Follow on to 'Trapped in the
This story was written in
response to the Tracy Island Writers Forum's 2008 Adult
Follow-On Challenge and was voted the winner!
Author's Notes: Many thanks to
Sam W. for her excellent beta help. And LMC...good catch!
approached the two figures at the base of the London Airport
tower, he saw immediately that his brother was involved in a
heated discussion with an officious-looking man whose voice
carried with it an air of authority as well as irritation.
to know what your organization is going to do about it," he
his hat in one hand and was massaging his brow with the other.
His face visibly brightened though as he noticed Virgil
walking towards them.
himself just in time. Wouldn't do to reveal the name of a
member of International Rescue in public.
again. "Hey. 'Bout time you got done playing with your toys
and got over here."
teasing tone belied the shadow that came into his eyes as he
added: "You okay?"
worse for wear. What's up?"
Scott said, " Mr. Upshunt here is the Parliamentary Under
Secretary of State of the
of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. He's a bit
upset over the wake of destruction we've left on the tarmac."
turned his attention to the man in question.
kidding. We've just saved six hundred people from being blown
to bits! Not to mention the fact that thanks to us, the
Fireflash is also very much salvageable."
The man in
question eyed Virgil intently, as if waiting for the rest of
the story. Finally, he spoke.
"Ah, I see
you've conveniently forgotten the part that didn't go so well.
Nemsis Aire has lost two of their three charter
aircraft. You have shut down the majority of their operation
and I want to know what compensation they can expect from you
for lost business and destruction of property."
paled a bit. Oh, damn, the elevator car malfunction.
"Oh. I'd...forgotten that part."
Upshunt's sarcasm was evident.
convenient." He turned back to Scott. "Look, my good man. It's
evident that you did your best to help those people but facts
are facts. When an aircraft is damaged, it's not as if one can
just go to a warehouse and pick up a replacement. Restitution
must be made to the injured parties."
can assure you sir, that if it had been in our power to stop
that damage from occurring, it wouldn't have happened."
see my point then. It should have been in your control.
For heaven's sake, you Yanks just rush in like Rambo and then
expect everyone to clean up the mess you leave. Not to mention
that the control tower was basically bullied into letting you
land and accepting your help. "
just a damned minute," Virgil said between clenched teeth.
anger was evident in the reddish hue that had blossomed quite
nicely, beginning from the base of his neck and progressing
all the way up to his hairline. Scott privately agreed with
him, but part of his job at Mobile Control was to act as
public liaison and general good will ambassador.
a calming hand on Virgil's arm and excused both his brother
and himself for a moment from any more of Upshunt's ramblings.
They walked out together toward TB1 without a word. By the
time they'd reached the landing struts, Virgil finally had to
believe this load of horse shit? Who the hell does this guy
think he is?"
regarded his brother for a moment, remembering what he had
just accomplished and what had almost happened to him as a
guy's an asshole. On the one hand, he acknowledges that we
saved all those people and on the other, he insults us. It
pisses me off too...to the nth degree, but he's a local
bean counter is more like it. That's all people like him care
about, the bottom line. They put that above everything, even
human life. I'll never understand..."
try, Virg. Just take a deep breath and nod. This is a very
crucial time for us. We're establishing our reputation. We
can't afford to start out on the wrong foot here. What
happened with that car wasn't your fault. It just happened.
Not everything's going to go flawlessly on every rescue. There
are obviously still some bugs that need working out. In the
meantime, I'm gonna call Base and see what they want to do
about this mess."
gonna hit the ceiling"
the island, the call was answered by the distinguished looking
commander with salt and pepper hair. He took the news his
eldest son had relayed to him as he took everything in
life...with a calm demeanor born of his years of both military
and business experience.
the mike on the radio a bit further from his face as the
inflection of that last word echoed around Thunderbird One's
Father. He wants us to pick up the tab for the damage to that
airline and the airport property involved."
you tell this Upstart..."
a slight pause, and Scott knew his dad was trying to collect
himself and his temper. Jeff continued, more evenly.
the hell his name is,you tell him that not only was this
rescue operation done completely gratis, but that one of our
operatives was nearly involved in a serious injury accident
and basically risked life and limb to save not only those six
hundred people, but also the reputation of the flagship
carrier of his country, Air Terrainean. Furthermore..."
this was transpiring, Virgil had gone to secure Thunderbird
Two. The security guard on the transport plane had been
removed and he was now concentrating on getting her ready to
leave the scene. He knew that Scott was right in that they
couldn't afford to alienate the public, not if they were going
to establish a good reputation for themselves. He was also
glad that Scott was the one doing the negotiating, lest he
show Mr. Upshunt what a real disaster feels like.
the rocket plane, Jeff Tracy was having the last word on that
then you can tell him that I will see to it a full
investigation is launched into who approved an atomic powered
aircraft, with only two hours worth of safety shielding...for
already knew where his father was going with this. No aircraft
in England was considered to be air worthy unless it had
received a John Hancock from the Under Secretary of
State on its release papers. The newly confident field
commander signed off with the base commander and proceeded to
gather up his sibling. Now, armed with something besides the
painfully obvious facts, they walked side by side, back to the
tower and the waiting government official...
that was brilliant!" Virgil was transmitting from
Thunderbird Two, looking out over his port wing at his brother
in the cockpit of One as they flew home together.
knew Dad would come up with something. After all, he didn't
get to be where he is by kowtowing to every Tom, Dick and
Harry who tried to give him a hard time."
got that right! So Upshunt's even going to pay for the
whole mess out of his office's fiscal budget?"
along with a goodwill contribution from Air Terrainean."
great! I wonder if they'll ever catch that bomber."
Penelope caught the guy who was taking pictures. There might
be a connection."
could hear the grin in his brother's voice.
scared of her!"
Virg. I didn't want to have to tell you this, but you
and why's that, pray tell?"
remember that hangar near the Nemsis Aire planes that were
it was pretty much toast as I recall."
remember when Penny was trying to find somewhere inconspicuous
to dry-dock FAB Two in the off season...?"