a “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons” story
It looked like mercury as it rolled and shifted above his head, scattering the light into ever-changing puddles of brightness and shadow.
It couldn’t have been more than a meter away, but, lungs burning and weighed down by his lifeless burden, the border between water and air could have been as far away as the moon.
“No!” Adam Svenson, or Captain Blue as he was known here, savagely quashed the thought and churned the water with his legs, punching through the surface and filling his lungs with humid air. A few more strokes got him to the water’s edge and with one last heave he forced Paul’s upper torso out of the water and onto the tiled edge of Cloudbase's pool, the other man's arm making a wet smack as it hit the textured ceramics.
The exclamation was somewhat muffled by the air regulator clamped between the British officer’s teeth, which was promptly spat out as he sat up and reached to help his exhausted American counterpart out of the pool. “I may be indestructible, but I still bruise, Adam. No need to throw me around like that,” he teased, proffering his hand.
Adam took it and was hauled out. “You may be indestructible, Scarlet, but you weigh a tonne!” the American teased back, grinning.
“Maybe you should cut back on those chocolates the Angels keep smuggling up here Paul,” Captain Ochre, Richard, or Rick to his friends, suggested from his bench beside the pool, his ‘picture of innocence’ tone completely ruined by the broad smile splitting his face.
“What, so you can have them all?” That was Magenta, or Patrick, his trademark impish grin barely hidden. “That’s hardly fair, Rick.”
“Alright, alright, that’s enough,” Grey, Bradley, cut in before the banter could get carried away. He knew how highly his fellow colour captains coveted the chocolates the female fighter pilots somehow managed to sneak onto the base. “Okay, that was a good demo of underwater rescues, you two.” The comment was directed at Blue and Scarlet.
“Thanks, Brad,” Paul answered for them both, setting down the small harness and scuba air tank he had used as the 'victim'. “Do you think we’ll be ready for the skills assessment tomorrow?”
“We should be.” Richard spoke up, rubbing his ochre-bordered towel over his hair. “After all, the Old Man asked Brad and Adam to make sure the rest of us non-water people would pass,” he added.
“Indeed.” Scarlet nodded his agreement and shrugged out of the water-logged clothes he’d worn over his Spectrum-issue trunks. “Colonel White should be pleased. It was a most satisfactory lesson from our two resident fish.”
It was a fatal comment to make in the presence of Ochre and Magenta.
“Fish, hm?” Pat asked, Irish eyes twinkling as he looked over at his partner. “What do you think, Rick, guppies or minnows?”
The former police officer scrutinised Adam and Brad with a mock thoughtful look. “Nah, Brad’s a shark, but Adam’d be a goldfish. He’s got the right colouring for it.” He smirked, indicating his fellow colour captain’s thatch of blonde hair.
That earned him a few chuckles.
However, Paul was the only one who noticed as his partner scooped up a damp towel and swiftly twisted it into a tight rope. Paul wisely smothered a grin and reached for another towel. This could only end one way.
“Goldfish, eh?” Adam rather mildly asked. “You sure about that, Rick?”
“Yep,” Magenta interrupted, grinning at him. “It suits you, Goldie.”
“That’s odd, Pat, because last time I checked, goldfish didn’t bite!” Adam punctuated the last word with a sharp flick of his wrist, making the damp towel crack the air like a bull whip.
“Yeow!” Pat jumped backwards with a startled yelp, rubbing at the red welt already rising on his thigh. “Oh, you’re gonna pay for that one, Goldie!”
“Wanna bet?” Adam grinned back, already re-coiling his towel for another attack.
He didn't see Ochre coil up his towel and dart into range, but Scarlet did.
“No, you don't!” Paul lashed out with the damp towel in his friend's defence and caught the former World Police Commander with a wicked flick, only to let out a yelp of his own when Grey snuck up and repaid the favour.
“You're all going down.” Brad grinned widely at the four other captains as he twisted his towel again. “No one can beat a Navy man at this.”
The veracity of that statement was immediately challenged when Adam snuck up and snapped him across the back of the legs. “Wanna say that again?” Blue challenged, eyeing the others carefully.
Needless to say, it very quickly descended into an all-out war. Towels whizzed and cracked against skin and (very rarely) air, benches became forts and someone's swim bag was about to become a projectile when...
Everyone stopped and sloooowly looked in the direction of the voice.
Colonel White, clad in black Spectrum-issue trunks with a white stripe down the side and a towel hanging over his shoulder, stood on the wet tiles with crossed arms and one raised eyebrow as he surveyed his five most senior officers, the coiled towels in their hands and the multitude of red welts decorating their legs.
The silence was ominous.
“Gentlemen,” Colonel White began after a moment's pause, “if you’re going to torment each other, at least do it properly. A towel that’s been soaked and wrung out works far better than a damp one.” He surveyed his officers again, the barest hint of a smile lurking about the corners of his lips. “As you were.”