The Stingray Story
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any character and vehicle of both "Thunderbirds" and "Stingray." They belong to Supermarionation and Gerry Anderson. I own the rights to the story.
Summary: This short tale is told from the perspective of Thunderbird pilots and brothers Scott and Virgil Tracy as they recall one of International Rescues well known missions to save the crew of Stingray. This is technically a Thunderbirds/Stingray crossover, bus as there isn't a category for Stingray, It can't be regarded as one.
I have always been one of the most important ones when it comes to International Rescue. For each rescue always needed some equipment and it was always down to me to deliver it on time. Thunderbird 2 was always called out on missions and it would always mean me giving up what it was I would be doing in order to risk my life for others. Well not just me, it would be my brothers as well. Scott would always arrive before me to assess the different level situations and I would always reply professionally let alone I wished that I was at base, painting something or playing the piano. My brothers would always be excited on going on a mission, but I never was fond of it. No one else knew it, but I wasn't like them. Especially Alan. Boy, Alan would sulk if he didn't get to go on a mission. Well this time things were going to different for me and the rest of the family as we were about to go on a rescue mission that I even found exciting.
I remember it as if it was any other day. It was a warm spring afternoon on the island when my oldest brother, John Tracy radioed in from up in Thunderbird 5 which was our orbital Space satellite. We were all sitting in the lounge at the time. My father, Jeff Tracy, sat behind his desk as he usually did when the calls came in. John's face appeared on the screen where his family portrait use to be.
"Go ahead John?" dad said as he always did.
"Father, we have received a distress call from The World Aquanaut Security Patrol." John explained. "They require our help immediately."
Just then, I saw my third forth brother ,Gordon Tracy, pull as surprised look on his face. He use to train in the World Aquanaut Security Patrol which led him to be the pilot of Thunderbird 4, our small rescue sub.
"The W.A.S.P's?" he asked John. "What happened?"
"Apparently, there Submarine "Stingray." Has run aground and has now become trapped in a cavern at the bottom of the sea." John continued. "Marineville have lost contact with Stingray and their crew and have now way of getting to them."
"Well how comes?" Scott asked.
"I can answer that?" Gordon replied. "Their subs can't withstand the deep-sea pressure as much as Stingray. If they tried to rescue Troy Tempest and his crew then they would be crushed to death by the immense pressure. I'm guessing that Stingray can just abut withstand the pressure itself. That's why they haven't be crushed."
"You know Troy Tempest?" Alan asked.
"Sure I do." Gordon replied. "He was my tutor when I was at the W.A.S.P academy."
"We can talk about that later fellers." I interrupted as I turned to dad. "What are we going to father?"
"Can Thunderbird 4 withstand as much deep pressure as Stingray, Brains?" Father asked as he turned to our faithful scientist who we all called "Brains".
"Y-yes it could Mr Tracy." Brains replied. "Thunderbird 4 w-was designed to withstand more p-pressure than any sub."
Brains was a good man. He was the brains behind the Thunderbird machines, hence his nickname. He also had quite a bit of knowledge on all military vehicles, space vehicles as well as W.A.S.P vehicles. He also knew his chemicals and atoms as well. If you had a question, he was the guy to turn to.
"Alright. This is what we do?" Father said to all of us. "I'll contact Marineville and let them know that International Rescue is willing to help. Scott, Launch Thunderbird 1 and head for Marineville. Request permission to set up your equipment in the control tower."
"Right father." Scott replied as he made his way towards Thunderbird 1.
Father then turned to me. It was my turn to get going and for once, I felt excited.
"Virgil." He said. "Launch Thunderbird 2 and take Pod 4 along with Gordon and Brains. You'll need them with you. Plus Gordon can give you more details on the Stingray crew."
"Okay dad." I replied as I made my way to Thunderbird 2 via my entrance chute.
Several minuets later, I had gotten Thunderbird 2 ready for lift off. I had selected Pod 4 which had Thunderbird 4 inside which was all geared up and ready to go. Gordon and Brains were sitting comfortably behind me as we taxied down the runway to the launch ramp. Scott had already taken off in Thunderbird 1 as we could see him, hurtling up through the sky over in the horizon. I finally put Thunderbird 2 into launch position, ignited the thrusters and we were on our way.
Well I was underway in Thunderbird 1 for about 5 maybe 10 minuets when I got the call from Marineville. An elderly man's voice crackled over my radio, giving me permission to land right next to the control tower. As usual I received the call and gave the man my reassurance along with my Estimated Time Of Arrival. The man identified himself as the commander of Marineville and said that his name was "Sam Shore." He sounded bitter and angry but I could tell that he was trying to remain calm for me. He wasn't like dad. Not one bit in the way that I hoped he'd be, but he was just like the other men and women that have contacted me in the past. He was worried and upset. Then normal reaction. After all, he was only human.
Anyway, I replied to Commander Shore, as briefly as I could.
"Marienville control from International Rescue." I said loud and clearly over the microphone. "This is Thunderbird 1. ETA 4 minuets. Sit tight Commander. We'll be there shortly."
Oh how I regretted saying that, but then again, how was I supposed to know that he was disabled? As I always did, I radioed into base and told them of my arrival plans and then I saw what appeared to be Marineville down below me. I lowered my landing skits and began to land Thunderbird 1.
I touched down on a huge runway gently as I always did. I had been flying Thunderbird 1 for nearly 2 years so I was an expert at the controls. Once again I radioed in to base before contacting Marineville control.
"Base from Thunderbird 1." I said. "Have arrived at Marineville. I'll set up Mobile Control and then contact Thunderbird 2."
Fathers voice echoed over my radio. I then contacted Commander Shore, but this time a young female voice replied instead. I was surprised as the voice was so soft and well spoken.
"Control to Thunderbird 1, You have permission to set up you're equipment in control tower."
I was speechless for some unknown reason. I didn't sit around to find out so I just moved my Mobile control unit to the control room, but before I could do that, I requested that Thunderbird 1 would be protected from photographic equipment.
Moments later, I was in the vast control room of Marineville. As I set up my equipment, An elderly gentlemen in an green, hover chair approached me. He was the Commander that I was talking to on my way over.
"What are you hoping to do?" he asked bitterly.
"We hope to send one of our subs down to pull Stingray out of the ocean trench." I explained. "Thunderbird 4 can withstand any underwater pressure."
"I see." Commander Shore replied. "And where is this sub of yours now?"
"It is being carried by Thunderbird 2." I replied, trying not to sound annoyed. "Just stay calm. We'll get Stingray out of there?"
"He's right father?" came a familiar female voice. "I've heard of International Rescue, they know what they're doing?"
"You mean Atlanta, you called them?" Commander Shore asked.
"Yes I did." the young woman replied.
Her name was Atlanta? She has auburn coloured hair, and was wearing a silver and white uniform, which I guessed was their uniform.
"You called us Miss?" I asked.
"Shore. Atlanta Shore." She replied, she seemed more worried about the Stingray crew more than her father did.
"Don't worry." I assured her. "We'll get them out. I'm going to call Thunderbird 2 now."
I radioed Virgil for an update on hid ETA. They were crossing the ocean now and figured that they wouldn't be too far from the danger zone as it is.
The three of us looked out of the window to see the shining, green bulk Thunderbird 2 fly over Marineville at subsonic speed. Atlanta and the Commander were amazed at the sight of it and as soon as I knew it the rescue could begin. The first thing to do was to get Virgil to drop a three way communication transmitter to the Stingray crew so they could contact me at Mobile Control and Virgil up in Thunderbird 2.
"Virgil." I said loudly. "We can see you. When you arrive at the danger zone, get a communication transceiver down there immediately. I want to make contact with Captain Troy Tempest and assess the situation from here?"
"F.A.B." Virgil replied over the radio. "Gordon's standing by in Thunderbird 4 now."
I couldn't really do anything until I could talk to Captain Tempest. It was so quiet up in the control room and the aura of the room was back and tense. I mean International Rescue had been called out to government related incidents before but not like this. The Commander and his daughter really were concerned, not that fake concerned like a normal Commander would give, but a feeling as if the Marineville crew were like family and it made this rescue mission even more important.
Me, Gordon and Brains arrived at the danger zone in Thunderbird 2. Scott had radioed in requesting us to drop a communication transceiver to the crew. I just simply passed the task on to Gordon as he was going to go down there anyway in Thunderbird 4. I hovered in position over the area and released the pod. I could tell that Gordon was down, judging by the splash of the ocean below us. I would always keep my radio and microphone open so I could maintain contact at all times, whatever the situation. I quickly looked back to see Brains reading the technical schematics for Stingray. The thing I wanted to know was, where the hell did he get them from? But at that moment, it didn't really matter. It was just a good thing that he had them.
Minuets later, after listlessly hovering there, Gordon radioed in from Thunderbird 4. He had spotted Stingray and judging by the tone of his voice, it wasn't good news. He reported the situation to me and Scott at Mobile Control.
"I've found her, but she's in pretty bad shape." His voice crackled. "The outer hull has been buried in rock which has blocked the exit and emergency hatches. This explains why they haven't been able to escape."
Then, Gordon's voice was then replaced by Scott's.
"What are chances of fixing a line?" he asked.
"I can see the front view screen." Gordon replied. "I can move infront of the window and use Morse code by flashing Thunderbird 4's flood lights."
"F.A.B Gordon." Scott replied. "Radio back if the crew are alright down there?"
"Will do." Gordon answered as he stopped transmitting.
Something was going down at Marineville. Scott was acting weird for some reason as if he was pressured or disturbed by something he saw. I didn't let it get to me but I did feel helpless just sitting up in the sky. A few minuets later, Gordon radioed in again. He had just communicated with the Stingray crew and that he had just placed the underwater transceiver on the subs hull.
"Captain Troy Tempest." Scott sounded over the radio. "Speak out if you can hear me?"
"I can hear you control?" came the voice of the well famous Troy Tempest. "Who is down here with us?"
Then an elderly gentlemen's voice appeared over the radio, in response. It was the Commander.
"Troy. Calm down. This is Commander Shore. International Rescue are here to get you three out?"
Scott's voice then emitted over the radio again.
"This International Rescue. Explain to us what happened? We have Thunderbirds 2 and 4 ready to get you out. Just try to remain calm."
I was just interested to hear about what had actually happened to them all. It was boring and slow up here and Brains was too busy scanning the
Schematics to come up for an idea.
After the captain explained what happened, which took ten slow minuets, Brains took over the radio and called out to Gordon.
"G-Gordon, This is what you've got to d-do?" he said. "I have just studied the schematics and I-I just about know how to get Stingray up to the s-surface."
"Go for it Brains?" Gordon replied.
"F-first, you need to blast the rocks off of the hull, using the u-underwater missiles. Then y-you need to cut off the tail fins that house the rear motor. T-the rear motor is what that's keeping Stingray pinned down. J-just like the job you did on the Fireflash, you can cut of the motors allowing the craft to s-surface."
Gordon fully understood what Brains was saying and snapped right to work. I only had one small role to play and that was to get the escape bell ready. Hell, did I wish I could do more though?
It was a relief to hear Troy Tempest's voice. I knew take a short while for Gordon to get them out so I decided to get Troy to explain about what had happened. I sat down behind my Mobile Control unit calmly and listened as to what Troy was saying. Atlanta Shore stood behind me and placed her hands on the desk.
"Ok Captain Tempest." I said calmly. "Explain to me what happened, and take your time please. Conserve what remaining air you've got left."
"Ok then International Rescue." Troy replied over the radio. "Well…It started when we were on our way back to Marineville after a routine patrol out in the Bahamas. We were alerted to a call from one of our surface stations, asking for us to investigate a possible whirlpool. So we went to reported area as fast as we could. When we arrives, Phones (my co-aquanaught) began to pick up some strange readings from the surface. Before we knew, Stingray was hit by a massive rock slide and then within minuets, we were trapped here in the ditch."
"Ok Captain." I replied. "Are you ok? Are any of you hurt? How many are there of you?"
"There are three of us." Troy answered instantly. "There's me, Phones and Marina. Me and Phones are alright, but Marina seems to be a little shaken from the events."
"May I speak to Marina?" I asked.
"You can sir, but may I just say that you get a reply?"
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well you see. She can't speak, but she can understand." Troy explained. "You see, she comes from the sea."
"I understand." I replied, trying not to sound confused. "Can she hear me right now?"
"She can." Troy answered.
"Okay then. Hi there Marina. My name is Scott Tracy of International Rescue." I said clearly and reassuringly down the microphone. "I understand that you are a bit frightened by the recent events, but I would like you remain calm. I promise you, we'll get you out, but will you promise to relax for me?"
I then heard a tap on the microphone. Knowing my different style of codes, I knew that she was communicating with me and she agreed to my request. Then, Troy's voice returned to the microphone.
"How do you plan on getting us out?" he asked. "We saw a yellow sub just a few minuets ago?"
"That will be Thunderbird 4." I answered. "He's going to blast the rocks off your craft before cutting Stingray's rear motor gear. It's the only thing weighing your craft down. We're hoping that we can get you to float to the surface where Thunderbird 2 can pick you up in our diving escape bell."
"Well it seems like a well co-ordinated idea." Troy replied with a hint of relief in his voice. "Good luck International Rescue. Whether you're able to get us out or not, we'd like to say thanks."
I switched the radio off and directed the further transmissions up to Virgil in Thunderbird 2. He was going to lower the diving bell and he had to lower it in the right position otherwise it would take him several minuets to re-position his craft.
I looked over to see that Commander Shore was impressed with my conversation. It was a nice, but disturbing sight. Probably because he took the situation differently as to how dad would take it.
"Can we..eh.. get you a drink or something Mr Tracy?" Atlanta asked, breaking the silence.
"No that's ok thanks Miss Shore." I replied. "I'll be alright for now? But you both seem to be a bit exhausted?"
"He's right Atlanta." The Commander agreed. "Go home and get some rest Honey. We'll let you know of any updates."
"No. I can't do that?" Atlanta replied. "Not with Troy, Phones and Marina out there."
I couldn't help but feel that Atlanta and Troy had something going on. It seemed more obvious that them two were emotionally involved that Alan and Tin-Tin. Although it wasn't my place to say anything, it did make everything seem more awkward than it was before.
Gordon had been radioing up to Brains for 20 minuets now. He had been successful in, removing the rock debris that were blocking Stingray's exit hatches. He had now moved Thunderbird 4 over towards Stingray's motor gear, which according to Brains, was the only thing that weighing the sub down. If the motor was still working, it would've been able to push the sub up to the surface. I asked Brains why the motor had become heavy as I thought it would've been light enough to raise the sub in whatever condition it was in.
He explained that the motor's had taken in a lot of water and rock, which would've damaged the emergency generators, acting as a weight. The emergency generators were meant to push to the sub up towards the surface. They were newly installed as a request by Marineville themselves. He then said that if Thunderbird 4 was to cut of the motor, the debris would literally float out, lifting Stingray to the surface.
It was a long shot, but it sounded like it would successfully work. However, we both knew that it would cause a great risk to Gordon. you see Thunderbird 4 was a strong enough and manoeuvrable enough, but it had one weakness. When the motors would've been cut, the pressurised water would sweep the debris and the rock could batter Thunderbird 4, causing it to capsize or even explode. Why?, because Thunderbird 4's turbine exhausts weren't as protected as the rest of the craft and were subject to an easy explosion. Gordon would be killed instantly and he knew the risks ever since he became an aquanaught.
"Thunderbird 4 to Virgil." Gordon's voice echoed. "I am about to cut through the rear motor, but I'm going to position Thunderbird 4 in a safer spot so there's a less risk of impact."
"F.A.B Gordon." I replied. "Be careful down there?"
A few minuets later, and the sound of Thunderbird 4's laser cutter began to appear over the radio. It was making that hissing sound along with the screeching sound of bent metal as the cutter sliced it's way through the motor ending. I knew that the heat from that laser cutter must've really built up the cabin heat for Gordon. Heat was his big weakness as it would often distract him from his job. The sound increased, introducing the sound of crumbling rock as it went. He was getting through the motor easily, but then there was a problem. The trench, supporting Stingray had began to buckle and crumble away. She was slipping and Gordon had to work fast.
Gordon decided to contact Troy Tempest as he now needed his help in getting the submarine to surface.
"Thunderbird 4 to Stingray." He said. "I'm almost through the motor. When I give you the signal, I want you to empty you're water intake pumps. They will act as water jet that'll push you up to the surface."
"Understood Thunderbird 4." Troy replied over the radio. "You heard the man Phones? Get over to the ballast controls and wait for his signal?"
Minuets ticked by and the sounds had began cease over the radio. After a few short seconds of silence, a huge crash echoed over the radio followed by Gordon's voice.
"Thunderbird 4 to Stingray." He said. "Empty pumps now!"
As soon as he said that, he voice began to disappear over the radio. It had been replaced with the sound of debris that had been obviously swept out from the sliced motor. Just listening to the sound, made me realise my worst fears. Had Thunderbird 4 been crushed by the flowing current of debris? I panicked and grabbed the microphone, while Brains looked out of the window.
The ocean below us began to ripple as Stingray appeared up onto the surface. Her blue hull was scratched, dented and had blast marks all over it where it had been embedded on the ocean floor, but there was no sign of Gordon.
"Gordon are you okay!" I shouted down the microphone, but there was no reply over the radio. "Gordon, I repeat. Are you okay?"
Just as I began to fear the worst for my younger brother, Gordon's voice faintly crackled over the radio.
"I'm alright Virgil." He said with a sigh of relief. "Boy that was a close one. I nearly pulled down in the collapsing trench, but luckily I was able to push Thunderbird 4's thrusters to the max. Surfacing now."
The small, yellow structure of Thunderbird 4 surfaced next to Stingray. Gordon was returning to Pod 4 while the Stingray crew made their way up onto the deck of their smashed up submarine. I hovered Thunderbird 2 directly over Stingray and lowered the Diving bell down to them.
"Thunderbird 2 to Troy Tempest." I said. "Please step into the diving bell and secure the metal door behind you. Once you're aboard, wave out to me."
The two men and a woman entered the diving bell. Troy waved his hand out to signal me to pull them up. I pulled back the winch and retracted the diving bell.
Another mission had been successfully completed. Troy, Phones and Marina had made it to the cockpit and sat down behind me as I flew over to pick up the pod.
"Wow this some amazing craft you've got here." He said in excitement. "Thanks for all your help Mr Tracy?"
"It's Virgil." I replied with a chuckle. "And who may these two be?"
"Oh this is my co-pilot Phones and this Marina. She can't speak but she can understand you."
I briefly looked back to acknowledge the captain. The three of them looked all battered up and bruised but they were alright. A young girl was looking out the side windows of the craft. She couldn't talk? I was sure that there was an explanation for that. Anyway, I had to radio Scott at Mobile Control.
"Thunderbird 2 to Mobile Control, mission accomplished. We're on our way to collect Gordon, and then we'll rendezvous with you at Marineville."
"What about Stingray?" Troy asked, walking up to me. "We can't just leave her here?"
"Well I can take back to Marineville." I replied. "But is there a place where I could drop Stingray?"
"There is a maintenance area at Marineville." Phones answered. "You can drop it off there?"
"Okay then." I replied. "Lowering magnetic grabs."
Another rescue mission had been completed and I was about to pack up my equipment in the control equipment as I was going to return to Thunderbird 1, but first I wanted to wait until Virgil got back here with the Stingray crew. Atlanta spotted Thunderbird 2 over in the distance, Only she was carrying some other craft. As Virgil flew nearer and nearer, we all identified the craft as Stingray. Virgil radioed in.
"Thunderbird 2 to Mobile Control, request permission unload Stingray at the maintenance section?"
"That's a bit of a dumb question don't you think Virgil?" I joked. "Permission granted."
I looked over to see that Atlanta was overwhelmed with joy. It felt good to me that International Rescue had made a difference.
"Are the crew alright?" I asked Virgil.
"The crew are fine." Virgil replied. "They're a little shaken, but Captain Tempest has demanded to go to the control tower. So I'll guess we'll see you there?"
"F.A.B" I replied.
Judging by the look on Commander Shore's face, it was a normal thing for Tempest to do.
About 10 minuets later, Thunderbird 2 touched down alongside Thunderbird 1 and Virgil along with the crew made their way up towards the control tower. Troy was the first to appear through the door followed by Phones, Virgil, Marina and Gordon.
"How can we ever thank you boys?" Atlanta asked us as she held Troy in her arms. "Surely we can repay you in some way?"
"We only ask you not to take any pictures?" I answered happily.
"Yeah. International Rescue must be kept secret. If our secret was placed in the wrong hands, it could cause a world wide controversy."
"We sure thing. We won't take any photo's?" Phones replied. "But what about Stingray? We'll she ever be repaired?"
"I would say so in about 3 weeks max." Gordon answered. "I used to be in the W.A.S.P's myself."
"I thought I recognised you?" Troy said in surprise. "You were one of my students?"
"That's right and you're lessons helped me save your life." Gordon grinned. "That an lot of others."
"Well we must get going?" I said. "We'll be needed back at base. Now if you ever require our services again, you can contact us on any frequency."
After a brief word of thanks, we said our goodbyes and returned to our machines. As we both took off and headed back to base, I couldn't help but feel that this rescue was a special one, one that would change the whole outlook of International Rescue. We felt like we were truly needed for once and believe me the feeling was good.
There was no rush to get back and the sun had began to set as Thunderbird 1 glided over the ocean. It was a perfect and relaxing flight home after a perfect rescue operation and just goes to show how International Rescue is truly valued when we are needed to save lives, to make a difference. All the secrecy had paid off even of we all thought the whole secret identity bit was ridiculous.
Out of all the places we had been and out of all the men, women and children that we've rescued, we had just learnt that lesson from The World Aquanaught Security Patrol.