A/N: Inspired by the fics of AngelMouse5.
This is probably the most difficult thing I have ever attempted to do in any fandom. Call me ambitious, but the challenge is calling. Any and all help I can get from you lovely readers would be nothing short of fantastic. I'll do my best to answer any and all questions. Thanks in advance, you all.
Also, please note that the book I use as my reference for anything Thunderbirds, mentions the moon being colonized. I find it interesting that, to my limited knowledge, this wasn't used in the TV series. I'm using it now, at least a little.
VERY IMPORTANT: The title is from "Major Tom" by Shiny Toy Guns. This and the David Bowie song of the same name are more than a little bit responsible for the tone of this chapter and, in part, the idea for the story.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters you recognize; they are all the property of Gerry Anderson and his associates. I make no money off of these fics, and they are written solely for entertainment and practice purposes only. The characters you don't recognize are my own creation, and should anyone wish to use them simply ask.
Summary: John always thought it was his brothers that were in the most danger while working for International Rescue. He never guessed just how close that danger could get.
It had been a very long day, John decided as he sat down on his bed and took a long sip of his warmed rehydrated milk. Actually, it had been a very long couple of days that felt like one because he hadn't slept. Unlike Tracy Island, time up on Thunderbird 5 was rather inconsequential. Day and night had almost no meaning up here, though there were times of more light and times of less, but those didn't necessarily correspond with a particular time zone down on earth. John had long since learned that it was best to sleep only when he was tired and worry less about what numbers it would correspond with on a watch.
Unfortunately, this sense of timelessness was something none of his brothers could understand. None of them, not even Alan, had spent enough time up here to develop this sense of being outside of the world so completely. So, if Gordon wanted to call and have a chat just as John was ready to drop off to sleep, then who was he to argue? They were ruled by time and he was not. And, if as the chat was winding down when their father came in and asked John to be on standby and monitor closely several channels about a fire in Siberia, then he couldn't really complain. It was his job.
And now, if his clock told him it had been 48 hours since he'd last awakened from sleep, then that was just another day in the life of an International Rescue Operative. Another day in the life of John Glenn Tracy.
Life such as it was, anyway. John couldn't think of an existence more removed from the rest of his family if he tried. While his brother's had spent the last few hours fighting to save a small village in what was generally considered a frozen wasteland, John had spent it doing nearly anything to try and get his mind off the snippets of conversation he picked up over International Rescue's channel.
It functioned not only as a massive receiver for all calls on any medium for International Rescue—John had set these up himself, each filter and codeword programmed in every electronic signal ever used on earth; radio, digital, coded, scrambled, or otherwise—but it also served in such a way that every call made on any piece of International Rescue equipment had to go through Thunderbird Five. And John couldn't help but listening, particularly when his brother's were on a rescue. Though he almost never spoke, he was desperate to know what was going on.
He had been pacing when Virgil had slid down the side of the mountain, and running laps when Scott had gotten trapped with a little girl in a building. When Gordon and Virgil dug their eldest brother out, John had settled down to play some of the early twenty-first century video games he enjoyed. He'd nearly defeated the human campaign in Warcraft II when his brothers arrived home safely.
This was his routine. Sleep, when possible, have coffee and, usually, some dehydrated fruit for breakfast. Run a systems check and exercise. Wait for something to happen while he would stare out the window at whatever might be passing by. Count the shuttles to and from the moon colony until lunch and his second cup of coffee. Continue to wait and/or hover nervously when his brothers were on a rescue. Eat something when they were home safe or he could no longer stand the hunger. Sleep when he was tired, and repeat the cycle.
Two shuttles had passed since he'd started his mug of watery warm milk, one up and one down. They were getting to be as regular as the monorails back home. Even the people on the moon were moving on with their lives while John Tracy could only remain stationary. Like the eyes and ears of anything, he could only go where the body told him to and no where of his own volition.
'I am extremely morbid when this tired,' John decided, with a frown at his half empty mug. He loved his job, he really did, and he was glad to be part of an organization that did so much good in the world. It was just that he couldn't help but wish he actually did something for it once in a while. More than flipping a switch to transfer a call or tweaking one small thing for a clearer signal. He wanted to be the face that someone would think of when they remembered the person that had given them a second chance and not the quiet voice on the radio that was swiftly forgotten. Even by his own family.
'That's enough, John.' He told himself firmly. His brothers loved him, he knew that, and thoughts like that had no place in even his own internal dialogue. 'You're tired, and have been up here for too long since Dad granted Alan leave for a race. You can talk to him in the morning if you're still feeling like this. You probably should, even if you don't, because talking to yourself in the third person can't be good for you either.'
Now mildly amused, John swallowed the last of his drink and headed toward his room in the corner of the control room. Tomorrow was another day, and it wouldn't do for International Rescue's eyes to be droopy. Sliding into his blue pajamas, John had only just closed his eyes when the communication line beeped; indicating one of his programs had picked up a key word.
"Calling International Rescue. Can you hear me? Calling International Rescue."
Sighing, John didn't bother to get dressed as he went over a flipped a switch. No rest for the weary, then. Just as well. His brother's would still be tired to. "International Rescue, receiving you loud and clear. What's your emergency?"