International Rescue: The Next Phase

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #679 is a reply to message #678] Tue, 24 July 2012 19:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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March 7th, 9:45am

Brandon sat out by the pool. There was no one about and the silence was welcome. He was thinking back to the rescue and how close he had come to dying.

Christopher walked outside. He was happy that Asterix had been found, but the little cat was going to be angry with him for a long time. He saw Brandon sitting by the pool, and he groaned. A little too loudly, loud enough for Brandon to hear.

"Hey CJ, you got a minute? I need to talk to you." Brandon's voice was level.

"Yes, Brandon," Christopher said in a flat voice, then walked over to where his colleague was sitting. "What's the matter?"

"Look, we need to talk and try to work things out. We can't be at each other's throats all the time." Brandon looked Christopher directly in the eyes. "If I offended you in any way, let me know." There. Now it's up to him.

"Well." Christopher paused. "You can be a very arrogant sod. And you upset Asterix." Christopher looked at him. "But I think that I can try and forgive you after what you did out there on that rescue."

"I didn't think I was coming across as arrogant. Just rooting for the home team. As for your choice of sport, I apologize if it seemed like I slammed you. I'm used to extreme sports, such as extreme skydiving and powerboat racing."

"I'm sorry." Christopher sighed. "First impressions and everything. You reminded me of the American colonel who came over with Scott. He was arrogant and annoying."

Brandon smiled slightly. "You can't judge everyone by the actions of one person." He sighed, gazing off into the distance.

"Look, mate." Christopher moved closer. "We have to work together, so why don't we bury the proverbial hatchet right here, right now."

Brandon looked for any kind of deception on Christopher's part, but could see none. Smiling, he extended his hand. "Deal, CJ. I don't expect it to happen overnight but this is a step in the right direction."

"That's settled then." Christopher shook the offered hand. "But there are a few things..."

Uh-oh. I knew there would be a catch. "What might those be?" Brandon asked, his voice not betraying his thoughts.

"You'll have to teach me about those extreme sports and I'll teach you about my favorite ones." He paused. "And please call me Christopher or Chris."

Sure thing, Chris." At that moment, Asterix decided to put in an appearance. He walked up to where Christopher was sitting, winding himself around his legs in greeting. Christopher picked him up. "I was going to come back with your chicken. He does get impatient." Christopher held Asterix to Brandon. "He is a friend now." He chuckled. "I'd love to know how you got here, you naughty cat." Asterix just purred.

From a discreet distance, Gordon watched the interaction between the two men. "I'd heard those two weren't getting along. Looks like I heard wrong." He watched the byplay a little longer before turning and walking back the way he had come.

Post by MagicMaster8 and TheWrongTrousers on 31/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #680 is a reply to message #679] Tue, 24 July 2012 19:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island, March, 7th Midday

Kat was just debating whether to go for a swim with the others, when Tin-Tin came in with an armful of post. To Kat's surprise there was a letter for her. She recognised Lady Penelope's handwriting on the thick, cream-coloured envelope. I wonder what she can be writing to me about? she thought. We normally communicate via the vidphone. Excusing herself, she headed for the lounge and out on to the balcony. She was so immersed in her thoughts, she didn't see Gordon already seated there, reading the newspaper. He looked up at her, and was about to say hello when he saw the letter in her hand and decided to let her read it in peace.

Darling Kat, her mother had written

Lady Penelope kindly offered to forward this to you for us. Both your father and myself are missing you, but Lady Penelope assures us that you are well and are being kept busy.

Andrew and Melanie announced their engagement at the end of February and we had a lovely celebration, Tim and his wife came over from New York, but it wasn't the same with you not being there. Melanie's ring is a single diamond solitaire. They are not getting married until next year; at the moment they are saving to buy their own home. I know that Melanie has expressed a wish that she would like you as a bridesmaid.

This brought a lump to Kat's throat. She could imagine the celebrations. Melanie was a very nice girl. There would have been so much happiness and love at that party. She continued reading.

Your Aunt Jane had some exciting news. You remember that Uncle Peter works for the company who owns the rigs in the North Sea? Well, apparently a fishing trawler had picked up a mine in its nets, and during the heavy storm was being pushed towards one of the rigs. He told her that International Rescue had had to be called out. Miraculously no one was killed, but it came close at one time, as the Captain was washed overboard. Your Aunt said that the Thunderbird crafts were amazing. Knowing your Aunt, it will be the talk of the local Women's Institute for years.

Kat smiled to herself when she read that. Yes, her Aunt was a gossip and loved to be the bearer of news, the more sensational the better. The letter continued.

You will be pleased to know, I think, that Mr Patterson, the owner of the garage where you first started work, and had all that harassment, has gone into liquidation. I think he was messing about with the accounts, so now he has no business and has had to sell his large house.

Well, I don't think there is much more news, I just wanted to let you know about International Rescue, because I am not sure how much news you get where you are working.

If you are able to, please write back, we do wonder how you are. Both your brothers wanted to know what you were up to.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Lots of love,
Mum and Dad

Kat folded up the letter, replaced it in the envelope and let out a sigh. Gordon looked at her.

"Not bad news, I hope?" he asked her.

Kat spun around. "Sorry, Gordon, I didn't see you there. I hope I didn't seem rude, not saying anything to you earlier."

Gordon smiled. "No, you were deep in thought as you passed me."

"I have just received a letter from my parents, and reading between the lines, they appear a little anxious as to where and what I am doing. Mum went into great detail about the rescue in the North Sea, in case I didn't hear any news."

She sighed again. "They want me to write back, but what can I say? I obviously can't tell them the truth, and if I don't say much they may well wonder. I have always been enthusiastic about my work, telling them all that I did for Lady Penelope. Now I shall just have to be a bit evasive, which is not like the Kat that they know."

Gordon looked thoughtful. "You know," he said, "maybe this should be mentioned to Mom and Dad when they return. I don't think that your parents are the only ones who are wondering what their children are doing."

Just then Nikki and Brandon came out on to the balcony.

"We are going swimming in the sea, will you come with us?" Nikki asked Kat.

"Oh, lovely idea!" Kat replied. "Just give me a few minutes to go and change." Pushing the envelope in her pocket, she left for her apartment.

Gordon called after her. "I will talk to Mom and Dad about that problem."

"Problem? Has Kat got a problem?" Nikki asked anxiously.

"No, not a personal problem, Nikki," Gordon replied. "Just overly anxious parents."

Kat joined Nikki and Brandon and they headed down across the beach to the sea.

"How did your work on the winch motor go?" Nikki asked

"Absolutely fine," Kat replied. "Virgil showed me around Thunderbird Two. It's amazing what is stored in there, but of course, you know that."

"Yes, I do," Nikki replied. "But I find it very exciting! It was totally awesome working on my first rescue!"

Kat continued. "Virgil and I worked really hard on the engine. He is such a nice person, and I really think I proved to him that I can pull my weight."

"Yes," Nikki replied, "they are all really kind and helpful. I am really enjoying myself here."

"Yes, I am too," Kat said and then looked thoughtful. Brandon noticed and mentioned her thoughtful look.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Brandon asked.

"Well, I've had a letter from my parents," Kat replied. "They are obviously a little concerned as to what I am doing, and my being so reticent about things isn't really helping. Gordon said he would talk to Mr Tracy when he arrives back on the island, as to what could be told to parents like mine."

"I agree," Nikki said. "I often wonder what my parents are thinking."

"It will be nice to see Callie and John back," Kat said, changing the subject, "John has promised to show me the stars on his return."

"Oh, yes!" Brandon said, a twinkle in his eye. "I'm sure he has!"

Kat blushed. "Only as a friend," she said, as she dived into the clear blue waves.

"Hmm," Nikki added, as she and Brandon followed.

Post by Tawnyangel22 on 31/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #681 is a reply to message #680] Tue, 24 July 2012 19:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, March 7, 2068; Thunderbird Five; 2:20 p.m.

Callie was checking transmissions when she heard John calling. "Yes, John?"

John motioned her over from where she stood and when she reached him, he sat her down at a computer station. "Now, down at base, everyone is working on doing maintenance on the various Thunderbirds which were used during the rescue yesterday, getting them ready for the next go-round.

"We have a similar task to perform. I'm going to show you the major systems that we need to check. Some we check on a daily basis, some on a weekly, and others once a month. Then when we're through running diagnostics and checking the systems, I'll show you how to create and store a rescue log."

Callie stood up and said, "Okay, John." She looked at all the systems and said, "Um, where do we start?"

"Sit down again, Callie," John replied with a smile. "We can do most of it right here from the computer."

He reached over and logged himself out. "First, let's get you set up in here with a user name and password. Then I'll show you how to run the diagnostics on our most basic systems: power, life support, and artificial gravity."

After he set up the screen for a new user, Callie typed away at the keyboard. "I'll use clspencer to log in. Now what's a good password--I've got it!" She typed up four letters and pressed the enter key. "That should do it."

John smiled. "Now that you're logged in, you can see I've set up folders for the different tasks. Dailies, rotating, weekly, and monthly. The monthly checks are done before you leave the station, so you know that you're leaving Thunderbird Five in the best state possible, and so that if parts are needed to make repairs and they aren't aboard, they can come up with Thunderbird Three."

"The rotating checks are done on a daily basis, but only one system is done per day. This pertains to our actual communications equipment. We'll take one bank down at a time and look it over, doing one bank per day."

Callie clicked on the folder marked "Daily" and opened the file. "I just start with this first file, right?"

"Right. That will run the diagnostic on the power systems. It takes a while, but it's the most important system, so we do that first. If there's a problem with another system, then we'll know it's not the power grid."

"Go ahead and start the diagnostic and I'll show you the logs while it's running," John instructed.

Callie double-clicked on the file and started the diagnostic program.

"Good. Now, during a rescue, we get everything. All the talkback, all the communications. It's our job to catalog it into print form for our records and then download a copy to base. Believe it or not, it's easier to thumb through a paper copy than to scroll through a print file or listen to all the talkback.

"What we'll do is identify the speakers and report the action as told during the debriefing." John grimaced. "It's not easy and I usually wait until the wee hours to do it, but this is as good an opportunity as any to teach you."

"How long does it take to go through all the paperwork during a rescue?"

"Most of this stuff is on disk or is uploaded to us from base, or from Mobile Control, for example. We get to put it all together since we 'see all, know all' so to speak."

"As a result," said Callie, "we have to go line-by-line on the disk, and we also have to listen to all the audio. No wonder you said this wasn't easy. It sounds like a busy day at a hard-running radio station."

John laughed. "It's even more than that, Callie. We're an emergency services dispatcher as well."

"I don't see how you can handle doing this day in and day out. But, I need to get used to this; I'll have to do this on my own before too long."

"Very true, Callie." John looked over all the information files that were lined up in the upload queue. "Looks like we're waiting on an upload from Mobile Control. I suppose I'd better... oh, wait. There it is."

Callie noticed how quick the upload was. "So, this is where we start the tedious task, huh?"

"Right." John sighed. "Thunderbird Five may be the strongest link in International Rescue's chain of activities, but the work here can be boring... and sometimes lonely." He looked down at her, his blue eyes looking old and weary. "That's something else you'll eventually get used to, Callie."

Callie smiled with understanding in her eyes. "Hey, there were times I felt lonely working at the International Space Station. Some of the work I had was pretty routine and boring, too. What kept me going was the fact I was helping the people on the ground."

"That's what makes it all worthwhile, Callie. And now that you're here, things will be easier for all of us," John replied, smiling again. "Now, let me pull up an old log and you can see the format we use...." And he did, giving Callie her first lessons on keeping Thunderbird Five spaceworthy and inhabitable while teaching her how important the satellite was to the whole operation.

Post by TracyFan4Ever and Tikatu on 01/09/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #682 is a reply to message #681] Tue, 24 July 2012 19:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday March 7th. 2.30pm. Tracy Island.

"Okay, you two." Brains talked briskly as he walked down to the pod bay, with the two nurses in tow. "Part of your job, as well as being medical personnel in the field, is to take care of Thunderbird Seven after rescues. It'll be your job to perform a detailed clean up and inspection of the craft when it returns to the island, and to report any problems or malfunctions you may come across."

The two nurses almost had to jog to keep up with Brains' fast, efficient walk. They descended to the bay, and both shared a look of awe as they caught a glimpse of Thunderbird Two on the way. The mammoth craft still seemed like a figment of their imaginations, something from sci-fi, not reality. Brains led the way to the port where Thunderbird Seven was stationed, and stepped up into the treatment cabin.

The remnants of the previous rescue were clear. There were thermal blankets piled up on one of the biobeds, and the cabin had a general look of well-used untidiness. Through the doors near the back, leading to the surgical bay, Dominic knew there was the need for a clean-up operation there, too.

"You'll be using the anti-bacteria/anti-virus gel as you work, and after the clean up is complete, the whole craft is disinfected." Brains regarded the two enthusiastic faces. "Shall we get started, then?"

He received two vigorous nods, and shook his head as the nurses started to formulate a plan between them. It seemed that they were raring to get started on the job. I've never seen anyone so enthusiastic about clean-up before, he thought, though I suppose this is something they are familiar with, and don't need any special training in. I'll chip in my opinion and guide them as they go along.


"I've finished checking over the biobed systems, Dom," Nikki said as she walked away from the twelfth bed. "All systems seem to be working perfectly, although I'm no expert. I'll ask Brains to give them another quick check.

"Good stuff, Nik.," Dom said as he closed over one of the storage compartments embedded in the craft's bulkhead. "All of the cold weather gear is stored, and I've catalogued and stored all of the medical equipment that was used."

"So we just have the surgical bay to do, and then the final disinfecting to do, right?"


"Well, let's get to it!"

The two put on fresh gloves with the special gel, and Nikki pushed the door release with her elbow. Brains followed, and both noted that he seemed impressed by their quick and efficient clean-up operation. Of course we're brilliant, Dominic thought, we've both done this for a living for years. Though I'm sure he knows it.

Soon enough, the surgical bay was cleaned and all equipment was tested and stored away, ready for its next use.

"Now for the final clean," Dom said.

They went through the entire craft, with Brains giving them pointers and help along the way. Both nurses were enthused by their work, as the equipment was top of the range, and the recent rescue, which had given them a taste of what their jobs would really be like, had been the proverbial hammer falling, and neither regretted their decision.

After they had finished, Brains folded his arms across his chest and did nothing to restrain the reassured grin on his face.

"I am very impressed by your work here, today," he said. The two nurses grinned. "You've both shown real professionalism and enthusiasm, and I know you'll be excellent members of International Rescue."

"Thank you, Brains," Nikki said. "I know I can speak for Dom as well as myself when I say that we are very happy to be here." Dominic nodded his agreement.

Brains smiled, and beckoned the two recruits to join him in the cab.

"I'll show you the shutdown procedures, and if you'd like, I can show you the basic controls now, as well."

"That'd be great!" they said in unison.

All three laughed, and they made their way into the control cab.

Post by ArtisticRainey on 01/09/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #683 is a reply to message #682] Tue, 24 July 2012 19:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island; Wednesday, March 7th; 1PM

When Tin-Tin and Lena returned to the lab, Brains looked up, grinning. "I just had a call from Mrs. Parkhurst. She told me that if I didn't bring you two back to the villa for lunch, she'd personally see to it that I'd never get a piece of Grandma Tracy's apple pie ever again."

Tin-Tin laughed. "Oh, no. A dire threat indeed." She turned to Lena. "Grandma Tracy is famous for her apple pie. It's been an award winner at the fair, and everyone here who's had it loves it. In fact, she's always had a very hard time keeping the older Tracy boys from eating it up, straight out of the oven."

"Sounds like someting wort checking into, while I'm here," Lena replied. She noticed the clock on the wall. "Oh my, no wonder she called. It's one o'clock already." She looked at the others. "When I get into someting as interesting as dis is, I forget about de time."

"We're that way, too," replied Brains. "Ladies, shall we go to the villa? We'll be better able to work after some nourishment."

"Just a minute," Lena replied, as she went over to her desk. She checked behind the desk, and then looked around at the various electrical connections in the room. Brains and Tin-Tin looked at each other, puzzled.

Lena turned and saw the look on their faces. "A habit I've had for a long time, since my home burned down due to a frayed wire, many years ago. I never leave de house now witout checking all de electrical connections."

Tin-Tin nodded understandingly. "I'd probably do the same thing, if something like that happened to me." Brains agreed with her.

She continued, "Well, if you're ready, let's go have some lunch."

They headed out of the lab and into the monorail. Soon they were back at the villa, eating another delicious meal. But they were all eager to get back to work, and ate quickly, talking very little.

An hour later, Lena was back in the lab. Brains had brought her back, then left, saying he needed to show Nikki and Dom the procedures for cleaning Thunderbird 7, the medical unit. She told him she'd be fine working alone, and he showed her how to contact him, should she need to.

Lena was now working on the computer, attempting to get different things done at the same time - revamping Brains' program, working on a way to sever the link between the two servers and repairing the glitch. Prior to that, she had checked her Tracy Industries mailbox and found several more misdirected emails forwarded to her. Fortunately, none of them had anything to do with International Rescue. But some weren't forwarded from people working in D.C. Then she found an email from Tom.

"I learned through channels that the problem you are working on spread to the New York offices. I sent an email to their I&M head, asking him to have all employees there do what we've been doing with the misdirected emails. I presume they are doing so.

If you want me to change the procedure, just let me know. Hurry and get it fixed; we all miss you already. Tom."

She smiled briefly, and then looked grim. Dis needs to be repaired fast, before it spreads to de wrong places, or before anyone else is able to figure out de same ting I did. She quickly checked her other messages, replied to Tom's, sent one to her son, daughter and three of her grandchildren, then closed the link. She made a mental note to advise Brains of the new development, then worked on establishing a trace that would stop misdirected emails from going to anyone other than the person for whom it was intended and herself. She completed it and started running simulations to check it out. Once she'd run several, and all were successful, she began getting it online.

She had just finished, when Brains returned.

She brought him up to date on what she'd learned and done, and he approved. "It will buy us some time and minimize the risk of someone else finding out more about International Rescue. Well done, Lena."

They started it and watched as it picked up three messages. Lena checked her TI mailbox again and saw the messages were there. She moved them to her special file and smiled in satisfaction.

Then Brains got a call from the villa. "Time to stop, Lena. Dinner is ready."

"Brains, maybe I should skip dinner, or it could be brought here. De sooner we get dis fixed, de better."

"You've made good progress today, but you can't get it done in one day, or even two. I couldn't get it fixed that fast. And look at you; you're exhausted. Let's have dinner, a relaxing evening and start refreshed tomorrow. Come on, you've done more than enough today."

Lena sighed heavily. She was tired and knew she wouldn't be at her best. "Okay, you're right. I'll shut down for de evening."

She saved her work and shut down the computer, and then did her usual check of the electrical connections. Finally, she picked up her bag and said, "I'm ready."

They left the lab and headed back to the villa.

Post by Hobbeth on 01/09/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #684 is a reply to message #683] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Gordon strode over to where his colleague sat by the pool, and blocked the sun. "Okay, Big Mac, up and at 'em. There's more to International Rescue than just the rescues."

"What do you mean?" Brandon asked.

"Come on and I'll show you." Reluctantly, Brandon got up and followed Gordon.

Brandon sat before Thunderbird Four's controls. Part of his training involved checking the equipment and making sure all was in working order for the next rescue. He listened attentively as Gordon told him how to activate the diagnostics.

"Okay, go ahead and activate the system." Brandon nodded and pushed the buttons that activated the diagnostics. Gordon glanced at the readout and, satisfied with what he saw, showed Brandon the indicators of a properly working diagnostics program and what to look for in the read-out.

"While that's running, we'll check out the rest of the gear; make sure it's in good working order." Gordon went to the equipment locker, pulling out the air tanks and setting them aside to be refilled. Together the two men worked, making sure the masks didn't leak and the regulators functioned as they should.

"Very good, Brandon. Just a few more things to check, then we'll be finished."

"What else is there?" Brandon asked, a hint of surprise in his voice.

"Let's see, we have the trough lights, and the rudder. Then there's the external check for damage."

"And you've got to do this every time Thunderbird Four goes out?" Gordon nodded. "In that case, lead on, Gordon." Both men walked back to the pilot's chair. The diagnostics program was complete and both senior aquanaut and his colleague looked over the printout. Occasionally Gordon would point out something in the readout to Brandon, reinforcing what he had said to him earlier.

After checking all the gear, filling the air tanks and verifying everything was in proper working order, Gordon and Brandon began the external check of the sub.

"Brandon, now we need to check every square inch of Thunderbird Four. Pay special attention to the seams, as they were put under a great deal of stress during the rescue. We also need to check the underside of the sub, making sure there's no hidden problems."

"Gotcha, Gordon." Brandon turned, looking at the sub, then back at his teacher. "Do you expect me to check out the bottom hull? It's too low for me to crawl under there."

"Ah, sorry about that." Gordon went to a control panel and pushed a small button and Brandon watched as Thunderbird Four rose up on a hydraulic lift.

"I take that as a yes," Brandon said good naturedly as he walked under the sub. He slowly went from one end to the other, looking for the external signs of metal fatigue. After he was convinced that nothing was wrong with the metal, he turned his attention to the side of the sub, paying special attention to the seams. As Brandon did his inspection, he noticed slight dents in the hull but nothing that would be considered a hazard. He double checked to be sure and, when he was satisfied, he made his report to Gordon.

"That's not too bad, considering the beating she took." Gordon nodded, pleased with his colleague's assessment.

"Not bad, Brandon, not bad at all. Soon you'll be able to handle the post rescue equipment checks solo."

"Thanks, Gordon. That's good to know."

"Now that we're through..." Gordon went over and lowered the sub back down to its turntable. As he did so, he winced slightly. This did not get past Brandon's eagle eyes.

"Are you okay, Gordon?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just a little sore from the rescue."

"So, how did your check-up go?" Brandon asked casually.

Gordon sighed. "Not too good. I strained my back when we hit the water. Brains told me to take it easy for a while."

"That could be a problem in our line of work." Brandon shook his head then smiled at his friend. "How about we go sit in the Jacuzzi? That should help with the pain."

"Sounds good to me," Gordon replied.

Both men went to their rooms, changed and met at the Jacuzzi. Brandon entered first. Gordon followed, sitting down in the hot water, letting out a contented sigh of relief. About 15 minutes later Gordon stood up. "I'm feeling much better now, Brandon. I'm going to go swim a few laps. He stood up and headed for the pool.

Post by MagicMaster8 on 08/09/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #685 is a reply to message #684] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, March 7, 2068, 3:30 p.m., Tracy Island

He was at Jeff's desk, going through the maintenance logs, trying to catch up on what he had missed while in New York, when Scott noticed Alan walking through the lounge, seemingly on his way outside. "Alan?"

Scott's voice stopped his youngest brother in his tracks. Alan sighed and turned around, knowing what was coming next, and rapidly trying to think of a way out of it. "Yes, Scott?"

"Where were you going?"

Alan didn't miss the subtle use of 'were' in his brother's question. "I was just going to check on something, and then..."

Scott cut him off. "Sure you were. Alan, you know too well that Thunderbird One needs maintenance."

"Scott, I KNOW!" Alan replied, irritated. Scott closed his eyes briefly counting to 5. "That was next on my agenda," Alan growled. "Now, if you'll let me finish what I set out to do, I'll be back here to get to the maintenance."

Alan headed past Scott, ignoring the scowl his older brother gave him, and quickly padded his way down to the pool, where Gordon was swimming long laps. He stood there for a few minutes until Gordon acknowledged his presence and swam over to him.

"What do you want, Al?" the aquanaut asked without preface.

"Don't think for a minute I didn't see you as you got up off the floor last night, Gords," Alan responded, his arms crossed belligerently across his chest. "Now, do I report it to Scott, or do you?"

"I don't know what you're talking about, Alan," Gordon protested angrily. "So get off my back."

"You and I both know that your back isn't what it should be, Gords, thanks to my harebrained idea. Now, what are you going to do about it?" Alan replied, his voice moderating.

"Nothing, because nothing's wrong," Gordon informed him curtly. "Now, can I get back to my swimming?"

Alan sighed heavily, and then turned away. "If you don't tell someone on your own, Gordon, I'll have to. And I won't be too picky about who I inform. Just remember that."

"Yeah. Whatever." Gordon turned back and picked up his laps as Alan climbed the stairs and entered the lounge again. Scott was standing by the sliding glass doors and Alan jumped back as he entered.

"Do you like doing that?" asked Alan, annoyed.

Scott didn't answer that question, instead he came back with one of his own. "Al, what's up with you two?" Scott nodded his head, indicating Gordon who was swimming laps with a newfound energy.

"Nothing, Scott. Don't worry about it."

It didn't take a rocket scientist to detect the worry in Alan's voice and Scott wasn't going to let this drop. If something serious was going on with his brothers, he wanted to know about it.

"Alan, I saw the two of you and heard you both raise your voices. Now, what's going on?"

Alan knew from years of experience of trying to dodge Scott's interrogations that he would end up spilling all. "Really, Scott, it's nothing. I just had to tell Gordon I couldn't swim with him because I had to do the maintenance on TB1."

One look in Alan's eyes, and Scott saw through the lie. He sighed. Why, oh why do my brothers insist on keeping things from me? Scott stood there, hands casually on his hips, and stared at Alan. "Nice try, but not good enough. I want the truth, Al, all of it. If this concerns Thunderbird One in ANY way, you're going to tell me NOW!"

Alan knew it was no use. "It doesn't concern your Thunderbird, not in any way. Besides, don't you think I would have told you if anything was wrong? I am capable of that you know!" Alan was becoming rather defensive and Scott would not give him any slack.

"Then there is something going on with Gordon?"

Alan rolled his eyes. Didn't his big brother ever quit? "Well if you're so convinced of it, why don't you ask Gordon? I've got work to do!" Alan huffed as he stomped further into the lounge.

He was tired of being raked over the coals first by Scott, then by his closest brother, and then by Scott AGAIN! All he was trying to do was help. He was concerned about Gordon. Without another word, he backed up to the wall sconces and fingered the switches that turned the wall around so that he was facing Thunderbird One. He swore, and flipped the wall back around.

"What did you forget?" Scott asked. He had pursued Alan into the lounge, intent on seeing his younger brother work on the silver rocket plane.

"A disk to download Mobile Control's data. I'm sure John is waiting on it to put the log together." Alan went to a cabinet behind his father's desk and pulled out a microdisk, pocketed it, and headed back to Thunderbird One's hangar. By the time Scott had followed Alan through the wall, Alan was already in the cockpit and halfway down the maintenance tunnel that bored its way through the middle of the craft, providing access to the storage bay from the control area.


Alan heard Scott calling and finally stopped halfway down the ladder in the service tunnel. Looking up, he called back "What, Scott? I'm busy." He waited for a reply, but all he heard were Scott's footsteps above him, coming down the ladder.

"Don't give me that line, Alan, I want... no, I need to talk to you." Scott was now standing on the ladder directly above Alan. He looked down at the blond head beneath him. "Do you think you could get off the ladder so I can come all the way down, please?"

Alan continued his journey and stood by the service tunnel entry hatch to give Scott enough room to descend. They were both now standing in the cramped space at the end of the service tunnel by the hatchway to the cargo bay and reactor maintenance gantry and it was not very comfortable.

"Okay, Scott, spit it out. It's cramped in here and I really need to get this disk loaded or John'll be after my head, too!"

Scott smiled slightly, hearing the exasperation in his brother's voice. "Al, if something happened to you or Gordon on that rescue that I don't know about, Dad's gonna have ALL of our heads! You know that! I'm in command when Dad's not here and I want to find out what's going on."

Alan sighed, defeated. Gordon would no doubt hang his hide out to dry once he was done skinning him alive, but Alan knew someone would find out soon, so that someone might as well be Scott.

"Listen, Scott. I don't know anything for sure because Gordon won't tell me. But during debriefing last night, he fell on the floor laughing while we were discussing code names. When he finally got up, I saw him wincing. Now, falling from the chair onto the floor wouldn't hurt him, but the way I had him launch Thunderbird Four during the rescue might have." Alan turned and opened the hatch that would take him into the cargo bay where Mobile Control was sitting, clamped down for safety. He palmed on the lights, and made his way over to the equipment. "You could ask Tin-Tin or Brandon or maybe Nikki or Dom if they noticed anything more."

He opened up the Mobile Control unit enough to turn it on and slip the disk into its proper slot. Then he ran his fingers over some keys and let the machine download the information from the last rescue onto the disk.

While the disk was being loaded, Scott was still trying to absorb what he'd been told without imploding. If Gordon's back injury had flared up again, and he was hiding it, there would be hell to pay when Dad and Dianne found out about it. Especially Mom. Scott knew why Gordon would try to hide it. Gordon hated bringing attention to himself and hated the permanent reminder of an accident that almost killed him. But keeping this from everyone was not the answer. Gordon was a team player, and Scott knew if he told his sibling he was on the 'sick list' he'd throw a fit. Scott dreaded having to face it, but Gordon would have to be on stand down. Brandon would have to take his place as No. 1 on TB4.

Alan waited for the disk to finish, hating the silence. Finally he had to say something. "Scott?"

"Mmm?" Scott turned towards him.

"Are you going to talk to one of the others or to Gordon directly?"

"I'm going to talk to Gordon, He'll have to go on stand down, Al, and he's going to hate me for doing it."

Alan almost sympathized with Scott... almost. He was going to get a lashing from Gordon's tongue as well, but nowhere near as much as Scott when Scott 'threw the book' at the aquanaut.

"Well, no time like the present to get this over with. I'll talk to you later, Alan."

"Sure Scott."

There was an awkward silence for a moment and then Scott spoke. "Thanks, Al." The words were soft and Alan wasn't sure he heard right, but acknowledged them all the same by nodding and giving Scott a small smile.

Scott started his ascent to the cockpit and all he could think of was Gordon's back. He cursed under his breath, cursed his brother, then cursed his stubbornness, then cursed himself for not being the commander he was supposed to be.

Alan sighed, and shook his head, and then a thought occurred to him. "Scott?" he called up the ladder.

"Yeah, Al?" came a reply as Scott stopped his ascent.

"You could offer him a week at corporate to rest his back," the younger Tracy suggested. "That way he'd at least feel useful. Not like he did the first months after IR started."

Scott was silent for a moment, then he said, "I'll think about it. Right now, I'd better go talk to him. And you'd better get on with the maintenance. I'll be coming through with a white glove...."

Alan snorted. "Yeah, right, Scott. We'll see what happens next time you have to take Thunderbird Three."

Scott chuckled, and tauntingly replied, "You know better than to test me like that, Al! You'll be eating your words and you know it, little brother!" The last thing Scott heard Alan mumble was a noise that resembled the sound a warthog might make!

Post by FrankieCTB2 and Tikatu on 10/09/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #686 is a reply to message #685] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday March 7th, 2068, 4:30 p.m., Tracy Island

Gordon slung his towel over his shoulder and stepped into his flip-flops, and then shrugged into a loose shirt. I wish Alan would let me alone. I'm fine! he thought. He shook his head and took the small path from the pool down towards the cultivated garden, where a huge variety of tropical flora and fauna grew, with a winding path making its way down to the shoreline. Gordon headed towards a small, open paved area with a wonderful view of the ocean framed in thick, waxy leaves. He left his things on one of the benches, but he found some unexpected company; he didn't quite know what to say.

Dominic had one foot and one hand on a mat spread on the ground, while his left leg was extended outwards and his left arm reaching upwards into the air. He appeared to be staring at the sky above, but Gordon got the impression his mind was somewhere far off. He's got some balance if he can pull that off, and be so steady!

Gordon sat down on the bench, curious about the sight before him. Dominic remained in the same position for a while, until he got back on his two feet with a fluid grace, before standing with his legs wide apart, and bending his body downwards until the top of his head touched the mat. He positioned his hands beside his head, and Gordon stopped himself from whistling in respect. That guy can sure bend.

Dominic moved on once more, and Gordon stared in open-mouthed amazement after the man squatted down, before raising himself up on his arms, keeping his knees tucked against his shoulders, with his feet far above the ground.

Eventually, Dominic stood up and stretched, lifting his long arms high above his head. Gordon walked towards him, shaking his head, while a disbelieving smile crossed his face.

"That was some balancing you were doing there," he said.

Dominic shrugged and replaced his rectangular, thin-framed glasses on his face, as they had been off while he was.

"That was yoga," he said plainly. "I've been doing it for a couple of years now."

"I guessed that." Gordon said. "You seem like a pro."

Dominic shrugged shyly and looked away.

"Not really. I'm just...really bendy. Always have been." He stretched out a creak in his neck. "Yoga helped me out of a bad patch of my life, a while back. I'd recommend it to anyone, whether they think they're flexible or not." He looked back at Gordon. "I'm not in your way here, am I?"

Gordon shook his head quickly and held up a hand.

"Oh, no, not at all. I wasn't expecting to find anyone here, though."

Dominic nodded.

"I went exploring after working on Thunderbird Seven. I thought this would be a good place to come and practice. It's far enough away from everything that it seems like you're out in the wilderness. Almost."

"I agree." Gordon said, turning to look out across the ocean. "I like coming here when I need to get away."

Dominic sat down cross-legged on the mat and laced his fingers. He looked up at Gordon, who then sat down as well, hiding a wince as he did so. Stupid back. There's nothing wrong with me!

"So why are you here now?" Dominic asked quietly.

Gordon shrugged with one shoulder, still staring out across the sea.

"Just wanted some peace, you know?"

Dominic 'hmm-ed', and then raised his arms up for another stretch, closing his eyes.

"How much pain are you in?"

Gordon's head whipped around and he stared at the other man, uttering a terse, "What?" which was perhaps more severe than he would have liked. Dominic opened his eyes and stared frankly at Gordon.

"I've seen you wincing, and I've heard from certain sources that you suffered a back injury some time ago. Injuries like that don't always heal up perfectly. Are you in pain?"

Gordon was tight-lipped and turned his head away, before sighing and shaking his head, looking back.

"Okay, you've got me. Yes, I am in pain, slight pain, and only sometimes."

Dominic nodded.

"I can help."



Gordon snorted and shook his head.

"No way. I can't get into any of those pretzel positions. I don't bend that way."

Dominic shrugged.

"You don't have to. What I have in mind is a very simple pose, that helps to alleviate back pain."

Gordon was silent and contemplative for a few moments, and Dominic waited. Gordon could feel his eyes watching, and eventually decided to give it a try.

"Heck, why not?" he said, getting up on his haunches. "Bet it can't make things worse."

Dominic grinned and stood up.

"Great! Now first, I want you to lie on your front, and raise yourself up as if you're doing a press up. And keep your legs straight."

Gordon nodded and did as he was told, with a certain amount of scepticism and a dash of curiosity. Maybe, if this works, I can use it if my stupid back flares up again.

"Perfect." Dominic said. "This is the plank pose. Hold it for a few seconds. Great. Now, set your knees right below your hips. Yeah, like that. Now spread your hands out a little, and turn in your feet slightly."

Okay, there's more to this than I thought. I must look so stupid. But maybe it'll work... He followed the rest of Dominic's instructions with some difficulty, but eventually, he completed the pose. He was bent at almost ninety degrees at the waist, with his feet and palms flat on the ground. This is so strange!

"Hold that for about a minute. Breathe deeply. Concentrate."

Gordon did, all the while marvelling at the fact that he wasn't lying on the mat, writhing in pain. This is so weird. If I had seen this pose first, I would have said it would make me hurt more.

"Alright," Dominic said after the minute was up, "Bend your knees to the floor and exhale, and then sit up."

Gordon rested his hands on his thighs and shook his head.

Dominic sat down on the ground beside the mat.

"What did you think?" He asked.

"Well, it seems to have helped the pain somewhat -- not that it was really bad in the first place -- but it was weird. What exactly did I look like?" Gordon asked.

Dominic smiled, and then took of his glasses.

"I'll show you."

He got into the position, and Gordon's eyes boggled.

"No. Way."

Dominic unfolded himself and grinned, replacing the glasses and pushing them up his nose.

"Yes. It's the Downward-Facing Dog pose. It helps to alleviate back pain, somewhat. Of course, it would work better if you were doing a routine, and if you knew the philosophy behind it. Yoga's not just a bunch of people in leotards bending every which way. It's so much more."

Gordon got to his feet and placed his hands on his hips.

"Well, it helped soothe my ruffled feathers, in any case. Thanks Dom."

"Any time Gordon. Any time."

Post by ArtisticRainey on 12/09/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #687 is a reply to message #686] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday March 7th, 2068, 5:00pm, Tracy Island

Nikki sat in the sun lounger by the pool with her eyes closed behind her sunglasses, listening to her personal stereo and tapping her fingers against her abdomen to the beat.

A smile played across her lips as her favourite song began to play. The drumming of her fingers began rapid along with the beat to the song.

Nikki was so into her music that she didn't hear Alan when he arrived.

He sat down in the lounger next to her before tapping her on her shoulder, causing her to jump slightly.

Alan smiled as Nikki pulled her earphones out. "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."

"It's alright. It wouldn't have happened if I didn't have the volume up full blast." Nikki answered as she turned her music off. "So have you been busy today?"

"If performing maintenance on Thunderbird One constitutes as being busy, then yeah I've been busy." Alan got comfortable in his seat. "How about you?"

Nikki lifted her glasses from her face and fixed them to rest on her head. "Well along with Dom and under the supervision of Brains, I preformed a detailed clean up and inspection of Thunderbird Seven. Brains also showed us the basic controls of the craft."

"Cleaning." Alan raised his eyebrows and nodded. "Sounds like fun. A whole day of cleaning."

Nikki narrowed her eyes slightly, but she couldn't help but smile at his sarcastic remark. He reminded her of one of her friends back home. "You know full well that it wasn't the whole day. And I'm used to cleaning. Part of the job description."

"Well then you can clean Thunderbird Three and my room anytime. Don't let me stop you."

Nikki laughed. "Nah, it's ok. I'll leave those jobs to you. Wouldn't want you to miss out on the fun."

"Sure, fun." Alan stretched and leaned back in his seat. "Well, it's your loss."

"No. Not really." Nikki replaced her glasses over her eyes. "So did Scott check over your work? Give his final approval of his craft."

Alan looked at Nikki and saw her trying her best to contain her laugh. "Don't get me started on Scott. I'm surprised that he didn't fix some camera on me to keep a close eye on what I'm doing. He's really protective of Thunderbird One."

Nikki looked at Alan over the top of her glasses. "And you're not of your own craft?"


"So if I, let's just say, spray painted it pink?"

"I'd catch you before you open the tin of paint," Alan replied. "Ok, so I am a bit protective of my ship, but not like Scott is of his own."

"Sure," Nikki mouthed.

"Hey I saw that." Alan smiled.

They both went back to relaxing and talking about the last rescue mission.

Post by Nikki-Browneyes11 on 13/09/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #688 is a reply to message #687] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday 7th March, 2.30pm Tracy Island

Virgil pulled out his maintenance clipboard and looked around the cockpit of his beloved Thunderbird. "This is going to take me all night," he muttered to himself. "There's so much to be done after a rescue and I haven't been able to get to it properly since I've been in charge."

He tapped his stylus on his forehead. Then his face brightened. "Hey! I shouldn't have to do this alone any more. I can recruit one of our new people to help. Christopher would be the most logical choice. He'll be learning to fly this baby."

He lifted his wrist telecomm and spoke into it. "Virgil to Christopher. Come in Christopher."

Christopher was lying on his lounger, Asterix curled up on his lap. He was in the middle of a wonderful dream, when his own wrist telecomm bleeped and Virgil's voice issued from it. He groaned, then raised his wrist telecomm to his mouth. "Christopher receiving you loud and clear."

"Could you come and see me in Thunderbird 2?" Virgil said, "I need your help with the maintenance list."

"F-A-B, Virgil," Christopher said. "I'm on my way now."

He stroked Asterix's head, causing the little cat to raise his head from sleep. "Mrrrrrraooow?"

"As much as I love lying here with you in the sun," Christopher said as he smiled. "I have work to do."

Christopher lifted Asterix from his lap and got up, replacing the cat onto the lounger. Stretching for a moment, he headed back into the apartment to change. Asterix just sat on the lounger, gazing at him with one eye before going back to sleep.

A little while later, after a short ride in the cargo lift down to Thunderbird Two's hangar, Christopher clambered into the craft. He found Virgil in the cockpit, checking various readings on the displays.

"Afternoon, Virgil," Christopher said breezily. "What would you like me to do?"

Virgil handed Christopher another clipboard. "I'd like you to work your way down this list. Any ideas you have, write them down."

Christopher took the clipboard, nodded his thanks, then headed down into the bowels of the huge craft. Looking around, he saw the winch, which looked as good as new. "We could have used Kat in the RAF."

He started to work. He checked the equipment, getting freshly shrink-wrapped wet weather gear from the appropriate bin in the hangar. He checked the oxygen cylinders, replacing any that were getting low. He examined all the protective suits, making sure that none had any holes. He also looked at the first aid kits, noting down any items that were near to being out of date, then replacing said items with fresh ones.

He went all over Thunderbird 2 with a fine-toothed comb. He knew the value of checking the equipment personally; you never knew when you had to use it. His parachute instructor at the RAF had always insisted that he fold his own parachute.

"If it goes wrong, then you know who is to blame," 'Old Frank' used to say. Christopher smiled to himself as he remembered the crusty old Flight Sergeant. He walked by the area containing the spare uniforms. What happens, he thought, when we are wearing our new uniforms and we need oxygen?

"How about having a small lightweight oxygen cylinder made from plastic and a rebreather built into the uniform jacket?" He started writing his idea down. "With a small disposable plastic mask"

He read his idea back and felt pleased with himself, and then he looked around. "Needs a clean."

One of the things that had stayed with him since his time in the RAF was keeping things clean and in order. Things have to be used, but they need to be kept clean. So, he went down to the equipment bay in the hangar, and found a mop and bucket. Further explorations unearthed a bottle of cleaning fluid, some cleaning cloths and some cleaning spray.

Returning to Thunderbird Two, he began cleaning. The cockpit was first, so as to keep all the germs and the dust at bay. Then with the mop and bucket, he proceeded to mop the floors. He took his time, and after around an hour of work, he stood up and looked around. Nice to keep my hand in, he thought to himself and smiled.

Post by TheWrongTrousers on 14/09/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!

[Updated on: Tue, 24 July 2012 20:16]

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #689 is a reply to message #688] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island, Thursday 8th March, 9.00 am

Kat dialled the number for Creighton-Ward Manor. Parker's face appeared.

"Well, h'if h'it h'aint Miss Kat, 'ow h'are ye?"

"Absolutely fine, thanks, Parker. Is Lady Penelope at home?"

"She h'is h'indeed, h'I shall just call 'er for ye."

Presently Lady Penelope's face came into view.

"Kat! My dear, how nice to hear from you! I trust everything is working out well?"

"Everything is just wonderful, thanks," Kat replied. "Lady Penelope, I really must thank you for forwarding my mother's letter to me."

"Think nothing of it, my dear," Lady Penelope replied. Lady Penelope's thoughts went back to that afternoon when Mrs Williamson had called to see her. She was obviously worried about her daughter's well being.

"Your mother came to visit me," Lady Penelope explained. "I could see that she was anxious at not hearing anything from you."

"Oh, Lady Penelope!" Kat exclaimed. "I know how odd it must seem to my parents. I have usually been so open with them, letting them know just what I was doing in my work for you. They really must think that I have deserted them."

"Yes, I know, my dear, and I tried to put your mother's mind at rest. I reassured her that you were keeping very well, and were extremely busy, but that in the fullness of time you would write back to her. That's why I offered to forward that letter to you, more to give your parents peace of mind than anything else."

"Gordon was on the balcony when I read the letter. When I told him of my parents' anxiety, he said he would discuss the matter with Mr. and Mrs. Tracy when they returned from New York."

"That seems like a sensible idea," Lady Penelope said. "Now, tell me all about the rescue."

"There isn't much to tell, Lady Penelope; I didn't take part," Kat explained. "But the winch failed, and for the second time, so after everyone had returned, Virgil and I worked on changing the motor. That was awesome, working on a Thunderbird! I never dreamed that I would be working on them so soon after arriving. Virgil was great, we really made a good team, and he said that he could see I was a good mechanic. Isn't that great?"

Lady Penelope smiled at the young mechanic's enthusiasm. It was worth the sacrifice I made, letting Jeff Tracy have her to work on Tracy Island, she thought.

"What about the other new recruits, are you all getting on okay?"

"Yes, everyone is settling in really well, although there seems to be some aggro between two of the new young men. Brandon and Christopher don't see eye-to-eye; male egos I guess. Nikki, one of the two nurses, is very nice. Dominic, who has a young son, Joshua, is very quiet; I don't see much of him. Callie at the moment is up in Thunderbird 5 training with John. She will rotate duty with John and Alan." Kat paused. "Talking of John, when he returns to earth, he has promised to show me the stars one night."

"Oh yes!" Lady Penelope smiled.

"Oh no! Not you as well!" Kat replied. "We are only friends."

"John is a very nice young man," Lady Penelope replied.

"Yes, I know, but then again, they are all very nice. It's just that he has offered to show me the stars, and everyone seems to be making something more out of it."

Lady Penelope laughed. "Well, I am glad that you are obviously settling in well. Give my love to the boys, won't you?"

"I will, Lady Penelope. It was so nice talking to you and once again thanks for forwarding Mum's letter."

"That's quite all right. You take care now, and please call me again whenever you want to."

"Thanks, Lady Penelope. Bye now."

"Goodbye." And the screen went black.

Kat stayed looking at the vidphone. "Penny for them," Virgil said, coming into the lounge.

"I have just been talking to Lady Penelope, oh and by the way she sends her love to you all," Kat explained. "I was thanking her for her letter she forwarded from my parents, and telling her about the rescue and you and me working on the winch." Kat went on, "And now I am going to rest by the pool with a good book. See you later."

"Yes, bye, MGM," Virgil grinned at her as she left for the pool.

Post by Tawnyangel22 on 14/09/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #690 is a reply to message #689] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, March 7, 2068, 3:30 p.m. Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City

Ned Cook took a deep breath and headed into the stairwell, followed closely by Joe, camera hidden in a backpack slung over one shoulder. Joe had again used his connections with his brother-in-law, Pete, and he and Ned were admitted, this time with the camera. Their stated purpose was to attend the daily press briefing on Jeff Tracy; a briefing whose audience had gotten smaller and smaller as the man's recovery had gone on and his newsworthiness had faded. But their real purpose was to get a word or two with the man himself if they could. Hence, the little used stairwell that would take them to the floor where the secure wing was situated.

"Do you really think he'll talk to us, Ned?" Joe asked as they climbed the zigzagging flights higher and higher.

"I dunno, Joe. I hope so. This may be my last chance to get an exclusive. Rumor has it that he's going to be released soon," Ned replied, determination in his voice.

At last they reached the upper floor, and rested for a few moments to catch their breath. Cautiously, Joe opened the door and peered out into the corridor. No one was close to them, and he stepped out into the hall, motioning Ned to follow.

"How are we going to get past the security?" he asked his companion as they walked slowly down the hall. Ned shook his head, and as he did, he caught something in the corner of his eye that made him look again, then smile. He took Joe's arm and pulled him right into a room, closing the door behind them.

Joe looked around him, and then gave Ned a strange glare. "What are we doing here? This is just the break room."

"Yeah, but there have got to be some lockers or stashes of scrubs or something here, don't you think?" Ned asked, looking around. "Yes! In here!"

Joe followed him into an adjoining room where there were lockers and showers and, most importantly, a hamper of used scrubs. Ned started pawing through it, pulling out relatively clean looking shirts and pants and trying to find something that looked like it would fit him. He tossed a green top to Joe. "Here, try this on. We'll need to be incognito if we're going to get past the security."

Joe shook his head and started to pull on the shirt, wrinkling his nose as it passed over his head. "Phew! This guy sure needs a better deodorant!" Ned barked a short laugh as he dressed himself in the dirty laundry, wadding up his own outer clothing and stuffing it into an empty locker. Joe's things were added, and they looked each other up and down.

The cameraman shook his head. "It'll never work, Ned. You can't change your face. Everyone will still recognize you."

"I have an idea about that, too. C'mon, I need to find a sterile mask."

They walked into the hall, Ned with a bit more confidence and Joe treading cautiously behind him. Just short of the nurses' station, they found a crash cart that had just been used. Ned looked it over carefully and found what he was looking for: a paper mask to cover his lower face. He snitched it, and he and Joe proceeded along.

Ned turned his head away from the nurses at the station, talking with Joe about the latest basketball scores in a heavy Bronx accent. Once past the station, he nonchalantly pulled the mask over his face, and they approached the one burly guard who stood at the entry to the wing they wanted. Ned held up a hand as if in recognition of the guard, who glared at them but made no move toward them. Grinning behind the mask, knowing that in just a few steps he'd be near his goal, Ned opened the double doors to the secure wing and stepped through.

That's when all hell broke loose.

A klaxon went off and lights began to flash. The guard was instantly alert and after Ned and Joe. He managed to catch up with Joe and grab him by an arm, stopping the photographer in his tracks. From the other end of the hall, another guard, just as burly, came steaming like a freight train. Ned kept his eyes on the room numbers, searching for the one he knew Jeff Tracy was in. And that's how he was taken by surprise when the second guard stepped into his path and they forcibly collided. Ned, being the lighter of the two, was knocked backwards and quickly grabbed by the guard.

More security forces converged on the scene, and Ned began to shout, "You can't keep us out! We're with the press! The public has a right to know about Jeff Tracy!"

As the guards were preparing to drag them away, a light went on over the door to one of the rooms, and a nurse hurried down the hall to tend to her patient. She ducked in, then almost as quickly popped out and ran down to the departing knot of security men. She spoke to the one who had been standing guard at the door.

"Mr. Tracy wants to see him."

Ned's eyes flew open with excitement. "Tracy wants to see me! Let me go! Let my cameraman go!"

The nurse stood in front of him, frowning. "He wants to see you, and only you but with an... escort."

"Okay, okay. I can deal with that. What are we waiting for? Joe, I'm going to talk to Tracy, see if he'll let you in for a proper interview," Ned said over his shoulder as his "escort" of two guards marched him down the hall. Joe shook his head. He had a bad feeling about this request of Tracy's.

The nurse preceded them down the hall, and knocked on the door to Jeff Tracy's room. She entered, and a moment later, opened the door to admit the reporter and the guards who flanked him.

"Mr. Tracy, I'm Ned Cook, and may I say that it's an honor to meet you!" Ned began eagerly as he approached the man in the bed, holding out his hand. "Do you mind if my cameraman comes in so I can interview you properly?"

There was no response other than an icy, blue-eyed stare. Ned shifted nervously. He had heard a lot of things about the sheer presence of Jefferson Tracy, the forceful personality that had gone to the moon and come back to make himself one of the richest men in the world. That personality was still forceful, even in a hospital bed with one arm and one leg in casts, and Ned began to realize just why Jefferson Tracy was someone to be reckoned with.

Jeff glared at the dark-haired man, dressed in stolen scrubs, who now fidgeted slightly before him. He sat silent, impassive, letting the reporter stew for long moments. Then he spoke, his tones clipped and angry.

"Mr. Cook, what you've been doing to get your so-called story has been reprehensible. You tried to interview my wife when she was in no emotional condition to answer questions. You tried to interview my pilot when she was in no physical condition to be interviewed. You dared to approach my young children when they were alone and vulnerable. And now you try to invade my own privacy and security just to get your exclusive!"

Jeff jabbed an emphatic finger in Ned's direction. "I am going to tell you once and for all, Mr. Cook. Mind. Your. Own. Business. Leave my family alone. If you do not, you and your network will both be sued for harassment!"

He waved a hand at the guards. "Get him out of here."

"Wait! What about the interview?" Ned persisted, even as he was hustled from the room. "You can't do this to me! I'm Ned Cook! I'm a star! The public has a right to know!"

The door was closed behind them, and Ned and Joe were unceremoniously hustled from the secure wing and taken down to the security chief's office, where the police waited for them.

They were arrested and hauled off to jail, still in their stolen scrubs, for violating hospital regulations and penetrating the secure wing without permission. Joe kept mum about Pete's involvement; he had no desire to have his brother-in-law lose his job. As soon as Ned and Joe were off his hands, the head of security was in Jeff's room, apologizing profusely for the intrusion. Jeff waved him away, saying that it wasn't his fault and that his security measures were effective.

"Your men caught them virtually at the threshhold, sir. They did good work."

The head of security thanked Jeff, and left having felt like he had dodged a very big bullet. As he left, Dianne walked in, her face full of puzzlement.

"What's going on? There are police cruisers downstairs and though there are reporters and photographers, for once they ignored me. Not that I'm complaining or anything...."

Jeff sat back wearily, reaching out his hand to her and as she took it, he began to tell her about the intrusion.

Post by Tikatu on 14/09/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #691 is a reply to message #690] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, March 7, 5 p.m., Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York

Dianne gazed out the window of Jeff's hospital room, watching the sun begin to set. It was already behind the building across from her, but the sunset colors still lingered in the sky, punctuated by ripples of clouds that reflected the colors. Her mind was thousands of miles away, wondering what everyone was doing back at the Villa, trying to make plans on how to get Jeff around when they got back home. There were a million different things to deal with, and how many would fall to her? She turned as Jeff's bed was wheeled back into the room, and went to join him as the surgeon addressed them both.

"I have good news for you, Mr. Tracy, Dr. Tracy. The imaging showed us that the vertebra is fused and nearly healed. The arm and the leg are progressing very nicely and casts should come off in about a week, I think. The foot? Well, that's going to take some more time. Things are going as well as can be expected there but the internal swelling has gone down, which is a good sign." He smiled at them both. "I think, that barring any unforeseen circumstances, and knowing that you will be in the care of your family physician 24/7 when you return home, we can probably release you from the hospital this weekend."

Jeff and Dianne both gasped and turned to each other, a smile of delight on each face.

"This weekend? So soon?" Jeff asked, not daring to believe.

"Yes, Mr. Tracy. Saturday or Sunday, provided everything continues in this same direction," the surgeon said. He wagged a pen at them. "You realize that you would normally be going to a rehabilitation hospital from here. But as I said, you live with your doctor and I'm sure she'll be able to monitor your progress and make sure you do your physical therapy and all."

"Oh, he'll follow doctor's orders," Dianne said with a raised eyebrow and a sly smile, "or else."

"Ah, I don't think I'm going to ask what that 'or else' will entail," the surgeon quipped.

"Will I be okay to travel?" Jeff asked, thinking suddenly that being released from the hospital might mean being released to the penthouse.

"Yes, if you use a wheelchair and rest when your body tells you to. I know that your home is not in New York and that you'd have to travel to get there," the doctor said. "Go ahead and make you travel arrangements. I don't foresee any complications."

Jeff smiled, relieved. The penthouse was nice, and better than a hospital room, but it wasn't home.

"Thank you, doctor, for such good news. Now I have something to work for," Jeff said. He held out his hand and the doctor shook it, and then left the two of them alone.

"Home this weekend! Oh, how I've waited to hear that!" Dianne said with relief. She sat on the edge of Jeff's bed and leaned over to kiss him. "Should I call home and let them know the good news?"

"It can wait a bit. When you go back to the penthouse for the evening." Jeff used his right leg and right arm to push himself over on the bed, making room for Dianne, who climbed up to sit beside him. He took her hand in his and leaned over to kiss her head. "Right now, I just want to feel you beside me."

Dianne smiled softly and leaned her head on his shoulder, basking in his love and closeness, thankful just that he was there.

Post by Tikatu on 15/09/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #692 is a reply to message #691] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island, Thursday 8th March, 1:30 p.m.

Kat was enjoying some peaceful time by the pool, reading her book. Suddenly she heard male voices laughing and talking. Looking up she saw Virgil and Gordon approaching, both looking very happy.

"Had some good news?" she asked them.

"Yes!" Virgil replied. "Mom has just phoned. Dad is ready to leave hospital to convalesce here on the island."

"That's great news!" Kat exclaimed.

"What's great news?" asked Alan as he and Nikki approached the others.

"Dad's coming home," Gordon told his younger brother.

"Wow, when?" asked Alan.

"I don't have an exact date, but it looks like Sunday or Monday our time," Virgil replied.

Suddenly Virgil espied his youngest brother's water cannon, conveniently filled with water. He picked it up and carefully aimed it at Kat.

Kat yelled, jumping as the cold water hit her, soaking her and her book.

Kat gave Nikki a look and the two girls both lunged at Virgil, who, caught completely unawares, fell backwards into the pool. Kat and Nikki both grinned at each other and clapped each other on the back.

"Okay, truce," Virgil said, holding out his hand. "Kat, would you please help me out?"

Unthinking, Kat offered Virgil her hand and before she realised it, he pulled her into the pool with him. Kat surfaced, wiping the water from her eyes, and lunged at Virgil, dunking him under the water.

Without any more ado, Nikki, Gordon, and Alan jumped into the pool, and for the next half hour, had the biggest water fight for a long time.

Lisa, hearing the noise, came to watch and thought to herself, It's nice to seem them letting off steam after all the tension lately.

Eventually, soaking wet and breathless, the five got out of the pool and sank down on the chairs and loungers.

"Phew," Gordon said, "That was great to let off steam like that." Kat and Nikki could only nod in agreement.

Just then Lisa said, "I think that you would all like a drink." And she went into the house to fetch some drinks.

Christopher, Brandon, and Dominic, with Joshua on his shoulders, came out.

"What have we missed?" Christopher asked looking at the breathless and very wet group.

"Dad's coming home and we have had the biggest water fight ever," Alan answered.

"Wow, that is great news!" Christopher said. "I'm sure looking forward to seeing Mr Tracy back here on the island."
Brandon and Dom both agreed with him.

"I don't think you girls played fairly," Alan remarked

"Whatever makes you say that?" Kat laughed.

"You were ganging up on us males," Alan continued.

"Nonsense!" Nikki retorted. "After all, Virgil started it by firing water at Kat."

"Yes," Kat agreed, "and we girls must stick together! At the moment we are grossly outnumbered."

Just then Lisa returned with the drinks.

"Here's to a return water fight," Virgil said, raising his glass.

"You're on," Kat said. "But only when Callie is back, which will slightly lessen the odds against us."

Post by Tawnyangel22 on 15/09/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #693 is a reply to message #692] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Saturday March 10th, Mt. Sinai Hospital New York.

Jeff Tracy thought this day would never arrive. His doctors had finally signed the release papers and he was going home! These past few days had tested Jeff's patience like no other. His sons and his precious wife had been out on a rescue; a rescue that neither he or Scott was in charge of nor Jeff had plagued TB5 constantly for updates on his family, the rescue, and anything else he could think of. He was sure that, at one point, John refused to talk to him anymore because Callie had been answering the comm-link every time he'd called. The doctors had actually become concerned with his heart rate and warned him that if it continued to rise the way it had been doing, it would delay his release. Scott had managed to calm his father somewhat and both were extremely relieved when Virgil had called to let them know that all was well and the rescue had been a success.

Alan had brought Dianne back to New York in TB1 that afternoon, landing at the airport. Scott was, of course, waiting anxiously for their arrival. He claimed he had been worried about Dianne, and Dad was a bag of nerves, but Alan knew better. He knew his big brother was checking to see if his silver baby was still in one piece, and had rolled his eyes when he thought Scott hadn't been looking. Now it was Saturday, and Jeff's room was once again buzzing with activity.

"Mom, can I push the wheelchair? Can I, please, can I?" Tyler was beside himself, bouncing up and down with excitement. His mother inhaled deeply and turning to her offspring replied,

"No, Tyler! For the tenth time, no! The orderly will push your father; its hospital policy."

Seeing the dejected look on her young son's face softened her a little. "Maybe when we reach the island, okay?" She smiled down at him and he gave her a small smile back.

"Okay, I guess I can wait."

"That's my boy!" Jeff interjected from across the room. Jeff then added "Tyler, why don't you come and sit with me for a few minutes?"

Tyler's face brightened immediately. "Can I, Mom? Will I hurt Dad?" Dianne relented and gave her youngest permission

"Just for a few minutes Tyler. Your father's still recovering, so try not to fidget too much please?" Dianne glanced at her husband who winked back and smiled knowingly.

Grandma and Cherie were packing Jeff's belongings and were almost done, when Cherie gasped.

"What's wrong, dear?" asked Grandma, suddenly worried that a catastrophe was about to strike.

"Cherie... answer Grandma!" prompted Dianne. Her daughter said nothing, but ran out of the room.

"What on earth...?" asked Dianne as Cherie rushed past her.

"I think I might know," offered Alex.

"Well, speak child! What's wrong with your sister?" Grandma practically demanded.

Alex just smiled. "You'll see!" he said gleefully as he enjoyed the puzzled looks he received. Cherie, in the meantime, had managed to raid the gift shop, nearly depleting the balloon supply, and had raced outside to find Bernie.

"Hey! Slow down there, young lady!"

"I'm sorry, Bernie! I totally forgot about bringing the balloons to Gordon! Alex told me you'd both be out here. Is Gordon in the car?" she asked worriedly.

"Yes I am!" came the reply as the redhead stepped out and hugged his sister. "Now, we need to get going if these balloons are gonna work!" Gordon grinned.

Cherie gave him a mock angry look and waved her finger at him "I'm not going to get myself in trouble for aiding and abetting Gordon Tracy! I'll deny everything!"

"Yeah! Right!" answered Gordon, obviously not in the least bit threatened by her.

Cherie laughed as she helped secure a rather large amount of colorful balloons all over the inside of the limo, and some on the outside too. Once they were sure the limo looked absolutely hideous, Gordon got back in.

"Aren't you going to go upstairs and come down with Dad?" Cherie asked curiously.

"Nah, I'll wait here. Too much commotion going on up there already!"

He tried to sound nonchalant about it, but he didn't want to face Dianne again so soon. Not after last night. He looked out the window as he thought back over the events of the last 24 hours or so.

He and Chris had flown Tracy One into New York airport. Gordon had agreed to go to corporate to keep Scott from telling Dianne about his back injury. Scott had been livid when he found out.

Now Chris knew too. He'd been concerned on the flight over and noticed how uncomfortable Gordon had been. Gordon ended up telling him everything, and as Chris was okay with what he'd been told, Gordon never gave a second thought to Chris telling anyone. How wrong he'd been! He'd taken Chris along at Virgil's urging and the two had actually had a great flight.

"If you think this aircraft is awesome, wait until you see the penthouse!" Gordon had told him. Chris was more than impressed with the penthouse.

"You Tracys sure don't leave anything to chance, do you?" Chris had joked as he took in the lavish surroundings. Gordon had laughed.

They reached the penthouse just before Scott and Dianne had returned from the hospital, and were sitting comfortably having a drink when the other two walked in.

"Hey Bro!" Gordon acknowledged his elder by raising his glass to him. "Hey Mom!" Dianne laughed

"Hello, Gordon, hello, Chris! How was your trip?"

"Great! Perfect flying weather. Long flight though," replied Chris. "Which reminds me, how's your back, Gordon?"

Scott, who had been pouring himself a drink, stopped and turned, looking straight at Gordon, momentarily stunned. He had no idea Chris even knew! Dianne had also stopped what she'd been doing and Gordon found himself on the wrong end of her stare.

"What's wrong with your back, Gordon?" she asked.

"Nothing, just a twinge. I'm fine." Gordon spoke awkwardly.

Chris hadn't picked up that anything was wrong so continued to tell Dianne.

"He thinks that he injured it on that rig rescue, when TB4 launched off that platform into the North Sea." He turned to look at Gordon who now had his eyes closed as if praying to be spared from the wrath of evil.

"GORDON! Is this true?" demanded Dianne.

"It's no big deal; it just twinged when we hit the water!"

"NO BIG DEAL? The last time you injured your back you almost didn't walk again! What the hell do you mean, NO BIG DEAL?"
Chris wasn't sure what had just happened, but he knew it wasn't good. He turned to offer Gordon his apology.

"Sorry, mate, I had no idea."

"Not your fault, it's mine."

"Damn right it's your fault!" yelled Scott.

Chris stood and excused himself for the night as this was obviously a family problem and it seemed to be getting worse. Scott was about to continue berating his brother when Dianne stopped him.

"Scott, I need to talk to Gordon...alone please. I can handle this."

"Okay, Mom, but don't let him side talk you into believing he's okay," Scott replied.

"I won't, don't worry. I know EXACTLY how to handle your brother!"

What followed was the biggest bawling out Gordon had ever received. His father knew how to yell and put the fear of God into you, but when Dianne let loose, Gordon suddenly wished he worked anywhere but International Rescue. He hadn't heard her yell this much since she found out his family were International Rescue. He tried to be didn't work. It seemed to only get him into more trouble. When she finally lowered her voice, she ordered him to the bedroom where he could lay flat and she could examine him. After that, she'd prescribed meds for him and soundly promised she would check up on him, every hour if need be while he was in NY.

Gordon sighed as he came back to the present. Yes, he was definitely safer sitting in the car for now.

Back upstairs, Alex had become quiet after receiving the "You have a lot of explaining to do!" look from his mother and his grandmother. Tyler was enjoying his few minutes on Jeff's lap. He figured it was the next best thing to pushing his Dad. They were all ready and almost out the door when one of Jeff's surgeons approached them.

"Going home at last!" He smiled as he stopped beside Dianne.

"Yes, he is!" she replied.

"Mr. Tracy, you've made a promising recovery. Don't jeopardize it by doing anything silly now; we don't want you back here just yet!"

"Oh, I can assure you, Doctor, I don't plan on returning for quite some time."

All lightheartedness aside, the doctor continued telling Jeff what his expectations were, also remembering to include Dianne. Jeff was not completely healed yet, and would need further evaluations, but the doctor felt comfortable leaving Jeff's care with Dianne.

"So, like I said, don't hesitate to call me at any time, night or day. Good luck to you."

He shook Jeff's then Dianne's hands as they both thanked him. "Well, husband? Are you ready to go home?"

Jeff squeezed her hand lovingly. "More than you'll ever know, dear heart, more than you'll ever know."

The entourage made their way out of the hospital. Dianne held Jeff's hand as the orderly pushed him. They hadn't even made it through the doors when Cherie's voice pierced the air.

"TA-DA!" She stepped aside to reveal Bernie, the limo, and hundreds of balloons!

Dianne looked at her daughter, who merely grinned and laughed, "You gotta go home in style, Dad!" Jeff laughed and shook his head.

"Do you know how much I love you?" he asked Cherie.

"Yep! This much!" she answered, throwing her arms around him.

Bernie stepped forward to start to assist the family when loud voices and hurried footfalls distracted everyone. Several reporters came running from the left side of the hospital entrance.

"Mr. Tracy! Mr. Tracy!"

"How are you feeling?"

"What is your prognosis?"

"Any word on what caused your chopper to crash?"

"Were you on secret business for a company takeover?"

"Where's your pilot, what happened to her?"

The barrage of questions kept coming, along with the continuous clicking of annoying cameras that were being shoved into their faces, momentarily stunning Jeff and Dianne. Bernie was the first to respond and sternly told the group of pestering reporters that Mr. Tracy had no comments, and asked if the family could please be left alone. The reporters naturally ignored him and continued firing their questions until Gordon emerged and helped to usher everyone as quickly as possible into the limousine.

"I'm sorry darling. I didn't even think they would show up here like this," Dianne apologized.

"Don't worry, it's not your fault. They're still looking for that story I won't give them," Jeff replied, tenderly kissing his wife's hair as she snuggled next to him.

The children settled themselves and Grandma huffed at the rudeness of the reporters. "Sorry Dad, Dianne, I didn't even see them coming or I would've stopped them." Gordon apologized.

"Thanks, son, but it's not your fault either. However, I do suspect that part of this balloon d├ęcor is your fault!" Jeff tried to sound serious but couldn't. His fourth son merely grinned and innocently replied,

"Moi? Dad! I'm insulted!"

Everyone laughed as the limo pulled away from the curb and made its way to the penthouse. They still had to pick up Kyrano and the last of their belongings before heading to the airport to meet Scott and Chris.

Dianne snuggled with her husband, gazing at his handsome features. He returned the gaze lovingly. "Let's get you home, Mr. Tracy!" she said softly as his lips met hers.

"Aw c'mon guys, can't you wait til you get home!"

"Gordon Tracy!"

"Sorry Grandma!" Gordon smirked, causing Alex, Tyler and Cherie to dissolve into a fit of giggles.

Post by FrankieCTB2 on 16/09/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #694 is a reply to message #693] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Saturday, March 10th New York Airport.

Scott sat in the cockpit doing his pre-flight check and waiting for his co-pilot and passengers to arrive. Chris whistled to himself softly as he approached the aircraft.

"Hello Scott, permission to come aboard?"

Scott laughed "Hi, Chris. Sure, c'mon in."

Chris was to be co-pilot on this the return flight, so he parked himself in the co-pilot's seat and began to help Scott with the pre-flight checks.

"So, are you feeling more at ease with the plane?" asked Scott.

"Yeah, took a little getting used to yesterday, but she felt good once I settled down and just let her fly!"

Scott smiled. He knew exactly what Chris was referring to. The noise of a car engine outside caught their attention. "Looks like our passengers have arrived," announced Scott, extracting himself from his seat and heading down the stairs to meet them.
His two youngest brothers were the first to emerge from the limo, followed by Grandma, Kyrano, Cherie, Gordon, and Dianne, who went around the other side to help with the wheelchair and Jeff.

"Here, let me do that, Mom."

"Thanks, Scott."

They both helped Jeff ease into his chair and headed towards the rear of the plane. The aft ramp had been lowered so that the wheelchair would have easier access and Jeff would not have to try and climb the stairs. Grandma and Kyrano herded the children on board and Kyrano then returned to assist Bernie with the luggage.

Scott helped his father into his seat. "All set, Dad?"

"Yes, thank you, son. Who's your co-pilot?" Jeff asked, seeing movement in the cockpit.

"Chris. He flew in with Gordon yesterday, Virgil thought he could use some flying time." Jeff nodded his approval.

At the mention of Gordon's name, Dianne called out to him.
"Gordon, now would be a good time to say goodbye to your father!" She had noticed he was keeping his distance from her, and it served him right!

Gordon boarded the plane and gave his father a hug. "Behave yourself, Dad!"

"Likewise, Gordon, likewise!" Jeff smiled, but Gordon knew he meant what he said.

"Call me if there's anything you need me for."

"Yes sir!" Gordon also hugged his siblings, yelled goodbye to everyone else and deplaned. Dianne followed him out.

"Gordon, I meant every word I said to you last night. I will be checking on you. You can't afford to let this injury go, and we can't afford it either."

"I know, Mom," was the somber reply.

"Your dad doesn't know everything that happened, and I won't tell him, but you defy me one time and he'll know."

Gordon looked at her. "Thanks."

"Gordon Tracy, you're a mess, but God help me, I do love you!" She embraced her stepson and he was actually taken by surprise! He recovered quickly and hugged her back.

"Have a safe trip, I promise I will call you tomorrow."

He smiled. The charm was back and Dianne gave him a peck on the cheek and returned to the plane.

"Well, looks like we're all set back here. Hey, squirt!" Scott turned to Tyler. "Keep that belt on, you hear me!"

Tyler giggled "Yes sir, Captain sir!" he answered giving Scott something that resembled a military salute.

Jeff laughed as Scott shook his head and returned to the cockpit. "All set up here?" Scott asked his second in command.

"F-A-B!" came the reply, along with a grin.

Scott called the tower for clearance and within minutes they were on their way. Jeff relaxed back in his seat and closed his eyes. Home. He was going home. He knew his body still had a few milestones to reach before he would be back to what he considered normal, but that didn't matter. His family had nearly lost him, and he them, but all that mattered now was going home. Dianne noticed her husband was resting and got up to gently place a blanket over him.

"I'm not asleep, you know." He opened one eye and looked at her.

"I knew that!"

She smiled down at him. He winked at her and closed his eyes again. Truth be known he was rather tired, and he knew he'd never get a moment's peace once they were home. Cherie and Tyler played cards together, under the watchful eye of Grandma, and Alex was playing a handheld video game. With her family relaxed and quiet, Dianne allowed herself to drift off to sleep. Kyrano busied himself with fetching snacks and drinks for all on board and even he smiled as he saw the sleepy faces of the family that meant the world to him.

In the cockpit, everything had gone smoothly and Scott was impressed with Chris's ability to learn quickly. The flight progressed smoothly until they were about an hour from California. Scott had been in contact with LAX Air Traffic Control and they had advised him of a storm system out in the Pacific near Hawaii, heading east. Scott talked it over with Dianne and they decided to layover for the night, playing it safe and giving Jeff a chance to rest up. Dianne decided the kids could do with some time to unwind as well.

They landed at LAX and Dianne proceeded to make reservations at Jeff's favorite hotel. The kids were excited, and it wasn't long before the entire group was transported and settled for some R & R and a good meal. Jeff was more than thankful that his son decided to layover instead of trying to navigate through a storm. Scott was capable, there was no doubt, but Jeff didn't think himself up to it. Dianne told Scott and Chris that she would like to take the controls part of the way home and they readily agreed. She had a pilot's license and didn't get the chance very often to use it.

Early the next morning, Chris checked in with the ATC and got a weather update. The storm system had subsided and was currently heading northeast so they were given a clear flight plan. Dianne was excited and looking forward to taking the controls and soon found herself in the pilot's seat. Scott would be co-pilot, and Chris would take first shift relaxing.

"All set, Mom?" Scott asked very seriously.

Dianne grinned back at him. "F-A-B. Control Tower, this is Tracy One requesting takeoff clearance, over?"

"Tracy One acknowledged, proceed to runway one seven and await instructions."

"Roger control tower, proceeding to runway one seven."

Scott had to admire the way Dianne became an instant professional when called upon to do so. His father was very lucky, and Scott hoped one day he would be able to find someone as dedicated, loving, and as passionate about life and family as his stepmother.

Tracy One was soon airborne and winging its way southward.

Halfway over the Pacific, Dianne relinquished the controls to Scott, who took the plane almost home. He decided at the last minute to let Chris land. Practicing landing on the island would be good training for him. There was limited runway access and you had to have your wits about you to get it right.

Turning to Chris, he asked, "How about you take the landing? I'll let you call in the approach and everything!" Scott grinned at his co-pilot who returned the grin twofold!


Moments later Chris radioed in. "Tracy Island this is Tracy One requesting permission to land?"

The radio crackled and then Virgil's voice came over loud and clear. "Tracy One, you have permission to land. Proceed as normal, and welcome home!"

Chris banked the plane with ease, and Scott advised his passengers to prepare for landing. In the lounge, however, things were frantic. Virgil may have sounded cool, calm and collected on the radio, but he was actually nearing the end of his nerves. The rest of the occupants on the island had decided to decorate and have this big affair ready for Jeff Tracy's arrival home. They were not ready and the ensuing chaos was giving Virgil a headache. Even Brains, who had enthusiastically agreed to help, had disappeared to his lab.

"Guys! They are on final approach!"

Virgil practically yelled across the lounge. Nikki, Dom and Brandon each mumbled something that Virgil swore was not in English and then scurried around the room putting up the 'Welcome Home' sign and the last of the balloons. Lisa Parkhurst burst into the Lounge and in a ragged breath announced that the food was finally ready. Joshua had begun running around the room entangled in streamers, babbling contentedly and laughing at himself! Virgil called the house intercom and asked everyone to come to lounge, whether they were ready or not. He for one would be so grateful his father was coming home. Elise came in from the kitchen, Dom gathered up his wayward son, and the rest mingled in and waited.

"Here they come!" announced Alan, seeing the plane make its final approach.

"Right, Brains, call TB5. Callie and John should be in on this too," Virgil asked.

"Sure Virgil."

Once the link was set up, they all waited quietly. Jeff would have to come up on the passenger elevator via TB2's hangar, and then up in the Villa lift from the lower floor to the upper, so it would take a while. Then they would have to come through the study into the lounge. Tin-Tin offered to be 'look-out' and positioned herself on the side of the study closest to the elevator. When she heard it rising up through the villa, she signaled to Dom who was standing at the entrance from the study to the lounge. Seconds later, Tin-tin raced back into the lounge and they all waited in silence. Dianne wheeled Jeff out of the elevator backwards and turned him towards the study. Neither one noticed the strange silence. The rest of the passengers followed behind as Jeff and Dianne made their way into the lounge. As soon as they had entered, the entire place erupted in a chorus of


Dianne almost leapt out of her skin, Jeff merely shook his head, and as the others came in behind him, they too were caught off guard.

"Awesome!" was Alex's first reaction.

Cherie squealed in delight and Tyler thought this was the coolest surprise ever! Everyone cheered and clapped and Virgil stepped forward.

"Welcome home, Dad."

Jeff opened his arms and invited his son in for a hug. Jeff couldn't remember the last time he'd hugged Virgil and it felt good.

"Home...I like the sound of that, son!"

Laughter could be heard around the Tracy Villa for the next few hours. An enormous amount of food was consumed and Kyrano found himself complimenting Lisa on everything she had fixed. As the evening wore on, the homecoming wound down and one by one team members bid their goodnights and departed. Elise offered to help Kyrano clean up and Grandma insisted on helping too. Jeff and Dianne watched as his mother bustled off to her kitchen.

"She's been away too long!" Jeff laughed.

"So have you Jeff." Dianne walked over to him and sat down on the couch next to him.

"I thought this day would never get here." She sighed wearily. He gently stroked her hair, and replied,

"Me too." They stayed like that for a while, just comforting each other in silence, until three weary-looking children flopped onto the opposite couch.

"I ate too much," complained Tyler.

"That's because you're a piggy!" teased Alex.

"Am not!"

"Yeah you are!" The whining had officially begun.

Dianne raised her head. "I think its way past certain peoples' bedtimes, so who do you want to tuck you in?"

Cherie rolled her eyes.

"I'll do it! I haven't seen my angels in so long!" announced Lisa from the doorway.

The three of them cheered and bounced over to Jeff and Dianne, each child giving them a hug and a kiss goodnight.

"See you in the morning, kids! Love you!"

Dianne's voice echoed as the little brigade made its way out of the lounge. Suddenly, Tyler's little voice could be heard saying,

"I want Alan to tuck me in! Where is he?"

"Don't worry, my sweet, we'll find him on our way to your room," Lisa answered him.

Dianne snuggled down with Jeff again, but all too soon it seemed that his wife had turned into nurse mode and was telling him it was time to get some rest! This time he had no reasons to complain about being told to go to bed, even if it was in the sick room for now. As Dianne wheeled him out of the lounge, he turned to look at the mess strewn all over and smiled to himself. Home, I'm finally home.

Post by FrankieCTB2 on 16/09/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #695 is a reply to message #694] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Dianne wheeled Jeff into the lift near the study, and they descended to the lower floor. Neither of them said much; they both were too tired for talk. They stopped before the door to the sick room and Dianne toggled the switch that opened it then palmed on the lights. She smiled to see everything clean and in apple pie order.

Wheeling him over to the nearest bed, Dianne set the brakes, and helped him rise from the chair. During the last two days of his hospital stay, the nurses had insisted on getting Jeff up and moving as much as his casts would allow, so that now he was doing most of the rising and moving with her as support. He stood before the bed so that Dianne could help him remove his trousers, then shifted up onto the bed and began to unbutton his shirt one-handed. Dianne worked on his shoe and sock, and then helped him slide his shirt off over his arm cast. She smiled to see him dressed in only a t-shirt and boxers. They took a trip to the bathroom, Jeff feeling slightly embarrassed at having to be helped on and off the toilet, and then returned to the bed.

"Do I have to wear a hospital gown?" he asked.

Dianne shook her head. "Not if you don't want to. I can bring down some pajama bottoms."

He shook his head. "For tonight, this will suffice." He gazed at her wistfully. "Where will you be sleeping?"

She moved over to the bed next to his and began unplugging all the sensors from their ports. "I'll be sleeping next to you, as close as these beds will allow." She finished the job and helped him lie down on his bed, turning on only the most basic of monitors. Then she moved the second bed over to butt up against his, setting the brakes so it wouldn't move away. She turned on a low light where it wouldn't bother his eyes, and gave him a smile.

"I'll be right back." Then she left.

Jeff lay back against the clean sheets, thinking about her and how tantalizing it would be to lie next to his wife again. He felt warm and knew that he could do nothing about it. He wasn't physically ready yet. But when he was...

The door swished open, and Dianne came in, dressed in her favorite silk dressing gown. She palmed the lights off, and Jeff smiled as he watched her slip the gown from her shoulders and lay it over the back of a chair. She was wearing pajamas that matched the robe's dark green color, the top of which bared most of her shoulders and back and was held up by thin straps. He sighed happily.

"You are so beautiful, Dianne."

"I thank you, love," she responded as she climbed into the second bed. Lying as close as she could to the edge nearest him, she reached out and stroked his hair back, then leaned over and kissed him, long and tenderly, whispering, "Welcome home, Jeff. Welcome home."

Post by Tikatu on 16/09/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #696 is a reply to message #695] Tue, 24 July 2012 20:53 Go to previous message
Tikatu is currently offline  Tikatu
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With that we end
Chapter Two: Learning the Ropes.

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
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