Day 24: "I've got a head full of chemicals; mouth full of ridicule."

Characters: Captain Blue/Adam Svenson, Captain Scarlet/Paul Metcalfe, Symphony Angel/Karen Wainwright

Warnings: Hallucinations, drugged, medical intervention, enemies everywhere.

Adam awoke with a start. He bolted up, his eyes darting around the room as waited for his heartrate to settle. His room. He was in his room.

He must have had a hell of a nightmare. His mouth was dry with a bitter taste at the back. Had he been drinking alcohol? Adam ran a hand through his hair. It honestly felt like he was hungover, but that couldn't be right. No alcohol on Cloudbase was a rule no one dared break.

Had he broken the rules?

What the hell had happened yesterday?

He couldn't remember. Ugh…he needed coffee.

The first one rinsed away the bad taste. The second one made him feel more human. A third before breakfast was unheard of for him, but Adam felt that he needed it.

As he drank that last cup he looked around his quarters. Nothing *looked* different. But something was making the hairs on his neck stand up.

His small kitchenette was as neat as usual. On the side was a chocolate glazed Dunkin' Donut. Adam smiled. It had always been a favourite of his. But the smile soon turned into a frown and his hand froze halfway to the plate.

The donut.

Since when did he have donuts for breakfast? But then…had he been off-base yesterday? Did that account for his current hang-over feeling? Could that mean he'd bought the donut yesterday?

Shower. Maybe a cold shower would help wake him up.

Adam did feel better afterwards. He dressed and made his way over to the gym. He didn't see anything out of the ordinary at first, but then Paul was sitting at a station. He'd obviously been working out as sweat poured down his face.

Something about this scene was slightly…off.

He couldn't put his finger on it, though. Paul waved and set off performing another set and Adam backed out of the gym. Around the corner Adam slide down the wall and clutched his head.

*'Get him to medbay – now!'*

Scarlet's voice was muffled but it was definitely him, but when Adam's head shot up and looked around there was no one there. The movement caused a sharp, stabbing pain in his head and he held it tight again, breathing heavily until the pain passed.

This time when he got up Scarlet was watching him, a calculating look in his eyes.

Adam wasn't sure when Paul turned to Scarlet, or why, but he was pretty sure he hadn't been around the corner long enough for Paul to finish his set, shower, return to his quarters, dress in his uniform and make it all the way back here.

He blinked at him. Scarlet stared back.

There was a moment of silence before he turned on his heel and went on his way, leaving Adam still sitting on the floor staring at his retreating back.

If Scarlet was on duty then maybe he should be too…that thought had Adam scrambling back up and rushing back to his rooms. He flew into his uniform and rushed out to get to command when Scarlet crossed his path again.

Stopping still, Adam screwed up his eyes and looked again. How…how had Scarlet got here when he was heading in the opposite direction at a fast clip. But Adam had no time to ponder – he needed to get to the bridge.

But on the bridge was…Scarlet. Adam looked from the Colonel to Green and back to Scarlet again.

'Is there a problem, Captain?'

White's voice broke through his concentration. Adam stared at his Commander as White opened his mouth to speak again.

*'He's going into V-fib! Get that defib over here now!'*

This time the pain was not in his head. Adam clutched at his heart, almost doubling over with the pain and he was panting by the time it had passed. By the time his vision returned to normal all Adam could see was Captain Scarlet. His best friend was currently sitting in the Colonel's chair. Everyone else had disappeared.

'Paul? Paul – what's going on?'

But Paul didn't answer him, didn't even appear to see him. Adam spun around to speak to Green, but to his shock Scarlet was sitting there, that same blank look on his face.

Adam backed away, keeping both Scarlets in sight, until instead of the door his back hit another person. He froze, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. He didn't need to turn around to know that the person he'd just bumped into was Scarlet. It laid a heavy hand on his shoulder.

Adam grabbed the…the replicant's arm firmly and pivoted quickly on one foot, throwing it over himself as he ducked under and out the door.

He ran.

He ran like the Mysterons were chasing him, which they were, and as he ran Adam wondered how on earth they had not only managed to infiltrate Cloudbase, but how they had repeatedly replicated Paul. No – not Paul, never Paul, always Scarlet.

Adam spared a brief moment as he ran to mourn Paul, and indeed all his friends who had gone while he slept. Karen…But he boxed those feelings away to deal with another time. First he needed to get off base.

Cloudbase was larger than people thought, and there were plenty of hiding places once a person knew the layout well, but everywhere that Adam ran he encountered more Scarlets. It didn't help that a couple more times his chest had exploded in pain again.

He'd almost made it to the flight deck when his body was suddenly flooded with cold and his limbs stopped working. Collapsing on the ground he became aware of several boots standing around him.

One of the replicant's crouched down and stared at him for a moment before opening its mouth. Before it could say anything Adam used the last of his energy to speak. He had wanted it to be a shout of defiance, but it came out in a whisper.

'Go on then, what are you waiting for?'

*'That should help, he's stabilising now. We'll keep him under for a couple of hours while the auto-nurse monitors his heart and liver. Hopefully we are through the worst.'*

The replicant may have opened its mouth to speak, but it was not Scarlet's voice, or the voice of the Mysterons. It was Fawn's voice, and as his vision faded and darkness descended Adam pondered what it all could mean. Another voice floated across him.

*'You're going to be alright, Adam.'*

Paul's voice was the last thing he was aware of.

When Adam woke up next he found himself in Medical. Karen was asleep on a chair next to him, holding his hand loosely. He blinked in puzzlement. How could she be here? It wasn't possible, no matter how much he wished she was real. He didn't want to alert it to the fact that he was awake, so he left his hand as it was, even though it made his skin crawl.

Time to take stock. He'd obviously had something major happen. His head and chest felt like they had been trampled on and his mouth was bone-dry. In his free arm was a drip, and as Adam squinted at it he could tell that it was more than just a saline IV.

Paul appeared in the doorway in casual clothes and with a slightly rumpled appearance.

Adam couldn't help himself. At the sight of what should have been his best friend, standing there, panic seized him. The auto-nurse warbled a warning.

Paul frowned and stepped closer. This was not the reaction he was expecting, but as Adam's heartrate shot upwards he held his hands up placatingly and backed out.

Sighing in relief, Adam closed his eyes before opening them again.

This was no time to sleep. He fought against the drugs as hard as he could. He needed to wake up. He needed to save Cloudbase!

He needed to kill Scarlet and all the replicants.

He could start with the one beside him.