Disclaimer: We do not own the Thunderbirds. No money was made off this endeavor.
WARNING: This is a DEATH fic. If you don't like those, please don't even start reading this story. You have been WARNED. Please do not send flames.
NO GREATER LOVE
By : GrumpyMagrat and Magratconvert
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13 (KJV)
Chapter 1: The Rescue Call
Gordon was in the pool doing his daily laps when the alarm sounded through the villa. He climbed out of the pool and quickly dried off. He wrapped the towel around his waist and headed to the lounge. He didn't bother getting dressed. He really didn't expect to be sent out. It had been over a month since Thunderbird 4 had been needed on a rescue. As it was there weren't any natural disasters, like heavy storms or undersea seismic activities, going on. So unless there was a boat sinking or something man-made, he would be left behind again. When Gordon reached the command center, he found that Alan and Tin-Tin were already there. Apparently they had been taking advantage of the quiet house to spend some quality time together. Scott and Virgil entered the room a few seconds after Gordon. They each carried a tennis racket indicating where they had been when the call came in. John's portrait was now the live feed from Thunderbird 5.
"What have we got?" Scott asked.
"There is a warehouse fire at the Mitchner Industrial Complex. That is a three acre complex in San Diego, California." John replied. "The San Diego fire department is already stretched thin at the moment. They are battling a fire at the marina, another at an apartment high-rise, and a third fire at a three story mall. They were only able to dispatch two trucks to this new fire. It was the fire department who called us in. Mr. Mitchner is one of four people who are trapped in a basement bunker under the burning warehouse. The fire department seems to be keeping the fire at bay, but they can't affect a rescue. That's why they want us to come."
"Basement bunker?" Alan questioned.
"Yeah," John explained. "Apparently this Mitchner guy is very paranoid. He's convinced that there is a spy around every corner. So he built his corporate offices in a 'secure' bunker under one of his warehouses, which just happens to be the one on fire right now."
"Ralph Mitchner," Jeff broke in. "I remember him. About fifteen years ago Tracy Enterprises signed a two year contract with Mitchner Industries which Ralph broke after three months. I didn't pursue it because after just those three months, I was glad to be rid of him. Every time I sent a representative there he would accuse them of industrial espionage and have them thrown off the property."
"How does a guy like that stay in business?" Gordon asked.
"He got himself a military contract." Jeff answered. "Somehow their mutual suspicion of each other seems to work for them."
"Ok John," Scott addressed his brother. "Is there anything else that we need to know about?"
"Not that I'm aware of at this time." John replied. "I've downloaded the co-ordinates of the warehouse to both Thunderbird 1 and Thunderbird 2. The fire department sent a courier to get the plans for the complex that are on file. Hopefully he will have them by the time that you reach the danger zone."
Jeff took charge and began to give orders. "Thanks John, keep us abreast of any changes that occur at the complex."
"F-A-B" John replied as the live feed was replaced once again by his portrait.
Jeff continued. "Scott, get going. I want you to have a chance to look over the schematics of the complex. Try to have a plan ready when Virgil gets there."
"I'll do my best." Scott said as he grasped the two wall lamps and spun out of sight.
Addressing his middle child, Jeff said. "Virgil, you're definitely going to need the mole. It's the most expedient way to get into an underground bunker. Go ahead and take the firefly too just in case the fire department does end up needing some help."
"F-A-B" Virgil replied as the portrait of his father's rocket tipped up and he slid head first out of sight.
"Gordon," Jeff said getting the attention of his red-haired child. "You haven't been out lately. Why don't you go along and lend a hand?"
Gordon at first stiffened when his dad addressed him, but his face took on a big grin when he found out that he was going on the mission. "F-A-B, Father." He said as he bounced over to the lift that would take him to Thunderbird 2's hanger.
Alan just shook his head and asked his father. "Do you think that he remembers how hot and messy a fire rescue can be?"
Jeff smiled at his youngest. "Gordon's been so bored around here that if the rescue was to dig those people out by hand using a teaspoon, he would still want to go."
Alan nodded and said with a laugh. "You're right. He was getting bored, and the last thing that we need around here is a bored Gordon."
Tin-Tin left to get them some coffee while Jeff and Alan quietly waited for the first update on the rescue.
"Thunderbird 2 from mobile control." Scott said into the mic.
"Thunderbird 2 here. Go ahead, mobile control." Virgil's voice came through the speaker.
"What's your ETA, Virg.?" Scott asked.
"ETA is 22.4 minutes. How does it look?" Virgil replied.
"Well, the mall fire is out, so the fire department has release two more trucks to help with this fire." Scott began to explain. "But they still want our help getting into the bunker. With our equipment, it will still be faster than anything they have. Go ahead and set down next to Thunderbird 1 in the clearing on the north side of the complex. Have Gordon go and start prepping the mole so it's ready to unload as soon as you get here. I'll download the drilling co-ordinates directly into the mole's computer. Let me know when you're ready to start drilling. Take Gordon with you in the mole. Since we haven't been able to establish contact with the victims, we don't know if there are any injuries. You might need an extra pair of hands. Let me know when you are ready to drill."
"F-A-B, Thunderbird 2, out." Virgil replied.
Fifty minutes later, Virgil was back in communication with Scott. He had already landed and unloaded the mole. After getting permission from Scott, he had drilled down to the bunker, which had been fairly easy with just a slight adjustment to avoid a water pipe.
"We have broken through." Virgil reported. "The scanners did show four life signs. Gordon has gone out to access the situation." Just then Virgil heard yelling from the passenger compartment. "Hang on Scott; I think I hear some of them. Let me check it out and I'll get back to you."
"F-A-B, Virg." Scott said.
Virgil entered the passenger compartment and found his brother and four other people. The rescued "victims" seemed a little hot and dirty but otherwise none the worse for wear. One victim, however, seemed to be very angry and was standing toe to toe with Gordon, yelling in his face.
"I know you took the files." The man yelled. "I saw you at the file cabinet. If you don't hand them over right now, I'm going to have you arrested."
Gordon's face was flushed with anger, but he fought to keep his tone neutral. "Sir, I was only by the file cabinet to help your assistant up. International Rescue in NOT interested in your business secrets."
"That's a lie!" The man yelled. "You probably figured that you could make a mint by selling my secrets to the highest bidder."
Gordon rolled his eyes and mumbled under his breath. "If you only knew how ridiculous that is…"
Virgil stepped in at that moment. "Is there a problem here?" He asked.
The man spun around and demanded. "Are you in charge here? I want to lodge a formal complaint against this…man." He spat the word 'man' out in a disgusted tone.
Gordon looked at his brother. He motioned toward the man. "Let me introduce Mr. Mitchner. He is under the impression that I have 'stolen' some of his classified files." Gordon made a rude hand gesture that only Virgil could see.
Virgil had to restrain his laughter. "No sir, I am not the one in charge. He is on the surface at our command post. I can arrange for him to see you as soon as we reach the surface."
"You do that, young man." Mitchner demanded. "And I want the police there too. I intend to have him arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Virgil tried to placate the man. "I'm sure that won't be necessary, but I'll make the arrangements."
Mitchner gave a snort of disbelief. "You do that, but I'm not letting him out of my sight. I don't trust him."
Virgil nodded. "Ok, but I need you to sit down and strap yourself in. I promise. He won't leave the passenger compartment until we reach the surface."
Mitchner looked between Virgil and Gordon. Finally he grumbled. "Ok, but you better not be lying to me. I'm a man of action. So you won't like it if you cross me." He sat down and began to buckle the safety straps while still shooting daggers at Gordon.
Virgil motioned Gordon closer but before he could say anything Gordon started into a whispered rant.
"He's nuts, Virg. I mean, he's certifiable." Gordon said. "I swear. I never even touched a file. He was watching me the whole time. I don't know what this guy's problem is, but…"
"Gordon, calm down." Virgil interrupted. "We'll just let Scott deal with all of this when we get up top. Until then though, I need you to stay here. We don't want to give him any ammunition."
"But Virg, I…" Gordon began.
Virgil broke in again. "I know Gordy, but unfortunately we need to prove that you don't have anything to hide. If you come into the cockpit with me, you know that Mitchner will try to use it against you."
Gordon blew out an exasperated breath. "You're right, but I hate being called a thief."
Virgil patted his brother's shoulder. "I know. I know. I don't like it anymore than you do, but we have to be professionals. I'm sure that when this gets all sorted out that it will just prove what a jackass Mitchner is. Go ahead and take that far seat so that Mitchner can still see you. I'll get us topside as fast as I can. Don't let him get to you. It'll work out. I promise."
Gordon nodded and sat down. He gave Virgil a wry look as he began to buckle his safety harness. "Get going. I want to get home so I can work this anxiety off in the pool."
"You got it, waterboy." Virgil said as he headed back to the cockpit.
Virgil returned to the pilot's seat and re-established communications with Scott. "Mole to mobile control. Come in Scott."
"This is mobile control, go ahead mole." Came Scott's very professional reply.
Virgil sighed and began his report. "We have extricated all four victims and are making our way back to the surface, but we have encountered a small problem." Virgil then outlined Mitchner's accusations against Gordon, and his demand to have Gordon arrested.
Scott rubbed his hand over his face. Sometimes it just didn't pay to be the field commander. "Ok, Virg, as soon as you're topside, you can put things away. Send Gordon and Mr. Mitchner to me. I'll try to sort it out."
"F-A-B." Virgil replied grateful that he did not have to deal with the problem.
Although in reality it only took a few minutes for the mole to reach the surface, for Gordon, it seemed like hours. Mitchner kept shooting hateful looks in his direction and kept mumbling things under his breath. Gordon was sure that he had heard such delightful statements like: "lock him up for the rest of his life; two-bit thief; nothing but common gutter trash; national security breach; firing squad would be too good for him." As furious as Gordon was at Mitchner, his anger was also rising against the three women too. They knew the truth, but none of them seemed willing to come to his aid.
Gordon felt the mole change its angle of ascension. He heard the tell-tale thumps as she was secured back to her base. The engines changed pitch as the mole moved back to her horizontal position. She began her reverse trek away from the danger zone. Gordon turned to the passengers and spoke. "We have reached the surface. In a few minutes, my associate will be here to give you further directions. I'm sure that the local rescue workers will be taking over your care."
"I don't need any 'care'." Mitchner huffed. "What I need is the police so they can arrest you."
Gordon sighed and turned his back on Mitchner but said loud enough for him to hear. "I'm sure that they will be waiting also."
A few minutes later the engines shut down, and Virgil emerged from the cockpit. Addressing the three women, he began. "Ladies, there are fire department personnel outside that will render any aid that you require." Turning to Gordon, he said. "You are to report to mobile control with Mr. Mitchner."
Gordon rolled his eyes. "Just great, I get to go with the crazy man who wants to put me in front of a firing squad and then lock me away in prison for a few dozen years."
Virgil gave Gordon a puzzling look. "It'll be ok. Scott will sort this out." Turning to Mitchner, he continued. "Mr. Mitchner, I have explained your concerns to our field commander."
"Concerns!" Mitchner exploded. "They are more than concerns. I hope that this 'field commander' plans on doing something about this."
"I'm sure he will." Virgil said trying to regain control of the conversation. "He will meet you at the mobile control post. He will also have an officer waiting as you requested. So if you would follow my associate here, he will take you to mobile control."
"You're not coming?" Mitchner asked. "I don't trust him."
"Well, you will have to." Virgil sighed. "I have work to do. So unless you have changed your mind about lodging a complaint…"
"No, I have certainly NOT changed my mind." Mitchner broke in again. Turning to Gordon, he continued. "I guess I don't have much of a choice, but I want to say that I'm not happy about this. Come on. Let's go. I want to get this over with."
"Not as much as I do." Gordon grumbled under his breath. To Mitchner, he said. "Of course sir, if you would just follow me." He headed out of the mole not bothering to check if Mitchner was following.
It only took a few minutes for them to reach mobile control. Gordon made the introductions. "Mr. Mitchner, this is our field commander." Gesturing toward Mitchner, he continued. "This is Mr. Mitchner. He would like to lodge a complaint."
"Not just a complaint," Mitchner interrupted. "I want you arrested."
"Yes, I've been apprised of the situation." Scott said. "Let me introduce Officer Harrison from the San Diego police department. Now we need you each to explain to us in your own words what happened in the bunker. Mr. Mitchner, since you are the one bringing the complaint, why don't you start?"
"The situation is very simple." Mitchner began. "This…'person' stole valuable, confidential files. I want those files back. I want him arrested. I want him prosecuted and locked away."
This time it was Officer Harrison that interrupted. "First things first, sir. I need some specific information. Now you said that he took some confidential files. Can you tell me how many he took; a general topic of what they were and where were they at when he took them."
Mitchner hesitated for a moment. "Well, no, I can't. I don't know how many he took. Plus they are confidential, so I can't tell you what was in them. It would be a breach of National Security. I can tell you that they were in a locked file cabinet."
"Locked?" The officer questioned. "How did he get it opened?"
"I don't know." Mitchner said in exasperation. "They have all this fancy equipment. I'm sure that he had something that could have easily opened the lock."
"Ok sir," Turning to Gordon, the officer, who had been writing facts in his notebook, asked. "Can you give me your version of events?"
"Absolutely officer," Gordon said as he began to explain his version of the events. "My colleague and I had burrowed down to the bunker in the mole. Since he was piloting the craft, I told him that I would access the situation. When I got into the bunker, Mr. Mitchner was pacing back and forth. The three women were sitting on the floor with their backs against the wall, near the file cabinets. Two got up immediately, but one woman seemed to be in a state of shock. I bent down to examine her, but when I did, I lost my balance for a bit. I put my hand on the file cabinet to steady myself, but THAT IS IT. I never opened the file cabinet and I CERTAINLY never took any files. I don't know how he can stand there and accuse me. He was watching me the entire time."
The officer turned to Mitchner. "Is that true? You watched him the whole time?"
"Of course, it is." Mitchner replied indignantly. "Do you really think that I would let some stranger wander around my office without watching him?"
Officer Harrison looked up from his notebook. "So you saw this gentleman take the files?" He asked Mitchner.
Mitchner looked uncomfortably at his feet. "Well no, I didn't actually SEE him take them, but I know he did."
Officer Harrison looked between Gordon and Scott then back to Mitchner. "So let me get this straight. You watched him the whole time that he was in your office. Yet you never saw him open the cabinet and take the files. As a matter of fact, you can't even prove that any files were taken, can you?"
"But I know he did." Mitchner exclaimed heatedly. "Just because I didn't see him do it, doesn't mean that he didn't do it."
Officer Harrison sighed and shook his head. He closed his notebook and crossed his arms. "And what makes you so sure?"
"Because they all want my files." Mitchner ranted. "Those files are worth a lot of money."
"Who's 'they'?" Officer Harrison asked. "International Rescue?"
"Yes, them," Mitchner continued to rant. "Or anybody. I can't trust anyone. The risk is too great. Everybody is out to destroy me. I just know it."
"Well I'm sorry Mr. Mitchner." Officer Harrison patiently began. "But the way it looks now. You can't even prove that a crime was committed, let alone that this gentleman committed it. Now if you can come up with positive proof, then call me at the station. Until then, I have no reason to arrest this man."
Mitchner's face turned red and he stuttered before turning to Scott. "YOU! You're responsible for this. You picked this cop. You paid him off! Admit it! I know you did. Do you really think that I am that stupid? You're all in on it together."
Before Scott or Gordon could respond, Officer Harrison broke in. Sternly he said. "Those are some very serious accusations which I know for certain are false. My integrity cannot be bought and I resent the implication. Now, I suggest that you walk away and think twice about throwing around groundless accusations again."
Mitchner gave Harrison, Gordon and Scott hateful looks. "This isn't over, not by a long shot. I won't let you get away with it." He turned and stormed away.
Officer Harrison turned to the Tracys. "I am sorry that you had to go through that. Obviously that man is a little off the beam."
Gordon snorted. "A little? That man is so paranoid that he is certifiable."
Officer Harrison laughed. "Well, I still have to write a report, but it will say what we learned here. That Mitchner lives in a world made by his paranoia, and that his mind creates conspiracies all around him. I think that I will have a word with my captain about this also. I just want to cover all the bases."
Scott reached out to shake the officer's hand. "Thank you. I knew that Gordon was innocent of the accusation, but I never dreamed that Mitchner was so weird. That guy needs professional help."
Officer Harrison nodded. "I agree with you. Unfortunately, unless he is deemed a danger to himself or others, we can't lock him away."
"And making false accusations against innocent people isn't harmful?" Gordon asked disgustedly.
Harrison sighed. "Unfortunately, in this case, no. You could bring a civil case against him, but at this point that's about all that can be done."
"I suppose." Gordon grumbled. "But it doesn't make you feel any better when you're on the receiving end of one of his tirades."
"Well, come on Gords," Scott broke in again. "You can help me break down mobile control, so we can head back to base."
"Sounds good." Gordon said. He turned and shook Officer Harrison's hand. "Thank you for your help. I appreciate it."
"Just doing my job." Officer Harrison said, returning the hand shake. Gordon moved off to begin dismantling mobile control. Harrison extended his hand to shake Scott's hand again. "I should be thanking you guys. It's good to know that International Rescue is out there to help when a need arises."
Before Scott had a chance to respond, the world around him dissolved into chaos. He heard Gordon yell and felt himself being pushed from the side. He stumbled and fell to one knee. His heart stopped when he heard not one but two gunshots.
Seconds before, Gordon had moved toward mobile control. He had disconnected the first section when he saw Mitchner coming towards them again. His first thought was "Oh great, the nut is back." In the next instance, time seemed to come to a crawl. He watched in horror as Mitchner raised a gun and pointed it at Scott. Gordon didn't even think he just reacted. "GUN!" He yelled while at the same time he gave Scott a sideways shove to move him out of the way. He barely even registered the sound of the gunshot before his chest exploded in pain. He fell to the ground on his back, gasping for breath. He never even heard the second gunshot.
Officer Harrison had been talking to the two International Rescue operatives. They were just saying their goodbyes when he heard the red-haired operative, the one that was called Gordon, yell "Gun!" In one swift movement, he pulled his own gun and began to scan for an assailant. He quickly located Mitchner aiming a gun in their direction. He leveled his own gun, but he was a split second too late as Mitchner fired his gun. Officer Harrison pulled the trigger and watched as Mitchner dropped to the ground. He looked around again. He saw that the two International Rescue operatives were on the ground. One was on his back; the other was on one knee. He knew that he needed to check on their condition, but he also needed to secure the scene. Chaos reigned. People were running for cover, not sure who was doing the shooting.
Speaking over his shoulder, he said. "Stay down. I think I got him, but I need to check and secure that gun."
He saw the dark haired man nod his head. He was concerned about Gordon because he hadn't moved yet. Well, first things first, he thought. "Gotta secure the scene." He cautiously made his way across the short distance to where Mitchner laid. He could tell that Mitchner was dead, but he knelt down and felt for a pulse just to be certain. He didn't find one. He shook his head. He called for a supervisor and the coroner. He couldn't believe how complicated this day had just become.
Scott shook his head trying to make sense of the last few seconds. He heard Officer Harrison order him to keep down. He looked around and saw Gordon lying on the ground.
"Gordon!" He exclaimed as he crawled over to his brother's prone body. "Oh my God, no!" He hoarsely whispered as he saw a blood stain expanding across Gordon's chest.
Scott felt for a pulse. It was there although extremely weak and erratic. He pulled his sash off. Quickly folding it, he used it to apply pressure to the wound. Scott saw the officer shake his head after looking for a pulse on Mitchner.
Knowing that the scene was secure, he used his watch comm to call Virgil. "Virgil, I need a med kit at mobile control now! Gordon's down!"
Virgil must have heard the urgency in Scott's voice because he didn't ask any questions. He just responded with a curt "F-A-B".
Scott turned his attention to his younger brother. "Gordon? Can you hear me? Come on. Open your eyes for me."
Slowly Gordon's eyes opened and settled on his brother's concerned face. "Scott…" Gordon began weakly but he began to cough, spraying drops of blood on Scott as more blood dripped from his lips.
"Ssh, it's ok." Scott said.
"Can't…breathe…" Gordon gasped.
"Let's try to sit you up some then." Scott said as he tried to carefully raise Gordon up a bit. He winced in sympathy when Gordon groaned as he was moved. Scott cradled Gordon against his chest, their heads almost touching. "Is that better?" He asked.
"Some…" Gordon answered in a whispery voice. "It hurts Scott."
"I know Gordy, but Virgil will be here soon. You have to hang on." Scott said trying to encourage his brother.
"I don't…think…I can." Gordon said as his eyes began to drift close.
"No, don't close your eyes." Scott ordered. "You can do it. I know you can. Keep talking to me."
"Cold…" Gordon mumbled.
"Once Virgil gets here, we'll get you back to Thunderbird 2 and we'll crank up the heat. How does that sound?" Scott said trying to sound like he was teasing.
"Tell…I love…them." Gordon said as his voice grew weaker.
"Hey, don't talk like that. You can tell everybody yourself." Scott said as fear invaded his voice.
Gordon tried to keep his eyes open, but he just couldn't. He could feel his breath getting shallower. With one final effort, he whispered. "Sorry…Sco…"
Scott felt as well as heard Gordon's final breath leave him. He began pleading as tears began to slowly escape his eyes. "Gordon? Please open your eyes. Stay with me. Come on."
He felt again for the pulse but could not find one. He pulled Gordon's body closer to him as the tears began to fall harder. "Please Gordy, you can't die. Say something, please. Open your eyes. Gordy, please."