Part 2 – The Reunion
The journey had been a long one, but they’d had made it.
A hand grabbed Adam’s arm and started to shake it. He did not know who it was… His eyes were shut… “Five more minutes… please?” he murmured. The hand was insistent; Adam woke up to find that it was his wife trying to wake him.
“Wake up, Sleeping Beauty,” Karen said.
“I wasn’t asleep; I was just resting my eyes…”
Karen’s eyebrows rose in disbelief: he’d been asleep for most of the journey.
The couple knew each other inside out after the many years they’d been together. That was why Adam took control of their finances – money had always slipped through Karen’s hands like fine sand in a sieve – and why Karen organised their social diaries.
The view outside the car window had long since changed from the busy airport terminal.
Adam looked at his surroundings in bewilderment. “Why are we here?” he said, still looking around as far as his head would turn.
“We’re here for the reunion, remember?”
Adam pulled a face.
“No, I mean why are we here? At the Metcalfe Mansion?”
“The location was changed, sir,” the chauffeur replied. He had been sent by Spectrum to pick them up at the airport. By the voice – who sounded strangely familiar to Adam – he sounded like a young man. He was wearing dark glasses, so they couldn’t see him very clearly.
“Change of location?” Adam became suspicious. “Who ordered the change of location?”
“And who is responsible for the guards at the door?” Karen asked. Adam looked at the doorway, and noticed the two Spectrum uniformed guards for the first time.
“Major Scarlet, sir; of Spectrum.”
Adam frowned. Major Scarlet? When did he get promoted? The last I heard was that he had turned down a promotion to Colonel, or does he not want to receive them like he did with medals. Adam grinned at the memory of Scarlet’s large medal collection. Paul’s got a lot to answer for when I see him.
He nodded at his companions so that they could help him get out of the car.
“If there’s anything else you need, sir… ma’am… don’t hesitate to call me.” The chauffeur bade farewell to the Svensons before retreating back to the car.
The Svensons turned to face the two Spectrum agents guarding the front door.
“Names?” one asked, as the first drops of rain fell from the sky.
“C’mon, let us in,” Karen moaned, as her dress was slowly turning a shade darker as more and more of it got wet.
“Names,” the voice said again.
“Just check them with the MD and let them inside. Personally, I don’t want them to get pneumonia,” said an impatient female voice. A Spectrum agent had come out of the door, only, unlike the others, she was wearing a long coat and her face was familiar – her name was Rose Metcalfe.
“No buts, Lieutenant”.
The agents scanned Adam and Karen with the Mysteron Detector.
“Well?” she asked.
“Negative, Captain. Both of them,” replied the lieutenant.
“Let them inside then,” she said, her voice showing signs that she was getting more impatient with her two colleagues. By now, the rain had increased intensity.
“Please, Mr. Svenson, Mrs. Svenson,” she nodded to each in turn, “come inside.” At the mention of their names, the two lower rank Spectrum personnel stood to attention and moved to either side of the door, their uniforms soaked. The Svensons pass through the open doorway. “You too, Lieutenants. Change into dry uniforms.”
“Major Scarlet hasn’t arrived yet.”
“I’ll wait for him.”
The agents looked at each other, at the Captain, then at the doorway and then back at the Captain, who was looking at them.
“Want me to make that an order?”
They hurried inside. The Captain grinned and turned to look out into the rain. Visibility had decreased a lot – the sky had grown darker and the rain was even more intense than before. She awaited the arrival of Major Scarlet.
Inside the mansion, the Svensons were directed into the games room. There they found a fire roaring in the fireplace, making the room a lot warmer than outside; the warmth was welcomed by both of them since they had been soaked by the cold rain. On the bar, there was a variety of drinks in glass bottles with a tray of glasses of assorted shapes and sizes; in the middle of the room, there was a pool table, on which a game of eight-ball was currently being played.
“They’ve arrived,” said a voice coming from the direction of the pool table. A man, currently lining up his cue to take his next shot, replied:
“Pat, you’ve tried that trick before. It worked earlier, but I’m not fooled this time.”
“Hello?” Adam greeted his old friends.
The man looked around at the newcomers just as he took his shot, the white ball missed the ball it was supposed to hit; obscenities were spoken as a result.
“Rick, that is no way to greet people,” Juliette Pontoin, formerly Destiny Angel, scolded Richard Fraser – the former Captain Ochre.
It wasn’t such a mystery, after all. It was only an old friends’ reunion. An occasion for them to reminisce about their past life together, twenty years before, their common experiences, their missions together. To pay homage to those who had passed away and will always be remembered.
After all, it was Christmas time – and it was certainly the best of time to get together all of them.
The new arrivals began talking, joking, drinking and generally catching up with news of things that had happened since the last time everyone met.
All their friends, their former colleagues, were there. All of those who were still alive, that was. Magnolia Jones (Melody Angel), Chan Kwan (Harmony Angel); Richard Fraser (Captain Ochre); Patrick Donaghue (Captain Magenta); Bradley Holden (Captain Grey) and Edward Wilkie (Doctor Fawn).
“… My, my, it’s been years, hasn’t it?”
“And you haven’t aged a day, Angel.”
“Always the charmer, Rick, I’ve heard no girl has managed to tie you down.”
“No. A bachelor I was, a bachelor I remain…”
“How are the kids these days, Brad?” Adam asked.
“They can’t stay away from water, they hate being away from it.”
“They must’ve got that from their father, then.” At Adam’s words, Brad’s cheeks turned pink.
“The children are here too, though, they insisted on coming… Wanted to meet everyone I worked with at Spectrum. The thing is, though, they got bored a while ago. The last I heard about them… there are Spectrum agents all around this place and I heard this from them… was that they were playing hide-and-seek.”
“With a place this size of this, that game will keep them occupied for hours… maybe even days… if they had the chance…” Adam commented.
The only person not in the room was Seymour Griffith, formerly Lieutenant Green, and the only reason that he had given them, through word of mouth, was that he was busy.
All the occupants of the room were ushered into the ‘banqueting’ hall. As they went through, Adam could hear voices coming from down the hallway.
“When is Sky coming back on duty?”
“In theory, he is on duty.”
That’s not Scarlet, is it? thought Adam.
“You know what I mean.”
Upon hearing these words Adam paused, and turned his wheelchair around so he could face the way the voices were coming from. He spotted two people by the main doorway; one of the speakers was Captain Indigo, the young officer who had let them in earlier. She was watching the other person was preparing to take his coat off.
“The General wasn’t sure, the last time I talked to him about it.” Even though Adam couldn’t see who the speaker was, he knew that very recognisable voice.
“Can you check again, Dad? I’m sick and tired of covering for him.” The person Indigo was talking to managed to take his coat off to reveal a scarlet-red uniform.
“You prefer saving his ass in the field?” Indigo nodded her reply.
“Scarlet!” Adam shouted to attract his attention.
Indigo looked at Major Scarlet, who in turn looked around to find that his guests had paused at the mention of his Spectrum colour. As Scarlet opened his mouth to speak, his epaulettes flashed green, he sighed.
“I’m going to take this call. You go on ahead.” He took one last look at his old colleagues before opening a door to a room to find some privacy.
Indigo paused for a moment, as if she was listening to something, before ordering the veterans into the hall.
Scarlet’s epaulettes flashed green. Seymour Griffiths never announced his retirement, so he must still be Green, then. I wonder what rank he is, now, Adam pondered.
Everybody took their turn at standing up and toasting someone – or something… In Adam’s case, he missed out the standing up part. This was how Scarlet found everybody when he walked into the hall.
“To Sir Charles Gray, Colonel White. May his soul rest in peace,” Father Ivory toasted.
“Amen,” everybody chorused, even Scarlet.
Charles Gray had passed away in his sleep two years before. His wife, Mrs Amanda Gray, Karen’s mother, who had discovered him and had broken the news to his former colleagues.
Adam squeezed his wife’s hand. Over the years, Karen had become close to her stepfather, as close as she felt possible, to her former commander.
To Conrad Turner, may his sins against humanity be forgiven. Scarlet closed his eyes and prayed. He was a good teacher, and a good friend before the war, no matter how distant he was from us all… May he rest in peace. He opened his eyes again.
From his place by the door, Scarlet could see that Indigo had not taken her coat – which was still soaked from the rain – off. He walked over to her and began persuading her to remove it.
Patrick Donaghue took his turn to toast someone.
“To Charlie’s Angels…” Some people chuckled. He continued his toast. “Seriously…”
“It was hard to take you or Rick seriously in the past, most of the time,” commented Scarlet; laughter came from around the room. Pat blushed.
“Hey! You want to know who I’m toasting or not?”
People could be heard muttering things, such as:
“Get on with it.”
“Hurry up, already.”
Patrick continued with his toast.
“To the original Angels. All of whom are beautiful, skilled, and can put up a good fight… which is probably why I only managed to get my hands on one of them.” He sat down and was elbowed in the ribs by his wife, Juliette Pontoin.
Indigo’s voice made itself heard from the side of the room.
“To my mother, Rhapsody Angel. She died doing her duty.”
Scarlet nodded his approval of his daughter’s words.
“May she rest in peace,” said Father Ivory.
Adam looked around and spoke.
“To Paul Metcalfe.” Scarlet looked at his friend. “Currently Major Scarlet, for keeping up the good fight.” Adam straightened up the best he could and saluted him; the salute was returned.
“And for making his former colleagues jealous of his boyish looks.” It was Juliette’s turn to be elbowed, while the other three ex-Angels laughed.
Indigo had finally taken her coat off, revealing her uniform; it wasn’t quite the colour of her name, but a shade of pink.
A young man, wearing a chauffeur’s uniform, walked into the room at that moment. Karen gasped in surprise when she recognised him. Adam threw his wife a concerned look before he looked at the newcomer too. Who he saw surprised him.
“You should have stayed with Spectrum, Pat, it looks like Magenta is in fashion,” joked Rick. Pat and Indigo blushed the same colour as her uniform.
The newcomer laughed.
Scarlet scolded him, “Tom, explain yourself.”
Scarlet had been aware that the two young captains were great practical jokers, but he wasn’t always sure about what mischief the pair were planning next.
“Me? I’m only getting my own back on Rose... Indigo, for switching my shampoo.”
“With that brown hair dye? But that was April 1st when I did that...” Indigo realised what she was saying and stopped. She received a stern look from Scarlet.
“Innocent until proven guilty, Rose,” Tom taunted her.
Rose sighed. “What did you do to my uniform?” she asked.
“I sent some special instructions to the laundry.”
“You…” Luckily for the pair of them, at that moment Scarlet’s epaulettes flashed; he put his cap on and went to the side of the room, out of the earshot of everyone present.
“Tom,” Karen said to catch his attention, “why didn’t you tell your father and I that you had joined Spectrum?”
Tom Svenson turned to his parents. “I wasn’t sure if you’d approve, and I didn’t want you to worry about me.” He had been away from them for around three years, and during that time he had joined Spectrum without his parents knowing. He had kept in contact with them, though, but gave them the minimal amount of information about himself.
“We do approve,” Adam joined in the conversation.
“I thought that you wouldn’t. Considering your injury, I thought… kind of expected you to disapprove, Dad,” Tom said, addressing his father.
“We aren’t bad guys, Tom.” Karen got up to hug her son. “We’re there for you and your sister, always. If you ever want talk to us, then talk. Okay?”
“Hair dye?” Juliette enquired. Rose nodded. “Richard April-fooled Patrick one year…”
“You had to remember that, didn’t you?” commented Patrick.
“I heard the whole story about that April 1st. That’s where I got the idea from.” She grinned. “It backfired though,” she explained, her grin fading from her face. “He was assigned that day to go undercover, the joke helped his disguise.”
“One question, Tom,” Adam asked his son, “Why disguise yourself as our chauffeur?”
He had realised that Tom had been their chauffeur to drive them from the airport – he was still in that uniform.
That explains why his voice was so familiar, when I talked to him on the way here, Karen reflected. Of course, he had managed to disguise it a bit.
“I… I wanted to make sure you guys were all right.” He absentmindedly ran his hand through his hair, like his father used to.
“Homesick from being away from them, more like,” Rose muttered. Her foot exploded in pain; she looked down in time to see Tom place his foot back on the floor. Looking up, she saw that Tom still had the same expression he’d had on his face a minute before. Like an Angel… not, she thought.
Scarlet returned to where he’d stood before. Rose felt his mood change, and, concerned, she turned to him.
“Dad? What’s wrong? You’ve gone pale.” He looked her in the eyes. He beckoned to her to come closer to him, cupped his hand around her ear and whispered something in it. Mere seconds later, she pulled away from him.
Scarlet nodded. Rose visibly paled too.
“What about them?” Tom, one of the many people in the room who wanted to know what Rose had been told, broke away from his mother’s embrace and asked the question directly. Rose looked around the room and eventually looked at him, her eyes not quite focused on him properly.
“They’ve… they’ve… they’re going to…”
“Put your uniform on, Tom,” Scarlet ordered.
“What do you think this is? I’m not wearing a chauffeur’s uniform for a joke.”
“Now is not the time to be messing around. Go and fetch an auxiliary uniform from the SPV, outside.” Tom refused to go; he wanted to know what had upset two of the toughest people he knew.
Scarlet glared at him, but before he said a word, Tom left the room, remaining near the doorway so that he could eavesdrop and find out what was going on.
Scarlet turned to Rose. “Alert all personnel. Spectrum Is Red. Tell them what’s going on.”
“But they’re all rookies, they won’t know how to…” Rose reasoned.
“Rookies or not, Rose, they’re the only hope we have, until the backup that the General has ordered arrives. Don’t forget that all Spectrum agents have been through the standardised training,” Scarlet interrupted.
It was Rose’s turn to put her radiocap on and walk to a corner of the room, for more privacy, before contacting the other Spectrum personnel around the mansion.
“What is wrong?” Chan Kwan asked.
“There has been a Mysteron threat.” Scarlet explained.
Silence fell on the room.
“We haven’t heard anything from the Mysterons for twenty years. Why now?” argued Ochre.
Scarlet shrugged his shoulders. “They plan to kill the remaining members of Spectrum’s Class of ’63.” More silence.
“But,” Karen said, “Isn’t that us? All of us who are here actually attending this reunion?”
“They’ve waited until you’re all under one roof,” Captain Indigo pointed out, her radio communication ended. “Why they’ve waited twenty years, I don’t know. Sky…” She turned to Tom, who had slipped back into the room, unnoticed by most, when he’d heard about the threat – he still hadn’t gone to get himself an auxiliary uniform, “we’ve got to get everyone out of here and to the nearest safe building.”
“But the nearest is about twenty miles away,” Tom replied, dampening Rose’s mood further.
“Just as well these were stored here,” Scarlet spoke, surprising everyone as they turned around to find him with a gun in his hand and behind him, two doors were open wide to reveal a cabinet full of more guns.
“Are those what I think they are?” Scarlet nodded at Magenta’s question, he was not so pale-faced anymore.
“I always wondered what was in that concealed cabinet,” Rose muttered.
“Hand these out,” her father said.
Rose went up to him and took the weapons he was holding out to her. Scarlet walked over to Adam, and gave him a gun.
The handle was blue. His shade of blue. Scarlet was handing out their old colour-coded guns. Adam looked up at his friend.
“Looks like we may have to fight our way out, Blue-boy.”
“Almost ‘just like old times’,” Adam replied, and a smile spread across his face. He wasn’t afraid.
None of them were.
Whatever would happen, they would face it together.
The hair dye joke is a reference to Sage Harper‘s fan fiction ‘Who’s the Fool Now’.
I’d like to thank Lezli Farrington for the use of her character, Rose Metcalfe. Any changes made about this character, in any small detail, have been made by me.
Thanks go to Mary for the use of her character, Father Ivory.
Thanks also go to Chris Bishop and Marion Woods. Both of whom have beta read Parts 1 and 2, and given me their opinions and help when I needed it.
There may/may not be a longer, revised edition in future. So “watch this space”.
Any comments? Send an E-MAIL to the SPECTRUM HEADQUARTERS site.