A “Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons” story
by SCARLET LADY
"Careful, Scarlet," called a voice, mockingly, "Grey's much better than ANYONE at this kind of thing!"
Scarlet shook some of the water from his hair, and swam to the side of the pool, where Ochre was grinning broadly at him. "Perhaps YOU should be careful, Rick!" he retorted, "Unless you want to join us BEFORE getting out of your uniform!"
"I don't feel like a swim, thanks. Anyway, I've got work to do."
"Watch what you say, then." Scarlet frowned, suddenly puzzled, "Wait a minute, what do you mean, you have work to do? The Colonel's let us off!"
Colonel White had allowed his senior members of staff some time off duty, to allow them to spend some extra time in each other’s company. Grey had wanted a swim, and the other Captains had eagerly joined him. Only Ochre hadn't seemed keen. Blue joined Scarlet, so he could talk to Ochre as well. "Come on, Rick!" he called, "Why don't you join us?"
"No, thanks." Ochre sighed, "Maybe later."
Blue shook his head, vigorously, spraying Scarlet and Ochre. Scarlet laughed, but Ochre scowled at him. "Don't do that!"
"Sorry, Rick." Blue grinned at him, "I didn't mean it!"
"Yeah, right!" Ochre was trying not to show his amusement. "And I'm a Mysteron! Come on, Adam, I know you better than that!" he shot a quick glance at Scarlet. The captain was grinning broadly; he didn't seem to have heard the comment about Mysterons. He sighed with relief.
"Are you alright, Rick?" Scarlet looked and sounded very concerned.
"Yeah. I just have this dumb report to do-"
"You haven't done it yet?"
"I was busy, OK?"
"SORRY! I didn't mean to touch a raw spot!"
"No, I'm sorry. I just hope the Colonel doesn't ask for it, anytime soon."
"Rick, I'd go and do it now, if I were you."
"That's fine for YOU to say, Mister 'I get all my work done on time to please the Colonel' Scarlet!"
"Rick, PLEASE don't be like this!" Scarlet sighed, then added, "I'll help you, if you want."
"No, thanks! I'm in ENOUGH trouble!"
"Colonel White knows about it?"
"Colonel White found me working on a model, when I should've been working!"
"Why did you do a stupid thing like that?"
"How do you get away with doing worse?"
"Stop it! Look, I've offered help, and I've TRIED to give you advice. Will you stop this?"
"Buzz off, Scarlet!" Ochre left.
Scarlet shook his head, "What am I going to do with him?"
Captain Ochre started on the report Colonel White had wanted. He hadn't been avoiding the work, he just hadn't got round to it. First, he'd been sent off to New York, then he'd started work on his latest model, only to find he was now SUPPOSED to be on duty. He would have liked to put THAT in his report.
It didn't take him long to finish the report. He read it through one last time, making sure everything made sense, and there were no mistakes. He smiled with satisfaction I'd like to see the Colonel find something wrong with THAT! he thought. But he knew the Colonel would be annoyed he hadn't given it to him four hours ago, like the other Captains had. Ah well, he thought, if the Colonel gets mad, I'll just shout back. Seems to work for Scarlet! With that, he headed for the Control Room.
In the Control Room, Colonel White looked thoughtfully at his aide. "Lieutenant,"
"I have to organise the Conference room, can you manage here?"
"Thank you, Lieutenant."
Green watched his Commanding Officer stride briskly out of the Control Room, then returned to his work. He didn't look up again, until he heard the door open. A Captain came in with a determined look about him. "Hello, Captain Ochre,"
Ochre froze, turning to Green. "Hi! Where's Colonel White?"
"The Conference room."
"Good." Ochre sounded pleased, then seemed to realise the Lieutenant was listening. He put his report on the Colonel's desk, then turned to Green. "Well, I better go. I'll see you later."
"Shall I tell the Colonel you were looking for him?"
"No. I'll see HIM later, too. It's nothing important, so it'll keep."
Green frowned to himself, as Ochre left. Strange that someone should come looking for the Commander-in-Chief of Spectrum, then say it's not important. He shrugged and returned to his work.
Captain Ochre went straight to the pool, but it was empty now. He sighed with frustration. Then a sly grin spread slowly across his face. It had been quite a while since he'd last played a prank on someone, and he had a good idea for one now. As the Colonel wasn't in the Control Room...
The other Spectrum officers had gone to the Sports' Centre. Scarlet challenged Blue to a race on the track, and Grey and Magenta had decided to join them. They began the race. Scarlet kept himself at quite a slow pace, because he knew he had an advantage over the others. I could beat them quite easily, he remembered, my body doesn't tire so quickly, thanks to the Mysterons!
As if on cue, the speakers came alive, and the familiar ominous voice boomed, "THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS, WE KNOW THAT YOU CAN HEAR US, EARTHMEN." Scarlet stopped so suddenly that he almost lost balance. He stared up at the speakers. "WE WILL KILL SCARLET, BECAUSE HE'S A-"
Nothing more came from the speakers. They went completely dead, as if they'd been turned off. Then they were switched on again, and the same voice began "THIS IS - OCHRE, I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO THIS, BUT I'D STOP, IF I WERE YOU-" Pause. A small smile spread across Scarlet's face. He understood, now. A few clicks came from the speakers, then "This is Colonel White, the voice you heard was that of Ochre. I don't know what he did, but you can be sure that Scarlet isn't under threat. Please return to... whatever you were doing."
Scarlet chuckled. Ochre certainly had a lot of nerve, when he got going. He then realised a few of the other Captains were sitting on the floor, and went to them. "Are you alright?" he asked, helping Grey to his feet,
Blue laughed. "Why?"
"Well, I stopped a bit too quickly..."
The Captains decided against another go at the track. Not that anyone had hurt themselves when they stopped to listen to the 'Mysteron threat' so suddenly, but nobody was tempted to try it again. They wandered down to the Officer's Lounge, where it was quieter. They hadn't been there long before Captain Ochre joined them. He grinned at them in turn.
Magenta looked up from his book. "I thought you didn't like Mysterons!"
"Hey!" Ochre held up his hands, "Be fair, Pat! I was kidding, can't you take a joke?"
"Is THAT what you call it?" Scarlet stood up, "I for one didn't find it very funny."
"Why are you laughing, then?" Ochre demanded, "Come on, Paul, it was just a bit of fun!"
"What were you about to call me?"
"What?" Ochre feigned innocence, "I didn't call you ANYTHING!"
"Don't give me THAT! You said the Mysterons were going to kill me because I was a... Then the radio went dead."
"OK, OK! You're a lucky pain in the neck! Should I give it in writing?"
The others stared at him. Blue was first to give him an answer "That's an awful thing to say, Rick!"
"Yeah, Ochre," Grey added, "what's wrong with you?"
"Nothing!" the Captain almost exploded, "I just want to know how Scarlet can get away with so much!"
"Right." Scarlet sighed, "For the record, let me make it quite clear that I do NOT get away with anything."
"You've yelled at the Colonel a good few times. You're still here. Matter of fact, you didn't even get shouted at!"
"Colonel White gave me a good talking to, afterward."
"Yes. Just because you're not around to SEE and HEAR it-"
"He's got you THERE, Rick!" Magenta laughed, loudly, "You don't want to see him getting yelled at, do you?"
"No!" Ochre looked almost as embarrassed as Scarlet, "I just wanted to know how much he's allowed to get away with."
"As much as YOU!" Scarlet assured him, "Which is why I try to keep myself in line. I'm just... well..."
"Stubborn!" Ochre laughed, "Stubborn and impetuous!"
Captain Scarlet was too embarrassed by the last remark to say any more. He turned his back on Ochre and began talking to Blue. Ochre shrugged and turned to Magenta.
The speaker above them buzzed with static, and an ominous deadpan tone began, "THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS."
Ochre shot an angry look at the speakers "Go away! We've had ENOUGH of you!"
"WE KNOW THAT YOU CAN HEAR US, EARTHMEN! THE WINGS OF THE EAGLE WILL BE SNATCHED AS SHE SOARS! WE WILL BE AVENGED!"
"What on Earth is THAT meant to mean?" Scarlet shouted at the speakers, then he calmed himself and turned to the others, "Any ideas?"
"This is Lieutenant Green. Cloudbase is now on yellow alert. Will all Captains report to Control immediately."
"That's us," Scarlet started toward the door. The other Captains followed behind. He could still hear Ochre making wisecracks directly behind him. A few moments ago, it would have been all right, but there was NOW a Mysteron threat that had to be treated seriously. He turned to Ochre, angrily, "That's enough! I've had quite enough of your childish behaviour! It's alright when we're off duty, but right now-"
"OK!" Ochre shot back, "What's the matter? Can't you take a joke, any more?"
"I'm not in the mood, right now." Scarlet answered, a little more calmly, "Perhaps later..."
"FINE!" Ochre turned away.
Scarlet sighed, turned his back on Ochre, and carried on walking to Control. He didn't say any more.
The Colonel looked up from a folder on his desk as they entered. "Ah, good. You're all here." he frowned, "I take it you heard the threat."
The captains nodded. Scarlet was first to answer, "Yes, sir. We all heard it, but none of us know what it means."
"Well..." Colonel White answered, "If we aren't certain what they mean, we usually use the computers."
"Yes Colonel," Scarlet smiled, "Shall I get cracking, then?"
"No. Captains Ochre and Magenta will do that." There was coldness to his tone when he mentioned Ochre. If the captain noticed it, however, he did a good job at hiding it. "You and Captain Blue are needed in New York."
"Never mind what it's for. You will be given your instructions upon arrival. Good luck, gentlemen."
Scarlet nodded his understanding. "We'll leave at once, sir."
As they left, Ochre heard Captain Blue remark to Scarlet, "If the Colonel's wishing us luck, this is going to be really tricky... OR dangerous!"
Ochre chuckled. He'd have to remember to tease Blue on that one, later. He turned his attention to the Colonel, who was glaring icily at him. The Colonel could usually put up with his humour, childish quips, and even the pranks, but he was growing tired of it. Ochre is certainly on form, today, he thought, I just wish he'd give it a rest!
"Something wrong, Colonel?" Ochre asked, "What is it, sir?"
Colonel White was about to snap at him, but changed his mind. Ochre wasn't a bad sort really, and he certainly DID seem concerned. "I'm alright, Ochre." he assured the Captain, "I'm just a bit tired of your jokes."
Magenta and Grey both chuckled at this remark. Ochre just shifted his gaze. "I don't know WHAT you mean!"
Upon arrival in New York, Captains Scarlet and Blue were informed that Captain Black had been sighted. Unfortunately, Spectrum had lost him. Scarlet began combing the streets near his last-reported position. He was growing frustrated. "This is Captain Scarlet," he pronounced into his radio cap microphone, "come in, Captain Blue."
"Yes, Captain Scarlet?"
"Negative. He must have used his disappearing trick, again!"
"Actually, I was just about to call you. He was spotted near the Empire State. I'm on my way to pick you up, now."
"Forget me! I don't want Black getting away. Head for the Empire State. I'll meet you there."
"I don't like this, Paul..."
"Do we have a choice?"
"Fine! OK. But be careful."
"Always! See you later."
"Last time you told me you'd 'see me later', you got yourself killed!"
"Not for long!"
"Take care of yourself... PLEASE Paul."
"I will if YOU will. See you, Adam."
Captain Scarlet managed to track Black, and followed him down a one-way street. Black didn't seem to notice him, but he still felt nervous. "Ochre would've been better at THIS job." he muttered, "He's the ex-constable!" Still not seeming to notice the unmarked car or its driver, Black turned and walked the other way. Scarlet hit the steering wheel angrily, almost letting off the horn. He brought his temper back in check, insured that he could still see Black, and parked his car. He climbed out carefully, not wanting to attract too much attention. He followed Black at a safe distance.
Captain Blue was getting worried. Scarlet had not radioed to let him know what was going on, and along with him, Black had disappeared. He tried the radio again. It was STILL turned off. "What could he be doing?" he muttered, scanning the streets for any sign, "Well, if Paul was in any trouble, he'd find a way of letting us know... hope he's OK, though."
Scarlet was doing fine. Following Black was proving easier than he'd expected. Black turned into a junkyard. Scarlet's heart began pounding. Could the Mysterons have a hideout or meeting place here? It was certainly a possibility. Few people would snoop around such a place, what with the dogs and security. That reminded him - he was going to have to be VERY careful.
Black moved toward some old cars. He opened the boot and brought out a small object. He examined it closely for a few moments, then nodded with satisfaction and placed it in his pocket. Captain Scarlet was about to call Blue, when something hit him hard on the back of his neck. He was vaguely aware of the pain as everything went dark.
Captain Blue shook his head, sighing with frustration. Right, he thought, I'm gonna have to call Cloudbase. Paul might not like having a search party out looking for him, but at least we'll know he's OK. He dropped his radio cap microphone.
Colonel White's mood had improved quite a bit since Captains Scarlet and Blue had left. Ochre was behaving properly, and everything was running smoothly. The target of the Mysteron threat was a large new plane that was on its maiden flight. No need to worry about that. Captains Ochre, Magenta, and Grey could handle this one alone. A blue light blinked on the console in front of him. "Go ahead, Captain Blue." he said, punching a button on his desk, "I was waiting for one of you to call. Forget about it, did you?"
"No, sir, I was trying to contact Captain Scarlet... I can't get through to him."
"Too much interference?"
"No, sir. I think he's turned his radio off. He was tailing Black."
"You know what he's like, Colonel. I was about to pick him up en-route to the Empire State, as suggested, but Scarlet told me to meet him there. Guess he was already near."
"And that was the last you heard from him?"
"If you don't hear from him in five minutes, gather as many Ground Agents as you can, and find him."
Black whirled around as one of his agents came up behind him. He gave a slight, unpleasant smile when he saw Scarlet. Now to dispose of him once and for all. "Get him in the trunk of this car." he opened the boot of an old, rusted car. "Quickly!" After locking him in, Black began looking for a way of disposing of him. He smiled evilly when he noticed the crusher. Scarlet would not survive THAT provided no one removed him from the metal. Seeing as the Spectrum Officer seemed to be alone... He turned to the agent standing next to him, who was waiting for further orders. "Make sure there are no other Spectrum Agents. Should you see any, you are to kill them without hesitation."
"Sir, what about the one in the trunk?"
"He is mine to deal with. It will be my pleasure!"
Captain Scarlet opened his eyes. Where am I? He wondered as he tried to get up. He couldn't. He was in a small, cramped, stuffy cell. He tried to call out, but his throat was dry due to the dry heat. What could he do? Where was he? What had happened to him? He tried kicking at the sides of his prison. All he wanted to do was escape. He felt movement. Was he getting somewhere, or had the person who had put him here returned?
Captain Blue sighed with frustration. Still no sign of his partner. Where could he have gone? The search parties had been on the go for a good few minutes without result. Blue had stayed at the agreed meeting place - just in case Scarlet came back. He was bound to worry if he wasn't there.
Scarlet desperately continued to struggle to escape. If he had felt any fear upon awaking in this coffin, it had been noting compared with what he felt now. He was suffocating in the dry, dusty heat, unable to move, had little chance of being found and less of escaping. Suddenly, he heard a noise above him. His heart beat a bit faster. Had someone found him?
He felt himself being lifted, along with the car. He wondered what was happening to him. He wished he'd left the car he'd been using outside the yard - that would have left Adam a clue - but how could anyone find him?
"Captain Blue, I've found an abandoned car on a one-way street." Blue jumped.
"The 5th avenue, downtown. About five minutes away from you on foot."
"I'm on my way." Blue replaced his microphone and jumped in his car. In no time at all, he parked, right by the one-way street. He met the agent who had called him. The two men walked around the car, as Blue scrutinised it. "This is his car." he told the agent, "So where is he?"
Blue shook his head. "Why won't he answer that radio?"
"Could it be broken?"
"I don't think so. It's probably just turned off."
"Don't worry, sir. We'll find him."
Captain Blue's epaulettes flashed white, and he heard Colonel White's voice, "Any sign, Captain?"
"We just found his car."
"I thought he was on foot."
"He borrowed a car. We found that out, earlier."
"But have you found Scarlet?"
"Lieutenant Green is trying to trace him. If his car was abandoned, and as he's disappeared, I would believe it to be the work of the Mysterons."
"Yes, sir. That's what's worrying me. Could the Mysterons kill him?"
"Blue, you have to forget your own worry. Just concentrate on finding him."
"SIG." Blue sighed. As soon as the Colonel had broken communication, he muttered, “Easier said than done!" and turned to the agent standing at his side. "We HAVE to find him! If there were Mysterons near here, and they wanted a place out of the way, where would they go?"
"There are lots of places-"
"There are lots of ground agents." Blue stated, as patiently as possible, "Just point out all possibilities, and I'll do the rest."
As the car swung around, Scarlet heard a deafening noise from somewhere - or someTHING - beneath him. All at once, the arm stopped.
As Captain Black had been manoeuvring the crane, to drop Scarlet's car, someone had fired at the controls. Black jumped out, to deal with the person, but could see no one. He grabbed his gun, and walked slowly toward a pile of scrap metal. Someone ran behind him, and cut the power to all machines. Black whirled around, taking a shot at the man in Spectrum uniform - just too late. Blue ducked behind a pile of old iron railings. One of the ground agents jumped inside the cab of the crane, another headed for the crusher. The other agents began a search of the whole yard. Knowing the game was up, Black vanished. Captain Blue was forced to stand staring at the empty space, where Black had stood. His Mysteron rifle still at the ready. "DARN IT! SO CLOSE!"
"Captain Blue, over here!"
He ran in the direction of the crusher. The agent over there pointed at the car, hanging directly above it. Blue looked up at it, then turned to the agent. "Yes. It's an old car, which was about to be crushed, before we cut the power. So?"
"Sir, this yard isn't used anymore. Captain Black was going to crush this car himself."
Captain Blue stared at the agent, then darted back to the crane, yelling over his shoulder. "Turn the power back on!" He ran to the controls. "Do you know how to use this thing?" he asked the agent who was still inside.
"Yes, sir. What do you want me to do?"
"Turn the crane away from the crusher, and put the car down gently."
"You heard me."
Scarlet felt the car move again. Expecting to be killed, he closed his eyes and waited. He didn't notice the slight bump as the car touched down on firm ground. Then he heard voices outside. A banging started which rocked the car violently. That stopped, and now there was an awful scraping noise. He opened his eyes to see a little bit of light shone through a gap, which was steadily widening. Suddenly the air and light rushed in from outside. It was so bright after the darkness that he shut his eyes tightly. A hand touched his shoulder, and a familiar voice spoke to him in a half-joking tone "You gonna get up, or shall we leave you here?"
After calling Colonel White, to tell him Scarlet was fine, Captain Blue insured his partner was recovering quickly. He had seemed very weak when he was found, but was now looking much better. He was certainly well enough to argue. "Adam, I'm warning you! Ask me if I'm feeling alright ONCE more, and I may have to-"
"Hey! I was worried about you, OK?"
"No, it's not 'OK'. Why were you worried about me, anyway?"
"Do you realise what Black was going to do to you?"
"I knew you'd find me."
"So you weren't the TINIEST bit scared?"
Scarlet rolled his eyes and looked at the sky, "No."
Captain Blue grinned knowingly. Best to change the subject, he decided. He cleared his throat. "Well, Colonel White DID want us to return to Cloudbase, so you could visit Doctor Fawn-"
"Oh GREAT!" Scarlet interrupted, "Is the whole world against me?"
Keeping himself from smiling, Blue continued. "I knew how much you hated medicals, so I argued your case. Colonel White finally gave in, and gave us orders to head for that Air Show-"
"That IS great! Thanks, Adam!" Captain Scarlet smiled happily.
"Of course," Blue couldn't help teasing him, "If you'd prefer to see the Doctor first, I-"
"OK, we'll make for this show. This new plane is making an appearance last, so we'll have plenty of time when we arrive to enjoy ourselves..."
"ENJOY ourselves? Not likely, with all the Mysterons that'll probably be crawling around the place..."
"This crowd is too thick!" Captain Ochre complained to Captain Magenta, forced to shout above the loud music and chatter.
"You're in good company, then." Ochre turned around. Captain Scarlet had been standing just behind him. Scarlet glanced around slowly, taking everything in, "What's the situation, Captain Ochre?"
"Hardly." Captain Scarlet glared in the direction of the speakers not far from them, "Why do they have to play that dreadful music so LOUD?"
"So they can hear it from the other side of town?"
"Probably." Scarlet muttered, "I'm tempted to pull the plug on it."
"I already asked 'em to turn it down."
"They turned it up all the way."
"You should call in the constable-"
"The plane known as 'Eagle' will be taking part last, from what I've heard."
"Yep. Wanna know what I heard?"
"You let Black get the better of you, and Blue had to get every Spectrum member in New York looking for you!"
"I don't know WHERE you get your information, but-" Scarlet stopped abruptly. His head was beginning to ache.
Seeing how pale he was, Ochre stopped his teasing. He took Scarlet's arm and led him away from some of the noise. "You alright?"
"You look sick. I'll get the other Captains. You stay here."
Captain Scarlet muttered under his breath as he watched Ochre turn away, on the lookout for the other captains - and Mysterons. Arguing with Ochre never got him anywhere when he was in one of his moods. But then, Captain Scarlet didn't always listen to his friends. “Sorry, Rick,” he said to himself, “but as I'm the only person who FEELS Mysterons...” He picked up the Mysteron rifle he had been carrying, and headed off in a different direction. I think I'll make sure my radio is functional, this time, he decided, calling Captain Blue.
"This is Captain Blue, where are you and Captain Ochre?"
"Ochre's gone off. What is your position?"
"The entrance gate. What do you mean, Ochre went off?"
"I started feeling those blasted Mysterons, so Ochre told me to stay out of harm's way. HE went off looking for you, Magenta and Grey."
"And YOU went off looking for trouble. Where are you?"
"Uh, the ice cream stall, next to... hang on, the crowd's too thick... the main arena."
"Right. Stay THERE, I'm gonna join you."
"Ad - I mean Captain Blue - I'm not a baby, and you're not my keeper."
"I know, but you worry me. Besides, I feel safer when you're with me."
"You are just saying that, so that I won't be able to refuse!"
"See you in a minute."
Captains Scarlet and Blue wandered through the crowd slowly. Blue tried not to be too concerned about his friend, but Scarlet really DID look terrible. "The Mysterons must be VERY present!" Scarlet complained.
"How many would you say there were?"
"How should I know THAT?" Scarlet turned a frosty glare at Blue. He sighed, shaking his head. "Sorry. It's just that... There may not be any AGENTS, just... THEM." he shivered.
"Don't worry. They don't stand a chance!"
"YOU are amazing! All the odds are stacked against us, what with the thick crowds, my being able to feel but not find ANY Mysteron agents..."
"I'll try the detector on this bunch here."
"SIG. I'd better call Ochre."
Captain Ochre had teamed up with Magenta, and knew where Grey was. Now he and Magenta were trying to locate Blue. "I'd swear he said that he'd be at the entrance," Magenta frowned, shaking his head, "You didn't say anything about Captain Scarlet, know where he is, do you?"
"Yeah. I left him over by the restaurant. He wasn't feeling too good."
"You LEFT him?"
"He looked as though he was about to faint. I couldn't drag him through this crowd, could I?" His epaulettes flashed. Looking at them, he answered, "Yes, Captain Scarlet? How are you feeling?"
"Terrible. I'm with Captain Blue, near the main arena."
"I told you to-"
"I know. Some men never listen. Look, I'm the only member who FEELS them. Surely I should put it to good use?"
"I suppose. Take care of yourselves. If you need ANY backup, just call me."
"SIG. Will do."
Scarlet chuckled to himself. It hadn't been THAT long ago that Ochre had seemed to HATE him. Now he really sounded as if he was worried. Blue turned to him, frowning, "I don't see the joke, Captain."
"Just Ochre. I was just remembering how he was towards me, not so long ago. Now he seems genuinely worried about me!"
"I mean it. You scare me, at times. You never listen to advice, always-"
"ALRIGHT! I slipped off because I thought I should put my OWN detector to good use, but if you don't need me..."
"Fine. Do what you want."
"Splendid. Thank you."
"Wait a minute. You said you could feel these Mysterons? Why didn't that save you getting caught by Black?"
"Too many Mysterons. They were everywhere, so I couldn't tell how many there were, or where they all were."
"Could that be why we can't find any here?"
"I don't know... I think it's the presence of THEM, not actually Mysteron Agents."
"If you're right, that means they'll strike any time. They have to make a move soon."
"Not yet. Remember, their threat said 'as the Eagle flies'. She won't be flying yet."
"It's the amount of people here that bothers me."
"I know what you mean. I don't like this much, either."
"I can't understand it, Colonel." Captain Scarlet said into his microphone, doing a bad job at masking his frustration, "I can feel these Mysterons EVERYWHERE, but I can't find any Mysteron Agents! Captains Ochre and Magenta have been standing at the ENTRANCE and have come up with nothing, and Captain Blue and myself have been using the detector on the crowds INSIDE."
"What do you think this means?"
"To be honest, I don't know. I don't think the intended pilot should fly this new plane, though."
"I have to agree, Captain." Colonel White paused briefly, then added, "Are you certain that you ARE feeling Mysterons?"
"Oh PLEASE, Colonel!" Scarlet snapped, "I think I know my own body!" he calmed himself, "Anyway, what else could it be?"
"You know what else it could be, Scarlet."
"If you're referring to that incident earlier, I've fully recovered."
"Stop snapping. I'm not against you, I was just wondering whether you would be well enough to pilot the Eagle with Blue-"
"Brilliant! I feel well enough, sir."
"Good. I don't want you trying ANYTHING too risky. Should either of you get the temptation, remember the crowd."
"Neither Blue nor I are daredevils, Colonel." the thought of pulling stunts over all those people sickened him. "I’ll call you if we find anything relevant."
Lieutenant Green was staring at his C in C. He couldn't understand why the Colonel had just sent Captain Scarlet to test the plane. His thoughtful gaze didn't go unnoticed.
"What is it, Green?"
The Leftenant blinked a few times. "I was just wondering..."
"About my decision?"
Green lowered his gaze, "Sorry, Colonel, it's just that... if Captain Scarlet doesn't feel well, should he fly in a plane like that?"
"If Scarlet really isn't well enough, he won't fly. I know him. Test flying a new plane is hazardous at the best of times, he wouldn't want to cause an extra risk."
"You're right, Colonel."
"Thank you. Stop worrying."
Captain Blue told Captain Scarlet to stay put, and started looking for the man in charge of the Show. Scarlet surprised him a bit when he didn't argue. He was fed up with pushing through the bustling, noisy crowd - not that he disliked the atmosphere - all the noise made it much harder to function properly. At least staying still and taking a break might help him a little.
"What are you suggesting, Captain Blue?"
Blue looked intently at the man in front of him. "Well, sir, as we haven't found anything, our Commander-in-Chief thought it best that we take the threatened plane up."
"Wait a minute. If you couldn't find anything, could you have been mistaken? Have you got it wrong?"
"No, sir. The Mysterons ARE here. My partner has... a strong sixth sense. He can feel them here."
"If you're sure, Captain. But first, I'd like to talk to your C-in-C, if you don't mind."
"Yes, sir, that's fine."
Captains Ochre and Magenta were tiring fast. Nothing was happening, and the last planes would be taking off, soon. "I wish I could see some action!" Ochre complained, "What's going on?"
"Sshhh!" Magenta stared at him. "You want the Mysterons to hear you? I can tell you ONE thing, Ochre, once those last aircraft take off, we'll see action!"
"I think you're right."
Captains Scarlet and Blue wandered slowly around the plane, examining it. "Looks like it can move pretty fast." Blue commented, "What do you think, Captain Scarlet?"
"Fast, easy to manoeuvre... " He touched the plane with his hand, then jumped back, "AND hot!"
"What do you expect?" Blue retorted, "It's been painted black, and left in the sun."
"Yes, alright!" Scarlet muttered, rubbing his sore hand, "Are we flying this thing or not?"
The two captains climbed aboard eagerly. No sooner had Scarlet taken the co-pilot seat, he felt a strong wave of nausea. Noticing how bad his friend looked, Captain Blue took him back outside. "Are you alright?"
Scarlet gasped for breath then nodded, "Yes... Yes, I think so."
"Look, I don't think you're in any-"
"Adam, I'll be fine. The Mysterons are near, I can feel them."
"Are you sure?"
"Captain, you really look sick-"
"Like I did when we were with the Supreme Commander? And at London Airport?"
"I get your point. Just take care."
Scarlet went back to the cockpit, sitting in the same chair as before. "Nothing!"
"What?" Blue stared at him, "What do you mean 'nothing'?"
"It's gone. My head IS still aching, but apart from that-"
"This isn't some kind of virus?"
Scarlet considered this, then shook his head. "No. The symptoms of a virus do NOT appear and disappear so suddenly. Anyway, if I was ill, you'd know it."
"If you're sure..."
"Which I am."
Captain Grey was now talking to the host, and one or two security men. "Which planes are to take part?" he asked, glancing around at the assorted aircraft with curiosity.
"These planes, over here." Andy Gains, the host, pointed at a few planes that were standing to one side.
"All of THEM?"
"Why, yes. As the Eagle will be used for military purposes, we thought similar planes should take part, too. In the background, adding extra atmosphere."
Grey said nothing for a time, he looked troubled. He quickly shook hands with the other men, thanking them in turn, then spoke to the host, "Thanks, sir. You've been a great help."
"Yes, sir. Could you excuse me? I'll have to call HQ."
"I understand. But before you go, Captain, you may want to know that Captains Scarlet and Blue are running the tests in that plane."
"Right. Thanks, Mr Gains, you've been very helpful."
"Right, let's check our equipment one m-" Captain Scarlet stopped in mid-sentence as Cloudbase tried to contact him. "Yes, Colonel?"
"Captain Scarlet, the reason you couldn't find any Mysteron Agents in the crowd might be because there is a far better target handy - other war planes."
Captain Scarlet cursed under his breath. "How could I be so STUPID?" Calming himself, he spoke in a much quieter tone to the Colonel. "We'll have to abort." Scarlet shivered as he thought of the huge crowds, "With so many people under us..."
"I've already tried, Captain."
"Well, I have two ideas. Plan A probably won't work, and B is VERY risky."
"Alright, Captain. I know you'll do your best."
"The thing that worries me is the amount of lives at stake... INNOCENT lives."
"Yes, I know. What is plan A?"
"To MAKE them abort."
"I thought I told you-"
"Yes, sir. But what if we said there was a problem?"
"Well... feigning sickness probably won't work, they'll just let the original men fly."
"So what ARE you going to do?" there was a hint of annoyance in Colonel White's voice.
"Uh... what if we damage the plane enough to make it unserviceable?"
"Are you MAD? Do you realise what you're suggesting?"
"Plan B is that I fly the plane away from here, and try to loose the Mysterons. It's a pity we can't evacuate the area and call in the Angels."
"Yes. I've tried THAT as well."
"Sir, I think we've got a problem."
"What do you mean, Captain Blue?"
"There's a fault. It looks as though we won't be able to take her up."
The security chief took a look at the instrument readings. "Right. I'll get a mechanic to check her over."
"Well, sir," Captain Scarlet cut in, hastily, "Captain Blue is our test pilot. I think if he says it's serious then-"
"I'm not questioning the fact that you both know your jobs. I also know mine. I can't ground the plane unless one of my own men has taken a look. Now, if you have a problem with that-"
"Of course not."
"Good. I'll find a mechanic, then."
"Right." Captain Scarlet turned to Blue, once the chief had left, "I'm calling Captain Magenta."
Captain Magenta quickly answered his radio. "Yes, Captain Scarlet?"
"Hello, Captain Magenta. This is going to sound a strange request, but I'd like you to buy us more time. You are to take some mechanic's over-alls - how you get them is up to you - and then you are to look at 'Eagle' and tell the chief she can't fly. Understood?"
"I know what you asked me to do, but... why?"
Scarlet sighed, showing frustration and annoyance, "As the Mysterons threatened to destroy the Eagle as she flies, I should think the longer she is grounded the better."
"I guess you're right."
"Now hurry it up."
Captain Scarlet turned to Blue. "I'm going out to check the other planes. Take charge, Captain Blue."
"Be careful, Paul." Blue told him, quietly, "Take care."
Captain Blue couldn't help noticing that Scarlet was taking a detector with him. "Too many false alarms?"
"I CAN feel them here... but..."
"You feel them all over. So when you try to locate a trap-"
"That's it. Maybe you're right."
"The headaches I've been feeling since we got here."
Captain Magenta tried taking a spare over-all, but it was too risky. He was bound to get caught. He then noticed a mechanic coming his way. He ducked out of sight, then grabbed his unsuspecting victim. Knocking the mechanic out, he took the over-alls, boots, and tools. Then he quickly tied him up and locked him in a storage room. "Sorry about this, but I have to. I'll give your stuff back, I promise." That said, Magenta made for the Eagle.
After having no more success than before, Captain Scarlet headed back to the Eagle. He'd checked every plane thoroughly, and they were all clean. When he got back, Blue and the security chief were watching Magenta, who was giving the plane a thorough check. "Hey, this doesn't look as though it belongs here!" Magenta called out, "Everything else is tidy, but THIS thing is kinda..." he touched something under the controls that Scarlet couldn't make out. "A-ha! I was right. It's been secured here with some tape."
"Let me see." Scarlet came over and took it. His face went white as a sheet, and he ran with it to the Northern perimeter. He knew that nobody was allowed up there because of shiftage caused by an earthquake. Here he could take a good look at this device.
"Captain Scarlet, what is that thing?"
"Well, Blue, it's certainly a bomb of some kind, but it doesn’t have a timer on it. Actually, my guess is that it was positioned in that specific place, so that when the plane was in the air-"
"I get it. Who could've done this?"
"Well, as we haven't found anyone, I'd have thought-" a hand shoved him into the pit created by the earthquake.
Blue heard him cry out, then nothing. "Right," he turned to Magenta and the chief. "I bet I know where he's gone."
"Captain Black!" Scarlet hissed, when he opened his eyes and saw the Mysteron agent looking down at him. Black had once been his friend, now they were enemies. Scarlet glanced to his side - the bomb was a good way from him, but if it were to explode...
Startled by the sound of voices coming toward him, Black vanished into air. All Scarlet could do was watch his archenemy escape - again. Then he lapsed into unconsciousness.
Later, he awoke in Sickbay, wired to various monitors. "Hi, Captain." Doctor Fawn's voice said softly, from somewhere near, "How are you feeling?"
"I've been better. Is there anything to eat?"
Fawn chuckled and came nearer, "That appetite of yours! I'll get you something to eat, stay there."
Scarlet sighed irritably, "I can hardly do anything else while I'm strapped down, can I?"
Fawn came back. "I ordered a little snack for you, and Blue's going to bring it in. He wants to see you."
"If he starts making a fuss over me, as if I was baby, throw him out!"
Fawn stared at him, then laughed, "That's not a nice thing to say!"
"Why? He drives me mad! Every time something happens it's 'You should be more careful, you never take care of yourself'."
"Well... I can see how that'd annoy you, after a while."
"Or he tells me how 'GREAT' I am. He has no idea!"
"Maybe your 'special circumstances' makes it difficult for him, too."
"In what way?"
"Your experiences have changed you. Sometimes it must be hard for him to know what to say-"
"So... being given medals, for example, always made you feel the way you do now?"
"Alright, point taken. I'll try to have more patience."
"You do that."
Even after eating a hearty meal, Captain Scarlet still looked uncomfortable. Blue waited patiently for him to say something, but he was keeping quiet.
"Alright, Metcalfe, what's wrong?"
Scarlet blinked, "Eh?" Blue was about to rephrase the question, when he seemed to grasp what had been asked the first time around. "It's nothing, Adam. I... was just thinking."
"It was a close call. If you hadn't kept stalling, the plane would've gone up in smoke!"
"Do you realise what the outcome would have been should the Mysterons have decided to use a time-bomb?"
"Like you said, the Mysterons always say what they mean. If they were going to blow her up while she was on the ground, why say they'd destroy the Eagle while she flew? You were right."
"What is it really?"
"Ah yeah, I'd forgotten about that."
"Well I haven't."
"Any idea why you felt so bad there?"
"Black. You see, he was the one who pushed me into that blasted crater. He must have been there all the time, watching our every move."
"I bet he found it reassuring that you felt sick. That should have stopped you thinking straight."
"Hardly. It meant I could find his traps easily."
"You really felt bad in the cockpit of the Eagle, right?"
Scarlet nodded, "Awful. That was the point where I felt the worst."
"But after that, I checked the plane over. Shouldn't I have found the device?"
"I don't think that was what I felt. I should think Black was preparing to put the device in, when we showed up. I'd bet he hid under the plane."
"I get it. What made you so sensitive?"
"I suppose it was the exhaustion and heat I suffered in the boot of that old car in the scrap-yard."
"So I WAS right. You should've gone back to Cloudbase."
"I suppose so."
"I'm glad you didn't... I guess."
Scarlet smiled, "About what I said earlier, Adam, I... WAS grateful just a bit angry that I was stupid enough to get caught in the first place."
Blue laughed. "WERE you scared?"
"NO. Not at all! Should I have been?"
"If you've got any sense."
Scarlet sighed, trying not to smile, "ALRIGHT! I was afraid... a bit."
They both laughed, enjoying each other’s company as only best friends can.