Such-A-Random-Rambler asked for Day 6: Recording/"It should have been me."

With John. 'That seems right on track for him *evil laugh*

Characters: John, Scott

Warnings: Jumping to death, kidnapped, ransom

They say that your life flashes before your eyes before you die.

John's not too sure about that.

All he can see are the faces of his beloved brothers. They will be screaming at him. All but Scott. Scott will look kinda sad but also understanding. But the overwhelming look will be of love tinged with guilt.

Guilt because Scott will think this is what he should be doing. Not John. Never ever a younger brother. It's not like there's a choice, though.

John doesn't want his brothers to look at him like he knows they will. Doesn't want to be the cause of the pain he knows is going to rip them apart. Again.

But all he can do is smile at their images in his head.

And jump.


It was a hard slap to the face that woke him.

John gasped, his eyes going wide. He spoke as he looked around in an effort to give himself some time to wake up and work out what the hell was going on.

'Well, that was rude!'

But all it did was earn him another slap. A hand gripped his hair and the thug who slapped him pulled him close.

'Watch yer tongue, mate, or I'll chop it off. Don't need it anyway, not for what we want you to do.'

John gulped. The man was almost nose-to-nose with him and he tightened his grip on John's hair, pulling him as high up as he could and smirking at John's grimace of pain.

'That's better. Now, sit there, quiet-like, while I go get the boss.'

The releasing of his hair had his head dropping hard, but it had given him the opportunity to briefly look at his situation.

He was tied to a metal chair with large cable ties around both wrists and ankles. The floor and walls were metal, he could see computer banks and screens and every inch of the walls were covered with them and switches. Something about this was familiar…

John swallowed again.

Last thing he remembered was helping pull a person from the wreck of a building damaged in a fire. He had no idea why he was now flying through the air in what looked like some kind of satellite.

Oh, Scott was going to kill him. Once he'd got over the shock of having lost him in the first place.

He frowned, eyes on the floor as he tried to work out where he'd seen this before. John didn't notice that others had entered the room until a pair of black loafers entered his vision. For some reason the tassels made him frown even more.

One of the feet tapped. John guessed that was his cue to look up.

The man was dressed in a suit. John's immediate thought that this was the Hood was thrown out though as he looked closer. This was no thousand-dollar designer suit but a cheap shop-bought sack. His loafers might be shiny but that was all they were.

John looked up into what he assumed was an angry face, but it was mostly hidden behind a balaclava – once more a cheap fabric and not the silk blend one associated with high-end thugs – and took a greater interest in what was around him.

He did recognise where he was. Impossible! This place…this place had blown up. He'd witnessed it happen…

A fist to his face brought his attention back to the man standing in front of him. John blinked stars away.

'I trust I have your undivided attention now?'

'What do you want?'

'I want you to fire up the computer and make this satellite operational. I am told you and two others are the only ones with the technical expertise to do this, and you were the easiest one to get hold of.'

'I'm flattered. But the answer is no.'

'Don't be too quick to dismiss us, Mr Tracy. If you cannot help us we will simply move onto one of the other two names on this list, and I can guarantee that you will not like either of them.'

John's blood ran cold. He had a bad feeling about this…

'Wh-who are the other people on the list?'

The man made a show of looking at his phone, and even though John could only see his eyes he knew the man was smirking.

'One Mr Hiram Hackenbacker and one Alan Tracy.'

If John had thought that his blood had run cold before then he was sorely mistaken. Hearing Brains' name was bad enough, but Alan's too? He needed to do something, stall for time or…or…or…But his brain had frozen alongside his blood.

'I thought that might make you reconsider.'

'What do you want me to do?'

'The satellite is almost ready, just a few more bits to add. We need you to code it to our instructions.'

'Ok. I'll try, but…'

Another slap had him wishing he had a hand free to wipe away the blood.

'No buts. You are going to program this satellite.'

'You do realise that my brothers are gonna find you.'

'Don't worry about them. I've planned something to keep them off our backs and give you enough time to finish your work.'

The man moved aside and leant against a console and watched with John as two others set up a camera. Ah, so that was what they were going to do.

'So, Mr Tracy, how much do you think you're worth?'


'Ah, so modest! How much is going to keep your brothers busy and let you finish your work? I was thinking an even $50 million.'

John stared at him for a moment before bursting into laughter. He struggled to get himself under control. The man merely stared at him.

'I'm sorry, but that is ridiculous. You want to ask for $5 million.'

'Why so low? Won't your brothers suspect?'

'They'll suspect whatever you ask for, but we all individually have a $5 million fund that can be given immediately to any kidnapper and there will be no police involvement. If time is what you want then that is the best way to go.'

'$5 mill? Your Daddy was a cheap-ass.'

But it didn't stop him recording a ransom video. Once it was done the man turned to him in irritation.

'I kind of want to make you record a fresh one, all that jingling was annoying, but it looks good.'

John sagged in relief as the man turned to the two thugs.

'Give that to me, unchain him and take him down to the computer banks.'

'Yes boss.'

John was dragged away downstairs to where the computers were. It wasn't until he was there that his fears were consolidated.

Somehow this group of cheap-ass thugs had managed to rebuild Sentinel. All they needed was the computer programming for the laser.

Looking around at the men, John came to a decision. He couldn't let them get their hands on Alan or Brains. They obviously hadn't managed to find out where the Mechanic had gone into hiding, which John was immensely grateful for. Equally he couldn't let them finish Sentinel. It would put the whole world in danger.

There really was only one thing he could do.

His fingers flew over the keyboard, sealing all their fates. Once he was done he nodded to the thugs with him and one of them gave the go-ahead to the boss man.

John sat back. He felt hollow but also strangely satisfied. This one act would save the world. And that was all that mattered. He'd made sure the code was well hidden, but he couldn't wait. The satellite was space ready, there was just one more panel to put into place.

He couldn't wait. Jumping from this height would certainly kill him, but that was preferable to being blown to bits.

He walked over to the one loose panel and kicked it hard. As he'd seen on the specs it fell outwards and let the wind in. John closed his eyes and thought of his brothers. They should be receiving the video right about now.

All he can do is smile at their images in his head.

And jump.

Scott had figuratively and literally torn his hair out once they had found John was missing. Hours had passed and there had been no trace, nothing at all to say what had happened.

He was still on site, even now hours later.

Then EOS called him.

'Scott, I have an incoming message.'

'Source, EOS?'

'I do not know yet. I cannot trace it until it begins.'

'Play it, please.'

The video was short. Scott hissed at the state John was in, that he was bound to the chair. His brother was shaking. Scott hadn't even heard what the man was saying, he'd been concentrating on John.

Scott's eyes narrowed.

Yes. Yes, there was a pattern…

'EOS! Play back and mute the man speaking!'

'Yes, Scott.'

Without the background noise Scott could hear it more clearly.

'Satellite. Sky. Sentinel.'

God bless his Dad for teaching his eldest three morse code!

'Sweep the sky, EOS. Look for dead spots. John's up there somewhere.'

'On it, Scott.'

It didn't take even a whole minute to locate them. Less than two minutes later One was screaming through the sky. Scott was almost there when EOS screamed at him.

Scott pushed One to her absolute limit. Up, along, then down as he watched the figure falling. Leaving One to fall faster, Scott leapt from the cockpit and lunged at John.

They collided hard enough to drive the wind out of them both, but Scott was a seasoned professional at falling and immediately wrapped himself around his brother.

John, tears in his eyes from more than just the wind, clung on as they fell until they landed abruptly in One's cockpit, rolling apart on impact. As the cargo bay doors began to close the air lit up above them as the satellite exploded.

They lay there, winded, as EOS flew One home.

By the time they reached the island both brothers were seated on the floor of the bay. John was bandaging up Scott's shoulder where he'd dislocated it on landing. It wasn't the only damaged done from that manoeuvre, Scott would soon have a plethora of bruises too.

EOS landed One horizontally on her sister's runway, where Virgil, Gordon and Alan waited impatiently for them. They had bought the lift with them and were soon on a level with the cargo bay doors.

Scott and John stood ready for them. For a moment no one said anything but then Virgil stepped forward and pulled John into a hug. He didn't linger though, moving aside for the two youngest as he moved over to check out Scott.

'Well, you'll be out of action for a few weeks after a stunt like that.'

'Yeah, Scott! I can't believe you pulled a Virgil!'

All eyes looked to Gordon as Virgil groaned.

'Don't you remember, Virg? The dad falling from the balloon…'

'I remember!'

'…and you jumped out of Two to rescue him!'

'I remember!'

'…and you were out of rescues for ages after not telling anyone and damaging it further on the Solar Collector rescue…'

'Yes, thank you Gordon. I remember.'

'Can't believe Big Bro did the same thing after tearing you down a strip.'

Virgil and Scott exchanged looks as Alan slapped a hand over Gordon's mouth.

Scott's lip twitched and John couldn't help himself. He laughed. And laughed. It didn't take long for the rest of his brothers to join him.

Grandma looked out of the window to see her five grandsons, standing on the lift at the top of One, holding their bellies and laughing, and she smiled.

From EOS' reports it had been another extremely close call. But they were all here, safe if not completely sound.

Sally said a prayer of thanks to their mother and went to find MAX to make coffees.