Marineville headquarters, somewhere near the Atlantic Ocean........................



'UGH!' the young man groaned, pulling his pillow over his face to try to block out the irritating drone of his alarm clock.


No luck, furiously, he took the pillow and threw it at the alarm clock, which finally stopped beeping and fell to the floor with a worrying crack.

Groaning and then turning to peer over his bed, he saw what he had feared, his alarm clock was in pieces.

'Damn it!' he growled in frustration, well and truely awake now. Swinging his short-encased legs from his bed he gingerly picked up the pieces from the floor and placed them on his bedside table.

'Oh man' he muttered staring at the plastic and glass,which used to be his alarm-clock, 'Scott is going to kill me.'

He told himself his older brother would not be too mad, he'd just pretend it fell from his desk. But he knew how much Scott had valued it. It had been special enough to give to him as an 18th birthday present the previous year.

Sighing the young man rose to his feet and ran a hand through his hair.


The knocking at the door, almost gave him a heart-attack.

Striding over and pulling it open his heart pounding, he eyed the man infront of him.

'Jeez Noel, do you have to knock so damned loudly?'

Noel Dalton stood infront of him, still dressed in his bath-robe, grinning madly.

'Rise and Shine!' he said, far too chirpily, 'today's the day!'

'The Day?' the young man's forehead creased in confusion,

'For testing the new hydrofoil!'

He smiled then, 'oh yeah!'

Noel grinned, 'the new WASP hydrofoil,' he began, lowering his tone for comical amusement, 'only an elite few have been chosen for this prestigious mission, and you Gordon Tracy are one of them so get your ass moving ok!'

Gordon grinned, 'get out of here Noel! You're a lunatic!'

'You have to be in this job!'

Gordon let the door shut with a bang, 'you're not wrong there Noel' he muttered, 'you're not wrong there!'

**************************************************************************** *

Denver School Of Advanced Technology


Virgil Tracy, slowly peered over the top of his glasses to glance at his tutor, the beautiful Miss Millions.

'....and that is how we check aeronautical equipment for signs of problems' she concluded, turning from the blackboard to face her 15 pupils.

Virgil couldn't help but stare, she was beautiful, her long dark curls were clipped to her head in a bun, a bun which just cried to release those dark waves down her back. Virgil took his glasses off slowly as she continued to address the class. He didn't really need the glasses, they were supposed to be just for reading but Virgil believed they gave him an intelligent look that belied his 23 years.

'Ok that's it for today, I'll see you all tomorrow.' Miss Millions said, her teacher-gaze softening as it landed on Virgil.

As his classmates began to gather their stuff together, Virgil remained seated.

'Hey Virg aren't you coming?' his friend Tim asked him as he walked towards the door.

'Um I'll see you later' Virgil replied, 'I've gotta see about getting a copy of the...um......textbook'

Tim looked at Virgil with a snort, 'yeah whatever man!' he mumbled striding from the room.

The classroom which just moments before had been filled with noisy students was now silent.

Luisa Millions turned back to the board and began cleaning it as Virgil made his way towards her.

'You know Virgil' she said in a clipped tone as he stood behind her, 'if you continue misbehaving the way you do, you will be forced to spend more time in detention with me.'

Virgil's mouth quirked in a smile and he followed her as she walked towards the stockroom,

'Oh but miss,' he said softly,shutting the door behind them, 'You don't mean that?'

'Yes I do' she muttered turning to face him as he wrapped his arms around her, 'long hours, just the two of us, conducting our own personal investigation.'

Virgil smiled dangerously, 'then, honey.......' he said pulling her hair from its bun and bringing his lips slowly down to hers, '.....bring on detention.'

**************************************************************************** ******

Colorado University

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 'ALAN! PASS IT HERE!'

Alan Tracy jumped high and caught the football,throwing it back to his team- mate with an ease he didn't know he had.

The whistle blew and the Coach grinned as he walked towards Alan.

'Son, that was a brilliant throw, we need to see more of that on the field not just in training.'

Alan nodded, annoyed, it seemed he always played better in practice than he did in a real game. He mulled this over while he showered. It annoyed the hell out of him that all four of his older brothers had made names for themselves on the football field while for him it always seemed to be just out of his grasp.

He was in his first year at Colorado, he knew that this was the time to prove himself. He only hoped he wouldn't get into any big trouble here. His father was pretty much out of all sympathy where Alan was concerned, one broken window at High School too many, and Jeff's patience was wearing thin.

Jet Propulsion Engineering, Alan thought to himself, what a bore. He hadn't planned on going to university, he knew he wanted to be a racing-car driver, but his father had dismissed his notion as a 'childish whim' and Alan had found himself on the first plane to Colorado. Alan still fumed at his father's words before he left, 'a racing-car driver is not a real profession Alan' Jeff had growled, 'why not try your hand at astronomy like John, or the Air Force like Scott'.

Alan had fumed, just because his eldest and middle brother enjoyed flying stupidly fast planes and staring at the sky for god knows how long didn't mean he had to.

Still he took comfort in the fact that Gordon had ignored his father's opinion and done what he wanted anyway. His brother had insisted that he was joining WASP with or without his father's permission and after a year there, Jeff had been forced to admit he'd been wrong. Gordon was far exceeding his father's expectations and was quickly working his way through the WASP ranks. Alan figured if he kept racing whenever he had the chance, he'd do the same.

Wrapping a towel around himself, he looked down at his water-proof, video- phone/watch and shook his head as he eyed the time, 10 o'clock, most people weren't even out of bed yet, yet here he was, up bright and early, running himself into an early grave and for what? Some stupid insecurity that he couldn't match his brothers on the football field.

Expelling foolish doubts from his mind he looked again at his watch, he knew who wouldn't be up now that was for sure.

Grinning he pressed the speedial number on his watch, waited for a minute and then smiled as his brother's face filled the mini-screen.

'WHAT?' John asked, annoyed.

**************************************************************************** ****** Harvard University


'AND YOU RANG TO ASK THAT?' John Tracy shouted furiously at his baby brother.

'Well yeah' Alan's head spoke from the video in John's watch, 'I wasn't sure if my watch was right that's all, so is it 10?'

John stared increduously, hair standing up in tufts as he stood in his kitchen, in his dorm at Harvard University where he was studying Laser and Electronic Communications, with a minor in Astronomy.

He was beginning to rue the day his father had given he and each of his 4 brothers the watches, to keep in touch with one another.

'YES IT'S BLOODY 10 O'CLOCK' he yelled at Alan, who grinned back devilishly.

'Temper, temper Johnny' he scolded, 'you really must learn to keep that in check you know.'

'I'll keep you in check Alan, I swear, I...............' John grumbled but he trailed off as a female voice called out,

'John, come back to bed baby.'

John's eyes darted towards his room as Alan's mouth dropped open in suprise.

'So that's why you didn't want me disturbing you.' his little brother said giggling.

John sighed, 'oh shut up Alan'.

'It's always the quiet ones Johnny.'

John rolled his eyes

'Does dad know, you've got a new room-mate?'

'No, and shut up ok? Emily's not like.........'

Alan interuppted, 'oooh Emily, she has a name.'

John cursed God and his mother and father all at once for bring his brother into the world, 'Alan, stop it now, I have to go.'

'I bet you do' Alan teased.

John growled, 'Listen I'm 22 and we're adults so I don't need your permission ok. Now I'm going.'

'It's a sad day when a man chooses a woman over his brothers' Alan said in mock sadness.

'Only this brother' John responded hanging up on his little brother.

He couldn't help smiling, as much as his brothers annoyed him, he knew he was lucky to have all four of them. Shaking his head, he turned back to the room and poked his head around the door,

'Now then......' he grinned the same devilish grin that had lit up his younger brother's face seconds earlier, 'where were we?'

**************************************************************************** ******

US Air Force Base, Nevada


'John's got a girlfriend!'

'Has he now Alan?' Scott Tracy looked down at his watch, curious.

'Yeah' Alan continued, 'I was just talking to him and this woman interrupted and she was all like....'

Alan's voice became high-pitched and Scott began laughing as he impersonated a woman '....baby come back to bed and John was all like.....' his voice became low,as he impersonated their middle brother, 'shut up Alan.'

The grin left Scott's face and he frowned, even at 27, he had a responsibility to look out for his brothers' best interests.

'I hope this girl isn't messing up his studies, I mean Harvard's an excellent school, I'd hate to see him jeaprodise that.'

Alan winced, uhoh, he'd probably just dropped John right in it, Scott would be ringing up to check up on him now. He decided to try and ease Scott's mind.

'No,no, Scott, I'm sure she's not, I mean he doesn't have a lesson this morning that's why I rang him so early, just to piss him off!'

Scott frowned disapprovingly, 'Alan, you've got to stop doing that!'

'OK' Alan said, though it was obvious he had no intention of listening to Scott. 'Anyway you like Steph, so what's the problem with John's girl?'

Scott frowned,annoyed, 'that's different, Steph's needed, she doesn't distract Gordon, she keeps him in line.Scott changed the subject, 'Have you heard from Gordo or Virg this week?'

Alan nodded, 'I spoke to Gordo on Monday, he was all nervous about some summons he'd got to the Commander's office.'

Scott groaned, 'Oh no, what has he done?'

'I don't know' Alan replied, his mind picturing the various pranks his most gregarious brother had pulled over the years. 'I'm sure it's nothing, we'd have heard if it was something bad, right?'

'I sincerely hope so' Scott answered, 'I'll give him a call later. How about Virg? Have you heard from him?'

'Yeah, surprisingly, he was rushing off to some extra tutoring lessons with some teacher.'

Scott nodded his agreement, 'yeah he was rushing off there when I last spoke to him too, it's a good job one of you is taking his studies seriously.'

Alan rolled his eyes at the obvious jibe.

'Just cos I'm not over the moon about taking a course that I can't pronounce, let alone understand, doesn't mean I'm not taking it seriously.' Alan hoped his brother didn't see through his lies, truth be told he'd missed most of his lessons to go to the race-track and practice.

'Well that's good to hear kiddo, you racing at the Sans this weekend?'

Alan smiled then, his father might not think racing driving was a serious profession, but his brothers were 100 % supportive of his passion.

'Yeah, Virg said he might come'. Alan and Virgil lived close to one another as Virgil was at Denver and Alan at Colorado Uni.

'Good, well let me know how you do, ok Kid.'

'I will.'

Scott couldn't resist the urge to add, 'and be careful ok?'

'Yeah' his baby brother replied before disconnecting.

Scott stood in front of the mirror in his new room, at his new base, and zipped up his USAF emblazoned jacket before making some breakfast, he frowned as he mulled over what Alan had said about Gordon's summons, his second youngest brother always had a way of attracting trouble and Scott worried about what scrape he'd got himself into this time.

The youngest two had always been that way, attracting disasters like flames attract moths, at least he could rely on John and Virgil well, he thought, I hope I can still rely on John, with this new girl distracting him.

He made a mental note to keep a close check on his middle brother.

Oh well, at least their's Virg, he thought to himself, no problems on his front.

Sighing he buttered a slice of bread, in his quarters, being the eldest was certainly hard work!

**************************************************************************** ****

Gordon grinned as he stood, fully dressed in his uniform over his room- mates sleeping head. Glancing at the full glass of icy cold water in his hand and then back at the sleeping figure he angled his arm with little sympathy and flung it over Jack Munroe's unconcious head.


Gordon winced, that cry would scare the bejesus out of anyone else sleeping in the neighbouring quarters.

Jack sat upright, water running down his shocked face onto the bed beneath him. He looked around him, slowly getting his bearings and then his eyes came to rest on Gordon.

'TRACY YOU ARE GOING TO PAY FOR THAT!' He screamed jumping from the bed and launching himself after Gordon's rapidly escaping form.

Gordon laughed as they ran down the corridor ignoring the audience of other WASP members watching from the safety of their doors, 'Now come on Jack' he told his best-friend at WASP, 'it's hydrofoil day, I was doing you a favour, the Commander would do his nut if he knew you were still in bed when we were supposed to be meeting at' Gordon growled in his best Commander impersonation '11 hundred hours.'

Gordon ran backwards as he tried to explain this to his 6'3, dark haired room-mate. He was still running when he ran smack bang into a formidable form.

Gordon knew without a doubt who it was, it was just his luck, he didn't even have to look.

'Morning Commander Brown'.

'Tracy,' the Commander grumbled, 'I'm glad you have so much energy this morning, lets hope you transfer it into professionalism in the Hydrofoil today'.

'Of course sir!' Gordon said seriously, to him, the Commander had always resembled the candy-man, a figure from an old horror movie he and Alan used to scare themselves silly over every summer.

He was large, 6'5 large, his dark skin, and buzz cut gave him a seriously imposing presence, yet as strict as he was Gordon had to admit he was a brilliant leader. He was also fair which was what Gordon admired about him most. Even though he himself, and Gordon would be the first to admit it, was a complete joker and certainly lacking in maturity, the Commander recognised his brilliant ability in the water and treated him with respect.

Something Gordon got little of at home being the second youngest and most vocal of Jeff's children.

'MUNROE,' the commander shouted at Jack's retreating form, taking in his soaking appearance,


Gordon had many faults but letting someone else take the blame was not one of them, 'It was my fault sir,' he admitted, 'I thought he needed a wake-up call'.

The Commander stared at him and for a second Gordon was sure he saw a trace of a smile, 'well done Tracy, ingenious idea' he said before turning away. 'Rendevous T minus 4 minutes, in the Quadrangle.'

As he walked away Jack walked towards Gordon and punched him in the shoulder, 'ingenious idea' he impersonated, 'You're such a teachers pet Gordo.'

'Yeah' Gordon answered grinning as they walked towards their room.

As they neared it a door opened on their left and two men walked out, grinning, 'hey Tracy, Munroe, we'd better not have to haul your asses out of that water today' they said teasing.

'Yeah right Sam.' Gordon said high-fiving him and his room-mate Noel. 'You couldn't even drag your own ass out of the water, let alone ours.'

Sam grinned and shook his head at Gordon's comment, strands of his blond hair falling across his forehead. Sam Williams was constantly being made fun of because of his long hair which he had tied in a ponytail, it had earned him the nickname 'barbie', from some of the meaner members of WASP.

Gordon turned to Noel as Sam and Jack walked ahead of them, 'thanks for the wake-up call this morning Noel' he said smiling.

Noel grinned back, and ran a hand through his black hair, 'anything for you Tracy, you know that.'

Gordon laughed as all four walked into Gordon and Jack's room.

'hey Gordo your watch is beeping' Sam shouted.

Gordon ran and retrieved his watch from the kitchen.

'Why aren't you wearing your watch?' was his brother's first comment.

For a split second Gordon was sure he'd figured out about the alarm clock and had rung to tell him off, but then he realised that wasn't possible, 'I forgot Scott, it's on now ok.' he replied walking back to his friends.

'HI SCOTT!' They chorused.

Scott grinned, 'Oh hi fellas! Now listen I don't trust my little brother to tell me the truth so why was he called to the Commander's office last week? '

Gordon rolled his eyes , 'Alan' he muttered.

'Yes,' Scott replied , 'it was our baby brother who informed me of that, so what have you done now?'

Gordon rolled his eyes theatrically, 'you have so little faith in me Scott.'

'Yeah with reason.'

'Actually he wanted me to help test the new Hydrofoil we're getting today.'

'Wow, well congratulations Bro!'

'Thankyou, all four of us and Steph are getting to test it!'

Steph Waters was Gordon's girlfriend. He had met her first day of WASP training when he had made some lame joke about her name, she'd been really mad, Gordon had admired her feistiness and taken her out for a meal to apologise and they had been inseperable ever since. One year later and their relationship was stronger than ever, Scott had been initially worried that she would interfere with his work but once he'd met Steph he had been fine with them. She had a way of winning people over.

Scott smiled, proud of his brother, 'well done kid. Give Steph a kiss from me. Well done to all of you too'.

'Thanks' the other three answered, then Jack added, 'I just wish we didn't have to have Redding ruin the try-out.'

Scott frowned in confusion, 'Redding?'

'Curtis Redding' Gordon volunteered, 'remember I told you about the guy who only got here 'cos his dad's on the board of Governers and pulled some strings, the guy's a stuck up snob!' Gordon failed to mention the fact that he'd been trying to cosy up to Steph ever since he arrived.

'Gordo!' Scott scolded, in his best older brother tone, 'I'm sure he's not that bad, it's not like you not to give a guy a chance'.

'I did give him a chance' Gordon responded indignantly, 'I was my usual over-friendly self, he was totally rude, he's such a prat. I can't believe he's managed to talk his way onto the hydrofoil expedition, it's an utter joke, it's against everything WASP stand for'.

Scott grinned at the over-exaggerated passion in his little brother's voice.

'Ok,' he said smiling, 'I'm not the enemy!'

'Sorry' Gordon muttered, 'that guy just makes me see red!'

'You have to put that aside when you're training Gordo'.

'I know Scott, you don't have to tell me how to do my job ok?'

'Fine'. Scott conceded.

'So how are the guys, you spoke to them? Well I know you spoke to little brother, what about Virg and John?'

'Haven't spoke to John yet, but apparantly he's got a new girl.'

'Has he?'

Gordon and Scott both grinned at the chorus of 'oooooooohhh's' erupting from Gordon's room.

'yep, according to Alan, he had a good reason for not getting up this morning!'

'Way to go Johnny!' Gordon smiled, shaking his head.

Sam interuppted the conversation to add, 'you know Scott, John's not the only little brother of yours who has interest from the ladies, you should have seen this guy at the Rivalta Club last night, they were all over him, Steph almost had a fight, she was so jealous.'

Gordon leaned over and swatted Sam on the head good-naturedly, 'They weren't all over me!'

'Yeah they were' Jack retorted. 'You didn't see Steph's face!'

'Oh yeah?' Scott asked, grinning, 'well guys I'm trusting you lot to make sure he doesn't lose that girl, she's brilliant! Even if she does take his attention away from his training at times.'

Gordon sighed as the guys snickered, 'Scott, you are never going to get a girlfriend bro.'

Scott looked annoyed, 'maybe when I'm 40, I'll settle down with a nice girl and have a few kids but I'm waiting till I'm a General before I get serious with anyone. I'd advise you to keep putting as much attention as you can into your studies Gordo.'

Gordon laughed, 'Scott, I'd rather be happy and be a deck-hand than be a lonely old General, who's only achievement is a few medals of valour.'

Scott sighed, they had had this argument before. His little brother was too much of a dreamer for his own good, he had always been a hopeless optimist and while Scott wasn't a pessimist as such, he preferred to think of himself as a realist.

Virgil and John were a lot like Gordon, cup half full, Alan was more of a realist.

'Ok well when I'm rich Uncle Scott, you and Steph can leave your caravan and stay in my mansion for a while and we'll see if you feel the same way.'

Gordon's friends grinned. Gordon shrugged, 'ok.'

'So that's John, anyway, and Virg's taking a lot of extra lessons.'

'Yeah I know, I always thought Virg was smart why does he need all this tutoring?'

'This may come as an alien concept to you Gordy' Scott said exasperated, ' but maybe he wants to improve himself, so he can be the best he can be'.

Gordon looked dubious,he would rather have eaten his own arm than have extra tutoring when he was at school. Though naturally bright he had always preferred sports to other subjects,

'yeah,whatever!' he muttered. Deciding to have a chat with Virg as soon as possible, he had a feeling their was more going on than he knew about.

'Gordo, we've got to go' Noel interrupted his thoughts. 'It's 11 hundred hours.'

Scott did not look surprised at the military terms, he and Gordon shared common ground in that they both worked in the military field.

'You're supposed to go now?' he asked.

'Yeah' Gordon answered a devilish grin lighting up his face, 'the hydrofoil awaits!'

Scott rolled his eyes and smiled at his brother's enthausiasm.

'Ok, I'd better let you go, just be careful out there ok, watch yourself!'

Gordon smiled one last time at his brother, 'don't I always?' he answered before disconnecting.


'Mmmmmm, Virgil, stop, we have to stop this!' Luisa murmured half-heartedly as he devoured her neck hungrily. 'Someone could catch us!'

'I locked the door' Virgil answered her as he began unbuttoning his trousers.

'Virgil, no, we have to stop this!'

Virgil stopped kissing her neck and breathed out an impatient sigh, 'Luisa, why, no-one's going to find out!'

She pushed him away from her and sat back against the cupboard door, 'This is wrong Virgil, we both know it, I'm your teacher.'

Virgil's eyes became stormy and he stood, pacing, 'we've been through this Lu, it's not like I'm a 10 year old pupil. You're only 30, that's like 5 years older than me.'

'7' Luisa interrupted, but received a glare in response.

'Fine, 7 if you want to be petty!'

'Virgil, I'm just saying....' Luisa tried to calm the irate young man, ' I know it doesn't matter to us, but in the eyes of Denver and the law, I'm still your teacher!'

Virgil slumped to the floor, 'well as long as it's ok with us, what does it matter?'

Luisa placed a hand on top of his, 'don't you see Virg, this is bigger than us now, this could cost me my job and you your place here.'

'Then we could move somewhere else.'

His eyes had a puppy-dog look in them and Luisa sighed. 'No we couldn't Virgil, get serious, what would your father say, his reputation precedes him, you really think Jeff Tracy'd let me shack up with his little boy?'

Virgil frowned indignantly, 'I wouldn't care! As long as I had you I wouldn't care. He'd come round in the end anyway, and my brothers would be ok with it.'

'Even your elder brother?'

'Well it might take Scott a little time to get used to us, but he'd come round.'

'Virgil, you're not listening to me.' Luisa murmured, 'I don't want to lose my job.'

'Then we carry on like now, no-one will ever know.'

'Oh don't be daft, people are going to suspect eventually with all the 'extra tutoring' and staying late after class.' She sighed again and looked at him, 'we can't go on like this anymore.'

Virgil looked hopelessly at her, 'what are you saying Lu?'

She took a deep breath, 'I'm saying, this has to end Virgil, here and now, this has to end.'

Virgil shook his head horrified, 'You don't mean that, I know you don't.'

'Yes I do Virgil' Luisa answered him sadly, 'this is where it ends.'

Virgil desperately turned away from her and unlocked the door before the traitorous tears he felt in his eyes fell. Stumbling away from the room and dashing through the classroom, his vision blurred, he barely heard Luisa calling his name, Virgil's heart was breaking in two.

**************************************************************************** ***

John was in a quandary, but what a brilliant quandary, he thought to himself as he kissed Emily goodbye as she left his dorm.

He sighed and flung himself down on his rumpled bed, 'Emily or Kate, Emily or Kate, Emily or Kate' he said to himself.

Uggghh it was no use, he thought they were both great. When John had first started dating Emily the previous month, he'd been really happy, she was sexy,funny and a riot, but then Kate had come along. She had all the good points that Emily lacked, she was intelligent, sweet and thoughtful and that was where John got stuck.

He hadn't meant to date them both, it had just happened that way. He had been going out with Emily a week and when Kate asked him out, he just hadn't refused. Now he was in a relationship with both of them.

Truth be told he was enjoying it so much he didn't want to break up with either, but then he'd always been cursed with a conscience and he was starting to feel a little bad.

And tired, both girls were wearing him out! He'd experienced thankfully few scares, but some moments like when Emily had come back for her purse when Kate had been in the other room had been pretty hairy.

He didn't know what to do. Asking Scott wouldn't help at all, he'd tell him to concentrate less on females and more on his studying, Al and Gordo would tease him non-stop and offer him no useful advice at all......that left Virgil.

John was pretty sure his most sympathetic brother would be a help.

He rang him.

'WHAT?' Virgil shouted immediately

'Um....ok what kind of a greeting is that?' John asked, shocked.

'Look Johnny this isn't a good time ok.'

John looked at the image of his brother on his watch, he looked devastated.

'Virg, what's wrong, are you ok?'

'I'm fine!' his brother snapped, though the attitude problem and the hurt expression didn't back-up his statement.

'Well you don't look it.'

'What, aren't I allowed to have an off-day?'

'Don't bite my head off!'

Virgil seemed to cool off then, 'I'm sorry Johnny.' he murmured, 'it's just been a really crap morning.'

'Anything I can help you with?'

'No, this is something I've got to figure out on my own.'

John was worried by the cryptic response, but he didn't push.

'Ok, look I need your advice about something.............................'

**************************************************************************** *****

Alan smiled at the familiar rush of adrenaline that soared through his body as he took a corner at 100 mph.

This was what he was born to do.

He stopped the race-car, over at the pitting lane and eased himself out of the seat, unstrapping his helmet.

'Great job Alan, that's even faster than last week!' his part friend/ part trainer told him.

'Thanks Ben,' Alan replied cheerfully accepting the older man's congratulatory handshake, 'Boy she's a real beaut! The way she handles, it's amazing.'

'Well just remember kid, the car ain't no good unless it's got a damn good driver.'

Alan blushed at the compliment and shrugged it off, 'oh that car's so great anyone could do it.'

'Nah, I guarantee you, you made that look easy, there are definitely few people, who could do that!'

Alan smiled and walked back to the registration area, boy he loved coming to the Parola Sans, other than home, Tracy Island, this was his favourite place on earth. Now if only he could get his father to understand. He knew that Jeff would definitely not understand the fact that he'd missed his mornings lessons to come to practice, but this was where he wanted to be. Not stuck in some boring classroom.

His watch beeped, and he looked at it.

'Al, thanks for telling Scott about me getting called to see the Commander' Gordon's irritated voice blared out.

Alan smiled sheepishly, 'sorry Gordy it just slipped out.'

'Yeah well.........'

'Did he give you a lecture?'

'Actually no, you know why? Because the commander wanted me to take part in an expedition, he said I was an 'asset' to the WASP team.'

Alan put a hand over his heart dramatically, 'my God, I never thought I'd see the day, Gordon Tracy was called to the office for something other than a suspension.'

Gordon narrowed his eyes, but he smiled.

'Where are you anyway?' Alan asked seeing the sky behind his brother.

'On base site at the expedition.'

'So what's the expedition?' Alan whispered, 'is it another, I tell you and I have to kill you one?'

Gordon grinned, 'no you dork, we're testing out the new Hydrofoil, if this baby runs well we'll be getting a whole bunch of them at WASP next year. One step forward for the WASP defending team!'

Alan laughed, 'hmmmm, sounds fun?'

'Do I detect a note of sarcasm, in your voice little brother?'

'Well give me land any day, you can go play with the sharks, but I just think it'd get a little dull!'

'DULL!' Gordon shouted, and then realized his brother was just trying to wind him up, 'oh shut up!'

Alan laughed.

'So are you at the Sans yet?'

Gordon was the only one of Alan's brothers who knew he skipped classes to practice, Alan doubted the rest of his brothers would be so understanding about that little fact.

'Yeah I've been here all morning.'

'How are your times coming along?'

'Well let's just say I beat last weeks time by almost a second!'

'Hey that's brilliant bro', I'm proud of you!'

Alan grinned, he knew Gordo meant it, he was always genuinely pleased for someone elses achievements and dismissive of his own, he always had been, it was a brilliant quality and one of the things Alan admired the most about the brother closest to his age.

'And I'm proud of you, a hydrofoil hey? That's a pretty nifty machine.'

'You're telling me....' Gordo said excited, 'wow look at that..' He stared past at him, admiring, 'she's sleek, light and looks phenomenal, I'll let you know how she handles though,' he grinned devilishly then as a dark head came into Alan's view, 'and that's just Steph!'

Gordon's girlfriend, stuck her ponytailed blonde head to the screen, 'he knows the score' she laughed grinning, 'how's it going Al?'

Alan smiled back, he liked this energetic, feisty girl, she was a perfect match for his wild brother. 'Hi Steph, it's going fine thanks. I hope you know what you're letting yourself in for, getting into a new vessel with that clown of a brother of mine' he looked at Gordon then who was fidgeting from foot to foot in anticipation,'he gets easily excitable, just keep an eye on him.'

Gordon frowned and stopped moving, 'hey, I'll have you know,I'm a complete professional, aren't I sweetie?' he asked Steph who grinned,

'sure hon!'

'I'm going to see if the Commander will let me have a drive of her!'

Alan giggled, 'you know damn well you won't be allowed to drive that thing Gordy, you even got a scratch on it, it'd be more than your life was worth, besides your Commander'd never allow it, I've met him, he's not the type.'

'You underestimate my powers of persuasion Al, I'm disappointed in you, of course I'll talk him round.'

'Ok' Alan replied nodding, 'you try it, $10 says you aren't even allowed to get out your seat!'

Gordon rose to the challenge, 'Hah, $30 says I'll be driving the baby before we lose sight of the coast-line!'

'You're on!'

Alan turned to Steph who looked amused, her pretty green eyes twinkled, and she raised her hands, 'hey leave me out of this.' She said before walking away.

'Right, I'll see you and your money this weekend!' Gordon told his brother.

'This weekend?'

'Yeah I figure I might come and cheer you on at the Sans, what do you say? Can you cope with another big brother giving you advice.'

Alan smiled, his eyes gleaming, 'are you kidding, I'd love it!'

'Good, then you'd better have that money waiting for me.'

'No, you'd better bring my money for me.'

Gordon looked at something, Alan couldn't see and nodded, 'Listen bro, we have to go, see you later.'

'In a while Crocodile.' Alan answered.

He smiled as he ordered a coffee in the cafe at the Sans, Gordo was brilliant, he always seemed to instinctively know when Alan was in need of support. His father always said that the two of them should have been twins, Alan thought so too. It'd be good to have Gordo there, his witty comments calmed nerves like nothing else. Last time he'd been down he had nicknamed all the other drivers stupid names like, 'santa' for a guy in red uniform, and 'Mr Fashion Police' for a guy wearing red and orange. It had helped Alan to no end. Even though 'Santa' had beaten him out of first place.

He shook his head as he remembered the last race, he couldn't wait for the weekend!


Scott shoved the man in front of him against the wall roughly, 'care to repeat that?' he snarled angrily.

'You heard me Tracy', Bill Samers yelled angrily, 'we all know you only got moved up here cos' your Daddy's world famous astronaut Jeff Tracy, well I'm just telling you, we don't pay any attention to names here, or how much money you got, it's skills that count when you're in the air!'

Scott saw red, he was furious, he had felt the animosity from the other men at his newly-assigned USAF base when he arrived the previous day, now he knew why. They thought he had pulled favours and used his dad's name to get where he was.

Scott was not having that, 'Number one....' he growled tightening his hand on Sammers' throat, '....don't ever insult me or my family, number two, I have never and will never use my father's name to cash in favours, and number three, I worked damned hard to get here, so don't you dare talk to me about skill!' He shoved Sammers hard before letting go, 'GOT IT?'

Sammers glared at him, Scott struggled to control his rapid breathing, he hadn't felt that mad in a long time.

He turned around to face the men, staring at the unfolding drama, 'and that goes for the rest of you too' he shouted, 'if you have a problem with me, I suggest you say it to my face rather than behind my back!'

Some men looked away uncomfortably, others glared at him.

Scott spun on his heal and stalked out of the games room, slamming the door behind him. He hated this, he hated having to move to another base, he'd been at his previous base for 5 years, he had trained with his fellow cadets, they knew he had worked hard to get where he was, these men knew nothing about him.

For the first time in his life Scott realized that this new step in his life was not going to be easy, moving to a base for the more elite, wasn't without a price and Scott had just learned his first lesson. Friends were not going to be easy to find.

**************************************************************************** ******

'I don't know John' Virgil said quietly.

John stared incredulously, 'I go on for twenty minutes about my appallingly bad dilemma, and that's all you can say? Where's all your useful advice Virg, that's supposed to be what you're good at!'


'You know what I mean.'

'Well to be honest, I can't see much of a problem, I mean plenty of guys would kill to be in your position. But then again, I'm thinking you shouldn't hurt either of these girls and if you keep dating them both it's more than likely gonna blow up in your face.'

'Yeah I guess' John admitted grudgingly.

'I suppose I'm saying go with your gut instinct, the girl you like the most, then cool things off with the other one.'

'Ok' John said unhappily.

'Look John you don't have to look so unhappy, you don't have to do what I say, we're not little kids anymore.'

John looked woeful,'yeah, but I'm only unhappy cos I know deep down your right.'

Virgil looked sympathetic, 'women have a way of causing problems'.

John looked at his brother in interest, 'talking from personal experience?'

Virgil stared back, he figured if he didn't tell anyone it would eat him up, he took a deep breath 'Yeah actually,' he offered, licking his lips, 'I've met a woman and I'm totally in love with her.'


'No it's not Johnny, see the thing is, she's my teacher........'


Gordon sat in his seat as the engine hummed to life, he peered through his sunglasses from the window, the sea was a sparkling blue today, it really was a spectacular sight. He felt the excitement building. He smiled at Steph who sat opposite from him, she smiled back. Gordon did not miss Sam's expression as he rolled his eyes at the couple. Jack laughed at his face. Gordon frowned and turned towards forwards.


'Yes Tracy' Commander Brown asked from the wheel.

'Could I have a go at driving her?'

A snort erupted from his left, 'not if we all want to live to see tommorow!'

Gordon turned and glared at the source of the comment, 'shut up Redding!'

'Make me Tracy!' Curtis said glaring back.

The Commander turned to face them both, 'shut up both of you!' he growled, 'we are not in the playground now, you are trained army personnel, please act like it!'

'Yessir' Gordon answered

'And Tracy, i will not entrust this million dollar machine to a minor officer.'

Gordon glowered infront of him, Redding smirked, Sam, Jack and Noel shot glares of their own at Curtis, none of them liked him. Steph smiled sympathetically at Gordon.

They were miles out at sea, all enjoying the moves of the new vessel, topping 400 knots when they first noticed a problem.

Gordon stared mesmerized at the speed of the craft, watching blurred sea and sky pass by at a tremendous speed. When he felt the first lurch.

'Uh..what was that?' asked Noel, his forhead creasing.

Gordon wasn't too concerned, it was probably just friction from a wave.

The Commander struggled with the steering and Gordon felt his stomach turn as he got the first inkling that something was wrong.

'Is everything ok Sir?' he asked

The commander's voice became very low and barely audiable, 'the controls......' he stuttered as he pressed the buttons infront of him furiously, his powerful facade dropping, '...they're not responding.'

Noel gasped, 'holy crap!'

Jack shouted 'WHAT?'

Sam stared at him wide-eyed.

Curtis squeezed his eyes shut, 'OH MY GOD WE'RE GOING TO CRASH!' he yelled panicked.

Steph shot him a look, 'don't be silly Curtis, we are not!' but her shaky voice betrayed her true feelings.

Gordon ignored them, he stood up, 'not responding?'

He had walked no more than two paces towards the commander when the craft tilted.

The sea flipped the million dollar, vessel like it was a paper boat on a puddle. It rolled around and around, tossing it's inhabitants against the walls, like clothes in a washer.

The sides imploded, one by one, glass smashed, screams echoed around, and then a deathly silence as the vessel continued it's deadly somersaulting for what felt like hours but could have been no more than a minute.

Gordon felt strangely disconnected, even as glass shards ripped into his face and he was repeatedly smashed against the metal seats and then the ceiling, he felt like he wasn't really in this nightmare situation but was watching it from afar, strangely all he thought to himself over and over was,

'I owe Al, $30, I owe Al, $30, I owe Al, $30, I owe Al, $30, I owe Al, $30, I owe Al, $30 ,I owe Al, $30.........'

He kept this sentence in his mind over and over, knowing he was probably just in shock,

'I owe Al, $30' he thought to himself as the final side of the Hydrofoil imploded, 'Oh Jesus!'

That was his last concious thought as his world faded to a dark, hopeless, bottomless, black.








hope you all enjoyed this ultra-long first chapter, for me.