Disclaimer: Don't own, no profit, etc.
Movie-verse, mostly because of the ages, and a few other details.
Special thanks to Boomercat for her marvelous beta work, for asking all the 'what if' questions, and especially for the technical details that are such a part of writing well.(Considering that I can't spell worth a darn, even with a spell-check, I appreciate it more than you can ever know!)CHAPTER ONE
"But Dad . . ." Alan whined.
Jeff Tracy counted to ten. Some things just never changed. If he ever became a drinking man, it would have been because of this, his youngest son. You think he'd have been used to it after raising four other sons. But none of them had been quite this bad, except possibly his second youngest, Gordon. He'd come pretty darn close. Gordon however, had been significantly more subtle, (and still was, unfortunately.) He'd always come at things sideways, rather than head-on, the way Alan did. Nevertheless, Jeff just had to keep reminding himself that he'd been successful with those four (including Gordon!), and he would be with this one as well.
"Alan, I've made up my mind. You will be accompanying John to New York and that's final."
"But summer's almost over, and I've hardly been home." Alan increased the whine in his voice as he noticed it getting to his father.
Jeff had to acknowledge that there was some truth to that. Alan had spent the first part of the summer in New York, having run away from home. Then the next several weeks were spent recovering from a severe illness, both at home, and even more to his liking, on Thunderbird Five. And Jeff knew what was at the root of the problem right now. Alan wanted to start the hardcore training that it took to become a full-fledged member of the family business – International Rescue.
Jeff had begun Alan's formal training with John up on Thunderbird Five, the space station, for several reasons. First, communications were an integral part of the job. And second, he knew he was walking a fine line with Alan's training program. Alan definitely needed to learn, but he also needed time to grow up and mature. At fifteen he was just too young to be handling the same jobs his older brothers did. Jeff's job was to keep him on the tightrope – learning, but still getting a chance to be just a kid.
On the other hand, there was no doubt in his mind that Alan wanted to learn the more glamorous (and dangerous) parts of the International Rescue. Specifically, by several comments he had made it was evident that he wanted to begin training to pilot Thunderbird One. Alan had had an intoxicating taste of what it was like when he'd gotten to fly the ship to London over spring break in order to defeat the family's nemesis, the Hood. That had been enough to whet his appetite. Unfortunately for Alan, the Thunderbird's regular pilot (his oldest brother Scott) had made it pretty clear that Alan would flying his ship over his dead body. In place of that, the youngest Tracy had made it abundantly apparent that he would be just as happy to learn to fly Thunderbird Three, their space going rocket. And that would be over Jeff's dead body right at the moment.
"And exactly whose fault is that?" Jeff asked sternly, answering Alan's complaint.
Alan grinned. "Actually, Scott's, Virgil's and Gordon's mostly," he said cheekily, referring to a conversation that had been the whole root of the problem last spring.
Jeff had to laugh. His youngest son was never boring, to say the least. Their relationship, although still rocky (was there any other sort at that age?), had definitely evened out some over the last few months. However, Jeff was under no illusions regarding his temperamental youngest son.
With the tension eased, he continued. "You need to get new school clothes and books. Term starts in a couple of weeks." He alluded to the new boarding school that Alan was to be attending this year. "And I want you to see the specialist again at New York Children's Hospital for an all clear for you to return to normal activities."
THAT brought the expected storm clouds back to Alan's face. He didn't handle illness well, and Jeff knew that he was sick of doctors, treatments, and restrictions. After dealing with meningitis and its aftermath, Jeff didn't blame him one bit, but he still was taking no chances.
Before the oncoming storm could break, he continued. "And John has some business matters to attend to, so you're going with him. And he mentioned something about a trip to Ellis Island." He smiled as Alan's face lit up. "Provided you behave." He added sternly. And laughed at Alan's expression.
TB TB TB TB TB
The trip went quickly, and despite Alan's misgivings and the required visits to the hospital, he had a great time. He and John had canvassed the city. This was way more fun than doing it on his own. John seemed to know all the little known facts about the town, and freely imparted his knowledge to his younger brother. Alan had a blast.
In addition, at his father's request and Alan's wholehearted endorsement, the two brothers had made a special trip to see a Pastor John at a small, nondescript mission in the middle of Manhattan. The man had been instrumental in getting Alan home safely, and in no small way had saved his life. Jeff had made sure that the reward he had offered for Alan's safe return had gone to Pastor John and his Mission.
This visit though, Jeff wanted to make sure was from him personally. John and Alan had been dispatched with a handwritten note from Jeff, as well as a rather substantial donation. Alan was glad to see the soft spoken man again. John also managed to take him aside and impart the whole family's thanks.TB TB TB TB TB
"Ok, John. We'll see you late tonight then. It will be good to have you home. Fly safe." Jeff said with a smile, the light of another spectacular sunset bathing the room.
"Will do Dad. See you tonight." John's voice and smile carried through the vidphone.
Jeff smiled and leaned forward to sign off to the accompanying voice of his oldest son, just entering the room.
"John manage to keep from strangling Alan yet?" Scott asked, laughing.
Jeff shook his head. "Contrary to popular belief, not everybody wants to strangle your younger brother all the time."
"Could have fooled me," Gordon added his opinion, entering the room.
Jeff snorted as Scott remarked, "Well, they want to strangle you just about as often."
"Hey!" Gordon protested, hand dramatically on his chest for emphasis. "Never me. I'm the fair haired child," he added with a look of innocence.
Jeff relaxed back in his chair, smiling. It was good to see his sons clowning around again. It had been a very stressful spring and early summer, and things looked to finally be back to normal. His two sons flopped onto varying chairs in the room.
"Virgil checked in yet?" Scott idly asked about his middle brother, currently manning International Rescue's space station, Thunderbird Five.
"No, not yet. But since we're all here, how about we save him a call?" Jeff suited action to words. "We need to get a status report anyway."
"Thunderbird Five. Go ahead Base." Virgil's voice was heard as his picture appeared on the screen in response to the call.
A chorus of voices greeted him, and the status meeting began. Jeff listened in contentment as his sons discussed the various weather phenomena that might play a part for International Rescue. All was right with his world. John and Alan were on their way home, and the other three boys were on the job. No outside crisis, no IR jobs at the moment, and no family issues looming. Life just couldn't get much better.TB TB TB TB TB
"Alan! Hurry up!" John was frustrated. The last flight checks had been done and he was ready to leave. It was very late, and the large Tracy hanger at the airport was lit only by the three focused spotlights directly above one of the sleek jets, and the dim lights from the small office back in one corner. The rest of the hanger was thrown into black darkness, with only a few dim metallic glints giving any indication of the aircraft residing in the shadows.
John gave a groan of annoyance. He'd had fun with Alan the last few days. After the time on Thunderbird Five, he felt like he'd gotten to know his little brother a lot better. They had more in common than either of them had ever figured. Probably more would continue to emerge as Alan continued to mature. He had a feeling that Alan was going to end up as an astronaut as well. He was sure fascinated with anything space.
But right now, all John wanted to do was get underway. Alan, as only a typical teenager could, was just about anywhere except where he was supposed to be. Climbing down from the plane, he headed back to the small office where he'd last seen Alan playing a computer game with his music blasting through his small headphones, so loud that John could clearly tell what was playing.
"ALAN!" John yelled again in irritation, hoping to be heard over the decibels of the music. And stopped cold at the sight of his younger brother, standing in shadow against the back wall, blue eyes huge and fixed on John over the large hand clamped over his mouth and the muzzle of a pistol pressed against his left temple.