It might be worth pointing out that my first introduction to the Tomorrow People was when I read the novelizations of the stories, having missed the show as a kid when it aired (I believe it clashed with my ballet class…) and I only caught up with it properly when the DVD was released.
For anyone who hasn't read the novelizations, there are little things that the writer put in that aren't technically in the show – such as what happened to Lisa, and that you never find out anything about Adam's background or family because of some terrible event that is never specified or explained, only hinted at.
I've attempted my own version of what that might have been, which I will post at some point.
Disclaimer: No, I don't own anything you recognise, yadda yadda.
It was a simple plan, but those were what Adam liked best.
Fewer things to go wrong that way, less confusion, more in control. Not that he was a control freak, no way, but he liked to lessen the chances of things going wrong, to be able to protect those around him, those he felt responsible for. That was only natural, really, after –
Closing off that thought firmly, Adam turned his concentration to the job in hand. It might have been easier with four instead of three, but Lisa had made her choice, and Adam respected that. She had family to think of, a mother who worried.
In a way, that must be nice.
Switching from what he could see with his eyes to what he could feel with his extra senses, he connected with his two waiting friends.
"Ready," they chimed in response.
"Everyone know what they're doing?"
That was Megabyte.
"We went over it, like, a million times."
"Okay, okay. Just checking."
It wasn't the first time they'd taken a risk, but Adam didn't want to get careless or overconfident. Maybe it would've been easier to just tell the police, but Adam could hear Megabyte's sarcastic response to that echoing in his memory:
"Yeah, and I know how that'll go. 'Oh yes, Sonny Jim, and how do you know they're smugglers?' 'Oh, you know, we were practising our teleporting skills in what we thought was an abandoned warehouse when we overheard them, and thought we should let you know.' Come on, Adam, that'll never work."
They had surprise on their side, and they could easily teleport away, but they weren't invulnerable, even if they felt that way sometimes.
And having recently discovered that they could no longer heal psychically made Adam doubly aware of that.
"They're coming," Megabyte telepathed. "I can see the truck."
"Okay guys, get ready."
Adam watched the gates slide open and closed automatically behind the heavy truck, hoping that no-else was watching the red-headed teenage boy sneak out of hiding and padlock them closed afterwards.
To a certain extent, despite the late hour, they could explain away what they were doing as a schoolboy prank, or else play the dumb kid routine if caught – Kevin looked young enough that no-one would really believe he was taking on a gang of criminals and no-one played obnoxious Yank who 'just wanted to know what was going on' like Megabyte. Adam himself had 'naïve Aussie backpacker, separated from his friends' down to a T; all it took was a bunch of 'G'days' and a discussion of surfing and soap operas and he was ignored as a threat.
But of course, not getting caught in the first place was better, and Adam was glad to see his friend slip back into the shadows. He could see Kevin now too, hiding behind the big warehouse doors, waiting to push them closed after the truck, and Adam readied himself to teleport behind the opposing door from his lookout point, perched atop an office building adjacent to the warehouse.
Before he could finish drawing in the energy required for the jump, however, he was astonished to see a new figure, dressed in black and hidden in shadow, materialise in a burst of light behind Kevin.
It wasn't Megabyte, wasn't even Lisa, but it was undoubtedly a Tomorrow Person – who else could pop out from nowhere like that? There was another of them!
But before Adam had time to consider the implications of this, the figure had grabbed hold of Kevin, a hand over his mouth, and the two vanished in another flash.
Adam had just enough presence of mind, despite the shock, to keep the call telepathic so as not to give him and Megabyte away.
"What's going on? What happened to Kev?" his friend called.
"I- I don't know! Some girl grabbed him and they disappeared!"
Girl? He thought back on what he'd telepathed, realising that, although he hadn't got a good luck at the figure, it had been a girl, probably around his own age.
Casting his mind out wildly, Adam tried to locate the youngest member of their group but got nothing, not even a hint. Hopefully that meant he was unconscious or a long way away rather than… no, that couldn't be. Tomorrow People couldn't kill, under any circumstances, but was it any more likely they could hurt one of their own? And how come, if she was well established in her abilities, they didn't know who this girl was?
"Megabyte, I think we'd better get out of here, back to the Ship. Something's really wrong."
"What about Kev?"
"We stand a better chance of finding him from there. Come on."
But before they could teleport to the safety of the only place Adam felt he could call home anymore, he saw another flicker of luminescence, dulled this time by the distance between himself and the gates.
The gates – Megabyte!
But a muffled yell and a fourth flash let him know he was too late; both his friends were gone.
What was going on?
Every instinct was telling him to get out of there, but he couldn't just leave, not knowing what had happened to his friends. Was this whole thing a trap for Tomorrow People? Another Lady Mulvaney trying to grab teleporters for their own gain?
But how could anyone know that he and his friends were teleporters, or that they would be there? They'd told no-one their plan – something Adam was now regretting.
He needed to know more.
Hopping over the railing in front of him, he half climbed, half slid down the fire escape ladder to the ground and ran across the darkened enclosure. Inside the warehouse, he could hear the men arguing, but none of what they were saying related to himself or the others, just about the job in hand.
Just for a moment, Adam hesitated, completely thrown by this turn of events. He wasn't afraid of putting himself in danger, would risk anything to rescue his friends, but what was he supposed to do now? Carry on with the plan by himself, or abandon it and search for the others?
As it was, the matter was taken out of his hands when he sensed the build up of energy behind him that meant an incoming teleporter was imminent. Given just enough warning, he had the chance to fight back when he felt the girl's hand on his shoulder.
Wheeling around, he grabbed hold of her – his initial impression was correct, she was about his age, with longish dyed black hair, a couple of facial piercings and a lot of black eyeliner, all hidden under a black hooded sweatshirt; Adam just glimpsed the yellow Nirvana smiley face logo on the front – and watched her eyes widen in surprise as he resisted her attempts to teleport him away.
She'd gotten the drop on Kevin, and Megabyte had only been teleporting a short while, but Adam had spent a long time practising, honing his skills while alone on the Island, nothing to go back to and no-one to talk to until Lisa had arrived.
And he was pretty good at it. Better than this girl, anyway, and it was almost easy to turn her own energy back on her, diverting the pair of them from wherever it was she was trying to take him and landing them back in the Ship.
What Adam was not expecting, however, was her reaction the second she realised where she was. Kicking and screaming, the girl was trying her hardest to break out of Adam's grip and teleport away, but he held onto her, re-enforcing the pull of the beacon to keep her there.
"Let me go!" she was yelling. "Get off me, let me go!"
"Scarlet, stop it. It's alright, calm down."
"No it's not, let me go! I CAN'T BE HERE!"
It seemed she was right. The Ship, usually so welcoming to Tomorrow People, was reacting to her presence as if she were an intruder, lights flashing all over and emitting a sound like an alarm.
Confused, Adam relaxed his psychic hold on her a little and took them both up to the surface, landing on the beach.
Scarlet stopped struggling, but was still clearly freaked by what had happened.
"You have to let me go."
Her voice was strained, desperate, her eyes wild.
"I can't stay away, I have to get back."
"Where are my friends?" Adam demanded.
"What did you do with them?"
"They'll be fine, I just moved them. You have to let me go back."
"Not until you tell me what you did to Kevin and Megabyte. Where are they?"
"I told you, they're fine. I didn't know they were teleporters too until I moved them, so I had to put them out, but they'll be alright. I put then somewhere safe, but they can come back here as soon as they wake up."
"Why did you abduct them?"
"I don't have any choice," Scarlet replied bitterly. "Why did you have to be there? What did you think you were doing, just blundering in like that? Don't you know what they are? Are you stupid or something?"
Adam chose to ignore that.
"Why did the Ship react like that to you, Scarlet?"
The girl's head jerked up suddenly, meeting Adam's eyes with suspicion.
"How do you know my name?"
Adam just looked back at her.
"How d'you think?"
"Oh. So you can do that too."
"Did you think you were the only one?"
Scarlet shook her head.
"No, I knew there were others, but-"
Concern for his friends was foremost in Adam's mind, but this girl was one of them too, in a way. He thought for a moment, trying to find a solution that would work, a way to get to the bottom of this.
There was a streak of steel within his naturally laid-back personality that allowed him to confront people he felt were doing wrong, people he had to stop, but he wasn't usually inclined towards anger and he couldn't exactly threaten her.
"I want to help you, Scarlet."
"Because you're like me. You're a Tomorrow Person too."
Her eyebrows raised, the metal ring through one of them slipping under her hair.
"A what? Who came up with that?"
"Actually the Ship did. Sort of."
"How lovely for you. All the Ship ever did for me was set off alarms and dump me in the sea."
"Wanna tell me why that was? The Ship is supposed to act as a beacon for people like us when we break out, draw us towards it when we teleport."
"Yeah it did that, the first time. When I tried to come back-"
Scarlet made an explosive gesture with her hands, signifying being unwilling expelled from the Ship and into the sea.
"But you did come here, when you broke out?"
"Yeah. No-one else was there, so I left."
"How long ago was this?"
"A couple of months."
Adam thought this through.
"I'd already broken out by then. I must have missed you. Wonder why the Ship didn't somehow tell me there was another Tomorrow Person-"
"Could you stop saying that? It sounds really weird."
"What's wrong with being a Tomorrow Person?"
A bitter expression crossed Scarlet's face, like she'd tasted something sour and couldn't spit it out, but she didn't answer him.
"You know, I could just read your mind and find out what I want to know," Adam said finally, not sure if this was true but thinking it was worth a try. He'd never tried reading the mind of another Tomorrow Person who didn't want him to before.
"Really. You sure you want to do that?"
"I'd rather you just told me."
Something flared in Scarlet's black-rimmed eyes – fury, hurt, something else Adam couldn't quite place – and she raised her hands, palm up.
"You want answers? Okay, pretty boy. You got them."
Scarlet pressed her hands to the side of his face and kissed him.
Adam staggered, not just at the sheer aggressiveness of the kiss, but at the torrent of images, memories and associated emotions that hit him as Scarlet opened up her mind to him.
- As she'd said, Scarlet teleported to the Island as she broke out, but no-one was there, so she tried to go back to her bedsit, but something intercepted her, dragging her into a trap and it hurt her, so much, searing agony in her brain, through every fibre of her and when it stopped there were people there, terrifying, vicious people who wanted her to do things she couldn't do. And when she wouldn't, they hurt her more, again and again, she was scared and in pain but they'd kept her in some form of the trap, she couldn't teleport, she couldn't fight back, no matter how she tried. She'd gotten free once but when she'd tried to hit one of the men guarding her with a length of metal she'd grabbed, she'd frozen, unable to go through with it, like something was intervening, stopping her. And when they'd discovered Scarlet couldn't kill, even to save herself, they'd started to hurt other people in front of her, testing whether this extended to having to save others from dying; if saying no meant someone died, was that the same as her killing them, to her? Would she have to give in to their demands to prevent their death? Scarlet didn't know what was happening, inside her brain, but she knew she couldn't stand it anymore, it hurt so much deep inside when they made her watch someone else hurt and die, didn't matter that she didn't know these people, it was killing her, and she gave in, of course she did, she couldn't stand that kind of torture, could anyone, even those not like her?
So she started doing whatever they wanted, spying, stealing, abducting their enemies and moving them to the other side of the world, stuff like that, hating it, hating herself, trying to escape every opportunity she got but they'd done something, they could always find her – even trying to go back to the Island, thinking that was far away enough they couldn't find her there, but even that place had rejected her - and then they'd found her sister, taken her too, she wasn't a Tomorrow Person, they couldn't use her in the same way, but they had leverage, finally that meant she wouldn't try and run away again, she had to do everything they told her to, they were so pleased to have a telepathic teleporting slave who could do so many useful things for their organisation, they didn't care that it was killing her, that every thing they made her do went so far against what she was, that she was going out whenever they let her and doing everything she could to numb herself, drinking and any kind of drug she could find, none of them worked – most made it worse – but she had to try, couldn't stand feeling like this any more, all the time, it was all the time -
That was a lot to take on in one go.
Scarlet released him, from both the kiss and her mind and Adam stood in silence for a moment, processing. That was disturbing on a number of levels; not just what Scarlet had been through, the strength of the feelings within her, but that there were people capable of such things. He'd come across people like that before, wondered what lengths they would go to in order to utilise the abilities of people like him, but hadn't wanted to think people were that brutal they would torture a teenage girl just to get her to assist them with their frankly petty criminal activities.
"I'm sorry, Adam."
Scarlet's knee swung upwards sharply and Adam folded up in the sand, shock and pain breaking the psychic hold that had been stopping her escaping and in a flash, Scarlet had disappeared.
"Should've seen that coming," Adam remarked to himself out loud as, painfully, he picked himself up and went back into the Ship. There'd be time to deal with Scarlet later; right now, he had to focus on getting his friends back.
Tapping into whatever it was within the Ship that boosted their own energy, Adam cast a wide net, reaching across the world, searching for the familiar signature that was the mind of a Tomorrow Person. He found Lisa, tucked up safely in bed in her mother's apartment, and decided not to bother her with this, not if he could handle it on his own. She'd made it pretty clear she wanted to stay out of trouble.
Eventually, he found a faint flickering that he was enormously relieved to identify as Kevin, locked onto it, and teleported.
The boy was lying on the floor of what appeared to be a storage room of some kind, otherwise empty and seemingly locked both inside and out.
Checking Kevin's pulse and breathing, Adam was reassured that he was okay, probably sedated. So Scarlet hadn't lied when she said they were safe – no-one else could get in, but a teleporter could escape with ease. All the same…
Teleporting Kevin back to the Ship, Adam repeated the process with Megabyte, who was in the same state in a similar lock-up, albeit thousands of miles from where he'd found Kevin.
While not as practised as Adam, Scarlet was clearly a skilled teleporter.
After the others had woken, with headaches and a lot of confusion, but thankfully no other after effects, Adam filled them in.
"So what do we do now? Go find this chick and kick her ass?"
"No, Megabyte, we can't hurt her. That isn't right. She's a Tomorrow Person too."
"Didn't stop her from hurting us," Kevin pointed out.
"She didn't – look someone's forcing her. They're holding her sister hostage. We have to help."
"Someone? You mean someone like Colonel Masters?"
"Maybe. You guys ready?"
Reluctantly, Megabyte and Kevin stretched their hands out, palm first so that they were almost touching Adam's, and they began scanning.
"Remember, she might try anything to get away, so when we find her, keep thinking about the place where we are and don't let go of her. That should be enough to stop her teleporting."
Concentrating their efforts, the three Tomorrow People homed in on Scarlet's mind, using the impression of her Adam had gathered, and vanished.
This time, a simple plan worked.
Using Scarlet's own tactics against her, the surprise attack was successful; they were in and out of the room almost instantaneously, carrying a struggling Scarlet along with them back to Megabyte's house.
They'd decided this would be safest – it was otherwise empty, and she hadn't had the chance to read Megabyte's mind to find out where he lived first time around.
Plus, Adam thought, although he hadn't voiced this to the others, there was a possibility they might need General Damon's help if this went badly, especially if what Scarlet had said about them always being able to find her was true.
After a few moments resistance and a lot of shouting, Scarlet seemed to realise she was trapped, and lapsed into a sullen silence, sat on a chair with the other three stood in a ring around her.
"Scarlet, we want to help you, to rescue your sister."
Adam was more wary of her this time, knowing not just what she'd been through but also what she was capable of.
He'd shared a little of her memories with the others – Megabyte and Kevin, on seeing the trap that had caught her, were reminded of Professor Galt's machine, but this was less sophisticated, more brutal - but they still found Scarlet a bit intimidating when face to face with her. This wasn't surprising; she was older than they were, but not quite an adult in the way most of the people they were used to going up against were, so they weren't sure how to relate to her. Plus, she had their abilities but wasn't like them in any other way; she was aggressive, angry and not afraid to take it out on them.
"Good luck with that. I have tried, you know. I didn't just give in because they weren't nice to me."
Adam was trying his hardest to keep his patience, but Scarlet wasn't budging.
"You have to let us help you. It's the only way."
"Alright genius, what's the grand plan?"
"Where are they keeping her? Your sister?"
"I don't know. I'm only allowed to see her for a few minutes at a time; they won't let me talk to her much."
"Do you think you could find her telepathically?"
Scarlet lowered her eyes.
"I think that's how they find me. When I use my abilities. Something about frequencies. They might not be able to follow me here because I didn't teleport myself; you brought me here. But if I try anything, they'll track me down and they'll hurt her. I have to get back."
"Then we don't have much time. Let us in, Scarlet. Let us help you."
For a moment, the defensive anger dropped and Scarlet suddenly looked much younger and more vulnerable than the others would have thought her capable of.
"You really mean that, don't you?"
She glanced around at her fellow Tomorrow People, the others picking up on the chance in her perception of them, from captors and stupid little kids who didn't know what they were doing to people like her. Maybe even people who could help. Could fix this. Hope was almost a stranger to Scarlet, but it was starting to dawn.
This was Megabyte, a bit sore at what this girl had done, but what Adam had shown him had been enough to change his mind.
Adam noticed the younger boy was still looking at Scarlet like she was a dog that had bitten him.
"OK. We'll help you. But I like Lisa better."
Adam almost laughed.
"Alright then. There's a way of finding people we can help you do-"
"There's one more thing."
Scarlet was clearly struggling to think of how best to put what she wanted to say into words. In the end, she decided not to.
Getting to her feet, she took hold of Adam's hand and, raising the hem of her hoodie, placed it on her abdomen.
It took a moment for Adam to understand what she was trying to show him, but then he felt the tiny spark flare beneath his hand and he jerked back like he'd been burned.
Scarlet nodded, her face betraying a mixture of emotions, but completely serious.
"I found out a few weeks ago. When I tried – I tried to kill myself. I couldn't take it anymore and I thought that maybe if I was dead, Katie would be okay and they'd let her go. But I couldn't go through with it. I thought that maybe was part of the whole thing about us not being able to kill – you know, not even ourselves? But it wasn't that. It was the baby."
"You're having a baby? For real?"
Kevin seemed to have forgotten his earlier mistrust in his sudden fascination.
"Can I feel?"
"Sure, why not?" Scarlet rolled her eyes, but this was the most relaxed any of them had seen her as she let the younger boy place his hand on her stomach.
"I can hear it! I mean, it's not thinking words, but I can hear it! Is it a Tomorrow Person too?" Kevin asked, practically glowing with excitement.
"I don't know. Maybe when she grows up."
Adam hadn't really thought about that. As the next stage of human evolution, they were different to regular people in a genetic way, so if they had kids, would they automatically be Tomorrow People? Or would that only work if both parents were Tomorrow People?
"Who's the dad?" Megabyte asked, a little uncomfortable at asking but curiosity getting the better of him.
"I don't know."
Scarlet's defences snapped back up and she stepped away from them again.
"I'd been drinking. There was some guy. Look, it doesn't matter. Just say no, kids."
"She's right about the alcohol thing," Adam added, trying to move the conversation away from sex in case Scarlet was as embarrassed as he was.
"It's not good for us. I don't know why, maybe it's a psychic thing."
"How do you know that?" Megabyte asked his friend.
Adam didn't want to answer that, but Scarlet caught his eye and he saw she knew.
Sometime things that happen are just too big to deal with and you'll try anything to get away from it. Especially if you don't have anyone you can talk to about it.
Scarlet hadn't mentioned any other family, so presumably she didn't have any either.
"I thought you should know," Scarlet added. "Before we go on some big rescue mission."
"Well, I'm glad you could trust us with that. Now, should we show you how to scan for Katie?"
"I think I know. But if you guys are looking too, I might be able to find her before they know I'm looking. If you see what I mean."
The four Tomorrow People raised their hands and closed their eyes, meshing their minds together almost instinctively. The three boys could feel Scarlet keeping part of her mind firmly closed off from them, and none felt particularly like testing that door.
Pushing out with her mind, she led the way for the others to follow, locating the little girl relatively quickly.
"Okay, I know where that is. If we teleport in close by, I can go and see who's guarding her. What kind of defences there might be."
Together, they vanished, rematerializing opposite what looked like a hotel.
"They own this building. Katie's upstairs. I'll go in first, let you know when you can follow. Stay out of sight until I call."
"OK. Be careful. "Adam warned.
Scarlet gave him a look that said quite clearly, tell me something I don't know, and she pushed open the door to the building, disappearing inside.
The remaining three stepped back, into the shadows, waiting.
"How do you think these guys found out about us? I mean Tomorrow People?" Megabyte questioned.
"They don't seem like any of the organisations we've seen before; they're not big enough. How do they have equipment to catch a teleporter?"
That had been bothering Adam too.
"Maybe they bought the idea from someone. We can't be the first to ever evolve – maybe there used to be more of us, but technology's just starting to catch up now.
I mean, Professor Galt's machine was supposedly cutting edge, right? State of the art? That was paid for by some secret Government society, but you still managed to bash it with a chair. Maybe there're other people who've been developing this sort of tech for a while, just using different resources."
"So it's not just that lot that's after us?" Kevin asked.
"There's other people too?"
"I'm afraid so, Kev. But don't worry, we'll beat them. We'll rescue Katie, and we'll get help for Scarlet, look after her 'til she has the baby. It'll be okay."
Adam wasn't sure if he was trying to reassure his friend, or himself.
Either way, he was relieved to get Scarlet's telepathic message.
"Katie's in the back room on the third floor. She's okay, there's only one guy with her and he's not even armed. I'm coming back down now – if I distract the guys on the security desk, can you get her out?"
"Just a second… okay, go."
Concentrating on the information Scarlet had given them, the three Tomorrow People teleported to the room she'd described.
Katie, an eight year old African kid with wide eyes and pink bobbles in her hair -Scarlet had explained they weren't blood sisters, angrily challenging them to deny that made their relationship less real, which hadn't even occurred to them, although it clearly had to others - was sitting on the bed, watching cartoons, as was the guard. Unfortunately, Scarlet's assumption that he wasn't armed had been incorrect; the second the three of them materialised in the room, he ran to a drawer across the room and pulled out a dart gun.
Adam ran after him, trying to wrestle the gun from the man's hand, but like all paid muscle, he was too strong and the gun went off, the anaesthetic dart hitting Megabyte square in the chest. Katie screamed, bursting into terrified tears as the red-headed American dropped like a stone, instantly unconscious, Kevin frozen in shock next to him.
"Kevin, get Katie out of here! I'll get Megabyte, go!"
Galvanised by Adam's frenzied yell, Kevin raced over to Katie and with no more than a hurried "Your sister sent me," the two vanished, hopefully to the safety of the Island.
Realising his charge had escaped, the guard shoved Adam to the ground and made for the alarm on the wall. Snatching up the dart gun – and praying this would work, that whatever it was that stopped Tomorrow People from killing wouldn't inhibit him now (after all he'd didn't really want to hurt the guy, just stop him) - Adam fired, hitting him in the leg with a dart. It worked, but was too late; the guard hit the button and a high-pitched screeching ripped through the hotel.
Adam was seconds from teleporting Megabyte away when he 'heard' Scarlet scream.
Instantly he got a picture of the guards, putting two and two together and, realising that Scarlet had been intentionally distracting them, punching her to the ground, a fist being driven powerfully into her stomach.
Her pregnant stomach.
"Adam, help me! I'm losing the baby!"
Thinking quickly – no time to both get Megabyte back to the Island and rescue Scarlet - Adam teleported Megabyte the short hop to a few rooms over, locking the hotel room door and wedging the door closed from the inside with a desk. He then went back to drag the drugged, snoring guard into the en-suite bathroom, locking him into his room too. Hopefully that should buy him just enough time to get Scarlet out.
Time to employ her guerrilla tactics once more.
As fast as he could, he locked onto Scarlet, teleported down to the lobby, scooped her up in his arms, and was out again, thankfully before any of the startled guards could stop him.
Scarlet had fainted by the time he carried her into Casualty, so they made quite an entrance, the long-haired Australian carrying an unconscious black-clad, Grunge girl.
"You have to help her!" he shouted out, too panicked to pay much attention to those around him.
"She's pregnant and she's bleeding! Help her!"
Within moments, two porters had conjured up a gurney and helped Adam lay Scarlet down on it, whisking her away through a set of swing doors.
"Are you the father?"
"What?" Adam, preoccupied with whether Scarlet and her baby would be alright, was completely caught off guard by the question, directed at him by a stern looking uniformed nurse.
"You said she was pregnant. Are you her boyfriend?"
The woman, a grey-haired woman from the old-school of nursing, managed to load the word 'boyfriend' with a whole heap of disapproval.
"No! I just – I just met her. She needed help. Her name's Scarlet, that's all I know. Scarlet MacKenzie."
"Well, you can wait for her in Reception," the woman replied, as if he'd said yes instead of no, and Adam realised he'd taken too long already.
"I can't stay – I'll come back as soon as I can. Tell her I'm coming back."
Trying to ignore the woman tutting in yet more disapproval, Adam turned on his heel and hurried out, ducking behind the bushes at the side of the ambulance bay so that he could teleport back to the hotel unseen.
Thankfully, Megabyte hadn't been discovered – though Adam could hear a lot of yelling and crashing noises coming from the room Katie had been held in.
Fighting off exhaustion – he'd made a hell of a lot of jumps today – Adam took a deep steadying breath, then teleported both himself and his still unconscious friend back to the Ship.
Katie had stopped crying by then, sitting next to Kevin on one of the large floor cushions scattered around. The boy had his arm rather awkwardly around her, and appeared to be explaining to her that she was on an alien spacecraft. Whether this had helped to calm her down or shocked her into silence wasn't clear.
"Megabyte!" Kevin leapt to his feet.
"Is he okay?"
"He'll be fine. I think it's the same drug Scarlet used before, so he'll probably have a headache. Look, I have to go back and – finish up. Can you look out for Katie and Megabyte 'til I get back?"
"Sure. Where's Scarlet?"
Adam glanced at Katie, unsure how much detail to reveal.
"I took her to a doctor, just to check she and the baby are okay. We can go see her later, when I get back."
Adam tried to draw as much energy from the Ship's core to replenish his own depleted supplies, as he made the reverse jump back to London.
He'd planned on having back-up when he did this, but with Scarlet hospitalised, Megabyte out for the count and Kevin looking after Katie, there was no-one else.
It was down to him, and that made Adam feel even more tired and strained. Being a Tomorrow Person meant taking on a lot, he knew that, but this was getting hard.
And yet again, he didn't have much of a plan.
Actually, that wasn't true; it was, in some parts, the same plan they'd tried earlier, but with the added knowledge that these people were more than just smugglers and therefore the increased need to bring them to the attention of the authorities.
To begin with, he did a quick recce of the warehouse, satisfied that there was enough evidence there to convince the police his anonymous tip-off was genuine, then went back to the hotel, and just listened.
Reading people's minds was tricky, especially when it was ordinary people, rather than Tomorrow People, ones he didn't know and couldn't see – Scarlet really would have been useful, had she agreed to help, which Adam wasn't sure she would have.
In addition to this, he'd never been comfortable with the idea of reading minds - sharing thoughts with his friends was one thing, invading another person's brain was another – and so hadn't really tried anything like this before, and there was the fact that, based in what he knew of them, he didn't really want to know what these people were thinking. As such, he couldn't read much, just the thoughts floating on the surface of their minds, like overhearing a conversation.
Keeping his eyes closed and his extra senses as open as possible, Adam sat cross-legged on the bed of the room he'd locked Megabyte into for safe-keeping earlier and concentrated hard. He didn't know exactly what he hoped to find, and a lot of what he 'heard' was a waste of time, but slowly details began to emerge.
Names, places, things that could be useful, especially when they were talking about Scarlet. He learned who was supposed to be responsible for her, using tech to find her whenever she disappeared, and what they were doing to try and find her now.
Hoped that she was still safe in hospital, that she was alright.
That what he was going to do next wasn't the dumbest thing he'd ever tried.
He'd already decided to give all the information he had to the police – after all, there must be someone somewhere who already knew about them, to a certain degree, just not that they were abducting teleporters and forcing them to work for them, obviously. But the tech they were using – no-one should have that. It threatened all Tomorrow People, not just Scarlet. He hadn't been able to find out where they'd gotten it from, but he could make sure they didn't have it anymore.
Sifting through the deluge of memories Scarlet had thrown at him, he got a better idea what he was looking for, and added to what he'd 'heard' just then…
Pushing aside his doubts, Adam teleported.
There were three of them, operating the machinery, and there was a lot of it to operate, Adam could see that through the window. Too much to just smash with a chair; looked like Megabyte had just gotten lucky with that technique.
But Adam still had one trick up his sleeve.
There was a guard on the door, but like a lot of guards, he wasn't paid to think, and when the earnest-looking boy walked up carrying a tray of mugs and said he was bringing coffee for the technicians, he let him into the lab. He hadn't seen the kid before, but he couldn't have gotten in the building unless he was allowed to be there, right?
Two of the operatives looked up as Adam came in; the third too engrossed in her work to care.
"G'day!" Adam gave them a cheery wave with his free hand, balancing the tray with the other.
"Brought you guys some coffee!"
"Who the hell are you?" asked one of the men, a surly looking guy in a horrible shirt.
"Oh, I'm Adam. I'm, how do you put it, on work experience?"
The incredulity was clear in the man's voice, but Adam pushed on regardless, thickening his accent as much as he could to back up the act.
"Yeah, my uncle works here and he got me this sort of placement while I'm over here studying. I'm just running errands at the moment, but I'm hoping they'll let me help you guys out eventually. I'm really interested in what you do. Have you found her yet?"
"What, the MacKenzie girl? You know about that, huh?"
"Sure, it's all anyone's talking about. Coffee?"
Both men took mugs; the woman still didn't look up from typing streams of commands into her computer, so Adam put the third mug down on the desk beside her.
"No, no sign yet. Usually nothing shows up until she, you know."
"Oh the psychic thing? Yeah, that's so exciting! Can she really move about, just by thinking about it? That sounds so cool!"
Either these guys weren't used to company, or Adam's 'not too bright but makes up for it in enthusiasm' act was paying off.
"Oh, there's a lot more she can do. She just won't, unless we, you know, give her a little encouragement."
Adam screwed his hand into a fist behind his back so as not to show how those words made him feel.
"And you can find her anywhere, so long as she uses her abilities? That's so clever. How does it work?"
"It's complicated, kid. You really interested?"
Adam nodded, all keen and excited to be part of the action.
"Basically, it's about frequencies. The frequency used by each of these psychic kids is unique, so when we register waves on this machine here-"
The man patted a large encased box with a whole bunch of wires sticking out of it; it looked like it had been heavily modified, as if adapted to purpose after having been acquired elsewhere.
"We try and trace them. We got a few flashes earlier, but none seemed to be our girl."
"No, that was probably me," Adam thought to himself.
"This machine here? What's all the rest of this stuff?" he said aloud.
"Tracking. Fine tuning. It all connects up to the trap we catch her in if she teleports. Look, it's kind of complex, so how about we say, this is the needle, and the rest is the compass?"
"So… without this, the rest is pretty much useless?"
Adam dropped the act right away.
"That's all I needed to know. Thanks for your help, guys, it's been fun."
Yanking as many cables out of the box as he could and shoving a load of other machinery to the floor, Adam grabbed hold of the frequency register, and vanished, not even wanting to hang about to see the looks on their faces as they realised what had happened.
There were a number of places he could have gone to destroy the box, but it seemed the most poetic to let the Island pull him back, landing in the sea just offshore, where most new Tomorrow People ended up, and letting it sink to the ocean bed, irretrievable and broken. Maybe now she couldn't be traced there, the Ship would let Scarlet back in. And besides, he was tired, and this jump took far less energy, the beacon doing most of the work.
Floating gently back to the surface, Adam let himself relax a little. The hardest part was done; maybe this would soon be over.
Scarlet was sitting up in bed when Adam drew back the curtain to the hospital cubicle, closing it behind him to give her some privacy. Her face, pale to begin with, was unbelievably so when washed clean of her usual protective layer of heavy make-up, not helped by the shining whiteness of her gown and surroundings. It was the first time he'd seen her like that – she'd looked the same for a long time, even in the memories she'd shared with him, from before all this started, before she'd broken out.
Stripped of the baggy clothing that had covered almost every inch of her, Adam couldn't fail to notice the scarring along both arms – straight lines bunched together, made by a razor blade; classic marks of self-harm.
It seemed Scarlet had tried every negative coping method there was.
Clashing somewhat incongruously with the scars, further up her left arm, was something Adam hadn't expected - a bright yellow tattoo of Tweety Pie.
"What?" Scarlet demanded, catching Adam staring.
"I love Tweety Pie."
"Nothing! It's just not what I thought you'd have. As a tattoo, I mean."
Scarlet gave him a hard look.
"You were expecting a big skull with flaming eyes?"
"Maybe. Look, I came to see how you are. You and the baby."
Adam didn't mention that, when he'd asked to see her, the staff had once again assumed he was the father of Scarlet's baby and that denying it only seemed to make them more convinced.
"She's okay. Gave me a real scare for a little while, but she's a fighter."
"Like her mum."
"Look, Adam, you don't have to say things like that to me," Scarlet cut in.
"We've both been through enough shit and come out the other side; we know what it's like. You don't have to make with the platitudes to try and make me feel better."
This stung Adam a bit, even though he had to admit he did know what she meant.
"Sorry, I was just-"
"Well, don't. Please. Save it for the kids. They've got it all coming, haven't they?"
"Both Megabyte and Kevin have seen plenty already."
Adam wasn't going to let any insults directed at his friends pass without comment. "They're brave and they're strong. They'll cope with whatever happens to them."
"That's not what I meant."
There was a moment's silence as the two reflected on their own pasts.
"She's waiting outside with the others. I wanted to talk to you first."
"About what you're going to do now."
Adam perched himself on the locker at her bedside.
"I got rid of the machine they were using to track you, and I'm guessing the police'll be using all the evidence I gave them about those people to arrest them, so – you're free."
Scarlet stared at him, less intimidating without her make-up, black clothing and piercings but intimidating nonetheless, trying to determine if he was being truthful.
"Yeah. I gave all the information I had to – a friend of mine too."
Adam wasn't sure how he should refer to General Bill Damon. If he told her about how he'd first encountered him, alongside Colonel Masters, she'd get completely the wrong idea unless he explained everything in mind-numbing detail, but 'Megabyte's dad' didn't quite cut it either.
"Someone who's a kind of expert in this sort of thing. He's gonna look into it for us, make sure no-one like that gets that kind of tech again."
Scarlet considered this. What was she going to do now?
"I don't know. Guess the first thing to do is get Katie back to her foster parents."
"Yeah. She and I used to live in the same Home; that's how we're sisters. Neither of us had anyone else, so I looked out for her. Guess that backfired on both of us, didn't it?"
A wave of guilt flowed off Scarlet in a way that was almost visible, and Adam found he had to make a physical effort to hold if off.
"But she'll be okay now. They can't use her to get to you anymore."
"I know. Guess I can't be around her for a while, though. Just to be sure. I'll have to lay low until the kid gets here anyway, and I don't exactly have a plan for what I'll do then either."
"You're welcome to stay with me on the Island," Adam found himself offering.
"What, and be dumped in the ocean on a regular basis? No thanks, I wasn't planning on a water birth."
"I don't think that'll happen anymore. The Ship was protecting us and itself. It couldn't help you then; it needed us to do that. Come visit when you get out of hospital, see for yourself."
Scarlet gave Adam a long, assessing look, and he was sort of glad he'd already drawn in his extra senses so he couldn't feel what she was thinking.
"Maybe. I guess-"
"I guess I owe you. We both do."
Her hand strayed over her middle and Adam realised she wasn't talking about Katie.
"You saved her. And me. You didn't have to – most people wouldn't, especially after what I did. But you went out of your way, risked your life even, for me and her."
"I had to."
"No, you didn't. But I'm really glad you did."
The conversation could, no doubt, have gone further, but at that moment the curtain was flung back and an over-excited Katie flung herself at her sister, clearly ignoring everything the attending nurse had told her.
Kevin and Megabyte were behind her, the latter looking a bit worse for wear after his second sedation.
"Her mum and dad are on their way," the nurse told Scarlet.
"They'll be very relieved to see her, I'm told."
"Almost as much as me," Scarlet replied absently, letting the little girl climb up on the bed and lie down alongside her.
"You had me worried, little monster."
"Have you had the baby yet?" Katie asked, which raised a smile on everyone's faces.
"No, sweetheart. Not for months yet. But you'll meet her when she does get here, I promise."
And Katie wasn't the only one who wanted to meet the baby.
A few days later, on her release from observation in hospital, Scarlet braved the trip back to the Island, tensing all the while that she'd find herself plunged into the Pacific the moment she arrived on the Ship.
But although no alarms blared, no lights flashed, Scarlet remained where she was, eyes screwed up and holding her breath.
"Scarlet, it's okay."
She opened her eyes at his touch on her shoulder, taking her first proper look around.
A soft glow had filled the main chamber, and Scarlet let out a gasp, clutching her stomach.
"What is it? Are you alright?"
"Fine. I'm fine. It's – it's the baby, I can feel it. The Ship can feel it. There's another mind inside me and the Ship's reading it!"
"How does that feel?" Adam's curiosity got the better of him.
"Find out yourself!"
She grabbed his hand, sharing the sensation with him so that he gasped aloud too.
"Wow, that's – I don't know what to say! That's amazing!"
Scarlet's eyes were sparkling as she connected with the Ship, with the baby within her, and finally, she experienced what was supposed to have happened when she broke out. Adam was sorry he couldn't somehow have prevented the abduction and torture she'd been subjected to, like he couldn't help but feel sort of responsible for all Tomorrow People who broke out after he did, but maybe this would help her to start recovering. After all, being a Tomorrow Person wasn't just about teleporting and telepathy; it was about being a whole new branch of the species, something different to the rest of the world, the rest of humanity. That wasn't easy to accept, but it didn't have to be a bad thing, and now, finally, Scarlet got that.
"So… feel like hanging around for a bit?" Adam asked, when Scarlet had finished exploring the Ship.
Scarlet stopped, her hand resting on a twisted upright pillar.
"I don't think so. Nothing personal; this just isn't really somewhere I could live for long. But I need to be a long way from Britain, I think. Any parts of Australia you'd recommend I go be pregnant in for six months or so?"
"Maybe. But you might have to lose all the black gear if you're gonna hang around on the beach."
"It'll be winter for another few months; I'm sure I'll survive."
"Winter in Britain, yeah. But it's summer back in Oz."
"Oh… hadn't thought of that. Yeah, maybe jeans and hoodies won't cut it. I don't have a lot of other clothes though. Can you think of anywhere cold and anonymous?"
"Scarlet, you can go anywhere you want. Anywhere in the world."
"Yeah, I can, can't I? So could you."
"I like it here."
"You sure that's why you stay here? Living in a tent on the beach and an alien spacecraft?"
"What's wrong with that?" Adam replied, defensive.
"It's not the healthiest of places to live, emotionally. I know I'm no-one to talk, but you know you can't always live here, don't you?"
"It's not going to be for always. But it is where I want to be right now."
Scarlet let the matter drop.
"I guess I can try out a few places."
"Come visit whenever you like."
"I don't think that's a good idea. But I will stay in touch, let you know how things are going, if you do the same."
Adam gave her a friendly hug.
And with that, Scarlet vanished.
It was a little over six months later that he heard from her again.
He'd been spending the weekend with Megabyte at his place, and when he got back to the Ship, Ami was there. She didn't spend a lot of time on the Island, preferring to live at home with her mother, but sometimes she came back for some time away. Adam could sympathise; Mrs Jackson was great, but he wouldn't be able to live in the same house as her full-time without needing his own space either.
Ami was curled up in a corner, reading a book when he materialised, getting to her feet when she noticed his arrival.
"Hey, Adam. Good weekend?"
"Great, thanks. Although I could go a long time without eating pizza and popcorn again."
"Movie marathon at Megabyte's?" she guessed.
"Uh-huh. I just wish he wouldn't put so much maple syrup on everything. How are you?"
"Oh, I'm fine. I just couldn't spend another day with my mum going on about me applying to college, not until I've made up my mind. By the way, the Ship's being really weird."
"What do you mean, weird?"
As of in reply, the panels in the Ship's ceiling lit up and there was a peculiar noise, a kind of humming, strange but harmonious.
"That's been happening for a couple of days," Adam realised.
"On and off. I wonder what's making it do that?"
"It's probably me," said a third voice, behind them.
The two spun around, Ami dropping her book in surprise.
"Or more to the point, her," Scarlet continued, looking down at the bundle in her arms, the pink blanket covered in cartoon fluffy bunnies looking somewhat out of place against her habitual uniform of black jeans and hooded sweatshirt.
"Scarlet! Oh my god, that's the baby?"
"Well, what else? Hello, by the way, Ami. I'm Scarlet. And this is Marie."
"Um, nice to meet you?"
"Scarlet's a Tomorrow Person too," Adam explained.
"Yes, I guessed that much! Adam didn't mention you'd be dropping by?"
"He didn't know. Not exactly. I just thought I should bring Marie by for a visit, before she goes to her new mum and dad."
"You're giving her up?"
Adam's surprise at this revelation was all too clear, but Scarlet seemed to be at peace with her decision.
"I can't keep her. I thought about this a lot, a whole lot, and I can't look after a baby. I'm just – not in that place. She deserves better than me, so I found a really nice couple who're going give her that. And they said they'll keep in contact, if I want them to. So, you know, if she's a Tomorrow Person too, I can find her and help her."
"They know about Tomorrow People?"
"Well, no, I didn't tell them that! Just that I wanted to know what she was like as she grew up. Do you want to hold her?"
Adam reached over and carefully lifted the newborn out of Scarlet's arms, as if she were made of the most breakable substance imaginable.
The Ship was still humming, a warm glow again filling the room as it reacted to the baby. Adam could feel the comfortable atmosphere settle over them all; even if Marie wasn't one of them in every sense, the Ship was making her welcome.
"She's lovely," Ami said. "How old is she?"
"I had her two days ago. I went back to England, for the birth. Travelled around a bit, then I spent most of the pregnancy in Canada."
"How – how did it go, in the end?"
"Alright. I just kept out of trouble – which was easier than I thought it would be, actually. How've things been going here? How are the others?"
"They're okay. They're at home, I guess."
"Keeping out of trouble too?"
"Haven't found that as easy as you did, I'm afraid. We seem to attract trouble."
"Tell me about it!" Ami joined in, but she was smiling too.
Marie stirred in her sleep, and the three Tomorrow People felt the spark of her infant mind – as Kevin had remarked before, she didn't 'think' as such, not yet having learned language, but there was still something to 'hear'.
"You going to keep on staying out of trouble now?" Adam asked, unsure what approach to take.
Scarlet nodded, completely serious. Adam handed Marie back to her.
"Not sure how I'd cope with more of – that sort of adventure."
"It won't always be like that."
"No, but… I think I'll try the quiet life for a while. If I can."
"Can't say I blame you!" Ami added, stroking a tuft of Marie's dark hair.
"I think we all feel the same, sometimes."
"Stay in touch, though, won't you?" Adam asked, just as serious as Scarlet had been.
"Every now and then," Scarlet replied.
"Take care of yourselves, kids."
And she vanished, as suddenly as she had arrived.
"Old friend? Ami asked.
"Kind of. You - do know that's not my baby, right?"
"I assumed so, if you didn't know she'd been born, or try to stop her being adopted. Why, should I have thought otherwise?"
"No! We helped Scarlet escape from some people who were – treating her badly, a while back. Megabyte, Kevin and I."
Adam didn't want to go into detail; Ami was capable of handling a lot of things, and she knew there were people who wanted to use Tomorrow People for their own ends, but it was probably best if she didn't know everything about the group who'd abducted Scarlet.
"She seemed nice."
"Yeah, she did. Must have got her on a good day. What are you reading?"
Ami picked up her book, pretending she didn't realise Adam was deliberately trying to change the subject. If he didn't want to talk, fine. Adam had a lot of secrets, and Ami didn't want to upset their friendship by prying.
"Just something a friend recommended. I was thinking of going for a swim, actually. You want to come?"
"Better than that. Surf's up!"
"Oh, Adam, no! You know I'm terrible at surfing!"
"Exactly. You need the practise. Come on, Ami, grab your board, I'll meet you on the beach!"
Adam teleported up to the surface, and somewhat reluctantly, Ami followed.
Left empty, the Ship continued to glow, reacting to the presence of the people it had been left on Earth to wait for. That was its purpose, to wait, and to welcome, and that was what it would do.
Wait, for the Tomorrow People.
Author's Note: This was originally going to be quite different – I was thinking about the choices the characters make and debating what it would take for a Tomorrow Person to 'go rogue', (I think this may have been done in the Original Series, but I only saw a few stories and my memories of those are vague) - and Scarlet was a lot more aggressive and unpleasant, but it didn't quite work out that way. I think because I was trying to write in the style of the TV show and it didn't seem right to have everyone yelling at each other constantly, so I toned it down.
I also should point out this isn't an anti-abortion story (I'm pro-choice), but I wanted to include the notion of whether this would be included in the Prime Barrier; hence why Scarlet had the baby, but chose to give her up.