International Rescue: The Next Phase

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New Beginnings [message #2205] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:08 Go to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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A new year - 2069 - is about to begin. The past year has seen many challenges and changes for the Tracy family and International Rescue; the new year promises many more. An entire family moving onto the island, new equipment being created, new relationships beginning to flourish, and milestones are reached and celebrated.

Yet, there are also trials ahead. The confrontation with the World Government back in November will cause friction between IR and that entity. The terrorist organization they came in contact with is not yet dissolved, and may embroil IR in their schemes, whether by plan or not. The Hightowers have their eye on International Rescue's technology, and the Hood is still at large. Any or all of these may challenge the Tracys in this new year.

Still, a new year begets new beginnings, and all looks hopeful for the Tracys as the clock strikes midnight, and 2069 is ushered in.

Posted by Tikatu

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2206 is a reply to message #2205] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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December 31, 2068 around 10:15 p.m., Tracy Island

This is definitely the warmest New Year's Eve I've ever experienced, Cassie thought as she quickly walked across the third floor of the balcony. The stars sparkled in the clear night sky and a cool breeze blew through the hair that she hadn't bothered to do anything with.

Reaching the steps by Will's apartment, she hurried down them. Soon she was standing outside the sliding doors of Dom's apartment. Shifting the container she was holding to one hand, she knocked on the door. It wasn't long before Dom opened it.

"There you are!" he exclaimed. He stepped aside, making a motion with his hand for Cassie to enter. "We were starting to wonder if we needed to come looking for you."

"Sorry. I was working on a letter that I needed to get done," Cassie commented as she stepped inside.

Brains and Tin-Tin were seated on the sofa. They both looked away from the program they were watching on the TV and toward the new arrival. Will put his glass down on a coaster on the coffee table and came over.

"Here let me take that from you," he offered, reaching out for the container of stuffed mushrooms she had brought with her. Cassie gratefully handed it over. "I'll take it to the kitchen," Will continued. "Jenny's kind of taken over in there with setting things up despite Dom's protests."

"If you don't mind my asking, why was getting the letter done now so important?" Brains asked, as Will headed toward the kitchen.

"Well, it's a New Year's tradition I have. I write a letter to myself every New Year's Eve, then New Year's Day I read the previous year's letter. It's interesting to see how things change," Cassie told him, as Dom slid the door shut behind her.

"I may have to try that myself," Tin-Tin commented.

"Have a seat," Dom told his newest guest. "Tin-Tin has insisted that we watch the concert from Cathedral Square in Christchurch."

"I can't miss a chance to see Cliff Richard, Jr. and the Shadows play!" Tin-Tin insisted.

"They sound pretty good," Cassie commented, remembering the group from their scavenger hunt on Halloween. Though she had meant to, she hadn't gotten around to checking the group out.

"Want some punch or soda?" Dom asked.

"Punch would be fine, thank-you," Cassie replied walking further into the apartment. Instead of sitting, she placed the bag she was still carrying on the coffee table. "I brought a couple of things to make this seem more like a New Year's Eve celebration," she said, reaching into the bag. She took out a stack of party hats with Happy New Year on them. Colorful streamers were coming out of the top of them.

Cassie took one off the top and passed the stack to Tin-Tin. She placed the hat on her head, then turned back to the bag as Dom and Will rejoined them. Tin-Tin was now sporting a hat too. Taking a second one off the stack, she passed the rest of them to Dom, who had placed the punch he had brought out on a coaster near Cassie.

"I was hoping no one would think of hats," Will commented as he picked his glass up.

Despite Brains protests, Tin-Tin placed a hat with blue streamers on his head.

"And you can't celebrate New Year's without confetti," Cassie said, bringing out a container of multicolored pieces of paper. Noticing Dom's stricken look, she continued. "Don't worry, I'll stop by tomorrow and vacuum what confetti we don't get cleaned up tonight, seeing as I brought it."

"What, no noisemakers?" Will asked, he had a hat in his free hand but had yet to don it.

"As there is a sleeping child in the apartment, no, I didn't bring any noise makers."

"Good. Keep in mind if anyone wakes the wee one up, you're entertaining him."

There was laughter around the room.

"I've got everything set up in here if anyone is ready to eat," Jenny said, coming around the corner.

There was a chorus of consents and thanks from the others gathered.

"Here, Jenny! Have a hat," Cassie said, picking up one of the few hats remaining and crossing over to her as the others started to move toward the kitchen.

"Are you going to put that on, or just carry it around?" Dom asked Will, indicating the hat he was still holding.

With a shrug, Will placed the cheap party hat on his head.

Holding a plateful of chocolate-coated strawberries, Jenny chuckled while Cassie stuck the hat on her head. As Cassie plucked a strawberry from the plate, the hat slid to one side, hanging over one ear.

"Hold still for a moment; I'll get it on," Cassie said. She popped the strawberry in her mouth and reached out to right the hat.

New Year's Eve on Tracy Island Part 1 . . . written by starrynebula. Thanks to scuppy3 for help with Jenny!

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2207 is a reply to message #2206] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"Y'know, when I was living with my family, we'd have to go somewhere to celebrate New Year's Eve," Will said, as he glanced away from the television. "Living in the Mountain time zone, we'd see taped celebrations or, in the case of New Year's, see it a couple of hours early, due to the time difference. There were no live broadcasts of celebrations in our zone."

He looked around at the others. "While I lived in San Francisco, I went out with friends, either to a hotel bash or a party at someone's house. And once, when Stanford was playing in the Rose Bowl - how they made it, I don't know - a friend and I went down to Pasadena for the game. She even got passes to the parade.

"Now that was somethin' to see," he continued, shaking his head at the memories. "I'd heard from a lot of people that you had to see the parade in person to really get the full impact, but never quite believed that. I thought that watching it on a big screen TV in the comfort of your home, whether or not you had a hangover from the night before," he grinned sheepishly here, "would be more than enough Boy! I was sure wrong! Those floats are even more spectacular. And the game was exciting. It was close, but Stanford actually won!"

"Who were they playing?" asked Tin-Tin.

Will stared at her blankly for a minute, then laughed. "I actually don't remember. Can you believe that?"

As the others laughed, he grabbed a strawberry and stuffed it in his mouth.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest

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Re: New Beginnings [message #2208 is a reply to message #2207] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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New Year's Eve on Tracy Island - part 2

The sounds of the party were muted as Dominic pushed the door to Joshua's room closed. Cassie had arrived and the celebrations were now in full swing. Dom touched the party hat he was now wearing and smiled gently. He had left Jenny to her own devices in the kitchen -- for the duration of the party it has become HER kitchen, and he wasn't going to fight it.

He crossed the small room and sat down on the edge of Joshua's brand new bed. The child had been absolutely delighted when, as part of his birthday surprise, Dominic had redecorated the child's room and bought him his first ever 'big-boy' bed. Dom reached out to brush some of Joshua's lengthening hair out of his eyes and smiled wider. He was going to have to ask Lisa to sort it out.

Dom reached up and pulled at the back of his own long mop. He hadn't had a haircut in quite some time, and now it was long enough to sit on his shoulders. Joshua mumbled something incoherent and clenched one hand. Dominic shook his head. I can't believe my little boy is three already! The time's gone by so fast... He remembered the look of absolute delight on Josh's face as he unwrapped his Christmas present: his first ever tricycle, bright blue and shining in the sunlight. Riding it was a challenge at first, but it wasn't long before the child was zooming around the apartment with ease -- and knocking things over. Note to self: further child-proof living room, Dom thought.

Dom stood and smoothed the covers down, before turning to leave. He couldn't help but feel a pang as he rejoined the small group in the living room and became very aware that someone was missing. Someone who it turned out Dom cared for much more than he thought was possible. Happy New Year, Luke, he thought, before dropping down onto the sofa and reaching for his soda.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2209 is a reply to message #2208] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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December 31, 2068, aboard Thunderbird Five, 11:30 p.m. Tracy Island Time

Callie wasn't upset about staying on the space station through New Year's and a couple of days afterward. She remembered Dianne telling her about Jeff's birthday being the day after New Year's, so she easily accepted being there a little longer than usual.

Noting the time, she grabbed a data pad and started writing down her resolutions for 2069. It was a tradition she started as a child, deciding what she wanted to do the next year. Growing up, she knew there were a few resolutions she couldn't really keep, such as go into space at age 10. As she got older, she started making more realistic resolutions, and most of them worked out.

Writing her list down, she spoke out loud. "Let's see...remain happy and healthy, remain close to my family--hmm, I'd better call them when it's midnight in Opp. I'll calculate that later." After doing some more thinking, she said, "Ah, I know one major goal I want to reach: find a counteragent to that doggone chemical compound from the plane crash last July. I've struggled with it for months, but sometime in 2069 I will get the answer." She underlined it twice to indicate it was one of her bigger resolutions.

After completing her list, she went looking on the Internet to make sure she timed her phone call to her parents later in the day. "Okay, I'll call them at around 4:55 tomorrow afternoon to wish 'em a Happy New Year."

Just then, she heard the radio going off. "Thunderbird Five from Base, Thunderbird Five from Base."

Callie pressed the button to activate the video. "Thunderbird Five here, reading you strength five." She smiled as she saw Dom and Cassie's faces on the screen.

New Year's Eve from waaaay up there...

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest

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Re: New Beginnings [message #2210 is a reply to message #2209] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island, 11:30 PM

Everyone was sitting on the balcony, laughing and relaxed, filled with the different snack foods each one had contributed to the party. Suddenly Tin-Tin sat up straight. "We've forgotten someone!"

"Who? What do you mean?" asked Brains.

"Callie! She's alone up in Five." His assistant turned to him. "Is there any way you can transfer the feed from Five to here, Brains? I think we should call her and have her toast in the new year with us." She glanced at her watch. "We don't have much time. Can you do it?"

It's a good thing I can, Brains thought. Her eyes are so beautiful, I'd hate to see them filled with disappointment. "Dom, I presume you have a laptop. Would you bring it out here, please? That way, we'll have a screen large enough for all of us to see her and vice versa." As the nurse hurried inside to get the required item, the engineer continued. "That's a marvelous idea you had, Tin-Tin."

"I'm sorry I didn't think of it," added Will, as Cassie and Jenny both nodded their heads in agreement.

A minute or two later, Dom returned with the laptop. He set it in front of Brains, who proceeded to open it and entered a command. He apparently got the response he wanted, because he started working quickly, and only five minutes later, he had the connection set up. "Okay, who wants to place the call?"

"It's Dom's computer," said Jenny. "Let him do it."

"Good idea." Brains passed the computer over to Dom and said, "I've got it all set to make the call. Just hit enter, and give her a shout out."

"Wait a minute," said Will. "We should have our drinks first."

He and Jenny hurried inside and a few minutes later came out with a bottle of sparkling apple cider - non-alcoholic - and glasses. He held the bottle out, offering it to each of the others to open, but no one accepted.

"Okay," he said. "But don't expect the cork to go flying."

A deft twist, and a few moves to get the cork out, and he began pouring the drink. He turned to Dom with a grin. "Now you can make the call."

Dom grinned back at him and hit the button. "Thunderbird Five from Base. Thunderbird Five from Base."

A moment later, Callie's face was on the screen. Cassie had moved around to watch.

"Thunderbird Five here, reading you strength five."

"Hey, Callie. Got time to ring the new year in with us?"

"Dom! That is so thoughtful of you!"

"Well, actually it was Tin-Tin's idea, but we all agreed that you shouldn't usher it in alone."

By this time, the others had crowded around and behind Dom and Cassie. "Got anything at hand you can toast the new year with, Callie?" said Tin-Tin.

"No, I don't. Oh, wait a minute; I'll be right back."

She disappeared from the screen, but wasn't gone too long. When she returned, she had a glass filled with a bubbling liquid. "Martinelli's sparkling apple cider. I don't know who packed it for me, but I appreciate it. And I almost forgot about it. I can drink some when I call my folks to wish them a Happy New Year."

Brains smiled at her comment. "What do you know about that?" he said with an air of innocence. "We have the same thing down here."

Callie gave him a skeptical look, then chuckled. "Isn't that quite a coincidence?"

They chatted for a few more minutes, then they heard the countdown coming from the television.

...Five... Four... Three... Two... One!


The team members on the island tipped their glasses toward the screen - Callie did the same at her end - and clinked them with each other's. Then they all drank.

"Thanks, guys. You all made ringing in the new year just that much more special. I really appreciate it."

"You're more than welcome, Callie. Happy New Year," said Brains, and the rest of them echoed his last three words.

"Happy New Year to all of you, too. Thunderbird Five out." As her face faded from view, she tipped her glass toward the screen one more time.

When the transmission terminated, she stood up and walked to the window. Looking into space, she could see the blue waters and lands of the planet below. "Happy New Year, Earth."

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2211 is a reply to message #2210] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, December 31, 2068, 11:20 p.m., Foxleyheath, England (12:20 p.m., Tuesday, January 1, 2069, Tracy Island)

"May I cut in?"

Virgil looked over at his brother, then back at his dancing partner. Dressed in her red dress, with the cloisonné barrette in her upswept hair, Elise smiled up at Virgil, then at Scott. She hadn't worn the emerald necklace; it would have clashed with her frock.

"I don't mind," she said, signaling to Virgil that it was okay. "Exchanging one handsome Tracy brother for another is never a hardship..."

Virgil snorted, but obligingly stepped back to let Scott take his place. Scott and Elise swirled off into the throng of dancers, leaving Virgil to sigh, and head off in search of a drink.

"So, how do you like this shindig?" Scott asked as he guided his new dancing partner.

"Well, it's on par with Virgil's birthday party." Elise had a small, thoughtful frown on her face. "But it's more... formal. Less friendly. No karaoke." She swept the room with her eyes. "All these lords and ladies... I've been introduced to them and I still can't tell the difference between a viscount and a duchess!"

Scott laughed. "Well, considering that one is usually a male and the other a female..."

"Okay, I used a poor analogy," Elise admitted. "But trying to keep them all straight is mind-boggling."

"You don't have to keep them all straight, just a select few." He nodded in the direction of a tall, aristocratic man with swept-back gray hair. "Like Lord Silton over there. He's a good friend of the family and of the family business."

The way Scott said it made Elise give the aristocrat another look. "Is he the same kind of friend that Penelope is?" She shook her head. "I'm saying it badly..."

"No, I understand. And no, not same kind of friend. He's a bit more aloof, less personally involved. Very much into new technology. Remind me to tell you sometime about Dr. Borrender and our trip to Anderbad. Or ask Penelope. She was in the thick of that one."

They continued dancing for a bit until the small orchestra ended their piece, at which time they stopped and applauded. Virgil sauntered up, straightening his tie as he did so. "Dad told me that Grandma's looking for you, Scott."

"She is?" Scott craned his neck to try and spot where his grandmother was sitting. "Did she tell you why?"

"Well, she was chatting with the Duchess of Royston..."

"Oh, God, no." Scott looked genuinely horrified. "Why me? I thought it was John's turn this year!"

"John is nowhere to be found at the moment," Virgil said, a grin spreading across his face. "And Alan won't leave Nikki's side, for obvious reasons."

Elise suddenly felt sad. Since coming to Tracy Island, she and Nikki had become very close friends. Now, having seen the scope of International Rescue's medical component, Nikki had decided to go back to university and pursue her dream of becoming a doctor, with plans to return to IR when she had finished her studies. Jeff had given her his blessing, and financial support, and she was in England to visit with family before starting at the University of Auckland in March.

"How about Gordon? Can't he...?" Scott was sounding desperate now.

Virgil shook his head. "He did it last year. And you know very well why I can't."

Scott shook his head and sighed. "The things I do for... the family business."

Virgil snorted, then craned his neck to look over at the musicians. "Better hurry," he told his brother. "The music is about to start again."

Scott blew out a frustrated breath, but hurried off in the direction Virgil had come from. Virgil snickered, and Elise frowned at him. "What's this all about?"

The music began again, and Virgil asked, "May I have this dance?"

"Only if you tell me what's going on."

"All right." Virgil put an arm around Elise's waist and they began to dance.

"Well?" Elise pinned her partner with a stern look.

"Okay." Virgil paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. "Deborah, Duchess of Royston, is an old friend of Penny's... old in more ways than one. Even though she's of advancing years, she's no sedate old lady. She loves to gamble, drink, smoke, and be seen with handsome young men."

"Really?" Elise's thoughtful comment showed that she was developing a picture of the Duchess. "Tell me more."

"Well, a couple of years ago, she was in some dire financial straights. She'd been cheated at the gaming tables, and was about to sell her estate to pay her gambling debts. Penny found out, and asked Father if he could help."

A frown creased Elise's brow. "Help out? With a loan?"

Virgil shook his head. "No, not that. You see, the Duchess had an original Braquasso painting--'A Portrait of a Gazelle'. It's worth a fortune. Dad got the idea that he could work out a deal with his friend, Wilbur Dandridge. He's head of Gazelle Automations and he has this thing about gazelles. He's just crazy over them."

"So, your dad arranged for the duchess to sell her painting?" Elise asked.

Virgil twirled her away from him, then brought her back to his arms. "Not quite. She didn't want to sell it, but agreed to rent it to Dandridge. She brought it to New York herself." He pulled her a little closer, and murmured in her ear. "And that's when things got interesting."

Elise smiled, and murmured back, "Define interesting."

A throaty chuckle rose up, and Virgil's warm breath tickled her ear as he continued his story. "Well, there were some crooks who decided they'd like a piece of the action. So, they kidnapped the duchess when she arrived in New York. Then they posed as her agents, hoping to get the money out of Dandridge. Dandridge is a sharp guy; he knew something was wrong, and pulled a gun on them."

Elise chuckled, shaking slightly in Virgil's arms. "Your father knows the most interesting people."

Her comment made him laugh aloud, and drew many curious looks from the neighboring couples. "He does at that."

When he'd calmed, Elise asked, "So, what happened next?"

"Well," he said in a normal tone. "The crooks had left the duchess in some old farmhouse somewhere, and somehow, International Rescue got involved. I'm not sure of the details; I hear them third-hand from Dad. But Dandridge got the painting, and she not only got the fees for renting it, but a magazine paid her for her life story. Last I'd heard, she was flush again, and winning at the casinos."

"Ah, I see." Elise drew closer so her mouth was right next to Virgil's ear. "I suppose that the Thunderbird Two pilot was the one to rescue her?"

"I suppose so," Virgil murmured, smiling.

to be continued...

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2212 is a reply to message #2211] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, December 31, 2068, 11:30 p.m., Foxleyheath, England (12:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 1, 2069, Tracy Island)

"So, how are you feeling, Penelope?" Dianne sat next to Penny, and they both waited for Parker to come by and bring them each a drink. Penelope was wearing the same style of François Lemaire gown that Heather Kennedy had worn at Virgil's party, but in a rich sapphire blue. She looked a bit pale to Dianne's practiced eye and had tired easily.

"I am much, much better, Dianne. Thank you for asking." Penny gave her a winsome smile. "I am only sorry that the flu kept me from spending my birthday on the island, and attending Kyrano and your mother's wedding, as we had planned."

Dianne nodded. "We'll just have to have you come out to the island next month, and have a belated birthday celebration then. Maybe after the newlyweds return."

"I would enjoy that very much," Penny replied. "I have a gift for them, which I should like to deliver in person. And a touch of tropical sun would do wonders for me, I am sure."

Dianne agreed readily. "Perhaps it would."

Both women watched as Cherie and Jeff waltzed by, talking quietly with each other. "Cherie is growing into a sweet young lady," Penelope commented.

"I hope her temper is as sweet on the way home," Dianne said with a sigh. "The boys are tucked away in bed already; this type of party would bore them to whining... or mischief. Cherie's old enough to enjoy it, but she does need her sleep."

Parker arrived, two flutes of champagne balanced on a silver tray. He handed a glass to each lady. "Beggin' yer pardon, milady, but Ay believe we 'ave a gate-crasher."

"Do tell, Parker," Penelope said. "Do you recognize him or her?"

"Yus, milady. H'It's that Hightower bloke, the blond one."

Penelope sat up straighter, and began to look out over the crowd. "Giles?"

The butler smiled. "Yus, milady. That's the one." He glanced over his right shoulder. "'E's been circling h'around Missus Tracy and her Grace, but Ay don't think she 'as noticed 'im yet."

"And she would." Dianne laid a hand on Penny's arm. "She was with Tin-Tin in Kabul, and knows who he is."

"Yes, I remember." Penelope thought for a moment, then said, "Parker, bring our unwanted guest here, to me. I wish to speak to him."

As Parker went off to do his employer's bidding, Dianne asked, "Why do you think he's here? What could he possibly gain by crashing your party?"

"I can think of several things," Penny said, her tone dry. "As I learned from that little incident with Mr. Grafton, one can never tell what an uninvited guest's motives may be." She paused, then added, "I did humiliate him in public some months ago; he may have retaliation in mind. And there is what he did to Tin-Tin... and the virus he had planted in Lena Matumbo's computer. It seems he has set his cap on Tracy Industries. We must not allow him a foothold." She put her flute of champagne aside, and murmured to Dianne. "It would be prudent that you withdraw before he arrives, Dianne. I have no desire that he meet any other members of the Tracy clan than he already has."

"I agree," Dianne said. "I'll find Jeff, and tell him what's happening." She rose and sashayed off into the crowd, looking for her husband, just as Parker came up, herding a dapper-looking Giles Hightower.

"Ah, Lady Penelope," he said, glancing at Dianne's retreating back before turning back to Penny. "So nice to see you again. Who is your fascinating companion? It is terribly rude of you not to introduce us."

"Mr. Hightower, it is terribly rude of you to intrude on my gala." Penelope's eyes were half-lidded, giving her a haughty, disinterested look, but the tone of her voice was steely. "I detest unwelcome, uninvited guests."

"Ah, ah, ah, Lady Penelope." Giles held up a finger, a smile spreading across his face. "I was indeed invited. I am accompanying Lady Divinity Aldridge-Kitchener. I am her plus one."

Penny cast her mind back through the list of guests who had responded to her invitation. She had invited Lady Divinity -- an old school chum from her days at Rowden -- but she did not remember the name that worthy had put down as her escort for the evening. She was irked at herself for her lack of recollection, but she knew she still had the right to toss the bounder. She picked up her champagne glass and took a tiny sip before looking at Giles again.

"You may consider yourself 'invited', Mr. Hightower, but I consider you unwelcome." She turned to her butler. "Parker, please introduce Mr. Hightower to the rest of our security team, then escort him from the premises. I have full faith that, should he cause any commotion, you are more than capable of dealing with him."

"Yus, milady. Thank you, milady." Parker glanced toward a younger, well-built man in an impeccable tuxedo, and gave him a barely perceptible nod. The young man came forward, as did another, similarly built and clad gentleman that Parker subtly summoned. "Naow, Mr. 'Ightower. Let's go fer a little walk, shall we?"

"Well, I see that I shan't be ringing in the New Year with the rest of you," Giles said, sighing. He paused, then lowered his voice to a menacing tone, and gave his hostess a cool, venomous look. "You haven't seen the last of me, Lady Penelope. We will meet again... and soon."

She waved her hand, and the three men herded him out of the room. When he was gone, Penny let out a long soft breath, but did not relax. A large, warm hand fell on her shoulder and she started a little. Glancing up, she found Jeff at her side, with Dianne just behind him, her arm around Cherie.

"I hear you've had an unwanted visitor," Jeff said, his tone both troubled and solicitous.

"Yes, I have, Jeff, but Parker is dealing with him." She glanced at the ornate clock on the mantle. "Not long to go until the new year."

Jeff followed her gaze. "Just enough time for a dance with my hostess, and one more with my wife." He offered his hand. "Would you do me the honor?"

Penelope placed her hand in his. "Of course. I should be delighted." She turned to Dianne. "You don't mind, do you?"

"Not at all. Cherie and I will just get ourselves some more refreshment, and I'll check on Emily. Have fun!"

With that, Jeff pulled Penelope into his arms, and they swept out onto the dance floor.

Party at Penelope's part two

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2213 is a reply to message #2212] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, December 31, 2068, 11:35 p.m., Foxleyheath, England (12:35 p.m., Tuesday, January 1, 2069, Tracy Island)

"Whew! Things were getting a bit warm in there." Gordon breathed deeply of the cold air. He turned to John, who had followed him out onto the balcony. "Hey, I thought you weren't coming."

"I wasn't, until I saw Grandma talking to the Duchess of Royston." John put his hands on the heavy stone balustrade.

"Say no more," Gordon said, making a face. "She is such a... a..."

"Dirty old lady?"

"I wouldn't go that far, but yeah, that pretty much describes it." Gordon frowned, looking at his brother's face, half-lit by the glow of the interior lights. "Huh. Grandma seems to attract that kind of women for friends, doesn't she? I wonder why."

John shook his head. "I have no idea. Maybe she's secretly one of them?"

Gordon appeared to be thinking it over. "You may be onto something there. She sure had a lot of fun looking through that calendar I was in."

"And she wasn't just excited about your pictures, but with all the other guys who posed for it. Just wait until those months come up. You'll be in for more teasing then." John took a deep breath, letting it out in a contented sigh. "I'll admit that it's great to be here, celebrating with the rest of the family for a change." He looked skyward at the stars twinkling in the cloud-studded sky above. "It's been a long time since I was able to do this. I wonder what Callie's doing tonight."

"We can call her later and wish her a happy New Year, right?"

John nodded, then glanced around. There were a few other out on the terrace, mostly people smoking, for Lady Penelope had banned tobacco inside the ballroom. He moved closer to Gordon, so that anyone else nearby would have less of a chance to overhear. "I think Lena's modifications included Penny and the other agents," he said quietly. "So calling Callie on Five won't be a problem."

Gordon nodded. "Then we'll make that a priority once the New Year begins."

"Yeah. Though it'll be early afternoon her time...."

His statement trailed off as the French doors opened, and two familiar silhouettes stepped out into the chilly air.

"So, this is where you went, John," Alan said, putting an arm around Nikki. "When you disappeared, Virgil went looking for Scott."

"Poor Scott!" Nikki clutched her wrap around her a little tighter. "Having to dance with that old duchess." She shook her head. "She'll probably step all over his toes."

"Oh, she will, and he knows it!" Gordon said, grinning. "This isn't the first time she's danced with him."

"Last year was my turn," Alan groused.

"And I've done it twice," Gordon said. He hooked a thumb over at John. "He's gotten out of it because of his... job."

Nikki looked from one young man to the others. "I noticed that you didn't mention Virgil."

"True. Virgil has a permanent pass on dancing with her Grace." Alan leaned over and whispered in Nikki's ear. "He rescued her once."

Her eyes widened. "Ah, I see." She nodded slowly. "Good reason, but not fair on the rest of you."

Gordon opened his mouth to reply, but anything he might have said was cut off as the French doors opened again.

"Ay believe 'e went out 'ere, miss."

"Oh. Thank you, Parker." A petite woman, silhouetted in the room's glow stepped through the door, followed by an unfamiliar shadow. Gordon and John exchanged glances as the woman called, "John? Are you here?"

"Kat?" It wasn't John who replied, but Nikki. "Is that you?"

"Nikki?" Once she was fully into the gloom of the terrace, Kat was more easily seen, as was her escort, a young man who gazed around with a hint of suspicion.

"Kat!" Nikki surged forward, her arms open. "It is you! It's so good to see you!"

The two women embraced. "Oh, Nikki! I had no idea you were here!" Kat pulled back and looked her friend up and down. "You look lovely! Such a pretty frock!"

"I see you're wearing your red dress," Nikki said, smiling widely.

"Still looks good on you, too," Gordon said, stepping forward with a grin.

"Gordon!" Kat cried, opening her arms for a hug. Gordon complied, heartily, and when they'd parted, Kat looked around. She spied Alan, holding back, standing behind Nikki.

"Oh, Alan! It's good to see you!"

"Hey, Kat!" Alan hesitated for a moment as Kat offered him an embrace, then muttered, "Oh, okay," giving her a slight squeeze. Nikki claimed his arm as soon as Kat stepped away.

"It's so good to see you all. Who else is here?"

"Dad and Mom are." Alan told her.

"Is Brains here?"

Gordon shook his head. "No. He and Tin-Tin stayed home this year. But Scott, Virgil, and Elise are around here somewhere."

"Brains and Tin-Tin stayed home? How disappointing. I so wanted Brains to meet Thomas. But Elise is here? How wonderful! I will have to find her, too. Is John here? I had heard that he was and I was looking for him particularly." Kat glanced around, and John took that as his cue to step out of the shadows he'd retreated to.

"I'm here, Kat." He smiled at her, a warm, brotherly smile. "It's nice to see you again."

"And to see you, too, John." Kat's voice grew softer, and she hesitated, trying to decide whether or not to offer him an embrace. At last, she opened her arms, and awkwardly hugged him.

When they parted, she stepped back to the young man who had followed her out. "Everyone, I have some wonderful news. I would like to introduce my fiancé, Thomas Bentley-Edwards."

"Fiancé?" Nikki stepped forward to hug Kat again. "Congratulations! Can I see your ring?"

Kat laughed. "Let me introduce everyone first, then I'll show you." She drew Thomas forward with her as she said, "Thomas, these are my good friends. This is Nikki Jackson, behind her is Alan Tracy. This is Gordon Tracy, and finally, John Tracy. They are all brothers, as I'm sure you've guessed."

Thomas shook hands with each of them, smiling and murmuring pleasantries as he did so. When he got to John, his smile changed, became tighter. He looked as if he were sizing up the competition. "I'm glad to finally meet you, John. Kat has told me so much about you."

"Nice to meet you, too." John shook Thomas's hand, then dipped his head, and sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, Kat and I were good friends when she worked for us. I'm glad to see her so happy."

Having shown Nikki her ring -- an oval cut emerald, surrounded by eight small diamonds in a gold setting -- Kat joined her fiancé, taking his arm almost possessively. She held out her left hand. "Isn't it lovely? I am so very, very happy."

John looked at the ring and nodded. "It's a beautiful ring, Kat. And I wish you and Thomas all the best. You're a pretty lucky guy, Thomas. Kat's a special girl."

Thomas glanced over at his fiancée, who was looking more at John than she was at him. "Yes. I'm very fortunate." He reached over and drew Kat's face toward him, startling her as he kissed her softly on the lips.

There was a second or two of awkward silence, then Thomas broke it. "So, it was nice to meet you all." He turned to Kat. "Wasn't there someone else you wanted to speak with?"

Still dazed, Kat nodded. "Uh... yes. Yes, there was. Elise. And Virgil."

"You should have no trouble finding, Elise. She's wearing her red frock, the one from Virgil's party."

Kat smiled. "Thank you, Nikki." She glanced around at the group. "Will you be staying long in England? Perhaps we could have tea sometime... I should love to catch up with you all." Her gaze ended up at John again.

Alan spoke up. "I'm afraid we're not here for long. Just long enough to sleep off any hangovers and celebrate Dad's birthday."

"Or celebrate Dad's birthday, and sleep off the hangover," Gordon quipped.

Nikki shook her head and sighed. "You two..." She turned her attention back to Kat. "I'm staying behind, Kat," she said, giving Alan a swift glance. "Visiting family. Ring me, and we'll make arrangements."

"Yes, that would be brilliant." Kat's smile had returned full-force, and she seemed to be in control of things again. "Well, a happy New Year to you all. Come, Thomas. Let's find Elise before midnight, shall we?"

The affianced couple sauntered back into the ballroom. Gordon glanced at his watch. "Not long until midnight," he said. "Maybe we should go back in and find the rest of the family."

"I think you're right," John said, stepping forward.

"You two go ahead," Alan told his brothers. "We'll catch up."

Gordon nodded; he and John reentered the ballroom. "Well, how about that? Kat went and got engaged." He glanced up at John. "How does that make you feel?"

"Truthfully, Gords, I'm relieved." John replied, shaking his head. "And happy for her. She's got what she wanted now. I hope he treats her right."

Back on the terrace, Alan took Nikki's hand. "I wish you were going back with us," he said, a concerned look on his face.

"I told you, Alan. I want to visit family before starting uni again." Nikki's grasp on her wrap tightened. "Besides, you'll be going up... upstairs when you get back home. We wouldn't see each other for a month. It doesn't make much sense for me to return to the island when I can stay here." She released his hand and drew a warm finger across his lips. "I'll see you again soon. Auckland isn't that far away."

He let out a small sigh. "I know. It just feels like we've gotten this relationship off the ground... and now we're in a holding pattern."

Nikki chuckled. "Do you Tracys always use aeronautical terms to describe your relationships?"

Her question brought a chuckle from Alan. "I don't know. Who else has used them?"

She shook her head. "Don't worry about it, Alan. I'm just winding you up."

"I thought as much." He shivered a bit. "I think we'd better go back inside and find the rest of the family." Glancing at her, he added, "If I'm just getting cold, you must be freezing." He slipped out of his jacket, and draped it around her shoulders. "C'mon, let's get warmed up. We might even have time for a last dance."

Slipping an arm around her, he guided her back inside.

Party at Penelope's part 3

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2214 is a reply to message #2213] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Monday, December 31, 2068, 11:57 p.m., Foxleyheath, England (12:57 p.m., Tuesday, January 1, 2069, Tracy Island)

"Where's Virgil?" Jeff asked as he accepted a flute of champagne from a server.

"He's coming." John peered over the heads of their fellow party-goers.

"Here we are." Virgil, one hand grasping Elise's, pressed through the crowd. "Is everyone here?"

Emily glanced over the small group. "Looks like it."

Cherie was about to reach for a champagne glass, when Scott frowned and took the one she was reaching for. "Parker is supposed to come with something non-alcoholic for you." He glanced around, then nodded, drawing his sister's attention to his left. "And here he is."

"My h'apologies, Miss Cherie." The butler-cum-chauffeur bowed to the girl. "Ay was h'unavoidedly detained."

"That's okay, Parker," Cherie smiled, a tired expression. She took the proffered glass with a sigh. "Maybe some day I'll be able to have some of the real stuff."

Jeff felt someone tug his sleeve, and turned. "Tyler? Alex? What are you two doing up?"

"You should be in bed," Dianne said, smoothing her hand over Tyler's stiff hair, which stuck up in all directions. Her efforts were in vain; the unruly patches immediately bounced back into position.

"We couldn't sleep," Tyler whined.

Alex nodded, leaning up against Jeff. "It was too noisy." He yawned. "We came down to see if it was the new year yet."

"Not yet." Jeff looked at his watch. "Just one more minute." He put arm around Alex's shoulder "You can stay up long enough to ring in the new year, then back to bed you go."

"And Cherie will go up with you," Dianne added, giving her daughter a significant look. Cherie made a sour face and folded her arms belligerently; her mother shook her head slightly in response.

Parker, who had disappeared when the boys arrived, came hurrying back, two more glasses in hand. "Ay thought Master Alex and Master Tyler should have summat wiv which t' toast the new year."

Dianne smiled, taking one of the glasses and handing it to Tyler. "Thank you, Parker. That was very thoughtful of you."

Parker smiled, and touched an imaginary cap brim with a finger. "You are very welcome, mum. An' a happy New Year to you all."

At that moment, Lady Penelope took the microphone. "We are fast approaching midnight," she said. "A mere ten... nine... eight..."

The crowd picked up the countdown, and by the count of five, the Tracys had joined in, lifting their glasses.

"Five... four... three... two... one... Happy New Year!"

Suddenly the air was full of song and streamers and confetti and balloons. Jeff kissed his wife, murmuring, "Happy New Year, love" in her ear. Elise and Nikki joined in singing, "Auld Lang Syne", and after a moment, Dianne and Jeff, then the boys were singing, too... Gordon, his arms around John and Scott, swaying back and forth. Neither of his brothers budged, and Scott rolled his eyes. As the song ended, the Tracys touched glasses all around, then downed their drinks.

"I'll take the kids back upstairs," Dianne said, almost hollering in Jeff's ear over the fresh din of the party.

"We'll go together," Jeff insisted. His arm still around Alex, he apprised Scott of their destination. "Keep an eye on things here, son."

"F... Will do, Dad," Scott replied, nodding and taking Jeff and Alex's glasses, putting them down on a side table. He gave Cherie a kiss on her forehead, subtly taking her glass. "Happy New Year, Sis. Goodnight."

Another dance tune had sprung up as Jeff and Dianne gathered up the younger ones and headed out of the ballroom. Virgil whispered in Elise's ear, and she giggled, then nodded. They stepped out onto the dance floor again.

John turned to his grandmother. "May I have this dance, ma'am?"

Emily smiled widely. "I was hoping one of you boys would ask your old grandma for another dance."

"Well, I guess I'm the lucky grandson, then." He offered his arm. She took it, and they joined the throng.

Scott turned to find Alan and Nikki had slipped off somewhere without a word. Gordon, however, nudged him.

"I'm going to get a drink. Want anything?"

Scott shook his head. "No thanks." He peered out over the crowd. "Gonna cut in on someone. Be back soon."

"Okay." Gordon looked in the direction that Scott had and saw who he was talking about. "It's your funeral. I'll be sure to send flowers."

"Won't need 'em," Scott said absently before striding off. He came up to a couple, and smiling, asked, "May I cut in?"

Penelope looked from her current partner, Sir William Frazer, to Scott, and smiled. "I don't mind, if you don't, Sir William."

The older man - head of the British Security Service - harrumphed. "Of course not, Lady Penelope." He bowed to Scott, and gave him Penny's hand.

"Thank you, sir." Scott returned the bow, slipped an arm around Penny's waist, and they took up the rhythm of the music.

"Thank you, Scott," Penny said in a low voice. "The man is brilliant, but he does tread on one's toes."

Scott laughed. "Like a certain duchess does?"

"Oh dear." Penelope's look was sympathetic. "Were you the sacrificial lamb this year?"

He snorted. "'Fraid so. John disappeared on us, and Alan was otherwise occupied. Grandma wouldn't ask Gordon to do it twice a row, which left only me."

"I am sorry, Scott. But Deborah is such a good friend..."

Scott waved a hand. "Don't worry about it, Penny. All in a day's work and that sort of thing. And at least I won't have to do it next year. Grandma will see to that."

They fell silent for a moment, letting the music take them across the floor. Finally, Penny gave Scott a soft smile. "There is something I should tell you, Scott."

"What's that, milady?" he asked, his tone light and his interest piqued.

She reached up on tiptoe to murmur in his ear. "Happy New Year."

Scott grinned at her. "And a very Happy New Year to you, too, Lady Penelope."

Party at Penelope's is done. Hope you had fun!

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2215 is a reply to message #2214] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
January 1st, 10:45 pm Tracy Island (December 31st, 2069, 11:45pm, Oahu, HI)

Lana came to a stop at the low bar separating the dining room from the living room. Vince was right behind her with the drinks she had been preparing for Aaron and his friends. Her husband placed the tray with the glasses on it on the bar amongst the half-eaten party food Lana had prepared.

"Hey guys, here's the sparkling cider to bring the new year in with," Vince called out to the teenagers gathered in the living room.

Giving the upcoming move, the living room was void of furniture save the entertainment center. Makani and his wife had bought the house, and as they had their own furniture, what Vince and Lana weren't taking with them had been donated to a family from their church who had just recently suffered a house fire. Though a special was on the TV, no one was paying too much attention to it at the time. Vince wasn't sure what the kids were doing, but there was a lot of talking and laughing going on.

Vince picked up the two glasses of wine off the tray, and handed one to Lana. He took a sip from his own as the teenagers converged on the bar.

"You put it in wine glasses, cool!" Erica exclaimed. The girl was one of four girls at the party and one of Aaron's surfing buddies. The other three girls were all from Aaron's swim team.

The girls' presence was the main reason Vince and Lana had been against letting this be a sleep over. After a lot of phone calls with the other teens' parents they had finally conceded, seeing as Aaron would be leaving at the end of the week and this was the last chance he would have to spend time with some of them. The cot Vince was planning on sleeping on that night was sitting against the one wall, however.

After the teens had got their glasses of sparkling cider and were settled back in front of the TV, Vince sat down on the stool next to his wife. He grabbed a Lau lau from a plate and took a bite of it. He glanced over at Lana to see her looking over a list.

"What's that?"

"Things I need to get done before we leave on Saturday," she replied.

"Put it away. We're supposed to be celebrating!"

Lana sighed. It was late and New Year's Eve. Her husband had a point; she should enjoy the holiday. Despite the late night, she had plans for an early start to the day tomorrow. She put the clipboard down on the counter and then picked up her wine glass, taking a sip.

"I just hope I can get everything done in time."

Vince looked at his wife closely. She had been working hard ever since Christmas had passed to get things ready for the move. Maybe this hadn't been such a great idea. Perhaps he shouldn't have asked his family to pick up and move half way around the world with him. To leave behind family and friends. A house that they had started to call home.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked her, dropping his voice, though he doubted the teenagers were paying any attention. "If you're having second thoughts perhaps..."

Lana shook her head and seeing the gesture, Vince fell silent. She thought back to the conversation she'd had with Dianne when her husband had taken her to Tracy Island the first weekend in December.

It had been Saturday evening, the Tracys had been gracious hosts and Lana found herself enjoying spending time with the family. Dianne had asked her to join her down at the pool as her two youngest wanted to go swimming. Not having anything else to do, she had consented.

Now, Lana took a sip of her lemonade, and then placed the glass down on the table. Dianne sat across from her, watching Alex and Tyler play in the pool. Lana let her gaze go to the two boys, too.

She's raised her children here on the island and all three of them seem to have adjusted okay. Maybe raising Lea here wouldn't be so bad, Lana thought.

"I was wondering if you would mind answering a question for me?" She said, getting up the courage to broach the subject that had been on her mind for a while now. "How did you make the decision to raise your kids here on the island?"

Dianne put down her glass of sweet tea and gave Lana a small, crooked smile. "It wasn't easy in some ways. I was taking them away from their cousins and grandmother and all that they'd known. But in other ways, it was an easy choice to make, because I was taking them away from a lot of pain and misery, too. Moving here gave us a fresh start, away from the ghosts of the past."

She shook her head. "My kids gave up a lot to move here, as I was reminded several times this past year." Tilting her head to one side, she asked, "Are you concerned about that? About what your kids will lose by moving here?"

Lana nodded trying to organize her thoughts a bit before speaking. "Aaron's been through moves before. I know he'll adjust to leaving his friends behind. He probably won't like it, but he'll make the most of it," Lana said thinking of her eldest and how much of a help he had been over the last few years. "With him, it's his swimming that I'm most concerned about. I mean, I know your husband said we could send the kids to the mainland for activities if we chose to and we could probably find a coach but it would mean a trip to the mainland at a minimum of four days a week."

"Then there's Lea. She's been kind of sheltered so far and hasn't had much contact with other children. Moving her continues that. I guess I'm worried about her developing proper social skills."

"Ah, I see." Dianne nodded, looking thoughtful. "She does need to have interaction with children her own age. My boys..." She waved a hand in the direction of the pool. "Even though there's only a few years between her and Tyler, that few years might as well be a decade at this point."

She paused, gathering her thoughts. "Just recently, we started taking Cherie to an art class in Christchurch. It's only an hour's flight round-trip, and has been really good for her socially. We're looking into doing something similar for the boys, just for fun."

She gave Lana a warm smile. "I'm sure there are programs available for preschoolers and kindergartners that you could take advantage of. Flying you there and back is really not a problem; we have many available pilots."

Lana nodded. She hadn't missed Dianne's reference to an art class. That was what Vince and herself had been thinking of getting Lea involved in.

"Aaron has a private pilot's license too. He has plans to get the multi-engine rating in a couple of weeks, so if there was an available plane he might be able to take us sometimes too," Lana commented. At least until he goes off to the Academy, she added silently. Lana sighed. Speaking of Aaron, there was still a question of his swimming.

"Moving here looks like it will mean Aaron giving up competitive swimming. If it wasn't that he has his eyes set on World's next spring, I wouldn't be so concerned about it."

Dianne sipped her tea, looking thoughtful. As something occurred to her, she smiled, an eyebrow raised. "How would you feel about having an Olympic gold medalist as your son's coach?"

*Flash back written in collaboration with Tikatu

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2216 is a reply to message #2215] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Lana coughed on the lemonade she had just taken a sip of. Recovering, she looked across the table at Dianne. "What do you mean?" she asked, trying to keep the excitement out of her voice.

"Well, my son, Gordon, currently holds the world record in freestyle--he won Olympic medals for both that and the butterfly strokes." She paused. "He's still a fast swimmer, especially in freestyle, though he no longer competes--for more reasons than just staying incognito. I think he'd like the challenge of training another swimmer to his level or beyond."

She glanced up at the balcony, where Gordon and John could be seen, both wearing swimsuits, with towels around their necks. "We could ask."

"If he would be willing that would be a relief for me. Aaron's already qualified to go to the trials to determine the World Team. It would be a shame if he couldn't go." Lana made a mental note to talk to Gordon before they left this weekend. "What about IR? I mean, what have you told the younger kids? How did you tell them? Vince has already cleared telling Aaron the truth about the move before we leave Hawaii if he takes the position. Neither of us are sure about Lea though."

Dianne laughed. "In Tyler's case, he knew before I did! He saw Thunderbird One launch one night, but put it down to a dream." She sipped her tea again, and put the glass down, turning it around and around on the table top. "Once I knew about IR, I insisted that my kids be told. It wasn't fair that they not know, and it took a lot of pressure off of Jeff and the boys."

"Trying to hide something this big from people who live here 24/7 is extremely difficult. Hell, even trying to hide it from frequent visitors is hard. My mother found out on her own, and didn't tell anyone, which was an accomplishment on her part."

She picked up the glass again, and drained it. "My kids have been able to keep the secret, even when they've gone visiting family without us. We've impressed them with the importance of it. Other than my mother, none of my other family members know, and that's due a lot to the kids."

"Still, it's a lot to ask of a five year old," Lana commented, still unsure. She nervously started tapping her polished nails on the table top. "What if she accidently let something slip?"

"Hmm." Dianne paused for a long moment, looking very thoughtful. Finally, she said, "You're right, it is a lot to ask of a little one. But anyone could accidently let something slip, really." She caught Lana's gaze. "How much exposure to IR's activities has Lea had up until now? Has your family made a big deal of what we do when it ends up in the news?"

Lana ducked her head, a little embarrassed with what she was about to say. "Honestly, I'm not even sure she knows what IR is. Sure, a news story with them has gotten mentioned here and there around her, but current events aren't a topic we discuss in depth unless it directly affects Hawaii. Guess it's the native Hawaiian coming out in us."

"Then, perhaps, it would be best to just tell her that this is 'Daddy's new job'," Dianne suggested. "If it's put to her as something not terribly interesting or special, she's probably less likely to say anything... at least, until she understands that it's important not to say anything." She smiled. "Perhaps the 'native Hawaiian' background will help us out here."

Lana smiled, glad her hostess hadn't taken offense to her and her family's lack of interest in their organization.

"Lea's more of her father's daughter, so I wouldn't hold your breath on that."

Lana picked up her lemonade and took another sip of it. She wasn't use to opening up this much to someone she had just met, but given the situation, it wasn't something she could discuss much with those close to her.

"I know Vince will only do this if I'm okay with it. He tends to put us before himself. Always has; I guess that's probably one of the reasons I fell for him," Lana said, finally deciding to say what was really on her mind. "If it wasn't for my accident, I know he'd still be with the Navy. As much as he's trying to act nonchalant about this position, I know he really wants it." Lana fell silent, not sure how to continue.

Dianne winced at the last statement. "Yes, I can understand that. When we brought Jenny on board, we didn't tell her at first because we felt she'd really want the position because she'd be helping, you know," she crooked her fingers to indicated quote marks, "International Rescue. We know that what we do is looked at as glamorous, and exciting. Vince doesn't strike me as the kind of person who would look at it that way, but as a challenge, yes. He seems that way to me. But there's also a lot of danger, and sometimes even monotony involved." She chuckled. "You should see the boys when we have a long spate without any rescues. They can really get on each other's nerves."

She paused. "It's good that your husband is looking toward his family's well-being first. Tell me, if you said you didn't want him to take the job, what would he do?"

Lana didn't have to think twice about that question. She knew what Vince would do. "He'd turn down the offer."

"And how do you think he'd react to doing that?"

It was another easy question for her. Something Vince had said in a therapy session during her recovery came back to her. The therapist had asked him how he felt about resigning his commission.

"I'm going to miss the Navy," Vince had said. "I enjoy what I do. Enjoy being in a position to help others. To be a part of some cutting edge technology. To be a part of something that makes a difference. However, my family is more important to me. They've supported me in what I wanted to do over the years despite sacrifice. Now, I guess its time for me to make a sacrifice."

"He'd view it as a sacrifice that he needs to make for us," Lana said. Suddenly all the doubts she had over the decision melted away. Yes, there were still things that needed to be worked out, but she knew they could do that by sticking together. He had made a sacrifice for them three and a half years ago and left a career he loved to be able to support and take care of his family. "He's been putting us in front of his wants for the last three and a half years. Maybe now its time we returned the favor." Lana slowly looked around the area, taking in her surroundings. "I think we could be happy here. I think its about time for me to do something for the man I love."

*** End Flashback ***

"Sure, I'm getting a bit panicked with all that needs to be done," Lana told him, pulling herself away from the memory. "But second thoughts, no. I told you before, if this is what you want to do, then the kids and I are behind you one hundred percent. We'll be together and that's what's important."

Vince reached over and put his arm around her shoulders. He felt relieved by her answer, knowing he was asking a lot of his family.

"Have you told Aaron about you know what, yet?" Lana asked.

As she had told Dianne, Aaron would be told the truth about the move before they got to the island. They had chosen to hold off trying to explain things to Lea until after the move. For now, she knew what they had told the rest of their families and friends, they were moving to New Zealand to be close to Vince's new job with Tracy Industries.

"Not yet. Going to do it when we take that night dive tomorrow evening. Along with breaking the news about his new coach to him."

Lana smiled. She was happy when Gordon had agreed to coach Aaron. It meant her son wouldn't need to sacrifice his dream because of the move.

"He's going to be ecstatic!"

Neither one of them had a chance to say anything else, as an enthusiastic count down began in the living room. The adults joined in with the teenagers.

"Five... four... three... two... one, Happy New Year's!"

As the fireworks on the television special started, noise makers sounded in the Crenshaw's living room.

I sure hope they don't wake up, Lea
Lana thought even as she took another sip of her wine. It was a new year, and the beginning of a new adventure for her family and herself.

*Flashback written in collaboration with Tikatu

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest

[Updated on: Sun, 29 July 2012 21:42]

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Re: New Beginnings [message #2217 is a reply to message #2216] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
January 1, 2069, noon; Rockville, Maryland (5 AM on Jan 2 on Tracy Island)

"Mom, Nyanya, Leslie! Hurry up! The parade's about to start!"

"We're coming, Naomi. Not so loud. Siti's sleeping."

"Sorry, Leslie.

Half the family was at Joy and Tom's home. She had had given her husband a big screen television, similar to Matthew and Amelia's, for Christmas, and they both wanted to watch the parade and Rose Bowl game (at least) on it. Lena, and Leslie, with E.J. and Siti had joined them the night before to ring in the new year, and spend the night. Matthew and his family, including grandchildren, would join them later for football game watching.

Joy, Lena, and Leslie walked into the living room, one bearing a huge pizza, another with drinks in bottles and pitchers on a tray, and the third with glasses. "Now this should satisfy you all for a while, but just in case, there's a smaller pizza in the oven," Joy said, as she set the drinks on the large coffee table, and placed a mat for the pie. "But only the two. Any more will be baked once Matthew and the rest of the family show up."

Lena sat down in an armchair beside which she had placed her laptop. Kevin had suggested to her that she could pull up the order in which the bands and floats, etc. would come. She opened the computer and pulled up the website she'd found earlier that would tell them what they wanted to know.

"What's the theme for this year's parade, Nyanya?"

"Let's see. Ah, Heroes, Past and Present."

"Cool! Does it also say who's the Grand Marshall?" asked Naomi.

"I'm looking. Ah, here it is: Andrew Carmichael, representing Doctors Witout Borders. Well, now. Isn't dat interesting."

"What, Mom?"

"Doctor Carmichael is Dianne Tracy's uncle. I wonder if she and her motter know about dis. She didn't say anyting to me when we last talked."

"You'll have to call her later."

"Well, much later. She told me dat de family will be spending New Year's Eve, and de first in England, at Lady Penelope's estate. I don't know when dey'll be able to see it. I have de feeling dey won't see it live."

"Too bad, though, they couldn't have someone from International Rescue in the parade."

"I imagine deir security is too tight to allow dem to be part of de parade."

"Oh, look," Kevin exclaimed. "Here comes the first float."

They turned their attention to the television, Tom, E.J. and Joy all commenting on how great the floats looked on the new television. Floats representing organizations from different countries passed, along with high school bands, and the usual horse troops. Then:

"Look at that!" "Oh wow!" "Cool!"

"And it's an award winner, too!"

Now I'll definitely have to call Dianne!

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest

[Updated on: Sun, 29 July 2012 21:44]

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Re: New Beginnings [message #2218 is a reply to message #2217] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
Wednesday, January 2, 2069, 3:12 p.m., Tracy Island

"So, do you think Dad liked the gift?" Scott turned to his copilot, John.

John snorted. "I think Mom liked the idea of it more."

The huge brunch, eaten at Penelope's hours before flying out, had included a celebration of Jeff's birthday. They'd never done it that way before; usually they'd waited a day or so after returning home, allowing for jet lag to dissipate and for the space-bound brother to come back from the station to join in the party. With Callie in space this year, both John and Alan had been able to be there. The gifts sent by the recruits who were so inclined to give them hadn't taken up much space in the general luggage, and the gifts that most of the family gave took up no space at all.

"Do you think they'll be able to finish the renovations to the A-frame before Mom and Dad's trip at the end of the month?"

"They'd better," Scott growled. "We're paying top dollar for the best work. But don't worry. I've got someone lined up at each location who will inspect things before we complete payment."

The Tracy sons had put their heads together and come up with a novel gift for their father... and by extension, their stepmother. The A-frame in New Hampshire, it had been discovered, had no indoor hot tub, and neither did the Wyoming ranch. The Kansas farmhouse wouldn't have had one either, if Virgil hadn't noticed the deficiency while looking over the plans. He'd consulted with his grandmother, who had balked at the idea at first, but then relented. Virgil had then taken the time to research the matter at the other two U.S. vacation homes, and had presented his idea to his brothers as a possible gift. After some discussion, they'd opted to give the gift for Jeff's birthday. Most of them had already chosen Christmas gifts, and Virgil himself wanted to paint a portrait of the couple for their anniversary.

"Well, this is certainly a different gift!" Jeff had exclaimed as he opened a hand-drawn card. Color sketches of the Jacuzzi unit and the three properties adorned the inside. "Won't want to throw this away," he'd quipped. "The artwork is worth keeping."

Virgil had grinned. "Thanks, Dad."

"Ah, there's the island," John said. He pressed a button on the controls. "Tracy One to Tracy Island, requesting permission to land."

Brains's voice came back. "Tracy Island to Tracy One. Permission given. Welcome home, everyone."


"Finally home!" Alex stretched as high as he could. "That feels good!"

"Yeah." Alan yawned. "The last leg of the journey is always longest."

"Come help unload the luggage," Jeff called. Both sons obediently joined their father.

"Did you remember to ask Tin-Tin to record the parade, Dianne?" Emily asked as the two women tidied up inside the cabin.

"Yes, I remembered." She gave her mother-in-law a smile. "I'm sure there won't be a repeat of the Thanksgiving parade."

Emily snorted a laugh. "Poor Virgil. Seeing his baby made into a balloon and floating down Central Park South... he was outraged!"

Dianne grinned. "I don't know if he was more outraged that they'd made the balloon, or that they'd put the wings on wrong."

"There was more wrong with it than just the wings, Mom." Virgil had come aboard to empty the jet's small refrigerator. "The color was off, the stripes in the wrong places..." He shook his head. "They should have asked permission!"

"And just how were they going to do that?" Emily challenged. "We are supposed to be a secret organization."

Dianne patted her stepson's arm. "I think it's an honor that they chose your 'Bird, Virgil. Scott was upset that they didn't choose One."

Emily chuckled, then put the blanket she'd been folding into the cart that stood outside the jet. The luggage was already on its way up, following Jeff and the youngest kids. She turned to Dianne. "Have you heard from Kyrano or your mother?"

Dianne shook her head. "Nope. And I don't expect to. They're likely having the time of their lives."

"I hope they are enjoying each other," Emily said, her tone a little wistful.

Virgil touched his grandmother on the shoulder. "Missing Gramps?"

She put a hand on his. "I always miss my Grant, Virgil. Just sometimes a little more than others." She smiled at him. "It's all right, Virgil. I'm very happy for Kyrano and Lisa." Giving him a wink, she added, "Who knows? I might still find someone..."

Virgil's eyes widened, and he shook his head. The two women exchanged knowing glances and laughed.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2219 is a reply to message #2218] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Wednesday, January 2nd, 8 pm Tracy Island (Tuesday, January 1st, 9 pm , offshore of Oahu, HI)

Vince broke the surface right behind Aaron and not far from their anchored boat. Aside from the breeze that was blowing, they had gotten lucky with the weather. It had been perfect for a night dive. Above them, the moon shone its light down on the waters of the Pacific ocean.

The former Navy SEAL took the regulator out of his mouth before starting to swim toward the boat. Aaron was already climbing the ladder when his father reached the side of their vessel. As he waited for his son to finish getting on board, Vince removed the fins from his feet, slipping them onto his arm. Once Aaron was on board, Vince climbed the ladder himself.

"That was so cool, Dad!" Aaron exclaimed as his father climbed on board the boat. Though he had dived the Corsair plane wreck before, he had never done so at night. This dive was the last one they would be taking together before the move, and Aaron had been able to choose.

"Glad you enjoyed yourself," Vince said, climbing onboard. "Why don't you go below and change into dry clothes while I start stowing gear?"

With a quick consent, Aaron headed belowdeck. Vince started taking care of their diving gear, get it stored on the boat for the ride in. When Aaron had changed into regular clothes and was back on deck, Vince headed below.

I should probably tell him before we start heading back in, Vince thought as he pulled a polo shirt on over his head. Hanging the wet dive suit on a hook next to Aaron's, he headed back above deck.

"I'll go pull anchor," Aaron said, as he saw his dad.

"Hold off on that, son. There's something we need to discuss before we head back in," Vince told him. He gestured toward the bench seats along the starboard side of the vessel.

Aaron sat down, wondering what was going on. What's so important that he needs to discuss it now, in the middle of the ocean? he asked himself, while waiting for his father to begin.

"When you attended the summer seminar at the Air Force Academy did they talk to you about classified information and how important it is not to discuss those things with those who don't have the right clearance?" Vince asked, trying to impress upon his son the how important it was to keep what he was about to tell him quiet.

Aaron nodded, still not at all sure what his father was getting at.

"Well, what I'm about to tell you should be considered classified information. Beyond your mother and eventually your sister, no one else in the family is to know about what I'm about to tell you."

"You've got my word, Dad. Not a word to anyone," Aaron said, feeling a bit nervous. Part of him wasn't sure he wanted to know. Another part was honored that whatever it was, his father trusted him enough to tell him.

Vince took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Well, for starters, we're not exactly moving to Christchurch, New Zealand."

"But you and Mom spent the weekend..."

Aaron let his words trail off as he noticed his father shaking his head.

"We flew to Christchurch and one of the Tracys picked us up. I didn't want your grandparents questioning anything. They're supposed to think we're moving to Christchurch, just like you've told your friends."

"Then where did you and Mom go?"

"To the private island the Tracys live on. It's about a half hour away from the mainland by plane. We're going to be moving there ourselves."

Aaron got quickly to his feet. "You're dragging me away from my friends to live in the middle of nowhere!" He had come to terms having to leave his friends and family here in Hawaii and starting over. It wasn't the first time he had done so. He had left friends and his other grandparents behind when they had moved to Oahu, just live all the other times his father's naval career had taken them somewhere. He had figured he'd keep in touch with his old friends and make some new ones in Christchurch. Living on a private island is going to make it hard to make new friends.

"It's not the middle of nowhere," Vince told him, remaining calm. "There are people living there other than the Tracys."

"But I bet none of them are my age."

"No, they aren't," Vince conceded. "That doesn't mean you can't get involved with something on the mainland to meet new people. We plan on enrolling Lea into an art class. I'm sure you can find something you'd have fun doing."

"Except I won't be able to join a swim team," Aaron commented, realizing that making the trip to the mainland every day would be impractical. Maybe it's not too late to stay here with Grandma and Grandpa.

"There's a pool on the island that you can use to train," Vince told him.

"Dad, you know I can't realistically train on my own and still be competitive at the trials in March."

"Which is why your mother and I have arranged for a private coach."

"A private coach?" Aaron asked skeptically, before Vince could say anything else. "What's he going to do, fly out to the island every day?"

"Well, no. Your coach sort of already lives there," Vince told him. "Gordon Tracy has agreed to be your coach."

Aaron silently sat back down on the seat, trying to decide if he had heard his father right. Never in his wildest dreams had he thought his idol would be his coach. It was too good to be true.

"For now, I don't want you telling anyone," Vince continued. "It's bound to get out come the time of the trials but until then, it's best if we avoid the media circus it's bound to create. We'll figure out how to deal with those issues come March."

"Okay," Aaron said, trying to hide his disappointment. It would have been fun seeing the faces of his friends when they found out he was going to be coached by an Olympic gold medalist. The teenager paused for a moment. As great as this news was, he had a feeling it wasn't why his father had made the comment about the information being classified. There has to be something more; why would Mr. Tracy want Dad on the island if he's supposed to be working for Tracy Industries. Somehow I doubt there's a branch of the company there. That would kind of defeat the purpose of the family living on a private island. "Why are we going to be living with them instead of on the mainland, though? I thought you were hired for the marine research and development team?"

"I was, sort of. The position is just a cover. I'll be working with the facility in Christchurch to keep the cover, but Mr. Tracy really hired me for another position. It's very important that this information does not get out, for our safety and the safety of others." He paused, letting that point sink in. As he went to continue, he realized that telling Aaron seemed easier than when he had tried to break the new to Lana. "The Tracys run International Rescue," Vince told him. Ignoring his son's open-mouthed gape, he continued. "Those involved with the organization live on the island."

There was a moment of silence where the only thing that could be heard was the sound of the waves hitting the side of the boat. It wasn't long before that silence was broken.

"You're going to work for International Rescue!" Aaron exclaimed, getting over his initial shock. "That is so cool!"

"Cool or not, it's also a huge responsibility, just like knowing who is behind the organization is a huge responsibility."

"You have my word, Dad. Not a word to anyone," he replied seriously, though the smile was still on his face.

"Good. Then what do you say we head on in? Your mother is going to be looking for us shortly," Vince said, patting his son on the shoulder as he stood up.

"Yes, sir," Aaron replied. Maybe this move won't be so bad, the teenager thought as he got to his feet.

While Vince headed for the driver's seat, Aaron went to pull the anchor.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2220 is a reply to message #2219] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
Thursday, January 3, 2069, 2:00 p.m., Tracy Island

"And here we go!" Gordon announced as he brought a serving cart full of food into the family's home theater.

"Ahhh, thank you for helping me with the snacks, Gordon." Emily reached up and patted her grandson's cheek.

"Only reason he helped is because he's eying Mom's double chocolate brownies," Virgil said as he adjusted the sound levels on the theater's wide screen televid.

"I know, Virgil," Emily replied, giving him a wink. "But everyone needs a little bribe now and then."

"Tyler, don't you think Patches would be better off in your room?" Dianne's gentle question made the youngest child look up from his play. The kitten, whose body was lengthening by the day, and who was shaking his kittenish looks for more cat-like ones, was flattened against the floor, intently watching a dot of red light. Tyler slowly moved the dot around, and the kitten's eyes followed it. Another ripple of haunch muscles, and Patches leapt for his prey... which danced quickly out of the way.

"But we're having so much fun!" Tyler protested, his eyes focused on the kitten's next move.

"Yes, but he'll be a distraction," Dianne reminded the boy. "Especially if he gets into the snacks, like last time."

With a sigh, Tyler pocketed the laser pointer. "Okay. I'll put him in our room." He picked the kitten up, supporting the hind legs with one hand while holding his pet close with his other. "Don't start without me!"

His mother smiled. "We won't. Promise."

"Here, Mom." Alex carefully carried a plate of treats and a glass of soft drink to his mother.

"Thank you, Alex," she replied as she took them, smiling at him.

"Can I get my treats now?" he asked.

Dianne nodded, and Alex trundled off to supply himself with snacks. Cherie came in and plopped herself into a chair in the back row. Dianne turned and gave her a smile. "Feeling better?"

"Yeah, I guess." The girl sighed heavily. "I hate this time of the month."

"I don't know of a woman who doesn't, sweetie," Emily said sympathetically. She carried a plate of food and sat down next to her granddaughter. "Better get something to eat. Take something chocolate; that always helps."

"Okay." Cherie got up slowly and padded over to raid the brownie plate. Tyler returned and filled up a plate for himself, then sat down next to his mother.

"All right, everyone!" Virgil clapped his hands for attention. "The Tournament of Roses Parade is about to commence. Make yourselves comfortable because we won't be pausing this for bathroom runs, et cetera. The parade lasts over two and a half hours; I'll call an intermission at the hour-fifteen minute mark, or as close to that as we can get. Then you can get up for more food, drink, potty, whatever. Does everyone understand?"

There were general calls of agreement, then Virgil started the recording, and grabbed a drink before settling down himself.

The first few moments were of the anchors, Blake Stevens and Mia Miner, covering the event giving a bit of history, and telling the audience about the theme, Heroes: Past and Present.

"Wonder who the Grand Marshal will be," Emily said to Gordon, who sat on her left.

"Not sure," Gordon murmured back, "but Tin-Tin sure had a big grin on her face when I asked." He harrumphed a bit. "Wouldn't tell me, either."

The Tournament of Roses president passed by, riding in an open, horse-drawn carriage that was decorated with roses. The floats started to appear, and the children oohed and aahed over the bright colors. The first of the marching bands came by, dressed in crisp white uniforms.

"What is that they're playing?" Grandma asked, a puzzled frown on her face.

Virgil shrugged. "I don't know, Grandma. I'm not familiar with Barry Gray." He sipped his drink. "It's a nice march though."

"Kinda reminds me of some of the music I heard at WASP," Gordon added.

The first equestrian group passed by, dressed in Western finery. Metal accents glistened in the sunlight, and the men took off their pinch-front hats to wave them at the crowd. Cherie sat forward, excited. "Look at those gorgeous palominos!"

"Glad to see you're still into horses, Cherry," Dianne said, a knowing smile spreading across her lips.

"I've never not been into them." Cherie sounded irritated. Dianne rolled her eyes.

Pasadena's mayor followed the palaminos, riding in an open, flower-draped hovercar. More floats went by, and more bands, and more equestrian teams. Cherie and Virgil put their heads together over the float designs, while Gordon played "Name That Tune" with the others. Blake and Mia took turns describing the floats, and mentioning which ones had won awards.

"Hey!" Alex whispered. "Here comes the Grand Marshal."

"Look at that beautiful car," Virgil murmured. "Such a classic."

Dianne's eyes widened and her jaw dropped as the camera zoomed in and Mia said, "And this year's Grand Marshall is Dr. Andrew Carmichael, from Mercy General Hospital in Los Angeles. The lovely lady riding with him is his wife, Margaret."

"Uncle Drew!" Gordon cried out, laughing. "That old son-of-a-gun!"

"Shh!" Dianne said, waving a hand to shush him. "I want to hear this!"

Blake was replying to something his partner had said. "...The parade committee had chosen Doctors Without Borders for the outstanding job they did during the tsunami last April, but it was the stellar work Dr. Carmichael did helping International Rescue's medical personnel that made the decision to honor him personally an inevitable one."

Dianne shook her head. "I'm gonna kill Uncle Drew for not mentioning this," she muttered. "And maybe even Aunt Maggie..."

"You know they would have wanted it to be a surprise," Emily told her.

"And it sure is one!" Virgil said, a wide grin plastered across his face. "We need to haul Dad down here and let him see it!"

"He'd appreciate that classic Thunderbird, that's for sure!" Gordon quipped. "They don't make convertibles like that anymore. Too bad it's not yellow."

"Or green!" Virgil added. "Figures they'd choose a red one for the parade."

Dianne shook her head at the close-up of her uncle, smiling widely and waving to the crowds. "I wonder if Ma knew about this. And I wonder if this is what Lena meant when she called."

"Oh?" Emily glanced over at her daughter-in-law.

"Yeah. Lena called yesterday, just to say hello, and while we were talking, she asked if I'd seen the Tournament of Roses parade. When I told her I hadn't, but that I was intending to, she sort of smiled and said that I really should watch it soon."

"Well, now you can call her back and talk about the surprise," Emily said, smiling knowingly.

Dianne returned the smile, and both women turned their attention back to the recording.

They were almost to the halfway point of the recording. Gordon wolf-whistled at the Queen and her court as they went by.

Another marching band, and another equestrian group, then another float came into view. "And here's the winner of this year's Theme Trophy. This is a special one, isn't it, Blake?" Mia asked.

"Yes, it sure is, Mia, especially with the upcoming moon mission," Blake declared. "This float is called, 'One Giant Step'."

He began to describe the float, telling the audience all about the plants and flowers used. The float was in two parts, and depicted someone in a spacesuit, walking on a slightly curved dome representing the moon. The first figure had planted an American flag on the surface. Around the edges of the dome was the name, "Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969" and at the front of the were the words, "Apollo 11". The second dome was set higher than the first, and though the scene was similar, there were important differences. The spacesuit was a newer model; the flag represented the World Space Agency. The mission was the "F.L.O. Explorer"; the date was "September 11, 2039", and the name...

"Hey! Isn't that Dad's mission?" Virgil exclaimed.

"Oh, yeah! You're right!" Gordon reached forward, grabbed his brother's shoulder and shook it a little. Virgil returned the gesture with a wide grin. "Now Dad really has to see this!"

Alex's eyes widened. "Wow! Dad walked on the moon! So cool!"

"Didn't you know that already?" Cherie asked, sounding petulant.

"Well... yeah," Alex returned. "But... not like this! I mean, it's one thing to know it in your head..." He waved his arms, trying to figure out how to put what he wanted to say.

"And another thing altogether to see it." Emily turned to Alex. "Is that what you wanted to say?"

"Yeah, Grandma. That's exactly it!"

Dianne put her hand on Tyler's shoulder as the boy sat on the floor near her feet. "What do you think of the float, Ty?"

"Dad's name is on it. So it's cool," he said with a nod. "And Dad's cool." He looked over his shoulder at his mother. "But I knew that already."

The others chuckled, and Gordon leaned over to hold out his hand. "I wanna shake your hand, m'boy. You are a true Tracy son!"

Virgil paused the recording, and turned up the lights. "Time for a quick intermission, then we'll watch the second half."

"Good." Cherie said. She stood up, and a distressed look crossed her face. She hurried from the room with a quick, determined walk.

Emily shook her head. "And to think she has another forty years or more of this to go."

"Too true." Dianne looked at her watch. "Wish I had time to call Lena. That's two surprises now I can talk with her about."

"Well, there probably won't be a third surprise." Emily stretched and yawned a little. "I'll be right back. Time to use the toilet myself."


98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2221 is a reply to message #2220] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Registered: July 2012
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
Thursday, January 3, 2069, 3:40 p.m., Tracy Island

The family was back in the theater, munching snacks, and making comments on the floats, bands, and horse riders who went by.

"Aren't they playing 'Dangerous Game'?" Gordon asked, frowning.

"I think so," Virgil replied. "Sure sounds different when a marching band is playing it."

"And when it's outside in the bright sun." Gordon slurped noisily on his straw. "You kinda expect it to be sung in some dark little bistro by a sexy woman..."

"That's enough, Gordon," Emily said sharply.

"Yes, Grandma."

"Oh, that one's gorgeous," Cherie said, her tone one of awe.

"This float, 'The Dream Lives On', is the Animation Trophy winner this year," Steve informed the audience.

The float was white, with a wall made of five interlocking rings colored blue, yellow, black, green, and red, running down the middle. An animatronic figure stood...or rather, ran in place...on a separate upper section, dressed in white track shorts and shirt, holding a "torch". The flame of the torch was alive with dancing, fire-colored petals. Several real, live people stood on the lower platform, each wearing a different uniform, and hanging from ribbons around their necks, Olympic gold medals, usually more than one. The people, whose ages ran from fresh-faced young teens to silver-haired elders, waved at the crowds as they passed.

"How do they keep the flowers on that animatronic character?" Dianne asked.

"And where did they find the materials to get that skin tone down so well?" Virgil shook his head. "With paint, yeah. With flowers and other natural materials... I couldn't do it."

Alex tapped Gordon on the shoulder. "Do you know anyone who is on the float, Gordon?"

Gordon peered at the figures as the camera panned across. "Yeah! See that old guy there? The one with all the medals? That's Michael Phelps. He's in his 80s now, I think. It was his world record in the butterfly that I broke at the Olympics."

"Whoa," Alex said, his eyes big.

The float moved on, and another band came into view. By this time Tyler was getting bored. He flopped down on the floor with a dramatic huff of breath. "This is getting boring."

Suddenly, the volume of the crowd grew and the announcers got very excited.

"And here it comes!" Mia exclaimed. "The float that everyone has been talking about!"

"It was set apart from the other floats, and kept under tight guard while being covered with flowers," Blake explained. "And the judges who saw it were asked to keep from describing it until the parade day. Even under those circumstances, it was awarded the Judges' Special Trophy for outstanding showmanship and dramatic impact. Created and built by the city of Wichita, Kansas, 'Our Heroes Forever'."

The float slid into view, and Dianne cried, "Oh my God!"

"Wow!" Tyler's eyes were big as saucers; his boredom forgotten.

Alex's mouth dropped open. "I can't believe it!"

"It's amazing!" Cherie said, her eyes widened in delight. "The colors! How'd they do that!"

"Hey!" Virgil said with a laugh. "This is better than that balloon at Thanksgiving!"

"Nope," said Gordon, shaking his head. "This is a one-time thing, Virge. That balloon of Two will show up year after year."

Emily chuckled. "Dianne, I think this is what Lena was really talking about when she said you should watch."

Dianne took a deep breath, then swallowed. Blake and Mia were still describing the float, a near life-sized version of Thunderbird Seven, sitting, slightly raised, over a blanket of soft green grass that was being blown to all sides by something underneath the Thunderbird replica. Sitting or standing all around the float were people, little kids in wheelchairs or with crutches by their sides. Boys and men in Scout uniforms. And at the front, Michael Hart, Carol and Peter Valerian, Lynne Feller, and Mayor Tom Riverton were sitting or standing and waving. As the camera panned across each one, Blake announced their names, adding, "All of the float riders were involved in a Special Olympics Challenge day when a tornado hit the high school that was sponsoring the event. From the smallest participant to their parents, from the Boy Scouts to the mayor of Murray Gill, they...along with the city of Wichita...wanted to thank their heroes, International Rescue. And they chose this way to do it."

The camera returned from panning down the float, and rested for a moment on Peter Valerian. His mother nudged him and pointed. He turned toward the camera and said, very clearly, "Hope you like the float, International Rescue!"

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2222 is a reply to message #2221] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
Messages: 478
Registered: July 2012
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
Thursday, January 3rd, 2069, evening, Tracy Island

Cassie kept her eye on the piece of debris that had washed up on the beach that they'd picked for the finish line. She could hear Scott's running footsteps right behind her. As she sprinted past the piece of wood, she came to a stop, trying to catch her breath.

"That wasn't fair," Scott protested coming to a stop beside her. "You never actually said the word 'go'".

Cassie grinned. "I said I could beat you. I didn't say I could do it fairly."

"Yeah, well next race, I'm going to start it," he told her. He glanced down at his watch. "I should probably head up to the house so I can shower before dinner. I'll see you tomorrow morning for our flight lesson."

"Okay, see you," Cassie told him. As Scott headed up toward the villa, Cassie turned and headed back the way they had come. She planned on saying hello to Dom, whom she had spotted as she ran by him a little ways back.

From their little spot on the beach, Dominic waved as Cassie jogged towards them. He had watched as she'd sprinted off earlier and couldn't help but guffaw when Scott's bemused "Hey!" had echoed across the sand. Cassie grinned as she reached the pair sitting on the sand. Joshua stopped in the middle of destroying a sandcastle and waved.

"Hi Auntie Cass!" he said.

Dominic stood and dusted some sand from his shorts. "Hey Cassie," he said. "Enjoy your race?"

"I enjoyed beating Scott, that's for sure!" she said.

Joshua resumed jumping up and down on his castle and began waving his arms in the air. Cassie couldn't help but chuckle. Dominic folded his arms and cocked his head to one side.

"It's nice to see you enjoying yourself again," he said. "You didn't seem to be having the best of times over Christmas."

"The holiday was hard, that's for sure," Cassie commented, sobering a bit. The smile was soon back on her face though, as Joshua held up a sand mold and a shovel in her direction. Taking the little one's hint she accepted the items and settled herself on the sand. "I would've preferred to have spent Christmas Day by myself, but between Elise and Scott, I sort of got dragged to the dinner," she commented, shoveling sand into the plastic mold.

"If I remember right, you didn't stay long," Dom commented, sitting back down.

"Didn't want my mood to bring anyone else down."

"I can imagine that it would be hard," Dom said. He grabbed a handful of sand and let it trickle back down through his fingers. "The first Christmas after my mother passed away was very difficult. I can't imagine how--" He trailed off, not wanting to finish the sentence for several reasons.

Cassie took the spade she was offered and Joshua beamed as she helped him dig a little hole.

"You know, there's no chance you'll ever be allowed to brood on this island. Not with this crew!"

"I wasn't brooding," Cassie said.

"Okay, poor choice of words," Dom answered, giving her round eyes in apology.

She chuckled. "You're forgiven," she told him.

The two of them had shared several more awkward encounters since Dom's birthday. Cassie had come to accept that it was bound to happen from time to time given the circumstances, and had learned to talk to Dom instead of avoiding him like she had the first time. Not to mention, she hadn't missed his attempts to be sensitive to her feelings and she really appreciated that.

Dominic smiled. "Well, I think I'm beginning to feel the munchies coming on," he said. "Want to join me for a cuppa?"

Cassie thought for a moment, then nodded.


Dom stood first, and held out a hand to help her onto her feet. She took it, and then held her own hand out to Joshua.

"Come on, Josh," she said.

"I don't want to!"

"Joshua," Dominic warned.

The little boy pouted, but Cassie avoided the impending tantrum by swinging Joshua up in her arms. Dominic collected the sandcastle things, and the little group headed back to the Cliff House.

beach time by starrynebula

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2223 is a reply to message #2222] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Thursday, January 3, 2069, 9:30 p.m., Tracy Island

Jeff leaned forward in his chair and pulled his glasses back down over his eyes. He tapped his fingers on the desk as he gripped the data padd in the other hand, and then he began to read over the lines of Lady Penelope's report again.

Izarra Soto Fernandez... sixteen years active service with Nacional de Inteligencia... impeccable record... a more than adequate replacement for Cora Bell...

Jeff breathed out heavily as he remembered receiving Cora Bell's resignation letter. The ex-agent had retired early from her job as a school teacher, and had decided to leave International Rescue as well. It was a significant loss.

This new woman seemed promising -- more than promising. It wasn't often that IR could gain such an experienced spy on their side. Though that, of course, had its downside. A spy would pose a greater risk of being a double-agent, but Jeff trusted Lady Penelope's sleuthing and judgement. After a few more minutes of thought, he turned to the videophone and brought up Penny's number, and waited.


Thursday, January 3, 2069, 8:30 a.m., Foxleyheath

Penelope's manicured fingers reached delicately for the comm. button and she pursed her glossed lips as she waited for the vidphone screen to activate.

"Lady Penelope speaking," she said.

"Penny. If you're sure about Ms Soto Fernandez, then I'm sure, too. You've never steered me wrong before."

Penelope smiled gently.

"Indeed, Jeff. I shall set things to motion today."

Penelope signed off and brought her hand up to ring for Parker. The brocade rope pulled down gently, and as expected, Parker was immediately at the door.

"Yus, milady?" he asked.

"Parker, we shall be bringing our trip to Bongo-Bongo forward by a week. Make arrangements for us to fly out tomorrow morning."

"Yus, milady," Parker said, before bowing and retreating from the room.

Penelope brought one long fingernail to her lips briefly, before smiling, and sipping her tea.

a new agent by ArtisticRainey

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2224 is a reply to message #2223] Sun, 29 July 2012 21:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Thursday, January 3, 2069, 9 a.m., England (10 p.m., same day, Tracy Island)

"I still don't understand." Sandra said, frowning. "Why Auckland? Why bloody New Zealand?"

Nikki sighed. She'd already explained herself once. "I told you, Mum, the courses start in March instead of the autumn. I don't want to hang about just waiting for uni to start here, nor do I want to work a job here, and not have the time to put into my course." She held up her hands. "This way I start uni right away. Also, the University of Auckland is willing to take some of my nursing course and experience toward my degree." Smiling slightly, she added, "I won't be starting as a fresher again."

"But what about your job with the Tracys?" Sandra asked. "Don't tell me that the life of the idle rich didn't agree with you."

Nikki's brows knitted together as she frowned. "That's unfair, Mum, and you know it. It's because of the Tracys that I'm going to pursue my dream. Dr. Tracy was over the moon when I suggested I return to uni and study to be a doctor." She didn't dare tell her mother that a good part of her reason was the opportunity to spell Dianne in Thunderbird Seven. "I've been promised a position when I finish." She shook her head. "I thought you might be happy for me."

Sandra's shoulders sagged. "I... I am happy for you, luv, it's just that..." She shook her head. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you, too." Nikki put a hand out to touch her mother's shoulder. "I just... I can't stay in England. My friends are all moving on in their lives, and there's a big wide world out there for me to discover." She paused. "And more importantly, I've been given a rare opportunity." She turned her hands upward and made fists, shaking them both for emphasis. "I want to grab onto it with both hands and make the most of it."

There was silence between the two women for a moment, then Sandra sighed and asked, "How long will you be... visiting?"

"A fortnight. I need to find a flat in Auckland, and move my things there. Get everything properly sorted. Prolly need to find a part-time job, too...which may mean sitting my nursing exams again." Nikki made a face. "The Tracys are paying for my fees and everything, but I think I shouldn't just fanny about on my off-hours."

"And you'll be returning to America when you're finished?"

Nikki nodded. "That's the intent."

Sandra sighed again, then opened her arms. Nikki went to her, and the two women embraced. "I always thought you might marry and have a family, and that I would be part of that. But it's more important to me that you are happy."

"I am, Mum." Nikki whispered in her mother's ear. She thought of Alan, and smiled slightly. "And who knows? Marriage and children might come along, too. Just not yet."

They broke the embrace, and Sandra wiped at one eye. "Well, while I have you here, I should feed you properly. None of that American cereal. How does a good fry-up sound?"

Nikki smiled. It was good to be home.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2225 is a reply to message #2224] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Evil Genius
Friday, January 4, 2069, 11:45 a.m., Thunderbird Three (same time and date on Tracy Island)

"So..." Alan began, tweaking the controls of Thunderbird Three, on course for the monthly rendezvous with Thunderbird Five. He glanced quickly at his brother. "The party. How did it feel to see Kat again?"

John returned the glance, one blond eyebrow raised. "I'll tell you if you tell me about Nikki."

Alan snorted and shook his head. "Not much to tell. She's going to medical school to become a doctor."

"I'm sure there's more than that." John stretched his arms far above his head, interlacing his fingers and turning his palms to the ceiling. With a slight grunt, he brought his arms back down, then rolled his shoulders. "I mean, she could have gone back to England to study." He gave his brother a sideways glance. "But she decided on Auckland... which is close enough to the island that you can see her on weekends."

"True," Alan admitted. "But she didn't choose it because of me. She wanted to get started, and college classes there start in March. She would have had to wait a lot longer if she'd gone back to England."

"Still, she could have waited, couldn't she? Stay on the island and work with us until classes started there..." John let his statement trail off, hoping it would nudge his brother into admitting something.

There was a long silence between them, then Alan sighed. "Okay, okay. Our relationship had something to do with Nikki's choice. But..." He held up a finger in his grinning brother's face. "It was a secondary consideration. I thought she should stick around then go back to England, or even to the States, for the fall semester. She was the one who thought Auckland would be a good compromise."

John held up his hands. "Fair enough. Gotta love a woman who's that motivated."

"Yes. Very true." Alan tweaked another control. "Your turn. How about Kat?"

The older man shrugged. "It was a little weird to see her again. We hadn't communicated since she resigned, and I had no idea she'd be at the party. But, she seems happy with this Bentley-Edwards guy, so I'm happy for her."

Alan kept looking steadily at his brother, until John, piqued, said, "What? Don't you believe me?"

"I dunno," Alan replied. "You seemed so certain about her for a while there."

John huffed out a breath. "I guess... maybe I was for a little bit. But I talked with Anna about it, and I think I was more interested in the idea of having someone special." He shook his head. "Anna helped me see a lot of things clearly in regards to Kat. And one of those things was that I wanted friendship from her, not romance. If we'd gone further... it wouldn't have worked. So as a friend, I wish her all the happiness in the world."

"So, you're not jealous or anything?"

It was John's turn to snort a little laugh. "Y'know, I can truthfully say that I'm not jealous. If anything, I'm relieved." He paused, looking thoughtful. "If this guy can give her what she wants, then more power to him."

"Good." And with that, Alan went silent. John didn't know why, though he had his suspicions.

He was about to say something when Alan toggled the communications switch. "Thunderbird Five from Thunderbird Three. On final approach."

Callie's smiling face appeared in their view screen. "Thunderbird Five here. Glad to see you, Alan. You too, John. Airlock is ready, and so am I!"

"F-A-B, Callie. Commencing docking sequence."

As they began to dock with Thunderbird Five, John made a mental note to call Alan in a few days and find out just why his brother had shut down so completely. I think I should mention it to Scott, too. I could use his advice.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2226 is a reply to message #2225] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, January 4, 2069 Tracy Island, a little after noon( Thursday, January 3, NYC, a little after 6 p.m.)

Cassie was cutting up some cucumbers for her salad when her phone rang. Putting the knife down on the cutting board, she crossed to the kitchen table where she had put the phone upon entering the apartment. Picking up the device, she saw Jordan's name on the screen.

"Hey, Jordan. What's up?"

"Hi, sis. Other than enjoying a rare day off, not much. Taking Bridget out to dinner tonight, or I would have waited a little longer to call you. Didn't catch you at a bad time, did I?"

"No. I've got time to talk," Cassie replied.

"Great. Oh, by the way, be look out for a package. Mark, Byron and I finally got around to sorting through the stuff we put in storage. The china set Mom wanted you to have got shipped this morning."

Their parents had broken the news to all of them during their visit to Japan that they weren't intending to return to the United States. With Phillip retired and all the kids grown there were no ties keeping them there and with her own parents health failing, Keiko had wanted to return to her childhood village. The Kishis were now residing in Kozushima. As they were still living in NYC, the task of clearing out and selling the home the kids had all grown up in had fallen to Mark, Jordan and Byron. Keiko and Phillip had requested certain things be shipped to them as well as wanting each of the kids to have certain things. The rest of the stuff was to be sold. Even over a month later, Cassie was still trying to get used to the idea of her parents no longer living in NYC.

"Okay, I'll let you know when it gets here. Hopefully, everything is still in one piece."

"Bridget and Jennifer packaged everything, so we should be good."

"Smart move."

"You guys keep it up and I might be the only one left living in the city," Jordan told her. "First you, now Mom and Dad. Byron and Jennifer are talking about looking for a place outside of the city too. It's making me appreciate that time we had in Japan, the more I think about it."

"Yeah, I think this past Thanksgiving is my favorite one," Cassie commented, thinking about her trip.


Cassie had arrived in Japan the day before what would have been Thanksgiving in the States. Sachio and his family had met her in the baggage claim area.

"Konnichiwa, Cassie-chan! O genki desu ka?" Sachio said, as he approached her.

"Hai, genki desu," Cassie replied, without missing a beat. She gave her cousin a quick hug and then took a step back. "Anata, wa?"

"I'm fine," Sachio replied, switching to his cousin's native language. "I see you've kept up on your Japanese."

"Of course."

Kao and Kai had joined them. Sachio introduced his wife and son to Cassie. Though they had spoken on the phone before, this was the first time they had all met face to face.

"Dad and Mom are looking forward to seeing you. We figured you could stay with them tonight, seeing as you need to be in the city for your business meeting tomorrow. Dad will fly you, Mark and Jordan out to Kozushima tomorrow evening."

"That sounds good," Cassie replied.

Sachio and Cassie headed over to the baggage claim area. Their reunion had thinned the crowd around the conveyor belt a little, and Sachio was able to step up to the machine. With Cassie's input, Sachio was able to snag Cassie's two bags when they came around.

"How long are you planning to stay?" Sachio asked jokingly, as the group made there way toward the exit of the airport.

"I did some early Christmas shopping so I don't have to mail things later," Cassie told him, even as she continued to listen to Kai's narrative of school. The young boy was very talkative and was happy to have a new audience to tell his stories too.

"Very forward thinking," Kao commented, whose grasp of the English language was limited.

After a visit to the Tokoyo branch of Tracy Industries, Cassie had joined her family in Kozushima village. She had enjoyed seeing everyone that evening and was especially looking forward to the following day's celebration.

Labour Thanksgiving Day had started out with Cassie's grandmother cooking a traditional Japanese breakfast.

"I'm cooking Tamagoyaki for breakfast," Nako, replied from the stove as Cassie had entered the kitchen that morning. The elderly lady was very thin from her recent illness and still tired easily. However, she insisted on doing the cooking in the house. Keiko, however, had insisted on doing the other household chores until her mother was feeling stronger. "If you're not up to it, there are cereals on the table."

"Tamagoyaki sounds good," Cassie replied. It had been awhile since she had traditional Japanese food. Alex hadn't cared for it and though Cassie had cooked it a few times while living with her brother, she hadn't since moving to Tracy Island. Something I need to change, she thought, as she found an empty seat between Mark and Allie. Her nieces, she noticed, were both eating cereal.

"Late night get to you?" Mark asked her, as he placed his spoon back into the bowl of Miso soup. The two of them had stayed up past midnight catching up.

"You could say that."

It wasn't long before Jordan joined them in the kitchen. Over breakfast, the group discussed their plans for the day.

"You're not coming to the mainland with us, Mom?" Jordan asked when Keiko mentioned that she and her mother would have dinner ready for them when they arrived.

"No. Your grandmother isn't quite up to that yet. We'll stay here and enjoy the time together."

"And seeing as you all are missing out on your Thanksgiving holiday, you're mother is going to teach me how to make a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. Seems appropriate as you're all sharing our holiday with us."

"Sounds great. Anything is better than the hospital's version of Thanksgiving dinner," Jordan, who had worked every Thanksgiving since he was a med student, commented.

10 am

Cassie and her family headed down to the docks. Quite a few people were walking in that direction. This was the eleventh year that Tokyo was holding a Labor Festival, similar to the one that Nagano had hosted for years. The ferry's from Kozushima and the surrounding islands were crowded the entire day. Looking around at the people heading toward the docks, Cassie was glad that her family wasn't trying to catch a ferry to the mainland.

Reaching the docks, the group headed toward the fishing vessel, Rising Sun. The Rising Sun was owned and operated by Keiko's younger brother, Hikaru. His son-in-law currently helped him run the ship. Not having a son himself, Hikaru was elated when his nephew, Riku, had showed an interest in fishing. At fifteen, Riku's participation was limited, but Hikaru was hoping to turn the ship over to him when he was older.

Hikaru and his family were already on board, as were Byron and his family.

"She might not be as classy as the ferries but this sure beats the hassle of trying to get a place on one of them," Hikaru commented when everyone was on board.

It wasn't long before the Rising Sun was leaving the docks behind and making its way toward the mainland. Cassie was positive the fish smell was following her as they disembarked the ship in Tokyo Harbor to join Sato, his wife Chisami, Sachio, Kao, and Kai.

"I made this for you," Kai, told Mark, handing him a drawing.

"Thank-you," Mark said trying to hide his confusion from the boy.

"It's tradition for school kids to draw pictures and present them as gifts to police officers, as a thank-you for the job they do all year long," Sachio, explained, clearing things up for his cousin.

Mark nodded, touched that his second cousin had thought of him.

"There's time to visit the Asakusa Shrine before the parade, if you're all interested," Sachio said, looking around at Mark, Cassie and Jordan who had decided to spend the day together. "We usually go there every year. Besides giving us a chance to reflect on peace and human rights, which is part of what this holiday is about, Kai here likes to see the decorative displays of produce that they put up at the shrine in honor of the harvest."

The three of them agreed. After a quick discussion with the rest of the group, they all agreed on a meeting place to watch the parade from. Allie and Katie begged and were given permission to go with their aunt and uncles, and then Sachio led the group toward the nearest subway station, to head up to the Asakusa Shrine.

Kozushima, 6pm

The dining room in the Fujimura house was crowded. Three extra folding tables had been set up to seat everyone. There wasn't much room to maneuver but given the cool weather outside, there hadn't been any other options as they all wanted to share the dinner together.

The food was passed around, and plates were filled. When everyone had their food, Phillip Sr. got to his feet.

"Well, I'm sure you are all hungry just like I am, so I'll keep this short," Phillip began.

"This will be a first then," Byron commented, having experienced many long,holiday dinner speeches by his father.

There was kind laughter throughout the room. Phillip waited for it to die down before continuing.

"I just want to say how thankful I am that we can all be together here, to enjoy this meal together. This is the first time that we've all been together and I think it's quite appropriate that it happened on this day. There have been a lot of changes this year, but we've gotten each other through them. It's good to know that no matter what happens you can count on family."

The ironies of her father's words were not lost on Cassie. She wondered how he could say what he did about counting on family when he had practically disowned one of his sons. Not wanting to ruin the occasion or start anything, she kept the thoughts to herself.

"A tradition for my wife, kids, and I has always been to go around the table and say something we were thankful for before we eat. Given the number of people here, I propose we do that while we all begin our dinner."

There were agreements all around. As Phillip sat down, on his left Keiko got things started, saying that she was thankful to have been able to prepare the meal for everyone with the help of her mother. As they all ate, they continued to go around the tables, everyone giving thanks for something.

***End Flashback***

Thanksgiving, seemed like ages ago, Cassie thought, feeling a slight wave of homesickness wash over her. As much as she had enjoyed seeing her family though, what meant more, was that her four brothers had left Japan on better terms than when they had arrived. Now if Mom and Dad would come around . . .

"When do you think you'll make it back out east?"

"Not sure," Cassie replied, her brother's question bringing her back to the present. She returned to preparing her salad as she continued her answer. "Work's been keeping me kind of busy. You know how that is."

"Don't I ever. If Bridget wasn't a nurse and actually saw me at the hospital, I'm not sure she would believe me when I tell her I can't do something because I'm working."

"You know, if you want this relationship to work, you're going to have to quit working so much," Cassie told her brother.

"Yeah, I know. That's why I'm taking her out to dinner. Hopefully one of the latest candidates for the empty ER spot will work out and I won't have to pull so much overtime."

As they continued talking, Cassie finished preparing her salad. Her lunch was finished by the time Jordan said he had to start getting ready for his date. Ending the call she put her phone down, and then sat down to enjoy her salad.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2227 is a reply to message #2226] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Friday, January 4, 2069 Tracy Island (early evening)

Jenny sank into a chair and stared dumbly at her computer.

"Help me out here, Hiss. Should I send an email to Mum? Play a game? Or get out that embroidery kit I started three years ago and haven't finished?"

Hiss merely curled himself around a plant. Jenny sighed, and turned her computer on.

"An email from Wendy. I hope she and the baby are fine."

Dear Jen, it said

Got your email. Glad you like your job, though better you than me. I never did like housekeeping.

I'm sending you pics of what the baby should look like at this age. Do you think I should find out whether it's a boy or a girl?

Now, seriously, Jen, do you remember Bob Stuart? I mentioned to you some time ago that he's after Mum. Well, between you and me, he's got competition. There's this other guy, Darren, who's a pensioner, but he's pretty good looking still, and he took Mum out to dinner last night. He's a decent sort of bloke, with a wacky sense of humour, the sort of guy who'd tell a funny story if he was being led to the stake. So much nicer than Bob. I always thought Bob smiled way too much. Anyway, Mum hasn't been looking so good in ages.

What do you think of Mum remarrying? Of course, I don't think she would anytime soon, but there's a possibility. She hasn't even complained about you not having any boyfriends! BTW, I've heard the Tracy sons are pretty handsome. Aren't they about your age?

Murph's home and yelling for his dinner, so I gotta go.

Love, Wendy

Jenny examined the pictures for a while, then clicked on 'Reply'.

Wendy, love,

I hope this Darren is better than the other guy. He seemed a bit of a creep to me. But don't get your hopes up. I reckon Mum's not in a big hurry to get hitched. She still mopes over Dad every now and then.

Wow, the baby looks so tiny! It's amazing how fast they grow. Do you need any baby clothes? I have some spare time in the evenings, and I'd be happy to knit a jumper or some booties. If I were you, I wouldn't try to find out its sex yet. I reckon it spoils the fun. But go ahead if you want to; it's your life.

Love, Jenny

P.S. Just because Mum's not worrying about me having boyfriends doesn't mean you should!

She leaned back in her chair, clicked 'Send', and began browsing for baby knitting patterns.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2228 is a reply to message #2227] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Evil Genius
Saturday, January 5, 2 PM; Tracy Island

Will headed down to the rifle range. He hadn't fired a gun of any kind in years, and it had been suggested to him -- by Scott -- that he should at least refresh himself on the basics. He'd checked out the gun range already, and a few people, both Tracys and non, said that it had some pretty cool targets. So he decided to check it out. He also had been told -- again by Scott -- that the eldest Tracy son and Elise were having a friendly competition today, with Gordon as the one controlling when and where the targets would appear and move.

He approached the range with caution, moving along the small shed where they kept the supplies for the range, and saw the two taking their stances to begin. Alan, Virgil and Cassie were also there, "for moral support".

Gordon noticed a movement out of the corner of his eye, and glanced over to see the only other red-headed person on the island moving his way. An idea popped into his head, and he acted on it immediately.

"Fire at Will!"


The others turned just in time to see Will duck behind the shed. Gordon began laughing, and said, "Man, I haven't seen anyone move that fast in ages." He waited a few seconds, then said, "Where'd he go?"

He had his answer a moment later, as he felt himself grabbed from behind and lifted off the ground. "Now you can fire at Will," the mechanic said, amusement in his voice.

"Hey, let me go! Put me down! I was only joking. C'mon, man!" He tried to twist out of Will's grasp, unsuccessfully.

Alan and Virgil were in stitches, and the others were showing their amusement as well. Will let go and Gordon turned around to see the taller redhead grinning at him. "Gotcha!"

"Looks like the joke's on you, Gordon," said Scott. "Better watch out. You ought to realize by now that there are more people to retaliate when you play a joke on them."

"And it obviously looks like someone will," added Cassie.

"I'll keep that in mind," was the chagrined reply as Gordon looked up at Will. "Especially if the butt of my joke is taller than I am."

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2229 is a reply to message #2228] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Evil Genius
Saturday, January 6th, 2069, 6 pm Tracy Island (7 pm, Previous day, Oahu, HW)

Vince pulled his car into a parking spot in front of Blue Waters Dive Shop. He hadn't been to the dive shop all week as he had been busy with preparations for their trip tomorrow. He couldn't remember when the last time was that he had been away from the store for that long. And who knows when I'll see it again after today, Vince thought, as he got from the car and headed toward the building.

As was typical for a Friday, the shop was busy. Over the last couple of months Vince had helped Jim get kayak tours up and running. The program had been an instant hit, and Adam was enjoying having an increased role at the shop. They had also been working on the transition of the ownership of Blue Waters. Jim had officially become his partner right before Christmas, and had taken over day-to-day operations. The plan was that he would buy part of Vince's share each year, and eventually become sole owner.

Vince stood aside as a family came out of the store, then headed inside. Adam waved to him from near the wet suit displays where he was helping a customer. Vince waved back at him.

"Hey, Vince. Come to make one last inspection before you leave?" Eddie Crammer joked.

"More like I just wanted to say good-bye," Vince told him. "I know the shop is in good hands."

After getting the job with Tracy Industries, Vince had contacted Eddie and offered him a position; there would need to be another full-time employee on board when he left for New Zealand. Eddie had expressed interest and once his tour of duty at Ingleside was up, he had come out to Oahu for an interview. Like himself, Eddie had both a Master SCUBA diver and Instructor Trainer Certifications and a pilot's license, which meant that he could take over most of Vince's duties with the shop. By mid-December he had settled his family on Oahu and was learning the ropes.

"Jim's out back prepping tanks," Eddie told him, pointing toward the back door.

"Thanks," Vince replied.

As a customer stepped up to the counter, Vince made his way to the back door. He was sure Jim wouldn't mind an extra hand prepping the tanks, then he hoped the two of them could go out for one last meal together. Jim and his family had planned on coming and seeing the Crenshaws off in the morning. However, a last minute dive trip had come up, changing those plans. Vince knew this would be the last time he and his friend would see each other for the foreseeable future.

"Hey Vince," Jim called, seeing his friend come out. He put the tank he had just finished filling onto the truck and reached for an empty one. "Come to check up on us one last time?" he commented with a smile.

"No. Just stopping in to say good-bye. Any plans for tonight?"

"Not really. Why?"

"Was wondering if you wanted to go grab a bite to eat tonight."

"Would love to."

"Want a hand with the tanks?"

"You know I never pass up free help."

Without another word, Vince grabbed one of the empty tanks and the two friends got back to filling them.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2230 is a reply to message #2229] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
Saturday, January 6, 2069, 8:30 p.m., Tracy Island.

"Nine ball in the corner pocket."

John leaned on his pool cue as Scott lined up his shot. A gentle tap, and the white ball rolled serenely across the felt, nudging the hovering nine ball into the pocket without following it in.

"Nice shot," John commented.

"Thanks." Scott picked up the long necked bottle and took a few gulps before returning it to its mini-cooler. John took a swig of his own beer, and watched Scott prowl around the edges of the table. He put his bottle down and sighed.


The elder brother didn't look up. "Yeah, John?"

"I had an... odd conversation with Alan on the way up to Five yesterday."

Scott spared his brother a quick, eyebrows-raised glance. "Define 'odd'."

John pursed his lips, thinking about the best way to follow his instructions. "Well... we were talking about women...Nikki and Kat in particular..."

"Kat?" Now Scott gave John a longer look, and a thoughtful frown. "What does Kat have anything to do with anything?" He glanced back down at the table, and crouched to peer over the edge. "I thought she was long gone."

"She was." John took another swig, then added, "She is. It's just that she was at Lady P's party and we met her there. Me and Gords and Alan and Nikki. She was there with her fiancé."

"Fiancé, huh?" Scott got to his feet to try another spot. "Bet you felt relieved about that."

"Psht!" John half-snorted, half-hissed, annoyed. "If she's happy with the guy, and he can give her what she wants, more power to them." He picked up the beer again. "He wanted me to talk about Kat, but I said I would only if he talked about Nikki first."

"What did he have to say about Nikki?" Scott had made a decision. "Two ball in the corner pocket."

John stood by, quietly draining his beer while Scott took his shot. The white ball hit the blue solid square on, but not at the angle Scott had hoped for. It bounced off the edge of the pocket and rolled down the table's shorter edge.

"Damn." Scott made a motion with one hand. "Your turn."

John smiled, and took up his cue. He paced around the table, looking for his next victim.

Scott drank his beer and watched his blond brother duck down to assess the shots open to him, shake his head, then heave a heavy sigh.

"It's a long shot, but... twelve ball in the side pocket."

Scott said nothing as John positioned his cue, sliding through his long fingers one or two times for good measure. A sharp rap and the white ball slammed into the bumper, careening off the side, hitting the two ball with some force. The two ball, thus impelled, bumped sharply into the twelve ball at such an angle that the stationary ball all but jumped up and into the indicated pocket. Scott let out a low whistle.

"Never play pool against an astronomer," John said, his tone and smile smug.

"I'll have to remember that," Scott said dryly. He watched John search for his next play, repeating, "So, what about Nikki?"

"Well, we discussed why Nikki was going to Auckland instead of back to England." The taller brother sighted along his pool cue, then shook his head. "And he admitted that their relationship had factored into Nikki's choice. A 'secondary consideration', he called it."

Scott shrugged. "So? Wouldn't you want your girlfriend close to home?"

"Yeah, I suppose I would," John admitted. He straightened from his crouch, and leaned across the table, the cue supported firmly by his fingers. "Two ball in the corner pocket."

The cue ball was tapped precisely, driven at a smart clip along the green. It struck the blue ball on one edge, pushing that sphere toward the corner where it teetered, hovering on the pocket's brink.

"C'mon, c'mon, go in!" John muttered. The ball seemed to contemplate its position for another fraction of a second, then dropped obligingly into the abyss. "Whew!"

As John took another turn around the table, Scott went over to the small wet bar and pulled a fresh beer from the fridge. "You haven't finished defining 'odd' for me."

"Oh, right." The younger man leaned his cue against the table, and joined his brother.. "Another one for me, too, please?" He took a seat as Scott handed him another bottle, and leaned his elbows on the bar's surface. "So, we talked about Nikki first, then turned to Kat. He asked me if I was jealous, and I told him, quite truthfully, that I wasn't." He shrugged. "Then he just said, 'Good', and shut up."

"So?" Scott swigged his beer, letting out an audible, "Ahh!" when he'd finished swallowing. "What's so odd about that?"

"It wasn't so much what he said as how he said it, Scott." John turned his bottle around and around on the polished wood, watching the condensation make a fat, wet ring. "I dunno. I might be reading more into it than is there, but I think somehow that he's jealous. Whether he's still jealous of Brains for hooking up with Tin-Tin, or of just not having Nikki around all the time, or that I've been able to put Kat out of my life... I don't know. But it's the impression I got."

Scott was quiet for a minute, then blew out a frustrated breath. "I'm not saying your impression is wrong or anything, John. You're probably better than I am with reading between the lines of what someone says, and we all know the kid has a jealous streak a mile wide." He ran a hand through his dark hair. "Listen. I'll give him a call later this weekend, just to talk. Bring up Nikki in passing; see what he has to say to me." Smiling, he added, "It's a damned good thing Lena worked up that program and Anna reminded us that we could actually call whoever is on Five."

"Made a lot of difference to me on Thanksgiving," John admitted. He picked up his beer, and held it out, offering a toast. "Thanks for listening, Scott."

Scott touched his bottle to John's. "No problem." With a nod toward the table, he asked, "Ready to finish the game?"

"Sure! Why quit when I'm ahead?" John grinned, and slipped off the bar stool.

Scott came out from behind the bar and picked up his cue. "Right, John. I'll have you know I have not yet begun to fight."

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2231 is a reply to message #2230] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Saturday, January 5th, 8:45 pm Tracy Island

"Hey, Gordon," Alan said, as he answered the incoming call from his brother. "Wasn't expecting to hear from you so soon."

"Yeah, well, I figured I'd see how you were settling in there."

"About the same as always," the younger Tracy replied.

"Hear from Nikki yet?"

"No. I'm sure she'll write or call soon though. I can imagine she's quite busy with a lot of things right now. How did your day go?"

"I've had better days," Gordon replied, then proceeded to tell his younger brother about the failed joke. As he expected, Alan got quite a laugh out of it.

"Things sure stay interesting down there," Alan commented, after he had stopped laughing. "Wonder how our new arrivals are going to fit in. The Crenshaws arrive tomorrow, don't they?"

"Yeah," Gordon replied. "Their flight lands in Christchurch at noon tomorrow. Dad's sending me to go pick them up."

"You going alone?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"Well, after what I saw when we picked Vince up for his interview, I thought Dad might send someone else along with you," Alan told his brother, keeping his voice light. "Kind of as a buffer."

"There's no need for a buffer! Vince and I are cool, now."

It was something that he was grateful about, too. Working with someone was much easier when you got along with them. While he and Vince hadn't gotten off to the best of starts, Gordon was glad that had changed.


"Nice little sub you got here," Vince commented, as he came out of Thunderbird 4.

"Yeah, I'm pretty proud of her," Gordon replied, grinning. He had spent the last half hour showing Vince around some of the underground facilities. "She might be small, but she's a stout little vessel. There's something else I want to show you," Gordon said, as he started walking away from Thunderbird 4.

Vince followed him. They hadn't gone that far when the former SEAL decided to broach a topic he had wanted to bring up all morning.

"I think I owe you an apology. I haven't exactly been the most gracious of guests these last couple of days."

"It's okay," Gordon answered. "I'm sure I didn't make the best of impressions on you in Hawaii. Still, I've got a certain public persona to uphold, if you know what I mean."

"Yeah, I'm sure it can't be easy dealing with the media everywhere you go. Still, the rescue yesterday and just spending time with you and your family, makes me see I misjudged you. Guess what I'm trying to say is that, if I do decide to take this position, then it'll be an honor to work with you."

"Thanks. That means a lot to me," Gordon replied.

They were quiet as the two men made there way to where the new hydrofoil was under construction. "Remember I asked you how you felt about testing out a hydrofoil in the interview?" Gordon asked as he approached the next addition to the Thunderbird fleet. Beside him, Vince nodded in reply. "Well, this is why. She's taking a little longer to complete than anticipated but hopefully nothing else will get in the way."

"Definitely wouldn't mind test driving her," Vince commented as he walked slowly around the partially completed hydrofoil.

*** End Flashback ***

"Actually looking forward to telling him a certain project has been completed," Gordon said.

"That's right. The test run is set for Monday afternoon, right?" Alan asked. Gordon answered an affirmative. "You be careful," he said, trying not to sound overly concerned.

"I will, Alan," Gordon replied. Not wanting to go into the same lengthy discussion he had already had with his father, stepmother, and Scott on the subject, he decided put an end to the conversation. "I should probably make sure I get a good night's rest, with the flight tomorrow. I'll talk to you later."

"Okay. Goodnight, Gordon."

With that, Gordon ended the call. Instead of heading to bed though, he headed for the sliding door leading onto the balcony.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2232 is a reply to message #2231] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Sunday, January 6th, around noon, Christchurch, NZ

As the last of the other passengers left the first-class section of the plane, Vince stood up and stepped out into the aisle. Aaron, who was sitting by the window, maneuvered past a sleeping Lea to join him in the aisle. The two of them retrieved their onboard baggage from the overhead compartment while they waited for the flight attendant to bring Lana's chair to them.

"Should I wake her up?" Aaron asked, indicating his sister as he put both his and her duffel bags over one shoulder.

Vince shook his head. "Let her sleep. I'll get her once we get your mother settled."

The five year old had not taken well to her first plane trip in over three years, and had spent the first half of the trip crying. Vince was sure he wasn't the only one who had been grateful when the girl had fallen asleep.

The flight attendant showed up with the wheelchair that had been stored back in Oahu. She placed it in the aisle next to Lana's seat.

"Anything else I can do to assist you?" the flight attendant asked.

"No, we're fine thank-you," Vince replied.

After Lana had transferred from her seat in the middle row to the wheelchair, she took the carry-on she and Vince had brought onboard. Vince unbuckled his sleeping daughter and picked her up. Lea stirred slightly, but stayed asleep, her head resting on her father's shoulder. Vince led the way down the aisle to the exit.

The Crenshaw family made their way into the airport. There were still a few passengers hanging around the gate area, talking amongst one another and trying to figure out which direction to head. It didn't take Vince long to spot Gordon Tracy though. Spotting Vince and Lana, Gordon headed in their direction.

"Welcome back," Gordon said, with a smile. He shook hands with Vince as he continued. "Hope your flight here was okay."

"Except for a screaming five year old, it was fine, thank-you," Lana replied, pointing a finger at her still sleeping daughter.

"Here let me take one of those for you," Gordon said, reaching out for one of the two bags, Aaron was carrying. Aaron gratefully handed Lea's bag over to him. "Are you hungry? I know a restaurant here that has good food. We can grab something to eat while they're transferring the rest of your luggage."

Vince glanced at Lana, who nodded. "Lunch sounds like a good idea. Lead the way."

As Gordon led them toward the restaurant he addressed his new swimming student. "Hope you're a morning person, Aaron. The early mornings are usually the best time to avoid the others using the pool, though there are a few on the island that seem to enjoy and early morning swim from time to time."

"Whatever time you think is best, sir."

"Well for starters, let's drop the sir," Gordon said, with a grin. "You make me feel old. You can call me Gordon. I figured we can start Tuesday morning. Give you a chance to settle in. How's six o'clock sound?"

"That's fine, s . . . Gordon," Aaron replied, catching himself. I still can't believe that Gordon Tracy is going to be my coach! Guess it will sink in Tuesday.

The group reached the restaurant and were shown to a table. Vince finally woke up Lea. Never one to take to strangers quickly, she eyed Gordon warily as Vince settled her in the chair between Lana and himself. It wasn't long before Gordon had her laughing.

"I've never seen her warm up to someone so quickly," Lana commented, as she glanced through the menu.

"What can I say? I have a way with kids," Gordon replied.

The waitress appeared and took their drink orders. As she left to get their drinks, the group opened their menus and began to look over the selections.

The Crenshaws Move to Tracy Island part 1

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2233 is a reply to message #2232] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Tracy Island

As he came off the jet, Vince noticed that both Jeff and Scott had made their way down to the landing strip to greet them. With Lana by his side, he walked over to where they were standing. With Lea piggyback, Aaron followed his father.

"Welcome back," Jeff said as the Crenshaws approached him. He shook hands with Vince. "It's good to finally have you on board. I'm sure Gordon's already told you about Thunderbird Eight's completion." Jeff knew his copper-haired son was excited about the hydrofoil being ready for a test run.

"I'm excited to be here, sir," Vince replied. "Gordon told me about the hydrofoil and the test run during our flight here."

"Vince said he'd like to come out on the test run with me," Gordon told his father as he joined the group, carrying a couple of the Crenshaws' bags.

"Hope he didn't twist your arm. You can have a few days to settle in, if you want," Jeff told his newest recruit.

"No arm twisting necessary. Been looking forward to seeing how that hydrofoil runs since I saw her as a work in progress last month."

"That's fine then. The test run is scheduled for two o'clock tomorrow afternoon," Jeff informed him. He then handed him two boxes he was holding as Gordon and Scott headed to the plane to begin unloading. "Here are the communicators for you and Lana. We use them for a lot of our communication with each other here on the island. I had Brains modify Lana's to also have an emergency alert in it, as you had discussed with Dianne while you were out here. Gordon or Scott can show you how to work them when they've finished helping take the luggage up."

"Thank-you, Mr. Tracy. We really appreciate it," Vince said, as he handed both boxes to Lana for now.

"Safety is our top priority in everything we do. The renovations to the apartment are complete as well as an updated fire escape on the Cliff House. We put all of the things that were shipped here in the two bedroom apartment, along with the paint you had ordered. If you need help moving anything let someone know and we'll give you a hand," Jeff told him. He paused briefly as Vince acknowledged the information he was giving. "I'll send you an email to set up a meeting to get the usual job formalities out of the way, and any other information you're going to need. Any questions?"

Vince looked at his wife, who shook her head and then answered the question. "Not right now, Mr. Tracy. I think we're all just looking forward to getting settled in."

"Well, I'll let you get to it. Feel free to contact my wife, one of the older boys, or myself if you think of anything."

Once all the luggage the Crenshaws had brought on the plane with them was loaded on a cart, Gordon led the way to the Cliff House. It wasn't long before the group was on the Cliff House patio. Gordon took the newest residents of Tracy Island up to their floor, while Scott waited on the ground floor with the luggage. The eldest Tracy would bring the belongings up afterwards.

When Scott finally joined the group with the luggage, Gordon was already going over the communicators with Lana and Vince. Scott could faintly hear the sounds of the kid's voices coming from one of the bedrooms.

Probably won't be long before they'll want to start exploring the island, too, Scott thought as he walked over to stand beside Gordon.

The Crenshaws move to Tracy Island part 2

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2234 is a reply to message #2233] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Walking into the living room of his apartment from the balcony, Aaron made his way over to the entertainment center. He placed the box of video games he was carrying on the floor in front of it, next to his tv.

This is so cool that I have my own apartment
, Aaron thought as he looked around the place once again. Too bad I can't tell my friends back home.

"Here's some linen for you to keep over here," Vince said, walking into the apartment with another box. He went into the bathroom and set the box on the floor, then rejoined his son in the living room. "Before we start bringing over the pieces of your desk, where are you putting it?"

"Over there," Aaron said, pointing to the area near one of the doors leading to the balcony. He had contemplated putting it in the bedroom but had decided against it. He wasn't going to have to resort to hiding in his room when he wanted to escape his family here.

"Let's start bringing it over then."

Father and son headed back over to the two bedroom apartment that the rest of the family would be staying in. The apartment was still crowded with boxes and crates. The luggage that had been brought was all in the appropriate rooms. Lana was in the kitchen area trying to put that in order. For now Lea was quietly playing with her blocks along the far wall, where Lana could keep an eye on her daughter while working.

All the desks had been packed together. Scott and Gordon had helped Vince separate the four of them while Aaron had started moving some of his other stuff over to the other apartment. The two of them had then offered to put together the bed Vince and Lana had brought with them. The two beds the apartment had originally been furnished with had been removed and stored before the new occupants arrival.

Vince and Aaron headed to the pile with the pieces of Aaron's desk, and picked up the top piece.

"There are going to be some ground rules, while you're living here," Vince told his son as the two of them took the piece of furniture over to the other apartment. "First of all, having your own apartment is a privilege. You abuse it, and other arrangements can and will be made. That means you'll be expected to keep it tidy. I will be making inspections," Vince said as they walked back into the building. "Your Mom and I both the reserve the right to make unannounced visits; we'll knock before entering the bedroom just like at home."

They placed the piece of wood on the floor and headed back for the next piece.

"Understood," Aaron replied.

"You're welcome to join us for meals at any time or just to visit. You will be required to at least join us for dinner."

"Bet that was Mom's stipulation," Aaron commented as they picked up another of the big pieces.

"I heard that," Lana called back from the kitchen. "And yes, it was."

"Next, you are expected to tell someone when you'll be going somewhere on the island so we know where you are," Vince told his son as they started their second trip. "Under no circumstances do I want you swimming or surfing in the ocean without another adult with you."

"That's not fair! I didn't have to have an adult with me at home!"

"But, you were with your friends back in Hawaii," Vince countered calmly. He had been expecting a protest on this stipulation. "If something happened, one of them would be able to help you or get help, not to mention the lifeguards on the beach. You don't have the safety net here. I'm serious about this, Aaron. Do not go in the ocean by yourself. Gordon surfs as do his brothers. I'm sure they won't mind you tagging along and I can always come down with you in the evenings and bring Lea down to the beach."

"Yes ,sir," the teen said, seeing that arguing with his father wasn't going to get him anywhere.

As they finished their task, Vince went over a few more rules with his son.

The Crenshaws move to Tracy Island part 3

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2235 is a reply to message #2234] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Evil Genius
Lea was seated Indian-style in the middle of the apartment's living area. Her cries of "It's not fair" filled the air. Aaron looked from his crying sister to his father, looking for guidance. He had not expected that his simple goodnight to his sister after dinner would set off this tantrum.

Vince mouthed the word "Go" to his son, and nodded toward the door. Aaron did so, and then slipped out the nearest door onto the balcony. Ignoring his daughter's current tantrum, Vince turned to his wife. "Do you need help cleaning up?"

"No, I can manage."

The family had just finished eating dinner. Cassie had stopped by during the afternoon and dropped off a tuna casserole, which was greatly appreciated by Lana. Though the apartment had been stocked with some simple foodstuffs from a list she had provided, trying to get their first meal together after the excitement of the day wasn't exactly high on Lana's list of things she wanted to do. Nor did she really feel like making the trip up to the villa to join the Tracys for dinner on their first night here. The casserole had provided the perfect solution.

Vince nodded. While Lana set herself to the task of cleaning up the dinner dishes and storing the leftovers, Vince looked around the apartment. Some order had been restored to the living quarters but there was still a lot to accomplish. He tried to figure out what he should try to accomplish first. The corner of Lea's favorite blanket that she still slept with, reminded Vince of one task that needed to be completed tonight - putting together his daughter's bed.

Still tuning out Lea's tantrum, he walked over to the entertainment system and picked up the manila envelope which held all the instruction manuals. Taking them out, he started going through them, looking for the one to the canopy bed.

By the time Vince had located the set of instructions that he needed, Lea's tantrum had just about subsided. The little girl was quiet other than an occasional sniffle. Folding the instructions in half, he stuffed it in his pocket.

"Hey, Poppet, why don't you play with your blocks?" Vince said to his daughter, retrieving the container of blocks and heading over to where she was sitting.

Vince spent a few minutes with his daughter, helping her get started on her creation and then headed into the bedroom to begin work on the bed. He had put together the frame when he heard a knock on the door.

"I'll get it, honey," he called out to his wife, wanting a break from his project.

Walking out of the room, he spotted a dark hair man and a little boy standing outside the glass door of the living room. He was sure he had met the man before but couldn't place him. I need to get curtains up over the French doors soon, he thought as he opened the door. "Hello."

"Hi. I'm Dom. I live in the apartment at the other end of the building," the Irishman told him. "This is my son, Josh."

"Hello, Josh," Vince said, smiling down at the small boy.


"Just thought I'd stop by and see if you needed any help getting settled in," Dom offered.

"Well, I'm attempting to put my daughter's bed together. An extra pair of hands would be welcomed, especially as there is a canopy."

"I'm your guy," Dom replied.

Vince stepped aside to let his guests to enter. Before anyone else had a chance to see anything, Josh spotted Lea and her blocks. Hurrying over to her, the little boy knocked over the castle she had been working on with a sound of glee. Vince closed his eyes, expecting another tantrum from his daughter.

"Daddy!" Lea called out, but didn't start crying for which Vince was grateful.

"Joshua! That was bold," Dom scolded, walking over to the two kids. "Now tell her you're sorry," he instructed his son.

Josh looked from the pile of blocks to his father. He then looked at Lea. "Sorry."

Lea smiled again, happy with the apology. "Want to help me rebuild it?" Lea asked holding out a block to Josh.

Josh looked from the block to his father. "Go ahead," Dom told his son. Josh smiled and took the block from Lea.

"Put it here," Lea instructed, pointing to a spot on top of some of the blocks that hadn't been knocked over.

"Wouldn't it be nice if all problems were solved that easily," Lana commented, having stopped her work in the kitchen.

After Dom and Lana exchanged greetings and making sure the two kids were happily playing, Vince led Dom into the bedroom and the two men got to work on finishing the bed.

The Crenshaws move to the island . . . the end

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2236 is a reply to message #2235] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Evil Genius

Monday, January 7th, shortly after lunch . . .

Jeff carefully throttled the speedboat as he maneuvered it into place. He followed Cassie's gaze to settle on the shining form of Thunderbird Eight bobbing on the water. The knowledge that his son was inside the hydrofoil craft made his heart give the slightest hitch. I don't think I'll ever fully come to terms with Gordon's accident, he thought, careful not to push the thoughts aside as he had once done. He allowed the feeling to wash over him, and it ebbed as though the salty waves of the Pacific swept up and took it away.

"Speedboat One and Thunderbird Five from Thunderbird Eight," Gordon's voice came over the comm. system.

"Receiving you strength five, Thunderbird Eight," Cassie said.

"Same here, Thunderbird Eight," Alan's voice sounded.

"We're ready to commence testing," Gordon said.

"FAB, Thunderbird Eight," Jeff said, nodding to Cassie. "Standing by."

"Area is clear of all air and sea craft. You're clear to begin test," Alan said.

"FAB," said Gordon.

Inside the hydrofoil, Gordon gave Vince a wink.


"As I'll ever be," Vince replied from his seat beside Gordon.

"Here we go,"Gordon commented, as he pushed the throttle forward slowly. The craft came to life, picking up speed.

Onboard the speedboat, Scott watched as the latest addition to the Thunderbird fleet came to life. The big brother in him would have preferred to be the one testing the new hydrofoil. The rational part in him told him that it wasn't his place. Thunderbird Eight, like Four, was Gordon's craft, not his. Gordon never would have stood for someone else testing her.

I can't protect them from everything, Scott reminded himself.

"Speedboat One, we are at one quarter speed and running smoothly," came Vince's voice over the radio. The excitement in his voice was obvious.

"Copy that,"Jeff replied.

At that speed, the vessel would not yet be foilborne. The speed needed for the hydrofoils to lift it out of the water would soon be reached though.

"Increasing speed," Gordon informed them.

"Keep in mind this is a field test. No hot-dogging out there," Jeff reminded his son.

"FAB," came Gordon's response.

Thunderbird Eight quickly accelerated, and inside the craft Gordon gave Vince a grin. "Let's do this thing," he said.

Vince grinned back, and the two men configured the controls for the lift. The upwards force created by the foil began to lift the craft out of the water. They felt the turbulence drag decrease substantially and Gordon couldn't help but give a cheer.

"We are foilborne!"

His face twitched briefly as memories sparked in his mind. The crash, the pain, the darkness; but also the recovery. He curled his lips back into a grin.

"Thunderbird Eight, status update," Jeff's voice called.

"Speedboat One, we're recording surface speed of 30 knots. Permission to increase speed?"

There was a short pause.

"Permission granted. Increase speed to approximately 40 knots, but no more."

"FAB. Increasing speed now," said Gordon. He turned to Vince. "Would you like to do the honours?"

"All right!" Vince said. "Throttling up now."

Thunderbird Eight shot across the surface of the water as the speed increased, and the two pilots grinned at each other.

"40 knots," Vince said. "And she's purring like a kitten." Forgot what a rush it is being behind the wheel of a hydrofoil

"Thunderbird Eight from Speedboat One. I think we can call this a successful test run,
" Jeff informed them. "Why don't you throttle down and head back to dock?"

"FAB," Gordon replied, unable to keep the disappointment out of his voice. Now that he was out in the hydrofoil, he didn't want to end the run but he knew better than to argue with his father.

Beside him, Vince was just as disappointed at seeing the test run come to an end. However, he knew his boss was right to call an end to it. The first time out was never the time to push a new vehicle to its limits.

Slowing Thunderbird Eight down, Gordon steered her in a smooth arc to head back to Tracy Island.

TB8 Test Run by ArtisticRainey and icarus1982[/color]

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2237 is a reply to message #2236] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
The quiet of the apartment was getting to her, so Cassie stepped out onto her balcony. The light was fading as she looked out over the scene before her. It had been an exhausting day, what with the TB8 test run and her other responsibilities. She had been looking forward to coming back to her apartment, showering, and just relaxing the rest of the evening. The first two had worked fine. The relaxing bit just didn't seem to be coming.

Turning away from the balcony, her eyes fell on Luke's dark apartment. I really miss having him around, but at least his recovery is going well, Cassie thought.

Without really thinking about where she was going, she started walking. Before long she found herself outside Dom's apartment. Seeing lights within, she knocked. After a short pause, Dominic opened the door and grinned at her.

"Hey, Cass!" he said. "What's up?"

In the background she could hear the distinctive sounds of a children's program on the televiewer and Joshua's giggling.

"I was out for a walk and decided to drop by," she said.

"Well, come on in!" Dominic said as he stepped aside. "I'll stick the kettle on."

Cassie smiled and walked into the apartment. The first thing Dom offered was always a cup of tea. She slipped down onto the couch and leaned back into the thick cushions. Dominic padded over to the kitchenette.

"How are you today?" she asked, glancing over her shoulder.

Dom flicked the kettle on.

"I'm doin' grand, thanks," he said. "I'm workin' a lot more in the infirmary cuz Nikki's gone."

The shadow that passed over Dominic face could not be missed, and Cassie frowned.

"You miss her, don't you?" she asked.

Dominic leaned his weight on the counter and sighed.

"Aye. She was one of m' best friends here. We joined together right at the start. God, that was nearly a year ago. I'm gonna miss her."

"She'll come back when she's finished," Cassie said.

Dominic nodded, but then the brightness came back to his face, and Cassie knew that meant that he was done talking about it.

"Aye, and when she does I'll be at the bottom of the peckin' order!"

Cassie chuckled and shook her head. The kettle clicked off and Dominic set about making the tea. Joshua was drawn away from the televiewer by the sound of her laughter and he beamed at her.

"Auntie Cass!" Joshua said. He bounded over and launched himself onto the couch to envelop her in a hug. Cassie hugged the little boy back. The melancholy mood she was in when she had headed over here had quickly disappeared.

"Tea is ready."

With Joshua in her arms, Cassie got to her feet. She crossed over to the table and sat down, as Dom placed a cup of tea in front of her. Josh settled in her lap as Dom handed his son a cup of juice and then sat down himself.

The two of them continued to chat over their cups of tea; Josh added childish interjections here and there. After finishing his juice though, he got bored with the adult conversation and returned to the televiewer.

After chatting about island life for awhile, Cassie changed the conversation to things a little further away. "Have you heard from your father recently?" Cassie inquired.

Dominic nodded and drained his cup. He stood and walked to the kitchen sink.

"Yes, I got an email from him yesterday. The divorce is proceeding swiftly. Elizabeth isn't getting half as much as she wanted."

"That's your stepmother, right?" Cassie asked.

"I'd never call her as much, but technically yes." Dom rinsed out his tea cup and walked to the sofa. He sat down, crossing his legs. "It's causing huge problems for the whole family. Tom -- that's my youngest half-brother, the journalist -- isn't speaking to my father or myself any more. Neither are Paisley and Victoria -- though they never spoke to me. Very much so mummy's girls -- when Elizabeth decided she didn't like me, they did too. Arthur never treated me badly, though. Art's a great guy. He's the oldest of Dad and Elizabeth's kids. He always went out of his way to welcome me -- even when I was getting on like an arse."

Cassie couldn't help but chuckle at the comment.

"How's your dad's health?"

"It's improving, thankfully," Dominic said.

The little tell on his face told Cassie that the Irishman was surprised at the words coming out of his mouth. Their relationship really is on the mend, she thought. Dominic continued.

"He's lost a whopping sixty pounds and he's quit smoking. Knocked the drink on the head, too, for the most part. He says that he has too much to live for now." Dominic gulped. "Wants to see his grandson graduate from college. He's already started up a trust fund for Joshua's education." Dom shook his head and couldn't help but smile as Joshua squealed at the TV. "But anyway, enough of me blabbering on. How are you?"

"All things considered, pretty well," Cassie said, her words not sounding as convincing to herself as she would have liked. A glance at Dom told her that he wasn't convinced either. She sighed. "I really should be grateful. My grandmother is doing well. Mom and Dad are talking about finding their own place near my grandparents. My brothers are doing well and actually getting along better amongst themselves. I've got a roof over my head, a good job, and some great new friends. I should be happy, right?"

The sounds of the televiewer were momentarily the only ones in the apartment. Dom hesitated saying anything, waiting to see if his friend would continue. "But," he prompted when she didn't after a few moments.

Cassie got to her feet. She walked slowly over to the sofa. She had never actually talked to Dom much about her ex-husband but she really did need to talk to someone about her current situation with him. She pondered if she should bring the situation up or let it go, as she sat down on the opposite end of the couch from him. "Feel free to tell me to mind my own business, but were you and Josh's mother ever married?"

"For about six months. We got married for the wrong reasons and when she realized that, she split. I think I cared more about her than she ever did for me though," Dom replied. He thought he had an idea of where Cassie was going with the conversation. "This have anything to do with your ex-husband?"

He saw her nod slightly as she stared at the televiewer. Dom had the distinct impression that she wasn't really seeing what was on the screen though.

"I've been talking to Alex via email for awhile now. He says he's been going to therapy and that he's changed. I got an email from him on New Year's Eve asking me to give 'us' another try."

"An email? I think at least a phone call would have been more appropriate for that."

"Yeah, well, I never actually gave him my new number," Cassie admitted with a sheepish smile. Dom gave a barely audible 'ah' from his spot on the sofa. "I haven't even responded to the email yet because I can't figure out what to say. I thought that getting away from the problems we had and putting all of that behind me would be easy. I'm finding out that thirteen years isn't so easy to walk away from."

Dom let out a low whistle. That was a long relationship. "I can only imagine how hard it would be to walk away from that. The question I think you really need to answer for yourself, is if you can be happy with him again."

Cassie nodded and looked toward him. "I think I could be, if I knew he had really changed. If he was really willing to let me live my life and not try controlling me. As much as I loved my son, I'm not the type of person who could be stay-at-home mom. He never quite understood that. He claims he won't bother me about not working if I come back. I just wish I knew how I could be sure."

"He's assuming you'll come back to New York City then?"

Cassie nodded.

"Well, there's your answer then," Dom said, receiving him a perplexed look from his guest. "If he really cares about you and wants the two of you to be together again, then he'd be willing to move for you. Tell him your position with Tracy Industries means a lot to you and ask if he would be willing to consider moving to 'Wichita' with you instead. If he says yes, then you go from there; if he says no, then he's not really backing up his claims that he's changed."

Cassie pondered Dom's suggestion. He might be onto something there. Why should it be assumed that I should move back to the city if we get back together?

"Look, I'm no expert on relationships," Dom said, shrugging his shoulders. "Mags... -- oh, that's my ex-wife -- well, she only agreed to marry me because she was terrified of her parents' reactions to her having a baby out of wedlock. We rushed into the marriage and it all fell apart. Other than that, I've never actually had a 'relationship', so don't take my words a gospel. But," he said, placing his hands on his knees, "I figure that if the guy really cares, he'll drop everything to make things work and to stay with you."

A pained look crossed his face. A lightbulb clicked on in Cassie's head.

"Like you did with Josh's mom."

Dom nodded slowly.

"Yeah. But, if he's not willing to do that and expects you to bend to his will, then he hasn't changed. And then you'll definitely know where you stand."

"Yeah... "

The two sat in contemplative silence for a few moments, before the quiet was destroyed by a certain small blond-haired terror launching himself onto the couch between them with a giggle.

Cassie visits Dom: ArtisticRainey and starrynebula

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2238 is a reply to message #2237] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
Bozeman, Montana, 3:30 pm (11:30 am January 9th Tracy Island)...

Luke stared morosely into the flames crackling in the fireplace. He sat in his parent's living room, his feet propped up on a hassock, his head resting on one hand. Rommel was sprawled on a rug in front of the fireplace, fast asleep. Outside, snow fell heavily, quickly piling up on the windowsill.

The dog's ears twitched and he suddenly sat up. A moment later, the door opened and Luke's father called out: "Anybody home?"

Luke didn't reply, but Rom got to his feet and started towards the door. He paused to look back at his master. Luke sighed and nodded and the dog trotted off. He came back in a few minutes later, followed by Richard.

"How are you feeling today, son?" his father asked.

Luke didn't look up. "Fine."

Richard raised an eyebrow. "Just fine?"

Before he could reply, Melisa walked into the room and gave her husband a kiss. "You're home early. How are the roads?"

"Getting bad. They're predicting over three feet which is why I closed the store." Richard settled himself down on the couch. He glanced over at Luke, then raised an eyebrow at his wife.

She shook her head. "I'll go get you some coffee. Luke, honey, would you like some?"

"No thanks."

Melisa shot one last look at her husband then left, Rommel following behind her.

Richard leaned forward, stretching his hands out towards the fire. "I'll just warm up a bit, then go take care of the stock. This keeps up, we'll be snowed in for a couple of days."


"How are you really feeling?"

"Just peachy. I love lying around the house doing nothing all day."

"Son, give it time. You're still healing," Richard told him.

Luke finally looked up, his grey eyes blazing. "I'm tired of sitting around, Dad. I've been stuck inside for two months now. I have a job and a life that I want to get back to," he snapped as he got to his feet. "I can't even go out and shovel with you! Hell, I get winded walking to the barn and back! I tried feeding the horses today and could barely lift the bale to toss it in the stall!"

His father frowned. "You're not supposed to be lifting anything that heavy yet. Those ribs aren't completely healed, bone regeneration drugs or not. And I won't even mention the tissue damage."

"Don't start, Dad. I know what I'm capable of doing." He threw himself down in the chair again. "I'm sick of being useless."

"You're not useless." Richard held up a hand as Luke started to protest. "And before you start again you need to remember that this was no picnic for us either." His tone softened. "We almost lost you, son."

Luke sighed. "I know, Dad. And I'm sorry. I'm just so tired of being stuck inside doing nothing. You and Mom spent enough time at my bedside. Roger, and Eve too. I want to get out there, shovel snow, go skiing, just have my life back!"

"I know you do." Richard shook his head. "What about your friends? Irwin and Jessie, or even Elise, and the Irishman who came to visit? And that little firefighter girl, Cassie? When is the last time you talked to any of them? Why don't you give them a call, see if they can come by again."

Luke's mind wandered over to the news earlier that week. International Rescue had been called out to aid during an earthquake in the Middle East. "I have a feeling they're all pretty busy at the moment," he replied.

"You don't know that. Give them a call. Now, I'd better get out there and start shoveling." His father stood and stretched. He started towards the door, then paused and looked back at his son. "Tell you what, let me move the heavy stuff, and you can drive the plow. There's no reason why you can't do that."

Luke's head snapped up, then his face fell. "Mom'll never let me out of the house. She keeps forgetting that I'm thirty-two."

"She'll get over it." He smiled. "C'mon, you aren't afraid, are you?"

"Of Mom? You bet I am." Luke smiled. "But if I tell her it was your idea..."

Richard chuckled. "Thanks, kid. Give me about an hour to take care of the animals, then bundle up. If we don't keep up with the snow, we'll be stuck here until June." He headed towards the hall. "While you're waiting, give those friends a call. I'm sure they'd love to hear from you."

Luke waited a few minutes, listening to his father talk to his mother, then head out to the barn. He grabbed his laptop off the coffee table and turned it on, quickly pulling up his email.

Dear Dom,

You're not going to believe the snow storm I'm stuck in the middle of. Tell Josh I'll have a bunch of new pictures to send him in the morning...

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2239 is a reply to message #2238] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
Tuesday, January 8, 2069, 3:30 p.m. Tracy Island

Dianne was in the midst of updating the medical records on most of the Crenshaw family. Lana had brought her children to the infirmary for physical examinations so Dianne would have a baseline to work from. Vince, however, was conspicuous by his absence.

I hope Lana can get her husband to come see me voluntarily and I don't have to pull rank on him, Dianne thought as she worked on Lea's small file. Looks like this little one is ready for school. I wonder if Lana wants her to go to school on the mainland or to join our little satellite-schooled group. She'll have to make the decision quickly; New Zealand schools will be restarting after the summer break very soon.

A small box popped up in the corner of her screen, and she gave it a quick glance. The email address made her look again. She frowned, saved Lea's file, and went after the email. Why would our pharmacy supplier be emailing me? I don't have any current orders outstanding...

Opening the email, she scanned it quickly, and let out a girlish squeal. "Sally!"

Dear Dr. Tracy,

God, that sounds so formal. I'm using the company email system to send this because, as usual, I've lost your email address. Figures that I move all the way to New Zealand only to find that my old friend is a customer at my new job. How's that for serendipity?

Well, as you've probably guessed, I got tired of trying to decipher the handwriting of the local doctors in Chicago...not to mention the last three winters that had me dreaming of Greenville! There was nothing holding me to the Windy City; in fact, you could say that those winds had conspired to blow me away. So I went looking for something new and different, and happened on this job here in Christchurch, which is about as new and different as you can get! I've spent the past couple of months getting settled in and taking a course to update me on some of the brand names used here in Kiwi country.

Then I start my new job and lo! My good friend's name is listed in the company files as a client! I had already figured that you didn't really live in Kansas; you've always been pretty cagey about that and I respected it. But now I have you in my sights, girlfriend, and if we don't get together for a drink sometime soon, I'm gonna hire a plane and go looking for you!

So, if you've got a more personal email address, send it to me so we can keep in touch! I'm enclosing my own email address, physical address and phone number. Let's get together soon; I really miss talking to you!

Joke of the day:
Did you hear about the two blondes who froze to death at a drive-in movie?
They went to see "Closed for the Winter".

Tag! You're it!


Dianne laughed. "I can't believe it. Sally Addams. I never thought she'd leave the States! Wait until I tell Ma about this!" She opened up her email address book and typed in Sally's contact information. "I'll have to introduce her to Jeff. And the kids! She hasn't seen them for a couple of years now!" She shook her head. smiling.

She read over her friend's email once more, then reluctantly closed it and resumed her work with a sigh. "I'll call tonight and we can catch up. And next time Anna needs a lift home, I'm flying!"

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2240 is a reply to message #2239] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
Tuesday, January 8, 2069, after dinner, Tracy Island

After cleaning up from dinner, the Crenshaws decided to enjoy a quiet evening together. They were nowhere close to being settled in, but Vince and Lana didn't see the need to rush it. What with getting ready to move and the move itself, all of them had been busy the last few weeks. Vince figured they all deserved an evening to relax.

Vince was playing a game of war with his two kids. Though Lana had chosen not to join in on the card game, she had settled herself at the table with them. She was working on cross stitching a flowered pattern onto the quilt she had bought. She wasn't sure what she was going to do with it when she was finished but figured something would come up.

"So how did your day go?" Lana asked.

"Kind of slow," Vince asked as he flipped a two of spades over. The card was easily beat by both Aaron's four of clubs and Lea's eight of spades. "Mostly trying to get administrative things out of the way."

"Did you find time to schedule an appointment to see Dianne?"

"Not yet. Did Dr. Tracy say something to you?"

Lana and the kids went to the Villa that morning to have their physicals and make sure that all of their medical records were up-to-date.

"She just mentioned that you hadn't talked to her about setting up a time. Wanted me to remind you."

"I'll get in touch with her tomorrow morning," Vince said, as he gathered the three cards lying on the table and added them to his win pile. He glanced over at his wife to see her looking at him skeptically. "What? I will. Might as well get the unpleasant task over with."

"It's just a routine check-up. Of course the last time you actually went to one of those was when you were in the service," Lana commented, thinking of all the crazy excuses her husband had come up with every time she tried to schedule a check-up for him.

"Anyway, the physical is one of the last things, besides the training, that I need to take care of." Vince flipped another card over, losing the battle once again. "Now if I can come up with a code name . . ."

"How about Aquaman?" Aaron suggested with a grin as he gathered the three cards on the table.

"I don't think so."

"Daddy, what's a codename?"

"Well, it's sort of like a nickname. Like I always call you Poppet instead of Lea. When I'm out doing my new job, my co-workers and I are going to be using nickname for each other instead our real names."

"Can I pick your nickname, Daddy?" Lea asked, looking up at her father expectantly. She flipped a card over to go with the two that Aaron and Vince had already placed on the table. Having turned over a queen, she gathered the nine and eight that were with it. "Please. You gave me a nickname."

"Okay, Poppet. What should my codename be?" Vince asked his daughter. I just hope I don't live to regret this, he thought, not at all sure what his five-year-old was going to come up with.

Lea flipped another card over. The ace of hearts came up. As Vince and Aaron flipped over their cards, Lea put her hand on her chin, looking thoughtful. Beside her, Lana smiled at the serious look on her daughter's face.

Lea gathered the three cards, her eyes falling on the ace which was on top.

"I know!" she exclaimed. "Your name can be Ace!"

Beside his sister, Aaron laughed. "Well, at least she didn't suggest Queen," he quipped.

"Or Joker," Lana added, smiling herself.

Aaron laughed again at his mother's suggestion.

"What's so funny?" Lea asked, looking confused and a little hurt. "Don't you like it?" she asked, looking up at her father.

"I think Ace is a great codename, Poppet," he said.

"Are you going to use it?" Lea asked, a smile coming to her face again.

"Yes, I will," Vince assured her. "How about we finish this game?"

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2241 is a reply to message #2240] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
Messages: 478
Registered: July 2012
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TB Pilot
Evil Genius
Tuesday, January 8, 10:20 p.m., Tracy Island.

Scott, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, plugged his earphone into his ear, and pulled out his phone's keypad. Ever since John had mentioned Alan's shutting down during their conversation, Scott had found the incident bothered him more and more. He was used to his youngest brother's moods...even now, it was hard to stop thinking of Alan as the youngest--his occasional sulkiness and flashes of temper. He also knew that, like their father, Alan tended to keep his pain inside. So, with a sigh, Scott dialed his brother's satellite phone.

Three rings later, and a puzzled-sounding Alan answered. "Scott? Why are you calling so late? Is everything okay?"

Scott grimaced. Might have known the kid would think something's wrong. I barely call him at all, never mind after 10 p.m. "Everything's okay, Al. Everyone's fine."

"Oh." There was a pause on the other end. "Then why are you calling?"

"I'm taking advantage of the ability to call. It's about time I did, don't you think?" Scott stretched and settled back in his chair. "It hasn't been that long since this was set up, and you've been home most of the time in between."

Obviously, this hadn't occurred to Alan. "Ah, okay. So, what's up?"

Scott snorted. "The sky, the clouds, Dad's... no, Dad's blood pressure isn't up. Everything's cool down here. Thunderbird Eight had a shakedown cruise and our latest recruit and his family seem to be settling in okay. There's a party brewing for Lady P, and I think Dad wants to meet with his latest agent candidate then, too."

"A new agent?" Alan sounded intrigued. "I hadn't heard about this."

"Neither had I until the other day when he was giving Jenny some instructions about the guest room. With Lady P and Parker staying out in the Round House these days, the guest room doesn't get used so much. He wanted her to clean it up and make it ready for the party."

"Yeah, you're right." There was another pause. "So, did you ask him who it was?"

"Of course." Scott grinned, pleased with himself.


"And what?"

"Who is it? Is it someone we know?"

Scott contemplated drawing the tension out, teasing his brother with the lack of information. He decided that Alan needed a bit of teasing.

"It's someone we all know. You'll never guess who."

"Ned Cook?"

Scott snorted a derisive laugh. "Like Dad would ask a member of the mass media to be an agent."

He swore he could hear Alan thinking. "Okay, then. How about..." The pause was long and dramatic. "...the Duchess of Royston!"

This time Scott laughed out loud. "Not a bad idea! Then Virgil would have to take his turn dancing with her. But she gets soused... a lot. I don't think she could be counted on to keep a secret."

"I agree." Alan chuckled. "Okay. Here's one: Wilbur Dandridge."

"Hm." Scott was thoughtful. "He'd be a good one, I think, being in Chicago and all. Dad thinks pretty highly of him. But, nope. Not him."

"Okay, okay. I give up. Who is it?"

"You're not going to believe it." Scott grinned.

"Just tell me, Scott." Alan was beginning to sound peeved, and Scott didn't want him to be that way.

"Okay. The newest agent that Dad's looking at is... drum roll please... our dentist."

There was silence on the other end for a long, long moment. "Our... dentist? You mean, Dr. McCann?"

"Nope, not him. Our new dentist. Dr. Izarra Soto Fernandez."

"Huh." Alan sounded unsure. "I've never met her."

"I have," Scott said firmly. "I took the kids to her office for their yearly cleanings."

"So, was she impressive? She must have been for Dad to try and recruit her."

Scott paused while trying to think of what to say. "She came across as a competent enough dentist. She kept the Spud calm while she cleaned his teeth, and that's saying something. But she's..." He tried to think of a word to describe her. "... on the petite side."


"Yeah. Petite. As in as short as or shorter than Kat."

Alan's low whistle sounded in Scott's ear. "Wow. Wonder what made Dad recruit her as an agent."

"I don't know," Scott grumbled. He got up to pace around. "He didn't see fit to tell me. Just that Penny recommended her. So she'll be here at the party and Dad will talk to her about coming on board."

"Wish I could be a fly on the wall for that conversation!"

"Me, too!"

There was a long moment of quiet between them, and Scott decided to shift gears. "So, have you heard from Nikki lately?"

"I got an email the other day," Alan told him, his tone sounding blasé. "She's having a good time catching up with her old friends."

"That's good to hear," Scott replied. "Any idea on when she'll be back this way?"

"She's going to Auckland from London to look for an apartment, then will come back to the island to pack everything up."

"Yes, but when? Will you be here when she gets here?"

"I dunno. I guess so. She hasn't said." Alan paused, and when he spoke again, his voice was suspicious. "Why are you asking all this anyway? It's not like you've showed an interest before."

"Well, I am interested now," Scott drawled. "You and Nikki seemed to be hitting it off well, like Virge is with Elise. It's about time."

" 'Seemed'? We were... we are hitting it off well," Alan said, his tone sullen. "It's just..."

"Just what? That she's moving away and you won't be in each other's pockets all the time?" Scott's voice was just short of sarcastic. "I mean, that's what you're used to, isn't it? A girlfriend who is always there, always available. Just like what you had with Tin-Tin."

"Tin-Tin has nothing to do with this."

"She has everything to do with this. You pushed her away with that 'my life's too dangerous' crap, then when she went elsewhere, you didn't like it."

Alan made a noise as if to protest, but Scott wouldn't let him. "Oh, I heard about that, Alan. Why didn't you pull that 'my life is too dangerous' line with Nikki, huh? Why?"

"Because she would have called for the crap it was, that's why."

This brought Scott up short, and he sat down suddenly. Alan being truthful about himself? That's a new one on me!

"I'm going to miss her, Scott. And I'm afraid that the distance will..." Alan took a deep breath. "I don't want to lose her, Scott. That's all."

"You're not very far away, you know." Scott's voice was softer; he was trying to be encouraging.

"Yeah, I know that in my head. Trying to convince the rest of me is kinda hard right now. Maybe you're right. Maybe I am too used to having a girlfriend so close by that I can see her anytime."

"Have you talked to her about it?"

"Why do you think she's in Auckland... besides the fact that they start classes at a different time of year than schools in the Northern Hemisphere? It's not just because she's eager to get started. She could have gone to Australia or somewhere else, but she decided to stick close to... home. Close to me."

Scott smiled, and the smile sounded in his voice. "Then I'd say that the only thing standing in the way of your pursuing your relationship is you. You want this to succeed, right?"

"Of course I do."

"Then make it so. Visiting isn't the only way to keep a relationship going, y'know."

"Says the man with no girlfriend." Alan was back to being snarky and sullen. "Listen, it's late. I've got some diagnostics to run and I want to get some sleep. I'll talk to you later, Scott. Goodnight."

Stunned by Alan's quick dismissal, Scott barely had time to utter, "Goodnight" before the call terminated. He sat there shaking his head. His brother's last sentence rang in his ears. Brows narrowing in a scowl, he went in search of the gym where he intended to imagine that the heavy bag was his sarcastic younger brother.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2242 is a reply to message #2241] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Wednesday morning, January 9th, Tracy Island

Elise hummed to herself as she pulled her hair into a thick pony tail. She was giving the Tracy jets a good once over today. There had been making quite a few more flights then normal lately, and she and Scott wanted to make sure things were in perfect working order. She paused at the door, then turned and gave Henry a pat. The half-grown kitten purred and arched his back. "Be a good boy. I'll be home soon." She exited her apartment and after thinking a moment, headed towards the community mailbox.

Since Virgil had sent her that note, months ago, the others had followed suit, each sending notes and little gifts. They had even done a "Secret Santa" during the holidays. Elise smiled, fondly remembering Cassie's homemade brownies. She quickened her step.

Sure enough, there was a note in her box. She recognized Virgil's handwriting on the envelope and smiling to herself, opened it.

Dear Miss Collins,

I trust you enjoyed yourself at the recent New Year's Eve party. I must say you looked lovely.

I am writing today to invite you to another such gala. Our hostess from New Year's, Lady Penelope, has recently had a birthday. Due to circumstances, we were not able to celebrate at the time and would like to give her a small party here on Tracy Island. It will be held at the Villa, on January the twelfth. I would be honored if you would consent to be my escort. I will be in touch will you shortly to finalize details.

Yours, Virgil Tracy

Elise giggled at Virgil's formal tone. She glanced at the other boxes and noticed that they too contained a similar envelope. Still smiling, she tucked the note into her pocket and boarded the monorail, already thinking of her reply.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2243 is a reply to message #2242] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Wednesday, January 9, 2:20 p.m., Tracy Island

"Okay now, Alex. Hold the racket like this..."

Scott put a hand over his younger brother's, subtly shifting its position. Alex frowned; the grip didn't feel natural to him. He held the grip though, as Scott backed off.

"Now I'll lob the ball your way, and you hit it." Softly pitching the tennis ball towards his brother, he watched as the boy tapped it a little with the edge of his racket. Scott sighed.

They were on their first tennis lesson. It had taken a while to get around to this sport as Gordon had been the primary physical education coach, and tennis was not one of his favorite games. He tended to choose what he liked to do. Tin-Tin or Alan would have been better teachers, but Tin-Tin was wrapped up in bringing the new dicetyline cannon online, and Alan... Scott scowled, unaware of his facial expression as he went to fetch the ball. When he returned, Alex had a hurt look on his face.

"What did I do wrong?" the boy asked.

Scott suddenly realized his mistake and, taking a deep breath, smiled at his younger brother. "Nothing, Alex. Really. I was just thinking of something else, that's all. Let's try it again, okay? This time, you want to hit the ball with the sweet spot, not the edge." He heard a clatter to one side, and glanced that way. "You'd better be watching, Spud. You're next." Tyler reached over to grab his racket, then settled back down to watch, pouting.

This time Scott lobbed the ball a little higher and faster than before. Alex swung the racket and made contact in the proper place. The ball bounced just before reaching Scott.

"That was better, Alex!" Scott said. "Now, try to hit it harder."

He pitched the ball again, and this time, Alex's arm pulled back and he hit the ball just as instructed. It headed back along its original trajectory too fast for an astonished Scott to move out of the way, and it smacked into him several inches south of the solar plexus. He let out a groan and dropped to his knees.

"Scott!" Cherie dropped her racket and ran to her older brother. "Are you all right?"

Alex joined her, his face full of apprehension. "I'm sorry, Scott! I didn't mean to! I'm so sorry!"

Tyler, on the other hand, sat on the sidelines and laughed, hugging himself with his skinny arms.

"I... I'm okay," Scott ground out, grimacing. He staggered to his feet, leaning on Cherie to stand upright. "It's okay, Alex. I know it was an accident." He groaned again. "Teaches me to look at this as an actual athletic event, and take the usual precautions." He shot a glare at the still giggling Tyler. "We'll come back to this a little later today, I think, and when we do, Tyler's first."

"We can't come back this afternoon," Cherie explained. "Miss Cassie invited me to a tea ceremony; it's at five."

Scott sighed. "All right. Tomorrow then." He waved his students away. "Go do something active!"

"Last one in the pool is a rotten egg!" Tyler exclaimed. He dropped his racket and turned to run.

"Spud!" Scott's shout stopped him in his tracks. "You'll be the last one because you get to pick up all the balls and rackets and put them away properly."

"Aww, Scott!" the boy whined.

Scott grinned, and motioned to the equipment. "Maybe next time you'll think twice before you laugh at the teacher!"

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: New Beginnings [message #2244 is a reply to message #2243] Sun, 29 July 2012 22:37 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
Lillehafrue is currently offline  Lillehafrue
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Evil Genius
Wednesday, January 9th, just before 5 pm

Cassie deftly swept her hair up, and with a few hair pins had it neatly in place. Checking her appearance in the mirror one last time, she smoothed her kimono, and then headed for the kitchen. The plan was to do a simple tea ceremony tonight. Instead of the full-course meal and tea ceremony she had done back in November, this evening she was planning on serving miso soup followed by the tea ceremony.

Walking by the coffee table, Cassie picked up the vase that held the flower arrangement she had made for the ceremony. In keeping with tradition the arrangement consisted of one Mount Cook Lily and several sprigs of Toetoe. As she set the vase in the center of the kitchen table, she checked the timer on the stove. There was still about a minute left on it. The shiitake mushrooms were just about done soaking and then she could finish preparing the soup. While she waited she retrieved four of her tea cups from the cupboard, sitting them on the counter before going back to her soup preparations.

The soup was just about done when the door chime sounded. That's probably Cherie, Cassie thought, leaving the stove and heading for the door. The girl had enjoyed herself at the first Tea Ceremony, though she admitted not caring much for the green tea that was served, so Cassie had invited her again. This time though, Cherie was to be the Shokyaku, or guest of honor.

"Hi, Cherie," Cassie greeted her, pairing the greeting with a traditional bow.

"Hi, Ms. Cassie,"Cherie replied, also bowing to her hostess. Cherie then stepped into the apartment as Cassie motioned for her to do so. The girl immediately slipped off her shoes, remembering the etiquette from the previous event she had attended. AI hope I remember what I'm suppose to do."

"You'll do fine. We can run through the sequence again if you'd like, though. We should have enough time before John and Anna arrive."

As Cassie finished preparations, the two of them went through the ceremony and what was expected of Cherie at each step. Everything was in order when the door chime rang. Anna was greeted in the same fashion as Cherie had been. It wasn't long before John had joined them.

Cassie had chosen to forgo the tradition of sitting on the floor around a low table on this occasion. Instead, she seated her guests around the kitchen table, Cherie directly to her right. She served the miso soup. Following the soup, the tea ceremony itself began. As she had done back in November, Cassie took a few moments to give a little background on the ceremony and explain to John and Anna the basic sequence of the ceremony.

During her speech, Cassie had retrieved a bowl from the counter. She now placed the bowl between her seat and Cherie. The girl took a sweet from the bowl and placed it on the kaishi, which Cassie had provided for each of her guests. After the serving of the sweets, Cassie began the ritual cleaning of the utensils. Once that task was completed, she reached for one of the tea bowls and began to make the first cup.

Cassie first scooped some of the green tea powder out of the tea caddy. She then gently place the scoop down on the table and then added hot water to the tea cup. Picking up the tea whisk, she began to stir the tea using the movements her grandmother had taught her years ago. When it was finished Cassie placed the cup in front of Cherie with the characters of the cup facing the girl. Cherie picked up the cup and then rotated it ninety degrees before taking a sip.

"How is the tea?"Cassie asked her guest, using the approximate translation of the traditional question. For the benefit of her guests, she had taken the traditional exchange between host and Shokyaku into English. She felt that what she had come up with captured the spirit of the ceremony while allowing her guests to follow what was going on.

"It is excellent," Cherie replied, before she took another sip.

Cassie began preparing the second cup of tea, which she passed across the table to Anna. Anna took the cup and rotated it like she had seen Cherie do before taking a sip.

"The tea was very delicious," Cherie commented after Anna's first sip. Having finished her own tea, she turned the cup so the characters were facing inward and placed it on the table. "What is the name of the tea?" She asked.

Cassie answered that question as she prepared the third and final cup of tea for John. Cherie continued to ask the traditional questions, such as where the tea was from, about the sweets and the flower arrangement in the center of the table. Once John had finished his tea and placed the cup in front of him with the characters facing the center, Cherie asked to see the utensils used to make the tea.

"Has this been in your family long?" Anna asked Cassie as she examined the tea caddy.

"Only for a couple of generations. My grandmother got them on her eighteenth birthday."

"They're beautiful and it looks like you care for them well," Anna replied, as she carefully passed the item over to John.

John carefully took the tea caddy from Anna. "The characters on the cups, they mean harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility right?"

Cassie nodded. "My grandfather felt that those four characters captured the essence of the tea ceremony, so he put them on the cups."

"Your grandfather made these, then?" Anna asked having picked up her tea cup again, and turned it around to see the characters.

"Yes. My grandfather loved pottery. Still does in fact."

The conversation continued until Cassie had everything back in front of her. The four of them stood, as the tea ceremony was over.
"I enjoyed myself this evening," Anna told her hostess. "Thank-you for inviting me."

"It was my pleasure," Cassie replied.

She exchanged good-byes with all three of them, and taking a moment to tell Cherie that she had done a good job. As they headed into the lift, Cassie bowed to each of them, as was tradition. As the door closed behind them, Cassie turned and headed for the table and started cleaning up.

98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
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