International Rescue: The Next Phase


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #385 is a reply to message #384] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Thursday, October 4th, 9 a.m., Tracy Island

Looking up ahead, Cassie saw Gordon waiting for her. He had asked her yesterday if she was up for getting together for an informal session, as he wanted to see how she did with their hand gun so he could figure out a training schedule for her.

Cassie glanced at her watch. I'm cutting it close, but I'm not late, she thought to herself.

"Little paranoid?" Gordon asked jokingly, having noticed the action.

"This might not be an official training session, but being late still isn't the first impression I want to make," Cassie replied, more awake than she had been yesterday morning.

"Yeah, well I wouldn't have cared about a couple of minutes," he said as he started leading her to the firing range. "Dad said you have previous experience with a Creighton?"

Cassie nodded. "My brother, Mark, is a police officer. He taught me. I've done more work with stationary targets, though I have done moving targets a few times."

"Okay, then. We'll just do stationary targets today. I don't want to keep you too long, as I know you're leaving with Mom at eleven. I'll go over our gun briefly with you and then let you take some shots and we'll go from there."

Cassie nodded. Reaching the firing range, Gordon showed her where everything was. Once both of them had safety goggles and ear protection, Gordon went over to the weapons locker. Putting his hand in the scanner, he unlocked it and opened the door. He handed a gun to Cassie and went over the basics on how it worked. That out of the way, they headed to the range.

Cassie took a place on the firing line, surveying the target, she noticed Scott and Elise come onto the range. Scott walked over to Gordon. "Hey, Gordon. What's going on? I thought Dad wasn't starting Cassie's training until tomorrow?"

"He isn't. She's already got some experience with a hand gun so I want to see how she does with our guns so I can figure out where I need to start with her firearms training."

Scott nodded. "Elise and I will go to the other end and stay out of your way," Scott told him.

"Suit yourself," Gordon commented as Scott and Elise walked down to the other end of the practice range. "Whenever you're ready," he called out to Cassie. "Take about six shots. Move the target to whatever distance you feel comfortable with."

Cassie nodded. She glanced in Scott and Elise's direction and noticed both of them were watching her. He probably thinks I'm not going to hit the target, Cassie thought as she gazed back down at the target, determined to hit it. She was going to prove to him that she belonged here no matter what it took. Looking down the range, Cassie moved the target to a moderate distance that she knew she could hit it at without it being too easy. She fired off six shots, with five of them hitting their targets. Not bad for the first time with this gun, Cassie thought as she turned away from the target to see Gordon's reaction.

Gordon was nodding. "Nice job," he told her.

Cassie glanced quickly at Scott and Elise. There curiosity satisfied the two were getting ready to start their own practice. Maybe now he won't be so quick at making assumptions about me, Cassie thought to herself as she turned her attention to Gordon, who was critiquing her form and technique on the shots she had just fired.

She listened to him carefully, some of what he said being the same things Mark had repeatedly told her. After about five minutes, Gordon told her to take a few more shots but to move the target a little further away.

Taking a deep breath, Cassie calmed herself as she sighted the target. She mentally went through everything that Gordon had told her and attempted to apply it as she fired off her next round of shots. Four of the shots hit the target, one of which hit dead center.

"Not bad," Gordon told her. "This is what I noticed though," he said, walking toward her.

Posted by starrynebula on October 10, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #386 is a reply to message #385] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1222
Registered: July 2012
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Thursday, October 4, 2068, 11 a.m., Tracy Island

"Everyone ready back there?" Dianne's voice filtered into the passenger cabin. She was sitting up front with Anna for first leg of the day's journey.

"We're okay!" Cherie called back. She grinned at Cassie, who sat in one of Tracy One's luxurious seats. "This is gonna be fun!"

Tracy One lifted off the runway smoothly, climbing quickly into the warm spring sky. Dianne leveled off at a good cruising altitude for the jet, and turned to Anna.

"Sorry we're leaving so early, Anna, but I've got a couple of errands to run before Cherie's class and no time to waste."

"That's all right," Anna replied. "It doesn't make sense to send someone out to take me back just so I can sunbathe a little longer." She paused. "I talked to the people I needed to talk to." She glanced over at the pilot. "Do you think we can go through with what we talked about when I'm here next?"

Dianne took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Yes. I think I'll be ready. I need to get back to work... all of my work."

"You need to take this at your own pace and not push yourself," Anna reminded her. "We'll see how things go next week. One step at a time."

"Right."

xxxx

Cassie glanced away from the window and over at her young companion. "So what kind of art class are you taking?" she asked wondering if Cherie was doing a general art class or one that specialized in something like painting or pottery.

"Oh, this is an advanced drawing from life class. Virgil's been teaching me a lot, and I've been practicing, but I could use a different perspective on drawing." Cherie smiled. "I've been having fun so far. Are you into art?"

"I like to appreciate what others have done. I used to visit the art museums in the city whenever I could find the time. However, I don't have any talent for it myself. My six-year-old nieces can draw better than I can. I was happy when I got to sixth grade and art class at school was no longer mandatory. Perhaps I could see some of your work sometime."

Cherie nodded. "How do you like living on the island so far?"

"It's different. Much quieter than what I'm used to. Never thought I'd say it, but I'm actually missing the sounds of cars and horns when I'm trying to fall asleep."

"You could get a recording of city sounds to play when you're feeling homesick."

Cassie laughed at Cherie's suggestion. "My brother actually offered to make a recording of New York City sounds for me if I ever felt like that."

xxxx

Within a half-hour they were setting down at the Lake Colenge Airport. Cherie helped Anna gather her things as they taxied to the small terminal.

"Have fun tonight, Cherie," Anna said as she left the plane. "I want to hear all about it next week."

"Yes, Mrs. Hanson," Cherie replied with a grin. "See you next Wednesday!"

"Cassie? Would you like to come sit in the cockpit with me?" Dianne called back.

"Sure," Cassie replied, excited at the chance to sit up front. She had caught a glimpse of the cockpit when she was on the plane before but had never actually been in the cockpit of a plane. She excused herself from Cherie's company and headed up front.

She sat down in the empty seat and looked over the controls in front of her. "I'm not sure I'll ever be able to learn what everything does."

Diane chuckled. "I'm sure it looks overwhelming now but once you start learning what everything is and what it does it won't seem so bad. I think Jeff is going to have Scott give you flying lessons."

Cassie nodded not sure how she felt about the idea. She couldn't shake the feeling that Scott still didn't want her here. Deciding to change the subject, She decided to ask the question that had been on her mind since meeting Anna Hanson before they boarded. "Is Mrs. Hanson a member of IR or just a family friend?"

"Mrs. Hanson works for us as our family counselor. She knows about IR as well. It's been helpful having her on board to help cope with personal issues that may pop up. She comes out to the island on a weekly basis."

Cassie found herself nodding again. She thought about her own sessions with Dr. Lindon. Talking with her had helped her sort out the turmoil of emotions following the loss of her son. There had also been job related issues that she had talked through with the department psychiatrist. She could see how the rescues that IR would be involved in could cause some issues that needed to be dealt with. It's good to know there's someone I could talk to if something goes wrong on a rescue, Cassie thought to herself.

"If you don't mind me asking, what do you need to visit Sydney for that couldn't be done in Christchurch?" Cassie asked, trying to make small talk.

Dianne put up a finger, indicating that Cassie should wait for a moment. She put a finger up to the headphones she was wearing, and pressed a button on the side. "TRAC-0001 to Lake Colenge Tower, requesting take off clearance."

"TRAC-0001, you are cleared for take-off on runway 2B."

"Roger that, Lake Colenge, and thanks."

"Roger, TRAC-0001. Fair skies to you."

Dianne guided the plane to the indicated runway, and lined it up with the guidelines. "You'd better put on those headphones," she suggested, indicating the pair that hung on the back of the co-pilot's chair.

Cassie nodded, and pulled the headphones around, sliding them down over her ears. She made sure her safety restraints were fastened. The noise of the jet's engines was muted, even as it went up in pitch. Dianne pressed the steering yoke forward and the plane moved down the runway, increasing in speed, until it finally left the ground and soared into the air once again. Once they were again at a safe cruising speed, Dianne turned to smile at Cassie.

"In answer to your question," Dianne said, her voice coming in through the headset Cassie was wearing, "I'm visiting a very special jeweler in Sydney. When my husband's helijet went down back in February, the hospital had to cut off his wedding ring. I promised him I'd get him a new one, and I'm going back to the same jeweler who made both of ours." She rubbed her own ringless finger with her thumb. "Our second anniversary is coming up; I wanted to give Jeff his ring then." She sighed. "My rings have gone missing, too. I wouldn't be surprised if Jeff's already made a trip out here himself."

"Oh, okay. I understand now." Cassie found herself thinking of her own ex-husband and wondering if Alex would have ever thought of doing something romantic like replacing her wedding band if it had ever been lost or damaged while on the job. She pursed her lips. "Will this trip still allow time for us to shop?"

"Sure! At the speed we're traveling, it'll only be an hour's flight. And it'll be two hours behind island time, so we'll get there a half-hour before we left!" Dianne chuckled, and Cassie joined in. "We can hit a few shops in Sydney, and be back just in time for Cherie's class. Then I can take you around a few stores in Christchurch while she's in class."

"Sounds like a plan," Cassie said, smiling.

In an hour, Dianne was requesting permission to land at Sydney's busy jetport. "Customs won't be a problem," she assured Cassie. "Just show them your ID and let them search your handbag. Since we'll have already paid the taxes and all, and aren't 'exporting' something large, like a car, we won't have trouble taking our things with us, either."

The three women climbed into the sleek, chauffeured sedan that waited at the hangar for them. "Wow! Must be nice to have a chauffeur wherever you go," Cassie remarked.

"We don't have chauffeurs everywhere," Cherie informed her. "Just in places where we're sort of expected to have them."

"And sometimes not even then," Dianne added. "In New York, we're more than likely to grab a cab as likely as not."

Cassie's face became thoughtful. "I had an interesting cabby when I came out to interview for the job. His name was Bernie..."

"Ah yes, Bernie." Dianne's eyes twinkled as she mentioned his name. "He's a keeper, that one."

Cassie looked startled and was about to ask a question when their chauffeur said, "Dr. Tracy. We've arrived."

"Thank you, Estelle," Dianne said graciously. "Well, girls. Let's go!"

As Estelle opened the door, the three of them got out of the car and stepped onto the sidewalk. Cassie looked at her surroundings. Sydney was different from New York but there were still those aspects familiar to all cities. They were surrounded by buildings, some taller than others. People walked the sidewalks, going about their daily activities. On the street, vehicles rolled by on their way to whatever destination the occupants needed to get to.

Definitely not New York, but it seems more like home than the island does, Cassie thought to herself as she took in the sights and sounds of the city. I'd love to explore this place sometime. Maybe check out the Museum of Contemporary Art or even catch a performance of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

A doorman stood ready to do his job, and tipped his hat as the three women entered. An understated brass plate on the outer wall said, "J. R. Symmes, Custom Jewelry Design". As they stepped inside, Cherie looked around with wide-eyed amazement at the ornate furnishings. She'd never been to this place before.

"Dr. Tracy." Alicia rose from behind her receptionist's desk and approached. "Very good to see you again."

"Thank you, Alicia. This is my daughter, Cherie, and a... friend, Cassandra Kishi." Dianne indicated each of her companions.

"Nice to meet you both," Alicia said. Then she paused. "Cherie... are you the one who has the charm bracelet?"

The girl looked startled. "Yes. Yes, I am. My brother, Scott, gets me new charms every year." She looked a bit sheepish. "I normally wear it, but I have art class today, and sometimes it gets in the way of drawing." She cocked her head to one side. "Does he get the charms here?"

Alicia smiled widely. "He does. They are custom made."

"Ooh." Cherie's eyes went wide. "I didn't know."

"Now that you do, does it mean you'll wear the bracelet more often?" Dianne said as she guided her daughter over to a chair. Cassie had already sat down, and they sat near her.

"I'll try."

In the meanwhile, Alicia was on the phone. She glanced up at the little party, then down at her desk, and frowned. "All right, I'll tell her." Looking up again, she said, "There's an appointment before yours, Dr. Tracy, but it seems that Mrs. Chauvelin is late. Mr. Symmes says he'll see you now."

"Thank you, Alicia." Dianne rose gracefully from her chair, and followed the receptionist back.

As Dianne disappeared to the back of the store, Cassie continued to look around the room. She had never been in such a fancy store before, though she had glanced in the windows of some of the fancy ones in New York. She never had a reason to go in though, as everything in them was well above her price range. Besides, she wasn't a huge fan of jewelry anyways. As Cherie had said about her charm bracelet, Cassie had found that it tended to get in the way. Not to mention that jewelry, other than wedding bands, had been against the dress code for the fire department.

Not sure how long Dianne would be with Mr. Symmes, Cassie decided to start a conversation with her young companion.

In Julian Symmes's studio, the slight, dapper jeweler came forward to shake Dianne's hand. "Dr. Tracy! A pleasure to see you again!" He looked her up and down with a shrewd eye. "You're looking well."

His comment and searching inspection made her raise an eyebrow. "Thank you, Mr. Symmes. You may have heard something about an accident..."

"An accident?" Julian sounded surprised. "What kind of accident?"

If you want to play innocent, I won't stop you, but I'm sure Jeff's been here. Dianne smiled. "I was in an auto accident back in the States. But I'm well again now. Do you have my order ready?"

"Yes, yes, I do!" He moved over to a safe, and put his hand up to a scanner, then tapped in a code. When the safe opened, he pulled out a small velvet box. "It sounds like both you and Mr. Tracy have had a rough year." He brought the box to her, and opened it, then handed it over. "What do you think?"

She slipped the silvery band from its cushion and examined it. "It's perfect!" she exclaimed. She read the inscription. "Yes, that's exactly it. Different from the first one, but far more appropriate now." She handed it back to him, and he polished it slightly with a chamois before putting it back into the box.

"I'm so glad you like it!" Symmes said. "I'll have Shang gift box it, if that's all right."

"Yes, please."

Symmes called for his assistant, Shang, who took the velvet box, and put it in a larger gift box, then wrapped it in gold paper with a red ribbon.

"Now, what about this other commission?" Julian asked.

"Ah, yes." Dianne reached into her purse, and pulled out a small envelope. Opening it, she dumped its contents into her palm. A silvery ring, cut and warped, sat there. "This is the ring they cut from Jeff's finger after his accident. I... I don't know what to do with it, but I think something should be done. Something different."

She handed it to him and he gazed at it long and hard. "Hmm." He nodded. "Your husband's not one for wearing necklaces, is he?"

Dianne shook her head. "No, he isn't. Though if it's precious enough... he might be persuaded. He did wear dog tags at one point."

"Yes. I can see a few possibilities." Symmes looked up at her with a smile. "I'll come up with some designs and email them to you."

"Thank you so much, Mr. Symmes." Dianne smiled back gratefully.

"Please, call me Julian."

"Excuse me, Mr. Symmes." Alicia slipped into the room. "Mrs. Chauvelin has arrived and..."

"And is being her obnoxious self." Julian shook his head. "Please, tell her I will be with her in a moment."

"Yes, sir." Alicia nodded and went back to the reception area.

Dianne had her phone out and was calling Estelle. "My car will be out front in a few moments."

"I'm sorry, Dr. Tracy." He suddenly chuckled. "I just remembered..." His voice trailed off as he realized he was about to tell her about Jeff's earlier visit. "Ah, it's nothing." He offered his hand. "I will send those designs within the next two weeks."

"I'll be looking for them." Dianne took his hand and shook it. "Thank you so much." She took the handled shopping bag that Shang held out.

He walked her out to the reception area. "I'll be in touch. Have a good day, Dr. Tracy."

"You, too, Mr. Symmes."

A cross-looking red-haired woman looked up. "It's about time!" she snapped. "I had an appointment."

Dianne raised her chin, looking down regally at Mrs. Chauvelin. "Perhaps next time, ma'am, you'll show up when yoah expected. Mr. Symmes's time is very valuable," she drawled. Striding into the reception area, she motioned to Cherie and Cassie. "C'mon, gals. We've got shoppin' to do!"

--Sydney side trip by Tikatu and starrynebula on October 15, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #387 is a reply to message #386] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1222
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Thursday, October 4, 2068, 5:50 p.m., Christchurch, NZ

"Enjoy your class, Cherie," Dianne told her daughter, as she stopped the car in front of the Christchurch Community Center. Airini was already standing by the front door of the building.

"I will, Mom," Cherie said, climbing out of the car, art supplies in hand. "Bye, Cassie. Have fun shopping!" Cherie said waving to Cassie.

Cassie waved back as Cherie turned and headed for the entrance of the Community Center. Dianne waited for both her daughter and Airini to enter the building before addressing Cassie. "So, what else do you need pick up?"

Cassie looked down at the list of things she needed. Most of the items had already been crossed out. Their shopping in Sydney had been productive. She had found a bookcase and desk that she liked. Both had to be put together, but she felt sure she could figure out the directions. The electronics hadn't been hard to pick out either, as she hadn't been too particular about them. Just as long as she had something she could watch her favorite movies on and listen to music, she was happy. Cassie had taking a little longer picking out a printer for her computer. Most of the time though had been spent picking out the curtains. She hadn't been sure what she wanted, other than she knew she wanted something to block out the sunlight when need be in the bedroom, so she had let Cherie make suggestions and then she chose from those. She had ended up with a forest green for the living room, and a midnight blue for the bedroom. The last item she had purchased in Sydney had been a throw rug that was black with a gold geometric design on it.

"Well, I'd like to pick up paint for the bedroom. I'll need a color that will match the curtains I picked up for that room. I still need a couple of shelves to put on the walls. Other than that, I just need to pick up some groceries."

Dianne nodded. "We'll get the paint and the shelves first and leave the grocery shopping for last," she told Cassie as she put the car into drive and headed for the parking lot exit. A few moments later, they were amidst the evening traffic on the way to their destination. "Christchurch has a nice mall with a DIY store."

"A DIY store?" Cassie asked, having never heard of them before.

Dianne chuckled. "DYI for Do-It-Yourself. Basically like a Home Depot back in the States. You pick up the materials you need for doing your own home projects." She shook her head. "Took me a bit to get used to the term, too."

"Oh, okay," Cassie replied. "Sounds like a good place to look." She glanced out the window, though she couldn't make much out in the fading light. She tried to think of something to say to fill the silence. Remembering that she still had to set up a time for a physical, she decided to bring that up. "Mr. Tracy mentioned that I would need to set up a time with you for a physical and implanting some kind of chip," she said, realizing that she probably should have asked him more about the chip when he had mentioned it.

"Yes, that's true," Dianne replied, her eyes on the road. "I'll need a baseline physical. The chip Jeff mentioned is a locator chip. It'll help us find you if you're ever lost... or kidnapped." She glanced at her passenger. "When would you like to set that up?"

Cassie thought about it. She was a little leery about the idea of someone being able to track her whereabouts, though with the nature of the job she had accepted, it was probably good to take precautions.

"I guess I'd rather get it over with as soon as possible," she said, trying to keep any signs of hesitation or nervousness out of her voice. She thought about the training schedule she had been giving. "I think the earliest time I'd have free would be after my training session with Virgil tomorrow afternoon. It's supposed to end at three."

"That's perfect. My children will be finished with school." Dianne nodded. "Come by the infirmary when you're finished; Virgil can show you the way. We'll take care of everything then." She smiled as they turned into a large parking lot. "Well, here's the mall. Ready for some more shopping?"

"Not really," Cassie replied as Dianne pulled the car into a parking spot. She had gotten her fill of shopping back in Sydney. "If I don't get this over with, though, it'll just mean another shopping trip at a later date."

"Well, we'll try and make this as quick and painless as possible," Dianne said in sympathy. "You tell me what you need, and I'll take you to the closest shops. I know this place better than the malls back home."

"Okay," Cassie replied, as the two of them got out of the car. "I guess getting the paint decision out of the way would be the best place to start."

--finishing the job by starrynebula and Tikatu on October 16, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #388 is a reply to message #387] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1222
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Friday, October 5, 9:30 AM, Tracy Island time; somewhere over the South Pacific

Will sat in the co-pilot's seat of the Tracy jet. Scott had flown from Tracy Island to Scottsdale Air Park while John slept, and they would switch on the return trip. So, not to disturb the eldest Tracy son, Will had gone forward. He and John had chatted easily for some time, pausing only when Will went to the galley to get food or drinks for them.

Finally, the talk had faded into a friendly silence, leaving each man with his thoughts. Will went back over the events of the last several days. Getting Carl up to speed on the job was the easiest thing he'd had to do. Getting his things packed up was harder. Good thing I had an SUV. I had more stuff than I thought. But I was able to get rid of a lot. And my folks were willing to store what I brought down, but didn't want to take with me. And Jenny and her family can sure use the car.

The most difficult thing was telling his family how far away he'd be going to live and work. His mother was especially distressed.

"Australia? Why on earth would you take that job? What kind of life will you have when so far from family, Will?"

"I'll be fine. I've already met several co-workers. They all seem very friendly. I'm told I'll even learn how to fly."

"Flight? You don't know how to fly. How are you going to meet a nice girl?"

Will had laughed, then hugged her. "Mom, you have a one track mind. Look, if I'm supposed to find someone, I'll find her no matter where I live. And if not, well, so be it. It won't be the end of the world. But it might comfort you to know that there are plenty of unattached women in Australia. I haven't even met all my co-workers, yet."

"I suppose it does somewhat. But what about your living arrangements?"

"I'm sure I'll find a suitable apartment and can purchase furniture. I brought my other stuff with me, to take there."

Will's mother had insisted on going through what he had, and pronounced some of it too old or too ugly to use. So she went shopping - something she loved to do anyway - and returned home with a trunkload of items for him. Fortunately, she knew him well enough to stick to things he'd like and use.

He got to know his brother's new girlfriend, Helena, and liked her. She seemed to fit in with the family very well, and showed a deep affection, at least, for Mitchell. He even spent an evening at his sister's, having dinner, playing with the kids and watching a movie they had picked out.

Also during this time, a couple of parties were thrown for him. Neighbors, friends and relatives came from far and near to say goodbye and wish him well. He accepted their good wishes, but told them that he'd probably be back for visits from time to time. "I just don't know when yet."

Will had called Jeff, to let him know that his mother insisted on him staying with them until the fourth, so he couldn't start work sooner. He also asked his new employer how to arrange for shipping of his things, and was told that two of the older Tracy sons would fly out to pick him up, so he could bring everything with him. Will gave him the name of the nearest airport and was told he'd be contacted about the arrival time.

The jet had landed at 7:30 in the morning, and Will was there to meet it, along with his parents. They helped load everything into the cargo hold, then Joanna suddenly burst into tears.

"Mom! What's wrong?"

"Y-you're going so far away!" she wailed.

He took her in his arms. "I wasn't exactly just around the corner for the last two years, you know."

"But you were" sniff "not out of the country. You won't" sniff "be able to come home as often. I'll miss you!"

"And I'll miss you, Mom. But we can keep in touch by phone and emails. And I will come home whenever I can."

"Promise?"

"Promise. Now stop crying, and give me a smile. It's time to go."

Poor Mom, Will thought. She won't be happy until I'm married, have kids, and live within five miles of her and Dad. It may happen someday - or part of it will - but not for a while.

"Will?"

Startled out of his thoughts, he turned to John. "What's up?"

"We're about a half hour away from the island. Would you mind rousing Scott? He'll want to be fully awake when we land."

"Okay."

Will headed back into the cabin and shook Scott gently. When the other man opened his eyes and looked at him, he said, "Did you sleep well?"

"Yes, until you woke me up. I was having this dream... Why'd you wake me, anyway?"

"We're about half an hour from landing. John thought you'd like to be awake when we do."

"He was right. Thanks. Why don't you go back to the cockpit so you can get an aerial view of the island? I know you couldn't when you were here before."

"Thanks. I'd like to do that. See you on the ground."

"Right." Scott grinned at him.

Will headed back to the cockpit, ready to begin a new phase of his life.

Posted by hobbeth on October 16, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #389 is a reply to message #388] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1222
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
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Field Commander
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Tracy Island, Friday, October 5th, a little after noon...

Elise shifted the bundle in her hands, and rang the buzzer to Nikki's apartment. A moment later, the door opened. "Hi there! Come on in." Nikki led the way into the kitchen. "Can I get you something to drink?"

Elise shook her head. "No thanks. I brought some of the craft supplies I had. I thought we could start by planning what we want to do and then make invitations."

Nikki nodded. "Good idea." The two women sat down at the table, each pulling out a notebook. "I still can't believe we're going to have a Halloween party."

"I know! Won't it be a blast! The weather should be nice, so I thought we could have it outside, around the pool area."

"That would be prefect. Now, what shall we do first?" Nikki asked.

Elise thought for a moment. "How about a list of the things we want to do, and what we'll need."

"Right. Music, can't have a party without music."

"Virgil told me he'd take care of that," Elise said. "But I'd better make a note for myself to make sure. Games?"

"Hmmm....Bobbing for apples? That's always fun. How about some sort of scavenger hunt? We could hide some things around and have people find them?"

Elise's eyes lit up. "That's a great idea! We could set up in teams of two or three and give each team a list." They continued brainstorming, coming up with a few more ideas.

"What about food?" Nikki asked. "It seems kind of unfair to ask Kyrano and Mrs. Tracy to always do all the cooking."

"I agree. What if we asked each person to bring something? It doesn't have to be homemade, even a few bags of candy will do. We can make a list of who's bringing what and then see what we need from there."

Nikki nodded. "Great. We are going to have a costume contest, right?"

"Of course! Any idea what you'll be dressing up as?"

Nikki shook her head. "I have a few ideas, but nothing that really catches me yet. You?"

"Not a clue." Elise grinned. "Maybe we'll just have to go shopping again!" Both women laughed. "Now, for the invitations. I brought scissors, markers, and glue."

"And I have construction paper and this confetti." Nikki handed Elise a small package of Halloween shaped cutouts. "I had bought it to stick in some letters home, but we can put it in the invitations. Really catch people's attentions." She paused for a moment. "You know, it's Dominic's birthday that night. We could make this a surprise party as well."

"I love it! We'll mention it on the invites, all but his. And maybe we can get Mrs. Tracy to bake a cake. That's one thing I don't want to attempt." They quickly got to work, cutting and gluing, with quite a bit of laughter. A couple hours later they had invitations labeled for each person on the island. "Oh wait! We forgot the new guy. He's coming in today. Will?"

Nikki nodded. "Yes, that's his name." She wrote Will's name on the last envelope. "Now, let's go deliver them." Nikki paused. "What if instead of handing them out ourselves, we gave them to Mr. Tracy to give out with the mail? That way it's sort of like a surprise!"

"Good idea! Let's go do it now." Elise quickly gathered up the envelopes and together the girls set out to deliver the invitations.

Posted by lillehafrue on October 18, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #390 is a reply to message #389] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, October 5, shortly before 3 p.m., Tracy Island

Cassie listened as Virgil went over the basics of the Firefly. Virgil had started by telling her about the chemical that had been created to help battle fire, dicetyline. Cassie had found it interesting as it seemed more effective than what conventional firefighting companies were using. She just hoped Virgil hadn't been too annoyed with the string of questions she had asked him.

Once she had stopped asking questions, he had shown her first the Fire Truck and then the Fire Tender. Cassie had been amazed at the modifications they had made to the two vehicles. She was anxious to see how the equipment performed out in the field.

Well, they've certainly seem to have enough equipment to battle a fire in a settled area or a wild fire from the ground, Cassie thought to herself, as she listened to Virgil going over the controls of the Firefly. Wonder what they have in terms of equipment to fight the fire from the air, she pondered, making a mental note to ask Virgil when he was through.

"Don't worry, I don't expect you to remember everything I told you today. I just wanted to give you a basic idea of what we have in our arsenal," Virgil told her. "Any questions?"

"Not about this equipment. I was wondering though, do you have any capabilities of fighting a fire from the air?"

Virgil paused to think for a second. "Well, Thunderbird Two can fire a dicetyline missile and Thunderbird One has the capabilities of firing two. Other than that, it's just these three pieces of equipment," Virgil waved his hand to indicate the Firefly, which they were still sitting in, the Fire Truck and the Fire Tender. "Why do you ask?"

"I was just wondering because aerial firefighting is an important part of battling a wild fire, especially the larger ones. It's important to be able to come at it from all angles."

Virgil nodded. Being able to come at a fire from above had never even crossed his mind. Judging from the lack of equipment in that area, no one else had given it too much consideration either. "Got any suggestions on how we can correct that deficiency?"

"Not right off hand. Give me some time to think about it and I can come up with some kind of proposal," Cassie told him.

"Well when you do, if you want, you can run your ideas by me. The two of us can polish things up before presenting to Dad."

It was Cassie's turn to nod. "I'll do that," she told him, nervous at the prospect of making any kind of pitch to Mr. Tracy.

"We'll call it a day for now," Virgil told her. "I just wanted to give you an overview of the equipment. Next time we start the in depth training."

"Looking forward to it," Cassie told him.

"You're supposed to meet up with Mom in the infirmary, right?" Virgil asked. Cassie simply nodded in reply. "I'll take you there. I'm heading back to the house as it is," he offered as they headed toward the monorail car.

"Thanks," Cassie said, as they boarded the monorail and headed for the villa.

Posted by starrynebula on October 18, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #391 is a reply to message #390] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Nikki glanced up from her reading when the infirmary door slid aside. She smiled at Cassie, who stood there, looking a bit apprehensive. Virgil stood behind her, and he grinned as he saw Nikki rise to greet them.

"Nikki, this is Cassie Kishi." He gave Cassie a reassuring pat on the shoulder. "You're in good hands here. I'll talk to you later."

Cassie looked over her shoulder at Virgil. "Thanks for showing me the way."

"No problem," he told her as he headed down the hallway.

Cassie looked back at the young woman Virgil has addressed as Nikki. Part of her wished she was anywhere other than there. She hated seeing medical personnel for any reason. "Hi," she said. "I set up a physical with Dr. Tracy for today."

Nikki extended her hand. "Figures that Virgil wouldn't properly introduce us. I'm Nikki Jackson, one of Dr. Tracy's nurses." The two women shook hands. "Come along with me and I'll show you where you can undress, then let Dianne know you're here."

She led the way into the surgical scanner room, and brought Cassie over to the small dressing area. "Here are the gowns. Take off everything but your panties. I'll be back with Dianne in a few moments."

Cassie nodded as Nikki disappeared. She grabbed one of the gowns and stepped behind the privacy screen. Quickly she changed into one of the gowns. Another thing I hate about seeing a doctor, she thought to herself as she finished changing. Stepping out from behind the screen, she waited for Dianne to show up.

Dianne came into the room, a data pad in hand and Nikki at her heels. She looked up and smiled. "Hello there, Cassie. How's your day been?"

"Not too bad," Cassie replied. "Had some training with Gordon this morning both with firearms as well as getting my first experience of being in the ocean more than walking the shore line. I think I like the pool better. My first session with Virgil didn't go all that bad either."

"Good!" Dianne patted the scanner as Nikki moved a small step closer. "Come on up here, and let's take a look at you."

For the next half hour, Dianne poked, prodded, listened, peered, and instructed Cassie as she examined her. She had Cassie walk across the floor as she watched. She read the notes on her data pad, and referred to them when she noticed the scar on Cassie's shoulder.

"What's this from?" she asked, sliding a gentle finger over the scar.

"Gunshot wound," Cassie replied. "Price for not following procedure."

"Hm. I see." Scrolling down the information on the pad, Dianne nodded. "Here it is. Looks like it's well resolved."

As she worked, Dianne added to the doctor's notes, then finally put the pad down. "Okay, Cassie. Things look fine. But I do need a baseline scan. If you'd lie down on the scanner and stay as still as you can..."

Nikki helped Cassie lie back, and covered her with a sheet.

"Um, what exactly does this scanner do?" Cassie asked.

"You've never had a scan before?" Dianne asked. She made a little "hmm" sound, then continued. "It scans your insides for me, giving me a comprehensive picture of how your body works. If you're sick, or injured, I can compare a scan taken at that time to this one and see what's damaged or not working properly," She stopped, then added. "It doesn't hurt."

"What can I say; seeing doctors isn't exactly on the top of my things to do list," Cassie admitted sheepishly. "I only do so when absolutely necessary."

Nikki and Dianne glanced at each other and chuckled. "Well," said Nikki, "I'd say that's a pretty universal sentiment."

"Are you ready?" Dianne asked, moving toward the console in the corner.

Cassie took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Ready as I'll ever be," she replied.

"Just lie still. It'll only take about 20 minutes."

Nikki dimmed the lights, and the scanner began to work.

The room was quiet except for the hum of the scanner and the occasional murmur from Dianne as she made notes on what she saw. Nikki left the room for a few moments, and came back with a covered tray, which she set on a stand by the console.

After the aforementioned 20 minutes was up, Dianne made a satisfied sound, and softly said, "I think that's enough." The humming stopped, and she came over to the side of the scanner to help Cassie sit up.

"Okay, Cassie. I've got a clear picture of how you're doing. You're looking fit; are there any chronic medical issues that I should know about?"

"Well, I do have migraines, but I know what triggers them: heavy perfume and cigarette smoke. One of the reasons I always looked for the bars that don't allow smoking in the New York," Cassie admitted. "Other than that nothing comes to mind."

"Well, it's a good thing that I managed to get Jeff and the boys to stop smoking!" Dianne said, grinning. "I'll warn you though; our London agent, Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, is a frequent visitor and she does like her perfumes. You may want to stay upwind of her when she comes calling."

She motioned to Nikki, who brought over the tray and uncovered it. "I do have your immunization records, and they're very complete. We, however, require an anti-malarial vaccine for our operatives, and we'll do that today. Then the locator chip." She picked up one of the hyposprays, looked at it carefully, and applied it to Cassie's neck. "You do get to say where we put the chip."

"Exactly how necessary is the chip?" Cassie asked, hesitantly. "The idea of a locator chip makes me feel like a pet that someone is afraid of losing."

Dianne sighed. "Well, we've had some instances where it would have been very handy. For instance, while flying home from a rescue, Scott was shot down over the Sahara by a bunch of weirdos called Zombites. It was only because some archaeologists were working in the area that he was found and rescued. Then we've had a couple of agents kidnapped, too. Lady Penelope, who I just mentioned, was kidnapped while undercover. It was a miracle that she was able to contact base and the boys were able to figure out where she was. More recently, one of our newer agents, Lena Matumbo, was abducted and taken to England. Again, it was only her quick thinking that let us know where she was."

Her voice got quieter. "On the recent mission where we rescued the King of Thailand, one of our operatives, Callie - I don't know whether you've met her or not; she's just come back from Thunderbird Five. Anyway, Callie was waylaid by a scumbag called the Hood. He's a sworn enemy of International Rescue. We managed to get her out of his clutches quickly, but if he'd managed to spirit her away, the chip she has would have helped us locate her." Dianne didn't mention the communications interference that they'd experienced on that rescue; she wanted to impress on Cassie the need for the chip.

Cassie listened closely to what Dianne was saying. Given those accounts, she could see the usefulness of a locator chip. I certainly don't want to fall into the "it won't happen to me" mentality that so many people seem to have, she thought, thinking of those whom tragedy had struck that her job had put her in contact with.

"Okay, go ahead," she said with a sigh, still not happy about it but willing to go along with it. "As for where, I'll let you make that decision."

"Hm." Dianne looked Cassie up and down. "I think maybe... just below the collarbone on the left - you're right handed?"

Cassie nodded in response to her question.

"Good. First the local anesthetic..." Dianne used a hypospray to numb the area, then picked up the needle. "If needles make you squeamish, better look away. We've had a couple of fainters with this..."

Cassie smiled slightly, thinking of some of her experiences with needles. She had been scared of them as a kid but she had gotten over that. "Training to be a paramedic got me over that fear," she commented.

With a deft hand, Dianne inserted the needle under the numbed skin. "Nikki? Do you have Alan on the line?"

"Yes. I've given him the chip number, and he says it's working fine."

"Good!" Dianne patted Cassie on the knee. "I think we're done here."

"I guess that wasn't too painful," Cassie said, relieved the ordeal was over.

"I do try to make my patients comfortable," Dianne quipped as she put the implements back on the tray and Nikki whisked them away. "Go ahead and get dressed. Just leave the gown in the dressing area, and you can go."

Cassie nodded again. "I did have something I wanted to talk to you about that isn't related to the physical," she commented. "After I get changed that is, if you have a few more minutes."

"Sure. Just come into my office."

"Okay," Cassie said standing up.

As Dianne left the room, Cassie went behind the privacy screen again to get out of the gown. Feeling much better back in her own clothes, Cassie left the room and headed for Dianne's office. Reaching it, she knocked.

"Come in, Cassie." The door slid aside to let Cassie in.

Cassie stepped into the office. Dianne indicated for her to have a seat in the chair in front of her desk. Cassie did so.

"What did you want to talk to me about?" Dianne asked.

"Well, I know the job position was for a firefighter, but paramedic skills were listed as a plus," Cassie began, asking something that had been on her mind but that she thought Dr. Tracy would be the more appropriate person to bring the subject up to than Mr. Tracy. "I was just wondering if my paramedic training was going to be utilized and how I'd fit into the group. I've met both Dom and Nikki now so I know you already have two capable assistants."

"Yes, and Luke is just a few hours away from finishing his paramedic training." Dianne looked thoughtful. "We can always use more help in the field, triaging and treating before a patient gets to... Thunderbird Seven." It was hard to say the name; she hadn't been down to see what had become of her vessel and, to her, it was stuck in that memory from her last visit. "When we were in the Ural Mountains, we had too many patients, and too few qualified medical professionals. It would have been helpful to have people out there who could stabilize a patient, who really knew what to do." She shook her head and sat up straighter. "Ask Dom about the amputee sometime. He could have used an extra pair of hands there." She cocked her head. "So, does that answer your question?"

"Yes," Cassie said, nodding. "I have to admit, I'm glad I'll still get a chance to put those skills to use. Originally, training as a paramedic was just a step on the way to getting to my dream of being a firefighter. It didn't take me long to enjoy the rewards of the job itself despite the dangers and heartaches that can come with it. I'm glad I don't have to give that up entirely."

"Oh, believe me, we'll use every skill you have, and teach you a few new ones as well," Dianne told her, giving her a wink. "Wait until you have to learn to rock climb, or caving. You'll wonder why... until we have to rescue someone in a mine, or some other inaccessible place."

"I love new challenges," Cassie said. "Even one's that scare me at first."

"That's the attitude to have."

"Well, I guess that's about it. I don't want to be taking up anymore of your time than necessary," Cassie said, pushing the chair back and getting to her feet.

"As long as your questions are answered," Dianne said. "And if you have any others, just ask. If I don't know it, I have an 'in' with the head honcho."

Cassie smiled. "I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for your time."

"You're welcome, Cassie. Have a good evening."

"You too, Dr. Tracy," Cassie replied, as she turned to leave the office. I wonder if Tin-Tin has replied to my email about a good time to get the uniform issues out of the way, Cassie thought as she left the infirmary and headed in the direction she hoped the monorail lift was in.

The Physical by tikatu and starrynebula on October 18, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #392 is a reply to message #391] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, October 5, 7:00 p.m., Thunderbird 5

Having some free time, Alan decided to check out the website Gordon had hinted at before he left the island. Though his brother hadn't admitted to it, Alan had a feeling that Gordon had added information to the website. Doing something like that was right up his alley.

Opening the web browser, Alan tried to recall the name of the website. He looked up at the ceiling as he tried to think of the title. I think it was, 'International Rescue, Our Tyrikalican Brethren'. Wonder how you spell that.

Taking a stab at the spelling, Alan entered something into the search engine. Soon a page saying 'Did You Mean' and a link popped up. Alan clicked on the link and was taken to the website. He knew instantly that it was the one Gordon had been talking about. Like Gordon, Alan found himself laughing at some of the stuff that was on the website. These guys are creative, I'll give them that, he thought, shaking his head.

A link caught his eye: 'Photos of one of the Jestreethzi n'Hildrathuk'.

"I wonder what this is," Alan said out loud. Expecting to see another poor quality photo, he clicked on the link and was taken to a page with a couple of similar pictures. As he suspected, the pictures were blurry but Alan had a good hunch as to what they were actually of.

Alan thought back to the prank he had helped Gordon pull off. His brother had all but admitted that he had taken pictures of the results of their handiwork but had never shared them. He really did get some pictures, Alan mused, wondering exactly what the originals looked like.

Alan read the words at the bottom of the page which said the pictures had been supplied by a member of the Jestreethzi n'Hildrathuk's inner sanctum. I sure wouldn't want to be Gordon if Scott ever finds this web page, Alan thought to himself, still laughing.

"I probably shouldn't do this, but this is too good not to share," Alan said quietly to himself as he opened his email in another window. He quickly composed a short message to John, telling him about the website and giving him the link.

Posted by starrynebula on October 18, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #393 is a reply to message #392] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Saturday, October 6, 1:15 p.m., Tracy Island

John was in his room, checking his email. As he scanned the names of the sender's he noticed Alan had sent him an email. Curious, he clicked on the subject and quickly read the short message, following the link that Alan had provided.

You would think that people would have better things to do with their time, John mused as he scanned the outrageous website. At any rate, I've got to give them credit for creativity.

John heard a knock at the door. "Come in," he called, still looking over the website to see what else the group had come up with.

"Hey, John," Virgil said coming into the room. "What are you doing?"

"Hey," John greeted his brother, glancing briefly over his shoulder. "I was just checking out this web page that Alan sent me a link for. Remember those guys in the robes we saw on that retrospective about IR?" When Virgil nodded he continued. "Seems they have a website."

"Are you serious?"

"Take a look at this," John said, waving a hand toward his computer screen.

Virgil walked over to John's desk, and looked over his brother's shoulder. He found himself shaking his head at what he saw. A particular link caught his eye. "Hey John, click on that link. I want to see what these so-called pictures of one of us are."

Moving the arrow to the indicated link, John clicked the button on the mouse. Soon several blurry pictures of a male figure, in nothing but a towel, appeared on the screen. Both of them immediately noticed that the head was cut off. "Provided by a member of their inter sanctum," John read off the screen.

"Did Alan mention how he found this site?" Virgil asked.

"He said Gordon mentioned it to him, why?" John asked looking from the screen to his brother who started laughing.

"I have a feeling this so-called member of the inner sanctum might just be a certain brother of ours," Virgil said. "Remember when Gordon and Alan stuck Scott's dresser drawers shut with the spaghetti?" John nodded, so Virgil continued. "Well, Scott was running around the house in a towel looking for him. Knowing Gordon, he probably took some pictures which he then modified to add to this website."

"I wouldn't want to be Gordon if Scott ever figures it out," John commented.

"Me neither," Virgil commented.

"So was there a reason you came to see me?" John asked, closing the web browser.

"Oh yeah. I was wondering if you were up for a game of pool?"

"Sure, why not," John said, closing the web browser and exiting his email. Putting the computer into hibernate, he followed Virgil out of the room.

Posted by starrynebula on October 18, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #394 is a reply to message #393] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Saturday, October 6, 2068, 4 p.m., Tracy Island

Emily looked about her sitting room. "I suppose this is everyone. We should get started."

"Can I pick first, Grandma?" Tyler asked from where he was on the floor. He had a feather teaser in his hand and was playing with one of the kittens.

"It depends on who else wants them," Emily said. She looked again. "Maybe we should draw names..."

"No, Grandma," Virgil said, holding up his hands. "I'm not here for a kitten. I'm here to give Elise a hand dragging the kitty supplies back to her apartment."

"And Brains and I will share a kitten," Tin-Tin said, smiling softly. "Though he or she will live in Brains's suite."

"You want one, John?"

"I sure do, Grandma," John said, rubbing his hands together. "Looking forward to owning one."

"It's more like being owned by one," Elise said with a grin.

The kittens were rolling and playing together on the floor. They'd come back from the vets the week before after having been spayed or neutered. Jeff's words had been, "I don't want a cat colony here!" and Emily had felt the same. Big Momma had also been spayed, and was now hiding under Emily's bed from the presence of so many strangers. She still didn't allow for much in the way of petting or affection.

"All right then, we have four people for four kittens. We can draw lots as to who chooses first." Emily was determined to make things as fair as possible.

"Oh, Mrs. Tracy, why don't we let Tyler pick first?" Elise suggested. She turned and motioned to the other would-be cat owners. "I'm sure we'll be glad to choose after they do."

Brains and John nodded, and Emily sighed. "All right. Tyler, you and Alex can choose first."

The two boys put their heads together, and whispered, pointing to first one kitten, then another. Finally, Tyler pointed at the black and white. "That one. That one's ours." He lured the kitten over to him with the feather teaser, then reached out and caught his new pet. "This is a boy, right, Grandma?"

"Yes, the black and white is a boy. So is the gray tabby. The other two are girls."

"What are you going to name him, Spud?" John asked.

"Patches," Tyler replied. "Because he has patches of black all over him."

The adults murmured approval of the name, then exchanged glances. "Uh, ladies first," Brains said, indicating with a hand that Elise should choose next.

She glanced at John, who nodded and smiled. Crouching down, she wriggled her fingers near the carpet. The gray tabby noticed them, and his little haunches settled into a hunting crouch. With a spring, he attacked her hand, batting at it. She laughed and scooped him up. "All right, little guy. You're coming home with me."

"What are you going to name him, Miss Elise?" Alex asked.

"I think I'll name him... Henry." Elise held him in both hands and showed him to Virgil. "What do you think? Does he look like a Henry?"

Virgil gave the kitten a skeptical glance, remembering the last time he'd come to visit, and the bite he'd sustained from that very kitten. "Uh, yeah. He looks like a Henry." He could hear John snickering. Don't you say a word, Johnny-boy, about Henry McCullough, he silently warned his brother. My rival on the football team, quarterback while I was tight end, rival for every girl I ever liked... why did she have to name him that?!

"John, it's your birthday soon," Brains said as Virgil internally agonized. "Why don't you pick next?"

"You're sure, Brains?" John asked, hesitating.

"Oh, for pity's sake!" Emily sputtered. "Tin-Tin, you choose for Brains since neither of them can make up their minds who's next!"

Tin-Tin laughed, and dipped towards the floor. "I like this little calico," she said, picking the kitten up carefully. "That leaves John with the cat as black as space, which is appropriate, I think."

"Why, thanks a lot, Tin-Tin." John disentangled his new cat from the feather teaser that the boys were still using to play with Patches. "C'mere you little imp."

"What will you name her, Brains?" Tin-Tin asked as she handed the ball of fur to him.

"I think you should name her, Tin-Tin. You're much better at such things," Brains said, as the kitten climbed up his arm and onto his shoulder. He bent over, and the kitten crawled down his back halfway, then headed up to his shoulder again. "My, she has sharp claws!"

Tin-Tin came to the rescue and plucked the little ball of fur from his back. "You should name her, Brains. She is supposed to be your kitten."

John was looking his new cat in the eye, but far enough away from his face that the kitten couldn't reach his nose with a paw. "I christen you Skitty," he intoned, then he moved the cat down to his chest so he could stroke her. She dug in her claws in an effort to climb his shirt. "Ow!"

Brains was now looking at his kitten's face, too, as Tin-Tin held her firmly. "You know, there's something about her eyes that reminds me of someone..."

Tin-Tin brought the cat around so she could see the facial features, too. "You're right! She reminds me of... of...

They turned to each other, their eyes wide in startled delight. "Lena!"

"You're going to name the cat 'Lena'? Let me see." Emily approached and took the calico from Tin-Tin, carefully regarding the kitten's face. "You're right! I see a bit of her there." She handed the newly-christened kitten back to Brains. "Lena it is. I'm sure she'll be thrilled when she hears."

Pulling away, she clapped her hands, which startled kittens and owners alike. "Now, let's get your equipment together. There are bags of cat litter, self-cleaning litter pans, food bowls, food, cat care guides... they're all in the hallway. You can leave your kitten here for the moment while you haul your supplies to your room if you like." She ducked quickly into her bedroom and pulled out one of the cat carriers. "Elise, you might want to put little Henry in here when you take him to your apartment. Don't know what will happen if he gets out in the monorail."

"In that case, I'll take him with me now, and save us a trip." Elise took the carrier, and deftly slipped the protesting kitten inside. Then she followed Virgil out. John turned to Brains.

"How about you and I help each other out here? We can haul the supplies to the various suites. Alex can help us set up the food and litter boxes while Tin-Tin and Tyler watch the kittens until we get back."

"Sounds like a good plan to me," Brains said. He handed Lena to Tin-Tin, and John handed Skitty to Emily. "We'll be back soon."

Emily cuddled the black kitten to her face. "I'll miss these little ones," she said. "They've brightened my day in a lot of ways. But now I can focus on building bridges with Big Momma. Fortunately, she's a semi-feral, and may come around to becoming domesticated in time."

"Oh, I hope so, Grandma," Tin-Tin said as she crouched down to play with Lena.

Posted by Tikatu on October 18, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #396 is a reply to message #394] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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The Cliff House, Sunday, October 7th, Mid-morning....

"There, perfect." Luke surveyed the room and smiled. This place is finally starting to look and feel like home, he thought to himself. "Thanks again for your help, Scott. I knew if I tried to move that thing alone, I'd have dinged it and really made myself mad."

Scott shook his head. "No problem." He ran his hand over the smooth wood of the shelving unit he and Luke had just carried in. "If I hadn't seen you do it, I'd never believe that you actually made this yourself." Rommel sniffed around the edges of the shelf, then apparently approving, lay down in front of it.

Luke blushed and ran a hand through his hair. "Thanks. I usually don't do stuff this big; I'd rather carve. Smaller pieces are easier to do. At least for me anyway."

"Got any of those small pieces? I'd love to see them."

"Sure." Luke began rummaging through a box. "Here, I made this right before I left Colorado." He placed a small object in Scott's hand.

Scott whistled. "Wow, this is so cool! Look at the detail! It looks just like him!" He examined the tiny dog statue. "My brothers did a few modifications to some of my furniture a few months ago. I made them replace it, but I'm thinking I could use some shelves too. Would you be able to build a couple for me?"

Luke raised an eyebrow. "Modifications?"

Scott shook his head. "You don't want to know."

Luke smiled. "Sure. Next time you head over to the mainland, we'll pick up some wood and stain."

"Might be easier to just have it shipped."

"No thanks." Luke shook his head. "I'd rather pick it out myself. The lumber yard guys tend to give the leftovers and junk wood to people who order without looking at it."

Scott grinned. "And I thought Virgil was the perfectionist." The both chuckled. Scott looked around the room. "Well, now that the paint's dry and you have all your furniture, I guess all that's left to do is unpack."

Luke groaned. "I know..."

"You know, I'll bet if you bribed Elise with something chocolate, she'd come up and give you a hand," Scott told him.

"That's a good idea." Luke straightened out the shelf, moving it a little more to the right. "How long have you two known each other?"

"Quite a while. She served with me in the Air Force, then went to work for my Dad as a company pilot a few years later." Scott went on to tell Luke about the plane crash in New Hampshire and how Elise had found out the family was International Rescue.

Luke nodded sagely. "I spent a couple winters in New England. Not a fun place to be when the snow starts flying. Up there in the White Mountains, the weather can change in a heartbeat. Your father and Elise are lucky to be alive."

"Yeah, they are." Scott stared out the glass doors, lost in memory for a moment, then shook his head. "What did you do in New England?"

Luke reached down into another box and started unpacking books, placing them on his new shelf. "I went to college over in upper New York State. A bunch of us decided to head over to Mt. Washington one weekend to do some winter hiking and ski Tuckerman's Ravine. What a rush!"

Scott's eyes lit up. "You skied Tuck?"

"Well, I tumbled down it anyway. It's rougher than it looks. Do you ski?" Luke asked.

"Yes, not as often as I like to, but I try to get to the mainland a few times a year. We'll have to go sometime."

"Sounds like a plan." Luke looked down at his many boxes and sighed. "I am so not in the mood to do this."

"Then don't! Tell you what, why don't you come look at my stuff, then I'll take you to the hanger and give you an up close tour of Thunderbird One."

"Sure. I've gotten a few simulator lessons for Thunderbird Two, but after the initial tour, haven't seen much of the other vehicles."

"We want everyone to learn to fly at least Two." At Luke's startled glance, Scott held up his hand. "Not that we expect you to ever fly her, but better to be safe than sorry."

Luke nodded. "Good point." He snapped his fingers and Rommel trotted to his side. "Well then, let's get going. Maybe by the time I get back, this stuff will have magically unpacked itself."

Scott chuckled as he led the way out the door. "Yeah right, let me know how that works for you."

Posted by lillehafrue on October 19, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #397 is a reply to message #396] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Sunday, October 7, 2068; Tracy Island Game Room; 12:10 p.m. local time (6:10 p.m. the previous evening in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)

While everyone gathered around the pool to have lunch, John grabbed a sandwich and walked into the home theater. He took a chair in front of the large TV and turned it on. He recalled Callie saying earlier in the week that Alabama was to play one of their rivals, the University of Tennessee. "I think I'll take a look at that game to see just how rabid they really are."

Changing the channel to the sports network, he saw the stadium filled to capacity. "Wow...how many people are in that place?"

Virgil walked into the home theater with his own sandwich and pulled up a chair next to his brother. "Mind if I join you?"

"Not at all, Virg. I'm watching the Alabama-Tennessee football game. I've learned how big a sports fan Callie really is, but look at all that sea of red in the crowd."

Virgil's eyes widened. "Those fans are all decked out in crims...even crimson face make-up?"

"And the game hasn't even started yet." John shook his head. "I can recall times when Harvard and Yale fans were crazy, but they're nothing compared to the madness at that place."

Just before kickoff, one of the commentators said, "Coming up on Monday, it's the 80th anniversary of the famous 'Earthquake Game'." He explained about a football game at Louisiana State University, where the crowd reaction to their team scoring created enough noise to register on the seismograph at a nearby science complex.

"Now that's what I call fan dedication," John said. "When it's enough to cause a Richter Scale measurement, that definitely proves how football fans down in the South are--devoted and raucous."

After the coin toss, as Alabama's kicker launched the football into the air, both brothers heard the crowd yelling, "Roll Tide!"

"They sure know how to shout their battle cry," Virgil said excitedly.

After watching a Tennessee player get tackled, John said, "I wouldn't be surprised if Callie's enjoying the game from her apartment...and screaming at the top of her lungs."

"You think it might be enough to register around here?"

"No way, Virge," said John with a chuckle. "I think the only people who would notice are anyone living in the Cliff House. Right now, the rest of the family and the crew are outside, and the windows are shatterproof. She can scream to her heart's content."

When Virgil saw a elephant on two feet, he said, "Ah, their mascot. Isn't he named 'Big Al'?"

"Yeah, that's him all right. What's really strange is Alabama's biggest rival, Auburn University. They're called the Tigers, and their mascot, Aubie, is a tiger. The battle cry, though, is 'War Eagle'."

"'War Eagle'? I would've assumed that to be more like 'Go Tigers', or something close to it."

John chuckled again. "I looked it up on the Net. The story about the battle cry is a bit of a mystery. A golden eagle appeared at the first meeting between Auburn and Georgia back in the 1890s. Auburn fans were yelling 'War Eagle' before the eagle died some time later that day. It's stuck ever since. There's been a total of nine golden eagles in Auburn's history, and all of them have had the name...Tiger. Now that's enough confusion to drive anyone who doesn't understand that completely crazy." After both brothers laughed, he added, "Oh, well, she's already given this warning for next month: do not disturb her while Alabama and Auburn are playing each other."

"When exactly is that game played?"

"She said the third Saturday in November--the exact same day as the Harvard-Yale game."

"You're kidding," said Virgil. "Your rivalry game is the same day as hers?"

"Yeah, which reminds me. Before I get to the station for next month, I want to make a wager with Scott concerning that game. It's still early in the month, though, so I'll have to make a note on my calendar as soon as the game's over." He smiled. "I think Harvard's going to do a number on Yale this year."

Virgil sighed. "There's only one thing worrying me about Callie's love of sports. What if she's needed on a rescue when the big game's on?"

John's mood turned serious when he faced Virgil. "She knows the rescue goes first. If push comes to shove, she can always get the highlights when she comes back. It's happened at least once during her time on the station."

Moving back in his seat, Virgil said, "Take it easy, John. I believe you."

John's tone was much calmer. "It's a good thing her apartment's too far away from the Villa. Otherwise, she'd be screaming down the halls when Alabama won."

"Oh, well, let's just watch this game and relax. I need a break from painting today, anyway."

Both brothers enjoyed watching the game while eating their sandwiches and taking in the incredible amount of crimson-clad people in the stands.

Posted by TracyFan4Ever on October 20, 2007


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Monday, October 8, 9 AM; the repair bay

Brains arrived to find Will already there, wandering around, looking at the layout and some of the vehicles that weren't in the pods. "Will, good morning. How long have you been here?"

"Mornin', Brains. I got here about half an hour ago. I came early, in case I got lost. I hope I wasn't out of line, checkin' things out. I'm eager to get started."

Brains chuckled. "Not at all. The sooner you familiarize yourself with where things are, the better. Well, let's get started by checking the pods. You'll need to know which vehicles and what equipment go in which pods. And I'll give you a quick overview of each. We have manuals to help you learn what you need to know to maintain them."

"Sounds good to me. Lead on."

They spent the next two hours going from pod to pod. Using a data pad, Will entered information about what went where, any special tools needed for certain things, and what needed more immediate attention. Brains showed him where the manuals were kept and picked one out, so they could get to work. He found Will to be a quick study, and by lunchtime, they had checked over the firefighting equipment, making sure the dicetyline tanks were full on those that had them.

Brains checked his watch. "It's time to take a lunch break, Will. I'm going to be busy in my lab this afternoon, so why don't you take one or two manuals to study this afternoon? Then tomorrow, we'll work on those vehicles."

"Good idea. Which ones do you suggest?"

They went to the cabinet where the manuals were kept and the engineer selected two: the Mole's and the Excavator's. "I think that's enough to keep you busy until tomorrow. I'll see you then, or you can contact me via your wristcomm, if you have any questions. You've had your physical and gotten your locator chip, right?."

"Right. I got that done Saturday afternoon. Didn't want to wait. Now I have to decide what color accent I want for my uniform - do I really need one? - and choose a code name. Man, all the details. Mr. Tracy went over everythin' with me Saturday morning. I'm beginnin' to feel a bit like I'm back in the Navy." Will grinned at his companion, who chuckled.

"You'll get used to it. Are you going to have lunch with the family? I know you haven't had a chance to buy supplies."

"No; I think the family should be able to eat together without relative strangers barging in. So I got introduced to Kyrano on Saturday. He allowed me to raid his pantry and freezer a bit." Will then laughed. "But I didn't need too much, mostly veggies. I brought some food with me. My mom was convinced that I'd starve, so she prepared some casseroles, bread, and desserts to tide me over. I probably brought enough to last a month or more. They were in a cooler, and seemed none the worse for the trip here."

Brains grinned. "It must be nice to have a mother like that. And now we part company. Enjoy your afternoon."

The two men went their separate ways.

Posted by hobbeth on October 21, 2007


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Sunday, October 7th, 2068, 4:30 pm., Kansas (9:30 am., Monday, October 8, Tracy Island)


The LifeFlight helijet lifted off with the two critical patients inside. The trauma center was two and a half hours away by road, even if there weren't any traffic problems. By helijet it was only twenty five minutes. There was no way the two people would have survived that longer trip or even survived being taken to the local hospital by regular ambulance.

Dave Kandagaye walked back toward one of the paramedics from the neighboring district. Both districts had been called out to the crash site due to the number of cars involved and the location. It was inside of the northern district but Dave's station was the closest. The fire started by the crash was out and the less seriously injured victims were being put into ambulances. "It looks like we're done here. We're about ready to pull out."

The other man nodded. "I'll be leaving a truck here to keep an eye on it until all the cars are towed. The police investigation will take at least another four hours."

Dave nodded. There had been one fatality, so the investigation into the accident would be very thorough. "Let's hope the two we just transported make it. I'm just glad LifeFlight is around. They wouldn't have a chance, otherwise. By the way, I've been meaning to ask you. You know most of the LifeFlight people, don't you?"

"Yeah. My brother volunteers with them. He's always has all of them over for a picnic in the summer."

"There's one I haven't seen in a while. His name wasn't Don, but something like it and he had an Irish accent. I'd heard he was taking paramedic training and wondered how he was doing. I used to see him at classes a lot but I haven't seen him recently. I was wondering if he would consider working for us." Dave tried to keep the question casual.

"Dominic Kelly. Yeah, I know him. He'd talked about becoming a paramedic but he told me it was hard enough being a single parent as a nurse with a regular schedule. He really loves that kid of his. Cute kid. He moved somewhere last winter; I'm not sure where. I heard he got a job offer from Tracy Industries that would let him have more time with the kid plus the pay was a lot better." They had reached the fire engine Dave had arrived in.

"Oh, well. I guess I'll just have to wade through resumes again." Dave waved and climbed into the engine. The driver had been waiting for him and headed back toward their base.

Dave learned back and looked out the window. Dominic Kelly takes a nursing job with Tracy Industries and, all of a sudden, shows up with International Rescue's mobile hospital. I wonder who would know where he moved. Someone at his old job, maybe? If I send a letter to Mr. Kelly through Tracy Industries, I wonder if it will get to him?

Posted by SusanMartha on October 21, 2007



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Monday, October 8, 3:30 PM

Will was sitting on the balcony; he'd been studying for over two hours. He closed the manual for the Mole and thought, It'd be better if I was at or in these vehicles while I read these at this point. That way, I can get a better feel for things. He looked at his watch. I've got time. I think I'll go down to the pod bay for a while.

He stood up, picked up the manuals and went inside, then headed for the elevator. Soon he was in the bay. Now, which pods did Brains say these babies are in again? Oh yeah. He walked over to the pod and opened it, then went inside. The Mole was the first vehicle he encountered, so he began with that. He was able to open the hood and look inside.

He gave a long low whistle of appreciation as he opened the manual once again. "I'm gonna enjoy workin' on you," he said. He spent forty-five minutes checking out the "innards" and going over the controls, then closed it up and moved on to the Excavator. Another forty-five minutes later, and he was satisfied that he'd made progress toward understanding his job. He looked at his watch again and realized two things: it was after five, and he was getting hungry.

He decided to head back to his apartment and get dinner started. Then he'd catch forty winks and try to come up with a code name. Perhaps he'd even watch one of his favorite old movies: The Hunt for Red October. He closed up the vehicles, then the pod, and headed for the elevator, satisfied with the day's work.

Posted by hobbeth on October 22, 2007


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Monday, October 8, 2068, 2:30 p.m. local time, Parkes Observatory, New South Wales, Australia (4:30 p.m., Tracy Island)

"Well, looks like this is the place," John said to his companion.

"Feels like it's out in the middle of nowhere," Dr. Amy Fitzpatrick replied. She pulled a brush from her handbag and ran it through her short, red hair. "Took forever to get here."

"But it'll be worth it," John said firmly. "The upgraded array will be something to see." He climbed out of the car and stretched his long legs before circling the sedan and opening the door for Amy. She thanked him with a coquettish smile as she stepped out.

It had been a nearly three hour drive from Sydney to Parkes, but since the observatory's nearest town didn't have an airport, it was a necessary one. The early morning flight from the island had landed him in Sydney near lunch time, and allowed him an opportunity to catch up with Amy, an old friend from Harvard. They'd kept up a correspondence over the years, and had agreed to travel together from the city to the country.

They walked slowly toward the administrative building, joining a few others who had come for the momentous occasion. The Parkes Observatory now had the distinction of being the largest radio telescope in the world. A new dish, bigger by far than any built on Earth before, now dominated the hill where a smaller, but more famous dish still stood.

"I have to admit, John, this is a strange way to celebrate a birthday." Amy commented as he held open the door for her. The air conditioned administration building was bright and modern, and they approached the welcome desk to check in.

"John G. Tracy," he said to the young man behind the desk. Amy stated her name and, after they both had tendered their identifications, each was given a visitor's badge. John tacked his on the lapel of his sports jacket.

"In answer to your question," John said as they moved away and further into the building, following the signs that directed them to the working heart of the observatory, "yes, it is a strange sort of birthday. But I didn't exactly choose the day that the new telescope array would come online, and my father thought it would be best if I represented the Tracy name for the occasion." He smiled and shrugged. "Besides, I had a party last night at home. A luau, down on the beach."

And so he had. The family and the recruits had dined around the pool for a light lunch provided by Emily and Lisa, which allowed Kyrano to outdo himself with the main party: a traditional luau, complete with tiki torches, poi, pineapple, and roasted pig, held on the island's beach. Jeff had insisted that the party be held the night before with this particular trip in mind. John had gotten several nice gifts, including a top of the line laptop from his father and stepmother.

"That's for writing your next book," Dianne had stated. "Maybe you'll keep all your notes in one place this time!"

"Dad?" John had asked later, after he'd had a good look at the computer. "Where'd you get that program? The star mapping one? I don't think I've seen that one on the market..."

Jeff had just winked at him and said, "It's nice to have old friends at the WSA."

"Mr. Tracy?" A middle-aged woman approached them, smiling broadly and extending her hand. "I'm Dr. Laura Irwin, director of the Parkes project."

"I'm John Tracy. This is Dr. Amy Fitzpatrick." John shook hands with her first, then Amy did.

"I'm so glad you've come, Mr. Tracy. Our project couldn't have done without the financing provided by Tracy Industries. We now have the world's largest radio telescope, and the first one directly connected to a gravitational-wave array." Dr. Irwin sighed, a happy sound. She clapped her dark hands together. "So, are you ready to see what our new telescope can do?"

"We certainly are," John said, glancing at his companion.

"Then, come this way, please." Dr. Irwin gestured toward the observatory labs, and the couple followed her.

Posted by Tikatu on October 23, 2007


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Tuesday, October 9, 2068, 9:30 a.m., Thunderbird Two, en route to Mateo Island

Luke sat back and watched his new teammates, a shiver of excitement running up his spine. This was his first excursion in Thunderbird Two, and already he was impressed. Though he had seen Thunderbird One launch during the airliner rescue, he hadn't been able to see Thunderbird Two do the same. He'd looked at the vessel time and time again and wondered how, with so short a runway, it managed to get off the ground. Now he knew, and that launch had put his heart in his throat for a few long moments.

He glanced down at his uniform. It felt strange to be wearing it, but as this was an official excursion, the call had been to be properly dressed -- for those who had uniforms. Cassie and Will did not. Cassie was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt marked with the logo of the FDNY, while Will had opted for a mechanic's coverall.

"All right, everyone." Scott stood behind the pilot's chair, clapping his hands once to get everyone's attention. When he had it, he continued. "A little bit of background on Mateo Island. It was originally, like our base, a volcano, but one that blew its top several hundred years ago, leaving behind what's basically a big rock in the middle of the ocean. It still had some impressive lava caves and tubes, and as a result, Japanese forces used it as a way station during World War Two." There were a few glances in Cassie's direction, but she didn't seem to notice. "It was sold as part of the larger spread of islands and atolls that included our base, and didn't seem to be of any particular use... at first. But we discovered that -- with very little effort on our part - the natural caverns of Mateo would make excellent secondary hangars and repair facilities for the Thunderbirds." He paused and grinned. "It just didn't make for a very nice place to live, that's all."

There was a ripple of laughter through the cockpit, and Virgil piped up. "Better strap in, Scott. We're coming up on Mateo."

"Right." Scott took his seat, fastening his safety belt. Those others who had relaxed enough to undo theirs -- Gordon, Brandon, Elise -- also redid theirs. Luke noticed that, although both nurses were in attendance, Dr. Tracy was not. Nor was John, who had left for some function in Australia the day before and had evidently not yet returned.

Thunderbird Two made a wide sweeping turn, changing its direction entirely. The island became visible to those in the cockpit, and Luke realized that Scott was being literal in his description -- Mateo was a rock sticking up out of the sea. There seemed to be a bit of greenery at the top of the cliff they were heading for, but it didn't capture his attention for long. Instead, the rapidly approaching wall of rock drew his eye, and he almost held his breath. It didn't seem like they would stop in time!

But, as he watched, a dark line appeared in the cliff face. Portions of it separated, sliding both upwards and downwards, creating an wide opening two thirds of the way to the peak. Thunderbird Two slowed, and the VTOLs took over so that they eased into the huge cavern beyond. It was big enough to accommodate Two... and for the cargo carrier to turn around to face the opening again. Virgil eased his baby to the floor, where lights marked the landing spot. The opening began to close again, cutting off the sunlight.

Scott unbuckled himself again, and stood. "Okay, everyone. To the pod."

--Mateo Island, part 1

Posted by Tikatu on October 23, 2007


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Will's eyes nearly popped as the ramp door opened, and allowed the Thunderbird Two's passengers access to Mateo's secrets. He looked up at Thunderbird Two's chassis, suspended on what seemed to him to be spindly telescoping legs. Holy sh--! he thought. I knew I'd eventually be workin' on these beauts, but never thought I'd be ridin' in one, and on my second day on the job, too!

The cavern was dark, and smelled of something that Will recognized as lubricating oil. There was also another scent, more elusive, but that he finally pinned down as being fuel. Must be from Thunderbird Two, he guessed.

"Getting in here was pretty impressive, guys," Callie said. "But so far, all I see is dark. And all I saw on the way in was a cave."

"Ah hah!" Gordon said, in his best conspiratorial tone. "That's what you're supposed to see, m'dear." He paused, took a deep breath and shouted, "Lights!"

Bank after bank of lights, hidden in the cracks and crevices of the ceiling, came on, illuminating the entire room. Virgil rolled his eyes. "Don't think Gordon did anything spectacular, folks. He was just the one holding the remote, that's all."

Gordon stuck out his tongue at Virgil. "You take all the fun out of it, Virge."

"But..." Nikki said, her face carrying a puzzled frown. "It's still just a cave. A huge cave, but pretty plain."

"Things aren't what they seem, Nikki," Scott said with a grin. "Okay, Gordon; it's showtime."

There were gasps of amazement as the walls started sliding down, revealing equipment large enough, and complex enough to puzzle most of them. A larger wall disappeared into the floor, opening up another cavern, nearly as big as the one they stood in.

"You might be interested in this, Will," Scott said, coming near and indicating the machinery around them. "This is all computer-controlled emergency repair equipment. We have some of this equipment at base, but we prefer to get our hands dirty in repairing our own craft. Besides, the computers, as good as they are, can't do everything. Just the major hauling and positioning. Saves wear and tear on the back."

"That sounds good to me. Are the repairs permanent, or just temporary until you can get the vehicle in question back to Tracy Island?"

"Temporary, as we don't usually have Brains or Tin-Tin out here to give us a hand."

Will nodded. "Makes sense. You can't always rely on machinery to make good repairs; after all, what if they break down, too?"

Scott laughed. "I can see that we're going to get along just fine."

By this time, the lights were on in the other cavern, which had a huge turntable emblazoned with the IR logo on it.

"There's room in the main cavern for both Thunderbirds One and Two to land and be serviced," Virgil explained. "This is where the temporary quarters are, too, as well as access to the upper levels and the silo for Thunderbird Three."

"John mentioned possibly landing here if there was some kind of emergency," Callie said, looking thoughtful. "Said it would minimize collateral damage if we had to land here. Having seen Mateo, I can see what he meant. I mean, there's not much to lose here."

Gordon and Virgil looked at each other, and Virgil sighed. "That's not quite true. It would keep us from losing what we have on Tracy Island, and all the lives there, but if there was any kind of explosive emergency, we could lose Mateo Island entirely."

"What do you mean?" asked Dom.

"Well, it's part of the reason we came here today. But we'll get to that as we go further into the complex." Scott motioned to the long flight of steps that went up and over the quarters that Virgil had indicated.

"Hey, can't we see what the temporary quarters look like?" Cassie asked.

Scott and Virgil glanced at each other, and Virgil shrugged. "Sure. Why not?"

He pulled open one of the doors under the steps, and the new recruits followed him inside. "As you can see, there's not much to see. A small dining area and kitchenette, a small half-bath, a lounge on the far end of the room, and a spiral staircase that leads to the sleeping area upstairs." Virgil glanced at Cassie, who stood at his side. "Hm. I think I'd better talk to Dad about putting some sort of portable partition here so we can separate the sleeping room into men's and women's areas. And the shower upstairs... that'll have to be shared, too."

"Are there any medical facilities?" Nikki asked as she surveyed the spartan living conditions, arms folded.

"Yeah, through here." Gordon opened a door to their left, next to the door to the half-bath, and everyone who could, followed him into another room, with Dom and Nikki in the lead. He spread his hands apologetically. "As you can see, it's nothing compared to the infirmary back home."

"Hell, that's nothing compared to the sickbay on Thunderbird Two," Luke said, shaking his head.

"Ah, yeah." Gordon had the good grace to look embarrassed. "I guess we'll put a bug in Mom's ear, too."

"So, has everyone seen what's here?" Scott asked. He glanced at his watch. "We do need to move along."

They headed for the stairs again, and Dom peered down a short, shadowed corridor at the base. "What's back there?" he asked, giving Gordon a nudge.

"Storage, mainly. And an emergency exit. Sort of a reinforced bunker, just in case something nasty happens."

"And what kind of nasty thing might happen?"

"Well," Gordon said, rubbing his chin. "I think Scott and Virgil will explain that."

They climbed the stairs and entered a corridor. Will noticed the smell of fuel getting stronger. He also heard the familiar humming of machinery, well-oiled and running smoothly. The group took a left hand turn, and were brought out into another large chamber, not as large as the ones below, but impressive nontheless. There was a large squarish chamber with a single metal door, and a quietly humming tank arrangement.

"Isn't that a water purification plant?" Will asked.

"Yeah, it is. The whole complex is powered by a cold fusion reactor that's shielded with a cahelium-graphite silo, and water purification and sanitation are handled by what Will's already identified." Virgil pointed to each as he warmed up to his topic. "The entire island is hooked up to a satellite system, and it's functions are monitored in Thunderbird Five."

"Yeah! That's right!" Callie exclaimed. "Don't know why I didn't put the two together before now!" She shook her head and laughed. "I kept wondering what was so special about the Mateo board. Now I know!"

"So, what else is here?" Will asked as they headed back down to the original corridor. "I keep smelling fuel."

"Ah, yes." Scott said as he led them all into another large room. "This is why we're here today."

"What is it?" Luke asked, frowning at the sleek red aircraft sitting in the lift cradle. "It's marked for Tracy Aerospace."

"It's a fuel tanker," Elise explained. When the others looked at her, she added, "I used to see them in the military."

"Elise is right." Scott nodded, and smiled slightly. "This one carries fuel from here to Tracy Island for our use. One of us will be flying it back to the island today."

"How does it get out?" Cassie asked, curious.

"There are camouflaged hangar doors above us that open outward, and the cradle is lifted up by hydraulics," Virgil said. "The tanker is VTOL equipped, so it doesn't need runway."

"I see," Will said, nodding. "But I bet it doesn't store all the fuel that the complex needs. Where's the rest?"

"Down here!" Gordon called, as he headed down another long stairway.

--Mateo Island, part 2


Posted by Tikatu on October 24, 2007


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The crew, recruits and veterans alike, followed Gordon down another long flight. He paused on a landing and in front of a heavy metal door. The smell of fuel was stronger now, and it made Cassie nervous. There were flammability warnings on the door, and a human biohazard warning, but no environmental biohazard ones, a fact that made her blink in surprise. A fuel that's not considered an environmental biohazard? she pondered. I've never heard of such a thing.

"Is everyone here?" Gordon asked, peering over the small crowd.

Virgil was last down the stairs. "Yeah."

"Okay. You've all seen the tanker. Now here's where we keep the fuel." Gordon put a hand up to a scanner, and unlocked the door. Scott, who had wormed his way to the front of the crowd, led them all inside.

"Wow," Nikki breathed in awe.

Six huge tanks loomed before them as they stepped out onto a catwalk. Cassie noticed that the scent of fuel didn't increase as much as she thought it would; it was hardly noticeable at all. Scott led the way to the right, walking slowly backwards as he began to speak.

"These cahelium reinforced tanks hold enough fuel to provide Tracy Island and IR's auxiliary vehicles for nine months to a year. However, we don't like to let them get less than 75 percent depleted, so a tanker arrives roughly every six months to fill the tanks." He smiled, and scratched the back of his head. "With the increased needs of our jets, and the increased use of the pod vehicles lately, we found we needed to make a fuel run a little sooner than normal."

"So, you come out here every six months to see to the tank refilling?" Will asked.

"Actually, no. The whole fuel retrieval system is totally automated," Virgil piped up from where he was at the back of the pack. "A tanker ship pulls up, assisted by navigation lights and a laser-guidance system, and the computers take over. We usually run a diagnostic on the place when we come out. Gordon's gone off to do that now."

They kept moving along the catwalk, passing through a control room where Scott stopped. "Virge, if you'd take them the rest of the way around, I'll see that our tanker's full and ready to go."

"F-A-B," Virgil said as he slipped through the crowd and to the head of the line. "Come along here."

"How do you keep this place safe?" Callie asked, a puzzled frown on her face. "I mean, we can monitor it from Five, but we can't really do anything about it."

"And I don't see that you have the equipment at Tracy Island to do anything about a fire or explosion from there, either," Cassie added

"Well," Virgil said, sounding a bit sheepish. "This room is inside a blast shield made of reinforced cahelium, just like the power plant we saw, and the power plant on the island. So that's our second line of defense." He stopped and pointed down to a series of four relatively stubby pipes with open vents on their slanted tops. "Down there is our first. Those vents can suck the air out of this room, or flood it with seawater, within two minutes. Brains discovered that to be the optimum balance of time between action and explosion."

"I see," Cassie said with a nod. "I'd think that sucking the air out would be more effective."

"I'm sure you're right, Cassie, but Brains likes to cover every contingency."

"What's this cahelium that I keep hearin' about?" Will asked, scratching his head a bit.

"It's a metal that Brains designed," Virgil replied. "He's got several variations of it, and all of the Thunderbirds are made of it. It's virtually indestructible."

"That's right," Dom said quietly, catching everyone's attention. He realized that people were listening, and he gave a pained, crooked smile when he realized it. "Dr. Tracy said we were okay in Seven, that nothing could damage cahelium except more cahelium. Then... the medical cabin..." His voice trailed off.

"Yeah," Virgil said just as quietly. A moment passed, and he heaved a sigh, and continued in a louder, brighter tone. "Why don't we turn around and head back? There's nothing much more to see along the catwalk."

There was a murmur of agreement, and the tour group allowed him to slip back to the head of the line as they turned around.

"Virgil," Cassie began. "I noticed that this stuff is flammable." She waved an arm at the tanks. "But you don't have an environmental biohazard warning on it? How come?"

"Because it's water soluble," Virgil said, shrugging a bit. "If it's spilled in the sea, or a lake, it breaks down quickly into harmless components. If absorbed into the ground, a good watering or rain will do the same to it. We have a human warning on it because it'll make anyone who drinks it ill, but the remedy is to drink lots of water and dilute it." He grimaced. "It'll move through the digestive tract like lightning, though. Not a pleasant prospect."

"I see." Cassie looked thoughtful.

Luke, who'd been following their conversation asked, "How does it burn? I mean, does it add to the air pollution? Deplete the ozone layer?"

"No to both, Luke. It burns clean."

"Then why hasn't Tracy Industries patented it and sold it?" Dom asked, frowning as he remembered his half-brother's article. "It would do the world a very big favor."

"Oh, it's patented," Virgil said as they entered the control room where Scott waited. "But there are groups out there, such as the oil cartels and the automobile industry, that want nothing to do with it. They've been actively working in the World Government to have its discovery suppressed."

"Hm." Dom said, his frown clearing a bit. "I wonder if the 'share the tech' people know about that."

"Or if they even care," Elise grumbled. She dropped back to walk with Scott at his invitation.

"Hey, Virgil," Brandon said. "You mentioned that the tankers pull up to the island for delivery. Does that mean the equipment is at sea level?"

"Yeah, it does," Virgil replied as they moved back onto the landing.

Gordon waited for them there. "Everything's shipshape with the computerized systems," he said.

"Good." Virgil shut the door, and Gordon put his hand up to lock it.

"What I was wondering," Brandon said as they started up the steps again, "was what do you have to prevent corrosion. All that equipment, getting slammed by the waves and the salt air..."

"Everything's covered." Gordon turned on the steps to look back at Brandon. "Covered and camouflaged, just like the entrance to the hangar. That way, corrosion is kept to a minimum."

"And Mateo will always look like just a rock in the middle of the ocean," Scott added. When they reached the top of the steps, the group stopped. "Elise and I will take the tanker to Tracy Island now. We'll be back within the hour."

"In the meantime, we can grab something to eat..." Virgil began.

"And whoever wants to go see where Thunderbird Four docks can come with me!"

"I'd like to see Thunderbird Three's silo," Callie said.

The three Tracy brothers glanced at each other. "Okay," Virgil said. "Whoever wants to see Thunderbird Three's silo, come with me."

Gordon rubbed his hands together. "And whoever wants to see Thunderbird Four's slip, follow me!"

He sounded so eager that Cassie decided to follow him. Dom and Nikki joined the small party as, predictably, did Brandon. Luke and Will went off with Virgil and Callie. Gordon led them back to the main hangar, and across it to another long flight of stairs.

"You certainly get your exercise roaming around this place," Nikki quipped.

"Yeah, I don't know if I'll make it back up," Cassie added with a grin.

"Pffft!" Gordon waved a dismissive hand. "You ladies are fit as fiddles."

He brought them down to another cavern, this one far more rough than the others, though the empty slip was smooth concrete. Dark sea water lapped gently against its side. "There's a camouflaged door below sea level over there," he said pointing to what looked like a solid rock wall. "Thunderbird Four can come and go undetected. In fact, that's what usually happens when we need the tanker. We launch Thunderbird Four via the airstrip -- it has small hover jets so we can do it -- and I chauffeur the pilots here and back."

"And today, Virgil gets to do it?" Brandon asked.

"Yep. We thought it would be a good experience for all you new folks... or newer folks, since some of you have been here a good while now."

"Has Dianne been here?" Dom asked.

"No, she hasn't, but she had to work with the kids today on schoolwork." Gordon grimaced. "She'd be unhappy with the state of the first aid station."

"You think?" Nikki said, chuckling.

Cassie listened to the conversation with one ear and looked down at the dark water, and unconsciously hugged herself. She knew that she'd be learning to swim in that environment, and it didn't exactly make her feel comfortable seeing it here, so opaque and foreboding. She was relieved to hear Gordon say, "Okay, folks, let's head back up to the hangar. My grandmother packed us quite a lunch, and I'd like to get into it before Virgil's group does!"

"Sounds good to me!" Brandon said heartily as they retraced their steps and headed up that long flight.

--Mateo Island, finis

Posted by Tikatu on October 27, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #405 is a reply to message #404] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"Okay, Will," Brains said. "You've seen the vehicles and equipment you'll be working on, but you haven't checked out the tool area, right?"

"True, except for those you and I used to work on the firefighting equipment. And that wasn't very much, since we hardly needed to do anything to them. They're all kept in this section of the bay, I take it."

"Right. The ones you'll be using most of the time are in this cabinet and these two drawers." Brains indicated the two top drawers of a large chest. "But some of the vehicles, and especially the Thunderbird vessels, use specialized tools. Now, you probably won't be working on the Thunderbirds, unless one of the pilots asks for your assistance, but you could be asked to bring a specific tool. So you should know where we keep them.

"As you can see, each drawer and cabinet is labeled for the vehicle or vessel the tools inside are used on. Those used on our boats are kept in the pen. We'll head over to that area tomorrow. So go ahead and select a drawer, and open it."

Will checked the labels, then pulled on the fifth drawer from the top. When it opened, he saw something inside that didn't look like it could possibly belong where it was. He picked it up and saw another one beneath. "What the heck is this? A Muesli bar?" He looked over at Brains, puzzlement written all over his face.

Brains chuckled slightly. "Our last mechanic had a blood sugar problem. She secreted these in various places so she'd have them handy, just in case."

"A mechanic with a blood sugar problem? Sounds to me like someone who wouldn't get a whole lot of work done."

"No, she did her job well, usually. Her health problems rarely got in the way of her work."

"Then I'll probably find more in other places?"

"Maybe. We did find some of these in Thunderbird 2. She went on a few of our rescues, so she kept a stash there."

"She went on rescues? A mechanic?" Will scratched his head. "Does that mean I'll be goin' on rescues as well?"

"It's a possibility, especially if it's an 'all hands' type. So if you hear the emergency alarm - and I'm sure you'll know it when you hear it - head to the lounge fast."

"Okay; I will." Will looked down at the bar in his hand, then glanced at the one still in the drawer. "So what do I do with these things whenever I find them?"

"Well, unless you or someone else want them, there would be only two choices, I guess."

"I know I'm not interested in eating these. And if anyone else liked them, I'm sure you'd know about that."

"With the exception of our other new recruit, you're right." Brains took the other Muesli bar out of the drawer and put it on the worktable. Will put the one he had next to it.

"So what are the two choices?"

"Either chuck them out, or..." Brains grinned suddenly.

"Or what?"

"Maybe Gatorade, Alan's pygmy alligator, would enjoy them."

"Alan's got an alligator?"

Brains laughed. "Don't worry. It's a little one, and is kept in a pen."

"I'm glad to hear that!"

"Well, let's get back to the job at hand, shall we?"

The two men turned back to the tool chest.

Posted by hobbeth on October 27, 2007
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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #406 is a reply to message #405] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Tracy Island, Wednesday, October 10th, mid-morning...

Luke shuffled through the letters in his hand. There was one from his brother, one from his parents, and a couple from the gang in Colorado. The last one stumped him. It was a bright orange envelope with only his first name on it. He paused, staring at it, realizing during the mail call today, everyone on the island had gotten the same thing.

Shrugging, he opened it and pulled out the card inside. As he opened it, a pile of confetti bats and pumpkins fell to the floor. "What the...? Great. No, Rom, don't eat it!" He bent over and scraped up the bits of paper, stuffing them back into the envelope. He quickly scanned the card, then narrowing his eyes, he turned and marched out the door and down the balcony steps.

Luke made his way over to Elise's apartment, and knocked on the glass door. A moment later she appeared and grinned. "Hey, Luke," she said as she opened the door. "What's up?"

Luke stepped inside and held out the envelope. "A Halloween party? Are you kidding?"

Elise shook her head. "Nope. Why, that a problem for you?"

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I'm not a big party kind of guy. I'll go, sure, but...it's the costume part that's got me worried. I'm not good at that sort of thing."

Elise chuckled. "Poor baby." Luke glared at her and she laughed again. "How about I come up with something and we can go together?"

Relief washed over Luke's face. "Sure. Thanks, Elise." He paused a moment, his face growing stern. "No tights, no drag. Something normal."

She nodded solemnly. "Normal it is." She held out her hand. "Want to spit shake on it?"

Luke rolled his eyes. "You're so gross." A tugging at his sock attracted his attention and he looked down to see a tiny tabby kitten. "Well, hello there. And who might you be?" He picked up the kitten, who promptly fluffed up and hissed. "Aren't you a tough guy? Where did you get him?"

Elise smiled. "One of the good things that came out of the tornado." She went on to explain how the Tracy homestead had been destroyed and how they had discovered Momma Cat and the kittens. "I called him Henry."

"Hi there, Henry." Luke adjusted his grip on the kitten and stroked it under the chin. Henry batted a paw at him, then cuddled up and began to purr. "Rom's going to go nuts when he gets a whiff of this guy."

"So you'll go? And you'll bring something to eat? We're trying to take the burden off of Kyrano and Mrs. Tracy." Elise chuckled. "Though she insisted on making the cake. Doesn't trust the rest of us," she added with a wink.

Luke nodded in agreement. "Good idea. Not sure what I'll bring yet. Do you want food-food or finger type stuff?"

"Finger stuff is fine." Elise raised an eyebrow in surprise. "You can cook?"

"Yes, I can cook," Luke shot back. "Well, a few things. How about wings? I make a mean garlic hot wing. I'll throw in the veggies and dressing to go with them."

Elise smiled. "Perfect! And I'll start working on a costume for us. Something fun...hmm..."

"I meant it about the tights," Luke said as he handed Henry back to her. "I've got to go find Will. Mr. Tracy broached a mailbox idea to me today and I want to get Will's opinion and help with it. Talk to you later." He started out the door, then paused and turned, a devilish grin on his face. "Hey, Henry..." Luke dumped the confetti on Elise's clean floor and laughed as the kitten scrambled out of her arms to jump at it. He winked at Elise's annoyed expression. "Have fun!" Then he sauntered out the door.

Posted by lillehafrue on November 3, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #407 is a reply to message #406] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, October 10, 2068, 11:00 a.m., Tracy Island

Dianne smoothed her hand over the clean side of the medical cabin. Parts of it were still unpainted, the cahelium bare and coppery. She turned to Brains, who was there to answer her questions. "Will you be repainting the whole thing?"

"Yes," he answered simply, nodding. Dianne nodded back, then came to the wide side doors. They stood open, and the ramp was down, inviting her to enter. She took a deep breath, and walked up the ramp.

She stood there for a moment, looking around, as Anna joined her. Jeff was outside, hovering, but Anna had felt too many people would make Dianne feel crowded. If she needed his support, he was there, otherwise, Dianne had Anna to watch her and gauge her responses.

"How do you feel looking at this?" Anna asked quietly.

Dianne stood still, looking around thoughtfully. The diagnostic beds were back in place, but covered in plastic, as was the monitoring station and the storage lockers. The antigravity stretchers weren't in place, but their hangers remained. "It's odd. It's familiar, yet it's like seeing it for the first time... again. "She ran a hand over the dust covered plastic on one of the beds, and gave Brains, who had followed at a distance, a wry smile. "We'll have a fun time cleaning this up, won't we?"

She moved toward the back corner, which had been rebuilt. It was empty; the storage lockers there hadn't yet been replaced. She turned to the surgical bay, and glanced in. The parts of the bed were lying on the floor, ready to be reassembled. Some of the lockers were gone; they'd been warped beyond use by the collision, but the sink still stood. Its smooth polymer surface was cracked, though. Brains came up behind her. "That's coming out today. We'll be replacing everything in here before reassembling the bed. Hopefully, we'll have it done by the end of the day, or mid-day tomorrow." He smiled slightly. "Will's been a great help on this."

Dianne nodded, and said slowly, "I'm just thankful that no one was back here when we collided." She shook her head vigorously, her voice cracking. "There would have been definite fatalities then."

She breathed deeply, then turned away and went back into the main cabin. Spying the door on the other side, she walked toward it, slowly, and tapped the button to slide it open. It didn't budge.

"No power to it yet, I'm afraid," Brains said. "I'm still working on the new coupling devices."

Anna watched as Dianne merely nodded. "How will those devices work?" Anna asked.

"Well, there'll still be a magnetic coupler that will bring the two parts close together, but if there's a failure on the magnets, there will be a series of heavy duty studs fixed in the control cabin's rear wall. They'll slot into holes on the medical cabin, and be clamped from within. A power failure will freeze the clamps in place so the two pieces are still physically connected." He paused. "I can show you in computer simulation if you like."

"Maybe later," Dianne murmured. She turned, smiled a little, and said, "Where's the control cabin?"

"Uh, outside." Brains shot a glance at Anna, who said nothing. "Are you sure you want to see it? We've been dismantling it..."

Dianne bit her lower lip, letting it slide between her teeth. "I'd like to try, anyway."

"Not alone," Anna said quickly.

"No, not alone," Dianne agreed.

They left the medical cabin, Dianne pausing a moment to run her hand along the door. "You know," she said conversationally, "I didn't even look at the skylights or the windows. Just the equipment. All I could think about was how fast could we get it restocked for the next rescue."

"I'll let you know when it's ready for that," Brains said as he followed her out.. He motioned to his right, to where the control cab would normally be. "This way."

Jeff met Dianne at the bottom of the ramp. "What's happening, love?" he asked as she held out her hand to him.

"I'm going to see the control cabin. Come with me, please?"

Jeff glanced at Anna, who nodded a little. "Sure, love. I'll come."

They followed Brains to the end of the medical cabin. The control cab looked much different than it had the last time Dianne and Jeff had seen it. Some of the outer skin had been removed, and much of the interior walls, so in spots, they could see right inside. The ceiling had been removed, as Dianne could see from where she stood outside.

"As you can see, we're taking it apart to see what we can salvage before we rebuild," Brains explained. He waved his hand toward a pile of things, most wrapped in plastic, set to one side. "Hopefully we can use these things again."

The lockers were there; only Jeff noticed the dent in Nikki's door. So was the emergency diagnostic bed, wrapped in plastic and laid on one side. But what made Dianne draw in a deep breath and tighten her grip on Jeff's hand was the chair -- the pilot's chair, her chair. It was still in the leaned back position, though it was no longer on its pedestal. The steering yoke was nowhere to be seen.

"I... I think I've seen enough for now," Dianne said abruptly. Anna, watching, noticed where Dianne's gaze went, and how Jeff turned to search her face as it went white. He lifted her hand to his lips, and she turned to him, then buried her face in his shoulder.

Anna moved in, and between her and Jeff, they drew Dianne away. "It's okay, Dianne. You don't have to do it all in one day. The medical cabin was enough."

As they headed out of the repair bay and back to the monorail, Anna asked, "How did you feel about this visit?"

Dianne breathed deeply a couple of times, before answering. Her voice trembled a little. "It was harder than I thought it would be. Not so much the medical cabin, though I had a quick vision what it might have been like if we'd encountered the tornado on the way in, instead of out." She sighed heavily. "I'm glad they're pulling it apart." Softly, she added, "The chair was the worst of it. I'm going to ask Brains to trash it entirely. Design a new chair."

"Good thought," Anna said, sitting next to her as Jeff sent the monorail car back to the elevators. "What else can you do?"

Dianne looked puzzled, and Anna continued. "You need to take control of your recovery, Dianne. What else can you do that would help you accomplish that?"

"Well, Brains has been consulting me on the design of the cockpit," Dianne said, her brow furrowing. "We've agreed that there won't be a steering column anymore, but will be all computer controlled. Sort of like a video game." She huffed a tiny laugh. "Tyler's promised that he'll teach me how to use a joystick."

"All of the ground based Thunderbirds and auxiliary equipment will be retrofitted with airbags, too," Jeff offered. "Drew bent my ear about that one."

"Be interesting to see how they design airbags for Thunderbird Four," Anna said. "This sounds like a start. What else can you do?"

"I'd get down there and work on the medical cabin, but Brains and Tin-Tin would tell me I'm in the way." Dianne looked down at her hands. "I've been making a list of what we'll need, and ordering the meds and other supplies. Some of them have arrived already."

"That sounds good, too."

The monorail came to a stop, and they stepped out into the rock-hewn vestibule. "I think you're ready to go back to the medical cabin, Dianne," Anna said. "You've had a rescue or two; you're taking charge again. We'll see about actually piloting Seven once things have been finalized on the new designs, and it's rebuilt."

Dianne smiled wanly, and shook her head. "Thank you, Anna. I know I couldn't have come this far without your help."

"We're not done yet, but you're getting there."

The elevator opened, and the trio stepped out. Jeff glanced at his watch. "Lunch will be served shortly. I'll get the kids, and have a word with their teachers before then."

"Then we'll meet you in the dining room," Dianne said, kissing him on the cheek. He turned and made the kiss a full one on the lips. She returned it, putting her arms around him. For a moment, they were oblivious to anyone but each other, so it was nearly a surprise when they heard Anna murmur softly.

"Teenagers."

Posted by Tikatu on November 6, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #408 is a reply to message #407] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wed, Oct 10th 2:30pm, Tracy Island

Callie walked through the door to Anna's office. "Nice office. This is new since I went up to Thunderbird Five."

Anna looked up from her computer. "Hello, Callie. Mr. Tracy thought I should have a permanent place here to meet patients. Someplace neutral where we can be private." Anna closed the computer and motioned Callie to a small sofa. She moved to a chair across from Callie. "Are you happy to be back on Earth?"

"Yes. One month is long enough to get things done, but I like feeling fresh air again."

"How did the rest of your time go after the nightmare? Are you more nervous now that you're back?"

"A little," Callie admitted. "However, it's not so bad anymore. I'm getting a lot better control of myself."

"You don't seem as closed off as you were before you left for Thunderbird Five." Anna leaned back in her chair. "How are you doing without the antidepressants?"

"I'm definitely improving. I've been sleeping much better at night, and I'm not thinking about...him so much."

"What are your thoughts when you think about him? How does it make you feel?"

"When I start thinking about him, I feel...violated, angry, like I want to get back at him so badly."

"Angry. Not scared?"

"At first, yes, I was scared. I started looking over my shoulder, getting the uncomfortable feeling he was somewhere close by. After a while, though, I felt angry, wondering why he would do this to me."

"Do you blame yourself for what happened?"

"In a way, yes, I do. I let him get to me too easily. I was an easy target for him."

"Why do you say that? Why do you think you were easier for him to get than anyone else?"

"I've been asking myself that same question since that incident. Probably because he saw me by myself and got me isolated, leaving me unable to get in touch with anyone else. No partner, no one. And my fear of snakes sure didn't help matters."

"Why were you alone? Did you wander off by yourself?"

"Oh, no. I was ordered to investigate the fuel at the scene of the plane crash. I got so absorbed with the work that I didn't know he was even there."

"Was there anyone who could have gone with you?"

Callie shrugged. "I really don't know. Everyone was so busy doing tasks to help the passengers, and all hands were basically tied up. After what had happened to me, Mr. Tracy ordered that NO ONE be allowed to go anywhere by himself."

"So there was no way you could have known not to go out by yourself?"

"Not at that time, anyway."

"Did anyone know you were afraid of snakes?"

With a nod, Callie answered, "Oh, yes. They found out when a snake jumped me after my incident with the Hood."

"But no one knew beforehand."

"Actually, Scott did. I had to report in just after I had seen one investigating the plane."

"So you were attacked then got a major fright right after being rescued."

"Right, that's when everyone else figured out my fear."

"If this had happened to someone else, would you have expected them to not be affected? What would you tell that person?"

"That's a good question. I mean, I've been afraid of snakes my whole life. Who's to know if someone else exhibits that same fear, especially after what the Hood did."

"Other people have fears. At least one person on the island has a phobia as bad as yours. What would you say if this had happened to him? Or if he had been the one the Hood attacked?"

"I'd tell him he was surrounded by friends who would be there for him when he needed help..." Callie's voice trailed off.

"And?" Anna prompted, her voice quiet but encouraging. "Then what would you say?"

"I don't know what else."

"Think about it over the next week. You've been evading the question, though. Why do you blame yourself? You didn't plan on being attacked. Rape victims sometimes do the same thing, thinking they were to blame for their own rape. Why do you think you're doing this?"

Callie sat back and thought about it for a while. When she resumed talking her face was troubled. "I've been...wanting to blame myself for what happened, but I've been avoiding the fact it wasn't my own fault."

"Why do you think you do that?" When Callie just looked at her, Anna went on.

"You always try to be in control of yourself, but you had no control in this situation and no way to take control back. When the Hood attacked you, you lost control of yourself. That's terrifying for everyone but more so for someone who controls their emotions as much as you do."

Callie looked puzzled and slightly offended. "What do you mean? I'm not the type that orders everyone around or has to have things my own way."

"Callie, you are one of the most controlled people I know. And I don't mean that you are a control freak."

"What am I doing wrong? Am I living the problems all in my head?"

"No one is ever in control of their life. We can just try to control our reactions and we can't always do even that. It's easier to think we did something wrong than to admit there are things we can't control. You keep thinking you've done something wrong. By doing that, you regain the feeling your life is totally under your own control. But the events were not under your control. By blaming yourself, you pretend they were and you blew it. You'd done nothing wrong. But you were powerless, and you don't want to deal with that."

Callie nodded. "That's it. I couldn't deal with the idea of being powerless at the time...or even now."

"Has anyone or anything else ever affected you like this?"

After a moment of thinking, Callie looked sad. "There was one other time I felt this way. It still makes me angry to think about it."

Anna waited a minute but Callie didn't say anything else. When Callie had been silent for several minutes, Anna sat back and said briskly, "Ok, I want you to think about feeling powerless and trying to regain control. Write something about it every day until our next meeting. Also think about any other time you were powerless and how you felt then. We'll talk about that next week." She stood up.

Callie also rose from the sofa. "You want me to write about this every day?"

"And anything else you feel like. I don't care how much you write but spend at least fifteen minutes every day writing in your journal. Same time next week?"

Callie nodded. "This time works well for me. Thank you again. I guess you're going to continue to come on Wednesday?"

"As long as Cherie has the art class on Thursday nights. It makes it easier to get me home. "

They shook hands and Callie turned to leave. Anna went back behind her desk and started typing at her computer again. She's starting to see the problem but she's still fighting it. It will be interesting to see what she writes about this week.

--another visit by susanmartha and TracyFan4Ever on November 6, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #409 is a reply to message #408] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, October 10, around 3 p.m., Tracy Island

Cassie was listening to Virgil as he went over the good and bad points of her last training mission with the Firefly on the simulator. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Scott walk into the room. He didn't say anything, as he leaned up against the wall. After the nerve wracking flying lesson earlier today, Cassie was not happy to see him.

Cassie had felt totally out of her league when it came to learning to fly a plane. She had only flown, as a passenger, a handful of times. Her trip with Dianne the week before was the first time she had even been in a cockpit of a plane. With that feeling of needing to prove herself nagging at her, she had thrown herself into studying the book work he had given her. She had thought she had it down, but when she had gotten to the simulator today her mind had gone blank. Remembering the names of the controls had suddenly seemed difficult, remembering where they all were was even worse.

He probably thinks I'm a complete idiot at this point, Cassie thought to herself, as she recalled the earlier lesson.

"Cassie, are you listening to me?"

Virgil's question brought her out of her thoughts. "What?" she asked, looking over at him. "Sorry, my mind drifted for a moment. It won't happen again."

"Okay," Virgil said, debating on whether to question her further about it or not. Maybe, it's just been a long day for her, he thought, deciding to let it go for now. He was about to repeat the question he had asked her when he noticed Scott standing off to the side. "Hey, Scott. You need something?"

"Just wanted to talk to you about something. I can wait until you're done though."

"Okay. It won't be too much longer. Just want to run one more simulation," Virgil told him, before returning his attention back to Cassie.

Virgil continued the lesson, glad to see that Cassie maintained her focus through the rest of the lesson. "Good job today," he told her as they finished up and headed toward the exit of the silo. "Come up with any ideas yet on how to improve our firefighting arsenal?" he asked her out of curiosity. It hadn't been mentioned since their first lesson.

"I've been working on it. I'm just need to flesh out a few details and I'll be ready to share my idea with you. I should be able to do that tonight."

"Looking forward to hearing it," he told her, as they reached the spot where Scott was waiting for Virgil.

"Hi Scott," Cassie said politely. Scott returned her greeting. "I guess I'll see you two around," she said. She left the room and headed to meet with Tin-Tin so the measurements for her uniform could be taken. She had talked briefly with the engineer earlier in the week, and had chosen aquamarine for her uniform.

"What did you want to talk about?" Virgil asked his brother, once the two of them were alone.

"Just wanted an update on how Cassie's training with the pod equipment and Thunderbird 2 was going," Scott said casually.

"Well she's quite comfortable with the Firefly already. That last simulation went very well. Wasn't much I could criticize," Virgil told him. "Seeing as the Fire Truck and Fire Tender were both modified from commercial vehicles, she's already familiar with them and she picked up the modifications quickly. Some of the other equipment is taking a little more time but she's doing well. I think we made a good choice with bringing her on board."

"Good," Scott replied with a nod. "What was that about improving our firefighting arsenal?"

"Cassie just pointed out that we're lacking equipment to fight a fire from the air. All we really have are the missiles we can fire from Two and One. Cassie's working on an ideas for modifications we can make to change that."

"She's not wasting any time at offering advice." To himself he added, I didn't expect her to be making those kind of suggestions this early on, though that was the reason we brought her on board. It's good that she already feels comfortable enough to voice her opinions.

"No, she isn't," Virgil replied. "She actually brought the subject up at the end of the first lesson. Having a firefighter on the team is going to make the next rescue involving a fire easier. Hopefully, there won't be a repeat of what happened in Australia. Losing contact with Alan there for a while was one of the more frightening experiences I've had on a rescue."

"I know what you mean," Scott commented, thinking about his own feelings during that situation. What was it Elise had asked during that rescue? he thought, trying to recall her comments to him at Mobile Control. Something about 'how much did I know about fires and fighting them'. Not much. We've always kind of handled them as the situation developed. Elise said she felt out of her league. I think we're all out of our league when it comes to fires. Still, it remains to be seen how well our new recruit does.

"So how are her flight lessons going?" Virgil asked out of curiosity.

Scott thought about the lesson this morning. "Well, she definitely isn't a natural pilot," Scott told him as he headed for the door. Virgil fell in step beside him. "She seemed to have a very good grasp of things from the book work, so I started her in the simulator this morning. It seemed like once she was in the simulator, she forgot everything she learned."

"Maybe she's just nervous," Virgil suggested.

"Nervous about flying a plane in general, or are you suggesting that I'm making her nervous?" Scott asked his brother.

"Both, possibly. I know she wasn't your choice out of the candidates we had, but you haven't exactly come off as overly friendly since she got here. Maybe she's feeling a need to prove herself to you and that's what's making her nervous."

"Has she said something to you?"

"No, I'm just guessing," Virgil told him. "But have you tried having a conversation with her about something other than work?"

Scott thought about Virgil's question. Other than work related conversations, the last conversation he had with Cassie was his apology to her when she was here for the interview. "Not really."

"Then try talking to her in a more relaxed setting. See if it helps."

"I'll think about it," Scott told him.

Virgil nodded, sensing his brother wanted that to be the end of the conversation. "Hey, remember those weirdos in the robes from Ned Cook's show?" Virgil asked. Scott nodded an affirmative so he continued. "John and I were looking at their web site about IR a few days ago. This group has got it into their heads that we're aliens from outer space."

Scott just shook his head. The things people come up with, he thought to himself.

"It was actually kind of amusing. They gave you the name Jhutu, which means Lighting Bird."

"Lucky me," Scott commented. "Sounds like something that would have gotten printed in the Weekly World News," he commented, thinking of the tabloid that he had learned about in the History of the Media course he had taken as an elective back in college.

"Weekly World News?" Virgil ventured.

With a smile, Scott started telling his brother about the paper and the outrageous stories it had printed while it was in circulation back at the start of the century.

Posted by starrynebula on November 7, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #410 is a reply to message #409] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, October 10th, 2068. Tracy Island

For once Anna was not sitting next to the pool, reading. The day had been rainy and dreary, and after dinner she holed up in the Library with a book she had found there. John found her sitting by the window, deep in Diplomatic Immunity.

"I always liked Bujold. Have you read her fantasy books as well?"

Anna looked up, and put the book down. "Yes, I love her Chalion series. I wrote a paper on the theology in it when I was considering seminary. I practically have Paladin of Souls memorized. And, of course, I've read all the 'Miles Vorkosigan' books." She gestured at the chair next to her. "Sit down. I was about to get up for a refill on my coffee. Do you want some? I have a pot of decaf made."

John smiled. "Since I'm already standing, let me get it." He put the book he was holding down and took her cup over to the coffee maker in the back of the room. "You take cream?"

In a minute, he returned with two cups. Handing hers to Anna, he sat in the armchair next to her and sipped his coffee.

Anna watched him. Do I want to wait for him to start? Or should I say something? He sat there, lost in thought. Finally Anna broke the silence.

"Do you miss her?"

John looked up from his coffee. "I'm not sure. I miss having someone to talk to about books. I miss having someone special waiting for me when I get back from Thunderbird five. Someone my own age, that is."

"Tyler doesn't exactly count as a romantic interest. But do you miss having someone waiting for you or do you miss her specifically?"

John thought for a second. "I think I miss the idea of having someone more than I miss her. I liked her, but I was never sure how I felt. I enjoyed her company but in the same way I liked Tyler's or Tin-Tin's. I liked her as a friend, not romantically." He looked up from his coffee and added, "I miss having her here, but I don't think I miss her, if that makes sense."

"A great deal of sense, I think. What did you do together?"

John smiled. "We talked about books. She introduced me to a couple of new authors." He gestured at the book he had put on the table. "I was showing her the stars and teaching her the constellations. She was learning Spanish. She's a good student; she learned fast."

"Sound like a lot of adult mentoring. John, how old is Kat?"

"Oh, about..." John froze for a second. Then he continued, slowly. "I was about to say 16. But I know she's 25."

Anna nodded. "She is a very nice young lady. And she's going to be a very nice woman -- when she gets out of childhood. Physically, she's 25. But, emotionally, she's still 16."

John sat there for a minute looking down at his cup of coffee. When he finally looked up at Anna, his eyes were more thoughtful than troubled. "I always wanted to protect her, take care of her. I liked having her as a friend, but she seemed to want, well, all of me at all times. Tyler got mad at her for taking me away from him. But Tyler's nine years old. Kat acted the same way."

"Exactly. Wait five years, and she'll be a different person. But she's not really an adult now. She still has a child's romantic view of life. Not an adult understanding of romance and love."

"I think she took things a lot more seriously than I did. She was thinking romance; I was thinking friendship."

Anna nodded. "When I talked to her, I got the impression she'd never had male friends before. A boyfriend, yes, but not guys as friends, just to do things with. Maybe romance was the only way she could imagine having a male friend."

John's mouth quirked up in a wry grin. "And I wasn't interested in romance just yet. Much less marriage."

"John, if you had married her, you would have been bored out of your skull within a year - probably sooner. You're not the type who wants a pretty wife who cooks and cleans and gives you kids. You need someone who's your intellectual equal -- someone you can talk about ideas, concepts and dreams with." Anna looked down at the book next to John. "Did you talk about the Brother Cadfael books with her?" At John's nod, she went on. "I like Ellis Peters. I like her understanding of the beliefs of the 12th century and she writes a good mystery. But could you imagine trying to explain the theology of Chalion to Kat? Or talking about anything of Heinlein's with her? Not the plots of the books -- but the ideas behind them? You may not want someone who loves the stars like you do, or who can discuss physics with you, but you need someone you can talk as an equal to. And you couldn't do that with Kat."

John's face had a distant, sad look on it as he said, "And the worst thing is: she never would have understood why she couldn't make me happy."

Posted by SusanMartha on November 7, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #411 is a reply to message #410] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"Oh man, did you see that?"

Dominic clutched his stomach as he guffawed, nearly spilling the bottle of beer he had in his free hand.

"Yes, Dom, I saw, I'm right here..."

Luke chuckled more at his friend's reaction than at the goof on the televiewer. They were watching a TV outtake show; Luke shook his head. The Irishman seemed to find it ridiculously funny. The two had become fast friends, spending many evenings watching what could only be described as atrocious televiewer programs.

"Ah ha ha! Did you see that? Right in the face, bam! Ah ha ha ha!"

"Hey, you'll wake the baby," Luke chided, holding back his own laughter.

"Oh, God, right, hee hee..."

Dominic managed to get a hold of himself, before hopping off the couch to check on his son, who was thankfully still fast asleep. He grinned and closed the door back over, before crossing to the kitchen area.

"Do you want another?"

Luke twisted his lips in thought before nodding.

"Yeah, just one."

Dominic pulled a can of Guinness from the fridge and another light beer for himself, before taking a running jump and landing heavily on the couch, his legs splaying into Luke's view.

"Hey! You'll bust a spring! Or a hip!" Luke complained, and grappled the can from his friend. "How am I supposed to open this now?"

Dominic gave him a toothy grin, and Luke shook his head again, chuckling with disbelief.

"You are one stra-a-a-nge man, Dom."

"Why thank you," Dominic said, and reached for their bowl of chips.

Posted by ArtisticRainey on November 18, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #412 is a reply to message #411] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, October 9, 8 p.m., en route to Sydney, Australia

"This is great!" Brandon sat in the co-pilot's seat of the JT-1. "I've never been to Australia before. Not even when I served in WASP."

"It's a great city," Virgil said, grinning at Brandon's enthusiasm. "Too bad I won't get to see a lot of it."

"Gonna be stuck in boring meetings, huh?" The aquanaut sounded sympathetic. "By the way, thanks for taking me with you on this trip. I really need to get some things, and I think I'll find more variety in Sydney than I would in Christchurch."

"You're welcome, and I'm hoping that the meeting won't be too boring." Virgil checked the plane's instruments. "You'll find more variety in Sydney, yeah, and it should cost less, too. Just don't get stuck doing too much sight-seeing. You've only got a few hours."

Virgil was heading for Australia at his father's request. "The management sensitivity training that Jerry came up with has been adapted for the offices in Australia," Jeff had said. "I'd like you to sit in on it and evaluate it for me. Take notes, get a copy of the recording. See if there's anything the team missed, or that they could improve on. We may have to use it for our own recruits at some point, and I want to see if it'll work." He had paused. "I'll eventually be sending all of you boys to a session as it becomes more widespread, but this is the first time it's been 'local', so to speak."

"Sure, Dad." Virgil had been amenable. It wasn't often these days that he got his hands dirty in the money-making part of the family businesses, and he was looking forward to the opportunity. He'd already made the arrangements to take Brandon shopping with him as he took Cherie to her art class, so it had sounded like a good idea to take him along. The meeting was early in the morning, which is why they were going the evening before. It looked like the session would run just long enough for him and Brandon to get back to Tracy Island by early afternoon... and for him to fulfill his duties to his little sister. He could shop for himself while she was in class.

"So, how am I going to get around tomorrow?" Brandon asked. "I don't know my way around..."

"I'll have the motor pool assign a car and driver to you for tomorrow," Virgil replied. "Most of them know their way around the stores."

"Pick a pretty one for me, okay?"

Virgil glanced at his companion and laughed. "I'll try to keep that in mind, but it's the older, grandmotherly ones who know where the best deals are."

"Hmm." Brandon looked thoughtful in the lights of the cockpit. "Never thought about that before." He playfully poked Virgil in the shoulder. "Okay, you're on. A grandmotherly type it is."

Virgil laughed again, and Brandon joined in.

Posted by Tikatu on November 18, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #413 is a reply to message #412] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, October 10, 2068, 10:55pm, Tracy Island

Jeff Tracy threw the magazine down on the coffee table with a look of disgust on his face. Hearing the noise, Dianne looked up from her own magazine. "What's up?"

"This," replied Jeff, in an angry tone of voice. He handed her the recent edition of Time. "He gets 10 years in jail. The dead get nothing. I'd love to do something to help the families and to make sure no one else ever pulls something like this, but I have no idea what I can do."

Dianne picked up the magazine and read.

"Mine owner gets 10 years" By Thomas Hawkins.

"Jacob Henderson was sentenced to ten years for reckless endangerment and criminal negligence in the Cougar mountain mine collapse two years ago. The sentence is in addition to the $1.5 million fine leveled against his company, the Cougar and Bear Mountain Mining Company, for failure to follow safety regulations.

"Two years ago, a mine collapse killed 24 men and left thirty one others trapped and two missing. International Rescue was called in but four of the trapped men died before they could be rescued and two more died while undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital. The bodies of two missing have never been found, bringing the total dead to thirty two.

"One of the people testifying against Henderson was his secretary. She testified that one of the managers complained about the lack of emergency breathing apparatus and the need for extra shoring in the galleys. According to her testimony, Henderson told the manager 'If there is any trouble, we'll just call International Rescue. People will be so excited to see them, they'll ignore anything else and we can blame any problems with the mine supports on their drilling equipment.' The manager was sentenced earlier to 8 years as part of a plea bargain.

"Several wrongful death suits have been filed against the CBMM. The company has declared bankruptcy, claiming they have no money left after paying the fines. Several of the families have named Henderson as a co-defendant in the suits, separate from his role as company president, based on his comments. 'Clearly the company was negligent, but we feel Mr. Henderson was clearly reckless as an individual as well as as a company employee,' said Ronald Ecks, a lawyer for several of the victim's families. 'We feel he deliberately ignored safety regulations in order to earn a higher profit from his shares in CBMM.' The case is expected to force the court to reexamine corporate versus personal liability for decisions made by an individual owning a majority corporate share.

"Several of the families of the miners who initially survived but died before IR arrived have considered bringing a lawsuit against IR. The family of one of those killed in the initial collapse brought a suit against IR, claiming IR was responsible for allowing Henderson to be negligent. The judge threw out the suit, saying it had 'no merit' and was 'equivalent to blaming the fire department for someone starting a fire'."

Dianne put the magazine back down. "Dear, there is nothing you can do. People have been trying to find a way to blame others for their greed since the Garden of Eden. The only people who would blame IR for this are the people who would blame you for an ingrown toenail if they could."

Jeff walked over to the windows and looked out at the ocean. "It just makes me so angry that the guy would ignore safety to begin with. Then he tries to blame us."

Dianne smiled. "Welcome to my world. People ignore their doctor all the time, then blame the doctor when they get sick. Then they want us to fix whatever is wrong and blame us for not having a magic wand. Don't take the responsibility for other people being blind and stupid on your shoulders. You'll just go nuts without helping anyone, really."

Jeff walked back to the couch and picked up the magazine again. "I suppose you're right. Thomas Hawkins. That's Dom's half-brother again. I hope Dom doesn't see this; he's had enough happen these past few weeks."

"Let's hope he doesn't see it. Now come to bed and I'll work some of the tension out of your shoulders. I'm sure we can manage to get you to think about something other than that man's stupidity and greed."

"With an offer like that, how can I refuse?" Jeff smiled and held his hand out to help her out of her chair.

Posted by susanmartha on December 1, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #414 is a reply to message #413] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Everyone said it would happen. A massive earthquake in the heartland of the United States, caused by the movement of the New Madrid fault line, would damage and destroy cities that thought themselves beyond an earthquake's reach. It was supposed to happen by 2040, but that deadline passed without its appearance. The seismologists became more and more sure of a devastating earthquake, and as a result, the states of Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Missouri put measures in place to ensure that new construction would be as quake-proof as modern technology would allow.

Fast forward nearly 30 years more, and the quake-proofing programs are widespread. Every architect and builder has been thoroughly indoctrinated with the need for such precautions. Even a sprawling, four-story shopping mall has the technology built into it... or does it?

xxxx

Wednesday, October 10, 2068, 9:50 a.m., local time, outside of Covington TN (Thursday, October 11, 3:30 a.m., Tracy Island)

Jim D'Angelo frowned as he compared the plans on his data pad to what he saw in front of him. Taking out a laser measure, he did a quick comparison of the distance between two of the supports that were taking shape and what his data pad said. The results deepened the frown on his face, and he strode over to the builder's trailer, tucking the pad under his arm, and the measure back in his pocket.

The interior of the trailer was slightly cooler than the day outside; October in Tennessee was usually temperate, and sometimes even warm. The leaves had finally decided to change color, and since the building site was surrounded by young forest, Jim had found ample opportunity to appreciate them. But what drew his attention now were the daily reports by the construction boss, Terry Nicks.

What he read in the computer made his eyes widen in disbelief. He printed it out, and went in search of Terry.

He found the construction supervisor conferring with a couple of the workers. "Terry!" he called, waving.

Terry, a big dark-skinned man in denim shirt and work pants, finished his conversation with the workers and turned to face Jim. "What's up, Jim?" he asked.

"Look at these figures!" Jim was trying to keep his consternation and outrage from his tone as he showed Terry what he'd printed out. "These pilings aren't set deep enough, and the support columns are too close together. What's going on here?"

Terry bristled. "The pilings are just fine, and the columns are within limits," he replied sharply. "We used this same configuration at the mall in Raleigh, and the inspectors didn't say a word."

"That wasn't in an earthquake zone, or on top of an old landfill, was it?" Jim shot back. "The pilings need to be deeper because of the ground we're working on. And what about the MR dampeners? They're supposed to be ready and operational now."

The crew boss scowled. "They'll be online when they're needed."

"But the seismologists predict..."

"I know what they predict. 'Eighty-five percent chance of a major earthquake within the next six months'. That was four months ago and we haven't had it yet." Terry huffed out a breath. "If it'll make you feel better, I'll have them online tomorrow afternoon. But it'll take us all day to wire them up. That'll put us behind schedule."

"And what about the pilings, and the columns?" Jim was barely containing his anger. "You going to do something about those, too?"

"There's nothing we can do about them at this point, D'Angelo; you know that. The building will be fine." Terry took on a cajoling, soothing tone. "Just let me do what I do best. We'll bring this project in on time, on budget, and satisfy the brass, too."

Jim shook his head. "I'm not working with you again, Nicks. Nor is my firm. Believe me, these deviations are going on record!" With that last shot, he stalked off toward the trailer.

"Pencil pusher," Terry snorted, shaking his head. He turned back to yell at the men who were positioning a prefabricated slab on a set of cross beams. "Be careful with that!"

Posted by Tikatu on December 1, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #415 is a reply to message #414] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Jim had just made it back to the shack when the ground began to tremble. The vibration was subtle at first, enough to rattle the half-filled pot in the coffee maker. Then it picked up force, until it became a shaking that rattled Jim's teeth and sent him flying across the width of the trailer. The trailer itself, set on simple concrete blocks, shimmied back and forth and suddenly fell from the supports onto one side. By this time, Jim didn't know up from down, and when the table and chair slid into him, he didn't know anything at all for a good long while.

At the building site, Terry noticed the subtle vibrations and knew, to his horror, exactly what they meant. Grabbing his walkie-talkie, he broadcast an emergency signal, shouting, "Everyone out of the building! Second floor - head for the stairwells! Head for the shafts!" His workers didn't need to be told twice. They abandoned their equipment and ran for the already completed safety stairwells or the empty elevator shafts. Some didn't make it; the pilings, not set deep enough, shifted as the old landfill below them liquefied, sending the prefab concrete panels raining down to crush. A few dove beneath the equipment on the first floor, praying that the sturdy Caterpillar lifters and haulers would prove sturdy enough. Others made it into the utility tunnels below the lower floor, staring up in fear that their new ceiling would itself come down on them and bury them alive. But a good number, including Terry, made it to the stairwells, or to the elevator shafts. Legs were broken as some workers fell the two stories to the bottom; arms were broken as people tumbled down the steps to the basement. But they gathered and cowered, terrified, waiting for the earthquake to subside, and hoping they'd be spared. Terry gripped the handrail for dear life as he watched one man fall down the steps below him.

Finally, the shaking ended, and Terry breathed out a deep sigh of relief. He turned to one of his underlings. "Sam? I need you to get a head count of whoever's here, and a list of injuries. Take Patty with you; she's got a good memory. Find out if anyone has any first aid training and see what they can do for the injured." He glanced around at his men and women, some moaning, some shivering, some even crying. "Okay, y'all! Pull yourselves together! I need anyone who's got a cell phone to start calling out and tell people what's going on here!" He grabbed an electrician, and handed him the walkie-talkie. "Blake, you check around, see who else made it to safety. I'm going up to see how bad the damage is."

Blake nodded, and started to check the various frequencies that the crew used to keep in touch. Terry climbed the stairs, pulling himself up by the railings, letting his workers settle down against the wall. When he got to the main floor, just below where most of his people had been working, he pushed against the heavy metal door.

It didn't move. In fact, it looked like the bottom had been pushed into the solid concrete, leaving inches of warped open space around the door itself. Terry tried to peer out through those spaces, but found himself confronted by piles of rubble... and a set of bloodied fingers. He backpedaled, drawing in a hissing breath, reaching behind him for the wall to steady himself. He stood there for a few long moments, breathing heavily, then his pounding heart slowed and he was able to right himself. Running a hand through what was left of his short-cropped hair, he breathed out slowly, and headed up to the second floor.

Here, he could open the door, but what met him was a stunning sight. The second floor around the stairwell was gone. There were some slabs left farther out, too far away for him to jump to. The metal support beams were twisted, and the arm of the heavy crane lay across them. He shook his head, turned away, and headed back down the stairs.

One landing down, Blake met him. "Okay, here's what we have. Barb's crew made it to the elevator shafts on the north side; she's got five with her. Jaime and six more made it to the south elevator shafts. I got a faint message from Kim; she's holed up with another eight in the utility tunnels. She said they went in through the east stairwell. We're over here in the west stairwell. I haven't heard from anyone else, but there were quite a few people on the outside, and there are other safe spots where small groups could be holed up."

"What about getting some help out here?" Terry asked. He didn't want to mention the fingers he'd seen.

Blake shook his head. "We're trying, but all we're getting is busy signals. I'm sure the emergency services are swamped. Not to mention there are probably transmitter towers down."

"Well," Terry said with a sigh, "the governor will have to bring out the National Guard as soon as he can get them mobilized. And there shouldn't be too much damage in Memphis itself; from what I understand it's almost one hundred percent earthquake-compliant." He shook his head. "And I was just talking to Jim D'Ang... has anyone heard from Jim D'Angelo?"

Blake shook his head again. "No, I don't think so."

Terry rubbed his chin. "He was headed out to the shack; let's hope he was outside when this hit." He glanced around at the walls. "We can't get out; the door's blocked. Tell everyone to sit tight for a bit. They're safe where they are for now, and we have to expect some aftershocks."

"What about the injured?" Patty asked as she and Sam came up behind Blake. "We've got twenty people here. The injuries include three broken arms, a number of broken fingers, ribs, and a possible foot. Sprains, bruises, and at least one concussion. Don't know how the others are doing, but if they've got injuries..."

"We can't sit around, Terry," Sam told him bluntly "Aftershocks or no, we have to get these people out of here. They need medical attention."

"How do you suggest we do that?" Terry scowled and hooked a thumb over his shoulder. "The door's totally blocked from what I can see. We have few tools. I don't see any way we can get out."

Just as he uttered those words, the vibrations began again. "Aftershock!" he shouted, as the world began to shake and shudder once more.

Posted by Tikatu on December 10, 2007


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The first aftershock had passed, but Terry was still shaking. One of his workers hadn't been holding onto a railing when it happened and he fell, ending up at the bottom of a landing with his head resting at a strange angle. Patty approached the fallen man cautiously and pressed her fingers to his neck; she took in a sharp, hissing breath before looking up at Terry and shaking her head. That set off a round of gagging and retching from some of the others standing around.

"Enough!" Terry shouted. He got the attention of his workers, and took a deep breath before continuing. "There are going to be more aftershocks, so everyone needs to keep a hand on a rail, or sit down so you don't fall down."

The men and women on the stairwell shuffled around a bit, but eventually most were seated, and those who weren't had a firm grip on one of the railings.

"Has anyone gotten through to Emergency Services?" Terry asked. Many of the workers shook their heads, but one woman put up a hand.

"Celeste? You got through?"

Celeste shook her head. "No, I didn't, but I've got FM on my music player and there was an emergency broadcast. The governor is mobilizing the National Guard."

"That's a help," Blake said, nodding.

"But not for us," Terry growled. "We've got injured people and we can't get out...." He stopped as the small two-way radio at his belt crackled to life. He picked it up. "Nicks here."

The voice on the other end was faint, and pain-filled. "Jim... it's Jim... trailer... help me..."

"Jim? Are you okay? Jim?" He looked at Blake. "He's not responding."

"I think it's time we called someone else, Terry." Blake put out his hand.

Terry handed over the radio. "What are you going to do?"

Blake popped open the back of the walkie-talkie. "I know a way to give the signal a little more oomph. Then I'm going to call International Rescue."

Posted by Tikatu on December 27, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #417 is a reply to message #416] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Thursday, October 11; 4:45 AM; Tracy Island

Will walked out of his bathroom, having awakened early, as he usually did. He'd put on the clothes he usually exercised in, but decided he'd better get another task out of the way first. He went into the second bedroom, which he was using as his home office, and sat down at his computer. He'd started an email to his family the night before; his mother made him promise to write regularly, as well as call. He knew if he didn't, she'd let him know about it in no uncertain terms. He grinned sheepishly, remembering when she did just that, while he was in the Navy, and was determined not to give her the chance to repeat it.

He first read over what he'd typed in.

Hey all

How is everyone in Arizona? Has the heat started to subside enough for you? The weather is pretty great here, and since we're in the southern hemisphere, we're about halfway through spring. So our weather is heating up a bit. I'm told, though, that the temperatures don't really vary that much.

I'm settling in, and can tell you that Tracy Industries knows how to take care of their employees. Everything is state-of-the-art here. My apartment is a two-bedroom one, and well laid out. The furniture is comfortable and pretty much meets my needs. I know that you, Mom, would probably think that it needs more, but I'm happy with what I've got here, especially since I keep finding things you packed for me without my knowing.

I've been meeting my fellow co-workers over the past few days. The first person, Dom, actually lives in the apartment above me, and has a two-year-old son, Joshua. He is Irish, and I enjoy listening to him talk. His kid's cute and seems to have taken to me right off.


Suddenly there was a loud piercing sound. Will paused, startled. That must be the emergency alarm. I'd better go, at least to see what the procedures are. He saved his mail, and left.

Posted by hobbeth on January 8, 2008


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #418 is a reply to message #417] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Luke woke from a deep sleep as the alarm blared. He quickly got up and pulled on a pair of pants and struggled with his socks and boots for a moment. He tugged a shirt over his head and hurried for the door. Pausing, he grabbed Rom's vest from a hook.

"Rommel! Come!" The dog came trotting out of the bedroom, and Luke fastened the vest on him. Together the two of them got into the elevator. Cassie was already inside, looking far too awake for before dawn. "Hey," Luke said with a yawn.

She smiled. "Good morning to you, too." She nodded at the dog. "At least he's awake."

Luke chuckled. "Glad one of us is."

They made their way to the monorail, meeting up with the others as they got there. Sitting down, Luke frowned as he noticed Dominic was missing. He was about to say something when the young man came bolting through the doors. "Sorry. Couldn't wake him." Dom held Josh, who was still sound asleep, over one shoulder. Only one arm was in his shirt, which was inside out.

"Here, let me take him." Luke took Josh, cradling the sleeping child against his chest. Dominic nodded his thanks and straightened out his attire as the train started moving.

"Nervous, Luke?" He turned to face Elise. She smiled grimly. "This is your first big rescue, right?"

"Yeah." Luke handed Josh back to Dom and shrugged. "Not really nervous, much anyway. Keyed up would be the right term, I guess. I hope it's nothing too serious."

Callie piped in, "Unfortunately, they only call us when it is serious."

"True," Nikki said, turning to Luke. "But you're one up on us. At least you've had rescue experience. Most of us were green as grass."

They all laughed. Elise leaned over and squeezed Luke's hand. "Relax, you'll be fine. Thunderbird Two will get you there in no time."

Luke yawned. "I just hope she comes equipped with a coffee machine."

Posted by lillehafrue on January 11, 2007


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #419 is a reply to message #418] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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The recruits hurried into the lounge to find Jeff, Dianne, Scott, John and Gordon already there. Brains entered the room moments later, then Tin-Tin came in. Jeff was at his desk, talking to Alan. As the youngest Tracy finished his report on the call, his father made notes on a data pad in front of him.

"... and when I pulled up information on the computer while taking the call, I found out that the mall was being built on a landfill. That means there's bound to be pockets of methane gas that have been released." Alan stopped, waiting for his father to speak.

"That will be a problem. Methane is not toxic, but it's suffocating and combustible. We'll probably have to take extra oxygen. And it takes radical chemistry to remove methane from the atmosphere," Brains said. He looked over at Callie.

"Brains is right. In the twentieth century, they used a hydroxyl radical, formed from water vapor broken down by certain oxygen atoms, using ultraviolet radiation. Some progress has been made, but it's never been a real priority, and the process is pretty much unchanged," she confirmed.

"Then the sooner we get there and find the people trapped, the more people we will save," said Dianne.

"Right. Okay, Scott, take off in One. Elise, you'll pilot Two. Take the DOMO, Excavator, Seven's medical cabin, and the Mobile Crane. And all the oxygen tanks you can fit in with them." Jeff looked over at Will. "I presume the tanks are all full."

Will nodded, and replied, "Yes, sir. I checked them yesterday." He saw Scott take hold of the light sconces and was astonished to see what happened next. Jeff grinned at the look on his face, then sobered and continued.

"Okay. Callie, John, Gordon, Dom, Nikki, Dianne will all go in Two. Luke, you, too, and take Rommel. He'll be needed to help find victims. And if anyone says anything about us having a dog, just say something about how it had taken time to train him, it's his first rescue, something along those lines. Brains, Tin-Tin, I'd like you to go, too. Work with Callie to see if you can do anything about those methane pockets."

"F-A-B, Mr. Tracy."

"Then get going. The rest of you, stand down."

Everyone stood up and Dom handed a still sleeping Joshua to Lisa, who had walked in a few minutes earlier. He, Dianne and Nikki took the elevator directly to the hangar. Will, seeing Elise leaving in her own special way, shook his head and stood up, too. "I'll go help them load up, sir."

"F-A-B, Will. Come back here when you're finished."

"Yes, sir." Will followed the others to the regular elevator. As they headed down, he turned to Luke and quietly asked, "F-A-B?"

Luke snorted a laugh and began to explain.

Posted by hobbeth, January 12, 2008


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #420 is a reply to message #419] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, October 10; Opp, Alabama; Spencer family home; 10:20 a.m. (4:20 a.m. the next morning on Tracy Island)

Lorraine Spencer was busy replacing the ladles on the rack next to the stove. They had fallen off only 10 minutes earlier while the house shook. "Goodness, I haven't felt an earthquake in about 30 years. At least it wasn't too bad around here. I wonder where the source is."

She went to the living room and turned on the TV. On the news, she saw a terrifying sight. "My word...it wasn't too far from Memphis!" She quickly grabbed the phone and called her husband at the steel mill. "Richard, did you feel something there about 10 minutes ago?"

"Yeah, we all felt something shaking. Some tools fell off the walls and counters. Was there an earthquake around here?"

"Not around here, but the news is reporting one centered not too far from Memphis. We must've felt the shockwaves from that."

Following a few seconds of silence, he asked, "Is everything okay at the house?"

"It's all fine, hon. A few ladles fell off the rack. Everything else is still in one piece."

"Same here. Everybody here's already working again." After thinking for a second, he added, "Do you think we need to notify Callie in Hawaii?"

"What?" Lorraine gasped. "Honey, she's in a time zone 5 hours earlier than ours. It's only 5:22 there. She won't answer the phone that early."

"I know it's silly, but if she's heard about the quake, she may be worried about us. We just need to let her know we're all okay."

Lorraine nodded. "Okay, dear. At least I can leave a voice mail if she doesn't answer right away." After disconnecting with her husband, she contacted Callie's phone. "I sure hope you answer, sweetie."

Waiting patiently, she hoped to hear her daughter's voice. After five rings, though, she got the voicemail message. After the beep, Lorraine said, "Honey, it's Mom. I just wanted to let you know we had a bit of an tremor here at home, and it's probably stemmin' from the bigger quake near the Memphis area. Some things were knocked over at the mill and here at the house, but it wasn't anything like what they've had up there. I want to tell you we're all safe and sound here in Opp. I haven't heard any reports of injuries yet, so I'll call you back if anyone did get hurt. Take care, Callie. Bye."

Placing the phone back into its cradle, she sighed. "I sure hope those people up there are doing okay." She had no idea her daughter was about to take part in a rescue about 450 miles away from the family home.

Posted by TracyFan4Ever on January 13, 2008


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #421 is a reply to message #420] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Thunderbird Two, en route to Danger Zone...

"I hate having to wake Joshua like that," Dominic said.

"It is unfortunate," Dianne said.

The two were buckled in beside one another in Thunderbird Two's cockpit. Dominic yawned, and then shook his head.

"Yeah. I can't see any way around it, though. Ack, well."

"At least he's good at sleeping through the alarms, though," Nikki said from her seat to the left of the two.

"True enough, true enough," Dom said with a smile. "He can be mustard to wake sometimes."

"Mustard?" Elise called back from the pilot's seat.

"Umm, hard, like. Difficult to wake," Dom said.

"Ah, I see," she said. "Sometimes you can speak in a different language, buddy."

The crew in the cabin laughed, and Dominic shook his head. He pushed his baseball cap down over his eyes, crooked his legs and bent his arms.

"Ah, to be sure, to be sure. Me leprechaun ways can be confusin' alright," he said in as thick an Irish accent he could.

There was more laughter as the crew enjoyed the temporary levity before the danger that awaited them.

Posted by ArtisticRainey on January 17, 2008


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #422 is a reply to message #421] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, October 10, 12:10 p.m., US Central, somewhere en route to the Danger Zone (Thursday, October 11, 6:10 a.m., Tracy Island)

Dianne glanced at her watch for what seemed to be the umpteenth time since take off. She turned to Dom. "I think we have enough time to do a down and dirty inventory, and run some diagnostics before landing."

Dom exchanged glances with Nikki. "Should we have been down there earlier?" Nikki asked.

"Probably," Dianne replied, "but I wanted to give Gordon and John a chance to hook the cabin up to its power source. Can't work without the lights. They're probably finished by now." She unbuckled herself and stood. "Come on. Let's get down there and make sure we're ready for whatever we find."

The two nurses exchanged glances again, and Dom shrugged. Dianne told Elise what they were doing, then led the way to the rear of the cockpit.

"Are you all right, Doc?" Dom asked as they took the tiny lift down to the pod's smaller entrance. "You seem a bit nervous."

"I admit I am, Dom, just a bit," Dianne replied. "I've been involved in a couple of rescues, and have been cleared for the medical cabin, too. Still..." She shook her head. "I'm not sure how the cabin's equipment will work given the circumstances. And I'd like to know which machine will be towing it out."

Her answer seemed to satisfy both nurses, and they followed briskly in her wake as she threaded her way through the pod vehicles to the medical cabin. Gordon was just coming out from under the DOMO, which was now connected to what remained of Thunderbird Seven.

"How's it going?" she asked, without preamble.

"We're ready to pull your baby out. John's checking the power supplies and running diagnostics on them. You shouldn't have any problems." Gordon dusted off his hands, then sauntered over to where his gloves, hat, and visor waited. "She should be ready to go on our end by the time we get there."

"Then we'll just get her ready on our end," Dianne said as she climbed up the few rungs to the single opened side door. She swung inside, and in a moment, the second door slid open, and the ramp began to extend. "C'mon, you two!" she called, looking out. "We've got work to do."

Posted by Tikatu on January 17, 2008


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #423 is a reply to message #422] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Scott made sure to take a good, long look at the structure before settling Thunderbird One in the already completed parking lot. He noticed the height of the beams -- A good four stories -- and the lack of floor and enclosure on the upper stories. A cautious sweep or two over the venue showed the holes where floor slabs had fallen through.

"This won't be easy," he muttered to himself as he grabbed his hard hat and visor. He opened the lower hatch to let himself out of the cockpit, and was almost immediately assailed by a frantic man in torn work shirt and dirty jeans. He was followed at a distance by others, wearing hard hats, and similarly damaged clothing.

"Thank God you're here!" he cried, grabbing Scott's jacket with both grubby hands. "They're trapped under the mall! You've got to get them out!"

Scott put his hands firmly on his assailant's arms. "We'll get them out. But I need to get some equipment out of my Thunderbird, and I need to know who's in charge."

His firm tone seemed to calm the man. "In charge... in charge... Terry Nicks is in charge, but I haven't seen him since the first quake." He followed Scott to the central portion of Thunderbird One, where the IR operative opened the cargo hatch. Automatically, he started helping Scott wrestle Mobile Control out into the open. "Jim D'Angelo... he'd be in charge, too, but I haven't seen him, either."

Scott tapped his ear piece. "Thunderbird Five from Maverick." He began opening the Mobile Control unit open, his actions automatic.

Alan responded. "Thunderbird Five here, reading you five by five."

"Indy, who placed the first call?"

The space monitor referred to his data pad. "A Blake Marshall. He says he's trapped in the west stairwell with about twenty people. There are others trapped in pockets throughout the structure, and he gave me a general count of how many and where. There may be others."

"F-A-B, Indy, and thanks. Maverick out." He turned to the worker, who stood close, watching him boot up Mobile Control. Others stood in a semi-circle, not crowding, but within hearing distance. "What's your name?"

"Jareth, Jareth Martin."

"Well, Jareth, is there a plan to this place handy?"

Jareth thought for a moment. "There should be one in the supervisors' trailer."

Another worker, a woman, jumped as if stung. "Oh, but that's fallen off its supports! You can't get in."

Scott thought for a moment, then nodded. "Okay, thanks." He activated the communicator on Mobile Control. "Thunderbird Five from Maverick. Come in, Five."

"Thunderbird Five here. What's up, Maverick?"

"I'm going to need a site plan to this place, if possible." He glanced over at Jareth, then pulled a data pad from a storage drawer. "Here," he said, handing it to the worker. "Draw me a basic sketch of what's where. Until we get a more detailed plan, you're all I've got."

"Yes, sir!" Jareth said. He began to sketch, and others crowded in to make sure he got it right.

Posted by Tikatu on January 18, 2008


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #424 is a reply to message #423] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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It took Will a little while to return to the lounge after helping load the equipment. He felt that there had to be a better way to use the space in the pods. So after they left and he was able to return to the bay, he checked out each one, to see if they were basically the same inside.

He was thoughtful as he entered the lounge, and Jeff looked up. "I expected you back here sooner. Is anything wrong?"

"No, sir. Not exactly, anyway. I just got the feeling that ..." He hesitated, looking dubiously at his boss.

"Go ahead, Will. Feel free to give your opinion. And sit down, please. I promise I won't bite you."

Will grinned as he took a chair. "Well, I get the feeling that you all haven't been making full use of all the available space in the pods. It took a bit of finagling to get the equipment you wanted taken into the one pod. And since one is all you can take, well... There's gotta be a better way. So I decided to take a quick look at the interiors of the other pods before I came back here."

"I see. Did you come up with any ideas or suggestions?"

"It's not clear in my mind yet, but it seems to me that although the horizontal space is used well, the vertical space is overlooked. Perhaps if there was some kind of light but strong platform for some of the equipment, that could be raised and lowered. And maybe moved forward, backward and side to side, so you could put more in and faster."

Jeff was intrigued. "Your idea may have merit. Why don't you - among your other duties - see if you can come up with a workable idea over the next week or two. Then you and I can get together with Brains to see if it can be reproduced."

"I'll do that, Mr. Tracy." He paused, then asked, "Did you need something else from me? You did ask me to return here."

"Yes, I did. I have two questions. First, did Tin-Tin get your measurements for your uniform?"

"She sure did. She's even having a couple of coveralls made in this new material for me, too. I believe the order for mine and Cassie's went out yesterday."

"Very good. I also wanted to know what code name you chose for yourself, assuming you did."

"Well, sir," Will rubbed the back of his neck. "That was a tough one. Everything I could come up with seemed to me to be a bit - well, showy. Or it would identify me to anyone who has known me before. So I finally decided that my code name should be what I'm here to do. I chose 'Mechanic'. Will that work?"

"That's fine, Will. 'Mechanic' it is, and I'll log it as such. I'll also let the rest of the team know."

"Okay, sir. Is there anything else?"

"Not at the moment. You go ahead; I'm sure you've got things to do. I'll contact you if I need you back."

"Thank you, sir." Will stood up and left the room.

Posted by hobbeth on January 24, 2008


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Re: Regaining Momentum [message #425 is a reply to message #424] Mon, 23 July 2012 20:42 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
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Wednesday, October 10, 2068, 12:45 p.m., local time. (6:45 a.m. Thursday, October 11, Tracy Island)

"Good to have you here, Frankie," Scott said as Elise approached Mobile Control. He nodded toward the far end of the parking lot, where the remaining building equipment was being moved by those construction workers who were still able-bodied. In comparison, the necessary equipment brought by IR was rolling out. "I've got a preliminary schematic of the place, and have been in touch with some of the groups trapped in the mall."

"Where do we start?" Elise stood at his shoulder, peering at the schematic he'd gotten uploaded to Mobile Control's screens.

He glanced up again to see the DOMO pulling Thunderbird Seven's medical cabin out of the pod. "Get Alpine working with... his dog." Luke's new code name felt weird, and he had no idea what to call Rommel that wouldn't give away anything. "Pair him up with Cousteau, send them to see if there's anyone trapped outside of these areas." He indicated the four spots where he knew people were trapped. "Excavator needs to find a way in here; the people inside have been getting quieter and quieter. It can go through the elevator shaft, here."

"HAZMAT suits? There was talk of methane..."

"Yeah. Sweet and Tynan should go in, taking oxygen containers with masks. Last count was nine people. Einstein and Ursa should follow; they can help get people out then work on finding a way to dissipate the methane so we don't have an explosion on top of everything else." He pressed a couple of keys, and the task list, with the schematic, was uploaded to the operatives' visors. "Take the DOMO to this stairway here." He indicated the west stairwell. "The biggest group is there, and if we can clear the debris before the first floor door, they should be able to get out."

"Quasar and I can take that."

Scott added it to the list, just as Thunderbird Seven was towed into position near Mobile Control. It had been decided en route that the best way to keep an eye on both Mobile Control and its operator, as well as the cabin -- should the operatives have to leave it, was for the two to be in close proximity.

John swung down out of the cab, and went to disconnect the DOMO from Thunderbird Seven. The doors to the medical cabin opened, and the ramp descended, barely clearing the caterpillar tracks. Dom, a medikit over one shoulder, came down the ramp. "I'll go back and get suited up, then," he said to Scott.

"F-A-B." Scott nodded, and Dom went off at a run. Gordon and Luke were already out, riding the hoverbikes. Gordon's had an oxyhydnite set up strapped to the back; Luke's had been altered, leaving room for Rom to travel on it. But Rommel wasn't secured to the back of the bike; he was ranging in front of them, his nose to the ground.

Scott checked the equipment manifest again. "Mobile Crane's left... hmm, who tucked the Laser Truck in there? Whoever it was, it was good thinking. We may need it." He glanced up again as the DOMO, now free of its burden, rumbled off, Elise and John in the cockpit. Another roar caught his attention as the Excavator, its drivers both in white HAZMAT suits headed out of the pod and to the area he'd specified.

With a nod, he toggled a switch. "Thunderbird Five and Base from Mobile Control. The rescue is now underway."

Posted by Tikatu on January 26, 2008


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