Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly,

or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.

- Chuang Tzu

"Thunderbird Five, come in."

"Dad, come on, are we coming through?"

"Mr Tracy, can you hear me? Come in."

"Thunderbird Five, come in."

"Dad, come on!"

"Mr Tracy, can you hear me? Come in."


"Thunderbird Five, come in."

"How long have they got?"

"45 seconds until re-entry!"

"Dammit, Jeff! Wake up!"

"Impact Confirmed. Thunderbird Five destroyed."

Alan stood there staring blankly at the screen. He idly thought that the voice that announced that the rest of his family were dead seemed a little too happy about it. Alan felt blank and strangely empty. He was aware over time of people talking to him and him being led away from the screen but did not take much in.

"Alan, we brought Thunderbird Two back, and the Mole."

That sounded like Lady Penelope. He probably should answer, it was polite, and Lady P would probably appreciate that. He didn't know what to say. As far as he was concerned the Thunderbirds machines could all be destroyed. The only the thing the Thunderbirds had successfully achieved was the destruction of everything he held dear.

"Come on, Al. You have had to eat something. For me? Please."

It was dark now but still the voices were there. Tin Tin had been talking for quite a while now but he didn't really listen. Nothing mattered anymore.

"C-c-c-c come along, Alan. You ne-ne-ne have to get some sleep."

Gentle arms took his and he was led to the infirmary. He stiffened and tried to pull away. He wasn't sick. He didn't want to go to the infirmary… Virgil looked after him there but Virgil was not going to be there. Virgil was never going to be there for him ever again. The last time he had seen his family face to face; he had stormed off rather than eat with them and be teased. How he wished he could take that back now.

There were several hands trying to stop him moving, leaving… he felt overwhelmed and panicked and confused as to what was going on. There was then a sharp sting in his arm and he was sinking into the darkness down and down.

He woke the next morning and knew immediately what had happened the previous day with the same cold, empty hollow in his chest. He did not move for a long time but laid there with his eyes shut, not quite being with the rest of the world. It seemed grossly unfair that the sun had risen that morning when his world had ended yesterday.

Eventually, he dragged his ass out of bed with the full intention of going to his room and locking the door. As he passed the medical cabinet he noticed that the door was ajar. A sudden though occurred to him. He glanced about and pulled the door wide. He reached in and pulled out a full bottle of Tylenol and quickly slid it into his pocket.

Alan walked out of the infirmary up the stairs and into his room where he locked the door.

Alan stayed in his room ignoring everyone at the door for several days. Eventually, the silence began to annoy him. Well, strictly it wasn't the silence as such it was more the voice that spoke to him in that silence. The bottle of Tylenol weighed heavy in his pocket.

Alan turned on the TV to try and block out the voice in the silence.

"… yes, the confirmation came from a spokesperson for the family this morning. Jefferson Tracy and four of his sons, perished in a plane crash in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Many tributes are being laid at Tracy Enterprises today…"

Alan pulled the TV from the wall and threw it across the room with a scream.

Eventually, they broke the door in with one of Brain's flame cutters. Alan sat on the floor, soaking wet from the sprinklers and stared at where the TV had been. He heard snippets of the conversation but didn't compute their meaning. He didn't even realise they were talking about him.

"…been like this for days!"

"…just needs time."

"…fa-fa-fa Jeff and the b-b-boys."

"Someone has to take care of him."

That was true. Alan had no one left to take care of him. He was all alone now. No one cared anymore. And neither did he.

The next time awareness returned to Alan he was sat on the main beach where the Hood's submarine still sat abandoned. The bottle of Tylenol was in his hand and a bottle of water was laid in the sand next to him. The voice in the silence whispered to him that it was the only way and Alan was inclined to agree. He shook the pills in to his hand and began to wash them down two at a time. He then curled up in the sand staring at the darkening sky. He could see many shooting stars and wondered how much of that was debris from Thunderbird Five burning up in the atmosphere. He wondered if any of it was his family free-falling back to Earth. He wondered a great many things. He wondered until the darkness descended and he knew no more.