by EJB

Follow on to 'Move -- and You're Dead'. This story was written in response to the Tracy Island Writers Forum's 2008 Adult Follow-On Challenge.

"That takes care of them!" Alan Tracy said with satisfaction to Tin Tin after sending his older brothers, Scott and Virgil, hurtling downwards in the passenger elevator that led to either Thunderbird Two or the Cliff House Landing Control Room.

Unknown to Tin Tin, Alan pressed the emergency stop button and turned to her with a smile and asked, "How about us going for a picnic on the beach? I could do with something to relax me after standing still so long and holding that darn heavy trophy."

"That would be nice, Alan. You go and get changed and I'll pack us up some things and see you later. I'll tell father that we won't be in for dinner," the young Malaysian girl answered. "Don't forget to take your trophy to your room though. I must admit I was disappointed too with that picture Virgil painted. You deserved much better than that after all you've been through."

"Yeah, well the two of them can laugh it off down there now," Alan said as he scowled at the portrait that Virgil had painted, making him stand still for well over an hour to pose for as he picked his trophy up and left the lounge.

Brains and Gordon had just finished fitting a new halogen lighting bar on the trough of Thunderbird Four and were just coming out of Pod Four when they met Jeff Tracy looking rather worried. "There you are, Brains. I was wondering if you would take a look at my mother after you've finished here. She's still not feeling well after what happened on that bridge and has gone to her room. I think the effects of the sun plus the stress have got to her," Jeff said to Brains.

"Sure, M-Mr. Tracy, I'll g-go right now," he replied. "Gordon and I are finished in there."

"I guess Grandma will take a while to recover from that," Gordon said to his father.

"Yes, her age is against her, not like Alan. He's had astronaut training too, so he's used to extreme demands on his system," Jeff told him.

"D-did she say, er, just exactly what was wrong?" Brains asked.

"Kyrano came into the study after lunch and told me that she felt a bit hot and dizzy and had gone to her room for a lie down," Jeff replied. "I went to take a look at her and she is awake but still feels the same way so I thought I would get you to check her over."

"Knowing Grandma, she probably thought she could shake it off and did not rest enough when she got here," Gordon added. "I'll finish off doing some more checks here, Brains. You go with Dad. Tell Grandma I hope she feels better soon."

Scott and Virgil were surprised that the elevator they were travelling in came to a halt midway between the floors.

"Looks like you really upset the kid this time, Virg," Scott said. "He must have pressed the emergency stop button."

"Don't blame it all on me, you were winding him up too!" Virgil replied with exasperation. "Now how are we going to get out of this thing?"

"We've got three options," Scott said. "We can press the alarm button and hope somebody hears us. We can try and contact John via our wrist comms to see what he suggests, or failing that we'll have to take the bull by the horns and contact Dad to get us out of here."

"Or we could stay here and hope somebody misses us, "Virgil added. "Whichever way we choose, Alan is going to be in big trouble over this. I bet he's gone out of the lounge now and Dad's not going to be happy about him doing this to us."

"Never mind Dad not being happy, I'll kill him myself when I do get out of here," Scott replied as he glared upwards to where he last saw his youngest brother.

"Where was Gordon when you last saw him?" Virgil asked.

"I'm not sure," Scott told him. "I went to my room after lunch and came back just in time to see your finished 'work of art' that's got us in this mess. Anyway, do you think it's advisable to let Gordon know about this?"

"We may have to. In any case he'll find out eventually," said Virgil. "He may be our only hope of rescue."

"Yeah, what a predicament and Gordon our hope of getting out of it," Scott replied.

While the two brothers debated over their next move, Alan went to his room and changed out of his driving suit that he'd posed in for Virgil. Tin Tin was enjoying having Alan all to herself again, especially after his ordeal after winning the race at Parola Sands. She quickly packed up a few things in a picnic basket for them to enjoy on the beach later when they would be alone. She chose some cooked chicken, a few snacks, some left over pie, some fruit and bottles of juice. She did not want to waste too much time preparing the picnic and by the time she'd put everything in the basket Alan was ready and met her. He picked the basket up and together they left for their walk along the beach.

"This is a lovely idea, Alan," Tin Tin told him after they left the house. "It's been quite a while since we had a late evening picnic down on the beach."

"Sounds good to me too," Alan replied. "Yes, it has been a long time. "

The thought of keeping out of both of his elder brothers' way for as long as possible was an inviting prospect to Alan. He would also be keeping well out of the way of his father whom he new would be ready to give him a verbal tongue lashing when he found out about his latest prank. He'd been in that situation many times before and got over it so he was not going to be concerned about it now. There was also the delightful pleasure of spending time alone with Tin Tin too which was an added bonus.

John was reading the last exciting chapter of his book when he was surprised to receive a call from Scott via his wrist comm and not through the usual vid-screen when things were normal on the island.

"Hi, Scott what's up?" John asked his elder brother.

"Do me a favour, John, and check on the scan to see just where you're receiving this signal from will you?" Scott asked. "And don't say from the passenger elevator shaft, be more precise."

Puzzled by the request John checked the scanner and told Scott, "Okay you're in the passenger elevator shaft at the junction of Two's shaft and the Cliff House. There's somebody with you too. "Why? What's wrong? Has there been a power failure or something?"

"Something like that," Scott replied not wanting to let another brother in on the situation for the present. "I've got Virgil in here with me. Is there any way you can power up the elevator from there?"

"No, Scott, not from here. Brains has not come up with that idea yet." John replied. "The only way is to check the separate power systems for International Rescue to see what the problem is. It may be a fuse gone or something. Shall I contact Gordon to check it out?"

"No!! Don't do that yet, John," Scott said quickly. "I think I know what the problem is. I'll contact Gordon myself, thanks anyway."

"Okay, Scott, I'll leave you to it then," John told him and broke off the connection. He was a little puzzled by Scott's call but thought that as Scott didn't seem too worried, he returned to the last pages of his book.

"Well what do you think, Brains?" Jeff asked after the young scientist and medic finished examining his mother. Jeff had been waiting anxiously outside while he did so.

"She's n-not too b-bad, M-Mr. Tracy," Brains told him. "She's tired, b-but her vital signs are good. I think she just n-needs to rest up in b-bed for a day or two, she should b-be fine then. She's d-dozing off to sleep now."

"Thanks, Brains, I'll see that she stays there," Jeff replied. "She can be stubborn at times and thinks she is stronger than she is and tries to fight it."

"I've just told her what I told you and she seems willing enough to stay there until she feels better," Brains said as the two of them went back downstairs.

"Right, so it looks like the only option is for us to contact Gordon," Virgil said as gazed at the blank walls of the elevator shaft.

"He's going to have a field day with this," Scott responded. "Of course he'll blackmail us into some deal or other first if I know him but we don't have any other choice."

"Well let's get it over with. I don't want to be stuck here much longer," Virgil replied getting more exasperated by the minute.

Gordon was happily whistling a tune to himself as he carried the old worn out halogen light that had been on the trough of Thunderbird Four over to the refuse dump where it would be broken up later and disposed of safely. He'd just placed it with the rest of the trash amongst several other worn out pieces of equipment when he felt his wrist comm vibrate and was surprised to see Scott's face replacing the familiar watch dial.

"Hi, Scott, has an emergency call come in?" Gordon asked, although it was normal to hear the sound of the klaxon at these times.

"No, not a regular emergency anyway. Now listen, Gordon, go up to the lounge and press the emergency stop button for the passenger elevator shaft so it will begin to run again," Scott told him and hoped that would be all he needed to say.

Scott winced when he saw the expression change on Gordon's face to one of delight at his elder brother's request. "I get it, you're stuck in there, Scott, and you want me to rescue you, is that it?"

"Yes, that's it, Gordon, now go and do it please," Scott pleaded, "We've been in here long enough now."

"We've been in here?" Gordon asked still smiling. "Who else is in there with you?"

"Me," Virgil yelled out. "Now go and do it, Gordon, for Pete's sake."

Gordon's smile grew wider at the thought of his two elder brothers needing him to rescue them from their confinement inside the elevator shaft.

"But supposing there's a fault with the emergency button?" Gordon reasoned. "It shouldn't stop like that unless somebody pressed it from above. Neither of you could have done it and Dad's been down here looking for Brains."

Scott gritted his teeth with exasperation, "Gordon just go up to the lounge and press that button will you, please? And press the up button too so we can get out of here."

Gordon was enjoying milking the situation for all it was worth and asked as he headed towards the other elevator that would take him up to the lounge. "Why didn't Virgil take his usual fun ride to Thunderbird Two anyway? Or were you going to the Cliff House instead?"

"We weren't going anywhere as far as I know," Scott told him; relieved by the fact that Gordon was walking to what he hoped was the direct elevator shaft to the lounge. Then Scott had a thought and told Gordon the whole story.

"Listen, Gordon, it was Alan that messed around with the elevator buttons while we were in the lounge. We can't break our code and get him into trouble with Dad. I'm just going to kill him myself and then Virgil will kill him later. If Dad's in the lounge when you get up there just try and get to the buttons discretely or distract Dad to get him out of there for a few minutes."

Gordon thought 'Nice one Al, now I'm going to have to finish off your work.' Thenhe said to Scott'"You're talking danger money now, Scott. I'll have to make some sort of deal with the two of you for this. "

"Okay, Okay, you can have all of Virgil's share of whatever Grandma bakes for us in the way of muffins, brownies or apple pies for the next two months," Scott told him. "Just do it."

"Okay, that's reasonable," Gordon agreed. "I'm going up now, see you two guys later, I hope."

"Why my share?" Virgil asked sullenly after Scott cut the disconnection with Gordon.

"You got us in this mess by winding Alan up with that painting," Scott answered, "Don't worry, I'll give you some of my share."

Jeff Tracy came back into the lounge feeling more relaxed now that his mother was not as sick as he thought she was. He wondered where everybody was as the room usually had at least two of his sons in there at this time. All of the maintenance duties had been carried out and if there was no rescue to occupy them they usually relaxed in here.

He saw the painting of Alan that Virgil had done still on its easel and went to have a closer look at it. He wasn't keen on that sort of style at all and had to admit to himself he couldn't make head nor tail of what it at what it was supposed to be. Giving up trying, he went over to his desk and pulled out some papers that needed his attention as recent events had delayed his work on his business interests.

Kyrano soon appeared with a mug of coffee and placed it on the corner of the desk.

"How is Mrs Tracy now?" he asked his employer.

"She's not too bad now, Kyrano, and has been told to take some rest in bed for a few days," Jeff replied. "She should be fine by then."

"That is good news," Kyrano replied.

"Where is everybody, Kyrano?" Jeff asked his servant and old friend. "The place is deserted. I've only seen Gordon about."

"Mr. Alan and my daughter have gone for a picnic down on the beach and won't be back for dinner. Mr. Virgil was in here with them for a while but I do not know where he is now, "Kyrano told him.

"Thanks, okay, Kyrano." Jeff replied. "It's good to know I can reach them all if an emergency comes in."

Gordon emerged from the elevator and was disappointed to see his father sitting at his desk. He walked over to see what vantage point he had in getting at the buttons that were located under the right hand side of the desk top. He also noted that Alan had waited until the floor had slid back into position again before pressing the emergency stop button. Jeff meanwhile was curious as to why Gordon had gone round to the back of his desk.

"Hello, son, is something wrong?" he asked him.

"No, Dad, I was just wondering how Grandma was?" Gordon replied.

"She's okay and asleep now and will be resting in bed for a few days," Jeff answered still wondering why Gordon should walk around to the back of his desk to ask the question.

"That's good, Dad," Gordon replied as his mind was thinking about how to get his father to move away from his desk so he could carry out the plan.

"Dad, why don't you go and work out on the patio for a while?" Gordon asked. "It's a lovely day out there and you can relax for a while. I was thinking that it's been a while since a maintenance check was carried out on the systems in here and you never know when a fuse could blow or something if a rescue call came in."

Jeff took a sip of his coffee and stared at Gordon. Like the rest of the family, Jeff had good reason not to trust this particular son at times and one of those times was now.

"Thank you, Gordon, but I don't want to go outside. I'm late dealing with some of this work and will have to make some telecalls to New York soon and for your information the whole system had a routine check just two weeks ago when you were on leave," Jeff informed him.

"Oh, I didn't know that," Gordon replied, still thinking of what to do next. He wished Alan had let the elevator reach its destination. That way Scott and Virgil could have returned by themselves and he wouldn't have to do this.

"Now if you don't mind, Gordon, I would appreciate it if you left me get on with this work," Jeff answered whilst wondering what prank Gordon was planning on carrying out.

"Yeah, sure, okay, Dad, I'll leave you to it then," Gordon said. "I'll be around if you need me for anything."

Gordon made a hasty retreat from the lounge into the library next door. He contacted Scott by his wrist comm and told him, "It's no use, Scott, I can't get Dad to move from his desk. He thinks I'm up to something I think. He's sitting right next to the buttons, but don't worry I've got another idea. Have no fear, guys, I'll rescue you."

"Well get on with it, Gordon, "Scott replied. "I'm not surprised he's suspicious of you; you've given him plenty of reasons to be over the years."

Gordon cut the connection off from Scott and immediately contacted John who was enjoying a mug of coffee now that he'd finished his book.

John was surprised again to find Gordon was speaking to him by his wrist comm. now. "What's going on there, Gordon, is the Vid-screen okay?"

"Well I think so but it may need checking. John, contact Dad will you and see if it is?" Gordon asked his confused older brother.

"Why? It was working fine when I was speaking to Dad earlier. First Scott contacts me by his watch and gave me a strange request and now you." John told him.

"Scott's spoken to you already?" Gordon asked.

"Yes, he wanted me to try and get the passenger elevator to fire up from here but I couldn't. I told him to get you to check it out in case a fuse was gone but he refused," John replied.

"Okay. How would you like being involved in a rescue, John?" Gordon laughed and told him of the plight of their two brothers and what Scott had asked him to do.

John laughed back when he found out the truth of the matter and said, "Okay, if you're having Virgil's share of Grandma's goodies I'll have Scott's. I'll distract Dad with a call and you do your bit."

"Give me time to get back into the lounge and into position first," Gordon said as he cut off the connection.

Jeff watched as Gordon walked back into the lounge over to the portrait that Virgil had made earlier and stared at it. He wondered just what Gordon was up to and shook his head and went back to his work.

Gordon judged that he was close enough to his father's desk to reach the buttons in time when John contacted his father, which he did moments later.

Jeff sighed when the eyes of John's portrait began to flash, 'A rescue call now and I wanted to get on with this work!' he thought as he rolled his chair over to the other end of the desk to open the vid-screen link to John, far enough away from the buttons that Gordon was desperate to press and bring his two brothers back up to the surface again.

"Go ahead, John," Jeff said routinely to answer the call. "What's up?"

"I've heard some reports that two men are trapped in some sort of underground building complex, Father," John told him with a serious expression. "There's been no radio calls for help yet but I thought I'd let you know in case we're needed."

"Whereabouts, son?" Jeff asked.

"Not far from here," John answered. "It's on one of the South Pacific Islands so it will be easy to get to. I've made a note of the co-ordinates if we need to do anything."

Gordon meanwhile had seized his opportunity while Jeff was facing John and ran around and pressed the buttons. He gave John the thumbs up sign and smiled then hastily retreated from the desk.

"Keep listening and keep us informed of the situation, John," Jeff told him, unaware that Gordon had just carried out the rescue that John was reporting.

"I will, Father," John replied and he wanted to stay on the line long enough to see his brothers emerge from the elevator so he extended the conversation. "How's Grandma? You said she was not feeling well when we last spoke."

Jeff repeated to John what he'd told Kyrano and Gordon, while behind him Scott and Virgil emerged from the elevator.

John smiled when he saw Virgil still dressed in his artist's garments and carrying his paint palette and looking none too happy. Scott did not seem to be happy either judging from his expression. Then he told his father, "Oh I've just heard that the men have been freed and are safe now, Dad, and our services won't be required after all."

"Well that's good news, John, glad to know we don't have to be involved in that rescue. Goodbye, son," Jeff answered cutting the link feeling relieved that he could get on with his work. He was totally unaware just how much John and Gordon had been involved in the rescue as he noticed the sudden appearance of Scott and Virgil in the lounge.

Gordon stared at his brothers and burst out laughing, "What were you doing, Virgil? Were you about to paint a portrait of Two to hang up in your room so you could gaze at it with love? I hope you make a better job of it than that last one over there on the easel."

Virgil shot Gordon a murderous expression and went out of the lounge saying, "I'm going to my room to get changed," as he did so.

"Where's Alan, Dad,?" Scott asked as they all watched Virgil leave in haste.

"Gone out for a picnic with Tin Tin, so I've been told," Jeff replied. "He deserves a break after what he went through on that bridge two days ago."

"Yeah he deserves a break all right," Scott replied thinking to himself 'A broken arm and a broken nose wouldn't be a problem for Virgil and me right now.'

"Talking of breaks, how about you and me having a game of pool, Scott, until dinner is ready?" Gordon asked. "We have one or things to discuss I believe."

"Okay, you're on," Scott replied. "Let's go. Then after that I want to discuss a certain problem with Brains that needs to be put right."

Jeff watched the two of them leave and somehow he couldn't help thinking he was missing out on something. 'First Gordon acts strangely, then the other two suddenly appear in here and neither of them looked too happy. Well at least I can get on with this work now they've gone,' he thought as he turned his attention back to the papers in front of him.

In the games room Scott and Gordon were discussing the recent rescue around the pool table. "Thanks Gordon, for getting us out of there; it was beginning to get a bit boring after a while with nothing much to look at, only Virgil wearing that stupid beret and smock."

Gordon fired a shot at the ball on the table and watched with satisfaction as he potted it and then he said, "Well it took some doing and John was pleased to be involved in a rescue from up in Five. Not very often he gets the chance to do that."

"Virgil isn't very happy with the deal you made though," Scott smiled. "You know how much he loves Grandma's chocolate brownies. It will be hard for him."

"Well a deal is a deal I suppose and the time will soon pass," Gordon said as he took his aim at another ball. After potting it he looked at Scott and told him with a smile, "By the way, John wanted his danger money too so he decided that if I'm to have Virgil's share for rescuing you, he'll take your share!"

Down on the beach Alan and Tin were enjoying a most pleasant time as they spent the evening together. The thoughts of Scott and Virgil planning payback for him briefly flitted through his mind now and again but that would be something to worry about later.

He had a lot to be happy about. He'd just won a big race, true he'd lost his wonderful car but Brains could soon build another for him if he needed one. Both he and his grandmother had survived a terrible ordeal on that bridge and now he was here with the girl he loved and who loved him. Then he'd managed to get his older brothers in a predicament for a while in return for their little jokes. Yes life certainly was good, if only for the moment.

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