Chapter 2

The weather in LA had been particularly hot this summer and even though it was only mid-morning, it was already scorching hot outside in the streets. Inside the glamorous Ritz Carlton Hotel conference room, which was air conditioned, Scott Tracy found himself break out into a sweat anyway.

His heart started to beat faster in his chest the second Lord Montague's question infiltrated his brain.

"What do you know of the International Rescue machines?"

The beating was so loud in his own body, he wouldn't have been surprised if the whole room heard it thrumming. Scott's mouth felt dry, so he picked up the glass of water in front of him and causally took a large gulp. Swallowing half of it down without choking, Scott felt like he was able to pull himself together and see where this was conversation was heading, and how he could deflect it.

Lord Montague rubbed his chin with his hand as he watched Scott's reaction, he stole a glance over to Patricia who was seated opposite him, waiting to take notes. She inclined her head ever so slightly and pressed the off button on the air conditioning, flicking it to heat instead.

Feeling the change in temperature, she watched Ellie copy Scott and take a swig from her glass as well. All was going to plan so far.

"What I mean, Mr Tracy, is have you ever taken notes on the machines? Have you ever wondered how they work and who designed them? What I am proposing is that we join forces and work out how their technology works and put it to good use on our own designs."

Jay nodded his head in agreement "I for one would love to get my hands on that rocket plane – what a beauty she is! The manoeuvres she performs and the power of her engines is amazing. Just think, if we can replicate and then produce crafts like her. It would be a hit!"

"I think you are certainly on to something Monty," Mr Corner stated, "but you know how tight International Rescue are on their security. They also have the backup of the GDF. It wouldn't be easy to get that information." He paused and looked over to Scott, who seemed to be listening and deep in thought at the same time. "What do you think Scott?"

Scott took a breath deciding how to play it. "I think this is a dangerous subject. The International Rescue organisation is top secret for a reason. Imagine if that information fell into the wrong hands? Of course I would be interested to find out how they do it, who wouldn't? But I'm not prepared to replicate and sell to the general public. Too many risks involved."

He hopped his answer would show that he was not going to be part of this scheme and also that he didn't know much about the IR machines. The hand on his back slowly walked two fingers up his back almost to his neck, and then tracing light circles down to the top of his belt. Scott was sat up tall in his chair and tried to ignore her. Having four younger brothers had its benefits in learning how not to be distracted.

"Mr Tracy," Lord Montague enquired "We did not get you here today for your approval. We are also not here to discuss theft. We have something that will peak your interest. Just from observations, I think we can get hold of some designs from the crafts. We just need a little help from you to do it."

"What Monty means Scott, is will you join with us and make the discovery of the century? Right Monty?" Mr Corner looked to his guest for confirmation. "We just need your help in testing out our theories. We need a test pilot, your reputation exceeds you, and we knew if your father was here instead he would refuse us. What do you say?"

Scott's head was whirling inside. Were they saying they already had information on the Thunderbirds? Did they know who he actually was? Why was it so suddenly very hot in here? His shirt was sticking to his body and his stomach was starting to churn uncomfortably.

He picked up his glass and finished what was left to try to clear his head. Jay broke into his thoughts "Man its hot in here. Did the air con get switched off?" then he too downed his water.

Neither Lord Montague nor Mr Corner had water. "Patricia, would you mind getting a fresh jug of water for the table, and while you're gone, go and ask someone to look at the air conditioning."

She got up and quickly left the room. As she opened the door, a cool draft blew in.

"I think we should all take a short recess people." Jay spoke up as he shrugged out of his jacket. "This heat is making me feel sick."

"Me too" announced Ellie as she stood up. "I need some air. Coming Scott?" She pulled on his arm to get him to stand up. Jay got up as well. "What a way to start a meeting. We'll be back in 10 mins, but this heat is ridiculous." He pushed the sweat off his forehead.

The three of them left the room and instantly felt the relief from the cooler air in the corridor. Scott took the opportunity to escape. He needed to speak to John as soon as possible. He needed more info on Lord Montague.

Pulling out his mobile he glanced at it and made his excuses. "If you would excuse me for a moment, I need to answer this message. Work related."

Ellie was still latched on to his arm. "Don't be too long or I'll come looking for you." She pouted at him, then the colour drained from her face. "I think I need to sit down, I'm not feeling too great."

"I'll be right back" Scott promised. "You are starting to look a little pale. Jay, would you take her arm for me please?"

Jay moved over to his cousin and walked her over to a seating area. "You know something. I feel a little weird too." Jay looked up at Scott. "We'll meet you here and then go back in together. I don't think I can take the heat for too long in that room."

"Sure. No problem. See you guys shortly." With that Scott quickly headed back to the room that John had booked for him. While he was in the elevator, Scott knew something was very wrong. His insides were churning and he felt like he was going to throw up. His head was suddenly feeling light and his vision was blurring. He hopped he could make it back to his room.

The elevator doors slid open and Scott stumbled out, his legs shaking with the exertion. Giving up all pretence of being fine, Scott used the walls to help keep himself up as he moved closer to his door.

He had to get into the room before contacting John on his chronometer. He couldn't risk anyone seeing him talking to his watch. Taking quick, short shallow breaths, Scott managed to fumble with his door key and accessed the room. He weakly pushed the door closed and fell towards the bed, missed and curled in on himself on the floor, panting erratically. As his eyes fluttered shut, his last thought was with his star struck brother.

Back outside the meeting room, the chair that had occupied Ellie and Jay was now empty. Had Scott been able to return, he would not have found them, for they were not even in the hotel anymore.

The blond haired secretary re-entered the meeting room. The air-conditioning had been returned to normal by Lord Montague. Patricia pointedly asked "So where is everyone?"

Mr Corner looked up at her in surprise, "What do you mean? The youngsters just went outside for a bit of fresh air, didn't you just pass them on your way back? Why don't you go fetch them, they may have gone down to the lobby for a bit. Monty was just about to tell us something interesting."

Patricia left the room and dutifully walked around the hotel and asked if anyone had seen the three missing people from the meeting, but no-one had seen any of them. Unsurprised she went back to report to her employer.

"What do you mean they're gone? Where have they gone? I bet this is Tracy's fault. Probably got himself kidnapped, my son along with him and my niece – what am I going to tell her mother?"

"Calm down, James," soothed Lord Montague "I told you things would get interesting and so they have. I do believe that we should leave now as well. Pointless having a meeting without Mr Tracy and your family here, don't you think?" Lord Montague stood up and straightened his tie. "Now, I suggest we go down to the car park and get in the vehicle that is waiting for us."

"Whatever do you mean? Do you know something I don't?" Mr Corner seethed "Have you taken my son?"

"Now, now, now my friend, all I wanted was your compliance. You are complying, so no harm will come to your family… for now. Keep on like this and we will both profit. What has happened, is my suspicions may have been correct." He turned to face Patricia. "Has it been done?"

"Yes. I am just waiting for confirmation."

"Excellent. Shall we, old chap?" Lord Montague waved his arm to the door and followed a shocked Mr Corner out of the room.

"Patricia, what is this all about? I thought you worked for me? I thought I could trust you!"

"Corner, I never worked for you. You are just a means to an end. We, "she glanced at Lord Montague "have a much bigger prize to catch."

"On second thoughts Patricia." Lord Montague thoughtfully said "I think we should leave James behind. You see, my friend, you have done what I needed to you do. I now have control of you whilst I have your son and I have gained something so much more valuable in the process. You are to stay in this room until I message you with further instructions. DO NOT leave this room and try warn anyone, or your son will lose a limb. Good day."

Pushing the stunned Mr Corner back into the room and closed the door – putting the Do Not Disturb sign up, they left down the back stairs and into the waiting car.

Patricia got out her phone and made the call she had promised earlier.

Far above the Earth, Thunderbird 3 was performing the simple rescue of towing another spacecraft out of harm's way.

Alan and Kayo secretly enjoyed their time together up in space, even though Alan pulled faces that Kayo had to come along, and Kayo pretended to feel in different about 'babysitting' Alan.

"Thunderbird 5 from Thunderbird 3, we are nearly at the space station now. Just preparing to dock, then we'll be heading back home."

"FAB Alan. This may have been a bit of a milk run, but the practise is good without the pressure." John commented back. "Kayo, what score do you give him now?"

Kayo and John had a running performance test on Alan. He was given a score by Kayo after every mission and John would then rate his overall performance.

"Ooh, I think he scored a cool 8 this time John." She announced, "He had the grappler on target, but moved off with a slight jerk. Could have been a little smoother."

Alan opened and closed his mouth like a goldfish, "Wha…! That was your fault Kayo! You blew that whistle in my ear just as I was about to manoeuvre away!"

"Hey, don't blame me for your actions! You have to be prepared for distractions out in the field. I was only testing you." She explained to him.

John smirked "She is right there little brother. I'll add it to his score sheet." Alan frowned in annoyance "Hey don't look so cross Al, the others all had to do this too."

John's communicator with Tracy Island flashed up. "Hey John, any news from Scott? Shouldn't he be out of that meeting by now?" Virgil wanted to hear how Scott had gotten on this year.

"Nothing yet Virg." He replied, working out how long Scott had been out of contact. "He has been radio silent for 4 hours now, so I'm guessing it won't be long before he wants to come back home."

"That's unlike Scott to be so long in a meeting. He's normally able to wrap them up much quicker. Wonder if he's getting a bit of action!" Virgil winked knowingly at his older brother.

Smiling slightly, John answered. "I doubt it. You know Scott likes to chase the women, not be fawned over. I'm actually placing my bet on him resting before heading back. You know him as well as I do, and he is running on empty at the moment. Gordon's accident really shook him up."

"Yeah, it did. Get him to call me when he's on route back, I want all the gory details!"

Laughing openly John reassured him, "FAB Virgil. Keep dad occupied for a bit will you. I want to keep him off Scott's tail for a bit longer if I can."

"Will do. Virgil out."

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