this title is only temporary, i couldn't think of anything else at the time. please feel free to suggest something more suitable. i'm hoping to make a series from this story, so please review.

this idea came to me ages ago, it's about time i actually wrote it in some recognisable form.

Ch. 1

Madness reigned supreme on Tracy Island.

Jeff looked on lazily from his seat beside the pool, wondering if it was really worth getting up and reminding his sons that they were grown men. Then he consulted his body, and decided that it would be in his best interests to remain seated.

The plaster cast was the deciding factor. A few weeks ago, he had tripped and fallen down the stairs to the pool, resulting in some bruises, mild concussion and a broken wrist. It was still in a sling. The patriarch had found this infuriating, more so when he returned home. Then his mother had got involved. Jeff had learnt long ago never to try to argue, but when she condemned him to bed, taking it easy and absolutely no work, he just about burst a vessel. Like his sons, Jeff had to have something to occupy himself with at every moment. Eventually Grandma had consented to let him type a few reports on his laptop, but that was as far as she was willing to relent.

He entertained the thought of calling his mother, just to see the looks on his sons' faces when she caught them acting so childishly, but decided against it, for the moment. It was amusing, and they weren't doing anyone any harm.

What they were doing, was playing two-a-side soccer on the small patch of grass by the pool. Normally, this would be a reasonably controlled game between grown men. However, with Gordon and Alan both on the same team, things were getting pretty heated. The Terrible Two were enjoying the opportunity to mix teasing their older brothers into their tactics, a plan which, Jeff had noticed, had gone very well.

"Ah, he's getting near-sighted in his old age, Gords!" chuckled Alan as Scott misjudged a kick and slipped. He landed painfully on his backside. Virgil dashed forward to help him up.

"You alright?"

"Yeah, fine," grunted Scott, waving his younger brother away. Jeff wasn't so convinced, and made a mental note to keep an eye on him. Bruised backsides were definitely uncomfortable.

The game continued in a similar vein for some time, the younger team getting the older team more and more incensed. And the more incensed the older team got, the more goals the younger team were managing to score. Jeff had decided to keep the scores, knowing that his sons would only argue otherwise. Currently, the Terrible Two were leading the Golden Oldies twelve to five. As Gordon scored another goal, Jeff mentally changed it to thirteen to five.

In response, Virgil sent a particularly vicious kick at the ball. He clipped it, and it flew off the "pitch", right into the stomach of a very surprised Brains as he descended the steps. The scientist doubled up, wheezing.

Straight away, the boys and Jeff were around him.

"Are you alright, Brains?"

"Sorry Brains, I didn't mean to hit you-"

"It's... a-alright," gasped Brains, straightening up. "I-I-I just came, ah, t-t-to tell you that, ah, d-dinner is r-ready," he said with his characteristic stutter.

"Thank you, Brains, said Jeff, relieved that his scientist was alright.


Later that evening, Jeff sat contentedly at his desk, dictating a report to Tin-Tin. He could have typed it up himself, but with his arm in a cast, it would have taken about twice as long as usual. His sons were scattered throughout the sitting room. Scott and Gordon were sitting over a game of chess- the only time Gordon ever sat still- Virgil was at the piano, and Alan was talking to John's portrait.

"Anything else you want brought up, O Great One?" he asked, safe in the knowledge that there was plenty of distance between him and the space station. John, to his credit, didn't rise.

"We're running low on chocolate and-"

"Chocolate? Again?"asked Alan incredulously. "For goodness' sake, John, how much do you eat a day? There was several months' worth when I left last month."

"I said we were running low, not that we'd run out altogether," replied John smoothly. "There's still some left-"

"Yeah, I'll bet they're those crappy ones full of nuts. The ones I hate."

"If you know I can't eat them and that you don't like them, why do you send them up?"

"Because someone over there does like them," glowered Alan, nodding his head at Scott. Scott, in the middle of planning a move, appeared not to notice.

"He does his turn in the satellite, what, every six months? I think he could survive two months out of twelve without nutty chocolate bars."

"Two months out of twelve without nutty chocolate's like two months out of twelve not being in the water for Gordon," called Scott from his game. Gordon retaliated by taking one of Scott's bishops.

"Right, I'll put chocolate on the list, just not the nutty ones. Anything else?"

John continued issuing his instructions. Kyrano walked in.

"Mr Tracy, the mail plane came earlier today. I apologise for not giving your mail to you sooner," he said, bowing slightly.

"That's fine, Kyrano," replied Jeff, taking the large bundle from his friend. Kyrano continued to issue mail to the others. Tin-Tin was given a rather thick wad that Alan eyed warily; he was perfectly aware his girlfriend had plenty of admirers. He himself received a parcel. He grinned gleefully before tucking it underneath his sweater on the seat next to him.

Virgil thanked Kyrano as he handed him his new piano music and immediately set to learning it. Brains received a rather official-looking letter.

"Ah, m-Mr Tracy?"

"Yes, Brains?" said Jeff, looking up from one of many reports.

"I have, ah, r-received and ih-invitation to an, er, gathering of s-s-scientists n-n-next week."

"That sounds interesting. Where is it?"

"In n-New York, sir."

"Well, I think we can spare you for a few days. Would you like any of the boys to go with you?"

"Ah, yes, I'd a-appreciate the company."

"I'll go!" said Alan, jumping up.

"My ass you will," snapped John from his portrait. "I'm not waiting another week for my leave."

"That'll do, John," said Jeff sternly. "Gordon, do you fancy a trip to New York?"

"Uh uh. I hear there's gonna be some good waves heading this way."

"I'll go, father," said John. "I'd be interested in this gathering, and if I get really bored, I can go to a bookstore or something."

"Wow, sounds like a fun-filled trip, Johnny-boy," said Gordon sarcastically.

"Shut it, Fish-boy."

This, surprisingly, came from Scott. The elder Tracy gave his little brother a wink. A wink that promised some juicy information later. That was enough to keep Gordon happy, for now.

"Well, it's settled, then. Brains, are you happy?"

"Yes, sir."

"Fine. Alan will be going up tomorrow to start his rotation, John can get a couple of days' recuperation, and then the pair of you can go to this conference or whatever it was."

Everyone seemed happy with this. Scott sat back down to his match with Gordon, rather gingerly, Jeff noticed. Gordon, surprisingly, didn't mention it. Jeff felt he had some gossip to catch up on here. How could Scott keep Gordon, of all people, quiet?

Just then, Grandma came in, her normally kind face hard and cold. Her bony fist was clenched round a wooden spoon.

"Who's been in at my chocolate cake? I baked it for John coming home tomorrow, and someone's already nicked a slice."

"Scott, where are you going?" asked Alan, a smile widening on his face as he watched his brother sneak out of the sitting room. Grandma followed him, spoon at the ready. Moments later, a yelp reached their ears.

"I'd imagine Grandma found Scott's bruise," muttered Jeff, continuing his dictation.