Crash Landing

Missing Scene from 'Terror in New York City'

By Sapphire

Thunderbird 2 slithered along the runway, decelerating as she went. From Scott's point of view up in Thunderbird 1, she still looked like going way too fast. The great craft got closer and closer to the end of the runway, and the cliff face with the slowly opening hangar door that was there.

"Virgil!" he screamed, "You're still too fast."

He did not know if his brother had even heard him. And even if, there was little Virgil could actually do, as TB2's tires were gone, and thus Virgil's chances to influence her.

The two oldest Tracy brothers, both members of International Rescue, had been on their way home from a rescue. Everything had been going well. Virgil had had a head start home, as Scott had to take care of an overzealous reporter who thought he could get away with taking pictures of the Thunderbird crafts. Scott had taught him differently, and had then followed his brother on the way to Tracy Island.

They were almost home when Virgil spotted the U.S.N. Sentinel, the newest in marine technology. What he didn't know was that the ship had detected him as well, only they had mistaken him for an enemy, and had started to take pot shots at him.

Virgil had managed to avoid the first two rockets aimed at him, but the second pair had made contact, seriously damaging the fuselage of Thunderbird 2. He was thrown into a nosedive, almost crashing into the ocean, before managing only at the last second to pull out of it.

It was a good thing they had only a short way to go home.

Scott knew that Virgil was somehow injured, though this brother had refused to tell him anything. But Virgil's voice told him enough.

The oldest Tracy hated that he was unable to do anything. He was trapped up in Thunderbird 1 and all he could do was to watch his younger brother slide towards disaster.

"Virgil!" he called out again, just as the great craft finally came to a stand still, only yards away from the hangar doors.

There was a muffled explosion, flames shooting up from the rear part of the green flying machine. Then, finally, the fire showers kicked into action, dousing Thunderbird 2 in white foam, choking the flames.

"Virgil. Get out of there," Scott called. "Virgil!"

There was no answer.

Maybe the communication system was damaged. Yeah, that had to be it. Scott could not accept that Virgil was seriously injured. He just could not accept it.

"I'm going to land behind Thunderbird 2," he told control, bringing the jet about and lowering her gently to the ground. One soft jolt, and he had landed.

Normally, every time Thunderbird 1 returned home to the island, Scott landed her in the hangar underneath the swimming pool. From there, it was not far to the other hangars. This time however, Scott didn't want to lose a second.

He opened the cockpit door and went down the ladder, which had automatically folded out on the side. As soon as his feet touched ground, he was running towards the downed craft, clutching a portable fire extinguisher to his chest.

From the open hangar door, Gordon and Alan, wearing their own fire fighting equipment raced towards him.

"Somebody needs to open ..." Scott called, but stopped when Gordon held up his hand.

"Already taken care off. Brains is using the remote from the hangar."

Indeed, an access door opened at the side of TB2, revealing the interior of the transport plane. The three brothers didn't lose any time. Activating their fire extinguishers they entered the TB2, moving as fast as the fire and broken up interior allowed.

The inside of Thunderbird 2 was a mess. Tools and rescue equipment had been thrown from their shelves and halters. Some of the internal structure was bend or broken, making progress difficult. Thick smoke filled the air, making breathing a challenge. All this, however, didn't deter the three men on their quest. Climbing over or under any obstacle in their way, dowsing flames wherever they encountered any fires with short bursts from their extinguishers, they quickly moved up towards the cockpit in the front of the machine and their brother.

Alan got to the cockpit door first. He reached for the control, then drew it back with a curse

"Damnit, the door is hot."

All three brother knew what that meant. There was fire on the other side of the door.

"Virgil," Scott called loudly.

Still no answer.

Scott's stomach was tied into a knot. As much as he tried to tell himself that this was just another rescue, he wasn't able to stay as calm as usual. He knew far too well what could be on the other side of that door. They all had been on countless rescue missions with fire and they had seen the burned bodies of those they had not reached in time. Sometimes they hunted him at night.

The thought that Virgil might have become one of them...

'Pull yourself together', he commanded himself as he tightened the grip on his extinguisher.

At a short nod from his oldest brother, Alan pushed the control panel with his fabric covered elbow. As the door opened a hot blast of air stole their breath. Three fire extinguishers went into action.

The fire seemed to be localized closed to the door and it didn't take long to reduce it to a more manageable size. Leaving his now empty extinguisher behind, Scott pushed past his two brothers and moved forward to the pilot's chair.

He tried to call out, but the hot air and smoke reduced the name of his brother to a croak. He tried again, and finally managed to get out his brother's name, but got no response.

Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, he reached his goal. Like a miracle, there was no fire close to Virgil.

"Virgil," Scott croaked again, touching the slumped over figure of his brother.

Shaking fingers reached for the pilot's neck. It seemed to take forever, but it was only a second until he felt a pulse brush against his finger tips.

Exhaling deeply – and having to cough in the process – he manoeuvred closer, then around. He lifted up the upper body, finally being able to take a look at his brother's face.

Virgil's face was soot covered, a cut over one eye bleeding freely, giving a reason why he wasn't responding to Scott's calls. He was deeply unconscious, his eyes closed.

"How is he?" Gordon asked, his voice rough, as he joined his brothers.

"He's alive," Scott said, relief shining in his eyes.

Gordon closed his eyes for a moment, then nodded. "What shall I do?" he asked, practical as always.

"Get me the breathing apparatus from the first aid kit, and then find me a stretcher," Scott said, while he checked Virgil over for any hidden injuries.

Like all of his brothers, Scott has been trained in First Aid since before they had started International Rescue. Years of working rescues, he had acquired medical skills which rivalled that of any trained EMT and there was probably a thing or two he could show any seasoned emergency doctor. Now he put those skills to use, tracing his hands over Virgil's limbs, searching for broken bones or dislocations.

Nothing seemed to be wrong, except that cut on Virgil's head and maybe a cracked rib or two where the safety belt had caught. A small price to pay, as the belt had undoubtedly saved Virgil's life.

Alan showed up on his side, holding out the breathing apparatus. The youngest Tracy looked scared, even though he tried to hide it. Alan was normally one of the most fearless men Scott knew – he had to be, if he wanted to be successful in the international racing circus – but now for a change he looked as young as he actually was.

"Virgil will be okay," Scott assured Alan, as he placed the mask straps over Virgil's face, mindful of the head injury.

Alan smiled his thank you.

One of his brothers must have hit the fan switch, because the air in the cockpit began finally to clear. Scott wasn't sure if this was a good thing, as it revealed the extent of the damage the huge craft had sustained in the crash. It would take weeks to get that fixed.

Gordon reappeared, carrying a stretcher.

Carefully, Scott unbuckled his brother, then snapped on the neck bracers and together they manoeuvred him onto the stretcher. Alan grabbed the foot end, while Gordon took the head and then they started to work their way out.

Scott followed slowly, taking one last look around at the damage Thunderbird 2 had sustained. He only hoped that in the next couple of weeks there wouldn't be a call for International Rescue that required anything heavy to be taken to the rescue side. Because if there was, International Rescue wouldn't be able to help.

oooooooooooooooo

When Scott reached the med lab, Alan and Gordon had already placed Virgil on the examining table in the centre of the room. Brains was just in the process of activating the sophisticated medical equipment, placing a diagnostic unit over Virgil's body. The brothers helped to remove Virgil's clothing, then stepped back to allow the mostly automatic system to do its job.

Scott hovered in the background. There was nothing he could do now but wait and hope.

Virgil looked small on the metal table, half hidden by the medical unit. His brown hair was dirty and matted with blood. His skin looked almost white, the dirt standing out like on a black and white photo. If it weren't for the monitors above Virgil's head, Scott would have feared that he was dead. For the sake of his younger brothers, he had put up a strong front while they had been in TB2, but Virgil's prolonged unconsciousness worried him deeply. Why didn't Virgil wake up? That little bump on the head couldn't be so bad. What if he had overlooked something and by transporting Virgil from TB2, they had caused additional damage?

Suddenly he felt a strong hand settle on his shoulder.

"Virgil will be all right, Scott."

Scott looked to his right where his father stood.

Some people said that Jeff Tracy, the founder of International Rescue, looked a lot like his eldest son, Scott. Scott had never really seen it, but now he knew that they both sported identical frowns of worry.

"Captain Bonquist from the U.S.N. Sentinel sends his apologies," Jeff Tracy said.

"Yeah, and that makes everything okay for them," Scott said angrily. Now that the crisis was over and there was nothing he could actually do, he finally allowed his anger and frustration to rise to the surface. "And the next time somebody meaning no harm to them flies by, they're going to use it also as target practice, too."

"It was a mix up, Scott. They hadn't meant any harm."

"Yeah, right. Tell that to Virgil. Tell that to the next person who needs our help, but we can't provide it because Thunderbird 2 is out of commission." Scott waved his arms angrily in the direction of Thunderbird 2's hanger.

Jeff Tracy looked serious. "They had had no tracking signal from us. They had to assume Thunderbird 2 could be some danger to them."

"Yeah, and true to their form, they had to shoot first and ask questions later. I know why I left the service."

With the last declaration, all steam left Scott and he slumped against the wall. He actually knew it wasn't really the Sentinel captain's fault. He didn't know how he would have reacted if he had been in the captain's shoes. An unknown plane, flying way faster than a normal commercial flight, way off the normal commercial routes, with no transponder signal. There was a good chance that if TB2 had indeed been an enemy plane, that it would have attacked the Sentinel before they would have known what hit them.

The world today was not as peaceful as one would wished for. More than a dozen smaller wars were going on at any given time. Nations, which hadn't posed any danger to the larger nations like the USA or Europe only a decade ago, had managed to catch up technologically. And some of them used that newly gained – and largely stolen – technology to attack wherever they could.

This was one of the many reasons that International Rescue operated the way it did. Their equipment, though used by them only to save lives, could, if it should fall into the wrong hands, be used to harm people.

Now this need for secrecy had finally bitten them into the butt. And Virgil had paid the price for it.

Jeff watched his older son with concern in his eyes. He just opened his mouth to say something, when Scott lifted his hand.

"I'm okay, Dad. I know it's not really their fault. It's nobody's fault. I just hate that it happened, that's all. I hate that Virgil got hurt."

Jeff waited for a moment longer, than nodded. "I hate it too, son," he said barely above a whisper.

oooooooooooo

"Thanks, Scott, for the update," John Tracy said on the monitor. "I was worried for a while there."

"We all were. But now that Brains confirmed that Virgil is going to be okay, and that Thunderbird 2 can be fixed, everything should be okay."

"Let's only hope there's no emergency that requires Thunderbird 2 to show up in the next couple of weeks."

"We all do. See you later, John."

"Bye, Scott," John signed off and the monitor was replaced by his usual portrait.

Scott rose from the desk, and walked back towards Thunderbird 2's hanger. His father, Brains, Gordon and Alan where all working on getting TB2 into the hanger and cleaning up the mess that the crash landing had caused to the runway. Scott had taken a short break and volunteered to update John on Thunderbird 5, International Rescue's own space station.

On the way, he made a little detour by Virgil's room to check on his younger brother. Cleaned up, he looked much better, only the bandage on his head any indication that something undue had happened to him. The bandages on his chest were hidden by his pyjamas. Two cracked ribs, but nothing serious really.

Virgil was sleeping peacefully. Scott had been worried at first that they couldn't call in a doctor, at least not until they had Thunderbird 2 inside her hanger, as she was a little bit difficult to hide otherwise.

Brains had given Virgil something and he should be out for another three hours at least. Brains was sure that Virgil would make a full recovery and that was good enough for Scott.

With a sigh, he turned away from the door.

He still worried what they would do if there was a call for TB2, but as there was nothing he could do about it, he decided not to dwell on that problem too deeply.

He knew, if it should happen and they would need to get any of their rescue equipment someplace, they would find a way.

They always did.

The end