A month had passed since the capture of The Hood and the Tracy household were enjoying an extended vacation, there had been rescues, not many now he was behind bars but a fair few over the first few weeks. The usual routine call outs when other rescue agencies could not make it in time to save lives, a collapsed mine in South Africa, a diver left behind on a tourist excursion in the Indian Ocean and a group of scientists requiring an emergency airlift off an erupting volcano in South America, all dangerous in their own way but the threat level had gone from their outings now he was out of the picture. In the last week they had only been called on once allowing a relaxed air to descend upon the normally adrenalin filled family. Only four of the large extended family unit were at home, each enjoying their own brand of relaxation.
Brains, the resident genius was in the inner bowls of the house work his only company. He would not rest or take a day off even after the arrest of The Hood. His motivation was to continue to invent and improve on technologies that would hopefully make the world a cleaner and safer place. Once his current job was complete he was planning to tinker on some of his own projects, utopia, to join again with similar minds and challenge each one until the next great innovation of the world is born. He had worked on several projects with others in the past and then slipped from their community when International Rescue was conceived, secrecy had been imperative. Over the past couple of months he had been reminded by Professor Moffat of the thrill of research & development with other great minds. He smiled, yes it may well be a quiet spell on the island but he would relax in other ways preferring work to the tedium of small talk. He was a little distracted by these thoughts while in the lab making last minute adjustments to the Thunderbird Five upgrade that was soon to be installed by John & Alan Tracy the space obsessed contingent of the clan. Not distracted enough to make errors of course but he could not wait until he received the prototypes he had been promised by his old Cambridge Professor. Technology had progressed and the world had changed since they had first worked on these ideas with his post graduate colleagues and he was certain that with things quieting down on the Island that this was the perfect time to take another look. He drifted back from his thoughts and got back to the job in hand "John, Alan all c...c...completed this end, install can c...commence." Brains instructed the crew of Thunderbird Five.
With Alan on Five working with John and Virgil away with Grandma on the mainland getting supplies and enjoying a short break the house was quieter than it had been in a long time. Virgil had drawn the short straw literally, although none of the boys would ever admit to her that they had drawn lots! Deal done he was now her taxi driver for the day so she could catch up with old friends. This left Scott at work on the boring side of the Tracy business wishing that John would interrupt him with something much more interesting and Kayo sparring with Gordon on a training session round the pool. The chance of a serious session being held was limited if Gordon was anywhere near water so Scott was surprised that they weren't in the gym but even Kayo had taken her foot off the gas a little. The noise they were making meant it surely couldn't really be one of her more challenging sessions he could not resist the urge to take a look. Scott surveyed the scene below from the large window overlooking the pool area, the shouts and laughs from below were getting louder. Kayo and his brother were larking about, he had never seen her so carefree the weight of the world has been lifted off her slender shoulders now that her secret was out. He liked it, a new happier Kayo, he watched as she shifted her weight from where she had Gordon pinned and then launched him into the pool. Gordon came up spluttering and laughing "Nice one sis." she looked over at him "Well you deserved it! You are not taking this seriously." Scott laughed to himself, god she was beautiful, strong, loyal and well just so incredibly amazing. He couldn't quite remember when she had started to invade his waking thoughts in this way although she had been hanging around in his dreams for quite some time. When she had crashed Shadow? Maybe, that was when he had if only for an instant thought he had lost her and he had screamed her name in a voice that he barely recognised. "Shit …Shit.." he reprimanded himself "Get over it!" and he left the window and walked off to the office to lose himself in spreadsheets, budgets and force himself out of his rather inconvenient thoughts.
Kayo knew she was being watched and was surprised to find quite liked it, she had previously liked to hang around the outskirts of her adopted family, watching them, part of them but holding back. Now, a few weeks after her uncle had been taken away by the GDF months of angst, guilt and anger had been lifted from her shoulders. She felt free and trusted, they had all forgiven her, they all loved her and now more than ever before in her short but rather adventurous life she was happy. She risked a glance up to the window he was still there watching them … or her? No! Just her imagination she decided. He was smiling at both of them while they play fought round the pool. Since the day after Mateo Island the weight that had been dragging her down had been replaced by a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach, nausea and inexplicably very strange feelings towards the eldest Tracy. It had meant so much to her the trust he had shown her when her uncle had been trying to drive a wedge between her and her family. She looked at him differently now, he was handsome but he always was, something had changed. She would get over it she had to; she had had crushes before even on him when he first came back from the Air Force and she truly hoped it would pass they usually did. Then she knew without looking that he was no longer watching and she felt strangely disappointed. "Shit, … Kayo ... for god's sake get a grip!"
Gordon looked at her "You OK? You have gone quiet. Are you just lulling me into a false sense of security?" He laughed.
She stumbled out of her thoughts "No … err … It's just time for a perimeter check, in fact I've been having so much fun with you I should have been on it 20 minutes ago. You're on your own fish, time to start working on your lap times."
"F-A-B" he shouted after her grinning.
Preliminary scans checked out so she took Shadow out 125 miles from the Island for an outlying perimeter check, god she adored flying the solitude, the control she could have stayed out for hours but all scans were complete and there was nothing to report, she could not resist the chance to feel a little G-force on the way home just to push her bird. A steep climb, barrel rolls and sharp decent pulling up meters above the ocean it was invigorating. Things had been too quiet for International Rescue recently and she missed the rush of adrenalin of the rescues and covert ops. She had been promised by her uncle that something or someone was on its way, the way he had smiled at her, taking his parting shoot she understood that it would test her and her adopted family to their limits and she had sort of expected an immediate introduction. Her uncle never made empty threats it was on its way she knew it.
A distraction of some sort would definitely be a welcome return and stop her playing over and over what he had said. It hadn't helped that with the others away the house was quiet too. Maybe a little down time was what they all needed she thought jumping out of the cockpit into the hanger although she wasn't convinced it was good for them to be inactive for long. What had Gordon said at the pool? A false sense of security, he may have been talking about her but it's how she felt right now. She patted her bird as she left and went to her room to run the software scans and install the security upgrade. There was nothing out of the ordinary so she flipped back onto her bed and listened to some Bowie, no amount of time could blur the genius of this man. He had died in 2016 just a few years before her mother had been born but his music had more than lived on, Grandma had introduced her to his talents and he had become one of her favourites. She was singing now and didn't think anyone was listening so louder and louder. "Life on Maaaaaaa aars." her favourite track, the lyrics totally amazed her. She wasn't one of those girls that had a song for every heartbreak but she had a couple of songs that had become the essence of her and she completely lost herself in the moment, this time not knowing she was being watched from her ever open door.
"You OK kid? ... Oh god that feeling again in the pit of the stomach and beyond, this was not good. Shit...
He smiled at her "Don't stop I was enjoying that. It's not like you to lose yourself in music or even sing loud enough to be heard from the other Islands."
She smiled in return. "Maybe it's just too quiet around here, anyway I thought you were buried in Tracy Industries and Gordon was in the pool."
"He is, only the need for Thunderbird 4 will drag him out for the rest of the day."
"Or food." Kayo quipped "Especially with Grandma off the Island!"
He laughed and her heart started to flutter and become inexplicably linked with her stomach, she was lost not knowing where to go from here.
He brought her back to some sort of normality and she was somewhat relieved "Very funny, do you fancy watching a film while things are quiet?"
"Depends on the film, definitely no war films I really can't be doing with a running commentary through the dog fights and we all know how you can't resist to tell us what you would have done flyboy." she replied.
He raised an eyebrow and looked at her, this newly jovial Kayo was definitely one of the best things to come out of the victory over the Hood, all hers of course and it was like she needed it. "An oldie then … Sci-Fi? Star Wars, always a winner with me, we used to watch it with Mum and Dad every Christmas when they ran all fifteen films in the run up, probably explains a lot about John and Alan."
Wow he's so relaxed she thought, this is a side to Scott she rarely saw "If it stays this quiet we could probably watch all of them within a few days." she laughed while he stomach tied itself into knots. "I'll be down in a minute."
"OK, kid, I'll set it up and get the popcorn."
There it was again he had called her kid, was it her imagination that only the other four Tracy boys stilled called her sister or sis he hadn't for weeks, God get a grip he's only asked you to watch movie she chided herself. Still she looked in the mirror and straightened her hair then made her way down to the lounge where she could hear the soundtrack starting she leapfrogged over the back of the sofa and landed in her usual spot.
Just then John's hologram sprang to life "Scott we have a situation. … A cargo plane had gone down in the Austrian Alps, three flight crew reported on board but only showing two life signs, better get them off the mountain before the situation gets any worse."
Alan jumps in "Let me it's my turn …. there are responders on the ground making their way but it's difficult going, it's too dangerous for Thunderbird Two so you're up Scotty, just get the crew out and leave the rest to the investigation team they will be on site in a couple of hours."
Scott winced at the sound of the nickname that only his brothers used.
John rolled his eyes at Scott "He's wanted to do that all week!"
"Thunderbirds are go."
The Hood had known from his very early encounters with his niece that she had the potential to bring him down. In fact after his recent encounters with her he had been certain that she would be instrumental in his downfall if he couldn't reach out to her and entice her to join him. That day on the Estrella had given him an insight into how difficult that challenge would be, he had never been synonymous with sentimentality but ultimately he had wanted to pass on his legacy to someone worthy. In his eyes she was, a natural leader, highly intelligent, strong, ruthless, an ace pilot and most of all his blood. Even better she had been trained and brought up into adulthood by his nemesis so it would hit her new family hard if she betrayed them. Still after the Estrella he had tried again and again certain that if he succeeded it would aim another blow right at the heart of the Tracy family. She alone had brought him down and she had seemed to enjoy the dominance she had over him on the Island that day when it was just the two of them, a good sign he thought, she has my thirst for power.
He was convinced there may be leverage if he pushed the right buttons after all she was not so different to him but still he had his doubts. He had heard her plead with the eldest Tracy to trust her and he could tell by her voice how important that seemed to be, was she lost? He wasn't sure, even now in solitary confinement at Parkmoor and after weeks of humiliation and questioning by the GDF with plenty of time to lose himself in thought he still would not give up hope for his niece. His options though were limited to two, once free he would either turn her or kill her, last chance Tanusha. He could not and would not allow the orchestrator of his downfall to walk away scot free it would ruin his reputation. With a new partner he would never allow himself to look soft, he was the power behind the throne and would not be seen to be weak.
Expecting capture had given him time to make a contingency plan well in advance, he would spend time behind bars but he had people working for him and they knew for what price they had been bought and what was expected of them. He had had some of the greatest scientific minds at the world's top universities amongst his vast payroll for some years. Using them to create an amalgamation of old technology made redundant by secret services in the western world when the last cold war came to an end and merging it with new technology created by advances in stem cell research and neural communication technology.
The macabre history behind the old technology fascinated him, during the this period it had been necessary to locate captured spies so they could be rescued or terminated, the locator was usually hidden within the body, in a tooth or implant under the skin . The decision to terminate an agent was dependant on what information the enemy had managed to obtain through interrogation, and this was where the listening device came in. Each spy knew that once captured a signal would be sent when the agent failed to make contact and this would be activated; it was insurance so the secret service would be aware of exactly what information had been given up, the small device was usually hidden in a grommet in the ear canal. As the world had lapsed into a period of peace these devices were now mostly used by private companies in boardrooms, capitalism and competition had become the ruler of this new world and corporate espionage had become a big enterprise.
He however had seen the potential to develop undetectable devices within his body to ensure he did not reject the implants in his eye & brain his own stem cells had been used to grow a membrane around them before implantation. The cells would continue to grow down the optical nerve creating a neuro pathway to a transmitter located in his middle cranial fossa. Once within range of a receiver he could communicate through speaking if safe to do so or by blinking transmit coded messages. Messages could be sent back to him through pulses emitted by the receiver. He had given himself the option to interact with his new partner and he knew escape was possible soon he would know exactly when to expect him and by what method he would be freed.
After his place of incarceration was confirmed by his collaborator through the locator in his tooth he would find a way of getting a way of getting the receiver within the required distance using old service tunnels and once again he would be in charge of his own destiny. The distance the small mole like mecca was to travel underground had to be some miles from his cell to decrease the chances of detection and process would be slow. He was not expecting a signal within the first few months, he could be patient but he was eagerly waiting for the time when he would feel a pulse from the implant in his eye and the countdown would begin.
In two maybe three months he would be free, in the meantime the enforcer he had on the outside would ensure that the Tracy family paid for their insolence. His new partner was an easy buy, filled with resentment and the need for revenge against the great technologically minded of the age. Maybe more importantly he was a complete psychopath a perfect marriage for his own sociopathic tendencies. He had found him in the underworld, an exceptionally gifted man, possibly rivalling the Tracy's own genius. He smirked, The Mechanic's price had been for Brains to be given over to him once the Tracy family had been crushed and this had intrigued and pleased him more. He rubbed his hands together in anticipation, both with plans that would see an end to International Rescue …. Perfect.