Fission

 

A “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons” story

by Captain Tourmaline

and

Scarlet Lady

 

 

 Captains Scarlet and Blue were standing outside of an old apartment building.  There had been suspected Mysteron activity in the area, and they were checking a hunch.  As he looked around, Blue thought he saw a face at one of the windows.  “This way, Captain!” he yelled, dashing through the main entrance.

“Captain Blue! Wait!” Scarlet gave chase. 

Blue stopped suddenly, when he thought he heard something.

“Adam! Look out!” Scarlet yelled from the doorway.  Blue stared at him.  “Paul, what’s-” The floor beneath him gave way.

 

“Adam, are you SURE you’re alright?” Scarlet asked his partner, as they arrived back on Cloudbase and he helped him into the officers’ lounge.

“Yes, I’m fine.  Just a little sore.” Blue stumbled, hitting against the comm. link.  “Ouch!”

“Adam!” Scarlet steadied his friend and helped him into a chair. 

“What’s going on?” the angry voice of Colonel White demanded through the comm. speaker.

“It’s alright, Colonel,” Scarlet assured him, “someone hit the comm., that’s all.”

“WHO hit the comm., Captain?”

“Captain Blue, Sir.  He’s hurt his leg during this last mission.”

“Get him down to the Sickbay, then.  It could be serious.”

“S.I.G., Sir.” Scarlet helped Blue to his feet, and led him from the room.  “OK, Captain Blue, you heard the Colonel.  You’re going to the Sickbay.”

 

“It turned out to be a broken ankle,” Captain Scarlet informed his C-in-C.

“That was amazingly lucky, under the circumstances,” Colonel White remarked.  When he noticed Scarlet’s perplexed expression, he added, “He did fall through to the sub-basement.”

“Very true, Sir,” Scarlet agreed.

“Right.  I’d get some rest, if I were you, Captain.  Seeing as the latest report was based on a false alarm, we have to assume that the Mysterons’ next move shall come soon.”

Scarlet nodded his agreement and left.  He made straight for the officers’ lounge, to finish reading the book he’d started earlier in the day.

Unusually, Captains Ochre and Magenta were playing chess.  Finally, Magenta announced, “Checkmate.”  This was even more unusual than the two of them playing chess in the first place.  He grinned smugly.

Ochre stared at the board, trying to prove him wrong.

Scarlet put his book down and joined them.  “He’s right you know, Rick.”

“Well, everyone knows that gangsters cheat!” Ochre turned to Scarlet, hotly. “And as I bet my week’s pay...”

“Yes, well, just don’t let the Colonel hear about that-”

The lounge loudspeaker then suddenly came to life, and the voice they all knew so well made itself heard, interrupting Scarlet. “This is the voice of the Mysterons, we have not forgotten your unprovoked attack on our Martian Complex.  Our next act of retaliation shall be to decimate the Pacifica nuclear store at noon tomorrow, with the U-235.  We will be avenged!”

The speaker went silent again, as suddenly.  Then the Colonel’s voice came through it:    “Will all Captains on duty report to the Conference Room immediately.”  Scarlet, Ochre and Magenta moved toward the door in unison, while behind them, though the comm. link, the voice of their commander was continuing, on another matter: “To all Spectrum personnel:  I am sure you are all aware that Captain Blue is out of operation with a broken ankle.  This means that one of Spectrum Headquarters’ finest officers, Captain Tourmaline, will be stepping in to replace him. His plane is about to touch down on Cloudbase and will be participating in the next mission as Captain Scarlet’s new partner.”

Scarlet spun round.  “WHAT?”

“He can’t do that!” Magenta turned to Scarlet.

Scarlet wrung his hands.  “I hope the Colonel isn’t going to regret a decision like that!”

 

 

 

 

Everybody was seated in the Conference Room - Ochre and Magenta at opposite sides - but Tourmaline was still missing.

Colonel White began, “As you are all probably aware, the Mysterons have announced that they will decimate Pacifica Base. The strange part is that they have said that they will use the U-235...” he glanced down at his notes, “The Indestructible. Our plan is this: Captains Ochre and Magenta will fly out to Pacifica Base, while Scarlet and Tourmaline will meet Grey and rendezvous with the Indestructible.  The Angels will patrol over the base just in case…”

 

“Colonel,” Green called, suddenly, “Captain Tourmaline has arrived.”

“Better late than never, I suppose!” Scarlet remarked, beneath his breath. “Thank you, Captain,” Colonel White replied, sternly.

 

Tourmaline entered and came to attention before the Colonel.  “Sorry I’m late, Colonel.”

“At ease, Captain,” White replied, trying to conceal his annoyance. “What happened for you to be that late?”

“I... um, there was a problem at the airport.”

“Well, at least you’re here now.” White turned his attention to the group.  “Dismissed, except Scarlet and Tourmaline.” He gestured to Tourmaline to take a seat.  “The two of you are to safeguard the Indestructible with Grey. If anything out of the ordinary occurs, you are to notify me immediately.”  This was rather boring for Scarlet who had already heard it in the briefing.  He was relieved when the Colonel said: “I expect you can tell him the rest, can’t you Captain Scarlet?”

“If he’d managed to get himself here in time for the briefing, I wouldn’t have to!” Scarlet muttered.

“That wasn’t my fault!” Tourmaline yelled back at him, indignantly.

“Wasn’t it?” Scarlet asked, sarcastically, “Whose fault was it, then?”

“That’s enough, Scarlet,” White told him, harshly.

“I just want to know whose fault he thinks it is.”

“Scarlet, this will be your final warning - this wouldn’t have anything to do with Blue, would it? You seem to be making things difficult, already!”

Scarlet looked away awkwardly, before answering.  “Sorry, Colonel.”

“You’d better be.”

 

 

 

Scarlet and Tourmaline decided to visit Blue, before leaving.  Blue looked up as they entered.  “Hi, Scarlet, got a new friend?”

“Hello, Adam.  Captain Tourmaline will be taking over from you for a while.”

“Well, I guess the old man wouldn’t want me following you about in a wheelchair-” “OR crutches! That’d be even worse!” Tourmaline put in.  “I can imagine that - ‘Hello Sir, I’m here to take charge of security’!” he hobbled round in a little circle to demonstrate.  Scarlet and Blue stared at each other. 

Scarlet whispered, “Why couldn’t I have done myself an injury instead?”

“Sorry, Paul, I should have realised that floor was rotten...”

“Don’t worry about it, Adam.”

Tourmaline had tripped over one of the crutches and was now on the floor laughing.  Doctor Fawn walked over to him, and then turned to Scarlet.  “Is this one for Doctor Weiss?”

“No.  He’s just came up with a joke that only HE understands – he has a West Country sense of humour.”

 

“West Country?”

“You know – in the West of England.”

“And YOU can’t understand him, Captain Scarlet?”

“I don’t think ANYONE can understand this one, Doctor!”

“Careful, Paul, remember he’s YOUR NEW partner,” Blue pointed out.

“Don’t remind me!” Scarlet sighed. “Come on, Tourmaline, let’s get moving.”

“Bye, Paul!” Blue called out.  He turned to Fawn.  “So, what’s the emergency? Mysteron threat?”

“Ye- how did YOU know?”

“Captain Scarlet didn’t stay long.”

 

Onboard their SPJ, Tourmaline turned to Scarlet. “So... can I call you Paul?” It was an attempt to start a conversation.  The last words spoken had been ‘request launch clearance’.

“No, you may not call me Paul.”

“Why? Your old partner called you that in Sickbay.”

“Kindly don’t refer to Captain Blue as my ‘old partner’.”

“He’s not going to be your partner for a few weeks - I am.” Tourmaline replied. “The sooner you get used to that, the sooner we can start working as a TEAM!”

“Turn the radio off, it’s frightening me,” Scarlet retorted.  “I thought I heard a serious tone - and the worrying thing is that I was sure it was in YOUR voice!”

Scarlet sighed.  “Well, what do I call YOU when we’re off duty?”

“Most people call me ‘Pete’.”

 

 

 

In a vast dockyard in San Francisco, a shady-looking person holding a small case walked through the shadows towards the freighter Autonite that was going to drop off some nuclear fuel at Pacifica. A member of the crew saw him coming, stepped off the gangplank and approached, meaning to ask for identification. But he didn’t get that far, a gunshot cut him off. By the time his body had touched the water, two rings of green light passed over it. Suddenly there were two mariners, owning the same identity- one face down in the water, and one standing on the quayside facing Captain Black.

“This is all you will need to carry out your mission,” Black told his newest agent, giving him the case. “You know what you must do.”

Another crewmember appeared on the gangplank.

“Hey Phil, did you hear a... who’s he?”

“Just giving him directions. He’s looking for dock 17.”

“Yeah, well, those signposts never were any good.”

Black nodded his agreement, and turned to go.

“How did he get past security, anyway, Phil?”

 

 

 

At Los Angeles Airport, the two Spectrum officers  left their SPJ and found Grey.  Once the three men had met up, they entered the helicopter already waiting for them.

“Luckily the weather is alright at the moment. I wish we could get the sub to pick us up, but you know how hard it is to get the Navy to change their plans.”  Scarlet muttered, remembering the last time he had taken a helicopter across the sea. Grey turned to him. “It’ll be alright, Scarlet.”

 

As the three men were taking off, Captain Black had ‘borrowed’ a boat from dock 17 in San Francisco, and was heading out to sea.

 

 

 

They were only a few miles out, when the captains noticed clouds building up. The helicopter was going quite fast but the clouds built up faster still. A few minutes later, Grey pointed out the obvious fact that the storm wouldn’t hold off much longer.

“Can’t we radio the Indestructible and ask them to surface so we can land?” Tourmaline asked.

“No, they’re still a few miles away, and I don’t know which direction they’re coming from anyway. We’re better off waiting here.”

After a moment’s thought, Tourmaline asked, “Do you know why lightning strikes?”

“I did go to school you know!” Scarlet replied, almost shouting.

“Well, let me remind you.” Tourmaline cleared his throat and put on his ‘science teacher’ voice. “A static charge collects in the cloud, and soon it needs to discharge. It will discharge on the highest, or tallest object.” He glanced around theatrically, “which appears to be us, at present.”

Scarlet looked a little nervous. “Do you think I should decrease our altitude?”

“That sounds reasonable,” Tourmaline replied keeping his acquired voice.

Grey nudged him in the ribs. “Quiet!”

The three men noticed a huge dark shape in the water slow to a halt beneath them, and then rapidly surface.

“They’re here.” Scarlet remarked, as the huge doors of the sub opened to reveal the flight deck. Before they landed, Grey remembered to scan the sub with a Mysteron detector. “We are clear for landing.”

They were just landing when the rain began. A voice over the radio said, “Please remain in your seats, we will bring you below deck.”

There was a loud humming sound as the aircraft sank down on the lift it had landed on.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, the Autonite was half way to Pacifica Base, and the small fishing boat that had mysteriously gone missing from dock 17 was keeping close. Black pulled out a pair of binoculars to keep an eye on things.

 

 

 

On board the Indestructible, Scarlet, Grey and Tourmaline were being given a guided tour.

“Here on the bridge,” the tour guide said, “we control the whole sub. This is where the primary radar, sonar and satellite navigation systems are kept.”

“What strike capability has it got?” Grey asked.

“It’s got a store of twenty radar guided torpedoes which can sink any ship or submarine”

“Only twenty?” Scarlet Sounded puzzled.

“We don’t need many at the moment seeing as we’re not up against a huge army.”

“What if they don’t use subs?” Scarlet asked.

“We have other capabilities, but we’ll come to that in a moment. Now to the engine room.”

 

They next entered a large room, which was mainly filled with noise. The guide picked up four headsets, which people wear to shut out noise but enable them to talk.

“Put these on!” He advised, raising his voice.

“What?” Tourmaline shouted back at him.

“Put these on, Captain.”

“What?”

“Ignore him!” Scarlet advised the guide.

Grey glared at him. “That’s no way to speak about your partner!”

“HE isn’t my partner!”

Tourmaline glared at him too, and put the headset on.

“Strange,” Scarlet commented brightly. “He heard that!”

 “As you know, this is the main motor,” the guide continued, still glaring at Tourmaline.“It is powered by the nuclear generator, next door.  But we won’t go in there-”

“WHY not?” Tourmaline demanded.

“It can be dangerous, sometimes, but if you really want, I can get a pass.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Scarlet replied, before Tourmaline could say any different.  “We are really here to check security.”

Grey asked, “What sort of speed can this thing get to?” It sounded as if he were the only one interested. “About 200 knots on the surface, and 250 under it.” The guide turned toward the exit door.  “Shall we go, everybody? I WAS going to show you more, but it might be better if we moved on.  Especially as the Captain wants to see you afterwards.”

“Yes, we’d better move on,” Scarlet agreed, suddenly focusing on the job in hand again.

“Right, I said I’d show you the rest of the strike capabilities and the next stop is the aircraft hanger.”

“But we STARTED there!” Tourmaline pointed out.

“But the TOUR didn’t.” Scarlet was still annoyed with Tourmaline.  They left the engine room, along with the headsets, and headed down a corridor.  When they entered the hanger, Scarlet realised that they were in a different part.  Instead of being surrounded by a few planes, they were in the company of over fifty interceptors and nearly the same amount of other fighters.

Scarlet stared at them all.  “Where on Earth did this lot come from?”

“The hanger you came from is directly above us.”

“Hence the elevator,” Grey commented.

“This hanger houses the interceptors, the one below us is for bombers and torpedo bombers, and then, of course, there’s the transporters’ hanger, situated above us.  That’s the end of the tour.  The Captain said he’d meet you on the bridge.  Think you can find it? ‘Cause I’ve gotta go.”

 

 

 

On the bridge, the Captain was waiting for them.  “Good afternoon, Captains.”

Tourmaline glanced at his watch and realised the tour had taken longer than he thought.  “We are about to surface.  As Colonel White told us to show you everything about our sub, I’ve arranged a launch.”  Scarlet was about to hit Tourmaline, should he make a daft comment, and was surprised when he remained silent.

“If you’d like to follow me, gentlemen,” the Captain continued, “We’ll go down to the flight deck.”

 

They entered the flight deck, which was a huge room with a curved ceiling and plenty of lighting.  Suddenly, an interceptor came up on the lift and taxied over to the catapult, ready for launching.  As they watched, two other came up.  Within minutes, fifteen fighters and five bombers were on the flight deck.  Then the speakers came to life.  “We have surfaced.  Opening bay doors.” As the doors opened and the light flooded in, the three Spectrum Captains realised how dark it had been.  Tourmaline turned toScarlet, with a big grin on his face.  “I think the show’s about to start!” he said, as one of the interceptor’s engines began to glow.  Suddenly, the catapult fired it off the end of the deck.  The Captain turned to the Spectrum officers and said,  “This way, we can launch all planes within two minutes of surfacing.”

Captain Scarlet had been watching with interest.  “Very impressive.  What sort of armaments do they have?”

“Well, it varies. The interceptors carry air to air missiles and 30mm cannons, the bombers at the moment have high explosive torpedoes.”

Tourmaline decided to get to the point. “Do you have any nuclear weapons on board?”

“No, Captain, we haven’t. Why do you want to know?”

“The Mysterons said the would use this sub to destroy Pacifica.”

 

After the ‘air show’ the captains were shown to their quarters. Scarlet was looking puzzled, because he knew he was forgetting something, or someone. Suddenly he remembered. “We forgot to radio in our report!”

Grey laughed.  “You’ve been so busy arguing with Tourmaline-”

“We were NOT arguing,” Scarlet glared at him.

“Just radio the Colonel before he gets worried.”

Scarlet nodded his agreement.

 

Back on Cloudbase, Colonel White was beginning to worry.  Not one of his members had called in for some considerable time.  At last, a red light blinked on the console.  “Have you anything to report, Captain Scarlet?”

“No, Colonel.  Nothing significant.”  The captain replied.  “The Indestructible has no strike capability, plus the Captain now knows what the Mysteron threat is.  He’s changed course so that we’re heading away from the area.”

“How did he find that out?”

“Um… It came up in a conversation, sir.”

“I wish you’d be careful, Scarlet.”

“I’m sorry, Colonel.”

“Is that all you were calling to say?”

“It was just a routine call, sir.”

“You call this a ‘routine call’ do you, Captain?” Colonel White asked, in an unpleasant tone.  “Aren’t ‘routine calls’ meant to be every half an hour? You were ten minutes late!”

“Sorry, Sir.”

“So there’s nothing to report at all?” White asked, deciding it was best to change the subject.  “How strange.”

 

 

 

At Pacifica Base, Captains Ochre and Magenta were watching the unloading of the Autonite.  The containers were taken out of the hold and loaded onto automated guided vehicles.  They noticed that there were two men following one of the cars and decided to follow.  They wouldn’t have been so suspicious if they thought that both men were crewmembers, but one wasn’t in uniform.  The AGV moved into a storage building, and still the men followed behind.

“Do you think we should follow those two?” asked Magenta, knowing shifty people when he saw them.

“Go ahead, if you WANT to,” Ochre muttered, sulkily.

Magenta turned to him. “Aren’t you coming?”

Ochre followed him, grudgingly, into the main storage building.  The men headed down the corridor and came to a door.  Ochre turned to Magenta.  “Hurry it up, then.”

“I err… I haven’t got a pass for this door.”

“What? If you need a pass, how did THEY get in?”

An AGV stopped behind them, and started beeping.  They stepped out of the way, so that it could move up to the door.  When the door automatically opened for it, they followed through, before the doorway closed.  They hadn’t got very far, when they heard footsteps a short way ahead of them.  Cautiously, they turned a corner, and spotted one of the men – the uniformed crewman – they’d seen earlier.  He stopped when he heard them, turning round.  “Can I help you, gentlemen?”

“Where’s the man you came in with?” Magenta demanded.

“He’s just behind you,” the man answered with a smirk.

The captains turned to see Captain Black, who was holding a can of teargas.  “Goodnight, Earthmen!”

 

 

 

At 10.30 am, Captains Grey, Tourmaline and Scarlet were sat in the mess chatting.  “When did you join Spectrum?” Tourmaline asked.

“Before it had officially started.” Scarlet told him.

“Oh! You were picked by the selection committee, like me.”

“What’s so special about you, then?” Scarlet asked, in a half-humurous tone.

“I was the best saboteur in the World Army Special Ops.” Tourmaline said, proudly.  He grinned slightly, “What’s so special about YOU, Scarlet?”

“How much do you want to know, Tourmaline? I have PLENTY to tell.” He paused.  “IF I want to.”

Grey glared at him.  “Scarlet…”

 Scarlet stood up.  “Well, I suppose I should get up to the bridge, while the two of you are still sipping coffee.” He turned a quick glance in Tourmaline’s direction.  “Or SLURPING, as the case may be.”

Tourmaline glared back at him, angrily, over his mug.

“Oh, come on!” Scarlet added.  “The words ‘inefficient’ and ‘suction pump’ come to mind!”

Tourmaline gave an especially loud ‘slurp’ and Scarlet left, slamming the door behind him.

“Why do you keep annoying him?” Grey was livid.

“Well he STARTED it!” Tourmaline answered, indignantly.  “He called me a suction pump!”

“You ARE a suction pump! I’ve never heard anyone make so much noise drinking a cup of COFFEE! I mean, you can probably measure it on the Richter scale!”

“OK, OK!” Tourmaline hung his head.  “Sorry, I’ll try not to be annoying.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry too.” Grey blew out a sigh. “I don’t USUALLY lose my temper like that – it’s usually Scarlet’s job.” He decided to change the subject.  “Anyway, what was it you wanted to talk about?”

“The Mysteron threat.  They said they’d use the Indestructible, so they will.  Now, the best weapons aboard are the torpedoes, which would cause a lot of damage.”

Grey nodded.  “But you’re missing something – they used the word ‘decimate’, which means to destroy everything, leaving nothing standing.”

“Could they mean Scarlet?” Tourmaline asked, unexpectedly, “I mean, HE’S indestructible.”

“No, they said U235.  They didn’t use the word ‘indestructible’.”

Tourmaline thought for a moment then shouted, “Oh PIG!”

“What?”

“I think I know what they mean.  They mean URANIUM 235.”

“Nuclear fuel!”

“Right!” Tourmaline paused, to think. “You tell the Colonel, I’ll call Scarlet,” he then ordered, momentarily resembling his partner.

 

Captain Scarlet was on the bridge when his epaulets flashed blue.  “Yes, Captain Blue?”

“My name is TOURMALINE, Scarlet, and I have some news for you.  We’ve worked out that the Mysterons plan to detonate the nuclear fuel at Pacifica.”

“WHAT?”

“I know this isn’t the first time they’ve tried something like this,” Tourmaline went on, ignoring him.  “Just meet me on the flight deck as soon as possible.”

Scarlet’s cap microphone flipped back up and he turned to address the ship’s captain.  “I’ve got to borrow a plane.”

 

On the flight deck, Captains Tourmaline and Grey were already waiting.  Scarlet finally arrived and joined them. Tourmaline quickly explained in details what he and Grey had figured out and Scarlet nodded.  “We have an X-120 waiting for us downstairs.  Tourmaline, you and I are going to Pacifica.  Grey, you are to stay here, in case anything happens.”

 

 

Captains Ochre and Magenta awoke in a broom cupboard, handcuffed together.  “Well, Pat, this is another fine mess!”

“Ha! You didn’t see Black either!”

Ochre turned his head, slightly, in an attempt to glance at his partner.  “You can get out of handcuffs, right?”

“Not when my hands are handcuffed to yours, like this!” 

“So how do we get out of here?”

“I wonder if he left the keys somewhere…”

“He probably left them in his POCKET!”

“Why do people ALWAYS insist on putting locks on broom closets?” Magenta asked to change the subject. “Who’s going to steal a BROOM?”

“Wait a minute!” Ochre almost yelled. “This room hasn’t got a lock.”

“Someone got it right, then.”

The two men scrambled to their feet, awkwardly.  Ochre kicked the door, thoughtfully.  “How do we open this thing?”

Magenta thought for a second then said, “I think I should rephrase that question. What idiot puts a door handle only on the outside?”

 

“We’re approaching Pacifica, Captain,” Scarlet announced.

“Good.” Tourmaline peered through the window next to him.  “I’ll try to contact Ochre and Magenta.”

Scarlet nodded.  “Right.”

After a few moments, Tourmaline frowned.  “Paul, I can’t get through to them.”

“Perhaps there’s too much interference,” Scarlet replied, without looking round at him. “And don’t call me Paul.  We’re on duty.”

“There’s no static.  They’re just not answering.”

“You’re sure?”

“’Course I’m sure!”

“Then there’s something wrong.” Scarlet summed up.  “Alright, contact Colonel White.  I’ll take her down.”

 

“Owww!” Magenta gasped. “Was bashing the door down a good idea?”

“Got a better suggestion?”

“Yeah. You could find a better battering ram than me. Or we could try to find a way out of these cuffs!”

Ochre groaned.  “How? I don’t think I’d like to use a cutting tool, with our hands so close together, and no way of seeing what we’re doing!”

“If only one of us could contact Cloudbase, or… someone!”

“Looks like we’re stuck here, then.” Ochre sighed.  “Got any good secrets to share? This could be good bonding time!”

“OK…….hmmm….  I didn’t cheat during that chess game.”

“OK, OK! Sorry.”

“Good thing the Colonel didn’t overhear the bet!” Magenta laughed.

Ochre winced.  “I’ll say!”

There was a long silence.  Then Ochre’s epaulettes flashed blue.

“Where are our caps?”

“Up on that top shelf.”

“Let me guess.  Just out of reach?”

 

 

At 11:03, Scarlet and Tourmaline climbed out of the jet at Pacifica and at the same time checked their watches.  “We’ve got about an hour -” Tourmaline mused.

“You mean 57 minutes?”

“I’ve got 58.”

“Best make it 56 to be safe.” Scarlet told him, grinning slightly.  “Anyway, we’ve got to find Ochre and Magenta.  I expect the Colonel has already informed them of the situation.”

“What about the Mysterons?”

“We’ll get Ochre and Magenta to help with the search.  We can cover more ground, that way.”

 

After asking around for ten minutes, they still had no idea where Ochre and Magenta were.  “I don’t understand it.  They must be around here somewhere.” Scarlet frowned, glancing up and down the corridor they were both standing in.  “Right.  We’ll have to work it out with the information we have.”

“OK.  They couldn’t have got into a storage building without a pass, and there aren’t that many people on the base with a pass.  Only inspectors, I’d imagine.  And we already have a list of them.”

“Yes, and Ochre and Magenta are not on the list, so we know they haven’t checked that out.” Scarlet added.  “Now, a shipment of nuclear fuel arrived this morning, didn’t it?”

“Yes.  They’re just finishing with the unloading.  Let’s get over there!”

 

After speaking to the captain of the Autonite, they discovered that one of the crewmembers was missing. 

“Where does the fuel get sent?” Scarlet asked.

“Follow these AGVs,” the captain informed.  “They take the fuel to the storage rooms, in the main building.”

They followed one of the robots to the main storage building.  The door automatically opened for the carrier to enter.  It closed just in front of them.  “So how do we get in?”

“We wait for the next one, and sneak in behind.” Scarlet explained, patiently.

“Talk about high security!”

“That’s enough, Tourmaline.”

 

Ochre and Magenta were still discussing possible ways of escaping.  Suddenly, the door opened and the mysteronised sailor stepped in, brandishing a gun.  “You will come with me.”

They struggled to their feet again, and he led them out of the cupboard, with the gun trained on them.

The two officers were taken to a storage room, where Captain Black was sat preparing the bomb. The sailor made them seat on the floor.  “Hello, Captains.  I thought you might appreciate witnessing our victory at close range – before you perish.” He seemed to think about somethingfor a moment, then continued,  “Come to think of it, with the speed of an atomic explosion, you’ll probably perish at the very moment we succeed, so you won’t be witnesses of much.” 

A voice outside the door hissed, “Hold it! Did you hear something in here?”

Recognizing the voice, Black snatched his gun, and Philip picked up the gun he’d used before.  Ochre had an idea.  “Hey! That’s mine!”

“Shut him up,” Black ordered.

“Come on, guys! Spectrum gave me that.  It comes with the job!”

“I am warning you, Earthman.  SHUT UP.”

The door burst open, and Tourmaline stepped in.  “I believe you have two friends of mine…” he glanced down at Ochre and Magenta..  “Ah! There they are.” He dived aside just as Black opened fire.  Phil stood over him, with gun at the ready.  “Stand up, Earthman.”

Black went to the door.  “I know you’re out there, Scarlet.  Drop your gun, and come in.”

“Why should I?”

“Do as he says, Scarlet,” Tourmaline called out to him.

A red-coloured gun slid to a halt just in front of the doorway, and Scarlet walked in with his hands up.  “Right.  I want the four of you over there.” Black gestured with his gun.  Scarlet and Tourmaline moved toward the seated Ochre and Magenta.  Both Mysterons got back to what they were doing.

“Is it hot in here, or is it just me?” asked Tourmaline, unzipping his top.  Knowing that he had a plan, Scarlet ignored Tourmaline as if he was being stupid again.  Captain Black paid little attention to the Spectrum officers.  He had a lot of work to do, if  the Mysterons were to make the deadline. Captain Scarlet watched the two Mysterons as Black set up the equipmentthen noticed Magenta’s gun on a table. He waited till the Mysteronised sailor wasn’t concentrating on him and jumped behind a crate next to him.

Black turned round, “Come out of there, Scarlet!” Then turned to Philip: “Get him!”

As the Mysteron crossed the room, Black got back to work. Nobody  had noticed Tourmaline take some objects from various pockets and discretely start screwing them together

A shot sounded and Phil collapsed.

Black turned around again saying, “Philip, you didn’t have to…”

 “Where did you get that?” Scarlet demanded, pulling his partner behind the crate, indicating the gun he was holding..

“Always carry a backup weapon,” Tourmaline replied, with a broad grin.

“Backup weapon?” Scarlet repeated  “I don’t know ANYONE in Spectrum who carries a backup weapon!”

“You do now.”

Scarlet decided to go for the gun on the table. Tourmaline knew what he had in mind and ran in the opposite direction. Black shot a few times at him, but missed, and at the same time Scarlet made a dash for the gun. Black hesitated and then shot Scarlet three times.  The Spectrum Captain collapsed.

Ochre looked at the clock. “Only ten seconds left!” He shouted.

Tourmaline jumped up and shot at the remote detonator in Black’s hand. The Mysteron pressed the button on the remote, but nothing happened. He pressed it again, then noticed the bullet hole. He only addressed an icy stare in Tourmaline’s direction. 

“Get him!” shouted Magenta.

 But it was too late: Black was already vanishing into thin air.

 

“We did it!” shouted Captain Tourmaline.

Ochre glanced at the clock again. “A lot can change in twenty seconds!”

“Yeah!” said Magenta, who was still cuffed to him. “Twenty seconds ago we were unarmed, and held prisoner by two armed Mysterons who were about to detonate a nuclear device in a nuclear store.  NOW one Mysteron is dead, the other’s vanished, one of us is armed and…

 Tourmaline crouched near to where Scarlet had fallen and searched for a pulse on his partner. “… Another is dead,” he finished for Magenta.

“He’ll be better, don’t worry.”

“You’ve missed one important fact,” Ochre stated.

“What?” Magenta asked.

“It’s NOW the afternoon.” Ochre finished, smugly. “I didn’t think we’d survive that long!” 

Tourmaline hit him.

 

 

Back on Cloudbase, at 13.00, Tourmaline was waiting for news concerning Scarlet in the Sickbay. He saw Doctor Fawn coming his way. “How is he?”

Doctor Fawn shook his head.  “He’ll be out of it for at least four hours yet, Captain.”

“It’s amazing, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve read about his unique condition but…”

“Yeah.  It’s still hard to grasp,” The Doctor nodded.

 

“Will all available personnel report to Control immediately.” Lieutenant Green then called over the loudspeaker.

 

Captains Ochre, Magenta, Grey and Tourmaline filed into the Control Room for the debriefing. The colonel gestured for them to take a seat in front of his desk.  “Well done, men.”

The door opened again, and everyone looked up to see Scarlet.  Colonel White frowned at him, with disapproval.  “I thought you were supposed to be in bed for another four hours, Captain.”

“Yes, but I’m feeling better.”

“What’s your REAL reason, Scarlet?”

“Doctor Fawn was about to run some more tests on me, Sir,” he replied, truthfully.

“Take a seat.” White decided to change the subject, and leafed through one of the reports in front of him.  “I see that there is a mention of a back-up weapon.” He glanced up at Tourmaline. “Aren’t our weapons good enough, then, Captain?”

“My Spectrum gun had been taken from me,” Tourmaline explained, carefully. “With my background, I always carry a back-up.”

“How exactly did you disarm the bomb?”

“I managed to shoot the remote detonator, Sir.”

“I see.  You must have quite an aim, Captain.”

Tourmaline felt his face flush, slightly.  “Thank you, Sir.” Scarlet, seated beside him, smiled.

“Nobody cleared up how you – or the Mysterons – managed to get into the storage area.”

“We just took adv - aaarrgh…” Tourmaline began, as Scarlet stamped on his foot.

“What was that, Tourmaline?”

“I was going to say that we took advantage of the robots going in.”

“Care to elaborate, Captain?”

“They got in without a problem, so we followed, Sir.”

“I see.  Didn’t you bother with passes, then?”

“That’s the good thing about the good old – OOH!” Scarlet jabbed him in the ribs.

“Are you alright, Tourmaline?”

“Just a pain in my side, Sir.”

“Get the Doctor to take a look at it then.”

“I will, Sir,” Tourmaline assured his commanding officer, grinning unpleasantly at Scarlet.

“Right.  That should be all.  Thank you, gentlemen.  Dismissed.” As the men stood and began to leave, the colonel added, “Captain Scarlet.”

He turned back, snapping to attention.  “Sir?”

“Return to Sickbay – and that’s an order.”

“S.I.G., Colonel.” Scarlet then left with Tourmaline.

Only Captain Magenta remained behind.  “Colonel,” he began, hesitating, “for arguments’ sake…”

“Yes, Captain?”

“How much does Captain Ochre get in his wages?”

“That’s a strange question!” White remarked, raising an eyebrow.  “Why do you ask, Captain?”

“It’s just to settle an argument, Sir.” Magenta added with a shy enough smile. “Nothing more.”

 

In the officers’ lounge, Captains Scarlet and Tourmaline were chatting.  “You should be in the Sickbay, you know, Scarlet.”

“I know,” Scarlet replied, smirking.  “But the mess is better.”

“I’ll have to get you to Sickbay soon, though – I DID promise the Colonel!”

“You did WHAT?”

“You heard me.  The Colonel told me to get the pain in my side checked.”

“VERY funny!” Scarlet rolled his eyes.

“I thought so.” Tourmaline paused.  “Anyway, how did you know that I was going to say about the ‘good old World Navy’, and taking advantage of their useless security?”

Scarlet glanced about him, nervously.  “I keep getting the feeling that the Colonel’s listening…”

“Well, if he is, he can like it or lump it!”

Scarlet shuddered. “Now, I REALLY hope he isn’t listening!”

“Come on, Scarlet, you haven’t answered my question.”

“I knew it was the sort of thing you’d do, Brain of Britain! Did you know that Colonel White is from the Navy?”

Tourmaline blanched.  “You… you mean I almost…? I could’ve been sent to the lowest rank! No! I would’ve been kicked out! NO! I probably would’ve been executed!”

“Don’t worry about it,” Scarlet told him. “He won’t hear it from me – just DON’T say anything to Ochre or Magenta, and you’ll be alright.  Oh! And don’t mention it to the Colonel, either.”

“Very funny, Scarlet.”

“I thought so.”

 

The end

 

 

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