Author's note: this story takes place in September 2064 - fifteen months after the end of 'Ordeal', and less than a year before International Rescue becomes operational. I know it is customary to put Gordon's Olympic victory before his accident, but Chris Bentley's 'Complete book of Thunderbirds' which I use as my authority, does not have a date for either event, so I feel free to put them this way round.
Standard Disclaimer: I acknowledge Carlton plc as the copyright holders of the 'Thunderbirds' characters, and I thank Gerry Anderson and his team for creating them.
Jake Carter leaned across the table to his partner. "OK, Drew, just how are we going to get a story by sitting in a restaurant at 6.30 in the evening?"
Drew Meredith looked at the young photographer and smiled. "The art of getting a good story is to find the angle that no-one else does. For instance, imagine you are an athlete whose family or friends have come along to the Olympics to support you. You've just won a medal. What do you want to do?"
"Go out for a meal?" responded Jake as comprehension dawned.
"Exactly. Athletes don't want fancy food and this restaurant does the best steaks in town. They also want meals that fit in with their training routine – and supper is served in the Olympic Village at 7pm. So keep your voice down and your eyes peeled and we'll see if we get lucky."
The restaurant was nearly empty at this hour, only a few groups of people seated at the tables. Drew kept his eyes on the door, and suddenly said "This looks promising."
Jake glanced round as a group of five young men were shown to a table in the corner. As they took their seats he said "Do you recognise any of them?"
"No, but they certainly look the type." That was the trouble with the Olympics these days, there were so many events that it took a whole team of reporters to cover them. "Hold on, I'm going to use the mike. Have you got your earpiece in?" Jake nodded as Drew pointed the mini directional microphone towards the young men's table, using the tablecloth as a cover for his activities. The voices came over loud and clear.
The tallest of the group, a young man with dark hair, was speaking across the table to the one with auburn hair. "Gordon, are you drinking tonight?"
"I don't see why not. I've only got a training session tomorrow, and that's not 'til midday. I should have recovered by then. I think I've earned a night off."
The dark haired one turned to the waiter standing with the wine list. "We'll have two bottles of champagne then, please."
Another one, with blond hair, addressed Gordon. "Did you speak to Father?"
"Yes, he said he'd been watching the telecast. He told me you'd already phoned."
A second blond said "Yes, you should have seen us all trying to cram into one phone box after the race. Did you bring your medal?"
("Jackpot!" whispered Drew as the one addressed as Gordon pulled a gold medal out of his jacket pocket.
"Are you going to speak to them?" asked Jake.
"No, wait. We don't even know who he is yet, though it sounds like they're all family. I can see a family resemblance in the two dark-haired ones for sure. Keep listening")
The medal was being past around. "It's heavier than I thought it would be."
"I wonder if it's real gold."
"I doubt it. We could get Brains to test it."
"Yeah, he could dip it in acid or something"
Gordon grabbed the medal back. "You dare!"
"OK, bro' take it easy – I was only pulling your leg."
Gordon put the medal back in his pocket. "We're not even supposed to take these out of the Olympic Village – they gave us a lecture about that on the first day. At the last games a guy called Brad Peterson was carrying his gold around and had his pocket picked and lost it."
By now the champagne had arrived. Everyone on the table raised their glasses. The dark-haired one spoke, "To you Gordon. We all know how hard you had to work for this, and we're proud of you."
The blond one added, "To 'Coppertop,' the fastest thing in the water."
("You know, I keep thinking I've seen that blond one before, but I can't place him. It'll come to me in a minute.")
Gordon raised his own glass in response. "To you guys, I couldn't have done it without you, especially the way you all stood by me last year. And to you Alan, the fastest thing on land."
One of the others chipped in, "To the racing Tracys!"
(Drew had been scribbling notes. Gordon – water – Alan – land – Tracy - racing. He checked his electronic press handbook. Yes, here he was, Gordon Tracy, swimmer for the U.S. team, winning gold in this afternoon's 400m butterfly. One of his colleagues must have covered that event – no scoop there, then. He couldn't see any other Tracys listed on the team. Suddenly the penny dropped. "Of course! Alan Tracy!" He looked across at Jake. " He's not an athlete, he's a racing driver. You remember he won the World Championships last month. It caused quite a stir because he's the youngest person ever to do so. So he and Gordon Tracy are brothers? Now that's an angle I bet no-one else has come up with. Right, now we make our move!")
As they made their way across the room the toasts continued. "To Dad, Grandma, and all the other people we wish were here with us tonight." There was a moment's silence, then one said quietly "To Dad's dream."
It was at that moment that Drew approached the table and addressed Gordon. "Mr Tracy? I'm Drew Meredith of the Australian Times. I wondered if I might have a quick word with you."
Gordon was about to reply when the dark haired man across the table cut in. "I'm Scott Tracy, Mr Meredith, Gordon's older brother. Can we do a deal here?"
"What sort of deal?" said Drew.
"Gordon's worked hard for his success, and he'd like to be able to enjoy it tonight in peace and privacy. If you go away now, and I mean right away, out of the restaurant, we'll all meet you tomorrow for an interview. How does that sound?"
This was better than Drew had hoped for. It would also give him time to do some background research. "Sounds good to me. What time do you suggest?"
"How about 10 o'clock in the lounge of the Grand Hotel. Does that suit you Gordon?" He looked across at his brother, who nodded. "And you don't use anything you've heard tonight without clearing it with us first – deal?"
"You drive a hard bargain, Mr Tracy, but, yes, it's a deal. Can I bring my photographer along?"
"Sure, no problem. See you tomorrow then." Scott watched as the men left the restaurant, then turned back to the table. "That was a nuisance, but at least we've got him off our backs now. I don't think he heard anything he shouldn't."
"You probably gave him what he was hoping for anyway," said John. "A reporter would far rather have an in-depth interview than a quick quote."
"Right, then," said Gordon, "if there's no more interruptions, let's get on with the party!"
A couple of hours - and several more bottles of champagne – later, the Tracy boys were standing outside the restaurant. Gordon was put into a taxi, then the other boys made their way back to their hotel.
Back at the Olympic village, Gordon went up to his room, then sat on the bed to remove his shoes. He wasn't totally drunk, but he certainly wasn't sober. Just then he heard a light tapping on his door. He got up to open it and was surprised to see the slim figure of Cassie Myles, from the athletics squad, standing there, dressed in a silk wrap. He had only met her a few days ago on the bus from the airport, but she always seemed to make a point of sitting with him at meals whenever she got the opportunity. "Cassie!" he hissed, "What are you doing here? This is the boys' floor – you're not supposed to be here!"
"In that case you'd better let me in, before someone sees us," she said, squeezing past him. Then to his surprise she put her arms around his neck and gave him a passionate kiss. "And as to why I'm here – well I've come to help you celebrate your gold medal."
Gordon wasn't quite sure what to say. He'd had his share of girlfriends, sure, but he'd never had one throw herself at him in quite this way. And it was pretty obvious that she was wearing nothing but perfume underneath that skimpy wrap. He tried to disentangle himself. "Look, Cassie, this is a lovely offer, but I've had a long day and quite a lot to drink. I'm not sure I can …" he could feel himself blushing.
"Don't you like girls?" she asked, kissing him again.
"Yes, of course I do, but I've never …" by now he was blushing even more.
"You mean I'll be your first? Don't worry, I'll show you what to do," and with that she kissed him again, pressing her body against his. By now the testosterone was clearing its way through the alcoholic fog in Gordon's brain, and he felt himself start to respond.
He had a sudden thought. "Hang on, I haven't got any – you know - precautions"
"It's all right, I've got an implant." She pulled the wrap off her shoulder to reveal a small bump on her upper arm. The fact that it also revealed most her left breast did not go unnoticed.
Cassie started to peel off his shirt, then hesitated. "Hang on, where's your medal?"
"My medal?" replied Gordon, confused. "It's in my jacket."
Cassie reached over and retrieved the medal, hanging it around his neck. "You've got to wear your medal – it wouldn't be the same without it." She pushed him down on the bed and deftly removed the rest of his clothes. "Now, we celebrate."
After a short interval the two figures lay entwined on the bed, bathed in sweat. Cassie pushed back the damp hair from Gordon's forehead. "Now was that more fun than winning gold?"
Gordon chuckled and kissed her neck. "I'm not sure. I couldn't even say which was more effort!"
"But at least you don't have to wait four years to try this again!"
During their activity the gold medal had somehow been transferred from around Gordon's neck to Cassie. He looked at where it was lying. "That looks better on you than it does on me."
"Would you like me to look after it for you?"
Gordon suddenly remembered the encounter with Drew Meredith. "No, I'm going to need it tomorrow – I've got to do an interview with some reporter." He took the medal from around her neck and turned to place it on the bedside table, not noticing her disappointed expression as he did so.
"Can I wear it again tomorrow?"
He looked at her in surprise. He had not even thought there would be a 'tomorrow. "Sure you can. Hey, aren't you running tomorrow afternoon? You might have your own medal by then. What time is your race?"
Gordon thought for a minute. "I've got a practice at noon, then the debriefing. It's for the relay, so the coach is probably going to want to go over tactics with us, but if I can get to your race then I will, I promise."
Cassie got up and picked up her wrap. "I suppose I'd better get back and get some sleep ready for tomorrow." She leaned forward and kissed him, then left the room.
Gordon stretched luxuriously and smiled to himself. What a day! What was that phrase? 'Some you win, some you lose.' Yep, that certainly summed up today's events.