded. “That’s exactly what I mean.”

“Uh… a bit… why?”

Frowning, he tried to open the door. Nothing happened.

“What’s wrong, Sir?”

Scarlet ignored her. After trying the door again, still without success, he dealt it a hefty kick. “We have to get out! Lieutenant, help me.”

Lake kicked at the door beside her for all she was worth. The urgency in Scarlet’s tone spurred her on. “What’s wrong, Sir? Is the car about to explode, or something?”

“No – if we stay in here, we’ll suffocate. There’s not enough air in here – we’ve been sealed in. Something has gone very wrong with this car!” He frowned, trying to work out what had happened. All he could think of was that the doors had frozen shut, sealing them inside. On top of this, as nothing was working, the air-conditioner wasn’t giving any air.

Without looking at him, Lake knew he was beginning to get panicky. “We’ll be alright, Sir. It’s not as if we can die, anyway.”

Scarlet turned on her. “Don’t EVER say that again!”

“But, Sir, Doctor Fawn has explained it all. I can’t die, and neither can you.”

The Captain shuddered. “Lieutenant, you would be the first… retromatabolic person… to die beside me.”

“And you’re scared?” Lake asked, surprised.

“Not ‘scared’, no. It’s just that… dying can be rather…” he turned to the Lieutenant, worry creasing his brow, “suffocation isn’t exactly a pleasant death… as if there is such a thing.” he fell silent, before adding, “Would you like to try it?”

Lake put a hand on his shoulder. “We’d better get a move on – for all we’re worth!”

Nodding, Scarlet pulled himself together. “After three, we kick the door off its hinges!”



“Sir, I can’t reach the door next to you.”

Sighing, the Captain tried sitting on the floor. “Ow… ouch!”

Lake watched him with curiosity.

Scarlet fidgeted, winced, and looked up at her. “I’m too big, Lieutenant – I’ll do myself an injury…” he scrambled out of the hole beneath the dashboard, “You’re smaller than me, can you fit in there?”

The Lieutenant frowned. “I can try…”

“Go for it – I need your extra strength.”

What extra strength? Lake asked herself, I’m so small – I’ll be pretty useless. I doubt I’ll make much difference.

The Captain watched her get into position. “Be careful, Lieutenant. I need you back in one piece.”

Lake tried to make herself comfortable. “I’m ready.”

“Good girl,” Scarlet smiled, and prepared himself for a heavy kick. “Right, after…”

“Four… FOUR!” Lake smashed her foot into the door.

Scarlet frowned, “That’s not what I had in…”

Lake continued to smash at the door in rhythm.

Picking it up, Scarlet joined her.

“You know what we need?” Lake asked, suddenly.


“A good drumbeat, to keep us going.”

Scarlet rolled his eyes, panting hard. “If you’re talking… you’re not… putting… all your… energy into… escaping.”

The Lieutenant took the hint, and continued to smash at the door in silence.




Colonel White frowned. Cloudbase had been trying to reach Captain Scarlet for the past hour or so, and they were still getting no reply. “Lieutenant, where did you say they were going?”

Lieutenant Green turned to his superior. “Bristol, England, Sir.”

“I still think that that was a bad idea – Lake might well be recognised.” White punched his desk with frustration.

Green jumped slightly. “I’m sure they’ll be careful, Sir.”

The Colonel was about to snap, but calmed himself. “Normally, I’d agree with you, Lieutenant, but they should have called in by now… have you got a fix on their position?”

“I can’t trace them, properly, Sir… but their SPC is still in the Avon Gorge.”

The Colonel ran his hands through his silver hair. “What in the World are they doing?”

Green jumped, as a new message leapt onto his monitor. “I don’t know, Sir, but the weather has turned on them. Heavy snowstorms in most of Western England…”

What?” White stared at him. “Hmm… that could be something to do with their silence…”

I hope not, Green thought, as he studied the weather report.

“Well, I’m not going to hang around and find out. Lieutenant Green, get Captains Blue, Sapphire and Tourmaline in here immediately.”




Lieutenant Lake sucked in a breath of cold air. “Mmm… fresh air!”

Scarlet pulled her coat out of the SPC. “For pity’s sake, will you be careful? You don’t want to develop hypothermia… if you haven’t already.”

“Come on – I’m indestructible!”

“And keep your voice down!” Scarlet urged. He frowned, as he watched the Lieutenant. She was behaving rather strangely – almost as if she were drunk. “Are you alright?”

“Overtired, I think. I said I needed sleep.”

Scarlet draped her coat about her shoulders. “Try sending the text again. We can’t just sit here, waiting for them to find that we’re late for tea…”

Lake nodded, and selected the message. A moment later, she smiled with relief. “Sent.”

“Right, now let’s get back in the car – at least it’s a BIT warmer in there!”

“I don’t know why you’re so worried about the cold, Sir. It can’t hurt us.”

Scarlet shuddered as he and the Lieutenant settled inside the car once more. “Just don’t take anything too lightly. We’re only virtually indestructible – there are still things that can do us great harm, and we can be killed… it’s just that we have a greater chance of surviving.”

“Doctor Fawn said that high voltage electricity was the only thing that can kill me.”

“Well, Fawn shouldn’t have told you that – he led me to believe that I could afford to be reckless… and I learned that I was wrong – the the hard way, I might add.”

The Lieutenant cocked her head to one side. “Are you saying that I was misled?”

“I’m saying that you should never take your ability for granted. Do what you have to, and hope you come out in one piece, but don’t expect to survive due to retrometabolism and luck alone.”

Lake jumped, as her phone vibrated.

“Is something wrong?”

She scrabbled around in her pocket, trying to answer the device. She held it up. “It’s Chris.”

“Well? Answer it, then!”

The Lieutenant cleared her throat, and held her phone to her ear. “Hello?”

“I just received your message. How are you?”

“Tired and cold… but bonding well with Captain Scarlet.”

Captain Sapphire chuckled. “A search party is coming. Just hang on a bit longer.”

“Will do. We’re not far from Clifton Suspension Bridge. I’ll leave my jacket somewhere obvious – it’s hard to see the car…”

“You’ll do no such thing! Don’t worry, we won’t miss you.”

Lake smiled. “Alright then. See you in a minute.”

“S.I.G., Lieutenant. Keep warm.”

“Right, Captain.”

Sapphire cut off first.


“Well?” Captain Scarlet asked, “Where are they? What are they doing?”

Lake shrugged. “The Captain didn’t really say. She only told me that my message had been received, and that a rescue party had been dispatched.”

Scarlet smiled. “And to keep warm, I take it?”

The Lieutenant rolled her eyes. “I would’ve thought retrometabolism could deal with this weather easily – after all, it can be cold enough on Mars!”

“Will you stop shouting about retrometabolism and Mars? If someone were to hear you…”

“Sorry. I just can’t understand why you’re suddenly so worried about me.”

The Captain turned away. The honest truth was that Lake shouldn’t have been affected by the weather as quickly and dramatically as she had. Cold temperatures somewhat easily affected Scarlet, compared with other elements, but he was still feeling fine. One look at the Lieutenant, however, told him that she was not. Every few minutes, she was rubbing her forehead, and it looked as though she was fighting to stay awake. The Captain pulled himself from his reverie, and asked, “I don’t suppose you know any good songs, Lieutenant?”

Lake blinked. “But I thought you hated my singing.”

“I do – when we have work to do. Right now, I could do with something to take my mind off all this…” he gestured at all that lay about them, by way of explanation.

Lake took a few minutes to go through her jukebox play list – otherwise known as her brain. “‘Snowbound’, by Genesis?”

“No thank you!” Scarlet replied, curtly.

“What about ‘Near to Surrender’, by Roger Daltrey?”

The annoyed expression on the Captain’s face told her that he didn’t think that that would improve morale much.

Shrugging, she smiled at him. “If you don’t like it, I’ll never sing it again, but let me show you what it’s like.”

Scarlet sighed. “Go on, then.”


So near to surrender,

So near to an end,

So near to surrender,

To smile is to pretend…


“Lieutenant, I don’t think…”


Oh, you might think you’re small

With your back to the wall,

You might think it’s sad

When you’ve been hurt so bad.

But when somebody cares for you,

Someone who shares,

You’re not near to surrender at all…


Scarlet smiled. “Actually, that’s not bad at all! I don’t suppose you could teach ME that one?”

Lake nodded, smiling, and continued:


So near, so near to surrender,

Your future’s, your future’s unknown,

But don’t you surrender,

You’re far, you’re far from alone.

There’s always a face

Waiting to take your place,

There’s always a clown

Working on your unhappy frown,

And when losing’s not on your mind,

Maybe you’ll find you’re not near to surrender at all.


The Captain smiled broadly at her. “Thank you, Lieutenant – that’s the sort of thing I was asking for!”

“I’m not good at much, but at least I can help boost morale…”

Scarlet grinned at her. “You put that comment in your report, and see what Colonel White has to say!”

Lake frowned. “What do you mean, Captain?”

“Just do it, Lieutenant.”

“S.I.G., Captain…” Lake shivered, and pulled her coat about her tightly.

The Captain sighed, and put his arm around her. “We’re not ‘near to surrender’, are we?”

“Not yet, Sir, not by a long shot!”

“Good girl – THAT’S what I like to hear.” Scarlet smiled at her.




“When I get me hands on that sister of mine, she’ll wish she was never born!” Tourmaline muttered, ominously, as he drove the rescue car over Dundrey Hill.

Captain Sapphire, seated beside him in the SPV, glared at him. “Nobody ordered you to come along, Captain. You volunteered.”

“That’s so that I can ask them what they thought they were doing – there’s been a snow warning in the West of England all week! They should’ve checked.”

“Well, when they last reported in, the weather was fine…”

Tourmaline scoffed. “That’s no excuse, Captain! They both come from England, so they should BOTH know how changeable our weather can be. They were fools to go climbing with a weather warning like that hanging above their heads!” he stared out of the vehicle’s window, “Hey! I can see me house from here!”




Lake shivered, and leaned her head against Captain Scarlet’s shoulder. Realising what she was doing, she straightened up and gave him an awkward smile of apology. “Sorry, Captain, I…”

“That’s alright, Lieutenant…” he yawned, “I feel drowsy, as well…”

The Lieutenant jumped, suddenly, and fumbled in her pocket.

“Why don’t you switch the vibrate off, and leave that thing on the dashboard?”

Lake grabbed the phone and answered it. “Hello?”

“Lieutenant, this is Sapphire. Where are you?”

“In Avon Gorge, near the Suspension Bridge. If you follow the A… thingamajig… you should be able to see us… sort of…”

“A thingamajig?”

“Sorry, Chris, I don’t know what it’s called. It’s a number.”

“Perhaps your brother would know. He is here beside me.”

“I’m sure he would. Sorry, but I just can’t think, anymore…”

“That’s alright. Don’t worry, we’ll find you.”

Lake sniffed. “Thanks, Captain. Sorry I can’t help you more.”

“Don’t worry, Lieutenant.”

“S.I.G.,” she waited for Sapphire to cut off.




“Hope they’re alright,” Sapphire remarked, as she ended the call.

“What do you mean?” Tourmaline asked her, taking his eyes off the road for a moment.

Sapphire shrugged. “Nothing, I suppose. The Lieutenant just didn’t sound too well…”

“She’s indestructible – stop worrying!”

The Canadian clenched her fists. I have never known such a cold, unfeeling person. How could anyone say such a thing about a member of their family?

Tourmaline read her body language. “She’s me sister – I’m supposed to be horrible to her!” he was quiet for a moment, “Hope she’s alright…”




Captain Scarlet sighed and stood up.

“Where are you going?” Lake asked, confused.

“I’m going to look for the rescue team. Hopefully, they’ll be with us, soon.”

The Lieutenant watched him leave the shelter of their SPC, and shook her head. “He tells me to stay here and keep warm, then he goes out to look for the rescue team!”


Scarlet stood by the road, frowning darkly. Blocked! I haven’t seen weather like this since…he shook his head, I hope they’ve thought to requisition an SPV – I doubt a car could get through this! He looked up at the sky. At least they’ll be able to land at Bristol International, now. The weather’s clearing nicely…

An off-road vehicle stopped, and Scarlet cast it a glance. Just a passer-by, stopping to ask what’s wrong, I suppose. He didn’t give the vehicle much thought, really. Whoever was inside it hadn’t got out, as if they were trying to work out whether their help was really needed. The Captain turned his attention back to the road.


Captain Black arrived at the appointed car park. The Mysterons had sent him to capture Lieutenant Lake – it was bad enough having ONE indestructible Spectrum member defying them and they wanted to rid themselves of the pests. He left his car as Scarlet went back to scanning the road for a sign of Captains Tourmaline and Sapphire. The Mysteron agent moved quietly to the SPC, and glanced in. Lieutenant Lake had her head in her hands, and was struggling to stay awake. “…Four green bottles standing on the wall… and if one green bottle should accidentally fall… there’ll be two green bottles standing on the wall…

Black smirked to himself, and crept inside the Spectrum saloon.

The Lieutenant leaned her head back, as Black lifted her from her seat. “Hi, Pete … Chris …” She opened her eyes, and her relieved smile became an expression of terror. For a moment, she wasn’t quite sure what she should do. Fear paralysed her. Then, all at once, thoughts and feelings ran through her, along with some brutal flashbacks. Screaming with anger rather than fear, she lay into the Mysteron with more ferocity than she had ever felt in the past.


Scarlet turned, and drew his pistol. He couldn’t see what was going on, only that Lake was in danger. “Lieutenant!”


Black struggled to keep Lake in his grip - she was kicking at him with all her might.

“Lemme go, ya stupid Mysterun! Wha’ on Earth d’you think yer doing?”

The Mysteron agent prepared to teleport.


Scarlet felt the beginning of a headache, and knew what it meant. He lunged at Black, hitting him over the head with his pistol.

Black let go of his victim, and fell face down in the snow.

Angry, Captain Scarlet stood over the injured Mysteron. “Don’t… touch my… friends… Black…”

The Mysteron raised his head, and stared at Scarlet. “Friends? Do you know why you are training her, Scarlet?”

Scarlet helped the shaken Lieutenant to her feet, not taking his eyes off Black.

Captain Black smirked, and wiped blood off his forehead with his sleeve. “She will be taking your place.”

Lake scoffed. She knew what the chances of THAT happening were.

Ignoring Lake’s reaction, Scarlet merely scowled at Black. “Then so be it, ‘Captain’. After all, it wasn’t even her decision to join Spectrum’s ranks – YOUR actions made the decision for her. But then, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… unless YOU’RE involved.”

Black pulled himself to his feet. “One day, Scarlet, you’ll regret defying us.”

To their surprise, it was Lake who answered that challenge. “If we won’t stand up for our planet, Captain, who will? As long as there are people who will stand against you, Mankind has hope.”

Black narrowed his eyes at her, evilly. “Exactly, Scarlet Lady.”

Scarlet levelled his gun to fire at his enemy, while he was distracted. Too late, he pulled the trigger, as Black escaped into air. “Blast it all!”


Captain Tourmaline stopped the car. “There they are!”

Sapphire practically leapt from the SPV, and ran to her colleagues. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine, Captain, but Lake needs to be looked at,” Scarlet looked rather guilty. “I almost let Black kidnap her.”

“T’wasn’t yer fault, Sir…” Lake mumbled, faintly, “Black’s sneaky. Besides, we fought him off, and that’s what counts.”

Sapphire chuckled. “Sounds like you’ve had fun…”

Lake shook her head. “No, it were a nightmare! I wants to get away from yer!”

Scarlet rubbed his forehead. “You and me both!”




Colonel White was relieved to hear that both Captain Scarlet and Lieutenant Lake had been found and that Captains Tourmaline and Sapphire were escorting them back to Cloudbase. “Are they both alright?” he asked his aide.

“Yes, Colonel. Captain Sapphire would like Lieutenant Lake to visit Doctor Fawn, as a precaution, but by all appearances they’re both alright.”

“Good. Notify me when they return.”




Captain Tourmaline drove his Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle down the ‘A thingamajig’ – otherwise known as the A4. He was careful not to drive too quickly on the snow-covered road, but he wanted to get to Cloudbase as soon as possible. It was clear that both Captain Scarlet and Lieutenant Lake were tired beyond belief.

Captain Sapphire nudged Lake sharply. Despite the Lieutenant’s constant complaints of feeling tired, she wouldn’t allow her to fall asleep. “Keep talking. What were you saying about Black?”

“He…” she yawned into the back of her hand, “’scuse me. He tried to take me. I don’t know why, or… anything…” her eyelids drooped.

“Lieutenant, speak to me.”

“I am.”

“What happened then?”

“I were singing ‘Ten Green Bottles’… He grabbed me – I thought it were you… and it were snowing a bit…” she slumped in her seat.

The Captain turned to Scarlet. “It’s no good – she won’t respond to me.”

Thinking fast, Scarlet tried to find a way of snapping her out of it. “Scarlet Lady…”

Lake didn’t respond.

“Scarlet Lady,” he raised his voice, “ELO are rubbish!”

The Lieutenant opened her eyes and stared at him dangerously. “Shut yer trap! I am not ‘Scarlet Lady’, and ELO was one of the best groups on Earth – so THERE!”

“That’s what you think!” Tourmaline put in, laughing.

Lake fell silent, but then smirked. “If ELO are rubbish, why d’you keep borrowing me CDs, Captain Scarlet?”

“Well… I…” he turned away, “some of their songs are… alright…”

The Lieutenant, suddenly a little more awake, smiled.




Doctor Fawn took a seat in front of Lieutenant Lake. “The tests are… inconclusive…”

“You must have some idea, Doctor. Why am I not as strong as Captain Scarlet?” she wore a worried frown on her face.

“It’s nothing to worry about,” he tried to reassure her, “we’ll soon get to the bottom of it.”

“Doctor, after half an hour I was tired out – the cold could’ve killed me, and it’s a wonder it didn’t.”

Nodding, Fawn tried to explain. “What do you remember about your time as a Mysteron, and coming out of their control?”

The Lieutenant looked away, wringing her hands nervously. “I don’t, really. I get some confused flashbacks, but they’re more like dreams…”

“Well, let me tell you something. When you were found, you were in a sorry state – left for dead. You’d been electrocuted, somehow, and… just left.”

“The Mysterons didn’t need me, anymore…” she muttered, her eyes glazing over.

“Well, anyway… we managed to restore your health, but it was touch and go… and I guess you never really recovered.”

Lake stared at him. “What are you trying to say?”

“You’ve been weakened, Lieutenant. Your retrometabolism isn’t as strong – or efficient - as Captain Scarlet’s.”

She stared out of the window. “Then… what are you saying? Am I weak and useless?”

Fawn scoffed. “Don’t be stupid! You aren’t as weak as all that. Besides, as it’s more your immune system than anything else. For example, Scarlet is immune to all Earthly viruses. For you… it’s not exactly the case. And you won’t recover as quickly as Scarlet when injured. But with all the evidence I’ve already seen…”


“I believe that your sixth sense may be better than Captain Scarlet’s.”

Rolling her eyes, the Lieutenant shook her head. “That’s a really great consolation then, ain't it?”

“You have to take the rough with the smooth. I tell you, you’re not as weak as you make out. You are still retrometabolic – a power that we normal humans don’t have. ” He smiled at her, “Trust me – you’ll be fine.”

Finally reassured, the Lieutenant stood. “Thanks, Doctor. I suppose I should return to my duties.”

Fawn gave her a broad smile. “If you want to talk to someone, my door’s always open. No worries.”

“Thank you,” she returned his smile with a grin of her own, and left.

The Doctor shook his head with amusement. “More like Scarlet every time I see her!”




As she left Sickbay, Lieutenant Lake almost collided with her brother.

“Hi, Ems, what did Doctor Fawn have to say?” Tourmaline asked her.

“I’m useless. My immune system is poor – I’m weak and hopeless!”

“I’ll kill ‘im!”

Lake grabbed his arm. “No, Pete. He thinks it’s down to what the Mysterons did to me. They… almost killed me…”

“Yeah, I know all about that.” He was silent for a moment, then said, “Let me show you something…” he rolled up his sleeve, revealing a large scar, “a bullet did that. I was lucky there.”

The Lieutenant winced.

He pulled up his tunic, to display another scar. “THAT was a piece of hand grenade. I was in hospital for three weeks. What would this sort of thing do to you?”

Lake looked away. “I… stand a good chance of surviving such things…” she commented, remembering Captain Scarlet’s earlier words.

“That’s what the Doctor said to me – after two weeks of ‘he’s not gonna make it’. Useless – huh! You’re a lot of things, but you’re not useless!”

Smiling, the Lieutenant nodded. “Point taken.” She turned to go, then stopped and looked over her shoulder at her grinning brother, “Thanks, Pete.”

“Hey, what are brothers for? Now get your big bum to the Control Room, before Colonel White goes spare!”

Lake smiled and nodded. “S.I.G., Captain.”

Tourmaline watched her go, a big grin spreading across his face.




Captain Sapphire smiled as Lieutenant Lake entered their shared quarters, where they were stationed in London. “How are you, now?”

“Tired,” Lake mumbled, sitting on her bed.

“Are you hungry?” the Captain inquired, watching her colleague massaging her forehead.


Sapphire took a seat beside her. “Get some rest. Then you can tell me what the Colonel had to say. When do you get your promotion?”

The Lieutenant made a noise that sounded like a cross between a laugh and a groan. “Give it a few thousand years, Chris!”

“Don’t say that!”

Yawning again, Lake closed her eyes. “A’right, a’right… maybe in a coupla year…” her voice trailed off, and her body relaxed.

Sapphire smiled. That’s right – you sleep!


Opening her eyes, the Lieutenant coughed. So thirsty… a glance at her clock told her that she had been asleep for a good couple of hours, yet she felt as though her eyes had only closed for a minute or two. Yawning, Lake dragged herself out of bed.

“Ems?” Sapphire asked, softly, coming to her side. She smiled. “I thought I heard you. Are you hungry?”

“Uh… a bit, yes,” she grinned, “you know me too well!”

The Captain smiled back at her. “I know that you like… unusual things for breakfast…” she had not forgotten Lake’s tendency to make herself a dish of sage and onion stuffing for an early morning meal, when she felt like something different, “but would you like some chicken soup?”

“Uh… yes please,” the Lieutenant looked somewhat awkward, “as long as you don’t mean ‘Cream of Chicken’…”

Sapphire pulled a face. “Ugh yuck! I think even Captain Scarlet would draw the line there – cream of chicken soup when you've just got up... that'd be horrible!”

Lake laughed. “I doubt Pete would – he’ll eat anything for breakfast! Gateau, ice cream, weetabix…” she shuddered.

“What’s wrong with weetabix?”

“It tastes like… soggy cereal and milk – UGH!”

“Sorry I asked.” The Captain led her into the little dining area, and fetched two bowls of soup. “Enjoy – there’s plenty more where this came from!”

Taking a seat, the Lieutenant stared at her partner. “Did you make this yourself?”

“Sure. I like cooking – you know that.” Sapphire grinned at her, and changed the subject. “Now, what did the Colonel have to say?”

Clearing her throat, Lake frowned. “Well, despite almost giving in halfway up that cliff… I’ve managed to impress Captain Scarlet with my determination…” She saw the broad grin on her friend’s face, and sighed. I’m still not as strong as I’d hoped, though, and I wanted to make a difference to Spectrum!

“What’s wrong? I thought you’d be pleased.”

“Well, I’m not!” the Lieutenant replied, in a harsher tone than she’d intended.

Sapphire stared at her. Lake was usually so cheerful and optimistic; it was strange to see her behaving like this. “Sorry,” she finally said, in a quiet tone.

“No, I am… I shouldn’t have snapped…” Lake sighed, miserably, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

The Captain gave her a smile. “It’s alright.”

Feeling a sudden urge to sneeze, the Lieutenant pinched her nose as hard as she could.

“Is something wrong?” Sapphire was watching her with a concerned frown.

Nodding, she continued to eat. “I’m fine, Chris – really. Still a bit tired, but that’ll go…” she rubbed at her eyes.

“Are you sure? You’ve turned a bit pale…” the Captain shoved her empty dish away, and watched her partner carefully. Lake’s eyes were beginning to water, and her face had almost completely drained of colour.

“I’m fine, Chris,” she smiled, as she repeated her earlier statement. “You don’t have to worry.”

Sapphire sighed and nodded. “I know. It was just the way you looked earlier, I suppose...”

The Lieutenant smiled, and finished her soup. “Thanks for the meal...” She stood slowly and almost bashed her head against the back of her chair with a sudden, violent sneeze.

Jumping slightly, the Captain frowned at her.

“I’m fine…” Lake began, before her partner could say anything.

Shaking her head, Sapphire stood beside the Lieutenant and put an arm around her shoulders. “You’re shivering,” she stated, frowning.

Opening her mouth to say something, she found herself giving another sneeze. She groaned. “Oh, drat! He was right, then!”

“Who? About what?” the Captain stared at her.

“Fawn. About my immune system. He told me I wouldn’t be immune to Earthly viruses, like Scarlet is! Bother! I caught a cold! Of all the rotten luck…!”

“Come on, let’s get you back in bed.”

The Lieutenant groaned, as she found herself being led back toward her bunk. “But…”

“I don’t want to hear it.” Sapphire sent her under her blankets, and gave her an ominous stare. “You stay there, or else…”

Normally, Lake would have had a plucky comeback to offer, but on this occasion she remained silent. She merely gave her partner a look of pure misery, and closed her eyes.

“I can’t really leave you like that,” the Captain remarked, with a sigh. Sitting on her own bed, opposite Lake, she tried to think of something to cheer her. “Is there anything I can get you?”

Lake gave another big sneeze, which seemed to make her jump a little way into the air.

Keeping herself from laughing, Sapphire shook her head. “Are you sure that’s what you want?”

“Oh, ha, ha, ha! That’s very funny...”

“I’m sorry. I just hate seeing you like this, Ems…”

A little of the Lieutenant’s old spark crept back into her, and she smirked. “Try closing yer eyes, then.”

Smiling, the Captain tried again. “Would you like something to read, or some music? I know you get bored quickly.”

“No, I just want someone to talk to… since I joined Spectrum, I’ve felt…”

“Alone?” Sapphire asked, carefully.

Lake nodded. “It’s the one thing I’ve never felt before. I always used to have someone to talk to, back at home. And then, with the way Pete reacted I thought…” she trailed off and sniffed.

The Captain sighed. She remembered how difficult it had been, for all concerned, when Lake had first joined Spectrum. It had hit her hard enough to learn that she had died in an accident at college and become a Mysteron, but then Tourmaline had taken the news harder still – not helping in the slightest and telling her that he’d buried his REAL sister ages ago. Thankfully, Captain Scarlet had helped to sort the problem before it became too difficult, and Tourmaline and Lake were now closer than ever before.

“I can’t replace any of your family members, and I know most of them are back in Bristol…” the Captain put a hand on her partner’s shoulder, “but perhaps I can be a friend to you, Ems. If you let me.”

The Lieutenant smiled. “You already are – a good one.”

Sapphire grinned. She watched Lake’s eyelids flutter, and then gently close. She smiled to herself and crept away, leaving her ill friend to rest. Get well soon, Ems.



The End