Unexpected Encounter

A/N – Sorry this is such a short chapter, I've been struggling a bit to get through the dialogue and rewritten it several times – I hope it reads right! Reviews still welcome, and thank you so much to those who keep me going with their positive comments, especially those who comment repeatedly!

DISCLAIMER – I have no rights over the Thunderbird characters, they belong to Gerry and Silvia Anderson and them alone. I also have no rights over any comic book characters.

Chapter Four – We'll meet again…

Scott just stared at the woman sat in his seat, her high heeled boots resting on his control panel, reclining against the red leather, with one gloved hand idly resting against the control handle for the craft. After what seemed an eternity she turned to look at him, gazing with large eyes out of the same black mask he'd been trying not to think about for the last four days. In the normal daylight this time he could see that her eyes were a rich brown, so light that they nearly appeared golden.

"Nice work," she commented nonchalantly, swinging her legs down and swivelling around to face him. When Scott continued to stand and stare at her, she rolled her eyes and stood up slowly. Scott watched her, and couldn't seem to be able to move.

Eventually he found his voice. "How did you get in?"

She shrugged in reply. "I have ways."

She dropped down out of the cockpit to stand beside him, and looked closely at the man in front of her. The first time they'd met, it was dark and colours appeared faded – she hadn't been able to see what he really looked like. Now, she approved of what she saw. His eyes were a piercing blue, his hair a dark brown. He stood a head taller than her, with a slender and yet muscular frame, similar to her own build.

"Why did you tell me about the cameras?"

"I approve of the work International Rescue do, and don't want to see the organisation fail. Your technology is advanced and brilliant – and cannot be allowed to fall into the wrong hands."

"So you didn't have anything to do with the fire?"

The woman stayed silent, and Scott was more confused than ever. She had as good as confessed to setting a fire designed to place cameras on the Thunderbirds, but then told him she couldn't allow that to happen. Yet she didn't deny she had been involved. Eventually she answered him.

"Is it inconceivable that two units with different goals could work together to a common purpose?"

Understanding dawned on Scott. "You worked with somebody – you set the fire while they planted the cameras?" A barely perceptible nod. "But, why?"

"Why?" she almost spat out. "Why would I want to ruin the life of a man responsible for the tortured and painful deaths of hundreds of people, whose descendents still have to live with the damage that he caused?"

"If he was responsible, then he would have been found guilty in a court of law."

She laughed at that, a sarcastic laugh so bitter that he felt the strength of his convictions failing. "That is so endearing. But we both know that provided you have enough money you can get away with anything, including murder. The laws don't apply to the likes of him, and it is the innocent and the poor who suffer the consequences."

"You still cannot take the law into your own hands," Scott said stubbornly.

She was silent again, and Scott was beginning to get annoyed. He hadn't really received a straight answer, and apart from learning that the Cat had been working with someone else when setting the fire, hadn't even learned anything. A suspicion formed in his mind.

"Did you cause the mudslide?"

"Do you think it is possible for me to cause a large scale mudslide? I'm impressed with your faith in my abilities but I think that's beyond even me."

"Then why are you here? You come to tell me about cameras that your colleague planted, and then now turn up for no discernable reason – all I can think of is that you are trying to distract me while someone tries to sabotage my ship! And don't do that!" He grabbed her wrist, as she had about to start drumming on the Thunderbird again.

"Let go of me," she hissed, straining away from him.

"I won't until you tell me what you're planning! Did you bring more cameras? Or are you scouting for information before your next sabotage?" Scott knew that there was more Cat wasn't telling him, and he was determined to find it out before she vanished again. What he didn't expect was for her to twist round and expertly throw him over her shoulder.

He lay on the ground with the breath knocked out of him, while she came over. Standing on his legs to pin him down, she crouched and leant over his body, bringing her face close to his. "Bad idea, cub. I brought nothing this time but my curiosity – be thankful."

She stayed there for a heartbeat too long, and Scott was overwhelmed by her closeness – his head span, and not just because he'd just been flipped onto his back. Eventually she jumped off him, stepping on his abdomen as she went, causing him to fold up in pain. He struggled to stand up but it was too late, she had vanished. He staggered back to Thunderbird 1, and used its remote sensors to look for her, but it was as though she had faded into the landscape. He searched around the aircraft, but eventually had to concede that she was gone – she had vanished somewhere between the road and the saturated rubble that was the result of the landslides experienced earlier in the day. He eventually launched his craft, and set off for base, still feeling disorientated and hoping that the flight would help him arrange his thoughts back into their usual calm order, and help him to forget a woman with red lips and large golden eyes.

Cat paced angrily across the room, turning just short of the far wall before turned and pacing again. She was in a small motel room, the kind of place where provided you had the money to pay they didn't care who you were, which suited her exactly. She had holed up here when she'd arrived in America, and it was acting as her base while she accomplished her task. She was usually so careful about being tracked, but she was furious now with her carelessness. She needed to remain focussed on her purpose, not go skipping all over the country after IR. She been intrigued when she'd met the pilot of the first craft when she'd met him before, and hearing about the mudslides not far away she had gone to see if they would arrive again, being rewarded by seeing the silver jet arriving soon after.

She had waited until the man had gone to the edge of the mud, where it was oozing over the roads with pebbles falling all the time, and had broken into the craft. That had not been hard – breaking and entering was something of her speciality. What had been harder was to resist the man in blue now she had seen him clearly. Something about the way those blue eyes had looked at her with such innocence had affected her, made her careless. The last thing she needed to do was to find herself wrestling him to the ground. She had been so close to him, and had to resist so hard to avoid kissing those perfect lips.

This was wholly inappropriate. She had a mission, and she couldn't afford to get distracted when she was so close to her goal. The men who murdered her mother would do more than lose their livelihoods by the time she was through with them.