International Rescue: The Next Phase

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #483 is a reply to message #481] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Jenny Finch heaved the box out of the back seat of her car, jerked the door shut with her foot, and pressed the immobiliser. Then she turned and lumbered up the garden path to her mother's front door.

"G'day love. The shed door's open. Do you mind taking Hiss there now?" Jenny's mother asked, eyeing the box uneasily.

"Sure." Jenny turned and marched toward a little garden shed, almost hidden by creepers and other foliage. She set the box down inside, and opened it. A beautiful carpet python, green with white spots, slid out and wound itself around Jenny.

"Now, now, Hiss," Jenny murmured, catching hold of the snake," I know you've had a long drive, but I really do want a drink, so get down." Jenny then noticed the basket of peaches in the corner. Swiftly she moved over and grabbed one. "Hey, Hissy, have a peach?"

"How's tricks?" Mum said, as she and Jenny piled Jenny's suitcases in the spare bedroom.

"Not great, that's for sure, especially since the landlord kicked me out of the flat. Apparently one of the residents complained about Hiss. What a lovely rose!" Jenny motioned towards the window, where a gorgeous deep red rose was peering in.

"Yes, isn't it lovely. Wendy gave it to me some months ago, on my wedding anniversary."

Jenny glanced quickly at her mother and noticed a tear, which Mum hastily wiped away.

"It's been 14 years, and I still cry when I think of your father." Mum smiled shakily.

"How are Wendy and Murphy?" Jenny asked, to change the subject.

"Murphy's been promoted to factory manager, and Wendy cleans the school. No grandchildren in the offing yet." Mum said, rather wistfully, with a hopeful glance at Jenny.

"Sorry, Mum, no sign of Mr Perfect." Jenny couldn't help smiling.

"If I'd waited for Mr Perfect, you and your sister wouldn't be here!" Mum retorted, a twinkle in her eye.

Jenny just laughed.

"Murphy said to me the other day that if you couldn't keep Hiss, he'd like to take her. Apparently they've got a real problem with mice. So, what do you plan to do now?"

"Get a job. The government aid job didn't suit me. I'd like to go back to cooking. Maybe cooking for a rich family. I'm sick of working in a commercial capacity, it's too stressful. I'd love to join International Rescue, but I don't know how to get in with them, so I'll have to be content with something else. I might do some volunteer work in the State Emergency Service or the fire brigade again. I'll have to do a lot of courses, though. I do need to update my first aid skills."

"Yes, well, you never know when you might have to do a little first aid. Anyway---" Just then the phone rang, and Mum left to answer it.

"Well, love," Mum said when she came back, "Wendy and Murphy are coming next week. Murphy's on leave or something."

Posted by scuppy3 on April 6, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #484 is a reply to message #483] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Tracy Island, Thursday October 18th, mid-afternoon...

Luke paused in the repair bay doorway and let out a low whistle. "That's a lot of equipment," he said to himself. Spying movement, he wandered over towards the far side of the room.

Will looked up as he approached. "Hey, Luke. What's up?"

"Not much." He glanced around again. "All this must be the new parts and equipment for Thunderbird Seven? Sorry I wasn't around to help you guys unload it. I was working with Rom."

"No problem." Will looked down at his data pad. "Well, it looks like we've got everything. Now to sort it into sections."

"Want a hand? Rom's sleeping up in the AC and it's too hot out there to go jogging."

"Sure! I'd be happy for the company," Will replied. "And the second set of arms."

Luke grinned. "Great. I need a quick word with Brains, then I'm your man. Have you seen him?"

Will nodded. "He's back in his lab."

"Thanks. Be right back." Luke made his way through the hanger and paused at the lab's door. He pressed the door buzzer.

"Come in."

Luke stepped inside and spied Brains sitting at his desk in front of the computer. "Hi, Brains. Are you busy?"

The scientist shook his head. "Not really. Just double checking our inventory. Can I help you with something?"

"Well, I was talking to Scott this morning and he says you're the man to see. It's about Dom's birthday present." Luke quickly outlined his idea. "And I thought this would be easier than lugging everyone over to the mainland," he finished.

Brains nodded thoughtfully. "When did you want to get this done?"

"That's the problem. It depends on when I can get Josh away from Dom."

Brains nodded again, then smiled. "Well, I don't see it being too much of an issue. It shouldn't take long, a half hour maybe. Let me know when you're able to get him."

Luke grinned. "Thanks, Brains! I really appreciate this."

"Glad to help." He shook Luke's outstretched hand

"I'll leave you to your work then. I told Will I'd help him get things organized out there." Luke waved and went back out to the bay.

"Find him?" Will called out.

Luke nodded. "Yep, all set. Now, tell me what you need me to do."

Posted by lillehafrue on April 6, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #485 is a reply to message #484] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Thursday, October 18, 3:15 p.m., Paris, France (2:15 a.m., next day, Tracy Island)

"This should be the last stop," Kyrano said, in French, to his driver. They had driven all over Paris, it seemed, purchasing the things he wanted to bring back to his daughter and his fiancée. Most of the places they'd stopped at were smaller shops, including this last one, a parfumerie. It was one of the older shops, but had been renovated since his last visit. "Everything changes, but Paris remains the same," he murmured.

He had been here before, many years ago, shopping for his beloved Samani. He'd purchased an expensive perfume that day, a creation from the house of Dior. Now he wanted the perfect scent for Lisa. With a deep breath, he entered the shop.

"Est-ce que je vous aider, monsieur?" asked the fashionably dressed young woman who approached him.

"Oui," Kyrano replied. "Je recherche un parfume."

"Allez-vous ici, s'il vous plait," she said with a smile, gesturing toward the long glass counter.

They continued speaking in French. Kyrano's confidence in the language had been growing all week, and now he felt comfortable holding long conversations in it, as he had when he had lived in the city.

"May I ask for whom you are purchasing this perfume?" the saleswoman asked.

"I am buying it for my fiancée," he told her. A slight blush unaccountably covered his features; he was still getting used to speaking of Lisa as such in public. He was also cognizant of how it sounded for a man of his years to be marrying.

"Your fiancée?" the woman asked, an eyebrow raised -- whether in incredulity or delight, Kyrano couldn't tell. "She must be a very lucky woman."

"No, it is I who am the lucky one," he murmured in response. He glanced up at the bottles of scent behind the saleswoman. One of them caught his eye, and he smiled. It was called Dolce Vita, and was the scent that his Samani had preferred. It had cost him a pretty penny, and he'd only been able to buy the one small vial; money was tighter back then. Now, he could buy Lisa something a little more costly; he had been careful with the generous wages Jeff paid him, and though he was still far from wealthy, he wasn't living hand to mouth either.

"Perhaps this for the lady?" The saleswoman took down a tester bottle entitled Midnight Poison. She had a vision that this older man was marrying someone very much his junior, probably for his money. The fragrance was one that would suit a young woman, despite the title.

Kyrano shook his head. "No, that will not do." He scanned the bottles and his eye fell on one in particular. "Ah. Please let me smell the one named, J'Adore."

The lady nodded, and did as he asked. She sprayed a little on his hand, and began to describe the fragrance. Kyrano was pleased with how it smelled on him, even though he knew that it wouldn't smell the same on Lisa. The name was what pleased him more than the fragrance, and he decided right then and there he would purchase it.

"Do you have this in a fragrance ensemble? With bath accessories?"

The saleswoman smiled. "We do. I will show you."

She began to show him the various lotions, bath gels, soaps, sprays and other body scents that they had to offer in the fragrance he'd chosen. After a few moments of back and forth over the contents of the ensemble, Kyrano chose the elements he wanted and paid for them, while the saleswoman packaged them, and wrapped the fancy box.

"Merci, mademoiselle," he said at last, bowing.

"I was happy to be of assistance," she replied. "Please come again."

He signaled for the driver to come and take the box. It was added to the other packages in the car's trunk. Then the driver held open the door for him.

Neither of them noticed a dark-haired woman who had entered the shop after him, and left the shop as he did. She sauntered up the sidewalk, looking into store windows, but really using them as mirrors to keep the car in sight. Nor did they notice a gray-haired man who sat at a nearby café, watching the shop. As the car pulled away, he got up and hailed a taxi cab, telling the driver to follow Kyrano's car. The woman, on the other hand, grabbed a small, sleek scooter, and followed the car herself.

Posted by Tikatu on April 6, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #486 is a reply to message #485] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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10 AM; Tracy Industries Washington D.C building

"Jambo, wanaume. Karibu."

Lena was in the lobby, greeting six men who had just arrived. Jeff had emailed her a few days earlier telling her of the visit. They were from Nairobi, and were coming to tour the D.C. offices. The plan was for them to establish a Tracy Industries branch in Kenya, and they wanted to learn all they could, so it could go smoothly. Although they all spoke English very well, Jeff wanted her there in case of any possible misunderstandings. She had told him she'd be delighted to help, and was indeed looking forward to speaking her native tongue, even if it was only a little.

The president of the D.C. branch, David Fischer, was standing next to her. The visitors beamed to hear their language spoken, and she introduced herself and her companion to them in it. Then they switched to English. Their leader, Thomas Onyango, introduced himself and the others. Their eagerness to begin the tour was evident, so they started immediately.

The Kenyans had many questions, all of them pertinent, and David was happy to answer them. Occasionally Lena did need to translate, but everyone did seem to understand each other for the most part. As they went from department to department, a thought occurred to Lena that gave her great amusement.

I know dat Don Wilson is here today. I'm sure we'll encounter him at some point. And for de first time, I'm hoping we will. I want to see his face when he hears dese men speaking English.

They broke for lunch at 12:30, and were back on the tour an hour later. They reached Lena's department half an hour after that and weren't there two minutes when, sure enough, Don Wilson showed up. Keeping a straight face, she introduced him to the Kenyans, and they immediately began asking him questions. He answered them easily, but his face got red, and he glanced suspiciously at her several times.

David knew of Lena's problem with Don, and he, too, looked at her. So he noticed what Don didn't; her face was impassive, but there was an unholy gleam of amusement in her eyes. Five minutes later, all questions were answered, and Wilson excused himself. He headed back to his office, and Lena could have sworn he moved faster than she'd ever seen him before.

She excused herself to use the ladies' room, promising to rejoin them in a few minutes. Thirty seconds later, she was in a stall, and laughing until tears flowed down her cheeks.

Posted by hobbeth on April 6, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #487 is a reply to message #486] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, October 19, 2068, 10:30 a.m., Wellington, New Zealand (same day and time, Tracy Island)

"Okay, lift." Ed Haenga felt along Dianne's calf. "Does this hurt?" he asked, probing gently, moving his fingers around the tiny electronic leads that were attached to her skin.

"No," Dianne replied mildly. Her voice sounded natural, not strained as she held her leg in position. "There's no pain at all."

"And you seem to have full range of motion, too," Ed commented, adding a note to his data pad. "You can lower now."

Gordon and Nikki looked on, both a bit nervous. They knew that though it was Dianne's progress that was being measured, that same progress -- or lack of it -- was a reflection on their jobs as her coaches.

Ed removed the leads from Dianne's leg. "Okay, now for the abdominal muscles. Lay back and let me attach these."

Dianne gave a slight sigh, and did as she was told, lifting her t-shirt up slightly. Gordon looked away; Nikki couldn't decide if it was because this was his step-mother's stomach he was looking at, or because of the scars that marred it. Nikki herself felt a clinical detachment about the marks; she saw them as a nurse would and not as a friend or relative.

Once the leads were attached, Ed stood back. "All right now, Dr. Tracy. I want you to grab your toes and hold them. Keep your legs straight."

Dianne took in a deep breath and did as Ed told her to. It seemed she held on to them for a long time, but it was only a minute or so before Ed said, "Okay, release."

She took in another deep breath and let it out slowly. The abdominal muscles had given her as much trouble as the leg; as a result, she'd worked harder on those specific exercises over the past week.

"Now, let's try this one. Lie back, arms down at your sides, and lift both legs simultaneously. Keep them together and... hold." Ed watched with a critical eye, nodding slightly as Dianne held the position for the time he required. "Okay. Lower your legs... keep them together... nice and slow... that's good."

He checked the readings that he was getting, and added another note to his pad. "Looking good so far, Dr. Tracy. A few more tests and I think I'll be able to release you."

Dianne grinned at Gordon and Nikki. Gordon gave her a thumbs up, and Nikki's wide smile spoke without words. "Let's get to it, then," Dianne said.

Posted by Tikatu on April 8, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #488 is a reply to message #487] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, October 19, 2068, 11:35 a.m., Tracy Island

I need some coffee
, Jeff thought as he reached over to press the button that would connect him with the kitchen. He waited a minute for a response, then remembered that Kyrano wasn't available to bring him the coffee he wanted. He frowned a little, then huffed a small, self-deprecating laugh and rose to fetch the drink for himself. "This work can wait for a few minutes. I've gotten lazy in my old age," he murmured, shaking his head.

As he started down the stairs, he noticed the door to the classroom was open. Lisa was sitting with Alex at his computer station. Both had headphones on, and Alex was saying something in Spanish.

"That's good, Alex, but remember to roll your Rs," she instructed. The Spanish lesson continued as Jeff moved out of earshot.

Kyrano's in Paris, Dianne's in Wellington, Lisa's doing the schooling, so that means... Mother must be in the kitchen on her own. And it's nearly lunchtime. No wonder I got no response.

He entered the kitchen from the dining room, and headed for the coffee pot. He filled a cup, then glanced over at the stove. His eyes widened, and his coffee was forgotten as he watched his mother trying to manhandle a very large stock pot over to the sink.

"Ma, let me get that!" he said, striding to her and grabbing oven mitts before taking the weighty pot off her hands.

"Land's sakes, Jeff! Thank you!" she said, running the back of her hand over her forehead and pushing a stray lock of hair into place. "Just dump it into the colander for me."

"Right." Jeff followed her instructions and carefully dumped the pot full of pasta into the metal colander. Hot water splashed up on all sides at first, and he quickly angled his body back to avoid it. Steam rose; he turned his face away while still trying to keep an eye on the pasta as it poured into the strainer. Finally, the pot was emptied, and Jeff returned it to the stove.

"That was heavier than I thought it was," Emily admitted as she rinsed the pasta with hot water to keep it separated. "Usually Lisa handles that for me, but she's busy right now." She added a buttery mix of herbs to the pasta and tossed it expertly while it was still in the strainer. Looking around, she sighed. "The sauce is nearly ready, but there's still so much to do."

"What can I help with, Ma?" Jeff asked, glancing around the kitchen himself.

"The children will set the table, but the plates need to be counted and set out for them," she said. "I think the Italian bread is almost ready to be pulled from the oven; I still need to mix up some garlic butter..." She gave him a weary smile. "Why don't you get the plates out, dear? It would be a big help."

"All right, Ma." He stopped to kiss her head. "Let me know if there's anything else I can do."

As he counted out the plates for lunch and set them on the sideboard, Jeff began to think. There are so many times when we have a situation like this, or when the crew comes home in the middle of the night and needs a snack. He glanced toward the kitchen. Face it, Tracy, she's not getting any younger, and neither are Kyrano or Lisa. They do so much around here; maybe it's time to bring in someone else. Someone younger and stronger, who can deal with the early mornings and late nights.

Placing a stack of saucers on the sideboard, he paused and nodded. Of course, I'll need to discuss this with Kyrano, Lisa and Mother before looking for that help. The hard part will be convincing them -- especially Ma - that they actually need the help.

Posted by Tikatu on April 8, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #489 is a reply to message #488] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, October 19, shortly after 2 p.m.

"Does anyone have any questions or comments?" Cassie asked as she finished presenting the report she had given to Jeff and Brains earlier in the week.

"You haven't really mentioned the Fire Tender and the fire break created in front of the rum plant," Scott commented.

Cassie nodded as she made note of the comment. She needed to create a written form of the session as Alan and Virgil were not in attendance. Though she could use the report for the base, anything extra brought up during this session needed to be added.

"Preventing the fire from reaching the rum plant, which I'm sure everyone was aware of, was an important part to containing the fire. The rum would have acted as a fuel, which is one of the sides of what is known as the fire triangle. The fire triangle is a simple model used to understand the ingredients needed to create most fires. Along with fuel, the other sides include heat and oxygen. When trying to put out a blaze the idea is that by taking away any of these sides you break the triangle and therefore are able to control and ultimately extinguish the fire. I'll go into more detail about the fire triangle, as well as two other models based on it, the fire tetrahedron and the fire square on Monday. Are there any other questions?"

Cassie scanned the training room, her gaze meeting each of her teammates. Other than a few of them shaking their head, no one said anything.

"Then we're done for today. On Monday, I'm going to cover information on wild fires in general and teach you all how firefighters would go about fighting them. You'll get a chance to put what you learn on Monday into practice on Tuesday in the live fire training scenario we're going to stage."

"Where's this training fire going to take place?" Gordon asked.

"On one of the smaller islands in the area," Cassie replied. She and Brains had talked about sites and had decided it would be safer to not do it Tracy Island. "I can't give you more detailed information than that at this time because Brains and I are going out to pick the exact site tomorrow. Anything else?" she asked again, pausing briefly. "Okay, then we're through here. Thanks for coming everyone."

As the others got up from their seats, Cassie started to shut down her lap top.

"I thought you said you were nervous about this training session," Luke commented as he joined her at the table.

"I was," Cassie told him as their teammates started walking by them on the way out of the room.

"Well, I don't think anyone noticed," Luke commented.


As she walked out of the room, Callie caught part of Luke and Cassie's conversation. She sure didn't seem nervous to me, she thought.

John was walking beside her. Glancing over at him, Callie decided to strike up a conversation with him.

"Wow, there's more to fighting wildfires than I thought. I hadn't heard about the 'fire triangle' until Cassie mentioned it," she commented. "I'm curious to find out exactly what the fire tetrahedron and fire square are too."

John nodded. "I've heard of the fire triangle before but not the other two," he commented.

"I know," said Brandon, speaking up from behind the two of them. "Living in Southern California, I should probably know more about wildfires than I do, but some people get too complacent, thinking it won't happen to them."

"Wildfires can happen anywhere at any time," Callie commented. "I remember a bad one when I was a teenager. It took place about 30 miles north of Opp, and most of the people there didn't think anything of it ... until they had to evacuate with almost nothing but the clothes they wore."

"Bet that got their attention," Brandon said seriously.

With a nod, she said, "Oh, did it ever. It served as a wake-up call to everyone in the area, including my family. We knew what we had to do to prevent our home from ever burning down in a wildfire."

"Things like that do have a way of opening your eyes to things," John commented.

The three of them had reached the point where they needed to head in different directions. Callie and Brandon said good-by to John. While John continued to the Villa, Callie and Brandon headed for their respective apartments, still talking.

Friday Training By: TracyFan4Eever and starrynebula

Posted by starrynebula on April 11, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #490 is a reply to message #489] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Tracy Island, Friday, 19th October, 2068, 6:30p.m.

Tin-Tin sighed contently as she walked through the garden her father loved so much. She could understand why he spent so much time in them. The bright flowers and plants were beautifully captivating and the scents they gave off worked in harmony to relax those who walked by.

Almost hypnotic, Tin-Tin thought. Stooping, she looked at one of her father's Hibiscus. "Don't worry, Father will be back soon. But until then, I promise I will take care of you as he does."

"Erm, Tin-Tin," a voice behind Tin-Tin called out making her jump slightly.

Standing up, she turned only to smile. "Brains, you startled me. Did you hear a lot of what I said? I must've sounded a bit silly."

"I'm sorry Tin-Tin, I didn't mean to scare you," Brains rubbed his hand on the back of his neck briefly. "I arrived at the point where you were telling the plants that you will take care of them. You didn't sound silly at all. I just...well I didn't know you were into talking to plants."

"My father always tells me that talking to them helps them grow."

Brains thought for a second. "I agree there is some truth to that theory. Seeing as how plants need carbon dioxide to grow and by talking to them, you are breathing out CO2."

"I'll be sure to tell my father that you agree with his methods." Tin-Tin once again began tending to the plants. She frowned slightly, noticing how dry the soil had become.

"Seeing as you're busy, I'll leave you to it," Brains said.

"Oh no, Brains. Please stay. I'd appreciate your company. You could help if you'd like."

"Sure." Brains joined Tin-Tin. As he began, he noticed the same thing Tin-Tin had about the soil. "I must say that it's looking a bit dry, Tin-Tin."

"I saw that too. It must be the same all over the Island. Let's hope we get some rain soon." Tin-Tin sighed. "I don't want my father to come home to dying flowers and plants."

Posted by nikki on April 11, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #491 is a reply to message #490] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, October 19 evening, Western Australia

Jenny leaned forward and perused the job advertisements carefully.

"The Jackson family wants a cook/housekeeper. Mum, wasn't there an embezzlement scandal a few months ago involving the Jacksons? The tycoon who owns all those restaurants out East?"

"Yea, and I think there was some other crime imputed to them, but I don't remember what it was; I hadn't been paying much attention." Mum replied from the sofa where she was knitting.

"No, neither did I. Well, I don't think I'd like to work for them. Hey, the Boltons want a housemaid. Goodness gracious, look at the hours they're asking!"

"Oh, dear, I wouldn't work for the Boltons. Mr Bolton is a greedy old miser, so I've heard. They'll work you as hard as they can, and pay you pittance."

"That's just gossip, but I won't apply anyway. Ooh, the Trouts want a housekeeper. I've seen Brett Trout in films. He's really handsome."

"Yes, love, and do you know how he treats his girlfriends? Like dirt. Tells them he loves them, dumps them as soon as he's had some fun with them. Or worse. Remember Verity Morgan?"

"The actress from that film, um, Midnight Dreams. She played the heroine."

"Yes. Well, I don't know the particulars, but apparently he treated her so badly that she tried to shoot him."


"Yes. So, if I were you, I'd steer right away from that family."

"Hmm. Well, I can't see any more jobs that might suit me."

"Oh, well, leave it off. I'm sure a job will come up sometime."

"You're very optimistic, Mum. Like a cuppa?"

Posted by scuppy on April 17, 2008

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[Updated on: Mon, 23 July 2012 21:16]

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #492 is a reply to message #491] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Friday, October 19, 2068, 10 a.m., Paris, France (9 p.m., same day, Tracy Island)

Kyrano breathed deeply of the morning air. Though the day was sunny, he knew it would be chilly early on, and so waited until the temperatures rose to a more moderate level before heading outside. He would have waited longer and set out after lunch, but for this, he was impatient.

The cemetery was wreathed in the colors of autumn, and fallen leaves skittered across the pathways, driven by a slight breeze. He'd left the driver at the entrance with instructions to return in an hour, preferring to walk to his destination, letting the quiet of the place work its way on his heart and mind, preparing him for his visit with his late wife, Samani.

Oh, he knew she wasn't really there, not in spirit. But here, at least, he had a focus, a place he could visit and envision how she once was, feel again the joy and love she had brought to his life. It was a pale shadow of what they'd once known, and was eclipsed by what he now shared with Lisa. He smiled as he strolled toward where Samani was buried, remembering how she had so single-mindedly pursued him, how her gentle wooing had finally awakened a devotion in him that had made him wonder why he had not seen it sooner, for it seemed as if it had been there always. No one before Samani had done that, and there had been no one since... until Lisa breezed into his life.

He was at the spot before he realized it. The smooth granite block stood before him, engraved with her name and the single word in Arabic letters: "tercinta" - its meaning in Malay - "beloved". He bowed deeply, hands pressed together. Then he began to speak in French, the language they both shared and loved.

"My wife, my beloved -- I am here once again. It has been several years since I last visited the city and came to pay my respects to you. I have seen your father and sister; they are well, though your father is growing older and shall soon join you beyond the pale." He smiled, and stepped forward to place a hand on the block. "Our daughter is flourishing, and has become as beautiful and intelligent as her mother. She is not yet married, and so has not made me an ancestor, but she has the love of a good man. Gentle, kind, patient - they have worked together and I think will be a good match when all is settled between them."

He shook his head gently. "I wish you could see her, could have been here to guide her as a mother. The years of raising her were full of joy, but also very difficult. Fortunately, there has been a wise woman in her life, one who has become as a grandmother to her. Her influence made things easier on me in many ways."

"As for myself, I am well. Age is also taking its toll on me, and I am not as resilient as I once was. But I am content with my work, and my garden, and my place." He paused, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. "But... there is something I must tell you." He took another deep breath, a shaky one this time, and swallowed heavily before proceeding. "For many years I have missed your presence in my life, tercinta, and I shall still miss that which we shared. But you are beyond the pale, while I am still here. And -- beyond all hope -- I have found someone new to love and cherish. I am soon to be wed again." He looked down and smiled. "She is as vibrant and full of life as a spring day, and though she is both mother and grandmother, she makes me feel young again." Glancing skyward, he murmured, "I do not know how much the dead can see or hear of those things in life, but if you can see and hear me, wish me well, my Samani."

For some reason he didn't understand, he waited expectantly. The air had grown still around him, and all was silent. The breeze had died; the leaves lay scattered, stiff and still on the ground around him.

But if Kyrano was looking for a sign from his late wife, he did not get it. Instead, a soft, mocking voice called from behind him, speaking in Malay.

"It has been a long time, brother."

Kyrano stiffened at the sound, but did not turn. He took a moment to compose himself and calm his now-racing heart. Hoping his voice did not waver, he asked, "Why are you here, evil one?"

There was a low chuckle. "Why to pay my respects to my late sister-in-law. It is a pity we were not introduced while she lived. I am sure I would have found her a fascinating woman." The voice was coming closer, and Kyrano could hear the slight crunching of dead leaves as his hated half-brother paced toward him, his footfalls slow and measured. "I also wanted to see you, Kyrano. We have much to discuss."

Kyrano thought of the alarm pendant around his neck, but realized that it wouldn't work so far from the island. He strengthened his mental defenses, but that provoked another mocking chuckle from Gaat.

"Come now, Tuan. I have no need to probe, not here, not now. Not when we are thus, so close. Not when I can make you tell me all that I want to know and Tracy cannot help you." A large, strong hand fell on his shoulder. He stiffened again, and the fingers dug in, holding him fast. "Will you not face me, brother? Will you not let me look at you in the flesh?"

Kyrano closed his eyes tightly, waiting for Gaat to swing him around so they were face to face. I will not give in!

Suddenly, there was a shout, and a thud. Gaat cursed, and his grip eased a little. Then he screamed and let go entirely.

"My eyes!"

Startled, Kyrano nearly turned, but there was a pull on his arm and a young voice said in accented English, "Run!"

He obeyed, opening his eyes to find himself pulled by a dark-haired woman. She urged him onward. "The spray will not stop him for long. We must flee, ja?"

"Y-Yes," Kyrano stuttered.

She moved her grasp to his wrist, and tried to pick up the pace, moving from monument to monument, making quick darts from place to place. Finally, they reached a sleek motor scooter. She mounted the machine and looked at him expectantly. "Behind me, Herr Kyrano. Schnell, bitte."

Kyrano hesitated a moment, and the dark-haired girl said, in a quiet, urgent voice, "The Pink Lady sent me."

He needed no more urging. Awkwardly, he put a leg over the back of the machine, and held on to her for dear life as she took off with a scattering of gravel. Her long hair whipped in his face, and he turned his head briefly, looking back. Gaat had just cleared the maze of monuments. He was wearing a mask, and looked like a distinguished gentleman with slicked-back gray hair and bushy eyebrows to match. He stood there, shaking his fist with one hand and wiping his eyes with the sleeve of his leather coat. Kyrano gave an internal sigh as he realized he was out of danger.

The young woman took a circuitous route back to the heart of the city, and finally stopped at a small café. "I believe he cannot follow us, Herr Kyrano," his rescuer said. "We will rest here for a moment, ja? Then I shall take you back to your hotel."

Kyrano nodded, and sat heavily down in a chair. When a waiter appeared, data pad in hand, he asked for a cognac, something he would usually never request so early in the day. The young woman asked for black coffee, then sat back to study him for a moment.

"Have you been following me?" Kyrano asked, once fortified with a sip or two of wine.

The young woman nodded. "Ja, Herr Kyrano." Holding out a hand, she said, "I am Gisela Schmidt, from Germany. I have been keeping a discreet watch on you during your visit." They shook hands briefly, then Gisela settled back into her chair. "The Pink Lady herself would have done so, but she had other obligations."

Kyrano took another drink of his cognac. By now, his racing heart had eased, but he still watched the crowds around him with a uncomfortable wariness. "How did you know...?"

"He wore different faces, but he has been following you since Tuesday. How he came to know you were here, I cannot tell. But I reported his interest and description each time, and her Ladyship became alarmed. She told me to purchase some pepper spray, and if he was to confront you at any time, to spray it in his eyes. When he did so at the cemetery, I threw a stone at him to gain his attention, and followed my instructions." She cocked her head to one side. "I do not understand why she placed such importance on his eyes."

Kyrano shook his head slowly. "It is... difficult to explain. But I thank you for your intervention. I had no desire to come face-to-face with him." He took another sip, and choosing his words carefully, asked, "There is someone else here in Paris for whom her Ladyship would be concerned. Is someone watching him as well?"

Gisela nodded. "Ja. The gentleman responsible for most of France is keeping the young man under his eye." She said no more, and gave no indication whether or not she knew who that young man was. Some of the agents knew that Jeff Tracy was the head of IR; others only knew that they worked for that organization. In any case, Gisela was being particularly discreet, and Kyrano was glad of it.

"Perhaps you should call your driver," she suggested. "He is supposed to meet you at the cemetery, ja?"

Kyrano drew in a sharp breath. "Yes. I will phone him and..." He looked at his rescuer.

"I will return you to your hotel, Herr Kyrano," Gisela repeated firmly. She finished her coffee and put the cup down, then set about pulling her hair back to braid it.

Nodding, Kyrano pulled out his phone. I should ask for another driver during the remainder of my stay in Paris. If this one happened to meet Belah at the cemetery... The thought chilled him. He dialed the number he had been given, and set about thinking of a way to explain himself when the driver answered.

Posted by Tikatu on April 20, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #493 is a reply to message #492] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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2 PM: Paris, the Left Bank

"Pull over here, please."

The chauffeur complied, and Virgil got out. He looked around, then nodded in satisfaction. With assistance, he pulled out a chair, an easel and stand, a small table and his paints and brushes from the trunk. It didn't take him long to find the right place to set up, and in a short amount of time everything was ready.

"Thank you, Jean. Please return in two hours to take me back to my hotel."

"Very good, monsieur."

Virgil watched the limo pull away, then went back to his setup and sat down. He pulled out a sketch he'd done a couple of days ago and attached it to an upper corner. Then he looked at the scene in front of him, comparing it to the sketch. The Seine was visible, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance. There was a low wall and a walkway along the river, and people were sitting on the wall, walking along it in groups of twos and threes. Perfect, he thought. Even the light is right, Now to get to work.

Swiftly he sketched out the scene before him, pausing from time to time to compare it with his previous sketch. Finally he had the outline of what he wanted, and began to pull out his paints, and mixing them to get the right shades.

It took him a few minutes to select the brush he wanted to use, then, finally, the actual painting began. He worked quickly, getting the background in first, with just a little of the tower, then concentrating on the foreground, and the people who were sitting on the wall.

Suddenly he stopped. He looked at one of the people on his canvas, surprised. The person sitting on the wall was a brunette, yet he'd painted her hair as blonde. I can't seem to get her out of my mind. I must miss her more than I thought.

He looked back and forth between the painting and the woman sitting on the wall with her little girl. I think I like her better as a blonde. I'm going to leave it as is.

He continued to work until the chauffeur returned. It wasn't completed, but the finishing touches could be done at the hotel, or even later, when he returned to Tracy Island. Either way, he was satisfied with what he'd accomplished.

Posted by hobbeth on April 21, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #494 is a reply to message #493] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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5 p.m., Paris

Gaat tossed off the rest of his drink, still cursing his misfortune. It was pure coincidence, seeing my brother here in Paris. Such an opportunity is rarely granted by the gods, and I am no fool. I followed him, watched his comings and goings, and only this day did it occur to me he would visit the cemetary. I thought my gods were smiling on me when I found him there, alone, with no way to protect himself.

He scowled and poured himself another measure. "Bah! I should have known Tracy would have him watched and protected, and not only by the driver. That cursed woman! She ruined everything!"

Glancing out the window of his hotel room, his eyes searched for the place where he knew Kyrano rested. "He has been deep in meditation since our confrontation, and I have spent the hours peeling off my ruined mask and clearing my eyes of that vile spray." He took a large gulp of liquor. "I will not catch him again, nor will Tracy's son fall into my hands. I have business to attend to across the Channel and will not have the time."

Finishing his drink, he sat down in the overstuffed chair his hotel provided. "I wonder what he was saying. The only word I understood was 'tercinta" - he must have been speaking to his wife. It is a pity he spoke in French. I might have gleaned some interesting information."

He glanced out the window again. "A pity. He will be doubly on his guard, and so will Tracy. No matter -- I can be patient."

Posted by Tikatu on April 21, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #495 is a reply to message #494] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Saturday October 20th, around 8:30 am.....

Luke stepped off the monorail and made his way to the lift leading to the next level of the Villa, Rommel trotting at his side. Walking around to the glass doors, he spotted the family at the table and knocked.

Jeff looked up and waved. Luke stepped inside. "Good morning!"

"Morning, Luke. All ready for your day?" Jeff asked.

Luke nodded. "Yes, sir. Got plenty of snacks and water," he said as he shrugged the pack on his back.

Grandma walked in and handed him a package. "Here are a couple of sandwiches and some leftover cake."

"Cool!" Alex jumped up from the table. "I'm ready! Let's go!"

"Did you feed Patches yet?" Dianne asked. "And change the litter box?"

Alex groaned. "I'll take care of him as soon as I get home. He'll be fine!"

"Alex," Dianne said warningly.

Luke cut in. "Say, Mr. Tracy, that reminds me. There are probably going to be times when I can't take Rommel out on rescues with me. I was wondering if you could help me hire someone to help me out. They'd have to be responsible and trustworthy. I'd need them to feed and walk him while I was gone."

Jeff smiled. "I'm sure I could look into the personnel files and find someone."

"Great, thanks."

Alex sighed. "I'll be right back, Luke." He hurried out of the room and they could hear him calling for the kitten, Tyler tagging at his heels.

"That was clever," Dianne told him.

Luke shrugged. "Hey, I was an eleven year old boy once, too. I hated having to feed our stock before I left for school everyday. Funny how once my brother and I grew up and moved out, Mom and Dad got rid of most of the animals."

"They lost their slave labor." Jeff grinned up at him. "I raised five boys; I know how to play the game."

They all laughed. "What kind of animals did you have, Luke?" Cherie asked.

"Chickens, ducks, a few goats and horses. Always had barn cats and a dog or two. We still have a couple of horses and the chickens," he replied.


Alex came flying back into the room. "All set."

Dianne smiled. "Good. Have fun and be careful," she told him. "Both of you!"

"Yes, ma'am. Ready?" Luke asked Alex. The boy nodded and hefted a pack of his own. "We're off then. We'll be back before dinner."

(Exploring, Part 1)

Posted by lillehafrue on April 23, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #496 is a reply to message #495] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Saturday, October 20th, 2068, 10 a.m. Tracy Island

"So have you ever been on a boat before?" Brains asked Cassie as he handed her a life jacket.

After discussing the issue several times since Tuesday morning, the two of them had decided it would be best not to hold the live fire training exercise on the main island. Instead, it would take place on one of the smaller islands in the area. Brains had taken Cassie on a fly-over of the islands on Thursday as she was unfamiliar with the area. They had used that trip to narrow down the choices. Today, they were taking a boat out to get a closer look of the terrain on two of the islands.

"Other than a ferry, no," Cassie told him, taking the life jacket from him. She put it on and looked at the motorboat they were standing in front of. "Somehow, I don't think this is going to be anything like that experience though."

"Well, you're definitely right there," Brains replied before going over some basic boating safety with Cassie.

When he was done, Brains climbed on board the motorboat. He then turned and extended his hand to Cassie to assist her on board. Cassie took the hand offered to her and stepped from the dock to the boat, feeling slightly apprehensive and excited at the same time.

As Brains untied the boat from the dock, Cassie took a seat in one of the seats. When he was done his task, Brains took his place behind the wheel of the boat. "Are you ready?" he asked, looking over at his passenger.

"Ready as I'll ever be," Cassie replied.

Brains nodded as he started the boat. He stated to maneuver the motorboat out of the boat pen and into open water.

"Atoll number 2 is closer. I know that was our second choice, but I figured we'd check that one out from the boat first and then go on to Neverland. If you want to take a closer look at either of them let me know and we'll go ashore."

"Okay," Cassie replied, with a nod as she looked around her taking in the scenery. With the sun glaring off the water she was glad she had remembered her sunglasses and FDNY cap, which she had secured to her hair with clips to help keep it from blowing off in the wind.

Other than a few fluffy white clouds here and there, the sky was clear. "You know Brains, I'm a bit concerned with how dry everything is," she commented, looking over at the scientist. "If it doesn't rain before then it wouldn't be wise to do the live fire exercise as it will just increase the chance of it getting out of control."

"The thought has crossed my mind as well," he admitted to her, having come to the same thought himself when he was in Kyrano's garden the evening before. "It's unusual to go this long without rain here and I'm sure the trend won't last too much longer. There's no point in worrying about something we can't control. If things are too dry when we go to set up on Tuesday then we scrub the exercise."

Cassie nodded, knowing he was right. However she didn't get a chance to reply as Brains pushed the throttle forward, speeding up the boat. After her initial surprise, she sat back in the seat to enjoy the boat ride.


"We're approaching Neverland," Brains called out, shouting to be heard over the sound of the boat and the wind.

They had already checked out atoll number 2. Cassie had found the island less suitable from sea level then when she had seen it from the air. She was hoping that this island, which had been her first choice anyway, wouldn't turn out to be the same way.

She lifted the binoculars they had brought with him to her eyes, even as Brains slowed the boat down as they approached the shallower waters around the island.

Not for the first time, Cassie wondered about the island's name. Deciding there was only one way to satisfy her curiosity she decided to ask the question that had been on her mind since first hearing it.

"How did the island get the name Neverland? That's the name of the island the Lost Boys from the Peter Pan story lived on isn't?" She asked thinking about the story her dad's father had told her when she was little. It had been quite some time since she had heard the story.

Brains nodded as he started to answer.

"The island officially just has a number designation, but as we tend to use the island for some extracurricular activities, Gordon decided that was boring and wanted to give the island a name. He liked the Lost Boys' concept of never growing up, so he picked the name Neverland." Taking one hand off the wheel, he pointed to the shore. "This is the side of the island where we usually have our paintball wars," he informed her as they approached the east side of the island. "The forests on the island and the heavy brush make it a good location for the game. As you can see, the island has quite a bit of rocky shoreline. However, there are locations on both the east and west shores that Thunderbird two can land on as well as being able to get close enough with a boat. The southern shore doesn't have much of a coastline, while the north end of the island is all cliffs."

"Well, let's check out the western side of the island," she suggested, dropping the binoculars. "The others might not appreciate it if we burn their paintball playground."

"You've got a good point there," he replied with a grin as he maneuvered the boat to the south end of the island.

Cassie saw what Brains meant about the southern shoreline. There was only a thin strip of beach before the brush and trees started taking over. Large areas of the shoreline were also very rocky. As they came around to the west side of the island, she lifted the binoculars again to scan the terrain.

This looks like it would be a good place for the live fire exercise, she thought. "I'd like to go ashore and look around," she called over to Brains without lowering the binoculars.

"Sure," he replied, turning the wheel to head the boat toward the island.

Posted by starrynebula on April 25, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #498 is a reply to message #496] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Luke and Alex made their way through the jungle, Alex often pausing to show the older man a bird, insect, or other bit of island wildlife. Rommel trotted alongside them, nose quivering at all the new scents.

They continued down the path, Luke content to stay quiet and listen to Alex's chattering. The sound reminded him of his nephew, who was also around Alex's age. Smiling to himself, he let Alex lead him towards what looked like a small pool. As they got closer and the foliage parted, Luke realized it was actually a good sized lake, complete with waterfall at one end.

"See! I told you it was big!" Alex piped up.

Luke chuckled. "Guess I owe you my cookies then. Why don't we have lunch now, then see if we can catch any fish." They sat down on a group of rocks and Luke doled out the lunch Grandma had made. "These are great!" he said as he bit into his.

Alex grinned. "Grandma Tracy makes the best sandwiches. And you should taste her chocolate cake!"

Luke paused mid-bite. "Did you say chocolate cake?" The boy nodded. "I'm a sucker for a good piece of cake." Rommel whined, and Luke tossed him a bite of ham.

The two finished their lunch, then Luke unpacked his fishing rod. He reassembled it and then glanced at the water for a few moments. He selected a fly from his case, and cast out over the water. He had a few hits, but nothing took the bait. Frowning, he reeled in and chose another fly. Still no luck. "That's really weird," he mused. "I should have at least had a few good bites."

Alex nodded. "I'm not surprised. Most of the freshwater fish here are in the catfish family. Or the types you find in aquariums. There are a few species of perch in Australia though."

Luke looked impressed. "Wait a sec, what about all the trout fishing in New Zealand?"

"I think the fish were brought in sometime around the beginning of the century."

"Stocking." Luke nodded thoughtfully. "You know, this would make a good trout pond. There's enough aeration with the waterfall, and see this?" He knelt down and parted the weeds at the edge of the pond. There were some grayish tubes in the water, attached to the plant stems. "Do you know what these are?"

The boy thought a moment. "Mosquito larvae?"

"Right! So that means there's plenty of food for the fry and the larger fish."

"But there aren't any larger fish."

"But if we stocked this ourselves, there would be. It would take a couple of years to get the population up enough for them to support themselves, but it could happen. And, it would take care of the mosquito population too."

Alex leapt to his feet. "Great! Let's do it then!"

Luke chuckled. "Hold on there, sport, it's not that easy. First of all, we need to do a little homework."

"Homework? Yuck!"

"Yes, but we have to. OK, say we just throw some brown trout in here. Suddenly, what local fish there are there, start disappearing. And, what if there aren't any other fish like that anywhere? Or, what if the mosquito larvae that the trout eat are actually supporting something else?"

Alex sobered. "I never thought of that."

Luke nodded gravely. "A lot of people don't. That's why I'm here. Well, one of the reasons anyway. While I was primarily hired to be part of International Rescue, my 'official' job is to survey the impact Tracy Industries has on the environment. Whether that's building a new facility, or checking on an existing one. All it takes is a shift in one part of an eco-system to destroy it." Then he smiled. "Tell you what, why don't you help me? We can do some studies together and if we think it'll work, we'll approach your dad and get some real fish in here."

Alex brightened. "Sure! We can take water samples, record what wildlife uses the pond, keep a record of water levels, all kinds of stuff!"

"That's the way." Luke glanced out over the water again then grinned down at the boy. "Right now, last one in is a rotten egg!"

With a yelp from both, and a bark from the dog, they leaped into the water.

Posted by lillehafrue on May 3, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #499 is a reply to message #498] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Saturday, October 20, Tracy Island; 1 PM (5 PM Friday in San Diego)

Brandon had just gotten on the computer when he heard the sound of someone IMing him. He clicked over to it and saw:

ShMcC1: Hi, Brandon. Are you there?

He answered with:

BigMac1: Hey, Shannon! What's up?

ShMcC1: I saw you come online and had to tell you what I found. It's too funny!

BigMac1: What?

ShMcC1: You remember that trunk of Grandpa Dave's that Mom's been keeping in the attic?

BigMac1: Yeah. She said I looked so much like him, I might be able to use some of the things in it someday.

ShMcC1: Right. Well, I opened it to make sure everything was still in good condition, and you won't believe what I found.

BigMac1: What?

ShMcC1: Grandpa Dave was an exotic dancer when he was young.

BigMac1: What??

ShMcC1: It's true, Brandon. There are pictures of him in his costume.

BigMac1: What?

ShMcC1: His costume is even in the trunk, too. And it's in great condition!

BigMac1: WHAT???

ShMc1: LOL! C'mon, Brandon. You aren't that much of a prude.

BigMac1: I know, Sis. But imagining our grandfather as an exotic dancer is a bit of a stretch, don't you think?

ShMc1: (after a pause) Yeah, I guess. But isn't it a hoot?

BigMac1: It is, but it's weird, too. Is there anything to show where he danced?

ShMcC1: A couple of pics have a name on them: Chippendales. I'd heard of them, though they haven't been around for some time.

(a long pause)

ShMc1: Brandon? Are you still there?

BigMac1: I'm here, Shannon. I was just thinking.

ShMcC1: You? Thinking? Laughing About what?

BigMac1: Can you send me the costume and a couple of the pics?

ShMcC1: What?

BigMac1: I think I can use them. Would you send them as soon as possible, please?

ShMcC1: What??

BigMac1: We're having a Halloween party here, and I think that would make a great costume.

ShMcC1: WHAT???

BigMac1: Oh, c'mon, Shannon. Don't you think I could pull it off?

ShMcC1: Very funny, bro.

BigMac1: Actually, I'm serious. I was thinking about going as a Big Mac, but I like this idea better. And it's not like I'll actually do any exotic dancing - or any dancing. You know I've got two left feet.

(another pause)

ShMcC1: Y'know, it could work. Only your torso would be bare, and looking at the pics, your build is very much like Grandpa Dave's when he was that age.

BigMac1: Just as long as it doesn't become like his when he was 88.

ShMcC1: LOLOLOLOL! Okay, bro. I'll box the costume and two of the pics up, and send it out Monday. I'll be too busy to get it out tomorrow.

BigMac1: Thanks, Sis. I owe you one. Btw, how are Mom and Dad doing?

ShMcC1: Dad's coming along nicely, but I'm having trouble with Mom trying to do more than she should. She thinks she should be able to do everything now that she did before the accident.

BigMac1: You tell her I said to back off for a while longer. It hasn't been that long, and the older you are, the longer it takes to heal completely.

ShMcC1: She just walked in and saw what you wrote. She said to tell you that she feels fine; she just tires more quickly.

BigMac1: Mom, feeling fine and being fine are two different things. You've told us that more times than I can count. Besides, getting tired more quickly probably means that you still have a way to go.

ShMcC1: Mom says, "I should have known one of you would turn my words back on me one day. Okay, I'll try to go easier on myself, but it's hard to break the habits of a lifetime."

ShMcC1: It's time to get dinner started, so I'm off. Catch you again soon, okay?

BigMac1: Okay, Shannon. Take care.

He closed the IM window and, grinning to himself, turned to his email.

Posted by hobbeth on May 3, 2008

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[Updated on: Sun, 19 April 2015 21:32] by Moderator

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #500 is a reply to message #499] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Later that evening...

Luke stepped out onto the balcony, still rubbing his hair with a towel. Rommel padded after him, then plopped down at his feet. Luke chuckled and ran his hand through his hair. I need to get this cut. I've never had it this long before and it's driving me nuts! Wonder if I could get Mrs. Parkhurst to give me a trim.

He tossed the towel back into his apartment and leaned on the railing. The sun was setting, and a cool breeze came across the sea. He closed his eyes and sighed. Today had been a great day. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had so much fun with a kid. I know, it was last time I was over at Roger's. Spent the whole time wrestling with Jason.

Sighing again, he went back inside and pulled up his laptop. Waiting for it to load, he glanced around the room. I'm all done unpacking. I should invite Elise and Nikki by to see how it came out. His eyes caught a photo on one of the shelves and he smiled. It showed his parents, brother, sister-in-law, and his nieces and nephews. He'd taken it before he left, and carved the frame out of a piece of barn board from the ranch. His computer finally loaded and for the next couple of hours, he immersed himself in work.

It was nearly midnight when he got a 'beep' signaling he had mail. He quickly opened his email and grinned.

Hey there, loser!

Where are you? You don't answer your phone; you don't write...have we broken up? Just kidding, I know you're probably busy. In case you've forgotten the date, hunting season starts in a little over two weeks. And dummy me, I promised Sarah last year that she could come to camp with us this time. So, check with your new boss and see if you can get any time off. We've got a date in the woods! And I'm not getting stuck there with Dad and my daughter alone!

Miss you, little brother.


Luke chuckled to himself, then sobered. "I wonder if I could get some time off," he mused out loud. He yawned and stretched his arms over his head. "Well, that's enough work for now." He turned off the computer. "Rommel! Time for bed!" The dog came trotting in as Luke shut the balcony doors. They walked into the bedroom and he paused to glare down at the dog. "Don't even think about getting up on that bed tonight. After your romp in the pond today, you need a bath." Rommel merely sat and gave his master a pathetic look. Luke rolled his eyes and turned off the light. A few moments later, he felt Rom jump onto the bed. "You know, just for that, you're helping with the laundry tomorrow." He rolled over and was soon fast asleep.

Posted by lillehafrue on May 4, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #501 is a reply to message #500] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Saturday, October 20, 9 a.m., Paris, France (8 p.m., same day, Tracy Island)

"So, Kyrano," Virgil asked as the jet climbed into the morning sky. "How was your vacation?"

Kyrano sighed despite himself. "It was... interesting." With those words, he set his gaze out the window.

Virgil glanced at the older man, but said nothing until they'd reached cruising height. "Okay, what exactly did you mean by... interesting?"

"I... I encountered someone I did not expect," Kyrano said softly. "And barely escaped his clutches."

"Escaped? Clutches?" Virgil frowned behind his sunglasses. "Sounds like what happened to me... sort of."

Kyrano turned his head sharply to Virgil. "How so?"

"I ran into someone... or perhaps she ran into me... I don't know which." Virgil glanced over the controls. "One of the Hightowers. Her name is Desdemona... though that's not quite the name she gave me."

Kyrano nodded slowly. "I see. How did you escape her?"

This question took Virgil aback a little. "An accident, actually. Someone spilled a couple of drinks on her; she went ballistic." He shuddered. "It was coincidence that I found out who she really was."

"An accident? Hmm." Kyrano sat quietly, digesting this news.

Virgil was quiet for a moment, not wanting to break Kyrano's train of thought. Then, the older man looked up at him. "It may not have been an accident."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because my deliverance was not." Kyrano sighed once again, and folded his hands in his lap. "I was visiting my late wife at the cemetery where she is buried when I was confronted by my half-brother."

"The Hood!?" Virgil said with a gasp. "He was in Paris? How did he know you were there?"

"I do not know, but it was clear he had been following me." Kyrano thought back to that moment, and to his rescuer. "Lady Penelope had provided a discreet bodyguard, one of the agents. She intervened when my brother approached me and rescued me from him."

Virgil gave Kyrano a sharp look. "Do you think...?"

Kyrano nodded, sure of what Virgil was trying to ask. "I do. The agent assigned to follow me told me that France's agent was shadowing you. That is why I think the incident you mentioned was no accident."

"I see." Virgil murmured. He sat quietly for a moment then nodded and chuckled. "Just like Lady Penelope, keeping us safe even when we don't know we need it." He turned back to the controls again. "Looks like we have something to discuss with Dad when we get home."

"If her Ladyship has not already informed him of the incidents," Kyrano said.

"Hm. Yes."

They flew onward for a little bit before Virgil asked, "Besides meeting up with your brother, how was your visit?"

This time, Kyrano smiled. "It was satisfying in many ways, and melancholy in others. As Paris herself can be when one returns after a long absence." He turned to Virgil again. "And your visit?"

"Inspiring and eye-opening," Virgil replied. He smiled, too, a dreamy sort of smile. "I had time to paint, to visit the Louvre, and to realize how much I missed someone special."

"In that last sentiment we are agreed," Kyrano replied. He straightened in his seat. "How long will it be until we arrive at the island?"

"Nine hours, I'm afraid." Virgil was apologetic. "That includes an hour for refueling in Bombay." He shook his head. "It'll be five in the morning tomorrow when we get there."

"Then we will be ready to rest, and recover from the jet lag." Kyrano said, nodding sagely. "Our return cannot come too soon."

"Amen to that," Virgil echoed.

Posted by Tikatu on May 4, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #502 is a reply to message #501] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Thursday, October 18; 1:30 PM

Brains and Will watched as the weary team of rescuers exited Thunderbird 2 and headed to the elevator that would take them to the Villa and some much needed nourishment. Elise paused and looked at the pair for a moment, and Brains told her, "Get on up there. There's food waiting. You can debrief and eat, then get some rest. You all look exhausted."

"Yeah, well, there were three fatalities before we even got there, one from the local rescue team. And two others are so badly injured, we don't know if they'll make it or not."

A group of spelunkers had been trapped by a cave-in in a remote area of the Rockies along the British Columbia-Alberta border, a few hundred miles north of Montana. The local rescue team that went in to locate them and get them out had also been trapped by a second cave-in. It had taken that team and their equipment over twelve hours to get there, and time was running out for both groups. So International Rescue had been called. It had taken them another six hours to get all the trapped people out, and two more before the worst of the injured were stabilized enough to be taken to a hospital.

"As badly as we wish we could save everyone, sometimes it's just not possible," said Dianne.

Will looked at her somberly. "I hope that knowing that you did save others helps, even if it's just in a small way. Plus if the worst of the injured don't survive, at least you've given their families a chance to say good-bye. That's gotta count for somethin'."

Dianne smiled wanly at him. "It does; but sometimes it's just not enough."

Brains gave her a gentle shove toward the elevator. "No more philosophical discussions. They can wait until you're rested and fed. Will and I will take care of things down here."

She stepped into the car and as the doors closed, Scott was heard to say, "Be careful with my baby, now. She's been through a lot."

Brains snorted a laugh and turned to Will. "He says that to me every time. Well, let's get started."

"Right." Will headed over to where a small tank with a vacuum stood by as Brains moved to the pod. Thunderbird Two was still raised above it, and would be gone over after the pod and the vehicles within were taken care of. The tank was brought into the pod to be used to collect all dirt and rocks scattered throughout and on the vehicles, so it could be checked for any bacteria or other things, large or small, that might be hazardous to plant or animal life on the island. Once it was all in the tank, a sample was removed to go to the lab where Brains - or now more recently, Callie - would perform all the necessary tests to determine if it was safe to use.

They started with some of the smaller equipment, thoroughly and methodically cleaning each, then moving it out of the pod. Finally they tackled the Mole. Brains had Will clean it from top to bottom, inside and out, including the engine. Once the equipment was cleaned, Will vacuumed the inside of the pod. Finally the dirt and rocks were in the tank, which was then moved out and to one side.

"Since the Mole is the most important piece of equipment that was used," Brains said, "start with it while I work on some of the other equipment. I think you can handle it; you did after the previous rescue."

"Thanks, Brains. This baby's been getting a lot of use. I'll holler if I need help."

For another hour, they worked without speaking. Then Will, after starting the Mole and listening to its engine for a few minutes, said, "Brains, would you come over here a minute?"

Brains stopped what he as doing and walked over to stand next to the redhead. "What's the problem?"

"Take a listen to the engine. I'm hearin' something that doesn't sound right. Do you?"

There was a long pause while Brains complied. He was about to tell Will that it sounded fine, when he heard it. It was faint, but there - a slight vibration in pitch. "You heard that? It took me a while."

"Yeah, well, it took me some time, too. Besides, when the well being of an aircraft carrier is your ultimate responsibility, you learn fast to rely on all senses and to keep them sharp, so you can catch a problem early and fix it fast. But I'm glad you did hear it; now I've got to find out what's causin' it."

"Want some help?"


It wasn't easy to check the engine from every angle to locate the source of the anomaly, and it took nearly forty five minutes before they found it. A shaft had become warped, just slightly, but enough for the engine to start making the faint sound change the men heard.

"You got a replacement for it in stock?" Will asked.

"Let me check. Come watch. You'll need to be able to do this yourself. After all, I won't always be able to be here to work with you."

"I know; heck, I wasn't sure if you'd be able to come today. You've got a lot of responsibilities. Ah! A computer. I take it you can find out what you've got and where is it from here."

"Right. Here's the desktop icon to take you to the inventory site. You know, we've been lucky so far, in that we haven't needed to replace anything in the time since you started. But it was bound to happen. So today, you get to learn a little more: how to find out if we have a replacement part, and how to get it." He showed Will how to access the site and locate the part. Each Thunderbird, auxiliary vehicle, and piece of equipment had its on section, with all the parts listed, and quantity in stock. "Now, which shaft was it that we need?"

"Hang on." Will went to the cabinet where the manuals were kept and took out the one on the Mole. He flipped through the pages as he returned, then set it down on the counter beside the computer. "It's this one, right?" he asked, pointing to the illustration.

"Right the first time. And," Brains checked the inventory, "we're in luck. We have one in stock." He noted the location and said, "Come on. I'll show you where we keep our parts."

Posted by hobbeth on May 4, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #503 is a reply to message #502] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Saturday, October 21, 11 PM; Silver Spring (3 PM Sunday on Tracy Island)

Lena got home from the family gathering at Matthew's house, to celebrate her parents' return from their round-the-world cruise. It had been fun, looking at the pictures and some videos, hearing about what they did, both on board and off. But she was thinking about one adventure that her mother had related.

"While we were heading to Santiago, we were diverted to an area where a jet had gone down. Dere were survivors, and ships were needed dere to take dem aboard. We were close enough, so de captain changed course. But we encountered one woman who was unhappy about it, and made it known to one of de pursers, in de middle of de hall."

"Your motter called Miss Hightower on her attitude, asking her how she'd feel if she was one of de passengers and couldn't be rescued because of someone's selfish attitude," Daniel said.

"Hightower? Desdemona Hightower?"

"Dat's right, Lena. Do you know her?"

"I had de misfortune of meeting her once. Dat was more dan enough, Motter."

A little more was said, then the talk turned to other things. But Lena knew that she'd better inform Jeff. And Lady Penelope, I tink. As soon as she put her things away, she went into her home office. It didn't take long for her to get the computer up and ready. She brought up an email window, added both Jeff's and Penny's addresses, and began to type.

I just learned something this evening that I felt you both should know about as soon as possible. My parents just returned from a world cruise, and were aboard one of the ships that took on survivors of that jet crash you went to last month. On their way to tell the purser that they would share their cabin with any survivors, they encountered Desdemona Hightower, which means she may have seen some of the equipment used to effect the rescue.

If so, she might get the idea (if she hasn't already) to try to find a way to go after International Rescue and their equipment. Even though your security, regarding your communications and computer transmissions, is state-of-the-art, I will continue to see if I can come up with ways to enhance it.

But I thought you both should be informed, and let anyone else know whom you feel needs to be.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.


She thought a minute, then smiled and added:

By the way, my mother seems to have the same opinion of that woman that I do, and didn't hesitate to tell my dad after their encounter with her. According to him, she told him that Miss Hightower was a bitch. She's right.

She made sure all security checks were operational, then sent the message. She sat back and said to herself, "Dat's all I can do, for now. I'd better get some sleep."

Posted by hobbeth on May 5, 2008

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[Updated on: Mon, 23 July 2012 21:20]

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #504 is a reply to message #503] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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******Sunday, October 21, Tracy Island, 4 p.m.******
Enjoying the sunshine, Nikki sat poolside as she watched John and Gordon swimming laps. "Maybe I'll take a swim later on."

After 10 more minutes of swimming, John and Gordon swam to the side where she sat.

"Whew," Gordon said, "today's a great day for being at the pool. It's really warm."

John nodded. "Not enough to start a serious fire around here. Speaking of which, I'm looking forward to the next training class tomorrow."

"So am I," Nikki said. "I've seen wildfires on television before, but I have a feeling Cassie's going to cover a lot more than what's been shown."

"You're probably right," Gordon said. "I'll probably need to take a pencil and paper."

Raising an eyebrow, Nikki said, "Be serious, Gordon. Wildfires are no joke."

"Who said I was joking? I really want to take down as much information as possible. Sure, the rum plant fire was a start, but I need to learn more to be ready. Note taking's my best method."

Nikki blushed in embarrassment. "Sorry. I just thought you were kidding around in a serious situation."

John shook his head. "Nikki, there are times even I can't tell whether he's being funny or serious. This time, though, I know he means it. Believe me, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people bring in pens and pads just to get all the information."

"I don't expect us to learn every bit about wildfires or how the firefighters handle 'em," said Gordon, "but I'd rather think in the long-term, with all of us having the capabilities of fighting fires, not just some of us. I think doing this will make us more well-rounded."

With a smile, Nikki said, "You're right. If we can do more than just our individual specialties, the one or two experts won't feel so burdened."

"It's like the old expression, 'Jack of all trades, master of none.' Before too long, we'll all be knowledgeable in many different fields."

John agreed. "Then we wouldn't have to send as many people out on rescues. Or, if we have more than one going on at the same time, we'll have experts at each zone."

"Perhaps," said Nikki, "we may consider more cross-training in other aspects, such as make an astronaut out of Gordon."

"Part of astronaut training does involve working in water," John noted. "If we could ever get time, we could have more than just Alan, Callie, and me. All you'd need are the basics."

Gordon shook his head. "Hey, we can do all that when we get time. There's too much coming in the next couple of months to even consider the option yet."

"Okay, okay, you're right. We'll bring it up after Dad's birthday. I'll put it in my PDA to make sure we don't forget about it."

"Sounds good," Nikki said. "I feel like a swim. Would you mind if I joined you?"

"Come on in," said Gordon, "the water's just fine."

So, she joined the two brothers for a fun swim in the pool just before dinner time.

Posted by TracyFan4Ever on May 5, 2008

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #505 is a reply to message #504] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Sunday, October 21,7 p.m. Tracy Island (3 a.m. NY same day, 2 a.m. Kansas)

Cassie stood on the balcony and looked out at the horizon. Storm clouds were approaching.

Well that should help take care of the dry conditions that Brains and I were worried about, she thought.

Turning, she headed back through the open door and into the living room of her apartment. She flopped down on the couch and pulled her laptop into her lap. The firefighter needed a break from work so she planned on catching up on her personal email. Logging into her account, she scanned the new messages in the inbox. There were three messages; one from Mark, one from Dr. Lindon and another from Jackie. As she hadn't heard from any of her old co-workers in awhile, she opened Jackie's email first.

She was halfway through it when she noticed once of her contacts come online. Glancing at her IM, she saw that it was Jordan.

She glanced up at the clock. Having gotten use to the time difference between the island and the city, it didn't take her long to figure out what time it was there. What is he doing up at three in the morning? she thought. There is one way to find out.

Kitten2039: Hey Jordan! You're up late

DocJEK: Hey Cass. Could say the same about you. I just got off work. What's your excuse?

Cassie thought quickly of how to answer that question. She decided to keep it simple.

Kitten2039: Couldn't sleep.

DocJEK: Same here. Though after sixteen hours at the hospital I hadn't counted on sleep being a problem.

Kitten2039: Rough night?

DocJEK: You could say that. Two doctors and a nurse called out sick so I stayed. Guess I'm still keyed up from being busy. It sure isn't a quiet night in the city. Not to mention, one of the last patients I saw sort of unnerved me.

Kitten2039: Want to talk? You know I'm always here to listen.

DocJEK: Well, I can't go into details but one of my last patients was a victim of a hate crime. Beat up because he was gay. All I could think was - what if this was Mark? I haven't exactly been the most supportive of big brothers these last couple of years.

Kitten2039: I've got a question for you then. Is it the idea that some might beat Mark up because he's gay, that's bothering you or that you're uncomfortable with the fact that your kid brother is gay?

Cassie watched the screen, waiting for a reply. When one wasn't forthcoming she typed in another message.

Kitten2039: Hey, I was just trying to help you figure things out. You're not mad, are you?

DocJEK: No, I'm not mad. Just thinking.

There was another pause, before Jordan's next message appeared on screen.

DocJEK: I guess it's more of the second. There isn't much I can do to about what other people do and I know Mark can look out for himself. Guess I always thought of myself as tolerant and open minded. I haven't exactly been showing that when it comes to my own brother though. Hell Cass, I can't even remember the last time I talked to him. Last Christmas probably.

Kitten2039: So, then give him a call. Ask him to go out for drinks or something.

DocJEK: You think he'd even want to hear from me?

Kitten2039: I know he'd love to hear from you. The last thing Mark wanted to do was cause a rift between him and the rest of the family but he also can't deny who he is. Just call him.

DocJEK: Maybe I will.

Kitten2039: Good.

DocJEK: So how have you been?

Cassie chatted with Jordan for a while more until Jordan signed off to head to bed. Cassie went back to reading her email hoping that Jordan really would call Mark. She'd like to see all her brothers on better terms with one another and maybe this was a start.

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[Updated on: Mon, 23 July 2012 21:22]

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #506 is a reply to message #505] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Sunday, October 21, 9 a.m., London (9 p.m., same day, Tracy Island)

Lady Penelope raised the porcelain teacup to her lips almost absently. Her eyes were focused on the data pad before her, rereading the reports sent to her by the IR agents in Germany and France and the email she'd received from Lena. She drew in a breath, then let it out again in a soft sigh. She carefully replaced the cup in its saucer.


Parker, who stood nearby, stepped forward. "More tea, Milady?"

"Just a touch, Parker," Penelope said. "Then leave the pot with me. I must speak with Jeff."

"Very good, Milady."


The pink pearls on Penelope's portrait flashed, and Jeff looked up from his desk. He frowned, and toggled a switch, then watched Penelope's portrait come to life. She was perfectly coiffed, but her neckline was trimmed with fluffy marabou feathers, indicating she was still in her dressing gown. He managed to put on a smile, and warmly said, "Hello, Penny. Good to see you again."

"And to see you, Jeff." Penelope smiled a little. "Am I correct in assuming you received Lena's missive?"

"I did," Jeff replied, nodding. "And I've managed to have a talk with Virgil as well. He told me what happened with Ms. Hightower, and indicated that Kyrano had also encountered someone unpleasant. My impression was that he was leaving it to Kyrano to tell the whole story. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to speak with Kyrano about it yet; he's having trouble with jet lag."

"Ah, I see." Penny glanced down at her data pad. "Though Virgil's encounter with Desdemona Hightower -- in her guise as 'Dez Richmond' - concerns me, it does not worry me as much as Kyrano's meeting."

The way Penelope kept her face very blank and very still made Jeff ask sharply, "Who did he meet, Penny?"

Penelope let out a soft breath and straightened. "He met his half-brother, Belah Gaat."

Jeff sank back into his chair a bit, a stunned look on his face. "Damn." Shaking his head, he reiterated, "Just... damn." After a moment, he composed himself, and asked, "What happened? Why was he there? How did he know that Kyrano was there?"

"According to the reports I have had," Penelope began, her voice both professionally crisp and soothing at once, "I do not believe that Gaat knew of Kyrano's visit. It seemed to the agent who followed Kyrano that Gaat was in Paris of his own accord, but once he saw Kyrano, he began to shadow him -- in disguise, as is his custom." Her eyes dropped briefly to the data pad and back up to meet Jeff's gaze. "They met in the cemetery where Kyrano's late wife is buried. The agent - Gisela - swooped in and pulled Kyrano from the scene, taking him to safety."

"So Gaat didn't get a chance to use his... mind control... whatever it is... on Kyrano?" Jeff sounded worried.

"Gisela indicated that he was unable to affect Kyrano -- who resolutely kept his back to Gaat, by the by."

Jeff sighed, relieved. "Thank God. I hate to think what Gaat would have done..." He paused for a moment, thinking, then asked, "Any news on Gaat's current whereabouts?"

Penelope shook her head, sounding regretful. "None, I fear. Gisela sprayed him with pepper spray, and very likely ruined the mask he wore. There is no way of knowing what disguise he might use after that point." She paused. "However, I doubt he would go about as himself, seeing as he is very high on Interpol's 'Most Wanted' list."

"I see." He straightened in his chair again. "Please convey my thanks to Gisela for her timely intervention."

"I shall." Penny smiled briefly, then sobered. "As to Virgil..."

"Yes, Virgil." Jeff nodded slowly. "He told me he didn't think she'd known he was going to be there beforehand, but he wasn't sure."

"The impression that Jean-Claude had was that she was in Paris legitimately, and like Gaat, saw an opportunity." She glanced down at her pad again. "He brought in the agent from Brussels once he'd discovered her identity, and that worthy reports she visited several clothing designers after her encounter with Virgil. It confirmed what Jean-Claude could hear of their conversation in the bar. Although," here a very slight smirk touched her lips, "she seemed quite put out that Virgil seemed to be avoiding her after the... ahem... 'accident' in the bar."

Jeff chuckled. "Yes, he told me about that, and her reaction to it. He mentioned that it might not have been an accident."

"It was not." Penelope replied, smiling. "Jean-Claude works quickly. He is an excellent agent, as is Gisela, and the gentleman from Brussels."

"I know. We're blessed with some of the best people as agents." Jeff picked up a stylus and tapped it against his chin. "About what Lena related -- that had to have been the airliner rescue involving the giant pandas. Do you know if there could be any correlation between the two incidents?"

Penelope thought for a moment, a tiny frown causing a slight wrinkle between her eyebrows. "I... I do not believe so. I am more of the opinion that Desdemona saw an opportunity to infiltrate Tracy Industries in a way that her brother, Giles, failed to do. At this point in time, I do not see how she could deduce that the Tracy family is involved with International Rescue." She shook her head slightly. "However, that does not exclude her from making such a deduction later... if we are not vigilant."

"I agree. Fortunately we have agents like Lena and yourself working on keeping us vigilant."

"Quite so."

There was a moment of silence between them, then Penny brightened. "Well, Jeff, I shall download copies of these reports to you, and let you go about your evening. Please inform me of anything pertinent that Kyrano or Virgil might tell you about their encounters."

"I will, Penny." Jeff stopped then remembered something. "Oh, Penny! I almost forgot. Have you heard anything about that man who wrote Dominic? The paramedic from Kansas..."

"Ah, yes! Mr. Kandagaye." Penny pulled up another file on her data pad. "I am waiting for a final report from our Kansas agent, but things are looking very promising." She glanced up at Jeff. "If you decide to recruit him as an agent, would you like me to handle the matter?"

"Let me think about that, Penny." Jeff replied. "I want to be very sure before offering him the position. For all we know, the World Gov could have approached him as well -- and he accepted."

"Very true." There was another pause, then she added, "Oh dear! I must hurry off now. Bon soir, Jeff. Please my regards to Dianne and the rest of the family."

"I will. Have a good day, Penny."

"I shall. International Rescue London, signing off."

Penelope's portrait winked back into static form and Jeff sat back and sighed, a deep one made of relief. "I'm glad we included the agents in Lena's security upgrades. It's good to know we have secure communications across the board. And good that the Hood wasn't able to get hold of Kyrano. That's something more for me to speak with him about when I discuss the kitchen situation."

He glanced at the clock. Wonder what my wife is up to. Perhaps an early bedtime... though I say nothing about sleeping... With that thought, he shut down his computer and prepared for more pleasurable activities.

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[Updated on: Mon, 23 July 2012 21:23]

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #508 is a reply to message #506] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, October 22, 2068, 10:15 a.m., Tracy Island

Jeff looked up from his computer screen as Scott walked into the lounge.

"You wanted to see me, Dad?" Scott asked as he approached.

"Yes, I did." Jeff beckoned to him, and Scott came behind the desk. "I've been looking over the flight mileage for the past few months, and I'm concerned. For example," Jeff highlighted an area, "Virgil's close to his limit for this month just with the flying he's done as a civilian. You know I don't like the combined hours to go over if it's at all possible."

"What about Elise?" Scott asked, peering at his father's data.

"She's okay with her hours; most of them are from the last rescue. But..." Jeff highlighted another set of numbers. "You're not." He glanced up at his firstborn. "If we have a rescue in the next week or so, John is going to have to handle One, or Elise will have to take One and someone else fly Two. Depends on how close to November first the rescue comes."

Scott sighed heavily and shook his head. He leaned up against the communications bank behind him, folding his arms "So, what do we do? Train up someone else on One? On Two? I mean, Gordon's checked out on both..."

Jeff swung his chair around to face Scott. "For the time being, we'll have to play it by ear. It's only for a week or so. But in the long run... I think it's time we looked for a replacement for Heather."

"I'm surprised we haven't done so already," Scott said, raising an eyebrow.

It was Jeff's turn to sigh. "I know. But we haven't had much luck holding onto a Thunderbird One pilot, and I was rather hoping that we'd be able to use Elise as a swing pilot of sorts, filling in on either Thunderbird when needed. However, I can see that's not necessarily what's best." He opened up a file in the third screen. "Here's the help wanted ad. I'm phrasing it differently this time; it doesn't look good for us to be looking for a 'personal pilot' this time." He snorted a laugh. "Makes it look like we're difficult to work for."

"Corporate pilot?" Scott glanced at his father. "Well, that should look a little better. Not so much like it's for the family." He settled back and frowned slightly. "Isn't that what Christopher was doing before we tapped him?"

"Yes, Christopher and Elise both were corporate pilots for Tracy Industries," Jeff admitted. "Of course, Elise is now considered a 'personal pilot', which allows us to pay her from the personal accounts. And I'll still be looking for someone with military flight experience; I wouldn't trust One to anyone without that crucial bit of training." He glanced over at Scott. "Does this meet with your approval?"

"Yeah, it does, and thanks for running it past me, Dad." He smiled a little, a weary expression on his face. "I just hope we have better luck with whoever we get this time."

Jeff nodded slowly. "So do I, son; so do I."

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #509 is a reply to message #508] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday Oct. 22, 2068, Tracy Island, Just before lunch

Cassie had been going over the plans she and Brains had drawn up for carrying out the live fire training exercise again, making sure that they had covered everything. Brains had already arranged for Virgil to fly them out to Neverland in the morning to set up. However, she realized that other than themselves they didn't have anyone helping them set up the incendiary devices to start the fire. Though they could have managed on their own, the process would go quicker if they had more help.

The first person Cassie had thought about asking was Tin-Tin. She had called her on the communicator and asked if she would be willing to help out. Tin-Tin had agreed to help out.

Who else could I get involved? Cassie mused, staring blankly at the plans still lying in front of her. It didn't take her long to think of Will. I think I'll go ask him in person though, she thought, as she got to her feet. I really haven't had much of a chance to talk to him since he moved here.

She headed over to Will's apartment first. Not getting an answer there she headed down to the repair bay to look for him.

As she first entered the repair bay, Cassie didn't notice anyone. "Anyone here?" she called out.

"Over here."

Heading in the direction the reply had come from, Cassie made her way around some equipment. She spotted Will working on another piece of equipment. Hearing her approaching footsteps, Will stopped his work and looked over at her.

"Hi, Cassie. Can I do something for you?"

"I wanted to ask you something if you have a couple of minutes."

"Sure. I could use a bit of a break. What did you want to ask me?"

"Well, I'm sure you've heard about the live fire training exercise we're planning tomorrow. I was reviewing our plans and it occurred to me that we could use some help setting up the incendiary devices in the morning. Tin-Tin already agreed to lend a hand but your help would be appreciated if you're up for it."

"Sure, I can give you a hand," Will replied. "I've always been involved in the repairing side of things. It'll be fun to be on the destruction side, for a change," he commented with a grin.

"Great," Cassie said, smiling at his last comment. "The task should go much quicker with the four of us. We're planning on leaving for the island at nine o'clock in the morning. We're going to meet in the lounge."

"I'll be there."

Cassie glanced at her watch and noticed it was almost lunch time. Thinking of her earlier realization that she and Will hadn't talked too much, she decided to make a suggestion. "If you don't have any plans for lunch already, why don't you come have lunch with me. It'll give us a chance to get to know one another better."

"Sounds good to me," Will replied, as he hadn't even considered what he was going to do for lunch. "Just let me get things cleaned up here and I'll be ready."

"Okay, then how about I head back to my place and start getting things ready. Do you like chicken salad?"

"That's fine."

Cassie nodded. "I'll see you in a little bit then. I'm apartment D-3," she added as she started to leave, just in case he didn't know which apartment was hers.

She just caught Will's acknowledgment as she left the repair bay. She headed to her apartment and started preparing a quick lunch for the two of them. She got out a couple of plates, glasses, forks and a serving spoon and placed them on the counter. Then she got the chicken salad she had mixed the day before and a container of pasta salad out of the fridge. Soon Cassie had a small stack of sandwiches sitting on the counter.

Cassie tried to remember where she had put her serving platter when she had put things away. She hadn't had an opportunity to use it yet, but she wanted it to put the sandwiches on. She was eying the cabinets when she heard a knock on the door leading from the living room to the balcony. Suspending her search she left the kitchen area and headed for the balcony door. Sure enough she saw Will standing on the balcony.

Reaching the door, she unlocked in and slid it open. "Come in, Will," she said stepping aside so he could enter. "I've almost got things ready," she told him, as she headed back to the kitchen.

Closing the door behind him, the mechanic followed. As he walked by the shelves, he noticed the cheerleading trophies sitting on them. "So how long did you do cheerleading?" he asked his hostess to start a conversation. Reaching the kitchen, he watched with a bemused smile as she started opening cabinets.

"I started when I was in sixth grade and cheered through high school. I stopped when I went to college as I didn't have time between school and working as a paramedic," Cassie replied. She opened the next cabinet and spotted the platter on the top shelf. Now why did I go and put it up there? she asked herself silently, knowing she'd never reach it without something to stand on.

Cassie turned to her guest, who was about a foot taller than she was. "Will, do you mind giving me a hand getting the platter from the top shelf?"

"No problem. Let me give you a boost."

Before Cassie could ask what he meant by a boost, Will was standing beside her. Picking her up by the waist, he lifted her up. She grabbed the platter from the shelf and he placed her back on the ground.

"Well, that certainly was a different method than I expected," Cassie commented, looking up at him.

"It's a habit of mine," he responded with a shrug as his hostess started placing the sandwiches on the platter. "I started doing it with my sister and even my mother a few times, and it just stuck."

"Always wanted a sister myself. Is she younger or older than you?" she asked, carrying the platter to the table.

Seeing the plates and utensils sitting on the counter, Will picked them up and headed to the table as he answered her question.

"Jenny is six years younger. I've got a younger brother, too."

Cassie nodded and then asked Will what he wanted to drink. After getting the drinks and bringing the pasta salad over, she sat down in a chair next to him. When they both had served themselves, Will spoke up.

"You said you always wanted a sister, so does that mean you're an only child?"

"No. I've actually got four brothers. In a way you could say I'm stuck in the middle. The triplets are three years older and Mark is three years younger."

"No wonder you always wanted a sister. With four brothers you must've felt a little outnumbered growing up."

"Sometimes," Cassie admitted with a slight shrug. "In some ways, being the only girl had its advantages though. I've always been daddy's little girl and all four of my brothers are very protective of me." Will nodded, thinking of his own siblings and how protective he was of them. "Are you close to your brother and sister?"

"Yeah, we're close even despite the age difference. My whole family is quite close. What about you?"

"When I was growing up, we were, but the dynamics have changed since I graduated high school. My younger brother, Mark, is gay and since he told us, my parents don't talk to him. Even our brothers are uncomfortable with the situation which makes for some awkward family moments. Not to mention Dad has never been happy about me following in his footsteps. He always felt it was too dangerous for me, but part of that probably just comes with being a father."

"My Dad was always happy about me showing an interest in his work. He owns a chain of auto and boat body and repair shops. I started working for him when I was fourteen. When I decided to leave the military, I went back to work for him. I was actually managing one of the shops in San Francisco before I came here. I would've kept working for him except I missed the hands on work, and this job will give me plenty of opportunity to experience that aspect."

"I can relate to that," Cassie said, thinking of her own job search.

The two of them continued to talk while they finished their lunch. After thanking Cassie for the meal, Will headed back to the repair bay. After cleaning up, Cassie sat down on the couch to look over her notes before the two o'clock training session.

written by starrynebula with help from hobbeth

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[Updated on: Sun, 19 April 2015 21:51] by Moderator

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #510 is a reply to message #509] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
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Field Commander
Monday, October 22, 2068, 1:30 p.m., Tracy Island.

Jeff looked at his mother, his retainer, and his mother-in-law, feeling vaguely nervous as they sat around the table in the study. He hadn't wanted to discuss the subject he was going to bring up while sitting behind his desk; he knew his mother well enough that she'd accuse him of hiding behind it. Here, around the table, they were all equals -- or so it seemed. Well, it's now or never, he thought. He took a deep breath, harumphed once, and began.

"I -- ahem -- I asked to meet with you to discuss something that's been bothering me for the past few days. It's something that directly affects you all, and I wouldn't bring it up if I didn't think it was imperative to address it..."

Emily cut in. "Jeff, just spit it out. We're not stockholders; we're not anyone you have to try and convince of something. So get on with it."

He sighed. "You're wrong there, Ma. You are worse than a stockholder; you're my mother. And I most certainly hope to convince you of something -- but, since you want me to spit it out, all right."

Jeff glanced at each of them in turn. "On Friday, I walked into the kitchen, looking for a cup of coffee, and I found my mother trying to wrestle a large pot over to the sink -- by herself." Lisa started to speak, and Jeff held up a hand. "I don't blame anyone for the situation, Lisa. It was part of a concatenation of circumstances that doesn't happen often, and may never happen again." He glanced at them each again. "However, it made me realize something, and it's what I want to discuss now."

Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly. "Let's face it; we're none of us getting any younger. And the business that this family is in hasn't spared anyone. You three might not go on rescues, you might not sit and direct things from the desk, but you're always up with us when we go out -- preparing coffee, watching children, making a meal or snack for when the crew comes back, filling in for Dianne and I when it comes to the schooling. We... I appreciate all that. But I also know that it takes its toll on you, as it does on me." He spread his hands. "I have the luxury of going to bed when the crew returns early in the morning. But you three, you often have duties that keep you up when you should be sleeping."

"What are you trying to say, Jeff?" Emily asked sharply, folding her arms. "That we're not good enough anymore? Are you going to replace us?"

"No, I'm not," Jeff shot back. "What I'd like to do is bring in someone more. Someone younger, more resilient, someone who can spend the hours up and about when we're on call and leave you to your regular duties. Someone who can lend a hand when everyone else is busy doing what needs to be done." He smiled slightly. "Someone who could have manhandled that pot for you, Ma."

Kyrano sighed, and all eyes turned his way. He nodded. "I... I have long been considering what would happen should one of us become incapacitated or permanently disabled. The illness you all contracted in June showed me how difficult it is to run this household with only two -- though we had Mrs. Matumbo's assistance, it was still difficult." He gently took Lisa's hand. "We are soon to be wed, and will travel on a honeymoon. Who then will take our places during that time?" Glancing first at Emily, then at Jeff. "I was not sure how to approach you about the subject. I thank you for bringing it up, for I feel it is a true need."

Emily frowned and shook her head sharply. "Kyrano, I'm sure we'll manage while you and Lisa are on your honeymoon. Dianne knows how to cook; the boys will pitch in... I'll steal Parker from Lady Penelope if I have to!"

"Emily," Lisa said with a sigh. "I appreciate what you're saying, but Kyrano and Jeff are right. I've spent my life working to support my family, and though I don't mind pitching in to help around here, I'm of an age to retire. Not to mention wanting the time to actually act like a newlywed again. The fact is that we can use the help. This operation," she waved her free hand to indicate the island, "has grown so much from when I first was brought in on the secret. There's so much more to do, and so many more people to do it for. Frankly, I'd like to ignore the alarm when it goes off... at least some of the time." She turned toward Jeff and smiled. "Jeff's not putting us out to pasture, Em. But he is giving us an opportunity to slow down and catch our breath a bit." She nodded. "Jeff, you've got my blessing, too."

There was a long pause, and Jeff gave his mother a searching look. "Ma?"

She raised an eyebrow. "I suppose you've got this new person all picked out for us?"

Jeff shook his head. "No, I don't. In fact, I want your input on what kind of qualifications I should be looking for. You know better than I do what we'd need most and where we'd need it. Do we need a cook? A housekeeper? Would you feel better with a married couple? What kind of person do you want to have helping you?" He tapped the data pad he'd set on the table earlier. "Let's brainstorm a bit and figure that out... as long as you're okay with the idea, Ma."

"Hmph!" Emily sniffed. "I don't know if I agree with this, but if Kyrano and Lisa think we need someone, then I'll defer to their wishes." She leaned forward, and tapped a finger on the table top. "Just make sure that whoever we hire knows who's the boss in the kitchen!"

Kyrano exchanged glances with Lisa, and the couple glanced over a Jeff, who shook his head a little, then picked up the data pad. "Okay. Let's begin, shall we?"

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #511 is a reply to message #510] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Field Commander
Monday, 22nd October, 2068, 6:30pm, Tracy Island

Nikki rapped her fingers against the surface of the table as she sat in front of her computer, staring at the white portion in the middle of the screen. Slowly, she began to type.

Hey Alan

I hope everything's all right with you up there.

Nikki looked at what she wrote and shook her head. "'I hope everything's all right with you up there'? If it wasn't, we would've heard about it by now." She deleted the e-mail and started again.

Hey Alan,

Having fun up there? Of course you are.

Everything's good down here by the way. Been keeping busy with organising the Halloween party with Elise.

I wish you were able to join us all for the party. It'd be more fun with you there. I'll take lots of pictures so you won't miss how everyone looks on the night. Plus, I'm sure someone might film it, so you won't miss a thing.

Speaking of missing, I miss you when you're not down here. I especially miss our chats. A lot of the time I feel like I could tell you anything. So how about we catch up over dinner sometime after you get back. I'll cook since I know I can out-cook you anytime (don't try to deny it).

I'll see you soon.


Nikki read over and spell checked the e-mail before hovering the curser over the send button. Maybe I should write something more. Tell Alan how I really feel, she thought.

Sighing, she pressed the send button, knowing that it would be better to tell him to his face.

Nikki felt butterflies in her stomach as she thought about telling Alan. She wasn't usually a shy person. If she was attracted to someone, she would tell them without hesitation. But yet she shied away from telling the truth this time. Nikki put it down to the fact that she worked and lived in close proximity to Alan.

Getting up from around the table, Nikki decided to make herself cup of tea in the hopes that it would make the butterflies disappear.

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #512 is a reply to message #511] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Field Commander
Monday, October 22, 2068, 7:40 p.m., Tracy Island

Jeff sat behind his desk, still feeling comfortably full after the evening's dinner. He pulled up the Tracy Industries' internal network page, and clicked on "Human Resources". The tab marked, "Careers" sported a yellow star, as it did most days. There always seemed to be hiring going on within the company, usually for the many manufacturing plants worldwide.

The side menu had a list of types of jobs available, and some of them sported yellow stars, indicating that new jobs had been listed. One of these was transportation, and Jeff clicked on that. A drop down list gave him further choices, and he clicked on "flight". New jobs were always listed at the top, and there it was, the ad he hoped would bring in a new pilot, one who could replace Heather.

"Help Wanted: Commercial pilot for corporate fleet. Able to fly Lear and Tracy Aero fixed-wing jets and helijets, long and short distances, with passengers. Must be willing to relocate. Ability to speak more than one language an asset but not a requirement. Apply Human Resources office, Tracy Industries, New York, NY, USA."

He nodded to himself, pleased with what he saw. Looking at the left-hand menu again, he moved his cursor up a bit to "Support Staff". The page changed, and he selected the drop-down menu choice of "Food Service".

"Help Wanted: Sous chef. Able to assist head chef in small kitchen facility. Experience needed in preparing entrées, salads, appetizers, breads and desserts for small groups. Thorough knowledge of kitchen maintenance, food storage and safety is considered critical, and ability to lift heavy objects essential. Must be willing to relocate. Fluency in English a must; ability to speak another language an asset. Apply Human Resources Office, Los Angeles, CA, USA."

"That one was hard to design," Jeff muttered as he read it again. "We didn't want to make it look as if we were looking for a personal chef, but because it's a small kitchen... it was difficult to pare down all the qualifications that Ma insisted on." He shook his head. "Whoever comes along will sure get a thorough grilling!"

He sighed, remembering the discussion, and the talk he had later with Kyrano about Paris. Lisa sat in on that, and was horrified to hear how close her fiancé had come to capture by his half-brother.

"Now I wish I'd gone with you, Tuan!" she exclaimed, her tone concerned. "With the two of us... he couldn't have taken us both on at one time, I'm sure!"

Kyrano took her hand and patted her arm. "I am glad you were not there, dear one. I have no desire for him to know that you are in my life and will become my wife. If he had ensnared you in his power, what then would I have done?"

"Still, Kyrano, you were very lucky," Jeff said, his brows knit in a frown.

"No. Unlucky, perhaps, for him to have been in Paris when I was, and for him to have seen and followed me," Kyrano replied with a sigh. "But you do not trust to luck, do you, Mr. Tracy? I am grateful you had someone watching and following. Thank you for your foresightedness."

"With the attempted incursions we've had over the past few months, it seemed the wisest course to take." Jeff scratched the back of his head. "I guess it hit me that personal protection and safety should be a family affair... and you certainly are family."

And will become even closer family once he and Lisa finally tie the knot, Jeff thought as he logged out of the internal network . I wonder how close they are to setting a date. Weddings take time to plan -- as well I know!

He stood and stretched, glancing up as Tyler peeked around the grillwork between the lounge and the study.


"Yes, Ty?"

"Wanna play some pinball with me?"

Jeff put on a thoughtful face as he crossed the room. "Hm. I guess so. But I usually lose when I play against you."

It was Tyler's turn to put on a thoughtful look. "Wellll, maybe we can play air hockey, instead. You're better at that than pinball."

Chuckling, Jeff tousled Tyler's stiff hair. "How about we play one game of air hockey, and one of pinball? I think there should be time before you have to go to bed. What do you say?"

"Cool!" Tyler replied, grinning. He grabbed Jeff's hand, pulling him toward the study door. "C'mon! Last one to the game room goes second!"

"I'm coming!" Jeff exclaimed, breaking into a trot. "You're going to lose tonight, son!"

Dom plainclothes heartbeat Luke plainclothes
Re: Playing with Fire [message #513 is a reply to message #512] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Field Commander
******Monday, October 22, 8:00 p.m. Tracy Island******

Hearing the washer turn off, Cassie propped her guitar on the seat. The load in the washer was her last one, and instead of making trips back and forth to her apartment, she had decided to stay downstairs until it was finished. After making her way back to the laundry room and transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer, she turned on the dryer and walked back to the chairs.

Cassie picked up her guitar again. She thought briefly about what she wanted to play, and then started the opening chords of "Moving On," a song by her favorite country group, Mississippi Mud.

The firefighter was singing the chorus for the second time when she suddenly had the feeling that she wasn't alone. She stopped playing and glanced toward the door. Sure enough, she saw that Callie had entered.

"Hi, Callie," Cassie said, resting her right arm along the top of her guitar. "Wasn't disturbing you, was I?"

Callie smiled. "Are you kidding? I haven't heard that song since my grandparents celebrated their 75th anniversary a few years ago. I always did like that one."

"Oh, cool. It's always been one of my favorite songs, even if it does mean I had to take some teasing from my friends for liking country music. For some reason, a lot of people in New York City would rather listen to other music genres."

"Guess some things never change. 'Course being from the southeastern part of the country I don't have to worry about that. Ever write your own songs?" Callie asked, sitting down on the couch next to Cassie.

"A couple," Cassie said with a shrug. "Not that too many people have ever heard them, just some family and friends. I haven't attempted to write anything in a few years due to the lack of time and inspiration."

The bioengineer nodded. "When I was working aboard the ISS, I got so absorbed with what I did I almost forgot what good music sounded like."

"Didn't you have the personal players?"

"Of course, but I never used it because I'd tune everything out while working. I'm just happy to hear some old-fashioned acoustics."

Cassie smiled before changing the subject. "So, how are you feeling about the training fire tomorrow?"

With a shrug, Callie answered, "I'll admit, I'm just a little nervous. Sure, I did help out with that fire in Australia, but I was inside the Fire Tender. I wasn't outside where the flames would've been so close to my face. My closest encounter with a serious fire before that was my father applying too much lighting fuel on his barbecue grill. We put it out with a fire extinguisher. Fortunately, the grill was deemed unusable afterward."

Cassie chuckled. "It's too bad every fire can't go out that way. Course that would mean I'd have to find a new job."

"I agree. If every huge fire could be put out with an extinguisher, life would be so much easier." After a nervous sigh, Callie added, "I've been doing so much training on different things for the past couple of months, I feel I could get confused on instructions. Being outdoors to work on a large fire is also a new challenge, so I hope I don't freak out."

"That's the reason we're having the training sessions and the fire. It'll get everybody on more equal footing, everyone learning how to be ready for an out-of-control fire. Hey, it won't be learned overnight, but in due time you'll at least understand the basics. Like I said in the training session, learning about how to handle a fire and actually fighting a fire are two different things. When I was training, I thought that live fire training was the most useful thing we did. Even though most fire departments do their training with simulated structural fire buildings, when you're actually fighting the fire you forget that an instructor can end the whole thing with a push of a button. Of course, tomorrow will be a more traditional concept of live fire training. We won't have the luxury of using computers to control things."

"Hopefully, I can remember what you've taught us these last couple of days," Callie commented.

"You'll do fine," Cassie assured her. "I'm just hoping I can remember all the code names tomorrow. I've been trying to make sure I have them memorized this weekend. Yours is Ursa, right?"

Callie nodded. "The code names did take some getting used to," she admitted, thinking about the first time she had to use them herself. They came easily to her now. "I could quiz you on them if you want, under one condition."

"What's that?"

"Could you play a tune for me, please?"

"Any requests?" Cassie asked. Playing for an audience, no matter how small, always is more fun, she thought.

Pep talk for the big show the next day by starrynebula and TracyFan4Ever[/size]

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #514 is a reply to message #513] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Tuesday, October 23, shortly after 9 a.m., Tracy Island

Onboard Thunderbird 2, Cassie passed data pads around to Brains, Will and Tin-Tin. Each pad contained the same data, which was the location of the incendiary devices that the group was going to be setting.

"I've downloaded the coordinates for all the points where the devices should be set. As you can see the pattern Brains and I settled on is a square. There will be a incendiary device at each corner of the square with one device set in the middle," Cassie told them as everyone looked at the information the data padds contained. "Brains and I will take the ones to the south. We plan on setting the southwest device together and then splitting up to set the southeast one and the device located in the middle. That leaves the two devices on the north perimeter of the square for the two of you to set," she said, looking first at Tin-Tin and then Will.

"Should we each take one or set them together?" Will asked.

"It's up to the two of you," Cassie replied. "The northwest device is the closest to our landing position though, so if you each take a point, whoever has that one is going to get done before any of the rest of us."

"Which will give me company while I wait," Virgil interjected from the pilot's seat.

"Worried about getting lonely?" Tin-Tin asked, smiling at his remark.

"Nah, I got some reading material with me. I've still got to catch up on the information from Cassie's training session she did on Friday."

"Good," Tin-Tin, replied before looking over at Will. "I'd prefer if we stick together to set the devices."

"That's fine," he replied. "Having company on a trek through the jungle will be nice."

"We'll keep in touch via the communicator," Brains reminded them all. "When a device is set, radio it in so we all know what progress is being made. Virgil will be monitoring the radio communications from Thunderbird 2 too."

"We'll be landing in a few minutes," Virgil called back to his passengers.

The talk came to an end as Thunderbird 2 landed on Neverland. Once on the ground, the group started to get gear together so they could begin their task.


Will watched as Tin-Tin set the incendiary device that would form the northeast corner of the square. As it was the farther of their two points, they had chosen to head there first and get the second point on their way back to Thunderbird 2.

The stand-by light on the device started to flash.

"One down," Tin-Tin said, as she stood up.

Will nodded and activated his communicator. "Mechanic to Jade. The northeast device is set and ready."

"Copy that Mechanic. Einstein is setting the southwest device now and then we'll split to set the other two."

"Okay. Sweet and I are heading for the second point now. Mechanic out."

Tin-Tin and Will headed to where they had stopped their hoverbikes.

"Do you want to set the next one?" Tin-Tin asked as she climbed onto the hoverbike. She looked over at her companion as he climbed onto the second bike.

"Sure. There is no reason why you should have all the fun," Will said lightly.

"Fun? This isn't exactly my idea of fun," Tin-Tin commented, as Will started his hoverbike.

"We should get going or they'll be wondering where we got to," Will suggested, not commenting on Tin-Tin last statement.

With a nod, Tin-Tin started her second bike and the two of them headed to the second point.


An hour-and-a-half later, Cassie, Will, and Tin-Tin were already back at Thunderbird Two. Tin-Tin was onboard the green craft with Virgil. Will and Cassie had found a large rock to sit on and were chatting. Brains had yet to get back from setting his second device but was expected soon.

When Brains finally returned, he smiled. "Well, we've gotten all the charges set to go. If they go off as planned we'll get to see the results of your training classes, Cassie."

"I sure hope so," she said. "Fires tend to be unpredictable, but at least we can all be on the same page."

"You're right there," remarked the scientist. "Well, let me just grab my gear from Thunderbird 2 and the rest of you can head back to Tracy Island," he said as Will and Cassie fell in step with him.

Brains was going to remain on Neverland to keep an eye on things. Should any of the devices go off prematurely, they needed someone here to alert them and relay the information back to Tracy Island.

"We all set then?" Virgil asked, looking back from the pilot's seat as his three teammates came into the cockpit.
"Yes. We should be good to go for this afternoon," Cassie responded, taking a seat.

Brains grabbed his gear and exited the craft as the others got settled and strapped in. When Brains was a safe distance away and his passengers were settled, Virgil started Thunderbird 2. Moments later, the green craft was in the air and heading back toward Tracy Island.

Setting things up by starrynebula and TracyFan4Ever

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[Updated on: Sun, 19 April 2015 21:54] by Moderator

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #515 is a reply to message #514] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Field Commander
Shortly before 2 p.m.

The lounge in the villa was crowded as most of the IR team members had found their way to there. Several different conversations were taking place as they waited for the last few people to arrive. Brandon came through the door, glancing briefly at the clock. Not far behind him, Virgil and Elise entered the room.

Now that everyone had gathered, Jeff decided to get things started.

"May I have everyone's attention please," Jeff said. At the sound of his voice, the conversations throughout the room came to an end. "Cassie took a group out this morning to set the charges for our training session this afternoon. The plan is to set them off while Thunderbird 1 is in route. The idea of this training session is to put into practice what Cassie covered in her training sessions. Therefore, Cassie will be at mobile control observing everything but will only step in if necessary. Brains is still on Neverland, so he can keep an eye on things until the rest of you get there. He will also be observing as long as things don't get out of hand. Will has expressed an interest on seeing some of the vehicles in action first hand so he will also be on site but not actively participating in the session."

Jeff paused and looked around the room, his gaze falling on Elise. "Elise, I want you to take Mobile Control this time out," Jeff told the blonde pilot. "It will give you some experience at leading the rescues. You'll leave for Neverland first so that you will be first on scene just as if this was a real rescue. Cassie, I want you to go with her so that you're on-scene from the very beginning."

Both women nodded in consent.

"Scott, you'll join the others. It'll give you a chance to work with the auxiliary equipment."

"Yes, sir," Scott replied evenly. He didn't like the idea of relinquishing control of the mission but he also realized that it would be a good experience for not only Elise but himself as well.

"Thunderbird 2 will launch as Thunderbird 1 reaches Neverland. Elise will hand out the assignments once she's taken in the situation. As you won't be far from base, Dianne is going to remain here. If someone is injured notify Dom, Nikki, or Cassie. The decision if immediate transport back here is necessary will be made after the situation is assessed."

There were a chorus of acknowledgments and nodding of heads throughout the room. "Any questions before we begin?"

Jeff paused, giving the others a chance to speak up.

"Sir, can I say something?" Cassie asked.

"Go ahead."

"Though this is supposed to be a training session keep in mind this is a live fire exercise. Brains and I have done our best to control the situation as much as possible but fires can be highly unpredictable. Stay alert."

"Is there anything else?" Jeff asked when he was sure Cassie was done. A few people in the room shook their heads but everyone remained quiet. "Then let's get this exercise underway," Jeff said with a nod to Elise.

Dom plainclothes heartbeat Luke plainclothes

[Updated on: Mon, 23 July 2012 21:25]

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #516 is a reply to message #515] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Jenny's fingernails tapped on the top of the computer desk and she muttered under her breath as she scanned the help wanted advertisements. "Hm... that looks... no, I don't like the hours. Wait, maybe... well, they're asking for a lot of experience for such a puny job..." She shook her head and sighed. "At this rate, I'll never find the kind of job I want."

Jenny's mother, Sandra, sat nearby, knitting and listening to her daughter's complaints. "Jenny luv?"

"Yes, Mum?" Jenny half-turned in her seat.

"I think perhaps you should look for something less... ideal."

Frowning, Jenny turned to fully face her mother. "What do you mean, Mum?"

Putting her knitting down in her lap, Sandra smiled at her daughter. "Jenny luv, you've always said you wanted to work for International Rescue. That's a lovely thought but, as you've said, you don't know how to get in touch with them. And now you want to work for a rich family. That's all well and good, but I think you have to ask yourself, why? Why do you want to work for International Rescue? Is it because of their popularity? What would you have to offer them as far a skills are concerned?"

"Well, I can cook, and clean, and I've done work with the missing persons bureau..."

"Yes, I know. But don't you think they have people to do these things already? Or that perhaps they do them for themselves?" Sandra sighed. "And why do you want to work for a rich family? Is it for the pay? You know that, if you are hired by a rich family, you'll be their servant... with all the attitude which that entails." She smiled sadly. "That's why I warned you about those other positions you were considering; I don't want you to work for someone who won't treat you like a person or pay you what you're worth."

Jenny nodded slowly, a thoughtful look on her face. "I see. I never thought about my own motives in working for a rich family. I supposed it would be well-paying and glamorous, not like some of the drudge work I've done - like when I worked at the hotel. I didn't think of how I might be treated." She sighed again. "And International Rescue... I guess they'd have people more experienced than I am; though I admit, it would be thrilling to work alongside them rescuing people."

"That's why I think you should look for something more... down to earth. Not necessarily working in a take-away shop, but perhaps, a school cafeteria? Or the hospital?" Sandra's voice sounded hopeful. "Even a good corporation might have an opening where you'd fit."

"Hm." Jenny turned back to the computer screen. "What you said reminded me of an advertisement I saw earlier." She minimized two windows, then scrolled up a little. "Here it is: 'Help Wanted: Sous chef. Able to assist head chef in small kitchen facility. Experience needed in preparing entrées, salads, appetizers, breads and desserts for small groups. Thorough knowledge of kitchen maintenance, food storage and safety is considered critical, and ability to lift heavy objects essential. Must be willing to relocate. Fluency in English a must; ability to speak another language an asset. Apply Tracy Industries, Human Resources Office, Los Angeles, CA, USA.' Hm. I can do all that, but I don't know that I'd want to move to the United States."

"Oh!" Sandra sat up straight as her daughter read the ad. "But Tracy Industries is world-wide! Do you remember Amanda Cook's sister, Betty?"

"Of course, Mum." Amanda had been Jenny's good friend until her death from acute appendicitis. "I remember Betty."

"Well, she applied to Tracy Industries for a job in their manufacturing plant outside of Sydney. She had to send her CV to New York, but she was interviewed in Sydney first, then sent on for a second interview at the plant itself." Sandra set aside her knitting, and came to peer at the window over Jenny's shoulder. "It may be that you send your CV to Los Angeles, but they would interview you locally. If they liked what they saw, then they would send you on to where the actual position was to interview there." She met Jenny's gaze. "I do remember Mrs. Cook saying that they reimbursed Betty for her travel expenses."

Jenny considered for a moment, then nodded. "All right. I'll send my CV on to them and see what happens. And... I'll look for something a little more down to earth, too." She turned and kissed her mother on the cheek. "Thanks, Mum."

Sandra smiled and patted Jenny on the shoulder, then went back to the couch and picked up her knitting again. Jenny pulled up her curriculum vitae and began to compose an email to go with it.

"Dear Sir or Madam. I am inquiring about the position of sous chef..."

Looking for jobs by Tikatu

Dom plainclothes heartbeat Luke plainclothes

[Updated on: Mon, 23 July 2012 21:25]

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #517 is a reply to message #516] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, October 22; 10 PM; Silver Spring (2 PM Oct 23 on Tracy Island

Lena closed her carry-on bag with a smile of satisfaction. I'm sure I didn't forget a ting, she thought. I even remembered de camera Mattew gave me.

Matthew and Amelia had driven over and taken her out to dinner, "So you won't have to cook or clean up before you leave for Maine," according to her daughter-in-law. It amused the older woman, but, any time I can get a free meal, why not? And - truth be told - she enjoyed their company, which, despite living with them while recuperating from the plane crash, she felt she didn't get enough of.

They'd gone to Lena's favorite seafood restaurant, located only a few miles from her house. The food was excellent as usual, and the server, recognizing that the three adults were people he could joke with, was very entertaining. He made their meal more enjoyable then ever before, according to Lena. And when Matthew brought out a camera, the server offered to take a picture of the three of them.

Once that was done, and the server went off to take care of his other tables (and the people sitting at them), Matthew handed the camera to his mother. "I'd like you to take some pictures of the autumn foliage up there, if you have the chance. You know how Amelia's great-grandmother enjoys autumn colors, and we want to give her more photos to enjoy."

"Of course, son. I'd be glad to." Lena turned to Amelia. "How is Dora doing, honey?"

"She's slowly fading, but never complains. I don't think she's in pain; at least I don't see any signs that she is when I see her. And she still laughs and tells stories. We've all taken to recording her stories. I think they'd make a wonderful book some day."

"What a good idea! I'd like to be de first to order a copy when it's published. I've heard a few of her tales, and dey're marvelous."

Matthew laughed. "Get in line, Mother. Amelia had called Joy, and told her about this idea. Joy mentioned it to Naomi."

"So now half of Maryland at least knows about it, right?" She laughed. "I don't tink Naomi could keep a secret if her life depended on it. I tink she's going to be a gossip columnist or a journalist someday. She'll definitely not work for de World Government; dey couldn't trust her to keep tings to herself."

Soon afterwards, they took Lena back to her house, stopping only long enough to print out the picture their server had taken. Then they headed home, and Lena finished her packing and took her shower, changing into her nightclothes afterward.

She put her carry-on by the front door, amused at the fact that Jeff had insisted on having a driver pick her up, and a private jet to take her to Portland. After de crash, he insisted on doing dis, aldough I managed to talk him out of it when I went on my next trip. I'll compromise, and let him do dis once in a while. After all, it never hurts to be spoiled sometimes.

She smiled, went into her bedroom and was asleep ten minutes after getting into bed.

Dom plainclothes heartbeat Luke plainclothes
Re: Playing with Fire [message #518 is a reply to message #517] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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After 2 p.m., Neverland

Cassie could see the smoke on the horizon from the training fire as she and Elise approached in Thunderbird 1. Looks like the devices worked as planned, Cassie thought as she kept her eye on the scene in front of her.

Despite knowing the fire had been set deliberately, Cassie could feel her heart beat faster just like any other time she had been called upon to do her job. It was going to feel strange not being an active part of fighting this fire but her role was as an instructor this time.

I finally know how all the instructors at the fire academy felt.

"Base from Thunderbird 1," Elise said beside Cassie.

"Base here. Go ahead Thunderbird 1," came Jeff's reply.

"I've got the island in sight and can see smoke from here. I will be doing a fly over within two minutes."

"FAB, Thunderbird 1. Thunderbird 2 will be launching momentarily."


It wasn't long before Thunderbird 1 was flying over the island, both occupants taken in the situation.

Meanwhile, Elise was trying to decide where to set up Mobile Command, and the best course of action to take in fighting the fire.

Cassie said to be aware of the terrain and to look for natural fire breaks, Elise thought, as she remembered what had been taught the day before. That rock face would serve as a barrier the fire. That side of the fire zone should be of lowest priority. That leaves three other sides to concentrate on. The wind direction will determine where we should concentrate our efforts. As for setting up Mobile Command, the only place to land is going to be the beach.

"Thunderbird Two from Thunderbird One."

"Thunderbird Two. I copy you, Frankie," came Virgil's reply over the radio. "What's the situation?"

"The fire is located on the west side of the island. The east perimeter of the fire is about thirty kilometers from a rock face. The western perimeter is about 20 kilometers inland. We can land both Thunderbirds on the beach on the western side of the island. I'm sending you the coordinates. I'm going to land and set up Mobile Control and get weather information from Alan. I'll have further instructions for you when you get here."

"FAB, Frankie. See you in the danger zone."

"Einstein from Thunderbird One," Elise radioed to Brains as she banked Thunderbird 1 to head back to the landing site she had picked out. She needed to relay to the scientist the coordinates of where she planned on setting up.

"Einstein here, go ahead Thunderbird One."

"I've picked out a location to direct operations from. Sending you the coordinates now."

"FAB," Brains replied. "I'll meet you there. Einstein out."

Setting the blue craft down softly on the beach, she shut down the engines. The two women went about getting the equipment they needed, and disembarking from the craft. It wasn't long before Mobile Command was set up.

"Thunderbird 5 from Mobile Control."

"Thunderbird 5, here. Go ahead, Frankie," came Alan's reply from the space station.

"Indy, I need wind speed and direction for the area," Elise told him, as she glanced off to her left to see Brains approaching their position on a hoverbike.

"F.A.B.," Alan replied. There was a brief pause as Alan retrieved the requested information. "I'm sending it to you now."

Elise watched the computer screen as the information was downloaded to Mobile Control. With the information gathered from her fly over and the weather information, Elise started to make plans on how to tackle the fire.[/size]

Dom plainclothes heartbeat Luke plainclothes
Re: Playing with Fire [message #519 is a reply to message #518] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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When everyone left the lounge, Dianne turned to Jeff. "Why are you keeping me behind? I'm as much a part of the team as the others and should be with them."

"Don't worry; neither you nor I will remain here. I have an idea for us to observe this training exercise in person and unnoticed." He called Thunderbird Five. "Alan, I'll be away from the desk. If you need to contact me, do so via the hands-free."

"F-A-B, Dad."

"So, what's your plan?" Dianne asked as she followed Jeff from the lounge.

"Give Lisa a heads up that we're going out and I'll show you," Jeff said, heading downstairs. "I'll meet you at the boat pen." He paused to glance at her. "Make sure you bring a jacket! There'll be a breeze on the water!"

"F-A-B!" Dianne said with a smile and a sharp salute.

Ten minutes later, she arrived at the boat pen with jackets for both of them over her arm. She spotted him in the speedboat, and its motor was running. "Come aboard, Doc. We're on our way to Neverland. I know a couple of places where we can observe without being seen."

With a grin, he held out his hand to assist her in boarding. Instead, she put his jacket into it, and nimbly got in unassisted. "I like the way you think, my dear. By the way, do you have a hands free, and where'd you find one?"

"I do. I found one - two, actually - in the lab." He moved toward the bridge, and set the boat in motion, piloting it through the cavernous tunnel and out into the open sea. With one hand on the wheel, he used the other to put the hands free unit into place. "Here's one for you," he said, offering her a similar case.

"Thank you, kind sir," she quipped as she deftly inserted the set into her ear. Putting a hand to her head, she made a rueful face. "I'm going to wish I'd put on a kerchief or something."

The speedboat took them across the waves quickly, and it wasn't long until they saw a plume of smoke on the horizon.

Jeff slowed the boat as they neared the island, and when he saw the Thunderbirds, he veered to the left. "There's a cove close by where we can beach the boat and a hill where we can see what's going on. I've also brought binoculars for both of us, so we should be able to catch all the action."

"Brains let me know where they set the charges after Cassie left the island, and I did some calculating on my own. It's an easy climb so we'll be able to reach our vantage point quickly. And it's well out of the way of the fire."

He took the binoculars out of a chest and handed her one. "Are you ready to watch the show?"

"Yes, I'm ready." She took the binoculars, stringing the strap around her neck. "I'm not exactly dressed for climbing, but I'll do. Let's go."

They beached the boat in the cove, and Jeff took Dianne's hand as they headed for the overgrown path that would take them to the hill top. "Next time we're out here, I'll have the boys clear this," he said as he pushed fronds and leaves out of his way.

"I can smell the smoke already," Dianne said as she clambered up behind him. "Are you sure we won't be in any danger?"

"I'm sure. I know this islet almost as well as I know Tracy Island. We'll be fine."

Dianne gave her husband a slightly skeptical look, but didn't say anything more. And sooner than she thought possible, they were at the top. He pointed in the direction of the smoke. "See? It's a good three or four miles away. If it comes this way, it'll also be heading for the Thunderbirds," he said, pointing ahead and to the right at the vessels. "We'll have time to get off this hill, since neither Scott nor Virgil would let anything happen to their babies."

He turned and saw a large flat stone. "We can sit here and watch. in relative comfort. These binoculars are powerful. They can spot a ladybug on a rose petal half a mile away." He grinned at her as she rolled her eyes.

"I'd be happier if you called Alan," she replied as she lifted her field glasses to her eyes.

"F-A-B," Jeff said dryly. "Commander calling Thunderbird Five. Do you read?"

Alan glanced at his monitor, noting the location where his father and Dianne were, and the distance to the Danger Zone.

"Reading you strength five, Commander. Have a good view from there?"

"Yes, we do." Jeff put the glasses to his eyes. "Let us know of any weather changes or shifts in the fire. I'm sure we're far enough away, but fires are unpredictable."


"And don't let the others know that we're here."

There was a chuckle. "F-A-B."

"Good man. Commander out."

Dianne dropped her glasses a bit. "Do you think they'll see us up here?"

"No, I don't. We're not where we can easily be spotted, and they should all be too engrossed in the training to notice us." Jeff dropped his glasses and gave Dianne a significant look. "And if they're not so engrossed, they'll hear about it later."

Dianne and Jeff head to Neverland, by Tikatu and hobbeth

Dom plainclothes heartbeat Luke plainclothes
Re: Playing with Fire [message #520 is a reply to message #519] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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"So what's the plan, Frankie?" Scott asked as he walked toward Mobile Control. Behind him, the others were unloading equipment from Thunderbird 2.

Elise didn't look up as she answered Scott's question.

"We've got a southeasterly wind, blowing at 5mph. The fire is moving in that direction. As the eastern border is a rock face, we've got a natural firebreak on that side. I'm sending Alpine, Big Mac, and Sweet to the southern perimeter in the Fire Truck to start tackling the fire on that side. Quasar and Ursa can take the Fire Tender and start a fire break on the western side, working in the southern direction," she said, as she finished putting the assignments into the computer. She hit the button to send the information to the visors. "You, Angel and Cousteau should take the Firefly and start a fire break on the north perimeter. We want to be prepared if the wind should shift direction."

Scott nodded. Before he could say anything, another voice spoke up.

"What about me?" Virgil asked as he came up behind Scott.

"I want you to stand by in case we need to use the dicetyline missiles in Thunderbird 2," Elise said, remembering what Cassie had told them yesterday about the importance of air support while fighting a wild fire. "I'm going to keep Tynan here at the command post, too, just in case of any injuries."

"Sounds good. I'll go join up with Angel and Cousteau," Scott replied, as he turned and headed back toward Thunderbird 2.

At Mobile Command, Elise turned and looked back at the others, surveying what was going on. The Firefly and Fire Truck had already been unloaded. John was currently driving the Fire Tender out of the pod. Taking a deep breath, Elise continued to watch as the others carried out her orders.


Off to the side, Will stood next to Brains watching the same scene. He had spent the last few weeks learning and working on some of the equipment. This was the first opportunity he had to see it put to use out in the field.

I'm glad Mr. Tracy allowed me to come out here. Seeing how things work first hand will give me a better feel for the vehicles, Will thought as he watched Luke, Brandon, and Tin-Tin get settled in the Fire Truck, with Brandon behind the wheel.

"Let's go observe the training exercise over near Mobile Command," Brains suggested with a nod in that direction.

Will glanced over at the scientist and nodded. The two men headed toward where Elise and Cassie were. It wasn't long before they were joined by Virgil and Dom, who had brought two hover bikes over with them.

--passing out assignments by starrynebula

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #521 is a reply to message #520] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Scott, Gordon, and Nikki started walking toward the Firefly as they noticed the Fire Truck and Fire Tender pulling away from Thunderbird 2, both vehicles heading for their assigned areas.

As the three climbed into the cab, Nikki was nimble enough to beat them to the entrance. Turning to face them, she grinned and said, "You'll have to move faster than that, boys."

The brothers chuckled as they followed her into the seating area, both preparing themselves for their part of the mission.

"Everyone ready to get started?" Scott asked, even as he climbed behind the wheel of the Firefly.

"Yeah, though are you sure you remember how to drive this thing?" Gordon asked his brother, a grin lighting up his face as he got into the cockpit himself. He then motioned for Nikki to take the seat next to Scott.

Scott answered, "It's been quite a while since I have driven this thing, but I think it'll become second nature soon enough."

Gordon's grin didn't leave his face as he sat behind his brother.

As the Firefly began its trek, Scott said, "Angel, watch things ahead of us. Cousteau, check levels and--"

Gordon shook his head and laughed. "Will you take it easy, Scott? It's not like we don't know."

With a blush, Scott said, "Well, um...yeah. Okay." He couldn't say anything else to counter his brother's words.

Nikki chuckled. "Old habits can be hard to break." Shooting a glance at Gordon, she hoped he wouldn't give his older brother a hard time for the entire day. "Besides, with Gordon in the back, he can check the water and dicetyline levels in the pump and nozzle."

"Okay, okay," Gordon said in mock surrender. "I'm just glad I don't have to go outside to do that by hand." He looked at the controls to make sure the water pump and foam nozzle were functioning properly. "Looks like everything's working fine. Let's get to work."

"F-A-B," said Scott as he drove the Firefly closer to the huge flames.

Dom plainclothes heartbeat Luke plainclothes
Re: Playing with Fire [message #522 is a reply to message #521] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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John and Callie were working on the fire break along the western perimeter. Reaching the beach would have made a natural fire break, but a changing direction toward the western shore would have threatened the command point. With the wind blowing in a southeasterly direction, the fire slowly moved toward them as trees and brush burned.

"Even from this distance it looks formidable," Callie said softly.

"It sure does," John commented as he drove the Fire Tender slowly to the south.

Callie looked over at John, a little startled. "Sorry, I didn't realize I was thinking out loud," she told him.

"No problem. It was too quiet in here anyway." John glanced out the window on his left at the fire in the distance. "Just think what the others are seeing. They're on the advancing side it."

"Think we'll get this fire break built in time?"

Before he could even answer, John noticed a piece of burning debris flying through the air toward them. Pressing his foot down hard on the brake, he brought the Fire Tender to a sudden stop. The debris slammed into the windshield; John threw his hands up and Callie gasped in surprise.

A few moments later he put his hands back down and noticed a burning log laying across the front of the vehicle. Glancing at her, he asked, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, just a little shook up."

"We have to get out and deal with this log," he told her, even as he turned to get one of the fire extinguishers stored in the cab with them.

Callie grabbed a second extinguisher and the two of them got out of the Fire Tender.

"Guess we just got to see the result of a fire whirl first hand," she commented as they sprayed the log with dicetyline.

It didn't take long to get the burning log out and off of the vehicle.

"Let's get back to building this fire break," John told her, turning to get back into the cab. "You can call Frankie and...damn," he hissed as his left foot found a hole.

"You all right?" she asked, starting to head around the front of the vehicle.

"Yeah," he answered in annoyance. "I didn't know that hole was there."

"You need any help?"

"No, I just twisted my ankle a bit. It's not sprained."

"Good," she said, having reached the driver's side of the vehicle. "Last thing we need is someone getting hurt in this practice fire." After storing both fire extinguishers in the cab, she added, "Let's give Frankie an update on our situation and see what she wants us to do."

"F-A-B," he said as he got into the passenger seat. Whew, I'm just glad I didn't sprain my ankle. I wouldn't hear the end of it from Gordon!

Now behind the wheel, Callie radioed Elise. "Frankie from Fire Tender..."

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Re: Playing with Fire [message #523 is a reply to message #522] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"Frankie here," Elise responded to Callie's call. "What's your status, Ursa?"

"We're heading back your way. Quasar and I had to get out and deal with some flaming debris, and Quasar hit a hole of some kind, twisting his ankle. He says it's not sprained, but he should probably have it looked at anyway."

"FAB. Tynan will be standing by here," Elise told her, glad it didn't sound like a serious injury. Still that meant that the group in the Fire Truck wasn't going to get the back up as had been planned.

Luke had radioed in just minutes before, saying they had reached position and were starting to engage the fire, which was still advancing quickly in a south-easterly direction. The goal of the Fire Truck group was to stop the fire's movement by spreading dicetyline and water on the area ahead of and onto the fire itself.

Elise called the group in the Fire Truck to update them on the situation. Next she called Scott, Gordon, and Nikki in the Firefly. After receiving the report from Gordon, Elise signed off and reassessed the situation.

Work on the northern firebreak was going well. They were making steady progress inland. Once the Firefly completed that, there would be less chance of the fire spreading to the north. The plan was to extend the firebreak further inland than the fire's current position in case it should switch directions. With that fire break and the rock face off to the east, there would be some degree of containment.

Callie and John had almost completed the western firebreak. With them heading back to the command post though, the south-western front was a weak link. Should the wind shift in a westerly direction, the fire could move past the firebreak and circumvent their efforts.

What would be the best course of action? Elise asked herself. Should I pull Luke's group off their current assignment to finish that fire break? That would mean that the fire would be advancing unopposed. If nothing changes, there should still be time to send the Fire Tender back out to finish the fire break, though I might need to send Dom or maybe Brains out with Callie.


While Elise contemplated her next move, Cassie looked away from the information displayed on Mobile Control to look toward the fire. So far Elise was doing well. Cassie was waiting to see how she would handle the unexpected change. The firefighter in her wanted to make suggestions, but she quashed the urge to speak up. After all, Elise was supposed to be leading the operation. Unless her teammate asked her opinion or things got out of hand, Cassie intended to remain silent.

Alan's voice came over the radio.

"Mobile Control from Thunderbird 5."

"Go ahead, Indy," Elise replied.

"I have a weather report for you, Frankie. There is a storm system heading your direction which has changed the wind direction," Alan replied. "New wind direction is north-east. Wind speed will pick up to as the system closes in on Neverland."

"FAB. Keep me updated on the system's progress."

"You got it, Frankie. Thunderbird 5 out."

Cassie nodded slowly. In the distance, smoke from the fire rose above the tree line, but was no longer rising in the same manner. Where it had been angling toward the south there was now a northerly angle to it. Figures Thunderbird Five would catch it first. Wonder how strong the wind will get. She bit her lower lip to keep from saying what was on her mind. She decided to wait and see how Elise would react to the new information.

--progress reports by starrynebula

Dom plainclothes heartbeat Luke plainclothes
Re: Playing with Fire [message #524 is a reply to message #523] Mon, 23 July 2012 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Dianne lowered her field glasses and turned to Jeff. "So, what do you think?"

"Interesting, so far." Jeff kept his eyes on the action. "I can see the logic behind containing the fire before really tackling it.... wait, why is the Fire Tender heading out of the Danger Zone?"

Lifting her binoculars, Dianne surveyed the scene. "I don't know. Perhaps Alan does?"

"Good idea." Jeff lowered his glasses and tapped his earpiece. "Thunderbird Five from Commander."

"Thunderbird Five here, Dad." Alan's voice sounded in Jeff's ear. "I was just about to contact you."

One silvered eyebrow went up as Jeff replied, "Oh, you were, were you? What about?"

"That storm has picked up speed; it'll hit Neverland sooner than expected. I figured you and Mom should probably high-tail it out of there before it hits."

"Hmm," Jeff grumbled. "You're right; we should." He paused, then asked, "Alan, we noticed that the Fire Tender has headed back to Mobile Control. Do you know why?"

"Ah, yes," Alan replied. "The report I have is that John twisted his ankle a bit. He says it's not serious, but Callie figures he should get it checked out."

"I see. Good call on her part." Jeff lifted the binoculars to his eyes again. "The smoke has shifted direction a bit. Due to the storm, I figure."

"Storm?" Dianne asked, giving Jeff a sharp look. "What storm?"

"Yes, the wind direction is changing. You two had better head out," Alan counseled.

"F-A-B. We're out of here. Commander out." Jeff tapped the earpiece and put the binoculars in its case.

"Again I ask: what storm?" Dianne scowled as Jeff stood, offering her a hand up.

"There's one heading this way and we need to be clear before it hits." He hauled her to her feet and started for the path back to the beach.

"Didn't you check the weather before we left?" Dianne demanded, working to put her field glasses away while walking.

"Yes, I did, but this one is moving faster than the weather people predicted." Jeff shook his head. "Good thing Thunderbird Five's got the better sensors." He glanced back and offered her his hand. "C'mon. The way down can be treacherous, especially if we get caught in the rain."

"Now you tell me," Dianne groused. But she took his hand anyway.

Dom plainclothes heartbeat Luke plainclothes
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