Unable to sleep, Captain Blue gazed at the almost full moon through a porthole in the Officers’ Lounge. The same one that Ochre had shattered to get rid of a diamond pulsator the Mysterons’ had planned to use to blow up Cloudbase with.
‘He really stepped up that night,’ thought Blue. For he knew that Ochre, in getting them out of that heck of a predicament, could have been killed, even with a respirator. ‘It certainly showed his commitment to Spectrum.’ Blue heaved a sigh. Now Ochre’s and Grey’s future were uncertain, all thanks to that encounter.
He had always believed that there was more to the world than what could be seen, Mysterons aside; now that had been brought home to Spectrum in a brutal way.
It had started in Greece, with Grey and Ochre being abducted by a goddess-worshipping cult – not that Spectrum knew that at the time. Then, in the two weeks that it took to find them, Magenta had run into some weird incidences. One of them being an encounter with a priest who told him of the cult. Because the priest had told him a ludicrous story about being a member of a secret Christian order who had been fighting the cult throughout the centuries, Magenta wasn’t that sure that he should believe him entirely. However, that should have rung warning bells but it wasn’t until they located Grey and Ochre that they found out what they were dealing with.
‘A spirit? A phantom? A goddess?’ Blue shook his head, thinking of the odd apparition they had encountered when they had finally managed to find their colleagues. ‘Well, whatever she was, she certainly packed a punch.’ For as they tried to get to Grey and Ochre, ‘Cynthia’, as she was called, had stopped them, until Scarlet caused damage to a statue bearing her likeness – earning him her anger and a threat of retaliation.
A shudder ran through him as he recalled how she had done it.
‘We were so worried about Brad and Rick that we had almost completely forgotten about that threat. Six days was a long time for us to wait to see them again. Trust Fawn wanting to be sure that they could handle the pressure changes, coming back to Cloudbase. Funny it wasn’t until after Paul had visited them that she struck. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a connection.
Shit, I don’t think I’ll ever forget how he looked when I found him in his quarters. And I’ve seen him in some not very nice states. But to see him on his bed, with his chest caved in as if he had had a heavy weight dropped on him. No, that’s a sight I’m not going to forget easily. I know he's still a bit uneasy with his ability, but I’m just glad he’s got it or else it would be just Magenta and I left of the old guard. Not a good thought.’
Another sigh surfaced as his thoughts returned to Grey and Ochre. They had been abducted to be used in an occult ritual and in order to make them submissive and compliant, they had been heavily drugged. The end result caused by whatever had been given to them was not good. In fact, there was a high possibility that their careers in Spectrum could be over, at least on Cloudbase. That likelihood had hit Magenta hard and Blue wasn’t very happy about the prospect himself. For his own reasons.
‘I hate it. Absolutely, positively hate it.’
He wished that he could get his hands on those who were responsible for this, but they had escaped without a trace when Spectrum had raided the temple where they were keeping Ochre and Grey. And after her attack on Scarlet, there had been no more sign of their so-called ‘goddess’.
‘So just dealing with the Mysterons wasn’t enough for us, Fates?’ he raged in his mind, even though he knew that he wouldn’t get any response. ‘Why did you have to choose Brad and Rick? Do you have any idea of what you’ve done to them?
It’s really hit them hard that they are no longer allowed to work with us in the field anymore. But there’s not a blessed thing that can be done to change regulations, according to Doctor Fawn. Losing them from the team is going to weaken us for a time. Not to mention we’re losing the expertise they have. That’s not going to be easy to replace.
Hell, we – I – am going to have to face the fact that we are really short-staffed now. Which means that there’s going to be some new captains to work with.
How they will fit in, I’ve got no idea and it’s worrying me. Will they be able to accept Paul for what he is? For what he does? He went through enough emotional upheaval the first time with the acceptance roller-coaster. I just hope for his sake that the experience doesn’t repeat itself.’
With a shake of his head, Blue tried to push the worry aside.
‘I’m sure that Colonel White will have all this in mind, when he considers what to do. And it not like Paul hasn’t had to work with others beside us before. Like around this time last year. Ah, but there was some friction between him and Captain Ash when he and Captains Jade and Sepia were seconded to Cloudbase to cover for us.’
Shrugging his shoulders, he reflected on the uncertainly of it all.
‘However, I do have to admit having new blood joining us is not all bad. Sepia fitted in okay, enough for him to be told to stay on Cloudbase and partner Brad. There were signs of another good team in the making with those two. Now we’ll never know.’
Restless and edgy, he turned and gave the lounge a good look. They definitely had some good times in here. But he could also see the wear and tear of time on it.
‘One thing’s certain: Halloween is going to be rather muted among the senior officers this year. Fawn’s warned us that Rick’s heart is not able to cope with too much excitement or stress. And we really don’t know how Brad’s condition is going to affect him. Narcolepsy…. Insomnia is bad enough, but to have basically no control over when you fall sleep? I think I would go nuts.’
Turning back to the porthole, he saw the time on the clock beside it.
‘Damn. I’m on duty in five hours. Looks like I’ll have to use the Room of Sleep.’
As he left the lounge, there was one thing foremost in Blue’s mind: change was in the air on Cloudbase; whether he liked it or not.
Blue dropped down heavily on the settee in his quarters with a groan.
“Now, hon, it surely can’t be all that bad? Can it?” Symphony asked, as she came to stand behind him. Leaning down, she put her arms around his neck and onto his chest, with her cheek coming to rest on his damp hair.
They had crossed paths in one of Cloudbase’s corridors after he had come back from an exercise that Colonel White had sent them – Magenta, Scarlet and himself along with the new captains - on. Three weeks had passed since that night they had found Ochre and Grey in Greece, causing the colonel to recall Captain Jade to Cloudbase and with him came another – a Captain Zaffre. Now that Blue was off-duty, there was nothing more he wanted than to have a shower and change. And as she was off-duty as well, she had wanted nothing else but to be with him. So they had ended up in his quarters.
‘It’s a good thing that the colonel knows about our relationship and has sanctioned it. Or else I would be facing a court-martial.’ The thought brought a smile to his face.
“No, but then what can be bad when you’re around?” he answered. Leaning back and tilting his face up, he sought Symphony’s lips. Finding them, they enjoyed a loving kiss.
Ending it, Symphony moved to sit beside him, snuggling in under one of his arms. “So how did it go?” she asked. “You didn’t look all that pleased when you got back. Nor did the other captains.”
“It went alright; the new guys are fitting in okay.” He gave his shoulders a shrug. “It’s just that it’s not the same. The dynamics are different and there’s not quite the same synergy. We are really going to miss Brad and Rick. I truly wish there was something that would turn back time.”
“Oh? But there’s not, is there?” There was a note of sadness in Symphony’s voice. “I know the other Angels and I are going to miss them as well, if they have to leave. Do you know if any decision has been made?”
“No…. Fawn still wants to keep an eye on them while he continues to work out the best way to manage their conditions. And I think, from what I’ve managed to get out of Green, that the colonel wants to see how Captains Jade and Zaffre integrate before assigning others to Cloudbase.” A thought made him frown. “If that happens, then accommodation will become an issue. There’s only nine quarters assigned for us captains.”
“There are eight of you now. Nine, counting Doctor Fawn, not that he’s in his much. Where do you think the others will go? The guest quarters?” She felt him shake his head.
“I’m afraid that the regulations state that if a member of Spectrum is unable to fulfil the requirements of his duty, then he is to be transferred to one he is able to do, or discharged. And doing so means surrendering all equipment and privileges not required for their new posting.”
“It means that as these quarters are for Cloudbase field captains, Brad and Rick technically won’t be entitled to them if things stay as they are.”
“Oh, that sucks.”
“Yes, it does.” Feeling perturbed, Blue he got up and went to the kitchenette. “Would you like a drink?”
“Ah, no thanks,” Symphony replied, knowing Blue’s coffee-making skills. Twisting around, she watched him, noting how tensed he looked. “So,” she went on, “I guess we are going to be in for an interesting time?” She didn’t receive an answer. Standing up, she also headed for the kitchenette and as she pulled Blue into a hug, asked, “Sky, what’s bothering you?”
“As you said, it sucks. Brad and Rick shouldn’t be in this mess. Why did that damn… damn woman pick them?” Pulling away, he finished making his drink. “It’s just…” He took a mouthful, swallowing it with a grimace. “Damn, I should have gotten a pot from the mess.” He turned and poured what was left down the sink.
“A lot of things, Älskling. Halloween’s three days away but because of how Brad and Rick are, none of us feel like celebrating. It’s been more than a month and there’s only been a slight improvement in them. Having to learn to work with new guys puts us at risk and none of it should have happened. But a trumped-up lady, and I used the term grudgingly, decides that she wants to be a priestess – why, I don’t know….” He shrugged with disgust. “… And ends up causing harm by acting out an ancient rite that was best left alone. That’s what’s bothering me.”
Taking a hold of his shoulders, she turned him to face her and after taking a good look at him said, “There’s something else, isn’t there, Sky?”
He looked away. “I don’t like how this has affected Pat and Paul.” Returning his gaze back to Symphony, he gave his head a slight shake. “I can only imagine what Pat feels like. I know what I feel when Paul’s badly injured; yet I know that he’ll get better. There’s no chance of that for Rick. And as for Paul?” A sigh escaped him. “He’s withdrawing again. I think he’s afraid of how the new captains will see him. I’ll have to admit that I have the same worry. But damn it, he went through enough the first time. Okay, Sepia – Tom – accepted him with no problem. However, I know that Brad influenced him. The others…?”
Symphony saw his posture slump a little. Rising up on her toes, she planted a kiss on his lips. “Why don’t you go and sit back down and I’ll make us some coffee, darling?”
With a nod, Blue did as she had suggested.
“You’re right about Tom. He was gutted that his sprained ankle stopped him from joining in the rescue of Brad and Rick,” she said, as she made the coffee. “And I know that he’s spent a lot of time visiting them.”
A laugh welled in him. “Well, that’s what you get when you try and compete against Scarlet.”
“I know, but I swear they were having a great time.”
“That they were, and Paul’s impressed with Tom’s rifle skills. Honed by hunting, he tells us.”
Bringing the drinks over and sitting back down beside Blue, she carried on: “So if he has fitted in so well, then why can’t the others? Surely everyone will be professional about it.” Taking a drink, she snuggled against him once more. “You worry too much, Adam.”
“Do I? Not everyone can put their judgments and prejudices aside and be ‘professional’, Karen. I’m sure you can recall how Captain Ash reacted to Paul. Dianne told me about some of it. Why, he wouldn’t even stay in the same room as Paul unless he was required by duty. I know, and you know, that, that kind of rejection hurts Paul.”
“I do know that, Adam, and so does the colonel. Don’t you see that he’s trying to be as careful as he can with who he calls up?”
“True.” Laying his cheek on her hair, he pulled her close. “But Karen, at the moment, we’re also very vulnerable. We’ve lost the use of Brad’s and Rick’s expertise and experience out in the field. A great partnership’s been broken and I know that it’s hurt Pat. The usual ways we have worked together have been disrupted and now we have to learn new ways, and get accustomed to new colleagues. That’s going to take time. Until then, as I’ve said, we are vulnerable.” In a quieter voice, he continued, “You know the attrition rate is high, especially among the less experienced personnel. We have only survived in the field sometimes because of our expertise and reliance on each other.” Giving her a firm embrace, he stated, “And do you know what really bites? That this wasn’t done by the Mysterons. Oh, no… But, damn, they will benefit from it.” In frustration, he hit his thigh. “I really do wish that there was some way that Brad and Rick could be healed. Then things would go back to the way they should be.” With that Blue went quiet, drinking his coffee. Symphony left him to his thoughts, not wanting to intrude on them.
A minute or two passed, and then a strange thought entered Symphony’s mind. “Adam, we know that the Mysterons very rarely change their minds, right?”
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
“Well… It came to me that, maybe, because it was not the Mysterons that caused Brad’s and Rick’s condition, but a supernatural female…”
“Cynthia, she called herself,” Blue provided.
“She’s not a Mysteron, obviously. So maybe she can be talked to? She might not be aware of the damaging effects of what she has done. I wonder… if she knew, maybe she could be persuaded to do something to change Brad and Rick’s condition?”
“I wondered if this entity, this Cynthia, who was responsible for Brad’s and Rick’s condition, could be approached. And maybe she would do something?”
Blue dismissed the suggestion with a shrug. “What an odd thought.”
“Yeah, I suppose it’s a weird idea.…”
“You do come up with them occasionally, Älskling, but it’s one of the things I love about you.” Seeking Symphony’s lips again, he homed in on them and after a very passionate kiss, remarked, “I think I’ve got something else on my mind now... What about you?”
“Mmm. I was wondering when you would want to go soaring, Sky….” Saying that, she hit him with another kiss.
It had been one hell of a morning but as it was Halloween Blue realized that he shouldn’t be surprised about their misfortune, and what had happened definitely wasn’t a treat.
They had almost lost Grey.
None of them, except probably Fawn, had realized just how dangerous narcolepsy could be, until Grey was found floating in the pool that morning. The frustration of having very limited time to indulge in swimming for over a month, had got too much for him. So he had pulled a ‘Scarlet’ and slipped out from under the watchfulness of the med staff. Unfortunately, he had ended up having a sleep attack and had almost drowned. To say that he was shattered, finding out that his favourite pastime could now easily kill him, would be an understatement. He was devastated – and that was nothing to say about the others being equally shocked.
The whole incident had heightened the frustration Doctor Fawn was feeling because of the time it was taking to achieve the best outcomes for Grey and Ochre, as well as the undercurrent of unease that the rest of them were feeling.
Blue knew that Colonel White and Doctors Fawn and Weiss had been meeting often, but just what they were going to do, not even Green had been able to get a sniff of.
Arriving at the Information Centre for his stint of keeping an eye on what was happening in the world, he spotted the purple-blue uniform of Captain Zaffre, the newest Cloudbase captain, who was also on intelligence duty. With a nod and a greeting he acknowledged Zaffre, before settling into another work-station’s chair. Pulling up the information of the areas he had been assigned, he started the process of scrutinizing it. After an hour or so, he came to the conclusion that nothing warranting Spectrum’s involvement was currently going on. So he made a quick assessment of the other areas, giving Zaffre a heads up about something that looked interesting. With that done, he was left with time to think.
Looking over at Zaffre, he couldn’t help but feeling of concerned. Like Sepia: Jade and Zaffre were doing their best to fit in, but they were up against it partnership-wise. He knew that both Magenta and Sepia were affected by the breaking of their first partnerships, although they were trying to overcome it; and if – or more likely when – more new captains came on board, the dynamics would change once again. Time would even things out, but he wondered if they even had time. The Mysterons had been quiet up until now, but for how much longer would it stay that way? That was anyone’s guess.
‘Someone once said the words ‘if only’ could be the most distressing in the English language. I can see what he meant, and there’s nothing that can be done to change things.’ The weight of that thought wasn’t pleasant and it left a feeling of heaviness, making Blue wish once more that Grey and Ochre were not in the situation they were.
Sitting there, he recalled the conversation with Symphony, a few days before. ‘I wonder…?’
And with that thought, he delved back into Spectrum’s computer systems.
Blue looked around the rural Turkish villa he had come to. It had taken a fair amount of persuasion to get Colonel White to allow him to come here, but somehow the colonel had agreed to it, only because he was under the impression that Blue was chasing a possible lead on the women who had abducted and injured two of his captains. A lead, the Spectrum commander believed, that had come to Blue through his contacts in the WAS.
However, that wasn’t the case. And Blue felt a little guilty about hiding the truth from Colonel White, but it would have been far too hard to explain what he really intended to do.
The farm villa he had rented was typical of the area. Not flash, but that didn’t matter. The main thing was that it was close to the ruins of one of the most important temples dedicated to an ancient goddess of the Greek pantheon.
Trying to find out what he had wanted to know had been a real task. Stimulating and difficult, it had tested even his tenacious determination. It wasn’t until he remembered Father Boosalis, who had helped Captain Magenta, that he started to find out what he needed. It was the good Father who had suggested here as a possible site for what Blue wanted to do.
And Blue certainly hoped that the sacred location would help with what he had set out to do.
He looked down at the bag Father Boosalis’ contact in this area had provided for him. He still remembered the look the man – a clergyman like Boosalis, he imagined, probably a member of the same secret Order – had given him when he had taken delivery of the bag. Clearly, he had a good idea of what these objects would be used for, and he certainly was uneasy with the very idea. So was Blue, when he thought about it. The fight with the Mysterons had challenged what he had believed in, but he had come to realize that the fundamental truths he had faith in were still true, unchanging and relevant. And even the spanner that had been thrown in his beliefs this time had only served to strengthen them.
A smile came to his face; persuading Father Boosalis to give him the information he needed had been a real challenge; especially when the good Father had understood what Blue was actually planning to do. But in the end, he had reluctantly accepted to help the Spectrum officer. After all, it just might lead to a way of restoring Grey’s and Ochre’s health. Symphony’s idea hadn’t been as wacky as he had first stated – not that Blue would ever tell her. Because, according to Father Boosalis, there could be a way to contact the goddess Cynthia.
So that was why he was here, in Turkey, just outside the town of Selçuk, near the area where the Greek town of Ephesus had been located – and where the ruins of the legendary temple of Artemis could be found. He had been rather surprised when Father Boosalis’s information had pointed to this specific location, as the most effective place for what he was planning to do – and that it wouldn’t be somewhere in Greece instead. But when he learned that ‘Cynthia’ was actually a name which had been associated to the goddess Artemis… then all became clear to him.
He really wanted for this to work, and he was hopeful that the full moon would also aid with the contact. The next one was tonight – so it was now or never. If he should fail, it might then be too late for Ochre and Grey.
Going outside, he surveyed the inner courtyard. It was rather overgrown, but it did have a clear space in the middle. It would be there that he would attempt his experiment.
Following Father Boosalis’ instructions to the letter, Blue prepared everything so to be ready, when the moment came. Having done so, he went back inside. He thought he might as well get something to eat, and then get some rest, while waiting for the full moon to rise. Relaxing would do him a lot of good, but he found that it was impossible to do, for once more, he was plagued by his thoughts – and his doubts.
‘Am I crazy doing this? I didn’t tell anyone about the idea or my decision to try it because I was apprehensive of what they might think about it and me. Did I make the right choice? So much, depends on tonight, for them and us. Okay, Brad also has family to help and support if things don’t change, but Rick? He only has us. And just how much will we be allowed to interact with him if he leaves Cloudbase? Knowing Spectrum Intelligence, they’ll get antsy about what ’secrets’ we might talk about. Even though none of us would disregard security clearances. Okay, I did once but that was because I thought that the Supreme Commander of Earth’s Forces had clearance. Still, I do wonder how long it might be until Rick becomes deemed as a “security risk”?
‘Poor Rick, he gave up so much to join Spectrum... All his friends and acquaintances when he agreed to be “assassinated”.’ Remembering something, he shook his head. ‘No, that’s not quite right. There’s his friend Tod.’ Blue smiled. ‘His visit certainly cheered Rick up. It good that there’s someone not connected to Cloudbase who knows Rick’s alive.’
With a sigh and a stretch he got himself comfortable. He had a feeling that it was going to be a very interesting night.
It was time. The full moon’s light beamed into the courtyard without any hindrance, as it had reached its zenith.
Taking hold of a match, Blue struck it, causing it to flare. Kneeling, he used it to start the bonfire that he had previously prepared. The dry shavings of wood quickly took, and it was not long before the rest also started to flame. The ritual called for apple wood, Father Boosalis had told him, and Blue supposed that it was sacred in some way.
He built the fire up and when the flames were high, he reached for the next items that were part of the ritual: the heart and testicles of a bull. He threw them in the raging fire; the smell of their burning made him wrinkle his nose. He wasn’t at the end yet.
For the next step of the ritual, he poured olive oil – which, he had been assured, came from the very first pressing – onto the blaze, creating a column of smoke. Now came the part he wasn’t happy about but Father Boosalis had insisted that it was a necessity. Blood had always been important in religion, and it was the same for this one. Making a small cut in the palm of his hand, Blue walked around the fire, leaving a ring of blood drops around it. He made a full circle, and then stopped. And waited, not knowing if it would really work or what to expect.
As he stood there, he once more wondered why he was doing all this Trying to make contact with an ancient Greek goddess was certainly the last thing he ever thought he would do. He shrugged his shoulders. Before Spectrum he had believed in the spiritual realm; however his beliefs and perceptions about it had been more black and white then.
‘One’s understanding of things can’t be set in stone,’ he thought. ‘And although changes can be a good thing, losing Brad and Rick would not be. And knowing what I now know, how can I not try? I just hope it works and our gain is greater than the risk of this venture.’
The answer was not long coming, as the smoke started to twist, whirl and curl into a shape; a shape that he had seen twice before.
A feminine apparition.
The same one he and the others had seen in the underground temple in Greece, where Grey and Ochre had been found.
The goddess Cynthia.
“Ahhh, a gift….” the still translucent apparition said, her voice echoing with an ethereal quality into the clear night. “You have lit a sacred fire to come once more into my presence. So you want to serve me. Are you worthy?”
Blue looked at her, startled. This certainly was not what he wanted her to think. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, but determined to make things clear, he replied: “No, I do not want to serve you. I serve someone else and worthy or not, you owe us for all the strife you have caused us.”
The smoke solidified and took on the appearance of a living person, who then moved to stand beside the intense flames. It was the first time Blue could see her as a real person.
She was strikingly beautiful. And yet, her face displayed a cold, remote expression.
“Yet you have offered yourself to me.” She indicated the fire from which she had come from.
Regaining his poise, Blue almost came to attention as he stated: “That was not my intention. I just wanted to talk with you.”
She walked around him. She clearly regarded him as someone far beneath her, and yet, his words were making her curious. “I think you are lying. For I know that you are attracted to me.” Coming beside him, she ran her eyes over him, from head to toe and said as if to herself, “What a glorious specimen you are. Truly in the same class as the others that graced my temple not long ago.”
Upon hearing that, Blue frowned slightly and was going to say something, but didn’t get a chance as she moved to face him.
“Dedicating yourself to me is not arduous or burdensome. In fact, it can be very pleasurable and undemanding.” Lifting her left hand, she skimmed it down his arm. “And I can tell that you carry a heavy burden. Consent to do what I require and I will free you from it and see to all your needs. You will find that I can be very generous to those who please me.”
With a shake of his head and a serious expression, he replied: “No. I am not offering myself to you. I’m here because of something your followers in Greece did.” He folded his arms. “Their abduction of my two friends two months ago. And what they did to these men, by forcing them to ‘serve you’, as you say, has caused consequences that could destroy the Earth.”
She pulled herself upright in indignation. “Abduction?” she retorted. “What proof do you have? And as for the Earth being destroyed, I do not believe. Nature is enduring.” She disregarded the statement with a gesture. “You warriors are all the same. Seeing doom everywhere.”
“In this instance, it is sadly the blunt truth. Those two men who were abducted are part of Spectrum and we are the Earth’s only defence against the Mysterons, who have vowed to destroy it.”
“I do not know of the Mysterons and I dispute what you have alleged. All those who honour me do so willing.”
He gave a sharp shake of his head. “Not this time. Didn’t you notice that they were drugged?” An expression of disbelief appeared on her face. “If you did not noticed that, how much of a goddess are you, Lady Cynthia?”
“The kind of goddess who does not take kindly to mere mortals challenging her so brazenly,” she replied with resentment and irritation. “Do not be so impudent, mortal…. Or don’t you remember what happened to you other friend? The one wearing the red tunic?”
Blue froze. He did not wish to talk about Scarlet to her. If she didn’t know he was still alive, then there was little risk she might return to Cloudbase and attempt to finish the job she had started.
But then again, maybe he was fooling himself, and she did know? After all, wasn’t she supposed to be…, ‘a goddess’?’
“I was a powerful deity, once.” A sigh left her. “But as my followers kept being persecuted through the ages, they became less and less in number. Consequently, I have spent less time on this plane. Why should I give my attention to a world that has almost forgotten me? I am powerful elsewhere, now. I just choose to acknowledge and help those who wish to remember me – and who are worthy of me.” Broodingly, she glared at him. “If what you told me is true, and males no longer want to honour me…” She huffed. “Look at yourself: you light a dedicating fire, yet despite my generous offer, you decline to be mine. I should just leave completely – and never to return again.”
Alarm ran through him. “Do you not care about the fact that you have destroyed the lives of two men, not to mention weakling our ability to protect Earth?”
“Why should I? You humans are always fighting among yourselves. If you are going to wipe yourselves out, I am not going to stop you. Maybe the next higher life form will be more interesting.” She started to return to the fire.
“But we are not fighting other humans.” With a wave, Blue indicated the stars. “The Mysterons are extra-terrestrials, and if they win, they’ll destroy everything. There will be no Earth. Just a cold hard rock, like their home planet, Mars.” He added in desperation, “Do you want that?”
She moved her gaze back to him. “The Mysterons are unknown to me. They are not a part of my realm and they have not interfered with any of my people. Thus they have not come to my attention and are of no interest to me. I think you are exaggerating, because you do not want me to leave.”
“I’m not.” A note of sadness could be heard in Blue’s voice. “I did not lie. They are from Mars and have abilities that we humans don‘t. It hasn’t been easy to defend this planet against them, and now it’s going to be harder because of what your followers did to my friends.” Distress crossed his face. “The Mysterons are relentless and have a foolproof way of making people and things do what they want.” Feeling the unease of knowing the Mysterons intent, he gave a slight shake of his head. “Their aim is the total destruction of all life on Earth. They have vowed it.”
He could still see the doubt in her features, as she was regarding him fixedly. She still did not believe him completely. He glared at her.
“Lady Cynthia, they definitely have the capacity to do so. Believe me. It’s only because of our resolve and dogged determination that we managed to stop them from being able to do more damage than they have so far.” Resentment coloured his voice as he carried on with a gesture of frustration: “And now thanks to you and your followers, our task has become even more difficult and dangerous. The question I have,” he asked, as he folded his arms, “is do you care that you are responsible – and will or can you do anything about it?”
“Once again, you accuse. What is your evidence?”
“Why do you ask that? You were there. You stopped us from helping our colleagues. It wasn’t until your statue was harmed that we got past your barricade.”
With a frown she replied “I know what happened that night.” Stepping closer towards Blue, she took a good look at his face. “You are full of fire and passion. Do you really believe I have done you an injustice?”
Standing straight and tall, he looked her in the eye. “Yes. But not to me. To my colleagues.”
Fascinated by Blue’s apparent loyalty to his colleagues, Cynthia was curious as to how strong it was? “Which colleagues?” She asked, knowing the answer but wanting to see his reaction.
‘Which colleagues, she asks, as if we haven’t already been discussing them.’ He could feel his blood starting to boil. As his expression became one that he had seen his father use on reluctant clients. “You know who I mean.”
“Ah, yes.” She gave him patronizing look. “Those two. It’s a pity about the other, is it not? But he did have to pay for visiting violence on my image.” She saw Blue’s right hand became a fist and then reopen. Evidently it was.
“Hmmm…. You intrigue me. But I am still not convinced by your interpretation of the events.”
Blue did his very best to take hold of his anger and manage to stay as calm as he could. “I have not lied. We are in a war against extra-terrestrials and the loss of Captain Grey and Captain Ochre - the two men who were abducted and drugged! - from the front line, will seriously endanger all life on Earth.”
Tilting her head slightly, Cynthia regarded him once more. “You do intrigue me. Your fervour is admirable. What is it that you want from me?”
He was taken aback by her seemingly change of mind. “I just wanted to know if you could return Captain Grey and Captain Ochre back to normal, to how they were, before your followers got hold of them.”
“Oh? You ask that, even though I have also killed that other man?”
“Yes.” With a sorrowful shake he went on, “You might be their only hope. True, the fact that you killed my other colleague, infuriated me.” He closed his eyes for a moment then refocused on the goddess. “But what’s done is done and there’s nothing you can do for him. I’m just asking you if it is possible for you to restore health to Ochre and Grey. That’s all I seek. It would make an immense difference in our ability to fight the Mysterons.”
“Are they that important?” Noticing the fire, Cynthia pointed to it. “You will need to add more wood for us to continue.”
She watched in silence, as he tended to the fire, and after it was done, she refocused on him. She could see the emotions that were churning in him.
“It seems that they are that important. To you, at least. But I need to be certain that you are not lying to me. Will you let me access your memories?”
He stared at her in shock.
“I will not cause you harm, mortal, and if you are not going to dedicate yourself to me, then I‘m not interested in your life. But I need to be convinced that it is necessary for me to intervene and help your friends. You just need to think about the events of that night, when you found them. I’ll be able to see if you say the truth or not. I will leave all your other thoughts to their privacy.”
Blue was uncertain; what was he getting into if he agreed to this? He was concerned that, despite her claim, she would access his other memories as well. If that was the case, there was a good chance – almost a certainty – that she would learn of Scarlet being alive. And if she could access that memory, what would she do about it? Will she go after him again?
But he had come this far…, for Brad’s and Rick’s sake, he just couldn’t say no. Beside, if he did, she might get suspicious, and he didn’t know what the consequences would be nevertheless.
‘At least she won’t be able to say I outright lied to her,’ he thought. ‘After all, I didn’t actually say Scarlet was dead….’
He just nodded in reply, hoping he wasn’t making a mistake.
A little bit of fear flowed through him as the goddess Cynthia came toward him and carefully took hold of his chin, causing him to look straight into her eyes. As he did so, he found that he couldn’t look away. Recalling her instructions, he thought back to the night they found Grey and Ochre. It was a very unsettling sensation as his memories started to surface for he felt very detached from them. His mind seemed numb and unable to work. Yet his thoughts and impressions of that night still appeared, and he could sense someone else manipulating them. It was not an agreeable experience as he also had the weird feeling of his brain becoming too big for his head. He could only hope that it would be over soon.
Within moments, his wish was answered as Cynthia released his chin. Weary and light-headed, he swayed and rubbed his temples, hoping that he never had to go through something like that again. Still, the effects seemed to pass quickly and feeling better, he looked hopefully at her. “So do you agree to help? Are you able to restore Grey and Ochre?”
As Cynthia examined his memories of the incident, she began to understand just how important the other mortals were and that the warrior had been right. The goddess shook her head. Her supposed ‘followers’ had acted without honour, so it was now up to her to put it right.
However, time was against them.
“I could,” she answered. “But it is only going be achievable while this sacred fire burns.”
“No problem. I’ll make sure it will burn the time for you to do your thing.”
“And I need to see them, so I can determine the best way to heal them.”
Blue felt his heart sink. “I don’t know if that’s going to be possible. They’re on Cloudbase – our headquarters. It’s very closely guarded. I doubt I could get permission for you to visit. Not considering what happened recently. Our commander will never agree.”
“There is a way.” She ran her eyes over him again. “You appear as if you will be able to handle it.”
“I will do whatever is needed to do.”
She nodded and then directed him to build the fire up so that it would last. He busied himself eagerly, for long minutes, putting into the fire all the woods he had. He ran into the villa and grabbing a few old wooden chairs from the kitchen, came back and threw them into the fire, thinking that he would gladly pay for their destruction, if it would serve to bring Ochre and Grey back to their normal state.
The fire was burning high into the garden, and it looked like it would last a very long time. Blue turned to Cynthia. He was now ready and willing to do whatever she wanted of him. She nodded her appreciation.
“Now you need to lie down and get comfortable,” she instructed. “And do not be surprised by what will happen next.”
Unsure and wary, Blue still did what she asked. He lay down on the ground, next to the fire and she approached to crouch by his side. She delicately pushed the fringe back from his brow and touched it lightly. It was as if electricity went through her fingers; he became aware of a sensation of dizziness, shortness of breath. His vision doubled and he closed his eyes, and he felt very light. All of these sensations disappeared, before he could become too concerned.
The impression that he was standing again made Blue wonder and on opening his eyes, he found that he was indeed standing, right next to the goddess. Moreover he could see himself lying there on the ground; that gave him one hell of a fright.
“All is right,” Cynthia told him reassuringly. “You are still alive. Your body has just gone into a very deep sleep.”
He swiftly turned to her; she stood by the fire, looking intently at him. “This way will allow us to go and do what needs to be done. Now please, bring to mind your ‘Cloudbase’, so we can go there.”
Even though he didn’t know what was going to happen, he did as he was told; and then, unexpectedly, he found himself leaving the ground to move through the air. He felt himself heading towards the Caribbean, where Cloudbase was stationed. With Cynthia there, floating effortlessly by his side, looking straight ahead, and seeming unconcerned by the mode of transport.
It was a very odd experience – and he wasn’t sure he was really appreciating it.
He didn’t know how long it took to travel the distance to Cloudbase, but the sight of the hovering headquarters, riding above the clouds, always made his spirit rise.
“Impressive,” Cynthia stated, although the expression on her face didn’t display any of her admiration.
He had to admit she was right. Still lit from the setting sun, with the clouds below changing colours, the sight of Cloudbase did create quite an impression. Idly, he wondered which Angel was on duty at the helm of Angel One, which stood on the runway. If she saw them arriving, he could certainly envision her surprise.
Then he realized: they were at 40,000 feet up in the air. And yet, he didn’t feel any discomfort from the cold or the thin air at this height.
Instinctively, without really thinking about it, he guided her towards one of the maintenance airlocks between the two flight decks. From his knowledge, these were the only accesses to get inside Cloudbase. But the airlock were shielded, and locked by security codes that were changed nearly every day. Only maintenance used them when necessary. He couldn’t see any other way in, and he turned hopelessly to Cynthia who, standing behind him on the surface of the deck, was looking at him a quiet curiosity.
“We can’t get in,” he apologized. “I don’t have the code. And even if I had it and open the lock, that’ll cause alarms blaring throughout Cloudbase.”
She sighed, and shook her head. “You mortals are easily deterred by details that gods do not concern themselves about,” she retorted. She presented her hand. “Give me your hand.” He did so, and she approached the door. He watched, stunned, as she passed right through the door of the airlock; she disappeared momentary from his view as she went completely through, pulling him along. Her grip was strong and her pull compelling, and he saw his arm following her. The next second, his whole body passed through. He didn’t feel a thing; it was as if there was nothing solid there to block his way.
It was one of the most unusual experiences he had ever undergone.
They passed through the second door or the airlock in the same fashion, and then found themselves in the maintenance way behind the airlock.
“I need to remind you that time is against us,” Cynthia told Blue. “So where are those mortals you want me to help?”
Blue took a look at his watch; for if he knew roughly what time it was on base, then he would be able to make a reasonable guess as to where Grey and Ochre could be. Only to find that it wasn’t working.
‘Great. Another weird happening to add to the others of this night.’
“I’m not sure,” he said. “But considering their condition, there wouldn’t be many places for them to be. I think we should try the Sickbay first. Since that incident in Greece, they have been confined there for the night. Our physician wants to keep them on close watch. From the look outside, it’s nearly bedtime for them. They could be there.”
“Well,” Cynthia gave a wave of her arm. “Lead the way.”
So he did and as they went, he was glad for the twice yearly Cloudbase ‘where is?’ challenges, for they were the only other times he had been in these parts. It didn’t take long before they had made their way to the main corridors. ‘How am I going to handle security?’ he worried.
That was when they encountered Harmony as they turned a corner, making him stop in his tracks. She didn’t seem to notice the woman with him, or him for the matter, as she came towards then. She was nearly on top of them, and he was about to acknowledge her, only to get a real surprise when the Angel pilot walked right past them. Turning to say something, he was interrupted by Cynthia, who stood beside him.
“No one can see us. I thought it best, knowing your concern about your base’s security stopping us from seeing your colleagues.”
“What?” He turned to her in surprise. “But won’t it be a hindrance?”
To his annoyance, she just replied with a gesture of indifference and indicated that they were to carry on.
They made their way to the Sickbay, meeting people on the way who ignored them; Blue became used to not being seen. It was an odd feeling moving through Cloudbase while being ignored but Blue did appreciate not having to deal with security. There were still some questions nagging him so, on their way he asked, “Why did your followers choose Grey and Ochre? Surely they would have known what a hornet’s nest they were provoking, taking someone from the armed forces.”
“They were chosen because I chose them. That is, I became aware of them when they came near a site, which was dedicated to me. There was something about them that intrigued me.” Cynthia glanced at him sideways and continued: “I find that there is the same thing in you, and in that other mortal I had to punish. It’s a shame about that because whatever it is that intrigues me, it was even stronger in him.”
“A shame? The fact that you killed him or because you wish you had studied him more?” Blue asked her. “And now you’ve missed your chance?”
“You can stop playing games with me, mortal,” she said warningly. “I know very well he’s alive.”
“You know…?” Blue was afraid of that. He groaned. “How…?”
“Not through you, if you are wondering. And as for the how – I am a goddess. So should that surprise you that much? Though how he could survive my attack is still a mystery to me.”
“Do you intend to go after him again? To see why?” Blue asked with uncertainty.
“Is he as vital to your fight against the Mysterons as the others are?”
Blue shook his head. “He’s the most vital of all of us. There is something… special about him.”
“So I imagine, mortal. If he could survive an attack from me, he is indeed special.”
“I would be grateful, Lady Cynthia, if you would leave him be.”
“He has had his punishment. I will leave it as it is.”
She made a gesture of anger. “I should not have needed to do it anyway. That situation ought not to have come about.” With a shake of her head she complained: “I didn’t know that my followers had broken their vows. They were supposed to only invite, as that rite is meant to be performed only by those who do so willingly.”
Blue could see that the goddess was fuming and knowing that it was towards her followers, he enquired: “What will happen to them now? Because I know quite a number of people who would like to get a hold of them.” He gave her a stern look. “I’m sure that you have been the reason why we have not found them. You are helping them hide from us.”
“That is true,” She answered. “Nonetheless, I will personally deal with them, for they have dishonoured me. It is my right.”
She stopped and turned fully to face him; he felt the power contained in her and wisely decided to say no more.
“Do not be concerned, mortal. They will pay fully. The thing they sought pleasure in will be no more. And as for their high priestess… she will be reminded every month of what she did.”
With a sharp nod of her head, she ended the discussion. Blue understood that she would not discuss any of it anymore.
Arriving at the entrance of Cloudbase’s medical area, Blue crossed his fingers and hoped that Grey and Ochre were here. Else he would have to go hunting for them through Cloudbase and he wasn’t sure that there would be time for that. Leading Cynthia to where his colleagues should be, he breathed a sigh of relief. They were there, settled in their beds, looking annoyed but resigned to the night-time monitoring.
He didn’t have time to say anything as Cynthia walked towards them. Curious and apprehensive, at the same time, about what she was going to do, he took a step forward to stop her, only to realise that there was no need to intervene, as they didn’t react as she went and studied them.
As she came back to him, he gave her an enquiring look. She knew what he wanted to ask her.
“Yes, I can heal them. I could heal them instantly, but it would cause them a lot of pain. However, if a small bit of time was taken, they wouldn’t feel any at all.”
“For the one you call Grey, about three days. The other, two.”
“Why the difference?”
She gave him a ‘are you dumb?’ look. “A brain is a lot more complex to heal than a heart.”
“Ah.” Blue felt a little stupid. “Hmm, if it’s going to take time to heal them then we might run into a problem. They might have to leave before you have finished healing them. So…, how to arrange it so that won’t happen?” Staring into space, he considered what to do next. “Doctor Fawn is the one we need to see,” he finally decided. “But how are we going to do that because he can’t see us?”
This time, she gave him a sympathetic look, as she could hear a hint of anxiety in his voice. “Just take me to him and it will be all sorted out.”
With that, he took them back through the Sickbay, towards the offices, hoping on the way that Fawn wouldn’t be in the middle of something.
Their luck held, for not only did they find Doctor Fawn in his office but he was also taking one of his rare breaks.
Dropping his cup of coffee, when he saw Blue unexpectedly materialize in front of him, in company of a strange woman he didn’t know.
The American captain held up his hands as if surrendering. “Please Doc, don’t be alarmed. We’re not Mysterons… and I am truly here, and not a figment of your imagination.”
“If that’s really true you’re not Mysterons,” Fawn countered as he backed behind his desk, “then you’ll stay right where you are until I call security to confirm it.”
Blue gave a nod. “It’s vital you don’t do that, Doc. You can see we are not armed and I know you have a Mysteron detector by your desk. Will you please use it? Then if the results are not to your satisfaction, you can call security.”
Fawn watched as Blue’s companion also slowly raised her hands. Muttering about how foolish it could be, he warily got the detector and took a snap of them.
Blue held his breath as he didn’t know what it would show. He didn’t know how deities could possibly appear on the pic of a Mysteron detector. Worried, he threw a glance at Cynthia, who returned a small smile and a nod. That allowed him to relax.
Looking at the photo once it had developed, Fawn was relieved to see Captain Blue’s thick skull. His companion also seemed very normal. He threw the picture onto his desk and put the detector down.
“Cripes, Blue!” he exclaimed. “What are you trying to do? Send me to the marble orchard?”
Guiltily he made an apologizing motion. “Sorry, Doc. We didn’t mean to startle you.”
He watch as Fawn looked at him, then intensely at his companion before turning back to him. “What are you doing here? I thought you were ground-side. And who is this woman?”
“Ah, well…” Blue said, hesitating. “This is… Lady Cynthia.”
“Cynthia?” Fawn repeated. He opened wide eyes. “You don’t mean the Cynthia who –”
“Please, Doc…. Hear me out. I will explain everything.”
And with some trepidation, Blue explained his idea and what he had done since he had left Cloudbase.
After hearing what Blue had to say and questioning him closely, Fawn shook his head. “I should know by now that you lot don’t do things by halves. Or be surprised by peculiar happenings.” Eyeing Blue’s companion, he asked her: “So you reckon you will be able to restore Grey and Ochre. How?”
“Does it matter how I will do it, physician?” she replied. “Is it not sufficient that I will right the wrongs that had been done to them?”
“Well, at least you admit your followers had been doing them wrong, so that must count for something, I imagine.”
“Doc,” Blue intervened quickly, seeing Cynthia frown at Fawn’s words. “I’ve seen her do incredible things. I believe she will be able to restore Ochre and Grey. If you can’t trust her – can you trust me?”
Fawn hesitated. “Well, if there’s something I learned, it’s to trust your instincts, Captain Blue.” He turned to the goddess. “At this point, I have little hope to heal them myself. So what do you need me to do?”
“Simply carry on as you have but be aware that they will be asleep for a number of days. For the one you know as Ochre, it will be around two sunrises and sunsets. As for the other: three.”
Frowning, Fawn’s attention turned inwards as he mulled over what Cynthia had said. He made a slight nod as he came to terms with what was going to happen. “Right. I have no problems with that. We should be able to deal with any consequences that might come about.” Bringing his attention back to the goddess, he stated, “I take it that it needs to happen now?”
“Yes,” Cynthia replied with a nod.
“Good. Follow me.” And with, that Doctor Fawn headed to Grey and Ochre’s room.
As they reached their destination, Blue watched as his colleagues greeted Doctor Fawn but didn’t seem to notice his and Cynthia’s presence. He glanced at her.
“You seem surprised that we are invisible again?” She waved at the two beds. “To them we are. It makes easier for me to do what I need to do.” Finishing her explanation, she walked up to them and laid a hand on their foreheads, sending them to sleep.
Surveying Grey and Ochre asleep, Blue couldn’t believe that they were going to be okay again; that what he had hoped for was actually happening. His attention was pulled from them as the goddess spoke to him.
“Now, that they are in a healing sleep, I don’t need to stay.” She turned to Doctor Fawn, “I will keep an eye on them from afar, but there should be no reason for them not to be fully restored by the time they awake in a few days.”
A small branch with heart-shaped leaves suddenly materialised in her hand and she held it to Fawn. “Now that I know what I know, this is another way I can help. This is a branch from what you mortals would call ‘the tree of life’. It will help in the healing of even the worst injuries. However, it will not bring someone back from the dead. Use it wisely.”
Stunned he took it and watched it with uncertainty.
“It needs to go into some water now,” she explained. “Once that is done, I will tell you how to use it.” She turned on her heel to face Captain Blue. “You need to go back. Time has got critical. Follow the pull and do not get side-tracked, for the consequences might not be good for you.”
As she said it, Blue felt the pull she was talking about and once more experienced the sensation of passing through the outer skin of Cloudbase.
He was back out in the night sky, and the impression of flying again took over, as Blue’s spiritual form headed back to his body.
His journey was uneventful until he came near Algiers. That was when he was almost hit by what seemed like twin columns of a pale greenish light, which sent him to the ground. There, he saw something that chilled him to the bones.
The sight of Captain Black, taking aim with a long-range gun, and preparing himself to shoot someone.
This was an unexpected scene and it took Blue by surprise. Even if he wasn’t a captain of Spectrum, he could not allow something like this to happen in front of his eyes without doing something to stop it. He gave a shout of warning which, to his astonishment and relief, cause Black to miss his shot. Hearing the shot and feeling the wind of the bullet as it passed near him, the startled would-be victim didn’t lose anytime to run away from the scene. What’s more, by the time Black took aim again, his victim was out of his reach. That put an end to Black’s hopes of fulfilling his mission. With his plans foiled, he dissipated into thin air, and disappeared from the scene.
Blue could only watch as it all happened; for when he tried to reach for the person he had saved and talk to him, he was shocked to see his hand went right through him. He was still invisible and inaudible. That made him wonder how he had managed to startle Black in the first place.
His help was no longer needed and Blue became aware that he could no longer feel the pull that he had felt since he had left Cloudbase. Alarmed, he anxiously tried to focus on where his body was and although he once again rose into the air, he was unable to feel anything.
He looked around desperately, hunting for landmarks to help him get his bearings.
Seeing the shoreline and recognising a headland, he started to move confidently along it, knowing that he was going in the right direction. Soon, he came to the part of the Mediterranean Sea that separated Tunisia from Sicily. It was then that he ran into a big problem.
At least, it looked like fog but somehow he knew that it wasn’t, for he could sense a feeling of ill-intent. And that wasn’t the only thing happening. He, himself, was beginning to feel more and more uneasy.
Pushing on into his quest to return to his body, his feelings only got worse, turning from uneasiness to worry, from worry to anguish, from anguish to fear and from fear to terror.
A terror that he had felt once before, long ago when he was a boy. It had been almost overwhelming when he was a boy and so it was now, to the point that it petrified him.
Experiencing it again he came to long for the one place that had been his shelter of peace during that time, so long ago – only to see it appear before him through the fog. He couldn’t believe his eyes, and yet, he was so relieved that he could only walked through its door.
And as he entered it, he once more felt the peace that he had found here as a young boy, bringing forth a desire to never leave again.
‘Captain Blue should have reported the end of his mission by now.’
A feeling of ‘not again’ came over Colonel White, as he checked the time for the nth time.
“Lieutenant Green, get in contact with Spectrum Istanbul and find out if Captain Blue has reported for his flight.”
His fingers lightly drummed his desk as he waited for the lieutenant’s findings. He suspected that it would be a negative response, for it would be highly unusual for Blue to forget regulations and to report, but he hoped that he was wrong.
“Colonel,” Green called from his station, “Istanbul says that Captain Blue has not done so. Furthermore, the Spectrum helijet he requested at the start of his mission has not yet returned.”
“Where did he go to?”
“According to the logs at Spectrum Istanbul, he was heading to Efes Airport, near the town of Selçuk. The Helijet is still at the Airport, under the care of our agent stationed there. According to him, Captain Blue took a taxi to go to his next location.” Green gave a look of concern. “There’s no record of Blue contacting our agent at the airport again.”
“Order Captain Scarlet to come the Control Room, Lieutenant.”
Leaning back into his seat, Colonel White contemplated on what might have happened to Captain Blue. Early that morning, Doctor Fawn had come to him, telling him of the decidedly astonishing events of the previous night – of the presence of Captain Blue and of this ‘goddess’ who had come to cure Captain Grey and Captain Ochre. At first, the Spectrum commander had not been very pleased to hear that security of his base had been foiled by one of his officers – and that he had brought along a being who could have been a potential threat to everyone on board. However, seeing the results of this morning – how Grey and Ochre, who seemed to be plunged into a deep coma, were starting to show definite signs of improving – he had decided that the outcome probably was worth the risk and he had endorsed Blue and Fawn’s actions. If anything, the colonel trusted Fawn totally – the doctor had never given him any reason to doubt him.
That left Colonel White wondering why and how Blue got mixed up with that ‘goddess Cynthia’ and what trouble it was going to cause now. The piece in the report Fawn had given him about the circumstances surrounding how Blue had left the other night was concerning.
His thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of Scarlet.
“Sit down, Captain. I’ve got a mission for you.”
Captain Scarlet could feel his exasperation mounting, as he followed Captain Blue’s trail; he could understand Blue’s reasoning behind his attempt to contact Cynthia, but he couldn’t help himself thinking it was highly risky. ‘Why did you try this foolhardy plan on your own, considering what had happened before, Adam? Why didn’t you ask for help?’
Releasing the tension he was feeling with a sigh, he acknowledged the fact that Blue would more than likely to have been lightly teased and scolded if he had mentioned his idea. So it was no wonder he worked alone on it; still, as unlikely at it seemed, his plan seemed to have worked, considering that according to Doctor Fawn, Ochre and Grey were starting to improve.
But Blue hadn’t reported in, which worried Scarlet. However, he had left a nice clear trail to follow.
Having reached Efes Airport where Blue had left the helijet; Scarlet lost no time in questioning the Spectrum agent there. He found out that Blue had changed into civvies and had left in a taxi, simply informing the agent that he was going to the town of Selçuk.
Scarlet got in touch with Lieutenant Green asking him to research Blue’s taxi trip.
Pulling up to the gate of the villa that Blue had rented, Scarlet cautiously made his way inside, not knowing what he might find. Making his way into the living area, he came across the first signs that Blue had been in this place: a couple of bags, one empty, and the other containing his uniform. Blue was still nowhere to be found. He wasn’t in any of the rooms.
Becoming even more worried, Scarlet headed to search the garden. Entering the inner courtyard, he made his way around the overgrown planters and shrubs. Coming around the end of a large planter, he spotted a foot, wearing a shoe. He hurried forward; to his dismay, he found Blue, lying on the cold ground by the remains of a burnt out fire. He moved swiftly to kneel beside his partner.
Checking Blue over, he was concerned about how cold he was, and the fact that he could not get any response from him. He couldn’t see any injuries, so he carefully moved Blue back into the villa. He contacted Green, beginning what first-aid he could for Blue.
It was a great relief for him to see the medicopter land near the villa, some time later.
Standing by the foot of the bed where Captain Blue lay, Colonel White gave Doctor Fawn his attention as the latter reported the results of his examination of the comatose officer. Throughout the trip back from Turkey, Blue had not woken up for one moment. This was beginning to be very concerning.
“I know you were aware that Captain Blue was suffering from hypothermia when he was brought in, Colonel. Thankfully he’s responded well to the treatment.” Fawn looked at his notes. “Still, it will be a couple of hours or so before his core temperature is in the normal range, but he’s no longer critical.”
“That’s good to hear.” Colonel White responded. “How long do you think it’ll take, before we’ll be able to question him?”
“Ah… I don’t know.” Fawn gave Blue a glance, before turning it to the colonel. “There’s no sign of any other injuries or illness. His heart rate is slow but steady. Blood pressure and oxygen levels are low but are at an acceptable level. All other automatic body functions are good. But….” He raised a hand in a gesture of uncertainty “That’s all. The M.E.G, scan shows no activity in the higher part of his brain. Oxygen is getting to it, but very little is used.”
“What are you inferring, Doctor?” White fixed him with a sharp look.
“Blue’s in a deep coma, but it’s unlike any I’ve seen before. As there’s no indication of trauma or oxygen deprivation and M.E.G. showed no change in his brain’s physical structure, it leaves me with no comparisons to help me predict what might happen. I’m working in the dark here, so to speak.” Shrugging, he continued: “I can’t tell you medically how he got like this or how long it might last. Blast it!” He hit his thigh with his pad. “I can’t even tell you that he will come out of it.” Sadly he added: “There’s a chance he won’t.”
“Hmmm.” Colonel White moved his gaze to Blue for a moment. Then he turned his eyes to the door of the next room, where he knew Grey and Ochre were resting. “How are the others?” he asked.
“Good news there.” Fawn answered. “An M.I.R. scan has shown that the valves in Ochre’s heart are almost back to normal and there’s also a significant improvement in Grey. They are definitely recovering.”
Colonel White nodded slightly and refocused on Blue. “While I’m very pleased to hear that his ‘quest’ has paid off, I would have preferred for it not to have been at the expense of his health. Dammit it, Blue,” he growled. “Do you have any idea of the ruckus you’re going to cause?” He turned back to Fawn. “Have you told any of the others?” he asked, thinking of Scarlet especially of Symphony. “I mean, do they know any of this?”
“No,” Fawn replied, with a shake of his head and shifting his gaze onto Blue. “Oh, they know that I’m treating his hypothermia, but not the fact that he has no higher brain waves. Only you, my close staff and I know it for the moment.”
The colonel also turned to study Blue. “You said medically you have no idea how Captain Blue got like this. That sounds like you have another kind of idea. Do you?”
“Probably similar to what you have thought. Knowing what Blue was doing before this happened.”
“Yes…, the goddess Cynthia. So do you think she’s responsible for this?” The colonel asked. With a wave of the hand, he indicated Blue lying in the bed, and the medical paraphernalia around him.
“No at least, not directly. I think… he’s gotten lost going back.”
“What?” Surprised by Fawn’s reply, Colonel White regarded the good doctor closely and needing clarification asked: “What do you mean?”
Doctor Fawn turned and intently looked at Colonel White. “I told you of the strange events of the other night. How Blue had appeared to me with this goddess…. Well, I didn’t know exactly how to tell you this at the time. I think he was here only by what is referred as an out of body experience. It’s semi-recognized in the medical profession.”
“The body of a person is in one place, while the spirit can be in another. So it was Captain Blue’s spirit, which was here the other night, but he wasn’t here physically nor was the goddess. I could see them, and hear them, however neither Grey nor Ochre could and no one else either, I suspect. Ah, I guess it was one way to get around security. I have to say, it gave me one hell of a fright when they both appeared. Even more so when I saw Blue suddenly disappearing through the wall so suddenly.” Fawn paused, and with his eyes becoming unfocused, he slowly and quietly continued, “It would be interesting to talk with Blue about his experience when he wakes up. From a purely scientific point of view, of course.”
“Doctor,” Colonel White recalled him back.
“Sorry, Colonel.” Refocusing, Fawn continued: “From what’s known, the person’s spirit – or personality, persona, character, soul, essence, whatever you want to call it – is able to leave its body, allowing it to travel. Although it has to do so ‘physically’ which means that it doesn’t instantly get to where it’s going.” With a rub of his chin he mused, “From what I’ve heard, it can be like flying.” Fawn’s attention moved to Blue. “Before she had finished here, Cynthia told Blue to go back to his body and not to get side-tracked. That’s before he disappeared through the wall.” He gave his head a shake. “I think that something happened on the way back to divert him.”
“Oh.” Colonel White walked to the bed’s head and looked down at his captain’s face. Those working under his command were all good men and women, and each one was an integral part of Spectrum. Which, he guessed, was why Blue acted as he did. What the ramifications would be from this, he didn’t know. Nevertheless, they were sure to be felt by most on the base.
Studying Blue’s face, he was reassured to see that there was no sign of pain or distress. It was calm and composed. “It’s an odd situation we find ourselves in, Edward,” he said. “But I know that you will do your best for him. What can I do to help?”
‘Well, for starters, we don’t know long he’s going to be like this. We’ll have to inform his fiancée…. She has the right to know. And then, eventually, his family. Although what we’re going to tell them exactly, I don’t know yet.”
The colonel’s eyes stared into the distance. “It can’t be any worse than dealing with Grey’s family,” he quietly grumbled. Turning to Fawn again, he asked: “Anything else?”
“If you could schedule time for the others to visit, it would be appreciated. For all we know, their companionship and familiarity, might be all that’s need to bring him back. Especially from those closest to him.”
“Do you think it will happen?”
“I don’t really know, Colonel, but stranger things have happened before. And like wanting to see a Bunyip, we can hope, can’t we?”
“Yes, Doctor,” Colonel White approved with a simple nod. “If there is one thing I learned through the year, it’s that hope can move mountains. So let’s pray that this time around, it will do another miracle.
DISCLAIMER AND AUTHOR'S NOTES:
One is grateful for the wonderful imagination of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the creators of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. That opened the door for this story and I acknowledge that the copyright belongs to someone else, not me.
I also want to express gratitude to Chris and the beta-reading team for her hard work in helping me to get this story finished and suitable for the website. Thanks, Chris.
My story has been written for mine and others’ enjoyment and not for any financial gain and any mistakes are mine.
If you are wondering about the terrible event that happen in Captain Blue’s childhood, that I hinted at in my story? Then you need to go and read a great story that was written by this website’s very own colonel, Chris Bishop entitled 'A Symphony in Blue'. Also referred to was a place that is very special to Blue. The reason for that can be found, in another good read. Marion Woods’ 'Sojourn'.
I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did, when I read them.
Any comments? Send an to the site