A “Captain Scarlet & the Mysteron” story
Ochre crept sheepishly into Captain Scarlet’s temporary quarters in Sickbay. He could see Scarlet laid on the bed, apparently sleeping. He opened his eyes, and groaned, loudly. The pounding he’d taken, along with the effects of the virus, had weakened him beyond his belief. He saw Captain Ochre and gave another groan. “What do you want, Rick?”
Ochre hadn’t expected a warm welcome, after the trouble he’d caused. He didn’t understand what had happened to him yet, but he could remember attacking Scarlet and Blue. He wanted nothing more than to apologise to the British Captain. He cleared his throat. “Are you okay?”
Scarlet sighed with frustration. “I’m fine until I try to do anything.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m… tired, I guess. I can’t concentrate on anything.”
Ochre looked at the book that Scarlet had obviously flung across the room, with his frustration. “I see… well… just take it easy,” he advised at last, before adding, “Doctor Fawn’s had a breakthrough, so with any luck, you’ll be back on your feet soon.”
Scarlet’s face lit up. “A breakthrough? That’s great!”
Ochre groaned. “Sorry, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that. Fawn’s not sure whether it’ll work, yet.”
“Well, I am!” Scarlet smiled, happily. “Doctor Fawn will put me right.”
“But it’ll take time, so do yourself a favour,” Ochre forced him to lie back, “get some rest.”
The Brit rolled his eyes. “Yes, Sir!” he retorted, dryly.
“I can’t help it if you won’t stay still,” his friend remarked, moving toward the door.
“Where are you going, Rick?”
“I thought I was bugging you…” He turned to face him, a puzzled expression on his face.
“No, please stay a while. I’m alright provided you don’t give me advice…” Scarlet offered him a weak grin.
“Yeah!” Ochre laughed. “Adam told me about that.”
“Where IS Adam?”
“He said he’d be by later.”
“What’s the matter, Rick?”
Ochre looked back at Scarlet, who could see he was feeling guilty. “I’m sorry about the things Brad and I did, Paul…”
“That’s alright. It wasn’t your fault.”
“Paul, we could’ve killed you!” he shook his head. “That’s not the ONLY reason I’m sorry, either…”
Scarlet frowned. Why else would Ochre be sorry about? As if through a haze, he remembered all the teasing he had received from him recently.
“I didn’t mean to upset you, Paul.”
“Could’ve fooled me,” Scarlet muttered, before raising his voice, “it doesn’t matter, Rick. Anyway, that was ages ago.”
“That was early this morning.”
Scarlet put a hand to his head. Had the day gone by as slowly as all that? Outside the window, he could see that the light was dimming. The first stars would be beginning to appear. “Open the blinds, would you?”
Ochre nodded, and went to the window. He stood there a moment, staring at the evening sky, before sitting beside his friend.
Scarlet went for his glass, knocking it over. “Blast!” He mopped the water up as best he could with some of the tissues that had been given to him.
Ochre helped, grinning with amusement. “Next time, ask me to pass it to you.”
Scarlet groaned, miserably, “I hate being dependent.”
“You’re not! You’re just tired and sick, that’s all!” Seeing that his words didn’t seem to help much, Ochre fell silent. He decided to change the subject and cleared his throat. “No hard feelings?” he asked, extending his hand.
“No hard feelings.” Scarlet shook hands, while holding a wet tissue.
“Yuck!” Ochre yelped.
Scarlet laughed. “I think we’re even, now!”
“What was that stuff?”
The British captain was tempted to wind him up, but decided against it. “Only water, Rick,” he told him, honestly.
“You made me jump!”
“I know. You should’ve seen the look on your face!”
“Probably a bit like yours, when I turned the rock music on!”
When Fawn entered, he found Ochre was still there, and Scarlet was in a much better mood. “Feeling better, Captain?”
“Good.” He turned his attention to Ochre, for a moment. “When you said you wanted to keep him company, I half expected you to tease him.”
“You made me promise not to.”
“Yeah, like that’s ever stopped you before,” Fawn commented.
Scarlet grinned as Ochre averted his gaze.
“Anyway,” Fawn began again, “I’ve found a possible cure for you, Captain Scarlet.”
Scarlet smiled, happily. “That’s great!”
“I’m afraid it still needs work, but the tests are promising.”
Scarlet’s face fell. “It still needs work?”
“Hey! Martian illnesses are difficult blighters to deal with. Earth germs are bad enough.”
“I’m SURE they are…” Scarlet groaned at the Doctor’s attempt at humour. He coughed violently, and lay back with a low groan.
Ochre touched his arm. “You okay?”
“No, I’m tired of being useless!”
“Useless? What do you mean?” Fawn asked him.
“What do you think I mean?”
“I don’t know, Captain, after all you did today. The business at the Sword studio, not to mention the way you handled things here.”
“And what DID I do here, exactly? I got in Blue’s way, so he couldn’t handle Grey and Ochre…”
“You brought Blue out of that trance before that, didn’t you? And if you didn’t, we don’t know what would have happened to Cloudbase…”
Scarlet nodded, slowly. “Yes, but I don’t know how I got him out of that trance.”
“Well, stop getting angry with yourself. You did more than your share, I’d say.” Fawn turned to Ochre, “Keep an eye on him for a while, if you want, but let him sleep. I’d better get back to that cure.”
Scarlet watched the Doctor leave. He stifled a yawn, and looked up at his friend. “What do you know about all that happened, Rick?”
Ochre shook his head. “The Colonel wants to talk to you about a few things, actually.”
The Brit winced. Great! Now I’m in for a long lecture from the Colonel, I suppose… “When is the debriefing?”
“Uhhh…” Ochre had no intention of telling his friend that he’d missed it. “The Colonel just wants to talk to you, when you’re feeling better…”
“In other words, I missed it.” Scarlet nodded his understanding, “I see.”
“Well… you see, the Colonel thought you should be given a chance to rest. After all the punishment you’ve taken today, you’re lucky to be conscious.”
Scarlet smiled, faintly. He glanced up at his friend, giving a heavy sigh. “Perhaps it’s a good job that he hasn’t been by, yet. I feel so miserable…”
Ochre laughed. “Yeah! You LOOK miserable, too!”
Scarlet joined him. “Thanks, Rick, I needed cheering up.”
Ochre stayed with his ill friend until he had to return to duty.
“Must you go?”
Ochre saw the miserable look on his friend’s tired features. “Sorry, Paul, I have to. It’s getting late,” he gestured to the clock, which said it was 21.47, “and you should get some sleep. Take care, okay? I want to see you in the Officers’ Lounge real soon.”
Scarlet smiled. “Provided you promise not to work on any model planes.”
“Deal!” With one last friendly grin, Ochre left.
Scarlet settled himself for sleep. Although he’d enjoyed the company of his visitors, it was good to get some peace. Blue had come by soon after Ochre had left, and then Rhapsody had appeared to make another fuss of him, too. Now that he was alone, he thought about the day’s events, as he looked around the small room. “Blasted Mysterons,” he muttered, as he noticed a star that was brighter than the others outside his window. He tried to scramble out of bed to close the blinds, but he began to feel dizzy. Deciding against closing them, he sat back on the bed. Mars was still there, and he felt as though the whole Mysteron population was laughing at him, in his weakened state. Tired and angry, the Captain glowered at Mars, and shook his fist.
“What are you doing?” Doctor Fawn had entered in time to witness the Captain’s strange behaviour.
Scarlet looked away, with embarrassment, “I was just saying goodnight to the Mysterons, Doctor.”
Fawn frowned at him. “Sometimes, Captain, you really worry me.”
Scarlet smiled. “Thank you, Doctor.”
“Better?” Fawn asked, closing the blinds for him.
“Yes, thank you,” Scarlet nodded.
Fawn left, returning with a medicine bottle. Scarlet watched him pour some of the mixture into a tiny cup. “Right, drink this.”
Scarlet picked it up scrutinizing it, with curiosity. He drank it down, pulling a face. “Ugh! What was that?”
“The cure I was trying to find for you.”
He watched the captain gulp down some water, and shook his head. “Does it taste that terrible?”
Scarlet lay back down, offering the doctor an apologetic grin. “No, I was going to cough, again.”
Fawn shook his head. “Just try to sleep. You’ll need another dose in the morning, so you won’t be disturbed during the night.”
“Thanks.” Scarlet settled down, closing his eyes.
Colonel White had waited patiently until Doctor Fawn gave him permission to see Captain Scarlet. It was now mid-afternoon, and Scarlet’s condition was gradually improving.
Scarlet was glad to see his commanding officer. He smiled, faintly. “Hello, Colonel, it’s good to see you.”
“And it’s even better to see that you’re recovering, son,” White remarked.
Scarlet’s smile broadened, slightly. He was indeed starting to feel better.
“Now, I suppose you’d like to know what happened?”
“Yes please, Sir.”
The Colonel nodded. “Well, as you know, Captain Black was stalking around the base. I think I should apologise, on behalf of Spectrum for not giving more credit to your instinct.”
“But how did Black get here?”
“He was in fact carried here by your SPJ.”
“What?” Scarlet sat bolt upright, momentarily forgetting that he shouldn’t talk to the Colonel in that manner.
“He was stowed in there by Green.”
“Green…?” Scarlet could hardly believe it. “But… surely… if the Lieutenant was a Mysteron…”
White shook his head. “He’s not a Mysteron. He was under hypnosis.”
Scarlet nodded, slowly. “Like Captains Grey and Ochre…”
“AND Blue,” White reminded him.
“…and Blue,” Scarlet nodded, slowly, “but HOW did the Mysterons do it? And when?”
“The disc Green brought back to Cloudbase held a hidden message. He had already listened to it on the surface, and so was already under its controls.”
Scarlet remembered the discussion he had with Rhapsody. “The disc was the singing sword?”
The Colonel nodded. “The disc was the property of the SWORD Company. The company itself was the singing sword.”
Scarlet nodded, slowly. “I see… but why did the Mysterons go to all that trouble to destroy Cloudbase?”
“They went to all the trouble, so that we wouldn’t see what the target was. They even managed to get you out of the way.”
Scarlet sneezed, turning away from his superior, understanding that this was exactly what he meant by that. “How did I catch this thing, anyway?”
“I was hoping that you could shed some light on that, Captain. When did that start?”
Scarlet tried to think. “When I was fighting with the mysteronised receptionist, on the roof…”
“It was cold, and tipping down with rain, but… that alone wouldn’t have caused something like this…”
Scarlet remembered something. “Colonel, I think the receptionist was responsible for this. She sprayed something in my face… I thought it was pepper spray…”
“Yes, that could be it.” White nodded.
“But… why? Why would they want me out of the way?”
“My guess is that you are somehow immune to the effects of the disc, Captain.”
“That’s interesting…” Scarlet mused.
“Anyway,” White put a hand on the Captain’s shoulder, “you’d better take care of yourself. From what Doctor Fawn tells me, you’ll be off your feet for at least a week.”
“A WHOLE week?” Scarlet groaned.
“In all honesty, Captain, I’m surprised he didn’t expect to keep you in here longer. From what I’ve heard, you’ve had some kind of very severe flu, and what with the beating you took…”
Scarlet nodded, solemnly. “I know, Sir, it’s just that…”
“You’re supposed to be indestructible.”
White patted his arm. “Nobody is TRULY indestructible, Captain.”
Scarlet nodded, “I know, Colonel…” he smiled. “I know now.”
The Colonel smiled, too, and prepared to leave. He turned in the doorway. “I hope to see you fit for duty soon.”
“You will, Sir.” Scarlet promised, smiling. He turned back to the window, knowing that Mars was still out there. “And YOU’LL see me back soon, too!” he added, with grim determination.