A/N: Please don't misunderstand my goal with this project. My sister—who is my collab partner—and I both love the original TV series, and this is meant more as a tribute than anything. A way to revamp and update the series that, unfortunately, has a view of the future from the 1960s point of view as well as place on it the emphasis that my sister and I love; characters and their relationships a bit more than the rescues.

This would be much better as a doujinshi, but I am not that great an artist, unfortunately. You're going to have to deal with my hybrid writing of trying to make this feel more like the visual media it should be by writing lots of description, avoiding as much introspection as I can, and give you more explanation in dialogue than I would generally like. Hopefully, I'll manage it.

I will confess that at least half of this John was inspired by Math Girl's, because she has completely nailed the John I've been searching for. The first scene in this is ripped, in concept, almost straight from her story 'Inception' which is a long but excellent read that I would highly recommend. I hope she doesn't mind this bit of a tribute.

Disclaimer: When I write a real book and make lots of money, I'm going to buy the boys, you will see this animated up and looking awesome. Until then, they belong to Gerry Anderson and they are his alone to do things with.

Summary: Jeff Tracy has a vision- to create a group of rescuers that could save the world from every possible disaster. And he is determined to see it through at any cost. Thunderbirds: Millennium, Episode 1.

Thunderbirds: Millennium
Episode 1: Paying the Piper

Jeff Tracy frowned at his reflection, and the boy he could see through the one way glass seated on the other side. The differences in the two faces were more marked now than they had been before. Jeff Tracy had a face that commanded respect from all around him, with a square jaw, dark eyes, and dark brown hair streaked with grey. His very stance spoke of a man not used to following orders, his six foot three inch frame standing with shoulders squared and feet apart, dressed in his light grey suit with hands tucked behind his back. Men did not question Jeff Tracy.

As dark as he was, the boy seated in the room in front of him was light. Large pale grey-blue eyes stared out at nothing through almost transparent blond hair, pushed down into the owners face by a backwards blue baseball cap, and a face still young but pale and gaunt. The dark blue hoodie the boy wore covered sloped shoulders and, Jeff was certain, a boney frame.

Men did not question this boy either; that was because to do so was futile, not because they respected him.

Sam stood at Jeff's elbow, stooped frame held up by a black cane, a wizened old man who had been a friend of his father's and the only lawyer Jeff trusted. His face, tanned and leathery, clearly showed how unsavory he found this whole situation, and he tugged absently at the faded cuff of his dark suit. "Are you sure you want to do this yourself, Jefferson? We could get him out of here much quieter if you don't make a circus out of it."

"Not this time, Sam. If John is angling for a circus, we'll give him one. This time we're ending these games of his." Jeff's jaw tightened, as did the grip of his own right hand on his left wrist. "I know you've bailed him out before without my permission."

The older man had the decency to look somewhat chastened. "They were boys' charges. Public intoxication, indecent exposure, all minor things easily handled. Your father always said the boy was just like you, and I remember you did as much in college."

"I grew up." And his confidence in John's ability to do the same had worn out. "He's my son, and this time we are settling things my way."

If Sam had anything to say to that, he didn't have the chance, as the door to Jeff's right opened and a small squinty eyed police officer stepped out. He shot a look of annoyance over his shoulder as he shut it behind him. "Well, Mr. Tracy, you're welcome to him for all the good it will do you. We haven't gotten a word out of him since he got here yesterday."

"Thank you for your time, officer. As you know, I am pressing no charges."

"So you said. Are you sure I can't persuade you to change your mind?"

Jeff offered the obviously annoyed man a wry smile. "Don't worry. He will face sufficient punishment." He stepped forward and took hold of the handle of the door. "Thanks for your advice, Sam. I will call you if your services are required."

There was no need to turn around to sense the dark look being sent at his back, and Jeff didn't bother. He hadn't asked Sam to come along; in fact he wouldn't be surprised to find out that John had called him to get him out of trouble as he had so many times before.

Unfortunately for John, there would be no redemption for him this time.

The door clicked shut behind him, but John didn't so much as glance his way. His hands were folded on top of the dark wood table that separated them, and the pale lights over head cast odd shadows on his white face and the carpeted walls of the plain room. There was another officer, tall with two chins, standing in the corner, but Jeff paid him no mind. He was there only as an unnecessary precaution.

"I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to see you here." Jeff worked to keep his voice as neutral as possible. No use giving John any advantage in this contest. "Do you have any idea how serious this is?"

A noncommittal shrug from John, and Jeff clenched his fist in frustration. Why did the boy always think that was an acceptable answer?

"Three million dollars, John. Do you have any concept of just how much money that is? That you took from me?" That was the part that angered him the most. If the boy had just asked him he...well, he wouldn't have given it all to him, certainly, but they might have worked something out. "I want it back. And for heaven sakes, look at me, boy."

Silence for several long moments before John ever so slowly raised his head. There was no fear in the visible grey-blue eye that met Jeff's own, and though his chin remained down there was an all too familiar defiant set to it.

Jeff shook his head, batting away memories of a precocious boy determined to have his own way. "Where is my money, John?"

"What makes you think I have it?" John's eye had dropped again, though Jeff hardly counted that as a victory.

"We traced the money to your account, and the security breech to your computer." Not a flinch from the boy in front of him, and Jeff ground his teeth slightly. "I'm going to tell you only once more; give me my money back."

"I don't have it." John was hunched again, the bill of his baseball cap hiding his neck and the hair it pushed down obscuring half his face.

"Then where is it?"

Another shrug, and Jeff felt his temper rising ever so slightly. None of his other boys, not even Gordon, knew how to make him as angry as John always managed.

"I could get you fined, millions of dollars. You could be sent to prison for twenty years. What happens to your dreams of exploring the universe then?"

The grey eye flicked upward for just a moment, betraying a slight moment of terror before it dropped once more and John shrugged again.

That was a victory, and Jeff would take it. He lunged in on the momentary weakness. "You'll spend all that time locked behind bars, never even seeing the stars, never mind visiting them. Tell me where the money is."

"I..." And for just a moment, his twenty-four-year old son looked uncertain before the mask of indifference closed over his face again. "I don't have it, and I can't get it back."

"How could you possibly spend three million dollars in less than a day?" This time Jeff could not keep the surprise out of his voice, his genuine confusion managing to slip through. He wasn't surprised at all when John's only answer was to hunch his shoulders more. "Well, I'm not without mercy, John, so I have a deal for you. I hadn't intended to include you before, but you'll be far more useful to me where I need you then sitting in a cell."

"What makes you think that after six years I want anything to do with you?" A small flash of white as John momentarily bared his teeth. "I don't want your mercy."

"I find it difficult to believe you would rather go to jail."

It seemed that John had nothing, not even a shrug, to argue against that with.

"You're going to come work for me until you haven't earned back every cent of that money." Perhaps it made little sense, as John would be paying him back with Jeff's own money, but the truth was he needed John's skills. Secrecy had always been John's specialty.

A look of disgust from John, who shook his head. "And if I say no?"

"Then you'll spend the rest of your life in prison. I'll make sure of it." Jeff stood, pushing himself off the table with both hands. "It's your choice, John."

"No it isn't," muttered so low Jeff almost didn't hear it, before the boy half turned to look at the silent officer. "Shouldn't you be arresting him for blackmail or something? This is flat out extortion, you know."

To Jeff's immense satisfaction, all John got back was a shrug.

"You have an hour to decide. Until then, enjoy your confinement." Jeff had reached the door, the small handle clicking softly in his hand, before he heard the voice behind him.

"What is it you have in mind?"

Jeff smiled for a moment, though he erased it from his face before he turned. "Come with me, and I'll show you."