An unexpected incident for Gordon...

Gordon enjoyed being up and about this early. At 7am, Tracy Island was every inch the tropical paradise their father promised it would be before they moved there. At this time of the day, the sun was still tinted with orange from its rise and early in its journey across the sky. The air was crisp, not yet too lost in the humidity of the day to remember the cool tropical night before. The coffee was fresh, a particular pleasure for any American, especially one who would usually have to have the end of a pot-full and hope that not too many grains had wormed their way through the filter. The house was quiet. Scott was up, (Scott, it seemed to Gordon, was always up,) and about somewhere, as was Kyrano. But Gordon was alone was he moved out past the swimming pool, wandering idly towards the beach, and the peace and beauty of his environment took his breath away.

However, it would have been a blatant lie on his part to state that, love early mornings though he did, this was the first one he had managed to rise for in a month. He wasn't crazy- his comfy cosy bed at 7am was also extremely appealing.

Gordon didn't really have much of a plan for passing these extra hours he had acquired. The main points of his morning agenda were already completed.

Large mug of coffee: check.

Walk somewhere: check.

It was nice to keep busy.

Settling cross-legged on a large flat stretch of rock that overlooked the beach, Gordon was pondering the next point on his mental agenda, (Eggs and Bacon? Cereal? Pancakes?) when his brown eyes settled upon something the twenty-two year old found truly beautiful.

The sea.

It was moments like this when Gordon did sincerely thank the heavens for his home. It was an aquanaut's dream- surrounded by his element as it swirled and changed and lived, completely oblivious to the little man who looked on in awe and fascination. And why should the sea give a sack of seaweed about me? thought Gordon, drinking from his coffee mug. It was here millennia before I was a sparkle in anyone's eye, and it'll still be here millennia after I'm gone.

Honestly, Gordon didn't know how long he sat there, watching idly as the sea continued being alive before him, letting his mind wander over everything and nothing. He took in the swell and rhythm of the waves, the spray of the water hitting the rock outcrops, the flight of the gulls swooping above in search of breakfast (Breakfast? Man, I'm letting my agenda go to seed) and leaning over, he watched a crab scramble from one end of the beach and make its slow way across the hundred yards of beach before finally reaching the all-enveloping arms of the Pacific.

You know what, Crabbie, I think you've got the right idea.

The awareness that the water was looking more and more refreshing made Gordon realise that the sun was much higher in the sky than he last recalled, and beating down mercilessly on him. Though clad only in a white t-shirt and dark blue trousers, he knew that the heat would be uncomfortable within another half an hour. Time to find some little swimming shorts, or the shade of the house.

Or both, and teem it with breakfast. Definitely pancakes.

Taking a deep contented breath, Gordon unwrapped his numbed legs and rose steadily to his feet. Rolling his empty coffee mug between the palms of his hands, he let his eyes rake the sea once more, loving how it merged with the bright blue of the sky where they met at the horizon. The wind ruffled his red hair gently as he stretched and his eyes wandered, focusing on nothing now that thoughts of maple syrup were invading his mind.

But then he stopped still. Some little flutter of movement had caught his eye, somewhere off to the left of his vision. They flickered about the area of water he thought it came from, off to the end of one of the large rock formations that led out to the sea like a curving arm, but he saw little. The glare of the sun on the waters was not helping matters, and after a moment Gordon grinned, put it down to breakfast-absence-induced hallucinations and turned to head back up to the villa.

Then he saw it.

Two hundred yards out to sea from the beach, by one of the last rocks in the arm formation, was a person. Down here, in the nether regions of the Pacific Ocean, miles and miles from the next inhabited landmass, wherein no craft or ship could pass without detection by the highly sensitive equipment concealed within Tracy Island.

They appeared to be bathing.

Gordon took a good long moment, just to absorb the absurdity of the situation and, this done, sprinted along his rock perch until he found access to the arm formation. Removing his socks, the only footwear he had bothered with that morning, and ditching the coffee mug, he proceeded to make his way along the wide and thus-far regular rocks as they led him out into the sea.

When his path became too broken and wet with spray, Gordon stopped and crouched to the rock, to make himself less of a target to the sea wind, and to take the opportunity to observe the figure at closer quarters.

It was a woman, he realised, now no more than six metres from him, down in the water, close to one of the further, more separate rocks in the arm. Though he knew the water to be fairly deep this far out, she was finding it apparently simple to stay afloat as she lifted the water into her semi-cupped hands and sent it into her face, up her arms or into her hair. She seemed perfectly content to continue her activities, fruitless though they seemed to Gordon.

He had worried that the figure might be in some kind of distress that he could not discern from the shore, but now it was perfectly clear to him that this was not the case. The woman was splashing the water about her enthusiastically, as though enjoying the sensations a lot more than a woman her age should be. He guessed that she was in her early twenties. She certainly couldn't be much older. Her dark brown hair was cut short on her head, with only about four inches grown all over. It seemed rather uneven to him; the sort of carefree chopping that would get most hair stylists fired, he supposed. Not that he claimed to know much about the fickle world of ladies fashion.

She lifted her head as her arms raised a spray of water about her, and Gordon froze as her eyes suddenly met his. From an odd fascination with the airborne water, her expression dropped with surprise at seeing him, her eyebrows leaping. They stared at one another for a moment, and Gordon took in every aspect of her face, now that it was bared before him for his perusal. He noted her pale skin and dust-pink lips, certainly, but was most startled by her eyes. They appeared too big, somehow, or was that just because she was surprised? And they seemed to focus too sharply, from before with the water she had played with and watched with interest, and now upon him. He found it slightly unnerving.

She blinked several times, before her face broke into a somewhat delighted grin and she began swilling her arms around on the surface of the water again, her eyes not leaving him, now watching him with the same focused interest she seemed to watch everything. Gordon moved, cautiously, to a crouching stand, and made his way steadily to the edge of his perch. It was as close as he could get to her without chancing a leap to the next in the formation, which he didn't consider to be a good idea in bare feet.

After lowering himself to sitting on the edge of the rock, which was made more difficult by his reluctance to take his eyes from this intriguing anomaly, Gordon took a deep breath and called loudly to her.

"Are you okay?"

The moment he'd said it, he felt stupid. She was obviously fine. No "Hello", "Who are you?" or "How's the family?" Nothing that might actually tell him anything about her. No, just an affirmation of the obvious for Gordon, thank you very much.

The girl didn't seem to mind. She just put her head to one side, grinned even more interestedly and said nothing, did nothing but stare at him and move her arms on the surface of the water, still blinking often. Gordon tried again.

"How did you get here?" Better Gordon, you're thinking now, he congratulated himself.

Nothing. She just smiled, her eyes unwaveringly taking him in, from his head to his feet, as if he were the most interesting thing to pass her way all morning.

The first traces of suspicion began to enter Gordon's mind at her behaviour. As International Rescue they had gathered more enemies than they even knew about, and he had the profound feeling that it had made him very sceptical.

Hey, better sceptical than dead.

It was near impossible for anyone to approach their home without detection, which made this girl scary for several reasons. Her presence might point to a flaw in Brains' defence mechanisms that could prove fatal if exploited. It also made her a very suspicious character, as hardly anyone took the trouble to reach Tracy Island if there were no purpose to motivate them. It wasn't the sort of place one could claim to be passing through on the way to somewhere else. Why was she here? How did she get here? Who was she?!

"Who are you?" Gordon called loudly.

Her smile split her face as she scrunched her petite nose and raised her shoulders as if in a silent giggle. Her eyes suddenly took a mischievous glint, and she raised her arms in his direction, with large curved gestures that he should come closer. It was enough for Gordon, and he raised his left arm as subtly as he could, and spoke discreetly into his watch.

"Gordon calling Scott. Gordon calling Scott. Come in, bro."

"Gordon? What's up?" came Scott's slightly surprised voice. They only contacted one another by tele-call watches when on duty as International Rescue or in emergencies.

"Could you come down to the West beach please?" A pause, then, "If you're taking the piss, Gordo- " Scott's voice was light and teasing in its suspicion, but Gordon had no doubts that Scott would be severely annoyed if he were setting up a prank through International Rescue equipment. He'd probably give him a lecture, or a good crack round the head, or if he were in a really bad mood, tell their dad and land him in some major trouble. He was therefore eager to quash that impression.

"No, Scott, really, there's a girl in the sea."

"What? A body?"

The girl had realised she was getting no response in her gestures and, with a slight frown, moved a little closer to Gordon's post and waved erratically to be sure she still had his attention. He waved back with his free arm, and she seemed much happier, so he continued.

"No, she's alive and kicking, but she won't talk to me. Come quick."

"Well..." Scott still sounded dubious, but Gordon was losing patience.

"Aw, come on will ya?" he demanded more forcefully.

A sigh. "Okay. There in a sec."

Gordon lowered his watch and leaned back on his hands watched the girl. Now she had finished waving and had taken to stretching out her arms across the surface of the water, wetting her hair again and watching him all the while, and Gordon noticed her clothes for the first time. A sort of small but loose t-shirt in pale silver-pink. Now with her lying back in the water, he could also tell that she had little,- er- support beneath it.

He averted his eyes and looked back to the beach for any sign of Scott, though he knew his brother would be a minute or so yet. He definitely wasn't comfortable now. This had all the ingredients of a diversion tactic, designed to make infiltration of International Rescue HQ easier for opposing agents. He half-expected the silent water-wonder to be pointing a 45 Supermatic at him when he took his eyes back to her.

Upon doing this though, he found she wasn't. She'd returned to swirling the water in front of her. He tipped his head to one side and watched her work (or was it play?) She certainly seemed innocent enough. She had a very pure quality about her as she watched the water with the same fascination he was told that he had as a child. He remembered when water had seemed such an amazing element and smiled. Knowing more or less everything there was to know about something certainly helped to dull its original magic. He relaxed a little and watched the girl watching her water. Somehow it made him happy that she was enjoying it so much.

Then suddenly her head snapped up, as if he'd said something. With all her focus suddenly upon him, he was less comfortable, not to mention embarrassed that she'd probably caught him smiling like a moron while he watched her. Their eyes had locked, and after a moment she smiled in such a warm way that he knew for sure he'd been caught, and his embarrassment flared into his cheeks, which was always a terribly twist of fate for redheads. She had the good grace not to show that she's noticed his probably huge blush, but instead raised her arms again in gesture, this time in definite invitation that he should join her in the water.

Gordon clambered to his feet, annoyed. How stupid did this chick think he was? He wasn't going to leap into the Pacific Ocean with some enemy equivalent of Lady Penelope while her accomplices snuck onto the island and held the world to ransom, or whatever the hell the plan was. He wasn't some sucker for a pretty face, and he was angry that she obviously though he was.

His peaceful morning had flown out of the window pretty rapidly. Her fault too.

At first she clearly thought he was rising to better join her, and had split her face in a smile and moved back to avoid his splash. Now she watched him stand, fuming, eyes flicking between her and the beach and gathered that he did not intent leaving the rock. Gordon's undoing was catching the confusion and disappointment in her face as she moved forward again, staring at him.

He sighed and tried to calm down. He'd already mentally accused her of deliberately spoiling his day, being a spy, planning to exploit International Rescue and possible plans of world domination. If he carried on, he'd frustrate himself into being pretty sure that she was the second gunman on the grassy knoll. Get a grip, Gordo-

Too late he realised the effect that his annoyance had caused. Apparently he had really upset her, because before she realised he'd calmed down, she had turned away and thrown herself forward into the water, with the definite intention of swimming away. Gordon jumped as he realised and called, "Wait! Come back!"

But to his increasing surprise, he did not see her resurface to take another stroke, another breath. He looked about him, somewhat erratically as the seconds ticked by. Where did she go?

The moments grew, and Gordon realised that the vicinity was now completely void of unexplained bra-less people. Shame... He jumped a mile when the natural silence was interrupted by a beeping from his watch. It was closely followed by his brother's voice.

"Scott to Gordon. Scott to Gordon. What are you doing?"

Gordon spun to see his brother back on the beach watching him. He was suddenly seized with life and raced as fast as he dared back along the rocks. He dropped to the beach and ran to meet his brother.

"Scott you won't believe it," he exclaimed, "but out where I was stood there was this girl in the water. Never said a word, just looked at me. Wanted me to jump in, I reckon, but then I wouldn't and she got into a mood and dived, but I never saw her come back up, Scott, she just disappeared- "

But somewhere in his garbled story Scott seemed to have lost the thread of patience and raised his hand to silence his brother.

"Gordon, this isn't fair. I warned you if this was a prank-"

"Scott, it's not," Gordon insisted quickly. It was important to the delicate relationship between him and his sanity that he persuade someone else of this girl's appearance.

"Uh huh," his brother muttered, turning to leave. A quiet voice in Gordon's head muttered that it did sound a little unbelievable, but he couldn't let it go.

"Scott, listen-"

"Give it up Gordo."

Gordon grabbed his brother's arm. "Scott, I swear on Mom's grave, I'm not lying!"

Scott froze, and glanced Gordon in the face. They knew it was an affirmation that no Tracy would ever abuse. After looking one another in the eye with utter seriousness, Scott sighed and softened considerably.

"Okay, Gordo, talk me through this. "

The brothers searched the sea from the rock formation, gave the beaches a quick once-over and, back at the villa, investigated the ocean with heat-sensors. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Gordon was beginning to feel very stupid.

"Well Gords," smiled Scott slightly, leaning back in his desk chair as the computer powered down, "I don't know what you saw, but it's not there now. Is there any chance you could have been seeing things?" Gordon thought it sounded like his brother was only half-joking. He was too tired of the whole situation to bother giving it much more thought.

"Oh, God only knows. Can we just let it go? I haven't had breakfast yet. Come to think of it, that might be the source of the whole problem." Scott's eyes wandered thoughtfully from the computer to Gordon. Clearly he couldn't decide whether this possibly fictional stranger was more important than his brother's obvious dejectedness. After a moment:

"Okay. We'll keep an eye out, but I guess we can leave it for now. You okay?"

Gordon smiled. "Sure!" He exclaimed over-brightly. "Nothing breakfast won't fix, believe me!" Scott laughed, and Gordon rose to leave. Before he did though, he caught Scott's eyes and spoke again.

"Hey Scott, you think we could keep this to ourselves?" Gordon watched a dubious look fly through his brother's eyes, before adding brightly, "I feel stupid enough as it is without the fellas starting up with threats to get me committed."

Apparently Scott could identify, and grinned. "Sure Gordo. Consider my lips sealed."

Gordon sauntered through to the kitchen in search of long-overdue pancakes, musing on how his schedule had been shot to hell by the little swimming diversion. He found Virgil at the kitchen table, huddled over his coffee like some freezing refugee, and Gordon realised that diversion had actually kept him occupied quite a while overall, if Virgil- Master of the Nocturnal- was awake.

"Hey Gordon," he murmured, wiping his hand over his bristled face.

"Hey yourself," he smiled in reply. They chatted about this and that as Gordon assembled his pancakes and Virgil woke up, and Gordon was soon feeling much better, like the day might actually be salvaged. Until Virgil innocently commented,

"Oh, Alan said to tell you that he's heading for the pool till lunch if you want to join him." Greeted with a silence longer than he expected, he turned to the workbench where Gordon was examining his batter with over-interest. Feeling his brother's attention, he replied carefully.

"Erm, not today Virg. I guess- I guess I just don't feel like it. Not today" He knew Virgil was now watching him like his head had just burst into flames, but he couldn't help but feel that today would be an excellent day for playing chess instead. A really excellent opportunity to get caught up on his reading. And he had that letter to write.

He looked up at Virgil, and smiled as normally as he could.

And he'd been meaning to alphabetise his CDs anyway.

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