Chapter 2

The black Mercedes tore along the mountain road. The sleek, powerful car made the bends with ease at the hands of Weasel, the thin man skilfully guiding its course.

"'Zere it is" the French woman's soft accent was excited as she spotted their quarry. "Go past, and get into position, I'll tell ze others."

He put his foot down harder on the accelerator and pushed the speed up to 60mph, cutting just in front of the Security van and disappearing around the next bend.

"Wolf, we 'ave passed ze van, tell Snake to commence as planned, no stunts, in and out."

"Okay Foxy, will do darl', see ya in a bit," came the smooth, deep voice back down the communicator.

She rolled her eyes at his comments, and turned to Weasel "Snake had better not mess up this time, he's a loose cannon."

Weasel agreed with her in his squeaky voice, "It must be time to replace him surely, he had his uses, but we'll have to see who else is available, before he does something that endangers us again. Let's hope he keeps his temper in check today."

The car slowed down and Weasel reversed it into a gap between the road and the mountain. Turning off the engine, they sat in silence, waiting for the 'show' to begin. They had full view of the road, without a chance of being seen themselves.


The helicopter pilot dropped off Snake at the road side behind the immobile van, then flew off to keep watch for the authorities that would come from check point 11. It was his job to keep them busy, whilst his colleagues raided the van.

Snake had decided to change the plan while they were airborne, and ordered Croc to blow a hole in the road, Snake had a flair for dramatics. Placing the helicopter a safe distance away from the target, Croc put his finger on the trigger and fired a small missile, which hit the road, causing it to vanished in smoke and dust. When it cleared, Croc gave a toothy grin, there was no-way anyone would give them trouble now.

Both he and Snake knew that Vixen would fume at them for a while, but Snake was the one who was supposed to be in charge, and he had been, before he linked up with her. Now she seemed to run things. Croc knew it wouldn't be long before Snake got bored with her. He didn't think she would be easy to get rid of, as the other guys liked her leadership better.

He knew Snake would finally realise it, and when that happened Snake was not going to like it, and that was dangerous.


Snake walked towards the back of the scratched van. He stood at 6ft4 and was full of well-toned muscles. He was known as Snake because his body was covered in tattoos of them, he even had a python on his body, which coiled around his arm and up over the back of his shoulder, with its head on his cheek. The artist who had done it was so talented, it looked real and as he moved, it appeared that the python moved too.

He had no hair on any part of his body. His eyes were dark and intense, one look from him would freeze even the bravest of men, as if they were hypnotised. He could strike a man down with the knife that he kept constantly at his side, before they even knew what happened, they would be bleeding. Just like a snake, his 'bite' meant you were dead.

He was reckless, and ruthless. No one except Vixen had ever stood up to him. That was part of the initial attraction he had for her, as well as her stunning looks, she was brave, crafty and intelligent.

When he reached the van doors, the side door of the Hummer opened, and out climbed two more men. The first was holding a radio; he was well dressed, tall and fit, he moved with a graceful long stride. Behind him came a huge man, who was built more like a bull than a man.

"Stand back, boys" Snake warned them, as they made their way over to him as he finished fitting the explosives. The tall man stopped and turned to walk around to the front of the van to see the guards, who had yet to make an appearance.

"Wolf, get your ass over here, I'm gonna blow it." Wolf turned and ran towards the cover of the rocks where the other two men was crouching behind.

Snake grinned as he pressed the detonator, and the back of the van exploded. The force of it pushed the van forward, freeing itself from between the Hummer and the cliff face.

"Shit man!" exclaimed Rhino "That was awesome!" slapping Snake on the back, "You got style dude!" They grinned evilly at each other.

"Yes, lets hope you didn't damage the goods" Wolf's smooth voice warned scornfully, "Foxy isn't going to be happy if you did".

Snake laughed, at the same time giving Wolf a glare in contempt "Ah, let the bitch moan. Who says she's in charge anyway?" Wolf slyly gave Rhino a wink behind Snakes back, who smirked back at him knowingly.

Coming out from behind the rock, Snake and Rhino advanced towards the smoking vehicle. The back doors had been completely blown away. Snake put his foot on the floor and tested it before climbing in. He began to rummage in the back, looking hard for his trophy.

Rhino kept a lookout in case the guards should appear, whilst Wolf made contact with Vixen.

"Hey Foxy! You enjoy the show?" he casually asked. At the same time a torrent of obscene language started coming out from the back of the van, which made Rhino and Wolf grin at each other, despite the fact it did not sound good.

"Uh, Foxy darl, I don't think Snakeboy can find it, luv" Wolf reported, knowing she would not be happy.

"What do you mean? It's got to be z'ere" She was angry. She had seen the explosion; the blast should not have been that big. If Snake had damaged their client's property, all hell would break loose.

Rhino called to Snake "Hey man, what you do'in in there? Get it and lets get outta here".

Just then the two men outside noticed a rumbling sound, and the ground started to shake.

"You thinking what I am?" Rhino said gruffly to Wolf.

"Yes, lets get back to the Hummer, quick."

They turned and ran, leaving Snake inside the van, as Rhino turned on the engine, Wolf called out the window "Get out of there, Snake, the mountain's coming down!" As cracks started to appear in the road, Rhino shifted the Hummer into reverse and they shot backwards, just in time as the first rocks fell on the spot they had occupied only seconds before.

"Holy shit!"

"Snake!" Yelled Rhino, "Oh man, he's got to get out of there!"

Snake didn't feel the tremors as he was rummaging around, but he did hear them shouting and thinking that they were arguing he ignored them. By the time Snake felt the movement of the road and heard the engine roar into life as it reversed out of the way, it was too late.

The van began its descent down the mountain, all he could do was hold on to stop himself falling out.

To those watching, it happened in slow motion, the noise rebounding around them as they watched in fascination, disappointment and then the horror of losing their quarry.

As suddenly as it started, it stopped. As tremors subsided the van had disappeared in a cloud of dust.

Vixen's voice blared out the radio at them "Get out z'ere and see how far down it's gone!"

Wolf and Rhino jumped out of the Hummer and cautiously made their way to the edge of the missing road. As the dust cleared, they could see the van had amazingly come to a rest on a ledge, wedged between some rocks. The road it had been on cracked and fell all the way down.

Silently they glanced uneasily at each other.

"Well?" came Vixens impatient voice, "Can we salvage anything?" From the Mercedes' position they could not see clearly yet.

Clearing his voice, Wolf answered her "Well darl, it doesn't look good from here. We could use the cables in the Hummer to winch Snake up. If he's still alive"

The radio crackled as a grim voice spoke out "Of course I'm bloody alive. Get the rope down to me now. I've got the blasted component, the fall opened a hidden compartment."

Smiling in relief, Rhino ran to the Hummer and made his way back with it to rescue his boss.

"Careful boys, we don't know if that was all the mountain has to throw at us, so hurry up"


Jacob slowly opened his eyes as the van came to a stop. Thinking he was dead, he wondered what it would be like, then it dawned on him that he was still alive, inside the van. He picked up the communicator and started to radio for help.

"Galleon 6 calling Lighthouse. Do you read? Over." His voice shook, but ever the professional, he knew his job down to the last letter. He worriedly looked at Sarah, who mercifully was still unconscious.

"Galleon 6 to …. anyone. We are stuck on a ledge half way down the mountain. Do you read me?" Wiping a hand over his sweaty brow he tried again. Desperately calling out to someone whom he hoped would hear him

"Calling International Rescue, this is an emergency. Do you copy? Over"

Still nothing. No answer came.

He checked the signal, it should still work. Knowing there was nothing else he could do, he kept on transmitting his plea for help, hope slipping away with each passing second. With tears in his eyes, he thought of his wife, and the grandchildren that he would be leaving behind.


Thunderbird One flew through the sky in a silver streak. Scott opened a channel.

"Thunderbird One to Thunderbird Five, have you been able to contact the driver yet?"

"Not yet Scott" Alan answered. "I can hear him, but he's not responding to us. The circuit must be fractured. What's your ETA?"

Scott looked down at the dials "Approaching danger zone now. I'll let you know when I've landed. Thunderbird One out."


Croc had been listening to the radio waves, trying to find out how soon the authorities would arrive, when he picked up International Rescues transmission.

Swearing, he let Vixen know "We got company Vixen. In the form of International Rescue. You want me to run them off?"

There was a second of silence as she pondered her decision. Looking at Weasel, they smirked in quiet agreement. "No. Let them come. Get out of 'ere, I'll let you know when we need you back."

Weasel looked excited, "We can turn this to our advantage, you know."

Smiling back at him Vixen answered, "I know. Can you imagine what our client would pay for information about their technology?"

"Wolf, a change of plan. Leave Snake down there, we 'ave company." Wolf looked confused, but he put his hand on Rhino's shoulder as he made to lower the rope down the cliff. Rhino gave a low growl at her decision. "We 'ave bigger fish to catch. International Rescue will be here soon. I want you to assist them, find out as much as you can. Let Snake know." And she cut off.

Rhino had an ugly expression on his face; "She can't make us leave 'im down there!"

Wolf sighed, "She's not. But she's also right. So pack this up." He smoothed out his clothes and turned to look over at Rhino "Try to look innocent, these guys aren't stupid. Let me do the talking." Rhino just grunted and scowled in reply as he shifted the Hummer into gear and drove her a short distance away.

They covered their tracks and Wolf radioed Snake to let him know.

He was not happy about it, but had no choice in the matter, as the Thunderbird appeared over the top of the mountain, hovering to observe the situation for a couple of minutes before slowly moving towards the road and landing a good, safe distance away from the missing road, so not to cause anymore rock falls.


"Thunderbird One to base" Scott was amazed at the position the security van was in, perched between the rocks. He hoped Virgil was not too far behind.

"This is base, go ahead Scott" His fathers voice floated back to him.

"I'm at danger zone. It doesn't look good, Father; I'm going to land and see if I can contact the guards with the Hover cam. Tell Virgil he needs to step on it. If there are any more tremors, I don't think the rocks will hold."

"Okay Scott, set up, and keep in contact. Base out"


Shifting the controls, Scott put his bird gently to the ground.

Opening the hatch doors, he heard someone shouting.

"Help, help, there are people down there." A mans voice called out to him. Scott ran along the road till he came to two men waiting between the missing road, and a slightly smashed Hummer.

"Hi fellers, are you both alright?" Scott asked them as he approached.

"Yes, we luckily were a way behind that van and managed to stop before we went down there too." Wolf answered him, pointing to the gap in the road.

"Did you see it happen then?" Scott asked, thinking it a little strange that the van was moving and just happened to be on that piece of road when it gave way. "I was told they were under attack." He looked at the smartly dressed man carefully, looking for signs of a lie.

"Is that what they were doing? There was a helicopter hanging around earlier, haven't seen it since the landslide. We came around the corner after it happened, got the aftershock. Thank God." He never changed his expression, the tale was smoothly told, and Scott despite his misgivings, let it go. There were people to rescue.

"Thunderbird One to Thunderbird Two. I've got a couple of men here, who were lucky not to need rescuing too. What's your ETA?" He really needed them here, but letting Virgil know that he was not alone.

"Thunderbird 2 to Thunderbird 1. ETA 4.30 minutes to danger zone. How's it looking down there?" Virgil understood loud and clear.

Peering over the edge, Scott released the camera. "Not great. You'll need to use the clamps to pick up the van. I can guide you from my position. Trying to contact the guards now. Thunderbird 1 out."

"FAB" Virgil replied, and ordered Gordon to prepare the clamps and winches.

Scott returned from Thunderbird 1 with the monitors and watched as the picture followed the decent of the van to its temporary resting place on the cliff face. He swung it to the front, where the guards were in the front of the van. He could see Jacob's terrified face staring out at him, and noted he did not seem to see the camera at all. Swinging the camera across the window, he saw Sarah, blood down one side of her young and frightfully pale face, and obviously either dead or unconscious.

Scott glanced at the two strange men who were quietly observing him as he worked. He felt unsure of them, but instantly forgot when he heard the boosters of Thunderbird 2, as she lowered gracefully down from the sky into place just above the spot where the van was perched.

"Okay Thunderbird Two. Lower the grabs now, nice and slowly." Scott ordered his brothers straight away.

"FAB. Lowering clamps now." Virgil's voice came out, Scott allowed himself a brief smile before going into full rescue mode.

"Right about 5 degrees, steady now." The cable came closer, swinging slightly in the wind. "Steady now. Open grabs. That's it." Scott took a deep breath, and looked up the mountain for a brief second, praying the landslide would not reoccur.

"Right, close grabs…!"

The huge metal grabs closed shut on the van, and Virgil raised Thunderbird Two upwards, so he could lower the van safely onto the road near Thunderbird One.

"All clear. Well done Thunderbird Two. Meet you in a minute."

"FAB, releasing grabs now, though I doubt there is anywhere for us to land. Will have to put her on auto. Thunderbird 2 out."

Scott packed up the mobile control unit and hurried back to his bird, being followed by the two silent men. He never noticed that Wolf was making short radio updates on his radio. He had forgotten they were there.

As he approached the security van, it swung around just before landing on the ground, giving Scott a side view, and now he could see the damage that had been done to the back.

Cautiously he made his way around the back, when a massive form leaped out at him with a hiss, and he found himself flat on the ground, the breath knocked out of him at the unexpected attack.

He looked up into the face of his attacker, and started in shock at the snake tattooed on his face, the man grinned at him. "Scared of snakes are you, hero?" his face was really close to Scott's, "You'd be stupid not to be, boy."

Scott's training suddenly kicked in and he made a jerking movement, twisting to the side, he bought his knee up and threw Snake off him. Jumping to his feet he pulled out his laser. "Don't move, I'm with International Rescue and you're under arrest"

Snake got up off the floor and looked to see where Wolf and Rhino were. Satisfied, allowing himself to pretend to be caught, he raised his arms above his head.

"Alright boy, you win. Where'd you want me?" Snake took a step towards him, as Scott radioed Virgil.

"Thunderbird 2, I have apprehended a suspect." Scott raised the laser, and Snake stopped, grimacing and narrowing his dark eyes at Scott.

"We're on our way now." Virgil answered straight away.

"FAB, you need to check on the guards, I'll sort out snake man here."

"Snake man?" Virgil's voice was amused.

"Yeah, I'll explain later. Thunderbird 1 out."

Scott turned his head to glance at Wolf and Rhino, who had moved to stand closer to the van. "You two involved in this as well?" Scott demanded of them, his voice hard, the laser still pointing at Snake.

Rhino flicked a quick look at Snake and then at Wolf, who made no move at all. "No. I told you, we were following, just innocent bystanders. You want us to cover him while you check on the guys in the front?" Wolf calmly answered him.

Just then, Virgil and Gordon appeared round the corner, seeing that Scott had it all under control, set about rescuing the casualties. With the attention diverted from him momentarily, Snake struck.

Leaping towards Scott, he slashed out at him with his knife, slicing his arm. Scott's instincts saved him from having his throat slit as he dodged to the side. As the momentum of Snake's attack threw him forward without the resistance he expected, Scott took advantage of the larger mans off-balance and followed it up with a well-placed elbow on the lower part of Snake's back. He knocked Snake headfirst into the side of the van with a loud crash, which brought Gordon out to see what had happened.

"What's…?" He started to say, when he was punched in the stomach by Rhino, who despite Vixen's orders, wanted a piece of the boys in blue too.

He doubled over, coughing and his eyes watering. Scott fired a shot at Rhino stunning him. The huge man fell backwards with a loud thump.

"You okay?" Scott called to Gordon, worried, even though blood was dripping down his arm and onto the floor from the knife slash.

Gordon wheezed, "Yeah, I'll be fine." But he stayed kneeling on the floor anyway.

Scott turned to Wolf. "So what's it going to be? You too?"

Wolf put his hands up in defeat, "Not me, honestly, I don't know this guy, I picked him up at the bottom of the mountain. I swear. I thought he was a hitch hiker."

He took a few steps away from everyone warily. Scott looked unsure whether to believe him or not. "Stay over there, out our way. Or you'll end up like him." Scott motioned to the still form of Rhino on the ground.

Then he turned his attention back to Snake who had stood up and was glaring at Scott with his piercing dark eyes. Hate and death were promised within them. Scott had seen many villains, but the depth of the look this man gave him froze him and shook him to the core.

A brief moment of dizziness overtook Scott for a second, fatigue and now loss of blood were combining to make him a little light headed.

Wolf noted that the dark haired man did not look too good, and also saw the look Snake was giving him. This guy did not know what he was in for. Wolf felt sorry for him.

Gordon got up and looked at Scott, noticing his condition. "Scott, you're bleeding!" He blurted out in concern moving towards his older sibling, then pausing at the mistake he realised he had made at the use of his brother's name, when Scott turned to scowl at him.

Not letting the moment slip away, Snake attacked Scott for the third time. Scott, although not 100 percent, still reacted with skill, a quick step back, and bringing the laser down hard on Snake's temple at the same time, knocked the man out cold instantly.

Wolf gasped in surprise. Never had Snake been beaten before. No one had survived a fight with Snake, and this guy had come out alive not once, but three times. Not unscathed, but alive.

Vixen was going to be very impressed. Wolf knew she was unhappy with Snake, and he hoped he would replace him at her side. They could certainly use a man such as this in their team. The possibilities would be endless.

"Wow, that was amazing!" he said, rushing forward towards the brothers. Gordon turned and gave him a 'who the hell are you' look, before turning back to Scott, "If you're okay, I'll go help out with the guards. They need to be taken to the hospital."

Scott nodded his head in acknowledgement. Wolf knelt down next to Snake, and put his hand on his neck to feel for a pulse. Leaning over the body, he searched Snake's pockets for the component they had come for.

Finding it he slipped it into his own pocket.

"He's alive, I guess he'll be out of it for a while. Hey, are you all right? You don't look so good." Wolf observed to Scott. "Maybe you should sit down?"

Scott blinked, he had spaced out for a moment. Shaking his head he told Wolf to go. There was nothing he could do here.

Wolf gave his thanks and got into the Hummer, and drove it carefully past the huge Thunderbird that sat on the road. Stunned by the machine, he hoped they would be able to see it again soon.

"Virgil, how are they?" Scott pushed his tiredness away. "Can you take snake man and this bull with you too?"

Virgil's voice floated back out at him "Sure Scott. The guards will both be fine, we'll finish up here if you want. You sound tired bro. Gordon said you're bleeding, I'll come and check you in a minute, bro."

Scott frowned, not liking to be weak in front of anyone, retorted, "I'm fine. Lets just load up and go. Tell Gordon not to tell tales. I'm gonna finish putting mobile control away."

Scott walked off, and Virgil sighed knowing what mood his brother was in. Gordon watched and shook his head in dismay, but knew better than to try and press the matter.

When everything was done, Scott radioed in with base, letting them know that they were on their way home.


"Well, what do you think?"

Vixen was amazed. "I think we 'ave found our man, wouldn't you agree?"

Smirking, Weasel agreed. "Looks like he's already working for us, he got rid of Snake, and survived. Maybe we can try out that new product Caspian was telling us about."

A smile curved across her face. "I think our client will be only too pleased with 'ze chain of events. This 'venture has been much more profitable than we first expected! Lets ditch this car. I'm calling Croc to pick us up."


To be continued...