by Nigel Preece
Based on "THUNDERBIRDS" created by Gerry Anderson
THUNDERBIRDS is (c)2000 Carlton International Media Ltd.
1. Here and Now
The old man sat in the small lounge, staring out through the bay window. It was quiet now. This house he lived in, and served in as major-domo was a large one. He had nine people to wait on, one of which was his own daughter. Most of the other folk were away from the house for now, and those that were still here were in the ajoining room. He could just about hear the faint hum of conversation that came from that room's direction.
He was enjoying a brief moment to himself. Such moments were all to frequent as those who were in his care were at most times either away on business for the family firm, or away enjoying leave from their duties for the firm. This was one such occasion, the reason so many were away was business, and very important business at that. His daughter was among those who had been called away, and judging from the tone of conversation coming from the room next door, it was his daughters presence on this job that was becoming a cause for concern from the head of the firm.
He knew she was more than able to cope with whatever task was set before her. He knew as well that she, like him was endebted to the head of the firm for an act that took place some 21 years earlier. In fact he just happened to glance over to a clock on the wall by him and he noticed that the date on the clock read, Saturday November 14:2026.
21 years to the very day.
His mind began to race back all those 21 years.
It suddenly seemed like 21 minutes. He stared out accros the cove infront of the house. On the left side of the cove was a small cliff hung over the spot where the beach ended and ran into the sea. On the right side of the cove there stood a jetty, it pointed in the direction of the place the events of 21 years earlier had happened.
The sea was smooth and calm, in complete contrast to how it was on that fatefull day.
2. Back There
The young man sat in the small cabin and looked out of the porthole at the raging torrent that heaved and tossed to the vicious force of the huricane that had enveloped it. The cabin he was in was as bare as could be, a bunk bed, a chair, and a small cupboard.
A room for one, yet inhabited by two.
In his arms was a small infant, barely six weeks old, abandoned by her mother, left to be cared for only by her father. Her mother had headed back to her native spain from the farm in the small town of Paysandu on the northern Uruguay/southern Argentina border where they had been working. Now that father, a Malaysian by birth, was off in search of a new home, promised a job by a man who claimed to be his half brother, a man he never met, but a man who he felt should at least be listened to, even though he instinctively did not trust him, for reasons that he could not explain.
All of that was seccondary for the moment, indeed if he did not make it to the place in malaya that he was heading for and instead found employment with someone else along the way he would be content with that. He did not really want to go to see that half brother he had heard from, but he felt he had no choice. All of this though was of a lesser importance at this time, as outside, the sea was pounding the ship and she was now rocking quite considerably. To the extent that the stewards were now going around the ship instructing the passengers to brace themselves for much worse to come.
"Please secure all your belongings sir", the young woman dressed in the uniform of the passenger liner they were on said as he opened his cabin door, "the storm will intensify, and there is no way we can be sure that we will make it to Auckland before Tuesday".
"Could we not return to Montevideo, or even divert to Santiago?", the man replied.
"No, the captain is anxoius to try to get to our destination as early as possible. He won't say why, but I think it has something to do with the owners of this company", she paused, he voice quietened, and she stepped inside the man's cabin for a moment before she continued, "The shareholders are putting a lot of pressure on the skipper to get as many miles in a day as is possible. They don't think a storm, even this violent one is an excuse for the ship being behind schedule."
The man interjected, "I could not give a hoot what day we reach New Zealand, I just want to get there in one piece".
At that point, the senior steward called the girl away and directed her to another deck, in turn he looked at the man who was about to shut his cabin door, and shot him a glance of utter distain as if to say "why is she talking to these plebs", before going about his business.
Only five days earlier the S.S.Mateo had left the port of Montevideo, capital city of Uruguay, in blazing sun and with the sea so smooth that even the most seasick prone of passengers would find it a pleasure on which to sail. The Mateo was essentialy a cargo ship, but it had had the bottom deck converted into a passenger section so that folks who could not afford to travel on the more salubrious liners could for just a few Pound-Dollars get a cabin with a bed.
Now as the young man bent down to pick up his sleeping daughter from that bed, he took one more glance out of the small porthole, and what he saw made all the colour leave his face.
A mountain, moving slowly, but with purpose.
A solid mountain of water.
He felt the ship turn violently and instinctivly placed his child, already wrapped in a blanket so large it obscured the little ones head, inside the protective cover of the overcoat he was wearing. He made for the slightly ajar door, not to open it and get out, but to bolt it shut and hope that the vessel could withstand the tidal wave that was about to engulf it.
He made it to the door, only to see it flung open as a result of the ship tipping up on its bow as the huge wall of south pacific ocean scooped it up like a giant spade, tossing the S.S.Mateo headlong into the darkness.
Tossing also the young man and his child, into oblivion.
"This is Radio Trans-Pacific. 24 Hour news and sport from the Pacific Broadcasting Network. It's noon here in Santiago, 4am in the western pacific, and this is Eddie Kerr with a news summary. All hope is now lost for the passengers and crew of the Auckland registered cargo/passenger vessel Mateo, which ran into difficulty some ten hours ago when it was caught up in the tail end of hurricane Bravo, two thousand miles off the coast of Chile. Such was the ferocity of the gales it encountered that it is felt by most observers that the ship would not have stood a chance in the force ten winds",
The hand flicked a switch, and the man to whom that hand belonged got up out of his chair.
"I've heard enough", he said as he looked out of the balcony and towards the part of the ocean where the storm had been. He turned to face his eldest son, stading just next to him, "Scott go tell your mother I'm going in the helecopter, tell her I'm going to take a good look at that island just north of here".
"Where is she?", the little lad asked.
"She's just feeding Gordon. She's in our room. Now when you've done that, go to the kitchen and get Grandpa, I'll need him. He's probably fixing some breakfast for John and Virgil. I'm sure Grandma won't mind".
"Right dad", and Scott was on his way.
In a matter of minutes the chopper was on its way. The father and son were both hoping against hope that they would find anyone.
"It's typical of those navy flyers", the father said, "They cover all the immediate area of the route, but never around these parts".
"I know", the son said, "I've just got a hunch that their missing something, and I intend to see what there is around there. Even if we come back empty handed so to speak".
In just 25 minutes the copter had arrived at it's destination, and as it swept around to the north facing beach, the son almost lost controll of the machine, such was the surprise and shock that came over him.
He quickly set the chopper down at the end of the beach, near the water, so as not to kick up too much sand, and the two men raced from the cockpit over to what it was that had shocked them both.
The man lay, bent almost double in the sand, his overcoat wrapped over a small object itself wrapped in a blanket. The man began to move but only briefly, but enough to indicate that he was still in the land of the living, to the relief of the two men from the helecopter. Then incredibly the shipwrecked survivor, as if to indicate something to the two other men, opened up his coat more to reveal in it's entirety, the object in the blanket.
The younger man bent down to look at the little one, sure in his mind that it could not have survived. To his shock, the baby's eyes opened.
It was alive!
The survivior felt the warmth of the bed very appealing, and also very stimulating, curiosity alone forced him to wake up. As his eyes flickered open he could make out the figure of a young woman, dark haired standing next to the bed. She held a small baby in her arms.
"Hello", she said. A warm smile covered her face.
"Who are you", the man asked, his voice so quiet you could barely hear him. The woman was joined at the foot of the bed by her husband.
She spoke, in a strong English accent, "My name is Lucille Tracy, and this is my husband, Jeff. He brought you here". Lucille passed the baby to Jeff and she continued, "And this I believe is your daughter. She's a great survivor for her age", at which point Jeff handed her to her father.
Tears began to flow from his face as he waited to hold her again, "She's OK. Oh thank God", he paused, his voice dripping with relief. He sat up in bed to receive her from Jeff, and once in his arms, kissed her on the forehead.
He sobbed like a child for a good few minutes.
Jeff and Lucille looked on from the end of the bed, arm in arm, and very glad to have at least found something positive from the terrible events out at sea that night.
"I think it's time I told you who I am" he began, "My name is Hatsui Kyrano, and this is my daughter Tin Tin. I am seperated from my wife, she was not on the ship. How long have I been unconcious"
Jeff gestured to the calender-clock on the wall behind him, "you've been out for some time".
Kyrano looked at the timepiece.
It read: Monday November 14:2005.
4. In Debt
The conversation from the other room suddenly got louder, and Kyrano was shaken from his reviere by it. In the other room, the main lounge of the house sat Jeff Tracy, standing next to the table was his fourth son Gordon. The rest of the family were far away. Scott, Alan and Tin Tin were in space, Virgil and Brains, the family's resident boffin were heading towards a distant mountain range in Asia and were expected to report in at any time.
Man's first voyage to our very own star, the Sun Probe mission, was in very grave danger.
The world watched in horror.
And International Rescue were on their way.
It was hoped, that a radio beam could be sent out from the IR spaceship Thunderbird 3, a beam powerfull enough to activate the retros of the sunprobe, and send it away from the sun.
In order to do this, it required Thunderbird 3 to go close to the sun, closer in fact that the orbit of the planet Mercury. This raised concerns for Jeff, as it meant a greater risk for his two sons than was first thought. He has OK with this, he new both Scott and Alan were not one's to shy away from the task set before them, and their fathers own orders, to try and get solarnauts Harris, Asher, and Camp to safety, but he felt uneasy about putting Tin Tin through any more of this.
"The problem is Tin Tin", he said to Gordon, "Can we ask her to risk her life further".
Kyrano heard this, and having just re-lived the events of 21 years earlier in his mind, he was sure of his asnwer.
"Excuse me Mr Tracy", he began, "I could not help but hear your words. Tin Tin is my daughter, I think I can say what her answer to you problem would be".
"Yes I know what your gonna say", Jeff interupted, "She wouldn't hesitate to go on into the danger zone, but is it right for us to ask her to".
Kyrano was still sure of his answer.
"Both my daughter and I owe our lives to you Mr Tracy. For this reason it is right. She will go with your sons".
She went with them, and they saved the day, but not without a cost. Out of the triumph, another disaster loomed, in saving the Sunprobe, Thunderbird 3 was now itself in danger. However the efforts of Brains and Virgil in the mountains saved the day a second time.
Thunderbird 3 came home in triumph.
The irony of the date of the rescue was not lost on Kyrano who told Jeff after the celebrations at the return home had died down. Several days later Jeff summoned Kyrano and Tin Tin to the lounge.
"Get your coats on both of you", he said, "We're taking the copter out to sea. We're going to a place you have both visited before".
Less than 30 minutes later, Jeff's helecopter landed on the beach on the island just to the north of their own. The very island that they had been washed up on to all those years before.
Upon alighting from the chopper, Jeff stood before the father and daughter, and pulled out a piece of paper.
He began, "21 years ago, my late father and I came here and found the two of you on this beach. Now for some years I've wanted to purchase this island with a view to using it as a storage area for some of our equipment as well as making it into a small reserve base for the Thunderbird craft should anything happen to Tracy Island itself. I have here a piece of paper that officialy tells me the island is now mine, the sale was confirmed by fax at just after 10.30 pm yesterday. I had to give it a name. Once the sale was registered with the authorities that is, and I figured that you would approve of the name I have chosen. Tin Tin tells me it is something that you have had in your mind for a very long time, and I'm sure for the reason I have brought you out here it is right that I have given it the name you have wanted to give to the island youself all this time".
He handed the paper to his friend, the malaysian and his daughter took one look at it, and both instictively looked out to the sea where the hurricane had struck nearly a quater of a century earlier.
The name on the slip of paper said;
For a moment Kyrano could not speak, he thought of the others on the ship, in particular he thought of the girl who had spoken to him just before the wave hit. He wondered if she had not been called away by the distainful looking steward who seemed to take exception to her talking to him, and had stayed in the cabin with him, wether she would have survived like him and Tin Tin.
He drew breath, and fighting back the tears said to Jeff and Tin Tin, "37 passengers and 9 crew perished not far from this island. For this reason it is right. Right that we name this island after that same ship, and all those who came to grief on her".
He walked up to the man who 21 years earlier had save his life, and shook his hand.
"Yes Mr Tracy, for this reason it IS right".