Part 1 – Adam & Karen
“…And with that fatal shot from the Mysteron Rifle, Captain Black died.” Adam Svenson, formerly Captain Blue of Spectrum, finished his tale of the War of Nerves.
Adam looked around at his young audience. With the passing of time the World Government declassified information about the War of Nerves, and taught it to children as part of their general education. Spectrum Veterans were sought after speakers at schools around the globe, who considered themselves fortunate to hear the story from one of the participants.
This was what Adam was doing at the moment. The school he was currently visiting was the same school, in Boston, that he went to as a child.
“Why didn’t Mister Captain Black come back like Mister Scarlet did?” one boy asked. Adam found himself smiling approval at the boy for his clever question.
“I don’t know, sonny. That’s one of the mysteries that Spectrum has not been able to work out,” he replied. He looked around at his little audience to see if they were going to present him with any more questions. A girl’s voice spoke up:
“Were there any more threats announced after the Mysteron Captain Black’s death?”
He turned his head to face the little girl who had spoken, and answered simply: “No.”
There had been no threats after Black’s death. As Captain Scarlet had told him – and Colonel White agreed – the Mysterons were probably “retreating so that they can ‘regroup’”. What went unspoken was this: “they’re probably regrouping so that they can launch new attacks at higher, more devastating levels”. Svenson didn’t want to worry the kids by saying, “No, but I have a feeling there will be more threats in future,” and make them have nightmares.
Another female voice made itself heard: “Two questions, Mr. Svenson. Do you think that’s the last we’ll hear from the Mysterons? And, do you think there’s any other… and I use the term lightly… alien life in the universe?”
He recognised the voice; he looked around to find a new face standing up at the back of the hall… a familiar face… the face of his wife, Karen Wainwright-Svenson.
The school bell rang to indicate the end of the day. Although it also announced the start of the Christmas vacations, and that the children would be free from school for quite a few days, some of them were actually reluctant to leave as they had been hanging onto every word Adam had said; others hurried out eagerly so they could go home to tell their parents what they had learnt. Karen walked through the now empty hall towards her husband who was manoeuvring his wheelchair in direction of the exit ramp.
“You know as well as I do, that we don’t know if we’ll come into contact with the Mysterons again,” he said. His face became thoughtful for a moment, before adding, “If there are any other ‘alien’ life forms out there, I hope they aren’t as bad as the Mysterons.” Or give us the problems and troubles that the Mysterons have given us, Adam added inwardly.
Adam followed his wife out of the now empty school.
After his last mission as a field agent for Spectrum, during which he had been badly wounded, and he had been confined to this chair, Adam was asked if he wanted to ‘stay on’ after he had recovered from his injuries. He decided that it was ‘for the best’ that he should retire. But (as a civilian), he stayed on, unofficially, (keeping himself available) in case Spectrum needed him.
Transport to and from Cloudbase for a disabled person was a bit difficult, and the genuine cause for concern had been “what if Captain Blue has to bail out or eject from an aircraft?” Everyone knew his flying days as a senior Spectrum field agent had been ‘numbered’ when he had been forced to use the wheelchair, but even so they had put Paul Metcalfe, a.k.a. Captain Scarlet, and himself through a training mission together, because they were partners. “We want to see how you would manage on a field mission”, they’d told him.
Various modifications and adaptations had been made so that his wheelchair was up to the job. They weren’t trying to discriminate against him, but Adam knew that they were looking for a reason to give him a paper-shuffling job. Everyone on Cloudbase during the early stages of the War of Nerves knew how long it could take to write up a report… and how boring it was to write one… and how Colonel White would annoy them… no, pester them, until they gave him their reports.
Personally, he preferred to be in the field fighting… whoever it happened to be they were up against at the time, rather than fighting his way through jungles of paperwork.
“How are the kids?”
Adam and Karen’s children had long since grown up and left home. Tom Svenson-Wainwright had chosen a bachelor’s lifestyle, and – the last Adam had heard from him, through Karen – was thoroughly enjoying it. Unlike her brother, Beth had married and had had twins, Eric and Ernie. A reminder of how time had past since the last Mysteron threat.
“Yours or ours?”
They chuckled for a moment. It was a little in-joke between the two of them that Adam had gained more children through telling them his stories.
Karen seldom visited schools. “It brings back too many horrible memories” was the reason she gave Adam, when he’d managed to get her to ‘open up’ about it.
Adam stopped laughing and became solemn. This didn’t go unnoticed.
“You’re thinking about Rhapsody again?”
He nodded his reply.
Rhapsody Angel had also been in the plane crash that had crippled Captain Blue. Captain Scarlet had been there as well, but, as Doctor Fawn had predicted, due to his retrometabolism, he had made a full recovery. Unlike him, Rhapsody had suffered fatal injuries; there was nothing Blue or Scarlet could do to help her, and she had died in Scarlet’s arms.
“I can’t help thinking about her. Every times I tell those stories. You?”
“Me neither. Every time I speak to Paul.”
“What do you mean? You saw him lately?”
“I had him on the phone,” Karen answered. “There’s something going on. He wants to meet with us.”
“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him.”
“Okay. I’ll call him back.”
“No need.” Karen paused a few seconds, then drew a deep breath. “He’ll be at the Reunion tonight.”
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