Note: This story is set after Jeff has gone missing and the boys are struggling with not having him around. It focuses on all the boys and their relationships, as well as Gordon re-evaluating his place in the family. Please excuse any technical mistakes on my part. This is intended to be multi-chapter and I'll upload as soon as possible. It is technically a fic of the reboot TAG series, but it has elements of the original, and could be read as such. I do not own the Thunderbirds or the boys, but I'd like to use them now and again. I really hope you enjoy!
Gordon Tracy was tired.
Not the kind of tired he felt waking up for a swim every morning. No, he could deal with that. A simple jump into the pool and he was cured of any longing to crawl back beneath his blankets. But now, as the klaxon rang through the house, all he wanted was to pull the cover back over his head and ignore it.
So that's what he did. He curled up and buried himself beneath the cotton. Yet even with a blanket over his head it still didn't stop that damn sound. Gordon had always hated that alarm. In fact, he was pretty sure they all did. Now that dad was gone they should change it. Instead they should blast terrible archaic music through a loud speaker. That would force Virgil- who was most fond of his sleep, and wouldn't be able to bear the offense on his musical taste- to get up and answer the distress call instead of leaving it to the rest of them all the time.
The klaxon stopped ringing and Gordon sighed in relief. Perhaps it had been a false alarm, or maybe Gordon simply wasn't needed. He popped his head out of the suffocating embrace of his bedspread and tried to get comfortable again.
John put an end to that comfort. His blue holographic form lit up the room, forcing Gordon to open his eyes. There was no greeting on John's part, but instead one of his usual blunt statements. It wasn't that John was uncaring at all, he just hated small talk. "You're needed in the lounge for debrief."
Gordon yawned loudly, pushing himself up by his elbow so he appeared slightly alert. "Mornin' to you too Johnny."
"Morning," There was no humour on John's face that morning as he waited patiently for Gordon to get up. In fact, Gordon's second eldest brother looked just as tired as Gordon felt. Damn, they probably all did. It had been one hell of a week. A wry smile changed his brothers appearance completely, "Well, only just."
Gordon glanced at his clock. Half past one. Great. He'd been asleep for approximately three hours. What a way to start the day.
John clicked off after making sure Gordon wasn't going to fall back asleep. Gordon half-heartedly pulled on clothes, making sure to wear his brightest shirt of all in case his brothers needed help waking up. Footsteps on the landing outside his room alerted Gordon to the fact he wasn't the only one up late.
Gordon slipped out of his room and made his way downstairs. Virgil, rubbing his eyes tiredly, was just sitting down when he reached the lounge. Alan was only half dressed; obviously thinking he would just get changed into his uniform in the chutes instead. Gordon wondered why he hadn't thought of that. Scott, who looked like he'd been up for hours, stopped pacing the room when Gordon arrived and snapped his fingers towards him. The only evidence of it being too early was his slightly skewed and ruffled brown hair. "Did you not hear the alarm?"
Gordon slid down next to Alan. He was not in the mood for a lecture from brother number one. Especially since that brother had been barking orders at him for the last twelve hours. "Nope," Gordon stretched his arms out and placed them behind his head. "I did. How could I not hear that thing?"
Scott just rolled his eyes. "That's the purpose of it Gords. You're supposed to get up when you hear it."
"But this is an unreasonable time for a rescue," Gordon said in mock seriousness. "Can't we just call them back and ask them to put it on hold for a while? Postpone the disaster for a few hours while we sleep."
Gordon wasn't surprised when he didn't get a laugh. Hell, he didn't even get a smile. It seemed even Alan was too tired to appreciate his quality humour. Tough crowd. Ah well, there was plenty more where that came from.
John's portrait lit up and in seconds his hologram was back. "Alright we've got a major earthquake in New Zealand. It hit the capital of Wellington ten minutes ago. Even though most of the buildings there are secure and earthquake proof, one of the poorer suburbs wasn't as well checked out. We've got collapsed buildings and trapped people around the epicenter."
"So we definitely need 'Two then." Virgil said, already on his feet. The exhaustion on his face had been masked by an expression of determination. Gordon smiled. There was nothing like a rescue to sober them all up. Even if it was the rescuing that was making them all tired.
"By the looks of it they'll need all of you." John said, studying something they couldn't see. Gordon felt his heart sink a little. It wasn't often that he would turn down a rescue, but now he could really use a break. "This area is prone to aftershocks so we'll need to move fast and get as many people out as possible. There's no salvaging the buildings so we're primarily there for people recovery and evac. I'll send the co-ordinates to you now."
"FAB John." As John clicked away, Scott was already moving towards 'One's entrance. His lips were pulled tight and his face was grim, no doubt thinking what they were all thinking. How many natural disasters could there possibly be in one week? Somebody had obviously done something to anger Mother Nature. Scott switched from brother mode to commander. Or was he always in commander mode these days? Sure felt like it. Then again he hadn't really had time to lapse out of it. "Ok Alan and Gordon you're with Virg. We'll assemble the pod when we get there and see what we need. I'll see you in the danger zone."
"FAB." With that, another rescue was under way.
The hum of Thunderbird Two had almost lulled Gordon back to sleep. They glided along through the night sky, pushing through the low hanging clouds that were in their way. Stars twinkled above them, the lights of Thunderbird Five undoubtedly among them.
Gordon somewhat envied his space loving brother. Sure, he must have been up every second answering calls and checking statuses, but he didn't actually have to do anything. Gordon kicked himself as the thought arose. John did a damn site more than he did. Aside from Scott he was probably the one to work the hardest. And he had to live in freaking space. Gordon shuddered. The deep, beautiful expanse of the ocean he could handle. But space? Space he could not.
"Thunderbird One to Thunderbird Two, I am nearing the danger zone. ETA?"
Virgil cleared his throat, jolting himself out of the thought he'd been engrossed in. "Alright Scott. ETA fifteen minutes."
"Make it ten, would you Virgil?"
"I'll see what I can do."
Gordon bit back a retort, frustration bubbling inside of him. There was something about the commanding tone in his eldest brother's voice that had begun to grate against his nerves. Maybe it was because he had been subjected to it more often these past days. Obviously neither of the others were feeling the same way, or at least they were good at hiding it.
Alan yawned loudly from the seat behind them. For once he wasn't his usual exuberant 'I get to go on a rescue' self. Today it was more of a whiney self. "Didn't we just do an earthquake yesterday?"
"Yes but that was in Taiwan," Virgil kept his eyes straight ahead. "Just because one area has one, doesn't mean the rest of the world is suddenly immune."
"I know that." Alan pouted.
"Then why did you ask?"
Gordon tilted his head at Virgil. Lack of sleep sure made him grumpy. "Actually, it was Wednesday we did Taiwan," Gordon said brightly, turning around to face Alan. "Remember? Monday was the hurricane; Tuesday was the mine collapse and that Tsunami. Wednesday was Taiwan, yesterday was the bush fire in Australia and the oil spill."
Alan blinked. "Oh and I had to fix that satellite too, remember? It's all blurring into one."
"Tell me about it. Hopefully we'll get Sunday off."
Alan screwed up his nose, "Why Sunday?"
Gordon placed his hands together in a false prayer. "Sunday's a day of rest Alan. Even disasters should respect that."
Alan snorted and shook his head.
"Hey you can't complain about this," Virgil interjected, shoulders tensing as he tried to pick up speed with 'Two. "You complain about not going on rescues, now we've got loads and you're still complaining."
"That's Alan for you," Gordon teased, but he frowned at his older brother's tone. The artist was normally such a peaceful soul- though he certainly didn't look it- that Gordon wasn't used to hearing him snap. But he knew better than to ask about it. No doubt Virgil was lost in one of his deep and poetic thoughts and Alan's annoying voice kept drawing him out of it. Or he was just tired. That was the simple option.
"Hey!" Alan protested. "I wasn't complaining. I was just saying. We've been busy, that's all. I mean, I'm totally down for rescuing people at one in the morning..." he hesitated, but a determined gleam filled those blue eyes, "even if it's every day for the rest of my life."
Virgil's frown softened on hearing this, and his shoulders visibly relaxed. Gordon laughed. "I don't think a ninety year old Alan is going to be useful to anybody."
"Hey, Grandma's still useful."
"Grandma isn't ninety."
"Oh yeah I didn't mean-" Alan winced; staring at the coms like Ruth Tracy would just appear before them with a punishing plate of cookies. Thankfully she wasn't up yet. That was one good thing about it being early. "Imagine us still functioning when we're all that old," Alan chuckled at the thought.
"Imagine us functioning next week," Gordon turned back towards the sky. "I don't know about you but I'm about ready to retire."
"Yeah, your hairs going grey already," Alan noted.
"Hey, only Scott gets premature grey hairs."
"That's because he's got four of us to stress about. You've got no excuse."
"I have you, remember? You're the worst of them all."
"I am not."
Virgil groaned and tried to increase speed again.
"You know what 'Two needs Virg?" Gordon asked, leaning forward in his co-pilot seat. He was beginning to feel the familiar lick of excitement return at the prospect of a rescue. Yeah, it was a land rescue, but it was nice to get out of the sub once in a while. Heck, who was he kidding? Gordon would live in the sub if he could. But a land rescue was still better than anything to do with space.
"Nothing. She's gorgeous as she is." Virgil glared at him, wary of an incoming insult to his baby, "and don't go on about painting her a different colour again-"
"Chill man, I was just going to say a coffee machine."
Virgil's dark eyebrows shot up. "What?"
"Like an inbuilt one, with cup holders and everything. It would make mornings with you far more bearable."
Gordon's remark got the desired result as a smile tugged its way onto Virgil's lip. "Yeah, and no doubt you'd have spilled it on the dashboard in seconds."
"Hey," Gordon cocked his head toward the back seat. "Alan's the clumsy one."
Alan drew in an enraged breath. "I am not!"
Virgil rolled his eyes at his little brothers. He tapped the com and John appeared, his small figure floating by the helm. "Everything alright Virg?" John asked.
"Depends on your definition of 'alright,'" Virgil grumbled. "Any updates on what Pod we're going to need to assemble?"
"It's looking like Firefly at the moment, maybe the DOMO. But mainly out of vehicle action if you ask me."
"Alright John, thanks."
"No problem. Oh and guys?"
The hint of wariness that flittered into John's voice was no exactly reassuring. "Be careful out there."
The great thing about Jeff Tracy had been that no matter how bad things were going, he would always remain calm. He wouldn't freak out, or start screaming in their ears, he had trusted them. Sure he was a pretty hard commander, but at the end of the day, Gordon understood why.
Gordon and Virgil were treading through a building that was soon to be a heap of twisted metal and stone. After doing all they could to stabilize it, including using the DOMO to prop up the collapsing doorway, they had entered. It was the third building they had been in charge of, and so far everything had been going well. The aftershocks had been hitting frequently every fifteen minutes, which meant they had to focus on stabling all the damaged buildings before they could get anyone out.
They had done that with the last building, making it safe as possible, but none of the other rescue outfits at the scene had been given clearance to enter. This one was still pretty rickety. So it was up to International Rescue to put their advanced equipment to use.
But another aftershock and this whole thing was going down, so they had to be quick.
It wasn't helping that they were being told that every damn second.
"Have you found any survivors yet?" Scott's low voice crackled into the air. The sense of urgency was unmistakable.
Gordon coughed loudly, hinting that he couldn't yet see. Dust filled the air, still not settling from the last shake. It was like walking through a sandstorm. Headgear sheltered their eyes and throats from the particles, but the people trapped in the building wouldn't be so lucky. John's scan had told them five people were trapped in this one. Gordon focused on that. Five people.
"Not yet Scott," Virgil barely managed to keep the irritation from his tone. "Once we do we'll get them out. Don't worry."
"Alright just do it quickly. It's a huge risk being in there."
Gordon rolled his eyes. Virgil grinned, knowing they were thinking the same thing, like it wasn't a huge risk where Scott was too. As much as he tried to sound calm, Scott couldn't keep the worry from his tone. It was just a thing that went with being the eldest. Thankfully Gordon only had one younger brother, and Alan was in charge of directing survivors once they were out of the buildings. At least that wasn't too dangerous.
"We stabilized the building Scott." Virgil stepped over a fallen beam, gesturing for Gordon to go in the opposite direction. Gordon mock saluted his brother and turned around, deciding to head toward an archway that led to another room. His brother's voices stayed with him however. It was now more of a hindrance than a comfort.
"Sure, for now. But another knock and those are dust too."
"Yeah alright," this time Virgil did snap. "Give us fifteen minutes and then we'll be out."
"You might have to make it ten Virgil," John's voice entered the scene. Gordon groaned, trying to focus on what he was doing. People. Find the people. How angry would Scott be if he switched the coms off? Pretty damn angry. Gordon sighed and kept them on. He walked carefully into the room to find what looked like a kitchen. Beams and tiles had fallen through the roof, making it almost impossible to see the floor. A whimper rose from beneath a table.
"Ok." Virgil said. Gordon wondered how he wasn't telling them to shut up. Gordon very dearly wished to do that but thought it might scare the source of the whimper. "Ten minutes, then we're out."
Gordon got to his knees so he could peer beneath the table. A pale young boy lay in the embrace of a girl, presumably his sister. The boy had a gash in his forehead, blood dripping down the front of his face. Other than that they looked ok. School taught them well. Get under the table or doorway was the only thing Gordon could remember from primary school. At least it was useful for something.
"Hi there, I'm from international rescue," Gordon said softly to make sure he didn't startle them. The boy's eyes grew at his statement, "I'm gonna get you out of here." He buzzed the coms, "Virg I've got two kids. I'll bring them out and then come back through."
"FAB Gords." Virgil's quick reply was calming.
"Be quick about it." Scott's wasn't so much.
Slowly and carefully Gordon coaxed the children out from under the table. After doing preliminary check to make sure he wouldn't hurt them by moving them further, he picked up the boy and led the girl by the hand. They maneuvered their way through the haze of particles, Gordon making sure to lead them through the most stable part of the building. He knew he was going too slowly, but these were just kids, they were shaken and terrified. He wasn't about to bark at them to hurry up.
Eventually they got back to the doorway which was being propped up. It was the only way in and out of the building now. Placing the children in the arms of the awaiting medical crew, Gordon swiftly turned back inside.
He was halted by a small voice, "Are mummy and daddy ok?" The young girl was asking the paramedic she had been led too. He and Gordon shared a glance. No, but they will be. Gordon went back inside.
"Found the father and Grandmother Gords." Virgil's voice filled the static air. Gordon continued to walk back toward the archway. "There are a few beams in the way so I'm going to have to shift them with the Jaws. But they don't seem injured in anyway, just trapped."
"FAB." Gordon pushed his concern away. Virgil could handle himself. For a few precious minutes Gordon merely found himself wandering through crumbling rooms. Then he remembered they were international freaking rescue. Calling John up on his watch Gordon swore for not thinking earlier. "Johnny boy, can you pin point exactly where the last person in this house is?"
John nodded and began swiping at an invisible screen. Gordon's space walking brother looked more tired than before, no doubt having to deal with multiple concern calls while also helping out those on the ground. "Back of the house Gords, just one room over from you. Make it quick bud."
"Thanks space walker," Gordon swiped him away. With the lithe form of a swimmer, he darted his way around beams and fallen debris, trying to find this allusive doorway. Once discovering it he shot into the room. It was dark, a beam having fallen in and covering the only small window. There was a small bed in one corner, the pink bedspread now splattered with grit and grime. The second bed was squashed completely.
Then he saw her, lying in the middle of the floor. One of her arms was trapped beneath a steel beam, her legs buried beneath debris from the roof. Blood streamed through her dark hair. She must have raced in here to save her kids. Gordon cursed and got to his knees. He tried talking to her but she was unresponsive. The faint beat of a pulse was there, but only barely. He clicked on coms again, "I'm gonna need medical in here Al, can you send someone through?"
Alan's light voice was quick to answer. "No can do Gordon. The medics still haven't got clearance to enter. Officials think it's still too dangerous."
"Well I'm in here!" Gordon hadn't meant to yell. He took a deep breath. "Listen there's a lady here, she's stuck pretty badly. I can get her out but I don't want to move her in case I hurt her any more. So I'm going to need medical."
"Gords, there's nothing I can do. Get Virg to give her a check and move her together. I'll have medical waiti- on second thoughts Gords, move her yourself and get out. Fifteen minutes is up. "
Gordon gritted his teeth and said nothing more. He turned back to the woman before beginning to lift the steel bar. Nobody got left behind. But then he felt a tremble in the earth. A light fall of dust cascaded from the roof.
Hurrying, Gordon strained as he shifted the pole away from her arm. Heart pounding, he shifted further down to begin clearing some of the rubble away from her legs. I'll get you back to your kids, don't you worry.
"Gordon, you need to get out of there." Scott's voice blasted through to Gordon pushing past the sound of blood pounding in his ears.
"Just another minute Scott, I've almost got her-"
"No Gordon, now. That's an order."
"Hang on, hang on-" Gordon shifted the last piece of debris away. Now he had to pull her out. Damn, but what about his back? It was too late when Gordon realised he needed Virgil. But there was no time to recall him from outside.
"Gordon, I said get out!" Scott was yelling now, but Gordon couldn't leave. This woman had kids waiting for her outside. He struggled to lift her up, the voice in the back of head telling him he couldn't do it. But he could do it.
"I'm going back in-" Virgil's voice was tense.
"No Virgil stay put," Scott snapped. "Gordon, listen to me! Move out now!"
But I've almost got her. Gordon didn't even bother to answer Scott. He almost had her and Scott's yelling wasn't helping. John's voice was thrown into the mix but Gordon tuned them out. They didn't just leave people. They were international rescue. Her life was equally important as his. Oh how he would love to hear dad's calm voice now.
Then the quiver turned into a shake.
The walls were going to fall in. That's what it felt like. Gordon stretched himself over the woman. He had to protect her. But the floor rumbled and groaned beneath his feet, like a stomach longing for food, before violently throwing him to meet the cold floor. The sound was deafening, the windows groaning, walls screeching, ear splitting screams could have been either coming from the people outside or the ground. A loud crash rang out among the chaos as glass splintered everywhere, rolling with the motion of the room.
Gordon could practically see the ripples along the ground, twisting and turning like water in a glass, there was no relenting as he was thrown to his left, smashing into the wall. Arm flailing, he managed to reach and grab onto a metal leg bolted to the side, pulling himself beneath a half table.
A huge ripping sound, like that of seams tearing apart, only monstrously louder, was followed by a huge eruption, a cloud of dust, a violent jolt. Gordon's felt himself ripped to the right, pain shooting through his arm, clinging with all his strength onto his only lifeline.
He couldn't see. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't control his movements.
Somebody's strangled cry was the last thing he heard, before the room seemed to collapse around him.