Original series Suitable for all readersMedium level of violence

 

 

Just a Splash of Death, a Captain Scrlet and the Mysterons story for Halloween, by VMR

 

The heat and humidity of the jungle caused Captain Black no discomfit as he waited for the doctor who was going to become the Mysterons’ next servant. Parked on the side of one of the few roads in what was left of the Amazon’s jungle, he had the hood of his car up, making out that he had broken down. Doctor Kaden Breen was an excellent choice for the Mysterons as he had access to the scientific research compound that was located in the jungle. Soon, his car came into sight and Black stepped onto the road to flag him down. Seeing what looked like a breakdown, the doctor made a bad decision and stopped.

“Can I be of any assistance?” he asked Black.

“Yes, that would be good.” The coldness and hollowness of Black’s voice came across as being a little spooky to Doctor Breen. “Do you know anything about engines?” 

Black moved away from the front of the car as the Doctor Breen got out to have a look.  Suddenly the birds in the nearby trees took off as the sound of a gun shot rang through the air.

The Mysterons now had a new way to bring about their revenge as the replicated doctor hid the original body in the bushes by the side of the road.

“You know what you have to do,” Black told the new servant.

“The Mysterons’ orders will be carried out,” the replicated Doctor Breen replied.

 

 

This is the voice of the Mysterons. We know that you can hear us, Earthmen. You brought violence to us when you attacked our complex. For that, we will be avenged. From a ring of isles in calm waters, we will use one of your basic weapons to launch an invisible wave of death.

 

As many times they heard the threats, they still made the members of Spectrum shiver.

“Lieutenant Green, call the captains to the Control Room.”

“S.I.G, Colonel.” Activating the comm. system, Lieutenant Green alerted the Captains to the colonel’s orders.

 

***********

 

Colonel White sat at his desk as the captains came into the room. First through the door were Ochre and Magenta, followed closely by Blue and Scarlet. As they sat down, the colonel wondered where Grey was. He turned to Lieutenant Green, who was sitting at his console. “Lieutenant, any idea where Captain Grey is?”

Green taped away on his keyboard. “Captain Grey is currently finishing a stint in the room of sleep. It will be completed in about three minutes, Colonel.”

“Hmm. Make sure that he knows to join us when he awakes.”

“S.I.G, sir.”

Turning, the colonel faced his other captains. “You all have heard the recent threat?”

The captains looked at each other. Nodding, Scarlet answered, “yes, sir.”

“Well, what are your thoughts?”

Blue, with a thoughtful look, spoke up: “Well, ‘islet’ means a small island or an island of an island. They mentioned a ring of them in calm water. Hmm, are we looking for a group of islands in a lake or somewhere else? Maybe a ring of islands around an island?”

“And what would they consider a basic weapon?” Magenta rubbed his chin. “I mean. considering what they can do, wouldn’t they think that all our weapons were basic? Any ideas, Scarlet?”

 “No. I know that I would consider a weapon basic if it was easy to use and didn’t need a lot of training. Like a grenade. But as for what they think?” He shrugged his shoulders.

“Looks like we need to find where they are going to strike from first and hopefully, the rest of it will come clear,” said Ochre.

“I agree. So that’s your priority, Captains,” said the colonel.

Lieutenant Green interrupted, “Colonel, Captain Grey is here.”

“Send him in, Lieutenant.”

 The door slid open and the moving walkway brought Grey to Colonel White’s control desk. “I trust you’re well rested, Captain?”

“Yes sir, I am.”

“Good. Have a seat. You would not have had a chance to have heard the latest Mysteron threat let.”

“No, Colonel, I have not.”

“Lieutenant, please replay it.”

Lieutenant Green nodded, and pressed a button.  A recording of the recent Mysteron threat filled the speakers once again, and Grey listened carefully.  At the end of it, a contemplative frown creased his brow.

“A ring of islets, in calm waters,” he muttered. The others looked at him, waiting to hear what he was going to come up with. “That seems familiar.” A look of comprehension came on his face. “It’s an atoll.”

“An atoll, Captain Grey? Are you sure?” asked Colonel White.

“Yes, sir. You see, an atoll is a ring of small to very small islands and most of them are found in the Pacific. Not only that, sir, but it is also a part of a poem that was written by Kaden Breen. ‘Of the blue that flows through me, from a ring. A ring of islets nestled in waters calm.’ At least that how I remember it.”

“That makes sense to me,” Blue put in.

“Hmm, you might be right,” said the colonel as he looked at Grey. Turning to the others, he addressed them: “Right, Captains. It looks like we need to track down any conferences, gatherings, contests etc., which could be used by Mysterons for their latest threat. Lieutenant Green, get in touch with all of our Pacific bases and see if they have any information that would help. Dismiss, Captains.”

The captains stood, saluted and left, heading to the information centre.

 “So how are we going to do this?” asked Ochre. “There’s a lot of ground to cover.”

Blue thought about it. “Why don’t we begin at A? Each of us takes an island group whose name starts with that, to do the research on. Then if nothing shows up, pick up the next group in alphabetical order. That way, hopefully, we won‘t miss anyone or anything?”

“In other words, go group by group. Sounds okay by me,” Magenta said as he headed to a computer.

“That works for me.” Grey also headed for a computer.

“It’s as good a plan as any,” replied Ochre as he sat down to work. Scarlet just nodded his head as he too started his search.

 

 

Doctor Breen drove up to the security gate of his workplace. “Pass please,” a guard asked. Breen handed his security ID over. “Nice to see you back, Doctor. Hope your trip was okay?” the guard said as he glanced at it.

 “Yes it was. In fact, I need to go away again because of it.”

“Well, I hope that it will be as good, Doctor.”

“Yes, I’m sure it will be,” the doctor answered.

He drove through the gate and to a building that was set apart from the others. Going up to the door, he took his security ID, swiped it in a reader and punch in some numbers. The door opened and he moved through it. Making his way down a corridor, he soon came to the room he was looking for, a laboratory. Entering, he headed to a desk and removed a briefcase from a drawer.

 Next, he went to a climate-controlled cabinet and after entering the right code, opened it. Before him were rows of vials; reading the labels, he hunted for those that the Mysterons wanted. Finding them, he opened the case and placed the vials into its specially made interior. He closed the lid, the cabinet, and left the room.

He then headed to his office and, using his computer, answered an e-mail and booked airline tickets.

With that done he went to his car, hopped in and left the centre.

 

***********

Scarlet was starting to get frustrated and he knew the others were too. It was a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. There were a lot of atolls to research. Okay, not all of them were populated, but there were still plenty that were, and a lot of them had tourism as a major part of their economies. So that meant a lot of conferences, groups and even a few contests. He wondered about the surfing contest in Fiji as the Mysterons had mentioned a wave in their treat, but he knew that Blue was looking into it. Nobody knew about surfing more than Blue, he would probably enjoy going through the ins and outs of it.

Still, Scarlet thought, if they kept at it, he was sure they would get a breakthrough.

Coming to the end of his latest search, Scarlet realized that there were no more to do. Magenta, Ochre, Grey and Blue joined him at a table as they brought together what they had found.

 “So what have we got?” asked Scarlet.

“That surfing contest in Fiji is a possibility but I’m not a hundred percent certain, as it’s mainly being held on the main island and not out on the atolls,” Blue answered as he put the information on the table.

“There’s a Diving symposium at Fakaofo in Tokelau,” said Magenta doing the same.

“There are group tours being run in the Cook Islands, Niue, Vanuatu, Samoa, in fact almost all of the ‘tourist’ spots have tour groups happening. How on earth are we going to work out where we need to be?” The annoyance in Grey’s voice made the others look at him for it was rare of him to sound so frustrated.

“Amtam is having their annual big wig conference on Bora Bora,” put in Ochre.

“World Tel is also having one, but theirs is going to be in Aitutaki,” said Blue.

“What about the Miss Island contest that’s happening on Manihiki in the Cook Islands as well?” asked Ochre.

“There’s going to be an Outrigger regatta at Ontong Java,” Grey stated.

“I’ve come across info about an Oceanographers convention,” Scarlet added.

“It’s being held along side the Diving symposium,” said Magenta.

“Oh.”

“What else is there?” Blue enquired. All the captains laid out what they had found. Blue sighed. “Grey’s right. The Mysterons haven’t made it easy to work out where they are going to strike from. We’re going to need a break.”

***********

 

Doctor James was as happy as can be, as she drove back to her work at the medical research compound. With the new information that Doctor Breen had got at the conference he had been to, their research was sure to benefit. She was however annoyed at having to leave the compound in the first place. She had so wanted to be at the compound for Doctor Breen’s arrival, but just because some stupid official misplaced some paperwork, she had to go and jump through bureaucratic hoops, and now he probably was so immersed in his work, that she would have a hard time getting his attention.

Looking ahead, she noted that there was a group of king vultures beside the road. Roadkill, she thought, an easy meal for them. As she went past, she slowed down to see if she could identify want it was that they were feasting on, as the jungle guardians that the World Government had put in place would want to know. It was hard to see, as the birds were all over it, dragging it as they all tried to get a piece of it.

Doctor James almost screamed as she realised that what she thought was animal was wearing a boot. She stopped her car and ran back, waving her arms and making a lot of noise, causing the birds to take off.  Trying to keep her food down, Doctor James kneeled down by the body that was laying face down; she noted that it looked male. She turned it over.

She shot up and screamed as the face of Doctor Breen stared up at the sky.

 

 

Lieutenant Green spun from his console to face the colonel. “Colonel White, I’ve just received a report from our base in Manaus in Brazil of a possible Mysteron replicant.”

“What does it say, Lieutenant?”

“The head of security at Aguas Vivas, Centro de Investigaciσn Cientνfica, Negro, reported that one of their scientists was found dead. When he investigated the death he found a discrepancy as the entry and exit records at the centre showed that the scientist, a Doctor Kaden Breen had entered at 11:08am and left at 11:20am. However, his body was found at around 11:30am, fifty miles from the centre. As he realized that there would have been no way for the doctor to have been able to get from the centre to where the body was found in that timeframe, he as the head of security at Aguas Vivas followed the direction issued by the World Government regarding these cases, and to get in touch with the nearest Spectrum office.”

“Hmm, it indeed needs to be checked out. Lieutenant, order Captains Magenta and Ochre to take an SPJ and meet up with our office in Manaus. This might be the breakthrough we need.”

“S.I.G, sir.”

 

***********

No sooner was the order given, that Captain Magenta found himself sitting in the cockpit of a SPJ beside Ochre, taking off from Cloudbase and heading to Eduardo Gomes International Airport in Manaus. Magenta looked over at his field partner and noted the smile on his face; Ochre might not be quite as good a pilot as Blue but his love for flying was just as great.

As they entered Brazilian air space, Magenta wondered what the Mysterons were up to, if indeed the doctor they were to check on did turn out to be a replicant.  And why Brazil? He and Ochre had talked about it but both of them still couldn’t workout what the Mysterons might be planning.

Upon landing, they got in touch with the Manaus Spectrum office and after receiving what information they could give them, they requested a SSC and were soon on their way. Arriving at Aguas Vivas, they requested to question the security guard who had been on the gate when Doctor Breen had came earlier, and Doctor James, who had found the body of her dead colleague. It did not take them long to establish that, yes, there was a very high chance that Doctor Breen was a replicant, even though they had no way to test him, as he couldn’t be found anywhere. Now they had to work out what it was he was up to.

“Doctor James, what were you and Doctor Breen working on?” Captain Ochre asked.

“We were working on a way of harvesting Hydroxy-propane-tricarb-oxylic acid in sustainable commercial quantities.”

“Just how dangerous is Hydroxy-by-bro-a-pane, oh however you say it?”

“Not at all. I guess if you ate a lot of it, it could be, but it is widely used as a food preservative.”

“But that doesn’t make sense. What could he have been after?” Captain Magenta was perplexed. “Are you sure that what you and Doctor Breen were working on couldn’t be used to cause harm?”

“Certainly not. Our aim was to help increase food availability. All the compounds that we use in our research have to be considered harmless.”

“There must have been something he needed. Why else would he come back here?” Ochre looked at Magenta and then back to the guard. “While he was in the compound, do you know where Doctor Breen’s lookalike went?”

“And I need to have access to his office and computer,” Magenta added. Turning to Ochre, he added, “There might be something in there that would give us a clue.”

“Go ahead, Magenta. I know that if there’s anything there you’ll find it. Meanwhile, I’ll check out where the doc went.” Ochre focussed on the guard again. “We’re ready to go when you are.”

“This way, sirs.”

The guard first led them to the doctor’s office; he unlocked the door and let Magenta in . Next, he and Ochre went to the main security room to work out where Breen had gone to while in the compound. The guard accessed the records of all the doors and checked them out.

“Hmm, it looks like he went to Lab 5 west and then to his office.”

“Could we see what he did?” Ochre asked.

“No, we don’t have cctv in our buildings, only at the gate.”

“Oh. So what’s in Lab 5?”

“I’m not sure. You’ve to ask the doctors and scientists about that.”

“You guys do a good job, don’t you?”

“Hey, keeping track of what the scientists are doing is not our job. The World Government’s risk rating of this facility is very low. Our job is to know who is in the compound and that they are allowed to be here. As well as making sure the buildings are secured if no-one’s in them.”

“Okay. Fair enough. It just makes our job harder. Let’s go to Lab 5 and have a look. I’ll decide what need’s to be done next after that.”

Leaving the room, they made their way to the lab. Once inside, Ochre looked around; seeing all the gear and substances, he knew that working out what Doctor Breen wanted was going to take time.

“Please, tell me that there’s someone who knows what should be in here?” he asked the guard.

“Yes, there is.”

Ochre breathed a sigh of relief. “At least that’s something,” he muttered. To the guard, he said, “Let’s go back to my colleague. I need to see what he’s found before I report in.”

 They headed back to Magenta to find him typing away on the doctor’s computer.

 “Any luck?” Ochre asked him.

“Yes. It seems that our good doctor booked flight LA 333, at noon, from Manaus to Lima, then flight LA 42 to Papeete, which was scheduled to leave an hour ago. I’ve just got into his e-mails, so hopefully we might find out more of his plan.”

“That would be good. Time to report in. Let me know if you come across anything important.”

“S.I.G, Ochre.”

Ochre moved to a quiet spot by a window and activated his radio. “Ochre to Cloudbase.”

“Receiving you, Captain,” Lieutenant Green responded in his distinctive West Indian tones.

“Reporting that Doctor Breen is very likely to be a Mysteron. He has entered a laboratory here but it is unknown as to what he did or was after. His work colleague, Doctor James, assures us that what they were working on could not be used to cause harm, so we have no idea as to why the Mysterons have chosen him.”

“Do you know where he is now, Captain?”

Ochre gave the information Magenta told him about the flights and Green took note of it all.

“S.I.G., Captain.  We’ll check if Doctor Breen has taken these seats.”

“Ochre. I’ve found something else.”

“Hang on a minute, Lieutenant.” Keeping the radio link open, Ochre moved over to the desk and leant on it. “What’ve got, Magenta?”

“Doctor Breen has very recently answered an e-mail from a Doctor Crane, saying that he will attend the meeting. What’s more Ochre, Breen answered it when he was a Mysteron.”

“Does he say where the meeting’s going to be or what‘s it about?”

“No, but I’ll find that out.”

“Do so. Did you get all that, Lieutenant?” Ochre asked.

“Yes, Captain.”

“Any orders for us?”

“Yes, Captain.” Colonel White’s military tone sounded in Ochre’s speakers. “Spectrum Manaus are sending officers to take over the investigation at the compound. You and Magenta are to find out what you can until they arrive, then you’ll rejoin with the other captains as soon as we have a confirmed lead. The main priority is finding Doctor Breen and stopping him. Have Captain Magenta upload what he has found so far.”

“S.I.G, Colonel. Ochre out.” As his microphone returned to the brim of his kepi, he turned to Magenta. “Did you hear that?”

“Yes.”

“Right. I guess I’ll go and see if we can work out what the good doctor was doing in Lab 5.”

“Good luck,” Magenta said with a sly smile.

“Gee, thanks.” Ochre turned his attention back to the guard. “I want you to get someone who knows what should be in Lab 5 and have them meet me there. I also want you to put up your records of what Doctor Breen did while he was here and have them ready for my fellow officers when they arrive, understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Now I need to investigate Lab 5.” With that, Ochre headed to the door with the guard hurrying after him.

 

***********

Once he had heard Captain Ochre’s report, Colonel White turned to Lieutenant Green: “Lieutenant, have you checked those seats?”

“Yes, Colonel.  According to the airlines records, Doctor Breen indeed took both flights. He should be presently en route for Papeete, from Lima.”

“That is, if it is indeed him whose onboard that plane,” Colonel White commented. “It could still be a trick from the Mysterons to send us on a wild goose chase.”

“That is quite possible, sir.”

“Find out what information you can about Doctor Crane and where he is now.” The colonel then addressed Grey, who sat at his desk with Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue: “Captain, you are to leave as soon as Green finds where Doctor Crane is.”

“S.I.G, Colonel.”

“What about us, Colonel?” Scarlet asked.

“You and Captain Blue are to meet the flight from Lima that Doctor Breen is supposed to be on. If he is, apprehend him if at all possible.”

“S.I.G, Colonel, on our way.”

Grey, Scarlet and Blue stood and left the Control room.

 

 

It should have been easy. By rights, they should have caught him. Breen should have been on that plane, but as Colonel White suspected, he wasn’t, and now they were playing catch. Lieutenant Green had found that Doctor Roger Crane was taking part in a series of meetings with the military about their supplies for the up and coming year, and Grey informed his colleagues that Breen had not yet contacted Crane, so where was he?

Scarlet and Blue met up with Grey at Kia Ora Sauvage, Rangiroa, where the meetings were taking place. So far, nothing untoward had happen but the captains knew that as soon as the Mysterons had their pawns in place, they would strike. Captains Ochre and Magenta would soon be joining them, so it was decided that, as soon as they arrived, the captains would search the island, apart from Grey, who would stay and guard the non Spectrum people.

Landing their Spectrum helijet on the beach, next to the one the others had arrived in, Magenta and Ochre were met by Scarlet and instructed to help with the search. The island was very small, so if Doctor Breen was on it, they would find him.

However, things didn’t go the way they planned. As they prepared themselves to rejoin with Blue at the hotel to start the search, the sound of gunfire was heard. Running to were it had come from Scarlet, Magenta and Ochre found Blue, standing in the hotel’s dining area, with the military officers that were there for the meetings. His gun was drawn and he had it aimed at a body lying in one of the other doorways.

As Ochre and Magenta helped Blue with calming the officers, Scarlet moved over to the body; coming to it, he saw that it was Doctor Breen, and that he had been armed with, of all things, a high powered children’s water gun.

Turning to Blue, Scarlet could see that his friend had been soaked. Looking back at the gun, he wondered what could have been in it. Worried, he turned to Blue again.  “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, wet but not hurt. I’ll dry out soon enough. Well, now we know where Doctor Breen was.”

“What happened?” asked Ochre.

“I was helping Grey to get everyone together to make it easier for him to keep an eye on them, when the doctor appeared. I saw that he had a weapon so I took him out.”

Before anyone else could say anything the very recognisable sound of one of the helijets taking off was heard.

“What the….” Scarlet ran out the door and away to the beach where they had left the helijets. Sure enough, one was airborne and making its way across the lagoon. “Where’s Grey?” he asked as the others caught up with him.

“He and Doctor Crane were coming to the dining area as well, when I last talked to him,” Blue answered.

Scarlet looked concerned as he glanced at Blue before his attention returned to the helijet. He was about to give orders when Grey appeared from between a couple of coconut palm trees, his uniform soaked.

“Report,” said Scarlet.

“I got blindsided,” Grey explained. “I was with Doctor Crane, and Breen was waiting for us. We were passing one of the bungalows when something liquid hit me in the face blinding me. Before I could recover, I was pushed into a shed and locked in. I heard a scuffle and then some shots. Once I got out, I found Crane’s dead body by the bungalow. I then heard the helijet and I made me way here.”

Ordering Grey to stay with the military officers, Scarlet climbed with the others into the last helijet to give chase. They saw that whoever was flying it, and they suspected it was Crane, was heading across the lagoon for Tiputa’s main airport on Avatoru. Activating his radio, Scarlet contacted Cloudbase and updated Green.

When they landed at the airport, they were met by the head of security, who informed them that the other helijet had landed in a nearby field and was empty by the time they had got to it. However they had managed to contain the suspect in a building that he entered.

Cautiously, the captains entered the terminal. Scarlet had to give top marks to the security personel for their handling of the situation, as they had evacuated the area as soon as they knew that the suspect was heading there and stopped him from going anywhere else. It was not going to be easy to neutralize Crane as there were a lot of places were he could take cover, but at least they knew that he could not get out. Fanning out, each of the captains started to search.

All of a sudden, Doctor Crane popped out from behind a big potted plant and threw a roundish coloured object toward Magenta. It burst on the floor before him, splashing him as it did so.

As the other captains fired at Crane, he ducked behind one of the stone pillars that held up the roof. From there, he threw another of the same objects, this time managing to splash Ochre as the object exploded. Scarlet, breaking into a run, swiftly moved towards Crane, firing as he did so. Crane managed to throw one more of the objects, getting both Scarlet and Blue, before being killed by Scarlet’s bullets.

Carefully, Scarlet moved to check that he was dead; satisfied that he was, he asked Ochre to use the Mysteron gun, ensuring that the doctor was not going to come back. As this was being done, Scarlet checked in with Grey, making sure that all was well at Kia Ora Sauvage. After Grey confirmed that it was the case, he got in contact with Cloudbase.

While Scarlet was making his report to Colonel White, Blue and Magenta studied the bits that were left of what the doctor had thrown to them.

“You know what they look like to me?” Magenta said to Blue. “Bits of water balloons.”

“Are you sure? Because that’s what they look like to me too. But why would the Mysterons use water balloons?”

“I think the question would rather be what was in them, Blue? Because I bet you my pay that it wasn’t something nice.”

“I have a horrible feeling you’re right, Magenta. Their threat was to use a basic weapon to launch an invisible wave of death. I guess that you could classify a water balloon as a weapon and it really is…” Blue stopped talking and looked at Magenta with alarm as he became aware what it might mean to them. He could not help but to think back to the time when he and Scarlet had been exposed to what they had thought was the K14 virus. “I just hope that what I’m thinking isn’t true.”

Seeing that Scarlet had finished reporting to Cloudbase, Blue stared at his partner’s face and didn’t like what he saw. He walked toward him along with Ochre and Magenta.

“What’s the bad news?” Blue asked.

“How do you know I have bad news?”

“I know that look on your face, Scarlet.”

“Yes, you’re right and it’s not good at all.” Scarlet looked at the others’ faces, taking in their features as he came to terms with what he had been told. “It seems that they finally found out what it was that Doctor Breen took from the. It was an inactive man-made microbe that they were hoping to modify to use against agricultural pests.”

“I knew this felt like the K14 incident.”

“It’s closer than you think, Blue. The microbe is a variant of it.”

“Sh***!” exclaimed Blue, as Ochre and Magenta also swore. “I thought it had all been destroyed!”

“As this lot was rendered inactive, it wasn’t,” replied Scarlet.

“I take it, that even though it was inactive, it could be reactivated?” said Ochre.

“Yes.”

“Great. And what’s the bet that we’ve just been exposed to it?” stated Magenta.

“That’s a distinct likelihood, I’m afraid.”

The captains stared at each other as the enormity of what had happened hit each one of them. The possible outcome was not a nice thing to contemplate. “What about Grey? Do you think he’s been exposed?” asked Ochre.

The others looked thoughtful.

“Doctor Breen’s water gun. Grey said that he was hit in the face by something wet,” Blue then said.

“So it’s all of us,” said Ochre.

“Look’s like it,” replied Scarlet.

“What are our orders?” Magenta asked.

“We are to stay put until Doctor Fawn and his team come. Cloudbase is near, so he should be here in a few minutes.  After that, I guess we do whatever he tells us.”

Scarlet could feel the beginnings of despair creep into his mind, as he tried not to think about what the consequences – of what they faced – would mean for him. But as they waited, it got harder to do so and he finally had to face the prospect of being the only one surviving. The thought of it weighted heavily on his heart; it was not something that he wanted to be. He was relieved when his thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of Doctor Fawn.

It didn’t take long for Fawn to set up and test the captains to see if they had indeed been infected by the virus. The results confirmed that they were. A sadness made itself felt as he looked at the results; Colonel White was not going to be happy. And… he had to give the bad news to these men, who were his friends and his colleagues.

Facing the captains, Fawn filled them in about what he knew about the virus. He concluded by saying, “I’m sorry, Captains, but you all have been affected. However, some good news is that at the moment, none of you are contagious, so you don’t need to be isolated yet.”

“Yeah, that’s some good news, I guess. How long for?” asked Ochre.

“Five to six hours. After that you’ll become contagious… and progressively ill and weak.”

“Until we die,” muttered Blue. “Would I be right in thinking that, like the K14 virus, this one has no cure?” he asked.

“That is true for now,” Fawn replied. “But we have been working on one as soon as we realized the possibility of it being what the Mysterons were interested in. Now please, let us use this window of opportunity to get you up to Cloudbase with as little fuss as possible.”

Having said that, he led them out to a SPJ on the runway. As they walked, a Spectrum helijet came in to land nearby, and out of it hopped Captain Grey and Doctor Tan. The other captains looked at Grey with a bit of hope but with a slight shake of his head, he confirmed what they already thought.

It was a quite lot of captains that settled into their seats and got ready for takeoff, each one of them contemplating the outcome of the situation.

Scarlet was struggling to keep from being overwhelmed by the despair that had taken root in his mind. He hated the likelihood of all his colleagues dying at the same time. How was he going to cope loosing the support that they gave him? Okay, he had always known that the chance of one or more of them eventually being killed was there, but the four of them at once…. He found himself quivering inside.

Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Blue looking at him, so he gave a false smile and turned to the window, so that his friend would not see the anguish in his face. Blue would be the hardest loss; after all that they had been through, all they’ve face. His unwavering trust, even right from the start after he had been Mysteronised. Scarlet could not stop hopelessness taking root in his mind also. Oh, he knew that Doctor Fawn would do everything that he could to come up with a cure but if this virus was half as deadly as the original, then time was against them.

Then as if he had read his mind, Scarlet heard Blue’s voice, as if coming from afar: “So Doc, what are our chances?”

That drew the English captain out of his fugue and he listened intently as the Doctor replied.

“My team is working as hard as they can to come up with a treatment, but there is a possibility that we might run out of time before we can. Blue,” Doctor Fawn answered, hating his reply as he did so.

“Oh. So how long have you got?” asked Ochre.

“Around forty-eight hours. After that, the virus would have fully taken hold and done too much damage for us to counteract its effect.”

“And before that?”

“Well, as I said earlier, up to, say, five hours after being exposed, you will not be contagious, so you are allowed to do what you feel you need to do. After that, you could pass on the virus by sneezing, coughing, kissing, etc. So I would have you confined in sickbay by then.”

Scarlet’s heart got heavier and heavier as he listened to what Doctor Fawn was saying. Forty-eight hours… just forty-eight hours, and then, that would be that and he would be the only one left. Oh, he would still have Dianne and Karen, and the other Angels, and as much as they meant to him, there would just be no way they could replace the loss of the others. Still looking out the window, striving to keep his despair and hopelessness from becoming too much, Scarlet turned his attention back to what was going on in the cabin.

“Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m going to have some fun.”  Ochre looked around, hoping that the others would join in as he would go nuts if they all stayed gloomy. “Come on, guys it’s going to do us no good sitting around thinking ‘what if’. So who’s up for a joke? Knock, knock.”

“You’re right Ochre,” Fawn answered. “It took some time but now those of us who are in the medical profession know that laugher is a great help. So who’s there?”

“Cash.”

“Cash who?”

“No thanks, but I’ll have a peanut.”

“Ha, ha, ha. Okay, I guess it’s my turn. Knock, knock,” said Fawn.

“Okay, who’s there?” went Magenta.

“Honey Bee,” said Fawn.

“Honey Bee who?”

“Honey Bee a dear and get me some water.”

“Oh dear. Not bad, Doc. Not bad at all. Well, now for my one. Knock, knock? Come on, Grey.”

“All right, Magenta. Who’s there?”

“Madam.”

“Madam who?”

“Madam foot got caught in the door.”

As Scarlet listened, his mind started to go over what he was going to loose once the others had died. Ochre’s sense of fun, Magenta’s zest, Grey’s steadfastness and Blue’s… a pain hit him in his chest. He closed his eyes and tried to overcome the despondency and hopelessness that he felt. It was proving impossible and as he struggled, he heard Blue’s voice and on hearing it, lost even more ground as he realized that soon he would never hear it again. It had gotten too much and for one of a few times in his life, Scarlet gave up. A sense of coldness came over him as the world faded from his mind.

 

***********

He found himself sitting on a stark rocky surface, numbed and alone but it was not for long. To his surprise, he saw Magenta walking towards him; behind him was Ochre.

“It’s all your fault. You didn’t do enough. Why did let us died?”

Around and around, they walked saying the same thing over and over. He blocked his ears and closed his eyes, but when Grey and Blue arrived and joined in, he was unable to take anymore. Standing up, he fled from his tormenters. As he ran, the despair and hopelessness he felt became stronger and stronger, so he kept running, trying to leave them behind.

He ran until he found himself on a spit of rock jutting out over a chasm filled with what looked like swirling clouds. As he saw it, the knowledge of where he was and what it meant came to him. Here and now, he could end it all and not have to face a life without his team-mates. All he had to do was to step over the edge. He watched the clouds as they swirled below his feet. The idea of giving up the burden that he now consistently carried was alluring and he knew that it would be even harder all on his own. He was weary of the constant fight with the Mysterons, the many injuries and deaths he went through, the day to day wondering if he was going to be called to duty. Blue and the others helped to keep his spirit up, and they did more than what they knew. There was just no way he could carry on without them.

He stepped closer to the edge and looked into the hollowness. Yes, this would be it; he no longer had it in him to go on.

He lifted his foot to take the final step when a voice behind him, made itself heard.

“What do you think you are doing, Captain?”

Scarlet’s head jerked up and he turned, wondering where the voice came from. To his surprise, there was another person standing on the spit. The low light made it hard to see who it was but as that person came closer, Scarlet finally saw that he also wore a Spectrum uniform. As the colour of it became apparent, he stared at it with unbelief.

Standing there was Captain Brown, his first field partner, who had also been killed in the same car crash that had killed him. Both of them had been replicated by the Mysterons, but Brown had been completely destroyed when they had used him as a living bomb in an attempt to kill the World President.

“Why are you here, Scarlet?” he asked.

“The others are dead,” answered Scarlet in a flat tone.

“Are they?”

“As good as.”

“If they are still alive, there’s still hope.”

“No. There’s no cure.”

“Why are you here? Why are you giving up?”

“I can’t carry on without them! This life of mine is hard enough. They help to make it bearable and now they are going to be taken away. I need them! I need Adam. I’ll lose who I am without him.”

“They are not dead yet,” stated Brown. “They might live.”

“No. Doctor Fawn said that they were trying to find a way to beat the virus. But they’ll run out of time, I know they will. I’ve almost lost Adam before, and I might be able to handle that, but to lose all of them at once…. No! No, it’s too much, too much. Let me be, I don’t want to be the only one left.” Scarlet turn back to the edge to step off it.

“What if there was a way for them to live?”

“No, there isn’t.”

“But what if there really was? Would you want to live?”

Brown looked at Scarlet intently. Scarlet glanced at him with skepticism.

“How?”

“When you get back, you need to convince Doctor Fawn that what I tell you is possible. It is base on old medical understanding, and he will have his doubts about it, but it might work.”

“Might?” The skepticism was obvious in Scarlet’s voice, and he continued to look at the swirling clouds below.

“Isn’t it worth the chance?”

Scarlet turned to face Brown. “Okay. What is it I need to convince Doctor Fawn about?”

“The key is you. Well, the anti-bodies that you will create if you decide to live. A few centuries ago, doctors found that some diseases were cured when they used the white blood cells of someone who had survive the disease, but it was a bit of a hit and miss. So they developed vaccines. However, the principle still works and that can be used to save the others.”

“Will it work?”

“Paul, there is every chance that it will. I would not have come here to tell you this if it wouldn’t. Please, for their sake, you have to take this chance.” Brown looked at Scarlet in earnest.

“Will I be able to come back here if things didn’t go well?” Scarlet gestured at the chasm.

Brown shook his head sadly. “No, not this time.”

“So if I decide to go back then I’m stuck with the consequences?”

“Yes.”

Scarlet shrugged and turned to observe the chasm as if he was trying to decide what to do. However, in his heart of hearts, he already knew. Something else came to his mind, and looking over his shoulder he asked, “what are you doing here?”

“Oh, come on, Paul! You of all people should know that a Spectrum officer is never really off duty. Especially a colour-coded one. Look, I hated the fact that I was taken out so early in the fight. So I do what I can on this side. The powers that be know what a heavy burden you carry, but you are needed. So they have allowed me to be the deliverer of the information you need, so you would go back. Anyway, I wanted to see you again, so I could tell you that I don’t hold it against you that you survived and I didn’t. In fact, I’m glad it was you and not me. I don’t think I could have handled what you’ve had to. I’m pretty sure that I would have ended up in a padded room.” Brown walked forward and placed his hands on Scarlet’s shoulders turning him so they would face each other. “Please know, Paul, that you will always have someone watching out for you.”

Scarlet looked Brown in the eye and saw his support and friendship.

“Now it’s time to go,” Brown concluded with an encouraging smile.

Scarlet nodded his head, and, as he did so, his vision faded and everything became black.

 

 

The ceiling of the sickbay was the first thing that Scarlet was aware of as he blinked his eyes. Sitting up, he saw that he was in his usual room, but there was no Captain Blue by his bedside. Of course he would probably be in isolation now, he realised.

Thinking about pressing the call button for some attention, he was stopped as the one person that he wanted to see walked in: Doctor Fawn.

“Well, I’m pleased to see you awake. What happened, Scarlet? The others are certain that you hadn’t already been injured before being hit by the virus, and I couldn’t find any reason for you to react to it like you did. You gave us a bit of a fright. One that Blue didn’t need.”

“Is he okay? Scarlet asked concerned as Fawn took note of the readings from the bed. “I mean, nothing else has happened to him, has it?”

“He’s as well as can be expected. All of them are and they will be happy to hear that you’re okay. So will the colonel. As expected, your retrometabolism beat the virus. However, it hit you much faster than the others. Do you have any idea why that happened?”

“No.”

“Okay.”

“I guess the others have been quarantined? How long ago?”

Fawn looked at his watch, “About a hour and a half ago.”

“Good,” Scarlet said quietly to himself. Then louder, he added: “Thanks, Doc.”

Doctor Fawn gave him a hard look and turned to leave. “Knowing you, you’ll be wanting your usual meal?” he asked, looking over his shoulder.

“Doc, please, before you go, there’s something I want to ask?”

Fawn turned back and moved to stand beside Scarlet’s bed. “What is it, Scarlet?”

“How’s the finding of the cure going?”

“Not good, I’m afraid. The Mysterons knew what they were doing when they chose to use this virus. If it had got into the armed forces, or even the general pubic, the effects would have been devastating.”

“Instead, we copped it,” Scarlet sadly stated.

“Yes,” agreed Fawn.

“Look, I have an idea that might help the others to beat the virus.”

Fawn looked at Scarlet oddly. “Oh, and what might that be?”

Seeing Fawn’s reaction, Scarlet realized that Brown was right; it was not going to be easy to convince Doctor Fawn that his proposal was the way to go. Wondering how to account for the knowledge that Brown had given him, he come up with the first thing that came into his head: “Well, I remember reading this once, in one of the medical mags you have lying around… In the past, didn’t they use the anti-bodies of someone who had survived the virus to treat those who were still infected?”

 “Yes, but it was a dangerous procedure.” Fawn gestured with his hand and shook his head. “Beside, it would be useless in this case. There isn’t anyone who has ever survived this virus.”

“Yes there is. Me.”

Shocked, Fawn stared at Scarlet. “Have you any idea just what you are proposing? The risks you would be putting the others in, if I went ahead with your suggestion?”

“Well, what are their chances now? Are you going to be able to find the cure before it’s too late?”

Fawn pulled up a chair and heavily sat down in it, his shoulders slumped. “No. As much as I don’t want to admit it, it doesn’t look like we will.”

“Then what do we have to lose by just looking at my idea?”

“Nothing. not a darn thing.”

 And with that, Doctor Fawn and Scarlet talked about it. As they came to the end of their discussion, Fawn came to accept that the English captain’s suggestion might just work.

“The first thing I need to find out is whether or not you do have anti-bodies against the virus.  So I need some of your blood Scarlet. As time is running out, I’m certain you won’t mind me doing it right away?”

Scarlet nodded his assent. The doctor then quickly took a blood sample and left in a hurry to analyse it.

Now on his own, Scarlet waited, hoping that Fawn’s tests would prove conclusive, and that there will be a chance to save his friends.

He didn’t have to wait for long; after less than an hour, Fawn returned hurriedly to him, with a mix of emotions crossing his face.

“You do have the anti-bodies Scarlet,” the doctor said with some excitation in his voice. “So it would be possible to try out your idea. But… I’ll need to run this past the colonel before we can do anything. And I hope that you’re aware that it will be up to the other captains to decide if we go ahead or not, once I’ve explained what’s involved and the risks they could run.”

“Go ahead, Doc.  See the colonel and I hope he okays it. I’m not going anywhere.”

 

***********

Scarlet waited as patiently as he could for Fawn to come back, while eating the meal that had arrived for him. He had nearly finished when the doctor arrived, less than an hour later.

 “Well?” Scarlet asked, expectantly looking at Fawn who now stood by his side.

The doctor nodded. “Colonel White has cleared us to try your idea, Scarlet. As long as I’m happy to do so. As you said, we have nothing to lose.”

“Good.”

“I’m only going to go ahead with this if the other captains are willing to. So come with me, and we’ll go and talk to them now. I know that it will do them good to see that you are up and about. Especially Blue.”

They left Scarlet’s room and swiftly headed to the isolation ward. Before entering, Doctor Fawn put on a bio-suit; Scarlet looked enquiringly at him.

“You won’t need one Scarlet,” Fawn explained. “You’ve beaten the virus, so you’re immune now, and you won’t propagate it either.”

Scarlet nodded slightly and followed Fawn through the door. As they entered, he saw Grey, Blue, Ochre and Magenta, all sitting on their beds, talking to each others. Surprisingly, they weren’t in hospital gowns, but wore civilian clothes. He also saw on a table their version of the Scotland Yard game that they all liked to play.

As the door opened, four sets of eyes turned to it.

“Paul!” four voices said together in unison.

“Hi, guys.”

“Are you alright?” asked Blue, concern evident in his voice.

“I am, Adam. Right as rain, in fact. Sorry to have caused you alarm.” Scarlet looked at Blue, hoping to convey that he didn’t want to talk about what had happened in the plane.

Blue scrutinized Scarlet back, and after a moment or two, gave a small nod. “Well, it’s good to see you, Paul. Came to join in the fun?”

“No, we haven’t,” Doctor Fawn answered. “In fact, we’ve come to talk about a possible solution to what we are facing.”

“You found something? Man, that’s good news!” Magenta repositioned himself on his bed so that he could fully face the doctor. The others did the same.

“Not as good as you might think. What I’m proposing is experimental and could be highly dangerous. It could kill you, or if not, leave you in a compromised state.”

“Just how likely is that?” Grey asked.

“Higher than I like to think, but at the moment, there is no other possible cure,” answered Fawn. “My team is working flat out but the virus is proving hard to unravel.”

“And the likelihood of that happening in time?”

Doctor Fawn shrugged his shoulders at Grey’s question, not wanting to put into words the improbability of it.

“It’s been fifteen hours since Grey was first hit, so by your reckoning, Doc, we have another twenty before we start to really feel it‘s effects,” said Ochre.

He then sneezed. Scarlet stared at him intently, worried.

“I guess that gives us time to talk and decide what we will do?” Ochre continued.

The others nodded their approval.

“So just what is this experimental solution, Doc?” Blue asked.

Fawn turned to Scarlet. “It’s your idea, so why don’t you tell them about it?”

Scarlet shot him a surprised look, before turning to the others. “Well,” he started almost reluctantly, “I remembered reading about it in a medical magazine… about some of the ways they used to use to combat viruses. One of those ways was by using the antibodies of someone who had survived the virus. That got me thinking…”

“Watch out,” Ochre said quietly with a smile on his face.

Scarlet shot him an annoyed look, then carried on: “Could that technique be used in this situation? So I asked Fawn, and the answer is yes.”

The others exchanged excited looked and hopeful expression.

“Splendid!” said Grey.

“Now that’s the best news we’d had all day!” Magenta approved.

“Hold it,” Scarlet quickly interrupted. “There is something else.”

“I can guess that,” said Blue, who was looking at Fawn directly. “I can tell by the look on Doctor Fawn’s face that he isn’t exactly crazy about this.”

“Why is that Doc?” queried Ochre. “Don’t you like the idea?”

Fawn grunted. “Because of the risks this solution carries.”

“And what are they?” Ochre requested.

“Compatibility, to begin with. Even considering that today we have mostly overcome the problem of blood types, we still have to be aware that issues can arise because of it. Also this ‘technique’ is so old, the information I could find about it was minimal. So I’ll be working in the dark, so to speak, and I don’t like doing that. And then, there’s the very reason why Scarlet was able to survive the virus in the first place. I just do not know how your own immune systems would react to what is essentially an alien substance.” Fawn looked at Scarlet apologetically. “I try and not make a big deal out of it, Paul, but the fact of it is that your body is an alien creation, and that’s why I’m so uneasy about doing this. I don’t know what the outcome will be.”

“Paul, are you okay?” Blue cautiously asked as he saw the look of uneasiness appear on his friend’s face.

“Yes. It’s just that I didn’t think about that.” Scarlet looked back at Fawn. “I can understand why you’re reluctant, Doc. It’s just…” He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head and looked at the floor, unwilling to continue. Had Brown lied to him? He wondered. And if so, why? So that he wouldn’t let himself die over his despair?

“Paul, do you know something we don’t?” asked Blue.

“Yes. No. I don’t know. Look, I just thought it might work.”

Blue turned to Doctor Fawn. “Would what Scarlet read actually work?”

“From what I was able to find out about this technique, the likelihood of it working is about fifty-fifty. But that was with fully human subjects. Throw in Scarlet’s uniqueness, and it becomes totally unknown.” Fawn looked reluctantly at Scarlet. “I believe that yes, the antibodies might destroy the virus. But I can’t tell you what kind of harm it might do as well.” He turned his attention to the four other captains. “So the decision is yours now.”

They looked at each others, uncomfortably.

“What are our chances of surviving, anyway?” Magenta asked.

“If my team doesn’t come up with a cure, none,” answered Fawn sadly.

“Will they?”

“I’ll have to check their progress.”

“Why don’t you do that, Doc?” suggested Magenta.

Fawn looked around at each of the captains and saw how tense they were. Knowing that having all the facts would help them decide what to do, he left to get an update from his team of searchers.

Once he was gone, the others turned to Scarlet.

 “Are you sure that you’re alright?” Blue asked him again.

“Yes, Adam, I am alright. You don’t need to ask.”

“Okay… But why did you pass out on the plane?”

“Don’t ask, please, Adam. Don’t ask.” He cleared his throat, and then abruptly changed subject, so Blue would stop his questioning: “What were you guys doing before we came?”

“Oh, just a silly game that I made up for this year’s Halloween,” answered Ochre. “I thought we’ll give it a test run.”

“Would it be safe for me to join in?”

“Of course.”

 

 

Scarlet found the reversal of positions rather ironic as he sat by Blue’s bedside. It had been five days since that fateful day and the outcome wasn’t quite what they had hoped for.

As he watched Blue sleeping, he thought back to that day. He could remember the looks that passed over the others’ faces, when Doctor Fawn had come back with the news that the hunt for a cure wasn’t going all that well. After discussing about it some more, it didn’t take them long to decide to try Scarlet’s idea. Fawn was still reluctant about it, but he knew it was their only chance, and he bowed to their wishes, before organizing what was needed.

It had been fairly unsettling to watch Fawn and his support staff set up the medical equipment and prepare Blue, Grey, Magenta and Ochre for what was about to happen. Not to mention going through the uncomfortable procedure to acquire the antibodies, something that Scarlet would be very happy not to go through again. And then, there was the battle he had with Fawn so that he would be allowed to stay by his friends’ side, and support them with his presence. He had won that battle, but he nearly wished he had not.

He shivered; Grey had been the first to go unconscious, as the treatment caused them to become feverish. Doctor Fawn and his crew had had a hard time giving the captains the medical support that they need to survive the treatment, as the antibodies pushed their bodies and systems to the limits. After that, as their conditions slowly stabilised and the four patients all plunged into a coma that everyone hoped would be recuperative, all he, Fawn and his medical team, and the rest of Cloudbase could do was to wait.

Fawn’s robotic nurses had shown that the gamble had worked. Twenty hours after Fawn had started the treatment, they reported that the virus had disappeared from Blue, Ochre, Magenta and Grey. Doctor Fawn had been elated and relieved that it had worked, but after another forty-eight hours without any sign that they were going to come to, he started to become concerned.

 Scarlet sighed. Fawn’s examinations and tests showed that what his friends had went through had exhausted all of their reserves, and it was going to take time for them to become strong enough to wake up. He shifted in his seat, hoping that it would be soon. So far, he already had to deal with a Mysteron treat without them. The Mysterons had obviously thought that Spectrum would be severely hampered without Captains Magenta, Ochre, Grey and Blue. Smiling, he recalled that the lieutenants and ground base captains he had worked with did well, under the circumstances. But they were not his friends, his colleagues, those he fought so closely with. And he couldn’t wait for them to be back.

 He came here often in the last few days, hoping to see them finally open their eyes. Of course, he wasn’t their only visitor; the Angels popped in as often as they could, and he was surprised that one of them wasn’t here right now. Probably, they were all busy at the moment.

He diverted his eyes from Blue’s quiet face, and turned to look at the others. He tried to suppress the worry that he was feeling, and hoped for the nth time, that they will be all right soon.

Then a tired subdued voice made itself heard.

 “Man…. Why am I so stiff?”

Scarlet’s head whipped around to focus on the bed across from Blue. To his joy, he saw Captain Grey slowly lift a hand to his forehead. Before he could say or do anything, Doctor Fawn rushed into the room.

“I’m not surprised, considering what you have been through, Grey,” said Fawn as he walked over to his patient. He noted the readings on the robotic nurse that had been monitoring and smiled with satisfaction. “But now that you are awake we can work on setting you to rights.”

“It worked then?” Both Fawn and Scarlet could hear the weariness in Grey’s voice.

“Yes, sport, it did,” Fawn confirmed. “And now we need to concentrate on getting you back to full fitness.”

“Great. I can’t wait to have a good….” Grey’s voice trailed off as he returned to unconsciousness.

Scarlet looked at Doctor Fawn with alarm.

“It’s okay Scarlet,” the doctor reassured him. “Grey’s strength is still pretty low but I’m certain that it will start to build up reasonably quickly now.”

“Is he going to be alright? I mean, you were concerned about, well, you know, complications.” Scarlet made a gesture of unease. “Did it work?”

Fawn saw the concern and worry on Scarlet’s face as he considered his answer. “Until they are fully awake, and I’m able to give them a full check over, I don’t know.”

“Oh.” Scarlet’s shoulders dropped and he turned back to look at Blue. “So we’re not out of the woods yet.”

“No, but it looks very hopeful. And if you consider the alternative…. You did well, Captain. You’ve given them a chance, don’t forget that.”

Anything else that Fawn was going to say was interrupted by Ochre and Magenta coming to. Scarlet had to smile; you could trust those two to do things in pairs, much like him and Blue.

As Fawn went to see to them, Scarlet wondered when Blue would come around and if he would be okay. He really didn’t want to think that there was still a possibility of them not been able to be partners anymore. However he would still be around, Scarlet thought.

Or would he? Would Colonel White allow him to stay if he wasn’t able to be a field officer?

His thoughts were interrupted as Blue woke up in turn.

 

 

As Ochre exited his shower, he wasn’t sure if he should be happy or annoyed. Happy because he was finally away from Doctor Fawn’s tender mercies – it had been bad enough having to stay in sickbay for another four days before he was deemed fit to leave – or annoyed because Halloween had been a week ago and he hadn’t been able to do the things he had wanted to.

Seeing himself in the mirror, he diverted his eyes. All four of them had lost muscle mass, and none of them had any stamina at the moment, but Fawn had assured them that they would get it back eventually. He sighed; it was going to take time and hard work for them all to get back to field operation status, but at least they could.

He walked to his bedroom, wondering what he was going to do to fill in his time off; he could start another airplane model, but at the moment, that idea didn’t appeal to him. As he walked past his comm.link system, he saw that the internal message indicator was lit. Intrigued, he quickly got dressed and went to open it.

 

Captain Ochre,

Your presence is required in the conference room at 1900.

Please wear the uniform provided.

 

Ochre read the message again. There was no indication of whom it was from, and there were so little detail that it left him wondering whether or not it was from an ‘official’ source. The mention of a uniform however made him wonder if indeed it wasn’t.

Wanting some more information he contacted the oracle – Lieutenant Green... who ended up to be singularity unhelpful.

Ochre looked at his watch. There was still three hours before he would need to go to the conference room, so he headed to the officers lounge, wondering if the others might have some more information about what was happening.

 

***********

Returning to his quarters, Ochre was none the wiser as to why he was wanted in the conference room; the others also had receive the same, mysterious and imprecise message. Oh well, he imagined he would find out soon enough, as there was now only a half hour left until 1900.

He stopped in front of his bed, rooted onto place, and stared with incredulity. Laid there; was, what he suspected, the uniform mentioned in his mysterious message. He looked at it; it wasn’t what he had expected at all. It was not new to start with, nor did it look clean; in fact, it looked like one of his after a particular rough run in with the Mysterons. Did his orderly get the wrong one?

 Beside it was a note: ‘Please, wear’.

Obviously, it wasn’t a mistake from his orderly. Nor from anyone else. He was meant to wear that uniform.

He put it on, and as he headed to the conference room, Ochre speculated on what was going on. What could the colonel be up to, if he was behind this? If not, then who was? And what were they planning? Could it be a late Halloween party? He shook his head. None of the captains could have planned this, as they had been recovering like he had, and if the Angels had prepared one, it would most likely have been in the Amber Room.

As he came to the door of the conference room, he straightened his shoulders. Time to find out what was going on. He opened the door and briskly stepped in.

On entering, he got hit with a jet of red-coloured water. Surprised, he stopped on his tracks and found himself right in front of Captain Scarlet, armed with a water pistol.

“Crappy Halloween, Ochre!” called Scarlet with a joyous voice. He stepped aside to let Ochre come fully into the room.

“What the….”

Looking around, Ochre could see that the room had been decorated, and that the lighting was subdued. He also saw Magenta and Blue, both also wearing worst for wear uniforms, covered with red stains all over. All the Angels were there as well, in their cleanest uniform, and were smiling mischievously.

“What’s going on?” asked Ochre, turning to Scarlet.

“Quiet! We’re waiting for Grey.” Scarlet replied.

Ochre looked at him in total astonishment, but before he could say anything, Grey came through the door and received the same treatment he and the others had. Grey stopped into the opening and stared around open-mouthed with incredulity.

“What the hell is going on, here?” he demanded.

“Don’t you get it?” Scarlet said, grinning at him. “Right, now we can get on with the party. Dig in, guys!”

With these words, Scarlet walked over to a couple of tables covered with sheets, that Ochre hadn’t notice. Theatrically, he removed the covers. On them was food and drink.

“Sorry, guys, but I couldn’t talk the old man into letting us have anything alcoholic.”

As Ochre tried to comprehend what was going on, one of the Angels turned on some music and the others moved towards the tables.

Magenta walked over to Ochre who seemed to have turned into stone. “What’s up, Rick?”

Ochre waved at the room. “Who?” he asked. “Who did this?”

“Paul.”

“What!? No way!”

Magenta called Scarlet over. “Rick doesn’t believe that you organized this, Paul.”

Scarlet grinned as he approached. “Doesn’t he?”

“It’s not… I mean…” Ochre foundered. “It’s just that this is so unexpected. I thought you didn’t like Halloween parties?”

“Er.. Well, I guess you could say that this really isn’t a Halloween party. Just a Halloween-themed one. And just because I don’t usually organised parties, doesn’t mean I can’t. Or don’t you recall the one I helped with for Spectrum’s first anniversary?”

Ochre shivered as he remembered that ill-fated party as he recalled what he and Blue did, blowing up the Defence System Control Tower of Atlantica, while under the influence of the Mysteronised champagne. Not to mention the tremendous hang-over he ended up with.

“Come on we’re here to enjoy ourselves, and it’s not often that all the Angels are with us at the same time,” enticed Scarlet.

“How on earth did you manage that, Paul?” asked Blue as he came over to join them.

“Now that would be telling. Anyway make the most of it as the colonel’s only given us till twenty-four hundred. So party it up, Cinderfellas, the magic ends at midnight!”

And with that Scarlet left them, and went to dance with Rhapsody.

 

The End

 

What if Captain Scarlet had taken that fateful step?

For an alternative ending, click this link!

 

Acknowledgements

 

A big thank you to Gerry and Sylvia Anderson for the original creation of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, as well as all those who worked on the storylines of the show that ended up giving us such fun characters to play with.  Also a big thank you to Chris Bishop for a wonderful website that allows us to find lots of cool things and for beta-reading my story. My story has been written for mine and others’ enjoyment and not for any financial gain. And any boo-boos are mine and mine alone.

 

 

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