Be Careful What You Wish For
A Thunderbirds Movieverse fanfic
Alan Tracy leaned back into his chair in the main control room on Thunderbird Five and made a sweep of the panel readouts in front of him.
It was only his fourth rotation on board since he received training about their space station but everything was second nature to him now - his brother John had seen to that. The way he went over the function of each instrument in intimate detail twice over, Alan knew that John considered this place HIS territory.
So far he did his best to do his part, communicating distress calls and coordinating information between his brothers as they worked rescue scenes. It was quiet in space and though John swore by it in order to get work done, sometimes it was enough to drive Alan to distraction. I wish something would happen up here.
It also seemed to be hotter than normal. Alan fingered the collar of his jumpsuit and got to his feet. The environmental controls for Thunderbird five were on the opposite wall of the control room, he could adjust the settings and -
A loud beeping suddenly broke his focus.
Alan turned around sharply to find that the source of the beeping was the control panel he was staring at only a few moments ago.
An amber light flashed on the panel in time to the beeping. Alan edged closer to the panel and after a quick check and verified that it was the solar activity sensor that was setting off an alarm. He quickly turned off the alarm and checked the readings. The levels that showed on the readout had him scrambling to the communication panel and - what then?
Alan had never seen levels of solar activity that high before. Could he trust what he was seeing?
He sat back down in the chair and thought about it before making the necessary adjustments and opening up a communication channel. "Thunderbird Five to John, come in please."
There was a rectangular communication screen directly above him, and Alan watched it intently as the image of his brother appeared on it. From what Alan could tell, John was in his own room, sitting at his desk.
His brother's voice held a teasing tone."John here. Don't tell me you are getting lonely up there again?"
Alan rolled his eyes. He shared many a late night conversation with his brother the first few times he was on Five. "That's not it, John. I didn't want to alarm dad without running something by you first."
His brother's expression did not change, though he did lean forward towards the screen. "What's wrong, Alan?"
"The solar activity sensors are reading a bunch of flare activity right now."
"Solar flares? Alan, I told you they weren't anything to worry about unless you're seeing level 15 activity."
Alan shook his head fiercely. "I remember what you told me, John. Based on these readings, the flare activity is at level 20."
That finally got a reaction from John. His eyes widened and he whistled appreciably. "Wow, no wonder you called me. Sit tight, Alan - I'll give Dad and Brains a heads up on the readings you have. What are the current orbital readings of Thunderbird Five?"
Alan glanced over at the navigation panel and read off the coordinates he saw. He watched as John nervously wrote them down. No doubt about it, Alan couldn't miss that his brother seemed spooked. "John - there's something you aren't telling me, is there?"
John looked back up at the screen at him, and it was nearly a minute before he replied. "Okay - truth it is: There's nothing to worry about - for the moment."
"The moment?" Alan echoed. "And just what is that supposed to mean?"
"You wanted the truth, didn't you?" John retorted. "With your current position up there, you are at a safe distance from the sun - if there is no flare activity."
Alan sucked in a reluctant breath. With what John crammed into his head about the setup of the station, he quickly made the unfortunate connection. "So at what level do I have to worry?"
His brother gave him a sympathetic look. "Solar flares at level 15 shouldn't reach you at all but the amount of residual heat and radiation would give the shields a workout. At level 20 you better step up your checks of the equipment to make sure there is no heat stress or failure. I need to get with Brains before we even think of course corrections for Five - one wrong move can make this situation worse on you. Even the Earth may see some environmental backlash from this if the high levels keep up. "
Alan swore as something else came to mind, causing John to blink in some surprise. "What's wrong?"
"I'm not the only one with worries, then. The Zeta 5 Space Station is also in close proximity. They changed up their orbit to rendezvous with a shuttle to get a new shipment of research materials from Australia in six hours. I told you about it last week, remember?"
John's eyes widened. "Their shields aren't as strong as ours. Those astronauts could be in trouble. How long have the readings been at level 20?"
Alan took another look at the panel in question. "About five minutes now and have continued since I contacted you. The funny thing is, John, it's a definite quick spike in the readings. When I last checked a half hour ago, the flares were only at a level 12. You don't think the sensors might be broken, do you?"
"I wish I could, Alan, but Brains came up with me during my last go round up there. He made a check of all the systems and declared them sound."
Alan glanced back at the panel that had only beeped at him moments ago before looking back at John on the video screen. "So what do I do in the meanwhile?"
"As I said before, sit tight. Keep a close eye on the solar flare levels and as a precaution, run maintenance diagnostics on the equipment like I taught you how to do. I'll get dad and Brains working on this. Don't worry Alan, we'll figure out what's going on here. John out."
Seconds later, John's image disappeared from the screen, leaving Alan alone once more. He leaned back in his chair and mopped his brow with the back of his hand, regretting his wish for something to happen.
John Tracy turned from his computer, trying to work out in his head all of the information that Alan provided.
He prided himself on keeping up with what was happening in space and on Thunderbird Five, even when he was earthbound. No doubt about it, the readings Alan told him about troubled him but maybe his brother was right - maybe there was a malfunctioning sensor on Five.
A little voice inside his head piped up - But you don't know for sure now, do you?
Scott Tracy was in the middle of a beautiful dream involving a clear mountain stream and the largest trout he had ever seen.
That was until the nudge that sent him hurtling towards the water.
With a gasp, Scott sat straight up in bed, now wide awake. His eyes snapped in focus only to realize that his overhead bedroom light was on and that John was standing over his bed.
With a belated grimace, he realized that it must have been a jostle from John that broke him from his dream.
Scott's voice was still heavy from sleep as he determined twenty different ways to get revenge on a brother. "Wha? What is it, John?"
"Scott, get up. We've got trouble. Do you know where dad and Brains are?"
Scott yawned, stretched, and tried to keep the irritation out of his voice. "John, dad left on a last minute business trip and took Brains with him. They're supposed to be back in forty-eight hours. You would have known that too if you weren't knee deep in that article you are writing for that scientific journal."
He watched as John rolled his eyes. "Then we'll have to make do then. I'll meet you downstairs at the command and control center in ten minutes."
Before Scott could ask any more questions, John disappeared through the bedroom door, leaving him alone once more.
With a muttered curse, Scott shifted over to the side of the bed and grabbed for his uniform that he had cast off earlier, all the while wondering what could have happened.
By the time Scott dressed and made his way downstairs to his dad's office, he found that John had also roused Gordon and Virgil. Judging by their expressions, their awakening was as abrupt as his was. They stood behind John, who was sitting at the activated command and control center.
He walked closer and found that Alan was showing on the main communication screen of the center. "Okay, John, care to tell me why you got us all out of bed?"
As a reply, John looked to the communication screen. "Alan? Care to tell them what you told me? We are going to need all of the help we can get."
Scott stood at attention as he listened to his brother relate the information about the readings he encountered and what that meant to them. When Alan was done, Scott wheeled on John. "We need to act upon this information right away as well as update dad and Brains."
John spoke up from his seat. "We need more information first. Alan, did you run that maintenance diagnostic I asked you to perform?"
They watched as Alan looked down at his controls. "Yeah, and nothing. Nada - all sensors are reading green. Something weird did show up near the sun when I ran scans in that area though...astero...mag...interferenc..."
The brothers watched in horror as the video feed showing Alan began to break up and distort until it disappeared all together from the screen.
Scott glared at John. "What happened? Can you get him back?"
John focused on the computer systems in front of him and ran a few commands before looking up in frustration. "Nothing doing, Scott. Whatever interference Alan was referring to is also affecting our satellite communications. I'm also starting to see reports come through reporting communications across the globe are being disrupted as well."
Virgil voiced the fear that was on all of their minds. "So, what you're saying is Alan is cut off from us."
Hi again – it has definitely been a while. This idea is one chapter old, but I promise to try and make this worth your wait if you stick around. Arthritis has slowed me down but it can't stop me. I'll post my next chapter as soon as I can.
Till next time,