HE WHO LAUGHS, LAUGHS LAST
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
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
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."
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
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.
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.
M-Mr. Tracy, I'll g-go right now," he replied. "Gordon and I
are finished in there."
Grandma will take a while to recover from that," Gordon said
to his father.
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
say, er, just exactly what was wrong?" Brains asked.
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."
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."
Virgil were surprised that the elevator they were travelling
in came to a halt midway between the floors.
like you really upset the kid this time, Virg," Scott said.
"He must have pressed the emergency stop button."
blame it all on me, you were winding him up too!" Virgil
replied with exasperation. "Now how are we going to get out of
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."
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."
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.
Gordon when you last saw him?" Virgil asked.
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?"
have to. In any case he'll find out eventually," said Virgil.
"He may be our only hope of rescue."
what a predicament and Gordon our hope of getting out of it,"
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."
good to me too," Alan replied. "Yes, it has been a long time.
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
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
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."
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
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
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?"
Don't do that yet, John," Scott said quickly. "I think I know
what the problem is. I'll contact Gordon myself, thanks
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
it looks like the only option is for us to contact Gordon,"
Virgil said as gazed at the blank walls of the elevator shaft.
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."
let's get it over with. I don't want to be stuck here much
longer," Virgil replied getting more exasperated by the
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.
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.
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?"
that's it, Gordon, now go and do it please," Scott
pleaded, "We've been in here long enough now."
been in here?" Gordon asked still smiling. "Who else is in
there with you?"
Virgil yelled out. "Now go and do it, Gordon, for Pete's
smile grew wider at the thought of his two elder brothers
needing him to rescue them from their confinement inside the
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."
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."
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
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.
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
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, 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."
that's reasonable," Gordon agreed. "I'm going up now, see you
two guys later, I hope."
share?" Virgil asked sullenly after Scott cut the
disconnection with Gordon.
us in this mess by winding Alan up with that painting," Scott
answered, "Don't worry, I'll give you some of my share."
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.
soon appeared with a mug of coffee and placed it on the corner
of the desk.
Mrs Tracy now?" he asked his employer.
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
good news," Kyrano replied.
everybody, Kyrano?" Jeff asked his servant and old friend.
"The place is deserted. I've only seen Gordon about."
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.
okay, Kyrano." Jeff replied. "It's good to know I can reach
them all if an emergency comes in."
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
son, is something wrong?" he asked him.
I was just wondering how Grandma was?" Gordon replied.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
sure, okay, Dad, I'll leave you to it then," Gordon said.
"I'll be around if you need me for anything."
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."
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."
the connection off from Scott and immediately contacted John
who was enjoying a mug of coffee now that he'd finished his
surprised again to find Gordon was speaking to him by his
wrist comm. now. "What's going on there, Gordon, is the
think so but it may need checking. John, contact Dad will you
and see if it is?" Gordon asked his confused older brother.
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.
spoken to you already?" Gordon asked.
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.
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.
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."
time to get back into the lounge and into position first,"
Gordon said as he cut off the connection.
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.
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.
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.
John," Jeff said routinely to answer the call. "What's up?"
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.
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."
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
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.
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."
repeated to John what he'd told Kyrano and Gordon, while
behind him Scott and Virgil emerged from the elevator.
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."
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.
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
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.
Alan, Dad,?" Scott asked as they all watched Virgil leave in
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."
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.'
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."
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
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.
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
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
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."
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!"
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
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