A/N: This is my first attempt at doing a multi-chapter fic - the idea has been eating away at me for a while now so I thought I'd give actually writing it a try!
It is primarily TV-verse, although I have intertwined the whole hologram idea from TAG.
Once again, I'd appreciate any comments you guys may have - and I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: All rights to International Rescue and the Thunderbirds belong to Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.
Scott sighed forlornly as he watched Virgil and Tracy One leave the tarmac of the airfield and swoop into the evening sky, the plane's wings waggling slightly from side to side. Scott shook his head in amusement before turning and walking slowly in the direction of Langley House - that was Virgil wishing him luck. He would definitely need it. He hated school reunions; they were always so full of people plastering fake smiles on their faces, trying - and mostly failing - at remembering the name of the person they were talking to. Still, this one would have to go some distance to be any worse than the last one. It had been a meet-up of students in his high-school year - Scott had spent the entire evening attempting to get rid of a gaggle of limpets by the names of Yvette, Alice and... Elle? Had that been her name? The trio hadn't stopped batting their eyelids at Scott since the moment he had arrived, following him around wherever he went. They had been so unbelievably drunk by the end of it - the stench had been unbelievable - and Alice had ultimately wound up being sick all over him. Gordon hadn't let him live that one down for some considerable time afterwards. At least his year at Yale had consisted, mostly, of decent people, so this should be an improvement.
Scott pulled uncomfortably at the collar of his suit as he stopped next to the giant iron gates of Langley House. He, Virgil and Gordon had been called to a rescue in Australia earlier that day; a wildfire had been raging through the outback, sweeping across the entrance of a disused mine and trapping a group of trespassing youths underground. God it had been hot. He'd never known heat like that before. It had been a tricky one too - the mine had been unstable so they couldn't afford to weaken it any more than it already was. Still, they had managed to pull it off, and the Australian fire service had been able to contain the fire soon after. Scott did have time to shower to cool himself down and get rid of the soot before having to leave and make his way to the reunion, but he was still far too warm for comfort. At least there was a slight breeze here.
Set in a thirty acre estate in the rolling Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, not too far from Yale itself, Langley House had been owned by a former NASA officer convicted of fraud and blackmail seven months ago. No-one had stepped forward to buy it since it had been put on the market, so it had ended up being used as a venue for various social functions. There was something about the place that gave Scott the creeps - it looked like the kind of haunted house you'd get in a horror movie, the type where a group of people would arrive thinking it was paradise only to find it was anything but. He could just about see it at the end of the driveway, all off-white paint, towering pillars, pulled curtains and crawling ivy. To Scott's knowledge most of the house was empty and devoid of furniture, only the right wing and the hall used for parties and the like.
Pressing the intercom button next to the gate, it was a few seconds before Scott got an answer. "Hello?" The speaker was male, with a gruff-sounding voice that he didn't immediately recognise.
"Uh, hi," Scott began. "I'm here for the Yale reunion?"
A pause. "You're the last one to arrive." And with that, there was a beep and the gate swung open.
"'Good evening' to you too." muttered Scott, rolling his eyes and strolling down the driveway. The door of the house was ajar, the sound of talking leading him towards the hall. He smiled politely at the people he saw as he worked his way through the crowd, occasionally stopping to greet someone, shake their hand or kiss their cheek and ask about how they've been, what they've been doing... The usual stuff.
Spinning on his heel, the first genuine smile of the evening spread across Scott's face as he eyed the blonde-haired man approaching him, who engulfed him in a bear hug and slapped jovially him on the back.
"Miles - how are you?" Miles Bellamy had been one of his closest friends at Yale, a chemical engineer famed during his school years for seemingly having a complete disregard of his own safety. So what if something was supposedly unstable? Let's put it together with something else and see what happens! Why not? What could possibly go wrong?
"I'm glad to say I'm good, man." Miles grinned lopsidedly, the pair making their way through the throng to the small bar set up in the corner of the hall. "I almost wasn't at one point."
"Yeah I heard," Scott said, making sure to keep his voice neutral. "Explosion, right?" That was more than a slight lie on his part; he'd done more than heard about it - he had been there, and knew only too well the damage it had caused. International Rescue had been called to the chemical plant Miles worked at almost a year ago, after an explosion had ripped through the complex and trapped the alarmingly few surviving workers in the burning rubble. Scott hid a wince. He had been airborne in Thunderbird One helping to put out the fire when a second explosion had gone off as the workers were being evacuated from the area by Virgil, Gordon and Alan. The shock wave had sent One spinning, and everyone on the ground flying. There wasn't a single one of them who didn't pick up an injury of some kind, Scott's brothers included.
Miles nodded solemnly, shuddering. "If those people at International Rescue hadn't got us out, I dread to think what would have happened to us. I just hope they all recovered as well as us guys did - one of them took a seriously nasty blow to the head."
That would be Gordon; hit on the temple, knocked out for near to seven hours and far from lucid for several more. "I'm sure they did." Scott reassured.
"You should have seen their equipment," Miles brightened and changed the subject, nudging Scott on the shoulder. "Their planes are just- wow. Especially that silver, blue and red jet - it's a beauty."
Scott hid a delighted grin. He'd have to remember to rub that in Virgil's face when he got back home. "I can imagine. What I would give to fly one of those things..."
"What are you up to nowadays anyway?" Miles leant against the wall, crossing his arms across his chest in a relaxed manner.
"I work for my dad," Scott said - that wasn't really a lie. "Developing new prototypes, fuels, things like that."
"Is that how you got that?" Miles nodded at Scott's left hand. More specifically, the burn that ran across the back of it. Huh. He hadn't noticed that one. Must have been from the earlier rescue.
"Oh- um- yeah. I was helping one of my brothers with some repairs and my hand slipped." Scott said, blurting out the first thing that came into his head.
"Your hand slipped?" One of Miles' eyebrows crept its way up his forehead. "Okay Scott, be honest, how much had you had to drink that day?"
Scott shot him a half-serious, half-amused glare. "You can talk - I remember a certain time at university when you almost took a leaf out of my youngest brother's book and blew up our flat because you were so drunk. I still don't get how you managed to get those things off campus anyway, even to this day!"
"I have my wa-"
Scott blinked and glanced over his shoulder, groaning inwardly as he saw who was advancing on him. You couldn't miss him - he was considerably smaller than Scott was, like most people admittedly, but was built like a tank with small beady eyes and closely shaven raven-coloured hair.
"Flynn." Scott said warily. Austin Flynn was a curious case - obviously smart enough to be accepted into Yale but was as lazy as they come when academic study was concerned. He only did the absolute bare minimum; nothing more. Much like Scott he excelled at sport - the two often found themselves competing against each other - and, as far as Scott was aware, had joined the army as soon as he found out he was facing being booted out of Yale due to his attitude and grades. He was a bully, only interested in something if he felt he had something to gain from it.
"I heard you left the Air Force," he sneered. "Finally discovered that you weren't up for the military? For the hard life?"
Silence fell amongst those in the immediate area as they overheard the jibe, rippling outwards until almost the entire hall had turned an ear to the exchange, some more subtle than others.
"I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that?" Scott raised an eyebrow.
"Did you go running back to daddy?"
"If you really must know it was an honourable discharge." Scott's voice lowered dangerously. Drop the subject, his tone said. This was definitely a tender topic, had been ever since it happened.
"Honourable discharge, yeah right," Austin chuckled. "I bet your dad-"
"Look, Flynn," Scott interrupted. "Don't go there. Just don't. I'm not here to argue with you."
"Why? Scared that I'll-"
"I was shot down, captured, tortured and forced to watch two of the men in my command die in front of me," Scott's voice may have been quiet but for all intent and purposes he may as well have shouted. Beside him, Miles flinched. "You may be a military man as well but you have no idea what the real meaning of 'scared' is."
Austin's mask slipped momentarily before it slid back into place; he opened his mouth to reply. A click on the other side of the hall, however, stopped him in his tracks. Scott stiffened, his eyes locking with Austin's. He knew that sound. And, by the look of it, so did Austin. It was a noise both were far too familiar with, one that promised chaos and fear during what followed. Miles shifted uncomfortably, not liking the look that entered their gazes one bit.
Scott and Austin spun round in the direction of the hall entrance, argument forgotten and making to shout in warning, just as the first echoes of gunfire rang out.
The sound of splintering beams on the ceiling was muffled by screams, as everyone hit the deck to avoid the flying bullets. Scott landed on his side with a grunt, and threw his arms over his head to shield them from the exploding glass of the drinks bar and window behind him. He shared a look with Austin and then Miles, and craned his neck towards the source of the intrusion.
One, two, three, four, five, six... ten men streamed into the hall, all with their guns pointed and firing sporadically towards the ceiling and walls. Scott narrowed his eyes. By the looks of it, these were not people who were neither comfortable nor familiar with holding weapons, which made them even more dangerous. All were dressed head-to-toe in black, walkie-talkies clipped to their belts.
"Quiet! Nobody move!"
Scott's head snapped towards the one who yelled, standing on the mini-stage in the opposite corner of the hall and firing one last bullet through the ceiling. His flame-coloured hair stood up as if he had been electrocuted, and his eyes had a crazed look in them; unlike the others, the gun in his hand was held with confidence. The screams ceased as one, everybody's attention directed towards him.
"Thank-you," he smiled in satisfaction. That voice. It was the same one Scott had heard over the inter-comm on his way in. "If you stay this obedient, we might actually get somewhere tonight."
"What do you want?" Austin spat. Scott grit his teeth. Seriously, had he not learnt anything in the army? Sometimes it was best just to lie low and not draw attention to yourself. Speaking up like Austin had would just make yourself a marked man.
Flame-Head honed in on him in a heart-beat and let out a chuckle. "What do we want? We want to spoil you, of course."
His next words made Scott go cold, freezing him in his tracks from where he was ever-so-slowly moving his hand down to his wrist-comm.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you are in for a treat tonight. We have a member of International Rescue in our midst."