Echo from the past

Author's note: this is my first venture – with some trepidation – into fan fiction. My gratitude to Gerry Anderson and his team for creating the characters, my acknowledgement to Carlton as the owners of the copyright, and my thanks to Robert Browning for the poetry.

Chapter 1. Call out

It was a warm afternoon on the island and the Tracy boys were relaxing by the pool. Scott and Virgil were splashing about in the water, while John, who had only arrived back from the space station that morning, was sunning himself (he always maintained that the UV lamp on the station was no substitute for the real thing). However, unknown to him, Gordon was in the process of tying a tennis racquet to the awning above his brother's head, so that the shadow lay across John's face to give his tan an interesting, chequered, look.

Alerted by the sniggers of the other two boys, John opened one eye. "Very funny," he said, and threw a cushion at Gordon, who ducked out of the way.

Just then the intercom crackled into life. "Virgil, Gordon, up here on the double. Got a job for you," came their father's gruff voice.

"FAB, Father" they chorused and headed for the stairs.

Scott and John looked at each other, then followed to find out what was going on.

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"Alan's just had a call from the undersea hotel on the Great Barrier Reef," said Jeff as his sons assembled in the lounge. "They developed a slow pressure leak this morning and had to do an emergency evacuation, and now it turns out they've left some guests behind."

"Somebody is going to be in big trouble for that – they're supposed to have procedures to ensure that doesn't happen" put in Scott, angrily.

"Well, that's something for the authorities to deal with later," Jeff went on. "Our problem now is to get these people out. They still have enough air for several hours, but the hotel people can't reach them because all the airlock areas are now flooded, so they need someone with equipment that can reach these people directly – and that means us. There's a woman, Donna Mackay, her two small children, and the children's grandfather, Drew Meredith. I can't see we'll be needing Mobile Control - there's nowhere suitable for Scott to set it up anyway as the hotel authorities are controlling this from the mainland, so I'm just sending Thunderbirds 2 and 4. The hotel have promised to fax you plans of the building directly so Gordon can see where to find these people. Off you go then boys!"

The roar of Thunderbird 2's jets was just dying away when John came back into the lounge.

"Dad, I think we may have a problem."

"What's up, son?"

"I thought the name Drew Meredith sounded familiar, so I've just been checking on the database. He's retired now, but he used to be a reporter for the Australian Times."

"So? We've rescued reporters before now."

"Yes, but if this is the guy I think it is, he interviewed the five of us after Gordon won his Olympic medal."

"Ah, and you think he might recognise Gordon? OK, I'll get onto Gordon and see what he thinks. Meanwhile you go find your Grandma and ask her for the newspaper article."

"Grandma?" said John, puzzled.

Jeff smiled knowingly. "Trust me on this one, son. When a boy wins the Olympics, his Grandma keeps the newscuttings."