This story was written in response to the 2006 Tracy Island Writers Forum's Silly Fic Title challenge.

The field commander wiped a sleeve across his forehead. The mountain rescue in Alaska had been gruelling, to say the least. On top of the other hardships he and his brothers had faced, the territory was now in the middle of one of its worst winters on record. Two hikers they had raced there to rescue from an avalanche had been located and were safe, thanks to the four young men dressed in blue, now in the process of packing up their operation and heading back to Base.

The eldest one jumped in to help with the clean- up and securing of equipment. Scott Tracy was grateful for his brothers' presence on missions such as this, but at the same time fearful. They were always ready to march into hell at his command and he knew one day their luck would run out and someone would not be coming home again...ever. He shook his head at these dark musings and rebuked himself. He was exhausted. That much was obvious. Things would look better after he'd had some sleep. Sleep? When had he last had any? He couldn't remember. Focus, Scott. He tried once again to concentrate on the task at hand.

The brothers worked together like a well oiled machine and finally, they were ready to leave the scene. Scott gave the all clear and Thunderbirds One and Two lifted off together, a magnificent sight to those lucky enough to be in the immediate vicinity. Once airborne, his brothers had insisted that Scott fly on ahead instead of hanging back with Two, as he was prone to do whenever Thunderbird One and her sister ship left the danger zone together.

It took some convincing, but between Virgil, John and Gordon, they managed to coerce their eldest brother into getting home ASAP for some much needed rest. He had overseen no less than five rescues in the last seven days and had been the only one to go out on all five. Even Virgil, after he'd dislocated his shoulder in one of the more sticky situations they'd found themselves in this week, had to temporarily relinquish command of Thunderbird Two to Gordon. That was one time Scott had been glad to be away from home. Virgil had protested rather loudly the decision to let Gordon pilot his ‘bird and had been impossible to be around until he was back in the cockpit, or so Tin Tin had told him. Though at least his condition had afforded him a break and a chance to rest up...a chance Scott never got.

As Thunderbird One gave a sharp lurch to the left, Scott came back to himself and realized that he'd been drifting. He quickly righted her and was back on course, but was beginning to wonder about his ability to make it home in one piece. If there had only been a patch of dry land close by, he could have set her down and taken a short respite.

The truth was, he should have flown back in Thunderbird Two and let John fly the gleaming silver rocket-plane home. The others had no idea how tired he really was and his stubborn pride had gotten the better of him. Since his position was considered to be the backbone of field operations, he didn't want his brothers to feel that he wasn't up to the task, no matter how many calls they went out on.

He cursed himself for his lack of judgment as he fought to stay alert. He knew better. Any good commander would not have taken the chance of falling asleep at the helm, especially when it wasn't necessary. It surely would have helped at this point if he'd had something to focus on. Flying over the open sea, especially at night, didn't afford you much in the way of landmarks, or any other points of reference, except maybe for the stars. He wondered to himself how the ancient mariners must have felt. After all, the twinkling lights in the sky were often their only means of navigation.

He peered at his instruments and realized that he'd gained a good deal of height, on the order of 20,000 feet. Pushing the atmospheric envelope wasn't something to which he was unaccustomed but it could have been disastrous if he'd fallen asleep and stalled out. Then, something caught his eye and he blinked once...twice. He couldn't be sure because of his distance from the object, but it appeared to be circular in shape. As he looked more closely, he could detect pulsating lights of various colors within it. No, they weren't pulsating. It was moving a bit closer now and he could see that the object was actually phasing in and out of existence. It was just hovering there as if waiting. For what he hadn't a clue. He blinked again and tried to focus his tired eyes. That must be it, he thought to himself. He was exhausted and had now started to hallucinate. It was in no way a comfort to him to realize that he was human after all, and not exactly invincible. He had abused his body and was now paying the price.

That's when he noticed that the object had become brighter and seemed to be rotating at a phenomenal rate. He was now much closer to it and the light was becoming blinding in the red glow of the cockpit, which was in night mode. Scott covered his eyes with his hands, to no avail. He struggled to look at his onboard scanners and found that the thing was not registering as having any form or substance. It moved toward him and the closer it came, the more he began to feel an odd sensation, like pins and needles coursing throughout his entire body.

The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as he realized that the object was moving even faster now and was heading straight for him. They were on a collision course and in one swift movement, he pushed all the way forward on the controls, feeling Thunderbird One shudder in protest at the sudden maneuver. He could almost hear her screaming objections as they abruptly went into a vertical dive, his gimbal pilot's seat swinging into place with the change of attitude. The object, whatever it was, passed directly above him before coming around for another pass.

He decided that he'd better transmit a mayday to Base because he might not get another chance to let them know what was happening. He tried to keep his voice calm as he spoke into the mic.

"Thunderbird One to Base. Come in, please." Come on, Dad, be there!

He was just about to try it again when the response came through.

"Thunderbird One from Base. We read you, but we're getting some interference. Scott, what's your position?"

He let out a small sigh of relief. "Boy, am I glad to hear your voice! Listen, Dad. I'm being pursued by an unidentified, er, object."

Jeff paused for a second, not certain he'd heard correctly. "You mean there's a UFO chasing you?"

"I don't know what it is, but it's been dogging me for the last 15 minutes or so."

He heard his father conferring with his youngest son, who was on his shift rotation in the space station.

"Alan has just given me your exact position, three hundred fifty miles southwest of the Aleutian Islands. He's getting some strange readings from the instrumentation aboard One. I'm going to patch you through..."

"Scott, your readings don't make any sense. What's happening down there?"

"I don't know, Alan. All attempts at eluding the craft have failed. I've never seen anything like it."

"Has it fired on you? Do you have any ideas about the pilot's intentions?"

"No, it just seems to be playing cat and mouse with me. Every time I try for level flight, it comes at me again."

As he spoke, the object once again began closing in on him.

"It's making another run at me!"

His father's anxious sounding baritone cut in

"Scott, get outta there!"

He didn't need any prompting. Thunderbird One again voiced her opposition as her skillful pilot grabbed the controls with both hands and pulled back on the levers as hard as he could. The rocket plane began climbing at an alarming rate and didn't stop until it had again reached an extreme altitude.

"Alan, Dad! Are you there?"


Scott frowned. The transmitter was losing its signal but there didn't seem to be any logical reason why. The closer the object got, the harder it was to hear.

"Alan, you're breaking up...Alan!"


And then the signal was lost altogether. Desperately he switched frequencies and tried to reach Virgil, who was now just about 45 minutes behind him. To his dismay, all he got in reply was an earful of static. At the same time he began to feel the strange pins and needles sensation again, only this time it was worse. His limbs felt like lead. His head swam. The object, now filling his view port, had stopped and was hovering next to him.

Scott was trying desperately to hang on to awareness, but it was getting increasingly difficult. He was feeling the equivalent of strong G Forces pressing down on him, pushing him into his seat and he could no longer grasp the control levers. He watched helplessly as his hand lost its grip and his arm slid down into his lap.

He was aware that the glaring light had suddenly begun to sparkle around him, enveloping him. Spots appeared before his eyes and the pins and needles sensation intensified. Unable to fight it any longer, Scott Tracy succumbed to oblivion.

The disembodied voices seemed distant. He could detect a bit of urgency in them and he appeared to be on the move. Comprehension was fleeting and he suddenly wondered why he wasn't walking under his own power, yet seemed to be traveling.

Try as he might, his body would not cooperate. He was simply too drained of strength to even open his eyes. The voices were becoming garbled, merging into one droning murmur. Occasionally, he'd be able to decipher a word or two that stood out.

"... shock."



He could feel himself being lifted and placed on a firm, flat surface. The steady, pulsating rhythm which began shortly thereafter lulled him back into the realm of unconsciousness.

He awoke sometime later, his throat so dry that it hurt to swallow. The soreness brought him to full awareness and the memory of what had happened to him came promptly to the surface. He sat bolt upright, and instantly regretted it. He'd have to ask Brains for some headache pills as soon as...he looked around, puzzled. He was not in the sick room back at Base, nor did it appear to be a hospital bed.

He started slightly as another presence in the room made itself known. "Well, hello there. Glad to see you're with us."

It was a kindly looking man with eyes that nearly matched the color of the shimmery blue tunic he wore. There was some sort of insignia he'd never seen before on his chest. It resembled an arrowhead.

The man watched as his patient tried hard to make some sense of his new environment. "Don't worry. All the answers are coming. For now why don't you just lie back and relax. Here's some water. Drink it slowly."

Scott gratefully took the proffered cup. He thought he detected a hint of a regional accent in the man's speech, probably from the southern United States. In any case, the voice seemed both soothing and understanding. The man placed a hand on the pilot's chest, but met with resistance.

"Where am I? Did I crash? What happened...?"

"Whoa, hold on there. There's no cause for alarm. Like I said, all will be explained. In the meantime, you've been through a rough time. You should try and relax."

Relaxation, however, was not currently on the field commander's list of priorities. He insisted on trying to get up off the table and was hit by a wave of dizziness like nothing he'd ever felt before.

"Now, let that be a lesson to you," said the kindly man, with a hint of a smile in both his features and his tone.

Scott allowed himself to once again be placed in a comfortably horizontal position, since the alternative was to offer up the entire contents of his stomach. He closed his eyes as he fought against the bile still threatening to rise up from his throat. He swallowed hard and tried his luck at speech.

"W-Where?" He swallowed again. "Who are you?"

"Well, if you'll just be patient..."

Before the man in the tunic could complete the sentence, a door swooshed open and in stepped a man whose very presence seemed to command authority. He was wearing a gold shirt bearing the same type of insignia on the chest. He was younger than the other man and had some sort of braiding on his sleeves. Scott definitely got the impression that the man in charge of...wherever he was had just walked through the door. He smiled in Scott's direction and he knew then an explanation would be forthcoming.

"Well, doctor, how's our star patient?"

The dark haired pilot noted the use of the title. Well at least I know he's not some mad scientist bent on biological experimentation...at least I hope not.

"On the mend and hungry for answers, Captain."

Captain? Captain of what? Scott speculated.

"Well, answers he'll get. Question is, can he handle the truth?"

By now Scott's anxiety level was reaching an all time high. He had no idea what the looks that were passing between these two "persons" meant. He became worried that something catastrophic in nature had occurred. His thoughts immediately went to the island and his family. After all, the menace that had pursued him seemed alien in nature. What if...? Aliens!

At that moment the sickbay doors parted once again and in strode a man clad in a different type of blue shirt. Upon closer examination of him, Scott did such a double-take that he nearly gave himself whiplash.

"Oh my God..."

Kirk smiled knowingly. "I see my manners have been lacking. I am Captain James T. Kirk and you are aboard the United Space Ship Enterprise." Turning to the "man" beside him he added, "This is my first officer, Mr. Spock."

The lack of reaction from their guest prompted Spock to elaborate. "I am from the planet Vulcan. My mother is from your planet Earth, making me half human."

Their guest's hand went up to rub at his temple. "This can't be happening. I must have hit my head really hard or something."

"Oh, it's quite real, I assure you." Kirk looked pointedly at him. "And since we're doing introductions, it's nice to meet you too, Mr. Tracy. Scott I believe, isn't it?"

The sound of his name seemed to shake the eldest Tracy sibling out of his state of near catatonia. He eyed the captain warily. "What else do you know about me?"

Spock continued. "Eldest of the five Tracy sons born to ex- astronaut and billionaire entrepreneur, Jeff Tracy. Heir to Tracy Corp. and the Tracy estate. Oh yes, and field commander of the most famous organization to ever exist, International Rescue. Not to mention pilot of Thunderbird One, the fastest craft of her time in the world."

Scott was nonplussed. "How do you know all that? Not even the world during this time knows who we really are."

"It's a matter of historical record in our time, Scott, resulting from a rescue you performed in what was formerly known as Paris, France. The entire city was...well, just stay away from the Eiffel Tower. Anyway, maybe that's more than you need to know at this point."

The former Air Force captain wasn't about to let that go. "Oh no you don't, tell me the rest of it, dammit!"

"I believe, sir, that the situation at present presents a much more pressing problem."

"Quite right, Mr. Spock," Kirk conceded.

"About that situation," Scott inquired, "Wh-What happened to me? How did I get here?"

Spock explained. "Your craft, a very advanced one for this time period I might add, was being pursued by a probe of extraterrestrial origin. The beings that sent it have apparently also discovered our secret of time travel. We followed the device here in the hopes of preventing it from affecting Earth's history. Going by the old calendar, we should have arrived in the year 2005. However, due to a disturbance in the flow of time, we arrived 25 years later. It must have happened when we followed the probe around the sun. Its gravity caught us simultaneously and since we were traveling together at warp speed..."

Time travel I've heard of, but what the hell is warp speed? Scott wondered.

The Vulcan carried on. "...it acted as a slingshot attempting to propel too great a mass and we fell short of our goal..."

Good God. If Brains were here it would be love at first sight.

"...No matter, we were still successful in stopping the probe in this time and preventing any interference with the normal course of events."

"Except for when you grabbed me, you mean." Scott said. At the look on Kirk's face he asked, "Why was this thing chasing me, anyway?"

"Something caused it to go astray." Kirk said. "Its programming must have malfunctioned and it thought you were a missile, since you were flying much faster than any aircraft known in this time. We had to do something to get you out of there before you got too high a dose of the radiation it was emitting. It was close but we managed to grab both you and your ship before destroying the probe and the doctor here gave you a shot to counteract any radiation sickness. Lucky thing we were in the area."

"Well, thanks for the help but why was this probe sent here?"

"From what we've been able to tell, its main purpose seemed to be the alteration of some significant event that took place early in the twenty-first century. Our mission was to determine what that event was and just how it might have affected the historical development of Earth so we could prevent the probe from changing it. Even though we arrived twenty five years late, I believe we were successful."

"Twenty-first century? Took place?" Scott was almost afraid to ask the question as he raised a shaky finger to point in their general direction. "Ah, what...what century...?"

"We're from the twenty-third," the man he knew as the captain answered. "Earth."

Scott slowly sat up on the table again and put his head in his hands, groaning. A part of him was in denial, though on some level, he believed them. It had to be the only explanation for what he had just been through.

"Don't worry, son," the man known as the doctor said. "We realize this is going to take a little while to sink in."

Slowly, Scott's head came up. "Thunderbird One, where is she?"

"We have her in tow," the captain informed him. "She'll be fine until we can figure out what to do with you."

"Figure out what to do with me? I want to go back to my home and my family."

"I'm afraid that might be a problem, given the fact that you've seen us and know where we're from."

The young pilot's eyes widened in the beginning stages of panic. Were they saying that he might never be able to leave and would have to go back with these people to their own time? Or, were they going to...?

Just then a call came through to the sickbay.

"Captain Kirk, please contact Mr. Scott on the bridge...Captain Kirk, please contact Mr. Scott on the bridge."

Scott was somewhat soothed by the overtly feminine voice. Mmmm, she sounds nice. Did she just say Mr...Scott?

The man in the gold shirt turned to the patient from the past, who regarded him apprehensively. "Excuse me, duty calls. Take care of him, Bones."

"You bet."

Bones, huh? Guess it's better than ‘hey you!' Scott mused.

Captain Kirk motioned for Spock to join him and went to the nearest wall intercom outside in the corridor.

"Kirk here."

"Captain," the voice on the other end said in an unmistakable Scottish brogue, "Can you and Mr. Spock please come to the bridge? I've discovered some interesting facts about our unexpected guest and that probe..."

The patientstared dejectedly after the captain and his first officer as the doors swooshed shut behind them. Scott's eyes focused briefly on the floor before rising to meet the doctor's.

"Dr., uh..."

"McCoy. Leonard McCoy, at your service."

A ghost of a smile crossed Scott's features. "Dr, ah, McCoy, what kind of a ship is this that it can travel into the past?"

"Well now, that's a long and complicated story, which I'm not entirely sure I'm qualified to tell."

Not allowed to tell either I'll bet, Scott thought.

Since it was obvious that he wasn't going to get the doctor to elaborate further on anything other than his physical condition, Scott relented and eased up on his interrogation, temporarily. He'd get his answers, maybe not this second, but he'd get them.

Upon Kirk and Spock's return they went, along with McCoy, into the physician's private office to confer. Scott was fit to be tied and had lost any patience he might have had by the time they came out.

"I want to know if you're going to release me." He stated in a tone that suggested he wouldn't stand for anything other than a straight answer.

"I'm afraid we can't do that." Kirk said. "The people of this Earth can't know the future. It might alter history as we know it."

Scott glared at the captain, wondering if this whole thing was some elaborate ruse to make him reveal IR's secrets. What he saw in Kirk's face did not betray any deceit but he knew after all the attempts by the Hood, some military types and various private interests to obtain the location of their base and their technology, he couldn't always trust what he saw.

"I'm not about to divulge information about you to anyone since I can't even reveal who I really am."

"I'm sorry, Scott, but we just can't take that chance." At the look on the pilot's face, Kirk added, "I am sorry."

Thoughts of never seeing home again, never seeing his family, Oh God, Virgil, ever again came unbidden and the torment was more than he could bear. He lowered himself off the examination table and drew himself up to his full height of six feet, two inches, enabling him to tower over Kirk. Scott's cobalt eyes bored down into Kirk's hazel ones.

"Is that supposed to make me feel better? Just what do you plan on doing with me, Kirk?"

Just then the sickbay doors once again slid open to reveal what appeared to be a security detachment. The two red-shirted men had what looked like some type of weapon strapped to their sides. Apparently, they had been monitoring the situation.

He knew it would do him no good to run since he had no idea where he would go. He just knew he had to get out of there, get back to where he belonged.

Kirk began issuing orders. "Take our guest to the quarters we've prepared for him and confine him there until I tell you otherwise."

The answer came in unison. "Yes, sir!"

As they attempted to lead him out the door, the field commander abruptly spun around and blindsided one of the guards with a round-house kick, taking them all by surprise. Before anyone could react, he had obtained the man's weapon and was now aiming it at the remaining four crew members.

"Tracy, stop!" Kirk pleaded, trying to distract him.

"No way! I want you to put me back where I belong...now!"

Scott raised the firearm higher, even though he had no idea how to use it. He really didn't want to hurt them but...

Kirk looked resignedly at Scott and sighed. "Very well, Tracy. Mr. Spock, if you will?"

"Yes, Captain. Sir, if you will just follow me..."

Scott never had time to react as Spock's hand jutted out and grabbed him in the area between the neck and shoulder. He dropped like a rag doll, the weapon clattering to the floor.

McCoy regarded the prostrate man with a modicum of respect. "Jim, why didn't you tell him that the pivotal event in history the probe was trying to change was his mother's death?"

"I couldn't see any point in burdening him further, Bones. It was apparently a very hard time for him and his family and there seemed no advantage to dredging up old memories. At least we know that the formation of International Rescue will still happen, as it was meant to."

The three officers were huddled around the examination table where they had carried the once again oblivious pilot.

"What now?" McCoy asked.

"I don't know. Any ideas, Spock?"

Spock was pensive for a brief moment and then appeared to have come to a decision. "Captain, if you'll permit me, I may be able to selectively remove certain memories from Mr. Tracy's consciousness."

McCoy's expression conveyed that he did not approve. "Jim," he cautioned, "are you really going to let him perform some Vulcan disappearing act on this man's mind? Think of the consequences should he erase the wrong memories. And what if it doesn't work at all? How will we know?"

"Calm yourself, Doctor." Spock countered. "I have had some experience with this technique, which has proven quite successful."

"Oh really?" Bones said, intrigued. "Just who did you use it on?"

McCoy couldn't help but catch the nano-second in which Spock's eyes shifted towards Kirk. The doctor's eyes rolled upwards to the heavens as his head slowly shook from side to side. "Spare me the details. I don't want to know."

Kirk simply stood there for a second, perplexed at the non- existent conversation. Spock noticed and did his best to recover.

"I was about to say, Doctor, that the technique was performed on someone with whom I am intimately familiar, and they seem to have suffered no ill effect."

"That's debatable," Bones muttered.

Kirk looked questioningly from one to the other and threw his hands in the air.

"I don't know what you two are on about but now's not the time. Spock, do whatever you need to, and quickly. Then, if this works, you can start your computations for time travel, since we'll have to return him to the moment just after we destroyed the probe. That way, we won't have to worry about him ever encountering it."

"Aye, Captain." The Vulcan slowly approached the unconscious form on the examination table and placed both hands on the areas just under his eyes and along the bridge of his nose.


"Base to Thunderbird One, come in, Scott!... Scott, do you read me? Answer, please!"

"Base from Thunderbird One. I read you, Father."

He could hear his father's exhaled sigh of relief.

"Thank Heaven. We thought we lost you, son. What happened? You dropped off our scanners for a moment. We thought you'd crashed."

"Nothing, Father. Everything's under control."

"But you were being pursued by an unidentified aircraft!" Alan added

"I was?"

"Yes, you transmitted a distress call! Don't you remember?"

Scott didn't know what to make of what his father and Alan were telling him. He thought Gordon might be responsible but couldn't imagine his father being in on one of his younger brother's practical jokes. "No, sir. I don't recall doing that."

Alan thought he'd suddenly been transported to the Twilight Zone. "But, Scott, what about...?"

Scott was becoming mildly perturbed. "Look, I really don't know what the two of you are talking about but everything's fine. If I was being pursued, I guess whoever it was didn't find me a very interesting target and gave up. I'm fine, really. Um, Dad, do you think you could move the pool so I could land?"

"What? Oh, sorry...There, you're cleared to land. And, Scott?"

"Yes, sir?"

"I'm calling for an extensive debriefing the minute you get in here."

"Sure thing, Father. One out."

Scott cut the communication and became aware that his exhaustion had virtually disappeared. He didn't know how but he felt raring to go. It was good to be home. And somehow he knew that he was lucky to be there, in more ways than one.

Needless to say, the debriefing was a bit, well, weird. Jeff had insisted that Scott get himself checked out thoroughly by Brains just to make sure he was both physically and mentally fit for duty.

It had now been two days and Scott had practically forgotten what all the fuss was about to begin with. He'd been jogging along the beach this morning when his wrist comm. came to life.

"Base to Scott."

"Scott here, I read you loud and clear."

"We've just gotten a rescue call, son."

"What's happened, Father?"

"I'll give you the details when you get back to the villa but it seems there's been an accident in the heart of downtown Paris, something involving the Eiffel Tower."

All the color drained from the pilot's face. He didn't know why but something hit him like a blow to the stomach. "D-Did you say the Eiffel Tower?"

"Yes, why, son? You sound a little strange. Is everything all right?... Scott...?"

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