Cause and Effect
By GrumpyMagrat and Magratconvert
Disclaimer: We don't own the Thunderbirds. We wish we did, but it's just one of those dreams that will never come true. We do NOT make any money off this endeavor. It is just for our own pleasure, and (we hope) your enjoyment.
Chapter 1 – The Mistake
Alan set his packed bag near the airlock on Thunderbird 5. John was already on his way to relieve him. Alan was excited. John was coming up a week early so that Alan could accompany Tin-Tin to a scientific conference in Los Angeles. The conference was only three days long, but Jeff had given them permission to stay a few extra days to enjoy the sights of the city. Alan was surprised that his dad had agreed to the trip, but he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Vacation time was a premium, but to be able to spend that time with Tin-Tin was a plus.
Out of the corner of his eye, Alan noticed that the monitor on the life support systems control console blacked out and then came back on. It happened so quickly that he wondered how many times it had done it that he had missed. Alan moved across the room to stand in front of the monitor. This particular monitor was the one that showed the atmospheric readouts for the station. Almost everything was reading in the normal range. The temperature was reading two degrees higher than the normal setting, but the oxygen level, the carbon dioxide level and the gravity settings were all within the safety margins.
"I'd better run a system diagnostic on both the monitor and the life-support system." Alan thought to himself, but before he could start it, he was interrupted by an incoming emergency call.
"Calling International Rescue." A small voice said. "Please can anyone hear me?"
Alan sat at the command console and spoke into the mike. "This is International Rescue. What is your emergency?"
The voice of a child was filled with tears. "Our plane crashed. Something happened to Grandpa so he couldn't fly the plane anymore. He won't talk to me. He only moans. I'm scared. Please help us." More was said but Alan couldn't understand it as the voice broke into sobs.
Alan locked in on the co-ordinates of the signal which was in a remote area of Modoc National Forest in northern California. He knew that he needed to calm the child down to get more information. "OK, calm down. I'm going to help you, but you need to answer some questions for me. Can you do that?"
The sobs dissolved back into ragged sniffles. "I'll try."
"Are you hurt anywhere?" Alan asked.
"Just my arm. It hurts some." The little voice replied.
"Do you think it's broke?" Alan continued his questions.
"No, I think it's just bruised." Was the response.
"Good," Alan said as he put a call into the local search and rescue. "Can you tell me your name?"
"It's Alan." The voice responded.
"Hey that's my name too. Isn't that cool?" Alan said. "How old are you Alan?"
"I'm eight. Are you coming to get me?" Little Alan asked.
"I can't come myself." Alan explained. "But I'm going to send other people to get you. Can you tell me what happened to your grandpa right before the plane crashed?"
Tears filled little Alan's voice again. "He told Mommy that his head hurt. Then he yelled and fell forward. But the seatbelt stopped him from falling all the way. The plane started going down real fast. Mommy told me to put my head down and to grab my ankles. She was yelling at Grandpa. He tried to say something back, but I couldn't understand what he said."
"Alan, is your mommy still in the plane?" Alan asked.
"No." Little Alan began to sob again. "I don't know where she is. Her door is gone. I'm scared. I want my Mommy."
"I know, bud, I know." Alan said trying to calm the little boy down. "I need you to be brave for me. Ok? I need to talk to some other people and then I will be right back to talk to you. Can you be brave for me until I get back?"
Little Alan sniffed loudly. "I'll try. Be fast. I get scared when I'm alone."
"You got it little buddy. I'll be back in a flash." Alan said.
Alan talked to the local authorities but decided that they would take too long to reach the downed plane so he called Tracy Island. He explained the situation to his father. "…So given the health concerns of the grandfather and not knowing the condition of the mother waiting almost four hours for search and rescue to reach their location would be out of the question."
"You're right Alan." Jeff said pressing the alarm to signal his remaining three sons. "Download the co-ordinates to Thunderbird 1 and Thunderbird 2. Then get back to the young boy and let him know that the Thunderbirds are on their way."
"F-A-B" Alan said switching the frequency back to little Alan. "I'm back Alan. How're you doing?"
"I thought you forgot about me." Little Alan sniffed.
"No way." Alan replied. "I talked to my boss and the Thunderbirds are on their way to get you."
"What about my Mom?" Little Alan asked.
"My buddies will look for her once they get there. I promise." Alan tried to reassure him. He just hoped that the mother was still alive. "Tell me about yourself, Alan. What grade are you in? Where do you go to school?"
"I'm in the third grade, and I go to Mountain Pine Academy in Redmond, Oregon." Little Alan said. "My best friend is Mike. We ride bikes together."
"Why were you in California?" Alan asked. "Were you on vacation?"
"We weren't in California." Little Alan said in confusion.
Now Alan was confused. The co-ordinates clearly showed the downed plane in California. "Do you know where you were flying to?"
"To Grandpa's house." Little Alan explained. "He lives in Sparks, Nevada. He said that we could go to a ghost town one day and to Lake Tahoe another."
"That sounds like fun." Alan said. "Maybe your grandpa can take you once he gets better."
"How much longer before the Thunderbirds get here? Grandpa isn't moaning anymore. I think he's dying." Little Alan sniffed.
Alan felt helpless. He was concerned about the old man's condition, but there was nothing that could be done until his brothers arrived. "Soon. They should be getting there soon. Thunderbird 1 will get there first and then Thunderbird 2 will get there a few minutes after that. You'll have a great story to tell your friends when you get home. Not many people get to ride in a Thunderbird."
"I get to ride in a Thunderbird?" Little Alan asked incredulously.
Alan laughed. "You sure do, Alan. They'll take you to the closest hospital so the doctors can help your grandpa."
"And my Mom?" Little Alan asked soberly.
Alan sobered too. "Thunderbird 1 has special scanners to look for her. Hopefully by the time that Thunderbird 2 gets…"
Alan stopped when he heard a female voice in the background. "Alan…Dad! Can you hear me? Alan? It's Mommy."
Little Alan also heard the voice. "Mommy! Alan, it's my Mommy!" He yelled. "Mommy! Mommy! I'm over here! Mommy!"
Alan heard the voice getting louder as the mother was getting closer. "I'm coming Alan. Keep talking. Mommy's coming."
Alan knew exactly when she arrived at the plane.
Little Alan shrieked in delight. "MOMMY!"
The mother's voice was filled with emotion. "Alan, oh dear God, Alan. Are you ok? Are you hurt?"
Alan could picture the scene at the plane. Little Alan would be hugging his mom. The mother would be checking her son over for injuries, relief flooding her as she finds only bumps and bruises. Alan snapped back to attention when he heard the mother exclaim. "Dad! Can you hear me? We have to get help, but how?"
"I called International Rescue." Little Alan told his mother.
"International Rescue?" She questioned her son.
"I used the radio and he answered." Little Alan explained. "His name is Alan, just like me."
Finally the mother spoke to Alan. "Hello? Is someone really there?"
A light on the console began to flash indicating an incoming call from Thunderbird 3, along with John's voice saying. "Thunderbird 3 to Thunderbird 5. Come in please." Alan ignored it though. John could wait. The rescue was more important. He spoke to the mother. "International Rescue here, Ms…uhm…I'm sorry I forgot to ask Alan your surname."
"It's Morgan, but you can just call me Lucy. Are you really International Rescue?" She replied.
A lump formed in Alan's throat. First it was a small boy with his own name needing rescuing, and now that little boy's mother's name was the same as his mother's. He was grateful that this mother was alive because he knew the hardships of growing up without a mother. Memories began to flood Alan's mind, but he pushed them away. He needed to concentrate on the rescue. Swallowing hard, he answered Lucy.
"Yes ma'am." Alan said. "Help is already on its way. Are you hurt?"
Relief was evident in her voice. "I have a headache. My arm is broken, and something is wrong with my shoulder. I hurt it when I fell out of the plane, but I'm more worried about my dad. I think he may have had a stroke."
"Did you lose consciousness at all?" Alan asked trying to assess the extent of her injuries.
"I don't think so." Lucy answered. "But I'm not positive. It all happened so fast. One second we were falling and then I was lying on the ground. I'm not even sure how I got thrown from the plane."
"Okay Lucy, we'll deal with it later." Alan said. "I'm going to contact Thunderbird 1 and get and ETA to your location."
Alan switched communication frequencies. First he contacted Thunderbird 3. "Hey John, are you ready to dock?"
"I've been ready." John answered. "What took you so long to answer?"
"We're in the middle of a rescue." Alan said. "I'll explain when you get in. Extending docking tube now."
"F-A-B, Alan. See you in a few minutes." John replied.
Alan switched frequencies again to contact Scott. "Thunderbird 5 calling Thunderbird 1."
"This is Thunderbird 1. Go ahead Alan." Scott's voice came through the radio.
"I wanted to update you on the situation." Alan explained. "The mother is alive and has made her way to the plane."
"That's good to hear." Scott interjected.
"I'd like to give her an ETA on your arrival." Alan said.
Scott checked his console. "Ok Alan, I should be over the danger zone in 2.3 minutes. Thunderbird 2 is 13.1 minutes behind me. That should give me time to develop a rescue plan."
"Thanks Scott. I'll let Lucy and Alan know." Alan replied.
"Lucy and Alan? That's their names?" Scott asked.
"Yeah, what a coincident, huh?" Alan answered.
"I would say so." Scott replied. "Keep me informed of any changes and I'll let you know what the plan is once I devise it."
"F-A-B Scott." Alan said.
Alan switched back to the frequency to talk to Lucy and Alan. "Lucy? I'm back. How are things going?"
"The same," Lucy answered. "Any news?"
"I have good news." Alan began to explain. "Thunderbird 1 should be overhead any second and Thunderbird 2 is less than 15 minutes away. The pilot of Thunderbird 1 will do a fly over and develop a rescue plan." In the background Alan could hear the engines of Thunderbird 1.
"I see it!" Lucy exclaimed. "Thunderbird 1 is here. Alan, do you see that. It won't be long now."
Alan listened as little Alan talked excitedly to his mother. "That is so cool Mom! Alan said that we will get to ride in a Thunderbird. Do you think it's that one? How fast does it go? I can't wait to tell Mike."
Alan saw John enter the control center out of the corner of his eye. He heard Lucy laughing lightly at her son's excitement. "I don't know, Alan. I'm sure they'll tell us when the time comes."
Alan's mind wondered what it would have been like to have had that kind of relationship with his mother. He suddenly felt jealous of his older brothers. They at least had their memories of their mother. Although Gordon's were fuzzy at best, more like feelings rather than true memories, but he had none. He only knew of his mother through pictures and stories that were told to him. His thoughts were interrupted by an incoming call from Scott.
"Thunderbird 1 calling Thunderbird 5" Scott's voice came from the radio.
"This is Thunderbird 5. Go ahead Scott." Alan acknowledged his brother.
"All right Alan," Scott began. "I did a fly over and I think it should be a fairly easy rescue. It looks like the plane hit the tops of a few trees as it came down. The tail and one wing are missing, but the rest of it has come to rest in a small clearing. The clearing is not big enough for me to land Thunderbird 1, but about two hundred yards away is a larger clearing around a lake. So here's the plan. I'll land and make my way back to the plane. By that time Virgil and Gordon should be here. Gordon can winch down in the rescue platform with a stretcher and medical supplies. I'll help him get the victims ready for transport and on the rescue platform. Gordon can winch them back into Thunderbird 2 and they can transport them to the closest medical facility."
"That does sound simple enough." Alan said. "I'll let Lucy know the plan. Let me know if anything changes."
"F-A-B, Alan. I'll talk to you later." Scott said as he disconnected the comm.
Before Alan could re-connect with Lucy, John addressed him. "I can take over if you want to head home. I know you're excited about your trip."
Alan shook his head. "Nah, I'd rather see this through to the end."
John was a little stunned. He had expected Alan to want to leave as soon as possible. John nodded to his brother. "Ok, if that's what you want. I'll go and unpack."
Alan nodded and re-established contact with Lucy. He explained the rescue plan to her. "…So do you have any questions?"
"No, I think that the plan is pretty simple." Lucy replied.
"Since we have a few minutes, I'd like to get as much information as I can." Alan began. "What's your father's name and does he have a history of medical problems?"
"His name is Walter Mitchell, and I'm not aware of any medical problems." Lucy began to explain. "We talk on the phone once a week, but I only get to see him in person for three weeks during the summer and one week over Christmas. It would be easy for him to hide any problems from me." Lucy paused and then quietly added. "I should've never moved away from home."
"When did you move away?" Alan asked and then added. "If you don't mind me asking."
"It's ok." Lucy replied. "I moved five years ago. My husband was killed in a car accident. I wanted to get away from the constant memories and start fresh. I work for an investment firm and they transferred me to the office in Redmond. The first two years my Dad came and visited me but then I decided that I wasn't being fair to Alan. I wanted him to know and do some of the things I did growing up so we started visiting my dad. Alan was so excited about this trip. I can't believe this has happened."
"I'm sorry to hear about you husband. I know that must have been hard for you." Alan said. "But we are going to do all we can to help you and your family."
"I know." Lucy replied. "I am grateful, but I'm also scared. Being able to talk to you has helped a lot. I want you to know that."
Alan blushed slightly at the praise. "I'm just doing my job."
"I think I hear something in the trees." Lucy said. "I hope it's your man."
"I'm sure it is. Thunderbird 2 should be arriving any minute too." Alan said.
Lucy sighed. "So it's really almost over." Then a second later she said. "He's here. He just stepped from the trees."
Alan could hear Scott identify himself to Lucy and Alan. Scott's voice became louder as he got closer to the plane.
"Hey Alan," Scott's voice came over the radio. "I'm here at the plane, and Thunderbird 2 should be here any second now. I can hear her engines in the distance."
"Is there anything you can do for Lucy or Walter until Gordon gets down there?" Alan asked.
"Not really, but here is Thunderbird 2." Scott answered. "Gordon will be down here in a minute."
Scott used his watch to talk directly to Virgil. "Scott to Thunderbird 2. Come in please."
Virgil's face appeared on Scott's watch. "Thunderbird 2 here. Go ahead Scott."
"I am here at the wreckage." Scott began to give orders. "We have three victims. Send Gordon down in the rescue platform. He needs to bring a med kit and a stretcher."
"F-A-B, he's on his way." Virgil replied.
It was about three minutes before the rescue platform began its decent from the underside of Thunderbird 2. Scott watched carefully and guided it down to the clearing. "Move 2 feet to the right." "Ok, now move forward about 3 feet." Good, hold it right there."
Once the platform reached the ground, Gordon met Scott with a grin on his face. "I hear you need some assistance on this rescue." Gordon said cheekily.
Scott shook his head. "I think it's the other way around. After all, I'm the one who hiked through the woods to help you."
Gordon laughed and then asked. "Okay, what do you want me to do?"
"Hand me the med kit." Scott said. "I'll splint Lucy's arm and get it in the sling. I want you to get the stretcher set up for Walter."
Scott and Gordon fell into an easy working relationship. In less than fifteen minutes they had Alan, Lucy and finally Walter loaded onto the rescue platform. Scott also climbed on the platform. "I'll ride up with you and help you get them settled in the med bay. Virg can drop me off at Thunderbird 1."
It was only a matter of minutes before Scott was winched down next to Thunderbird 1 and Thunderbird 2 left to take their passengers to the hospital. As Scott took off in Thunderbird 1 he contacted Alan. "Thunderbird 1 to Thunderbird 5." He said.
"Thunderbird 5 here. Go ahead Scott." Alan responded.
"You can officially stand down." Scott began to explain. "The three victims are on board Thunderbird 2. It does appear that Mr. Mitchell did suffer a stroke. Gordon is providing what little medical help that he can. Virgil is going to drop them off at the hospital in Klamath Falls. We'll do the debriefing once you get back home. That way you can leave right away."
"Thanks Scott." Alan replied, relief flooding him that the rescue was successfully completed. "I'll see you at home. Thunderbird 5 out." Turning to John he continued speaking. "Well, she's all yours. I'll see you next month."
John nodded and said. "Thanks Alan. Have fun on your trip, and stay safe."
"Will do big brother." Alan said, whistling as he entered the turbo-lift.
Two hours later, John stood at the window of Thunderbird 5 looking out at the celestial scene laid out before him. Scott and Gordon could never understand his love of the stars. Virgil could at least see and appreciate the beauty of space, but he still didn't like being up on five for very long. He said that it made him feel claustrophobic.
A strange noise caught John's attention. It was a sizzling, snapping sound. He looked around the station. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then he heard the noise again. This time he could tell that it came from the console on the far wall. He turned his attention to that monitor. At first he still could not see anything wrong, but then he noticed that the monitor blacked out and then came back on in time to the sizzling noise. John moved to stand in front of the malfunctioning monitor. Again it blacked out and came back on.
"Hmm, the life-support system control monitor." John said aloud. "I wonder how long it's been malfunctioning. It couldn't have been too long. Alan would have said something. I'd better run a diag…"
At that moment, John's world exploded along with the monitor. The next few seconds were a blur for John. His vision filled with a blinding white light, but the only thing that John was aware of was the excruciating pain in his face.
John screamed in agony, his hands instinctively covering his face. It never even registered in his mind that the force of the explosion was propelling him backwards. He welcomed the blackness that enveloped him when his head connected with the floor of his beloved Thunderbird.
Author's Notes - HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone. We are finally back with a new story. We have been working on it for the past six months and have only finished about half of it, so for the first time, we are breaking our own rule about not posting until the story is complete. We intend to post a new chapter once a week. Hopefully we can keep ourselves ahead of the story.
To the other authors out there - Don't you just love it when a story takes on a life of its own? Drat the Muse!
To the reader who has been kicking our butts about posting what we have (and you know who you are! ;) just kidding, we love you anyways) - Here you go. We promised it around the New Year. Enjoy.
Also the places mentioned in this story: Modoc National Forest, Redmond, Oregon, Sparks, Nevada, and Klamath Falls were places that we found on a US Map. We have no actual knowledge of the area. If there happens to be a Mountain Pine Academy in Redmond, it is a TOTAL coincidence, so don't get upset at us for using the name. :)
We enjoy feedback, so please leave it for us. We hope that you enjoy this story.