John Tracy sat silently as Thunderbird five continued on her designated course. His heart which earlier had been beating 1000 times a minute had now resolved itself to a dull and steady thud. He felt surprisingly calm. He knew what he had to do. After all this was the ultimate job he'd been gearing up for his whole life. Saving lives.

He stared into the blackness of space and realised he wasn't afraid, after all he spent most of his time in space, it seemed almost right that he died in it. As Thunderbird Five continued to move, John saw the thing that would kill him. He found it remarkable that today had started out like any other day yet had ended up here.

He turned to get a full view through Thunderbird Five's window and was awed by the sight of the giant piece of rock that was on a direct collision course for earth, the only thing in its way was him.


1 hour earlier

'An asteroid?'

'Yes father and it's heading right for Earth!'

John bit his lip as he took in the appalled expressions of his family.

'Oh my god!' Alan said his voice fearful, 'what are we going to do?'

Jeff kept his voice professional and business-like but John couldn't fail to notice that the unshakable Jeff Tracy looked very shaken.

'What are the co-ordinates John?' he asked briskly.

As John told his father the asteroids co-ordinates he saw his brothers giving each other horrified glances.

Gordon had his arm around Alan reassuringly, Scott was pacing the lounge running a hand through his dark hair and Virgil was just sitting listening to John, his face pale, in shock.

'I heard the transmission from NASA, I just had to tell you.' John said desperately. The moment when he had heard the panicked transmissions had been the worst moment of his life, after hearing of his mother's death and Gordon's hydrofoil accident. Everyone he loved was on earth, how was he supposed to live if something happened to them.

'I want you all to get off earth now.' He told his father. 'Just take thunderbirds one and two and get into the air, at least you've got a chance there.'

Jeff turned to look at his sons, even he knew that this job was too big for International Rescue.

Gordon shook his head, aggressively, 'No' he said, 'I'm not leaving, we can't leave all these people to die.'

Jeff looked at his eldest, 'we can't dad, we've got to try and do something!'

Virgil nodded.

Jeff's eyes turned to his youngest, 'They're right dad, if we desert people now then what the hell has International Rescue been for.'

Jeff looked at his boys and at that moment he felt he'd never been more proud of them. Here they were with a chance to save themselves and they wanted to give their lives to help others. What fine men he'd raised. Of course part of him felt that he should force them to get off the planet, into the sky, where they might have some chance, but he knew he couldn't force them.

'Is there no way we could get Thunderbird three up to destroy it?' Alan asked.

John shook his head, tears in his eyes, he couldn't lose his family. 'No Al, the estimated time of impact is 1 hour five minutes you'd never get to the asteroid's coordinates in time.'

Jeff nodded, 'Your brother's right Alan. It wouldn't work.'

For the longest time John could remember the Lounge remained silent. Everyone attempted to take in the horrific turn of events.

John couldn't give up, 'Please guys' he murmered, pleading with them now, 'Dad? Just get into the air, there's nothing you can do, there's no point all of you getting yourselves killed, when there's a chance...'

Scott interrupted him, 'there's no chance Johnny' he said sadly, speaking what the rest of the lounge was thinking. 'You know that, even if we made it into the sky, the blast would be so big we'd most probably be killed, purely by the force from the impact.'

John shook his head, the tears openly falling now, 'but ther...ther..there'd still be a.a..a chance.' He sobbed. 'Please you can't die, you can't all leave me.'

There wasn't a dry eye in the lounge. Gordon, always the optimist, tried to reassure his brother, 'well you never know ' he offered, tears falling from his own eyes, 'maybe the government or NASA will come up with something.'

John couldn't bring himself to tell his family that, the last transmission he'd heard from NASA had been filled with panic, there was no way they were going to get to this thing in time. Instead he nodded at Gordon and offered him a smile, though the tears still rolled down his cheeks, 'even now he's thinking of everyone else, trying to cheer me up' John thought to himself.

Jeff looked up at John, 'any news on when the story will break?' he asked, his own eyes misty.

'Within ten minutes,' John offered. 'I should warn you there's gonna be a mass panic, probably hysterical scenes, you shouldn't watch it.'

Jeff nodded, 'I wish I'd given your grandmother a proper hug before she and Tin-tin left to do some shopping now.'

Alan gave a small sob at the mention of Tin-Tin's name and sank onto the sofa.

Scott walked over and put a hand on his shoulder.

John watched the scenes and felt worse than he ever had before, 'what do I do dad?'

'Stay where you are John.'

At John's shake of the head, Jeff said more firmly, 'you have to now son, you won't make it back to earth now, you're safe up there.'

'But I have to be with you.' John said with clarity.

Scott stood and walked towards the screen, so John could see him close- up.

'Now you listen to me Johnny,' Scott said in his best 'big-brother' tone. 'You have to stay where you are,' when John shook his head vigorously, 'you know that. You won't make it in time and you'll just get yourself killed as well, and we're gonna need someone to carry on the Tracy name.' He tried at humour.

John gasped as the tears continued to fall.

'Scott...I can't...'

'Yes John' came the reply, 'you can, you've got to.'

John couldn't believe all this. It felt like a bad dream, that he couldn't wake up from.

'Now listen to me carefully John' Jeff said, professional again, 'if NASA fails at any attempt, then the most likely scenario will be a global disaster, it could very possibly be the end of life on this planet.'

Jeff sounded as if he was talking about what they were having for dinner, 'how can he be so detatched' John thought, but then saw the slight movement that told him, he wasn't. Jeff's hands shook as he rubbed his chin.

'You've got the capacity to live for a year up there, without the monthly supplies,' Jeff continued, 'now there are other space stations, you must find your way to them and see if you can come up with something between you. If it's safe to do so, return to earth.' Jeff paused and swallowed before continuing his sentence, '...see what's left.'

'Dad!' Virgil's voice alerted his father, 'the story's just broken.'


John listened again to the transmissions of NASA, he had promised to call his father back in 10 minutes, after he got some more information. 'Situation dire...' A voice said from the speaker, '...loss of life predicted..substantial'.

'They're not going to do anything' John thought to himself. He threw his head in his hands, if only there was something he could do. As soon as he'd heard about the asteroid 10 minutes earlier, he'd checked the coordinates, if it was close enough to him, then maybe he could do something, but it was too far away and John could do nothing but watch helplessly as it destroyed everything he'd ever loved.

He walked dejectedly to the control panel to check the latest coordinates. He glanced at the screen and almost collapsed. The asteroid had changed course, it was still headed for earth, but there was one sattelite that could reach it, and it was Thunderbird Five.


'The asteroid is on a direct course for Earth' the reporter said, her own voice shaking as she spoke, 'I repeat, this is unavoidable, a direct collision is inevitable, it seems all we can do is pray.'

As the news images began to show, people crowding towards and inside churches, the Tracy's watched the screen in growing disbelief.

'I just can't believe it.' Virgil whispered.

'I know' Scott replied, 'I never would have dreamed it would end like this.'

Gordon smiled wanly, 'there's worse ways to go, than sitting here with the people you love.'

Alan laughed, 'Oh Gordo, never lose that optimism.'

'Well I consider myself lucky really' Gordon continued, 'I've felt like I was living on borrowed time ever since my accident, it was almost like I was supposed to die then.'

The others stared at him in silence.

'Besides, I'm not afraid,' he said firmly, 'mom's there waiting for us.'

Jeff smiled and squeezed his son's hand. Gordon's remark seemed to calm the others.

'It's going to be really hard on John.' Scott said thoughtfully, 'I'm going to miss him something terrible.'

'We all will.' Virgil offered, 'but he'll be the most protected guy, with 6 guardian angels looking out for him.'

'Yeah' Alan replied, 'he'll never get rid of us really.'

They sat huddled as they watched the continued coverage. Minutes later, the asteroid came into view.

'As you can see,' a male reporter was saying, 'the asteroid is now visible in our sky, in less than twenty minutes it will hit our planet.'

The images flashed to people running to old war bunkers, and underground shelters. Alan stood and walked towards the large glass window, at the front of the lounge.

'Look,' he called to his family, 'you can see it.'

Scott, Virgil, Gordon and Jeff came to join him.

They stood in awed silence as they stared at the dark spot in the sky that seemed to be growing steadily.

As usual Gordon broke the silence, 'Aw, it doesn't look too bad to me.' He said, humour in his tone, 'maybe we can take it.'

The others laughed, not because it was funny, but because they knew that this was one task that was just too big for International Rescue.

'Shouldn't John be getting back in touch now.' Scott asked Jeff.

'He's probably upset' Jeff answered, 'give him ten minutes to get his head around this, and then we've got to say our goodbyes.'

The mood turned desperately sad as they all knew they'd never speak to their brother again after today.

Silence overcame them and for once, even Gordon didn't break it.


John punched in the co-ordinates for the asteroid's position without a seconds hesitation. He wasn't going to waste a second worrying about his own life, it was one life for billions of lives. He knew he had to do it. He frowned as he mentally checked over Thunderbird Five's capabilities, with the right force and speed he knew it could substantially damage the asteroid, or at least throw it off course. As Thunderbird Five began to move through space towards what John knew without a doubt would rip him to pieces, he smiled.

He wouldn't lose his family now, he'd be with his mother and he could look out for them all. Hey maybe they'd even name the asteroid after him, this made him laugh, asteroid John, how original. He sat down and gazed into space as he saw the asteroid getting closer and closer, man that's big, he thought to himself, but then almost immeadiately he expelled all doubts from his mind.

'I can do this, I can do this.' he told himself, 'I have to do this'

He hurried to the control panel and took several deep breaths before positioning Thunderbird Five in the most successful position for total destruction.


'Geez, you'd think John would be more communicative, considering it's our final minutes on earth.' Alan said to the others as they sat on the balcony.

'He'll talk when he's ready.' Jeff replied, 'You have to understand how hard this is for him, much harder than it is for us, he's the one who has to go on living after we're all gone.'

Scott stared over the sea, visible from their balcony, 'I wouldn't trade places with John for a minute.'

'Me neither' Virgil said

Gordon too, was staring at the sea the way Scott had been, 'It just blows my mind that in 10 minutes this,' he murmured gesturing at the ocean, '..all of it, won't be here anymore.'

Jeff nodded, although his sons were right, it would be awful to lose all this, his mind was elsewhere. With John, with the child he would soon be separated from. He prayed that John would find other people, that there'd be some way to repair the Human race, but deep down he felt that this was the end for human kind. He looked at his other sons and told himself to be strong for them.

'I'm coming Lucy' he mentally told his wife, 'most of us are.'


John couldn't tear his eyes from the asteroid, it was very close now. He walked over to Thunderbird Five's stereo and took a CD that Penelope had given him from England, he placed it into the player and sat back in the chair letting his favourite song echo around the room.

'We the people fight for our existence,

Don't claim to be perfect but we're free

Dream our dreams alone with no resistance,

Fading like the stars we wish to be,

You know I didn't mean what I just said

But my god woke up on the wrong side of his bed.

And it just don't matter now,

Cos little by little,

Gave you everything you ever dreamed of,

Little by little the wheels of your life have slowly fallen off,

Little by little you had to give it all in all your life,

And now's the time, I just ask myself why I'm really here.'

I know why I'm here now, he thought to himself.

John sighed deeply, he knew the next job he had to do would be the hardest he'd ever done in his life, but it wasn't flying into the asteroid, that was the hardest job,it was saying goodbye to his family.



Jeff knew the time had come, he had to say goodbye to John, they all did.

'Come on Boys' he told his sons as they trailed in behind him.

Jeff didn't answer his son with the customary, 'Go ahead John.' He smiled and said, 'Hello son.'

John's face filled up the screen,

'hey' he said.

As his father stepped foreward, ready to speak John put up a hand.

'Stop Dad,' He said, 'No goodbyes, ok?'

Jeff nodded his head.

'Listen there's something I want to say to all of you.' John began, swallowing hard, 'I know after mom died, I wasn't the easiest child to care for, I'm really sorry about that. I want you all...' he continued looking each of his brothers and then his father in the eye, '.to know how much I love you, how grateful I am for having such a wonderful family.'

Tears ran down every Tracy's face,

'Scott..' John began addressing his eldest brother, '..there hasn't been a time in my memory when you weren't there, to hold my hand, talk to me or just to listen. Thankyou so much for that.'

Scott gave a watery smile and hung his head.

'Virg, you were always there too, a steadying influence, looking out for me, you and I would talk about mom, something that none of us really spoke about, but you'd tell me about her, you'd always be up for a game, whatever it was, I love you Virg.'

Virgil, wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, 'I love you too Johnny.'

John smiled when his eyes met Gordon's. 'Man I remember when you were born,' he said smiling, 'I didn't want a little brother, but then I realised that I could teach you stuff and look after you and you were mine, I already had two bossy older brothers ordering me around,now I could do the same. I love you so much Gordo, you make everyone feel better and you're so thoughtful and I see so much of mom in you. Never change.'

Gordon stared at John, tears rolling down his cheeks.

'Al...' John began turning to the youngest. ''re the baby and with 4 older brothers I'm sorry but you're always gonna be, but I need you to know how proud I am of you. I've watched you grow up, you've turned into a fine young man. All four of you have.'

Alan let out a deep breath and smiled sadly, 'thanks Johnny' he replied.

John looked at Jeff, he smiled, and again swallowed a lump in his throat that threatened to overwhelm him.

'Dad...' He began, '..I don't know what to say.'

Jeff nodded, 'I know son'.

'When mom died, you were left to bring up five boys on your own. You did so well Dad, I mean look at them..' He said gesturing at his brothers, 'they're perfect, and I can't speak for myself but I reckon I turned out ok.'

'You turned our brilliantly John', Jeff interrupted.

'Thanks Dad, I mean that, thanks for everything, you had to become two parents to us, and run your company and you did it. You pulled it all off. You've kept this family together, I mean look where we are today, things could have been so different, we could have grew apart after mom's death but you wouldn't let us. You brought us closer together.'

Jeff's shoulders began to shake as his resolve began to crumble.

'I love you dad, I need you to know that.'

'I love you too son' Jeff sobbed as Scott placed an arm around his shoulders, 'I love you too. And I am so proud of you.'

John smiled then, he felt at peace now, he'd done what he needed to do. They'd be alright now, he'd said goodbye.

'Ok' Virgil said breaking the silence, 'now we need to say goodbye to you.'

'No you don't Virg' John said taking a deep breath, 'it's me who needs to say goodbye to you.'

'What?' Scott said confused.

'You don't think I could really just sit here and let you die do you?'

'John what are you talking about?' Jeff asked.

'OK, I think we've said our goodbye's now fellas.' John replied, 'It seems I'm in a position to help up here.'

'Help? What do you mean?' Alan put forward.

'The asteroid's moved coordinates, I can reach it.'

'But how are you going to stop it?' Virgil asked.

John sighed, he looked at his hands, then at his feet, anywhere but into the confused eyes' of his family. Finally he licked his lips and then met their communal gaze.

'If enough force hits the asteroid then it'll be destroyed.'

'Yeah' Scott replied, perplexed at what John was getting at, '.but where are you going to find that kind of force? You'd have to find something to fly right into it..' he trailed off as the penny dropped. John gave him a pointed look. Scott's mouth fell open in a silent 'o'

Gordon realised at the same instant.

'Oh no, no, no, no way'. He shouted shaking his head vigorously at his older brother.

Jeff stared in disbelief, 'you're not doing that John, I forbid you from doing that.'

John smiled sadly, 'I'm sorry dad, this is one time I'm gonna have to veto you.'

'No, Johnny' Scott said his voice filled with fear, 'You can't, I mean how are you going to get out before.....'

John gave his brother another 'look', 'I'm not going to get out Scott.'

Scott brought a hand up to his mouth. His eyes widening.

Alan turned white.

Virgil, held onto the desk to support himself, 'but John..' He stammered, 'there just...there just..there just has to be another way.'

'This IS the only way Virg.'

Jeff's face was filled with fear and horror, 'no, it's not John, I will not make the decision to put a child of mine, directly in the line of danger'.

John looked at his father, 'You don't have to make that decision dad, I've made it for you.'

'John....' Alan whispered.

'I'll be alright kiddo' John offered, 'I'll be with mom.'

'John Glenn..' Jeff growled desperately, 'I'm warning you..'

'I love you..' John interrupted then after a pause, '....bye.'

The screen before the Tracy family faded into blackness, before Jeff's scream tore through the night,



John walked back towards his chair and sat down. He wiped the tears from his cheeks and glanced again at the asteroid, he'd give himself about a minute, maybe less before impact. He marvelled at the size of the menace, it was like a giant mountain, boy he'd have loved to write a book about this. Oh well he thought to himself, maybe people will write books about this and about me, the guy who stopped it. That brought a smile to his face.

John almost laughed as he recalled some cheesy line from a film, from his father's era, 'if I'm gonna die at least I get to be the guy who goes out saving the world right?' Well John was going to be that guy and it was only now that the full extent of that line hit him. He was saving the world, he was saving his family, that gave him courage, he'd get to see his mom, and that was something he'd never been happy to wait for.

He smiled as he turned up his music,

'fading like the stars we wish to be'

John knew the truth in that line, he'd watched the stars all his life, he only hoped that in death he could become one.

He closed his eyes as debris from the asteroid bumped and smashed against the side of Thunderbird Five, 'come on girl' he said aloud, 'this is what we were born to do.'

As John felt himself sliping into the gravitational pull, he thought of his family.

In the briefest of seconds he saw his mother in his mind, she reached out a hand and he took it.

Thunderbird Five collided with the asteroid, and John felt nothing.


The Tracy's stood in silence as they watched the asteroid explode into millions of tiny pieces. The reporters voice from the TV, echoed back to where they stood on the balcony.

'I don't quite know what happened' she stammered, 'But it appears that the asteroid has exploded, it appears we are saved, these are unconfirmed reports but it would appear that we're going to be ok.'

Jeff put his head in his hands and broke into heart-wrenching sobs.

Scott walked towards him, his own chest heaving as he cried. He put an arm around his father. Gordon, his expression, numb and horrified placed an arm around his other shoulder.

As Jeff sank to the floor and leant against the wall, his sons sat next to him. Virgil sat by Gordon and Alan by Scott, all of them watching what now looked like a giant fireworks display in the sky.

They knew what their brother had done, he had saved the world, he was a hero, later they would be very, very proud, but at that moment all they felt was a tremendous sense of loss.

'I told him..' Jeff stammered between sobs, 'I told him not to.'

'I know dad' Scott whispered, his tears falling onto Jeff's shirt as he leant his head against his dad's shoulder. 'But we all know what John's like when he makes up his mind.'

'Stupid..' Jeff sobbed, '.stupid..stubborn..brave..kid'.

His sons cried with him for a long time on the balcony. Long after the last piece of flaming rock fell from the sky, until day turned to night and stars littered the now peaceful sky.

The Tracy family remained huddled on the balcony, in united grief. As Jeff looked up into the deep black night, he noticed that one star seemed to shine brighter than the others.

It was his son, quietly watching over them as he always had been.

'Go..' Jeff told him silently, 'you don't have to watch out for us anymore, you can go now, I'm so very very proud of you son, now you can go, and one day I'll come and join you and we'll be together again, forever.' As if by magic the star, moved across the sky.

'Did you guys see that?' Alan asked, 'a shooting star.'

Jeff smiled, to some it may seem like a shooting star, but Jeff, well, he knew better.

THE END **************

Hope you liked it, the lyrics are from 'Little by Little' by Oasis - a most brilliant song. Sorry if the story was totally rip-off Armageddon/Deep Impact but I thought it was about time someone did a save the world story.

Charl xxxxxx