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FAMILY MATTERS
by EJB
RATED FRT

Jeff Tracy has trouble sleeping and seeks advice from Brains.


Jeff Tracy woke up suddenly to find himself once again covered in heavy perspiration. His bed clothes were lying in a mangled heap, some on the floor and the rest hanging precariously over the edge of his bed, threatening to join the others any second. He sighed and glanced at the clock on his bedside table, frowning when it registered the time as 2.45a.m. Hot and thirsty, he heaved himself up and went to splash cold water on his face in his en suite bathroom. After putting on his robe he made his way to the kitchen to get a cool glass of milk.

Sitting at the table alone, he drank the milk and asked himself why he was suddenly getting plagued by a series of vivid nightmares that were robbing him of much needed sleep. He was beginning to feel exhausted, and a long and difficult rescue hadn't helped matters, even though the boys had made it home safely. He had to face it and admit to himself that he was going to have to get some kind of medical help soon, before he collapsed from exhaustion.

He glanced at the kitchen clock and wondered if the island's other resident insomniac was still up, and if so, if he would be able to do anything for him. He didn't want to let his sons or his mother know of his problem. Jeff Tracy was a man used to dealing with his own private stresses and his very nature prevented him from showing any sign of weakness of character, and to him, having fears about nightmares was the same sort of thing.

He drank his milk and rinsed the glass, then went into the silent, dark lounge and to his desk. He quickly pressed a red button that connected him to the laboratory and asked, "Brains, are you in there?"

After a few seconds the reply came, "Y-yes, Mr. Tracy, what's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong as such, Brains, I just need to talk to you," Jeff replied. "Hang on, I'll be right down."

A few minutes later Jeff was sitting in the laboratory facing a puzzled looking scientist, who was wondering why he was being disturbed at this hour by his employer.

"I hope I haven't disturbed you, Brains," Jeff told him.

"N-no, n-not really, I was just l-looking over some of the p-plans of the n-new life rafts that we w-were g-going to put in Thunderbird Four," he replied.

"I was just wondering if you could give me something to help me sleep, Brains. I've had a lot of disturbed nights lately," Jeff confided in the young genius opposite him. "I'm beginning to feel exhausted and I need to be alert for when the boys get called out on rescues."

"That won't be a problem, Mr. Tracy," Brains replied. "D-do you know why you s-suddenly have b-begun to have them, is it b-bad dreams or c-can you not g-go to sleep at all?"

"Strange dreams, Brains. Not necessary bad, but they keep bothering me, and they are so vivid I wake up wondering if they're real or not. It sometimes takes me a while to realise they were just dreams," Jeff answered.

"D-do y-you want t-to t-tell me about them? It might help," Brains suggested.

"I suppose I can tell you, because the whole thing is so ridiculous and I could laugh about it if it wasn't making me feel so tired," Jeff told him. "It begins with my family, Brains. I keep dreaming I have a long lost daughter, born after Alan. She always seems to have been away somewhere, like at school, and she just shows up here on the island out of the blue and disrupts everybody's lives. And when she isn't weeping and wailing over something trivial and getting all the boys to comfort her, she's announcing she wants to fly the Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds, Brains!"

Jeff looked over to where his young employee was studying his face intently. "And that's not all, Brains," Jeff continued. "I have this other dream, too, where she isn't born after Alan but has somehow been born as a twin to one of the other boys instead. So far only Scott's the only one who hasn't had this twin sister born with him. Now I was at the hospital when all my sons were born, Brains, and I can state quite definitely, that not one of them had a twin sister. So where she keeps coming from, I just don't know."

"Is there anything else?" Brains asked.

"Well yes, Brains, there is," Jeff answered. "This part is worse than the others. The boys themselves suddenly change their appearances and I can't recognise them anymore, I don't know one from the other. I'm going out on rescues with them and we're all wearing strange uniforms, grey coloured jumpsuits with different coloured stripes going down the sides. They have to have their names on so I know who they are and I'm worrying all the time about security. That's not all though, you have a son the same age as Alan and the two of them are at school together. Kyrano has found a wife and Lady Penelope and Parker are in her car flying around in the sky chasing after master criminals."

"That sounds l-like a v-very b-bad dream, Mr. Tracy," Brains agreed. "I w-wouldn't like t-to have a dream l-like that. I c-can give you s-something to help you sleep now if you l-like."

Minutes later Jeff was back in his bed again. He felt a little better after confiding in Brains and now realised how crazy the whole thing was. He had taken a mild sedative and settled down to enjoy some more much needed rest. On his way back to his room he had paused in the lounge and studied the five portraits of his sons hanging on the wall there. All wearing their familiar International Rescue uniforms and all with the faces he had known and loved since they were born. No girls' portraits had been next to them, only Lady Penelope's on the far side of the lounge. Everything was normal and comforting, and he began to relax and drift off to a pleasant dreamless sleep.

Meanwhile, down in the medical room, Brains was poring over some medical journals to research possible causes of sudden nightmares and insomnia. After a little searching, he found some articles that related to a sudden outbreak of the very condition that Jeff had described, spread out across several parts of the world way back in the summer of 2004. It seemed to have lasted over the next two years or so before fading away again. Some psychologists had even given it a name Frakenism.

 
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