John Tracy sighed in contentment and adjusted his sunglasses before leaning back on the sun lounger and soaking in the bright warm tropical sunshine that shone down on Tracy Island. He had only been back on the island for two days after a longer than normal stint of duty on Thunderbird Five – two months instead of his normal one.
The reason being that just after shift change over two months ago Alan had gone out on a rescue that took him into a dangerous cave system to save some stranded scientists. He had become caught in a collapse that had left him seriously injured, with a concussion, cracked ribs and a collapsed lung. Even with modern medicine it had taken along time for all of Alan's wounds to fully heal and Alan to be well enough to return to active duty as a member of International Rescue and take his shift on Thunderbird Five. John hadn't minded the additional month on the station it had given him more time to observe a comet passing through the inner system.
Still he was glad to be back home for a month. Between rescues it gave him a chance to really catch up with his brothers and to get his tan back. A smile graced his face as he heard the familiar sounds of Gordon and Tin-Tin playing around in the swimming pool. It was nice to hear it, and a very welcome change from the constant background humming of machinery on Thunderbird Five.
A shadow falling over him caught his attention and he looked up. To find Scott standing over him, a hopeful look on his face.
"Yes, Scott," he asked.
"John will you come to the gym with me," Scott asked. "I need someone to spot for me, normally I would ask Virgil but he's busy helping Brains with maintenance on the Firefly."
"Sure, Scott," John replied getting up and taking off his sunglasses. "I could do with a workout anyway this would be as good a time as any. If I spot for you, you can return the favour for me."
"Deal," Scott answered grinning.
"Then lets go," John answered. Scott nodded and led the way back towards the villa, John followed closely behind him looking forward to some much needed exercise.
Alan smiled as he finished the first of the day's checks on the space stations many systems. All systems were testing normally and he hadn't had to recalibrate anything. Which was a welcome change, Thunderbird Five was such a complex machine the most complex of the five Thunderbirds. Systems were always developing problems, indeed most of his and John's time up here was spent on routine maintenance to keep the satellite fully operational.
Still smiling he logged the results of his diagnostic checks in the stations logbook computer and prepared to leave the control room. Maybe I'll watch a DVD in the entertainment room, he thought when abruptly the communications signal crackled to life.
"Calling International Rescue," a voice with a Texan accent said, instantly making Alan race back to the main console. "Calling International Rescue, this is Colonel Marshall Graves, US army, please respond."
Alan picked up the microphone and switched it on. "Colonel Graves this is International Rescue, Thunderbird Five, we read you."
"International Rescue we need your help," Graves answered. "I'm one of the people in charge of a research base in Nevada. There's been an explosion, we have people trapped on the lower levels of the base. We can't get to them due to the fire. You're those peoples only hope, please help us."
"Don't worry Colonel we will help," Alan replied. "Give me the details."
Tracy Island, A Few Minutes Later
Jeff Tracy looked up from the mountain of paperwork on his desk when he saw Virgil come in, looking like he had just had a shower. Jeff didn't doubt that he had, maintenance on the Firefly was always dirty business.
"Hello, Virgil," Jeff said in greeting.
"Hi, dad," Virgil answered as he walked over to his piano. "What are you working on?"
"Oh just reading a proposal for a new undersea geothermal power station that a group of scientists want to build, they're looking for some corporate sponsors."
"An undersea geothermal power station," Virgil repeated in interest, the engineer in him coming to the fore. "That would be challenging to build, even with modern underwater technology. I take it that it's got your attention."
"Definitely," Jeff replied a moment before a familiar bleeping sound filled the air. Looking up at the wall Jeff saw the eyes on Alan's portrait flashing. Reaching over to a control panel in the side of his desk he accepted the call from Thunderbird Five.
"Go ahead Alan," he said as the portrait of Alan disappeared to be replaced by a live feed of Alan back dropped by Thunderbird Five's control room.
"Father I've just received a distress call from a US government research facility in Nevada," Alan reported. "There has been an explosion and many people are trapped on the lower underground levels. A feeder stream for the Colorado River runs next to it underground. They don't know if the wall between the facility and the river has been breached but they suspect that it may have been damaged."
"Sounds like a job for the Mole. Alright Alan signal them that we are on our way. Try to get more information on what it's like down their. And fill Scott in in-flight."
"F.A.B father," Alan replied before disappearing from the screen and his portrait reappearing. Virgil turned concerned brown eyes on his father, even as he seamlessly went into International Rescue mode.
"This is going to be a difficult one isn't it, dad," he said as Jeff sounded the alarm that would bring his siblings running.
"Yes, Virgil it is."
Scott and John had just gotten changed into their gym clothes and were heading for the gym when the alarm went off.
"Oh typical," John said with a sigh of annoyance. "That alarm has absolutely lousy timing."
"Tell me about it," Scott agreed with a wry smile, before turning serious. "Come on let's go and see Dad and get the brief." John nodded and the two of them turned around and raced through the villa, eager to see who needed the help of International Rescue now.
In moments they reached the main living room and neither was surprised to see Virgil already there, though there was no sign of Gordon yet. Though they both new the auburn haired aquanaut would be here soon.
"What is it dad," Scott asked coming to the matter at hand.
"A US research base in Nevada has sent out a distress call. There has been an explosion and multiple people are trapped underground on the lower levels. To make matters worse a feeder river for the Colorado runs right next to the underground part of the base. They do not know yet if the containment wall has been damaged. Scott away you go. Alan's trying to get more information and will fill you in while in flight."
"F.A.B father," Scott replied and moved over to the wall lights that concealed the entrance to Thunderbird One's silo. Grasping the wall lights with both hands he held on tight as the wall swivelled and he was facing his beloved Thunderbird One.
"Virgil take Pod 2 you'll definitely need the Mole and possibly some heavy cutting equipment. Take John with you this could get real complicated," Jeff instructed.
"F.A.B father," Virgil and John replied.
While Virgil went over to the rocket portrait on one wall that would flip up and deposit him in the access sled to Thunderbird Two John headed for the passenger lift elsewhere in the house.
Jeff sat back in his seat as the boys left. The part of what they did that he always hated was about to begin.