Blind Ambition by Purupuss

Sometimes the easiest of rescues end up leading to the hardest of times.

***

Note: My apologies to anyone who sees any medical misadventure in this story. Any inaccuracies can be put down to me only having a basic First Aid knowledge, the story being set in the future when technologies and techniques will have improved, and the fact that we are now entering the Thunderbirds Universe.

As usual none of the Carlton characters belong to me. Everyone else is mine.

Happy Reading.

VTOL

Purupuss

Beginning

John Tracy sat up alone in Thunderbird Five. Down on Earth two of his brothers were about to launch a rescue to save the lives of seven people trapped in Regnad Corp, a top secret, highly experimental laboratory, located deep underground. John grinned to himself when he remembered Gordon's comment upon hearing the location of the rescue.

"A top secret, highly experimental laboratory? Why didn't they just wire in a hotline to International Rescue when they were building it?" He'd asked. "Every time someone builds something that is 'top secret and highly experimental' we seem to have to get involved when it goes haywire."

Jeff had ignored his second youngest son. "This should be fairly straightforward boys, but I can't emphasise enough that speed is of the essence."

"When is it ever not?" Scott had asked as he'd headed over to the twin lamps that guarded the entrance to Thunderbird One. "I'll give you more info. when I get it, Virgil. See you soon." He swivelled out of sight.

"Thanks." Virgil had said to the now vacant space. "We'll need The Mole I guess. Anything else?"

"I-I shouldn't think so." Brains had stammered.

Virgil had headed out to the danger zone alone in Thunderbird Two.

John reviewed the scenario in his mind. The 'top secret, highly experimental laboratory' was located 1000 feet underground. It had been built there to take advantage of the constant atmospheric temperature, and a subterranean river. The river had been utilised for everything from providing a source of unpolluted water for the experiments to generating the electricity that kept the lab operational.

It was one of the four power plants that had created the problems. It had exploded, bringing down a large part of the complex and trapping seven scientists in the deepest part. The three remaining generators had remained functional, supplying the victims with air, light and fresh water. The concern was that should one of those generators explode now, it could dam the river, causing the water level to rise and subsequently drowning the scientists. International Rescue had been called in to rescue the victims before this tragedy could occur.

***

Scott had set up Mobile Control in one of the utilitarian offices that dotted the surface of the site. From here it looked to be just a motley collection of buildings, of no real value or importance. If you didn't know otherwise you would never guess that beneath your feet was a top secret, highly experimental laboratory. Scott remembered Gordon's comment and, like John, grinned to himself. He sat back. Everything was ready and waiting. All they needed were Virgil and the equipment held in Thunderbird Two. His eyes flicked over Mobile Control one more time, checking yet again that everything was in order. A shaft of light caught his eye and he looked over to where it was coming from. Through a window, in the distance he could see Thunderbird One, her sleek lines reflecting the sunlight. That was some plane.

Scott smiled to himself. He enjoyed his work as International Rescue's Rescue Co-ordinator, and moreover was good at it, but his real forte and true love was flying Thunderbird One.

That he was the pilot of one of the fastest planes in the world never failed to give him a thrill. Virgil might state that Thunderbird Two was more essential to International Rescue, but, to Scott, nothing could compare to the sheer speed, power and manoeuvrability of Thunderbird One.

The sad fact was that he never got the opportunity to take her for a spin, just for fun. He was usually too tired on the trip home after a rescue to even contemplate it. And International Rescue rightly frowned on the idea of launching its craft just for joyrides. Scott resolved that should this rescue be as easy as they hoped he'd take her for a burn on the way home, give her a chance to stretch her wings...

***

As Virgil hovered over Regnad Corp's external buildings in Thunderbird Two the thought crossed his mind that maybe they should have brought Gordon and Thunderbird Four. The Mole could handle being submerged, but had no form of underwater propulsion, needing to have a good source of traction in order to move. Should the river be too deep, it could well be that it would be he and Scott who would need rescuing. He pushed the thought deep into his subconscious and brought Thunderbird Two in to land. "How's things look Scott?"

Scott watched Thunderbird Two rise up onto its hydraulic legs. "No new news." He told Virgil over the radio. "The scientists are all fine, none of the other generators have exploded and the river seems to be maintaining its level."

"So it should be a piece of cake then?"

"If things remain the same, it should be." Scott rubbed at his left wrist. He'd cut it during their previous mission and it was still healing, as could be testified by the itching sensation. It felt funny not having his watch on his arm. He'd tried wearing it on his right wrist for a time, but, being right handed, he'd kept snagging it on things and so he'd given up. When he was in the mood, it also gave him an excuse to keep on annoying his brothers by continually asking what the time was.

He wasn't in the mood now though. He was deadly serious, as he knew Virgil would be. When on a rescue all the Tracy brothers would put any thought of frivolity out of their minds. Lives depended on their being cool, calm and level-headed.

Scott locked down Mobile Control and headed outside to meet Virgil in The Mole. "All set?" he asked as he settled into his seat just behind the operator's.

"All set." Virgil confirmed gunning the motor so that The Mole lurched forward.

They trundled through the complex, seeking out the optimum point to start drilling. Virgil glanced at the map on the computer monitor. It was practically a straight line to The Mole's destination and there was nothing to impede their path. It was almost too easy.

Scott was never a fan of being the passenger in The Mole. There were no windows and nothing that would let you get your bearings as to where you were. Virgil, in the operators seat, had full control over their speed and direction, and full access to the instrumentation that acted as their eyes. From where he was seated at the Life-Support Systems console Scott could see none of this and therefore felt that he had no control over his situation. He was in effect as blind as a bat. "Or as blind as a mole" he thought ruefully. Despite his discomfort he said nothing though, knowing that there was every possibility that Virgil had situations in which he was equally uncomfortable. And he'd never heard Virgil utter a negative word during a rescue.

"We're in position." Virgil announced. "You ready to start drilling?"

"F-A-B" Scott answered automatically.

The Mole started tilting towards the ground and its boring tool began spinning at a speed that would enable to cut the hardest rock like butter. As the bit began cutting into the concrete both men felt the resulting vibrations surge through the great machine.

***

"The rescue is under way." John reported back to base. "Scott and Virgil are in The Mole and have commenced drilling."

"Are they anticipating any problems?" Jeff asked.

"No. Scott made contact with the scientists before he left Mobile Control. They are all in good spirits and looking forward to getting out of there."

"Good." Jeff said. "How long do they think it'll take for them to get there?"

"About ten minutes." John told him. "But that's only to where they have to leave The Mole. Scott says that they'll have to search for the victims on the hoverbikes."

"But he knows where the scientists are?"

"He's got a pretty good idea, yes. He estimates that, all things being equal, everyone should be topside in an hour at the most."

"Sounds almost too easy." Jeff grunted. "Keep in contact with the boys John."

"F-A-B Dad."

***

Ten minutes later The Mole ground to a halt. Virgil unbuckled his safety harness and stood up. "Ready?" He asked unnecessarily.

Scott was already on his feet, heading to the part of The Mole where their hoverbikes were stored. They took a moment to check that they had everything that they would require, only speaking to double check that the other was just as prepared.

"Okay!" Virgil snapped shut the storage compartment on his hoverbike. "Where are we headed for again?"

"The archives. Apparently they were going through some old files."

The last thing Scott grabbed was the radio that would enable them to maintain contact with Thunderbird Five. They opened the door and stepped out into a brightly lit, well-maintained corridor.

"Well." Scott said. "Makes a change from dark, smoke filled rooms. We can actually see where we're going."

Virgil was removing his hoverbike from The Mole. "Everything seems to be going so easily. Why do I feel it's too easy?"

"I know what you mean?" Scott agreed with a smile. "We haven't had a rescue this easy ever. All we'd need is little arrows pointing the way and I'd be convinced that this job was a set up." He turned and found himself looking straight at a directional sign.

'Archives' the arrow said.

For no real reason a shiver ran down Scott's spine.

Virgil whistled lightly. "Remind me to tell Alan this one next Halloween."