International Rescue: The Next Phase

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Growing as a Team [message #729] Wed, 25 July 2012 13:23 Go to next message
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Jeff is now home and safe, but his body still needs to heal, and he must catch up with the many changes that have happened while he was gone. Problems have surfaced that he must solve, and other matters will arise requiring his attention. By now, almost all of the new recruits have had a taste of what it takes to make the grade in International Rescue, both the exciting and the mundane. Training has begun, and the newbies and the Tracys now must learn to grow as a team, seeking to balance personalities and skills to make International Rescue even more effective.

Post by Tikatu on 16/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #730 is a reply to message #729] Wed, 25 July 2012 13:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, March 12th, 8PM; Tracy Island

That night, before Grandma Tracy went to bed, she pulled out her journal and wrote:

Well, we're finally home. And what a relief it is to be back in my own room again. New York is very cold this time of year, and always noisy. I prefer the peace and warmth of the island, now that I'm getting on up in years. I don't mind visiting cold weather places - briefly - but I've had my fill of living there. Jeff's island isn't so far south that the temperature varies much during the year.

When Jeff was declared well enough to travel, we all came home with him. But I'm worried about him. His body seems to be healing, and he put up a good front when he arrived, but his mental and emotional state isn't what it should be, as far as I'm concerned.

I think Dianne is worried, too. If he doesn't snap out of it in a few days, I'm going to have a talk with her. Maybe the two of us can put our heads together and come up with a way to cheer him up. Maybe we can find something he can do that won't tire him too much, but make him feel useful again.

I know he doesn't like being in that wheelchair. His father was the same way. Any time he injured himself and had to use some support device, be it crutches, a cane, whatever, his mood darkened considerably. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Jeff is so much like his father.

Post by Hobbeth on 16/09/200

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #731 is a reply to message #730] Wed, 25 July 2012 13:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 13, 2068, 6:00 a.m., Tracy Island

There was already a flurry of activity in the kitchen when a refreshed Emily Tracy made her appearance. Delicious smells were coming from the oven and it looked like Kyrano was already preparing a salad for lunch. Lisa looked over at her from where she was mixing something and smiled.

"Good morning, Em! Did you sleep well?"

Emily returned the smile, pulling an apron out of a drawer and slipping it over her head. "Good morning, Lisa. Yes, I slept very well; it's nice to be back in my own bed. Thank you for asking. My, but you two are up early this morning. What's going on?"

"Well, when you all got back and we had that big party, I suddenly realized that yesterday was Alan's birthday! With all of the hullabaloo surrounding Jeff's homecoming, I'd clean forgotten about it. So, Kyrano and I are trying to put together a special party for him today," Lisa explained. "The birthday cake is in the oven right now. We thought we could have his favorite foods for all three meals today. Kyrano knows what they are. What else we can do on such short notice, I really don't know."

"Oh, land's sakes, I didn't even think of it myself! I have a gift for him somewhere; I'll have to find it and make sure it's wrapped," Emily said shaking her head. "Truthfully, I'm surprised that Alan didn't remind you himself! He's usually always 'reminding' people days and days in advance."

"Perhaps he felt it was inappropriate due to his father's hospitalization," Kyrano suggested.

"Perhaps, though I doubt it," Emily said dryly. "He's not one to let his celebration slide. Oh well, we'll do our best for him today. I hope that Dianne thought of a gift for him; I'm not sure that Jeff would have. Time just seemed to stop out there in New York, if you know what I mean."

Lisa nodded sagely. "Yes, I do." She sighed and continued soberly. "Thinking about time stopping reminds me that there'll be another anniversary coming up soon. I hope Dianne can cope with it this year."

"The memorial service?" Kyrano asked.

"Yes. She might decide not to go this year with Jeff convalescing and all. We'll see how it goes."

"Go where, Grammy?" A large yawn accompanied the comment from Tyler, who had suddenly appeared in the kitchen door. "Where is everybody?"

"Not up yet, Spud," Lisa replied coming from the food prep area to give her youngest grandson a hug. "What are you doing up so early?"

"Couldn't sleep too well," he said, yawning again. "My tummy was grumbling too much. Can I please have something to eat?"

"Hmph. Now that I come to think of it, this would be past lunch time for you if we were still in New York," Emily commented. "I can see we'll be dealing with the effects of jet lag for a while, won't we?"

"This is true, Mrs. Tracy," Kyrano said simply. "Perhaps young Tyler would like some toast to tide him over until breakfast is ready?"

"Only if I can put cinnamon and sugar on it," Tyler replied cheekily. Lisa rolled her eyes and shook her head, while Kyrano chuckled, and Emily shook a finger at the boy who had become her youngest grandchild.

"Not too much now. You don't want to spoil your breakfast."

"I won't, Gramma. I promise."

The boy sat up at the kitchen table and waited patiently for his treat. Emily ruffled his stiff hair, and went to pow-wow with Lisa to find out what she could do to make her formerly-the-youngest grandson's belated birthday special.

Post by Tikatu on 16/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #732 is a reply to message #731] Wed, 25 July 2012 13:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 13, 2068, 7:45 a.m., Tracy Island

Jeff woke with a start. He looked around the room, trying to remember where he was. Then it hit him and he sighed contentedly. The sick room. At the Villa. I'm home.

He glanced at the bed next to him. To his surprise, it had been moved back into position and the sensors had been plugged back in. He frowned. Did Dianne sleep in here or not? His attention was caught by the infirmary door swishing open. Dianne stepped in, smiling when she saw he was awake.

"Good morning, dearest," she said, approaching the bed. "I was up obscenely early so I put the bed back where it belonged, got showered, and brought you some fresh clothes." She showed him the garments she had in her hands, then put them down on the counter and came over to him, leaning over for a kiss, and lowering the bars she had raised on her earlier departure. "You slept very soundly despite the time difference."

"The flight and the party wore me out," he said. She helped him to a sitting position, then they made a trip to the bathroom.

"Do you want to shower?" she asked. He sighed, and nodded. He knew he'd need a lot of help to wash himself, and her proximity would make things difficult. He wanted her so badly!

Dianne looked at him with concern. "What's wrong, love?"

"Here I am, unable to dress or shower by myself, and I realize that if you are the one to help me, I'd... just...." He sighed again. "I want you so much, Dianne. Just the sight of you last night made me so... aroused. And right now, there's nothing I can do about it."

"Ah. I see. Would you rather have Dom come down and help you?" Dianne asked, tamping down severely on her drawl, her professional mask sliding into place. She didn't want him to know how much his answer stung.

Jeff sat and thought. He was torn, so torn. Yes, he wanted his wife to help him; he was most comfortable with her presence. She had seen him naked time and time again. The thought of Dom helping him made him a bit uncomfortable; he barely knew the man after all. But... there was the sexual aspect of it, too. To have her touching him, rubbing him, bathing him as they often bathed each other... he knew he couldn't stand not being able to reciprocate. Not as he'd like to.

He looked up at her, took a deep breath, and nodded. "Please get Dominic."

Dianne nodded, and activated her wrist telecomm to call Dominic to the sick room. Then they waited together in silence, neither of them quite sure what to say.

Post by Tikatu on 19/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #733 is a reply to message #732] Wed, 25 July 2012 13:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday March 13, 2068. 7:50 a.m., Tracy Island

The steady rhythm of footsteps quickened as Dominic received the call from Dianne. He headed towards the sick room, and when he entered, he said nothing about the apparent tension, and the slight awkwardness between the husband and wife. It's nothin' to do with me, he thought. He was professional as Dr Tracy told him what he was needed for, and he saw Dianne give Mr Tracy a small smile before she retreated from the sick room.

Sensing Mr Tracy's discomfort, and having dealt with it so many times before -- although not recently, considering he had been working as a surgical nurse -- he quickly set about his work.

The shower passed with discomfort on Mr Tracy's side, and Dominic worked as quickly as he could, helping as he was needed. Eventually, Mr Tracy was settled back in bed, and Dominic gave his hands another wash with the antibacterial/antiviral gel.

"Can I get you anything else, Mr Tracy?" he asked.

Jeff thought for a moment, before shaking his head slowly.

"No thank you, Dominic," he said. "Thank you for your help."

"It's all in the job description. If there's nothing else you need, I'll page Dr Tracy and then be on my way. Call me if you need anything else."

Jeff nodded, and Dominic contacted Dianne through her wrist telecomm. The two men were silent during the time it took Dianne to arrive, and Dominic stood by the door, his senses alert for any change in Jeff's condition. I wish there was something more I could do, but what would there be? I barely know the man. I can just do my job. That's what I'm here for, after all.

Dianne arrived, and Dominic gave both husband and wife brief nods, before turning and leaving, hoping that whatever was going on between the two would be resolved.

Post by ArtisticRainey on 20/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #734 is a reply to message #733] Wed, 25 July 2012 13:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday 13th March 2068. 8am Tracy Island

Christopher felt something tickling his face as he tried to enjoy a wonderful dream. Opening one eye, he saw Asterix looking at him. The little cat was sitting on his chest.

"You want breakfast don't you?" He opened both eyes as Asterix started padding about on his body.

Asterix licked his face.

"Okay," Christopher shifted slightly, causing Asterix to leap off the bed and onto the floor.

He got out of bed, grabbing a towel from the rack and headed into the bathroom. After a quick shower, he dressed and went into the kitchen. Asterix was getting frantic. Christopher opened the fridge and got out a tin of cat food.

Getting the dish from the cupboard above his head, he opened the tin and spooned the smelly stuff into the dish.

"Mrraaowww!" Asterix was winding himself around Christopher's legs, and getting very impatient.

Closing the tin and putting it back in the fridge, Christopher knelt down to put the dish in front of his hungry cat. The little cat started to eat.

"Wait a min," Christopher opened another cupboard and pulled out a box of crunchy food, shaking some over the cat food.

"I don't know how you can like stuff like that," Christopher smiled as he replaced the box. "Then again, you always seem to be able to get some fish or chicken."

He reached down and stroked Asterix's head, the little animal purring loudly.

"I'm going to get my breakfast now," Christopher grinned as he walked towards the front door. "You have a lie-down and I'll be back soon"

"Mrrooowww," Asterix looked at his Master, then went onto the balcony.

Christopher smiled, then left the apartment.

Post by TheWrongTrousers on 20/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #735 is a reply to message #734] Wed, 25 July 2012 13:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 13, 2068, 8:30 a.m., the sick room

Dianne came close to the bed where Jeff reclined. He reached out his good hand to her and she took it.

"I'm sorry, dear heart," he said softly.

"I understand. And I forgive you, love." She squeezed his hand and smiled a bit. "Are you up to eating in the dining room? Or would you rather have breakfast here?"

Jeff's eyes widened, and he smiled widely. "The dining room?"

"Yes, the dining room," Dianne affirmed. "It's time you joined the rest of the waking world."

"Oh, by all means!" he exclaimed, grinning. Dianne activated his wheelchair and brought it around, helping him into it.

"Too bad Tyler's not here," Jeff commented. "I know he'd love to push me down to breakfast."

Dianne gave him a wink and said, "That could be arranged. Tyler? You can come in now."

Tyler, who had been cooling his heels outside the sick room while his mother and father settled things between them, now burst into the room.

"Good morning, Dad!" Tyler cried, giving Jeff a hug. "Can I push your wheelchair now? Mom said I could if you were going to eat in the dining room."

"Yes, son, you can push me down to the dining room," Jeff said with a laugh, reaching out with his good arm to gather his son in for a squeeze, then letting his fingers tickle the boy in the ribs. Tyler folded up on that side, laughing.

"No tickles! Don't tickle!" he shouted through his laughter. Jeff stopped, chuckling. Dianne looked on, smiling.

"Okay, boys," she told them, garnering an amused look from Jeff. "Let's get to breakfast before it's gone. Oh, and Jeff? Be prepared for blueberry pancakes. We missed Alan's birthday yesterday with the dateline and all and so Kyrano and our mothers are making all of Alan's favorite foods today."

"Sounds good to me," Jeff said amiably. He gazed up at her as Tyler began to manfully push him out of the sick room. "Did we get him a gift?"

"Yes, we did. I hope he likes it. It will give him some time away from the island," she informed him. "I'd tell you what it is, but little pitchers have big ears... and big mouths!"

"Hey!" Tyler protested. Jeff and Dianne laughed, and Jeff took Dianne's hand in his as they turned the corner and saw the brightly lit dining room at the end of the corridor.

Post by Tikatu on 21/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #736 is a reply to message #735] Wed, 25 July 2012 13:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island, Tuesday, March 13th - 8:00 a.m.

"Hello, Miss Kat. Hi, Miss Elise," Cherry called as they sat down beside her.

"Mm, those pancakes do look delicious," Elise remarked.

"It's kind of funny, you know," Kat said. "Back home, breakfast for me would often consist of just toast and coffee, but now I am trying all sorts of different things for breakfast."

"You are becoming Americanised, Miss Kat," Kyrano said, as he offered her a plate with pancakes on.

"Do you two want another water fight?" Alex asked, hopefully.

"Oh, no, sorry, Alex." Kat replied. "Virgil has asked for a return fight, but I told him not until Callie is back. We need more females," Kat explained and she looked at Elise.

Conversation continued around the table with Cherry and Alex telling the two girls all about New York.

Scott came into the room as the girls were about to leave.

"It seems that in all the excitement of having Dad come home, we missed Alan's birthday."

"Oh, Scott!" Cherry exclaimed. "He must have a party."

"Yes, I agree," Kat replied.

Just at that moment Emily came in, followed by Lisa.

"Gramma," Alex said, looking at his grandmas. "We missed Alan's birthday! What are we gonna do?"

Emily looked at her second youngest grandson. "Don't you worry about that, Alex. Kyrano and your Grammy and I are making plans for a party later on today. We've got a birthday cake and everything."

"Where's Dom?" Kat asked.

Cherry shrugged. "I dunno." She half stood to see over Scott's head. "Hey! It's Dad!"

Everyone came forward to greet Jeff, as Tyler manfully pushed his father into the room. Dom and Nikki followed, Dom carrying a bright-eyed Joshua.

"Dad!" Cherry exclaimed, rushing to her father and giving him a huge bear hug.

Jeff looked around at the people gathered. True, they had all been there when he had first arrived, but it had been difficult to take everyone into account.

He recognised Kat. She smiled at him. "It's so nice to see you again, Mr Tracy."

Christopher and Virgil joined the group. Brains came in, escorting Lena and pulling out her chair for her.

"So, where's the birthday boy?" Virgil asked.

"I think Tin-Tin is keeping him away until everyone is gathered in the dining room," Dianne explained.

Just at that moment, Alan and Tin-Tin arrived.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALAN!" everyone chorused.

Post by Tawnyangel22 (with copious new edits by Tikatu) on 21/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #738 is a reply to message #736] Wed, 25 July 2012 14:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 13th; 8ish; Tracy Island

"Well," Alan said with a grin. "This is a surprise!" He settled down in a seat next to Lena. "Blueberry pancakes! My favorite!"

"I'm sorry we missed your birthday, Alan," Dianne said apologetically. "But with the IDL and all...."

"Hey! Having Dad home was a great gift. And I knew you wouldn't actually forget...." Alan told her between bites of pancake.

Jeff looked down the table to where Lena sat. "Brains, is this our computer expert?"

"Yes she is. Lena Matumbo, I'd like you to meet Jeff Tracy, and his wife, Dianne." He then pointed to each of the younger children. "And those three rugrats are Cherie, Tyler and Alex Tracy."

Lena smiled as she swallowed the bite of pancake she'd put in her mouth as Brains started his introductions. "It's a pleasure to meet you all," she said.

"And to meet you, as well, Mrs. Matumbo," Dianne said with a smile. "Has Brains been keeping you busy?"

Lena chuckled. "Once he got me started, I was able to keep myself quite busy. It's taken a bit longer dan I tought, but I tink dat I'll have de problem completely solved sometime today."

"That's wonderful!" Jeff exclaimed. "It would certainly be a load off my mind to know that our email communications are secure again." He took a sip of his coffee. "Has Brains taken you around to see the place?"

Lena glanced over at Brains, who had a guilty look on his face. "We wanted de problem to be corrected as soon as possible, to minimize de risk dat someone else would find out about Internatal Rescue de same way I did. So we've pretty much kept to de lab. But dat's why I'm here, isn't it?" she replied.

"True," Jeff admitted. "You're here to work. Still, there should be some time for hospitality as well." Brains's cheeks flushed pink and he looked as if he wanted to slide under the table. Dianne chuckled a bit.

"Brains tends to get so wrapped up in his work that he'd forget to eat if my mother-in-law didn't pester him about it. I'm not surprised that you've kept to the lab. Perhaps after work today, one of us can show you around. Personally, I'd like to take a walk around and see what everyone's been up to while we've been gone." She finished her coffee and looked at her watch.

"Oh, my. Children, it's time for school."

The three little ones groaned, but began to pick up their plates and ask to be excused. Dianne gathered her own dishes, and kissed Jeff on the cheek.

"If you'll excuse us, Mrs. Matumbo, the teachers await," she said to Lena.

"Of course, Mrs. Tracy." She turned to Alan and said quietly, "Dere are teachers here? I haven't seen anyone like dat."

Alan drank some juice and smiled at Lena. "My brothers and sister are homeschooled using an interactive online program that beams actual teaching to the schoolroom computers via satellite. I haven't seen much of it myself, but from what I understand, the boys both have one or two teachers, just as if they were in a regular school, while Cherie has a whole battery of them, one for each course."

"Yes," Brains added. "They can ask questions of the teacher just as if she were there in the room. It's virtually real-time. I help supplement Alex's science courses; he's insatiable about the natural world."

"Dat's good," Lena replied. "I homeschooled my two, and dey continued wit deirs. Now my grandbabies plan to do it wit deir babies, when dey are old enough."

"Wow! You're a great-grandma? You don't look old enough to be one!" Alan exclaimed.

"I had my babies when I was 22, and dey found deir spouses when dey were even younger. I was not yet 40 when my first grandchild was born," Lena replied with a smile. "Tank you for de compliment, Alan."

Alan sat there trying to calculate how old his own grandmother was when she had his father, and how old she was when Scott was born. He gave it up and decided he'd just ask her when she came back into the room. Instead he asked, "How many grandkids and great-grandkids do you have?"

"Ah, don't get me started on my babies, or we'll be here all day," Lena replied with a grin. "I have five grandchildren, tree of whom are married, and tree great-grandchildren, de oldest of which is two-and-a-half." She took a drink of her juice. "But dis is your day, Alan. You don't want to spend it talking to an old woman you hardly know," she teased with a mischievous gleam in her eye. "I'm sure dere are lots of otter tings you'd ratter be doing."

Alan laughed as he finished his pancakes. "You're right, Mrs. Matumbo. But it was nice to get to know you a little while you were a captive audience, so to speak. And if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go off and find one of those other things." He stood and took his dishes with him. "Have a nice day, Mrs. Matumbo, Brains."

Lena chuckled, then took a sip of her tea. She looked at Jeff. "You have fine, strong, intelligent sons. You must be very proud of dem."

"I am," Jeff said simply. Then he smiled. "I'm a bit proud of my daughter, too, but most of her good qualities came from being raised by her mother."

Lena smiled, then glanced over at Brains. Seeing that he had finished his meal, she put her teacup down and stood up. "If you will excuse me, I have a program written by a talented but overeager young man to finish modifying." Jeff nodded, grinning, and she and Brains left the table, heading for the lab.

Post by Tikatu and Hobbeth on 23/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #739 is a reply to message #738] Wed, 25 July 2012 14:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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******Tuesday, March 13, 2068; Thunderbird Five; 9 a.m.******

"Oh, that was good!" John said, patting his stomach. "Kyrano's pancakes are still delicious, even if they are flash frozen for reheating." He turned to Callie. "Would you mind if I took a couple of hours in the astrodome? We're in a perfect position right now for me to get some great images of Boötes for my next book."

Callie smiled. "Not at all, John. We've both been working hard. I'll stick by the monitors in case a call comes."

He smiled at her. "Thanks, Callie. I appreciate it. I'll take a turn on my own later on so you can have some time for yourself, okay?"

"Okay. Perhaps I can get an update on the Crimson Tide basketball team. They're supposed to be in the NCAA tourney, but we were so busy with the rescue, I'm not even sure they made it past the SEC tournament."

"Ah! A basketball fan! Well, we can trade off later when the games start, too. Right now, though, I'm off to the astrodome." John gave her a wave. "Call me if there's an emergency."

Back down at Tracy Island, Tin-Tin went over her formula for the Penelon/Kevlar blend again. She frowned at it, then turned to Brains. "I got another email from Kabul today. They're not having any luck with the fabric blend. I just don't understand why! Everything works out in the chemical formula!"

"I know," Brains replied. "It looks fine to me, too." He looked over at Lena, who was hard at work trying to improve his mail program. "Hmm. I have an idea, Tin-Tin. Why don't you ask Callie for a third opinion? She's a chemical engineer."

Tin-Tin's face cleared a bit. "That's a good idea, Brains. I'll get in touch with her now. The sooner I get another opinion, the better."

She went up to the lounge, where Scott was getting ready to sit behind his father's desk. "You'd better not get too comfortable there, Scott. Your father will want that chair back soon," she chided with a smile. "I need to talk to Callie and possibly upload a file. Can I do it from here?"

Scott offered her Jeff's chair with a flourish. "Your seat awaits, milady."

Tin-Tin laughed and sat down, toggling the switch that put her in contact with Thunderbird Five. "Thunderbird Five from Base. Come in, Thunderbird Five."

At the space station, Callie heard Tin-Tin's voice. "Base from Thunderbird Five, reading you, Tin-Tin, strength five. Is anything wrong?"

"Yes and no, Callie. I have a problem that you might be able to help me solve," Tin-Tin told her. "You know that I've been working on a Penelon/Kevlar blend fabric for our new uniforms." Callie nodded, and Tin-Tin smiled widely. Her discovery still delighted her. "Well I did it!"

Callie's eyes widened, and she clapped. "Congratulations!"

"Thank you! The problem is, even though everything checked out in the chemical equations, the plant in Kabul says it's having trouble with the manufacture and names the formula as the source of the problem. I'd like you to go over the formula for me and see if you notice anything wrong with it."

"I'll see what I can do, Tin-Tin. Upload formula and I'll bring it up on the screen." After receiving the formula, she opened the file and looked at it. She looked at each component of the formula at least seven different times and shook her head. "Sorry, Tin-Tin, but I don't see anything wrong in the formula, either. I wonder if perhaps there's an error happening at the Kabul plant, but they can't see it, either?"

Tin-Tin shook her head. "That must be it, Callie. Neither you nor I nor Brains can find anything wrong with it. I guess I'll be taking a trip to Kabul after all." She sighed, then smiled at the new recruit. "Thanks for confirming it, Callie. I appreciate your effort."

"Glad I could assist, even though I really wasn't able to help as much as I hoped." Callie sighed. "How are things going on the ground? John told me yesterday about Alan's birthday."

"Things are okay so far. Mr. Tracy was at breakfast, and there are plans for a birthday party this evening at dinner," Tin-Tin told her. Scott came up behind Tin-Tin.

"Callie, would you please tell John that I found the gift he had stashed away for Alan," Scott said. "And that I'll make sure the squirt gets it."

"I'll be more than happy to tell him," said Callie with a giggle. "If I had known it was Alan's birthday while I was up here, I would've gotten him something, too."

"Don't worry about it," Scott said with a smile. "He'll have one next year, too."

"Thanks again, Callie, for looking over the formula. You have a good day up there," Tin-Tin said.

"F-A-B, Tin-Tin. Take it easy on terra firma." After the connection turned off, Callie said to herself, "I'm glad I'll be back on terra firma when Joe's birthday comes up next month."

Back in the lounge, Tin-Tin looked at Scott. "I think I need to go to Kabul. Can I file a flight plan for tomorrow? Take Ladybird and stay there a few days to iron this out?"

Scott nodded. "I don't see why not. I can run it past Dad if you like."

"Please do. I'd like to see him get back into the loop here at home," Tin-Tin said. She rose from behind Jeff's desk. "I'd better get busy packing and preparing. And let Kabul know I'm coming."

Post by Tikatu and TracyFan4Ever on 23/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #740 is a reply to message #739] Wed, 25 July 2012 14:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 13, 2068, 12:30 p.m. the dining room, Tracy Villa

Clink... clink... clink

Scott rose to his feet as everyone's attention turned to him. He cleared his throat and smiled a bit sheepishly.

"In honor of Alan's 24th birthday, Virgil and I would like to invite any of you who are interested to join us, and the birthday boy, of course, for a night on the town in Christchurch, New Zealand. We'd leave right after dinner, and return in the wee hours of the morning, having had a satisfying time hitting all the night spots there." Scott glanced over at Jeff and smiled nervously now. Jeff raised an eyebrow at his smile; it was obvious that Scott had not cleared this with his father. "We chose Christchurch because it's only a half-hour away by SST, just in case an emergency came up." He looked around the table. "Let me or Virgil know if you're interested in going. Everything will be on us."

"Everything?" Alan asked, a wide grin splitting his face.

"Yes, Alan," Virgil replied. "This is our birthday gift to you."

"Oooh! Too bad Gordon's not here!" Alan said eagerly, rubbing his hands together. Scott shook his head. Frankly, he was glad that Gordon wasn't there. Lucille Tracy's youngest boys were known for their antics at the expense of their brothers.

"What time are you leaving?" Brandon asked.

"Nine p.m." Virgil answered. "It will be earlier there because there's an hour's time zone difference between us and Christchurch."

"I'd love to go, guys, but I've got to fly to Kabul tomorrow," Tin-Tin said, making a face.

"Why don't you come and be our designated pilot back to the Island, Tin-Tin?" Scott suggested. "You could leave for Kabul in the afternoon."

"I suppose so...." she responded thoughtfully.

"Count me in," said Brains with a grin.

"I think I'll come, too," said Kat with a smile. "It sounds like fun!"

"Can I come?" Cherry asked hopefully.

"Uh, no, sis. This is for us adults," Virgil said apologetically.

Cherry hrmphed and folded her arms across her chest, scowling. "I'm always too young to do the fun stuff!" she groused.

"Cherie...." Dianne said in a warning tone. She turned to Scott and Virgil. "I hope that whoever goes remembers that rescues never happen at convenient times. And that I don't coddle hangovers, either."

"Uh, right, Mom," Scott replied. He looked around the table again. "Well, if any of you new folk want to come along, just let us know. The invitation is open." He sat back down, and the talk around the table continued over Alan's favorite Mexican food.

Post by Tikatu on 24/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #741 is a reply to message #740] Wed, 25 July 2012 14:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 13th, 2068; Tracy Island; 1PM

"I tink I have it."

Brains, who had just returned from lunch (Lena hadn't gone with him. She said she was still full from breakfast, and wasn't at a point in her work where she could stop.), hurried over to her station and looked over her shoulder at the computer monitor. She pointed at certain places on the screen. "See, here and here. I changed de program dere, and in tese otter places." She pointed them out, too.

Brains looked at them, and compared the places she showed him to the printout of his original program. "Of course! Why didn't I see that when I created this in the first place?"

"You were rushed. It's easy to miss tings like dat under dose circumstances. But we'll have to test it out from various terminals." She sat back and looked up at him.

"Let's try it from my terminal right now." They got up and went over to his terminal, where he was already connected to the IR server. He tried to access his personal mailbox. What he got surprised him. Lena had programmed it to give a foghorn sound, then a female voice saying, "Ah, ah, ah." He laughed and looked at her to find grinning at him. "Hey, I like it. It's more human, less technological. I think the others will get a kick out of it, too. Okay, that's enough for now. We can test from the others later. You've worked hard on the problem, Lena. You deserve a break. Why don't you go relax by the pool or take a walk along the beach?"

Lena looked at him. "I don't have close for dose types of activities," she replied. "I didn't come here for a vacation, you know. I came to work."

Brains looked closely at her. She looked tired; she'd been working almost non-stop for the past several days; she'd created a program to divert all misdirected messages to one location, repaired the glitch, severed the link between the two servers and now improved his program. She'd had little contact with anyone else on the island, save during meals, and several of those they'd both had in the lab. He felt guilty for not insisting more often that she take breaks and get out of the lab, but he had enjoyed working with her. And his projects had fascinated him to the point of forgetting everything outside of the lab. He said, "Lena, I'm so sorry. I should have shown you around, shown you the amenities. I just get so absorbed in my work, sometimes ..." He paused.

"Brains, I didn't mean to snap at you. I guess I'm just tired. And I miss my babies, too," she admitted. "I didn't realize how much until I was at breakfast wit everyone dere saying happy birtday to Alan. And den meeting de young ones." She sighed. "But I understand what you mean about getting into de project and forgetting everyting and everybody. It's happened to me more dan a few times."

"Well, why don't we both knock off for the day and I'll show you around, inside and outside, if Mrs. Tracy is unavailable. But first," he said, glancing at the clock, "you should have have some lunch. You've got to be hungry by now."

"Dat sounds good to me. I'm not exactly hungry, but I feel I could eat someting, now." They went to their terminals, saved their work and shut down. Lena did her usual routine check of the electric outlets, then they headed back to the villa.

Post by Hobbeth on 25/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #742 is a reply to message #741] Wed, 25 July 2012 14:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Dominic glanced over at Scott and shook his head.

"Thanks for the invite, but I don't want to leave this little guy," he said.

Joshua was sitting on his lap, varying between exploring and eating his peanut butter sandwich. Dominic shifted the toddler on his knee and tried to get him to do more eating and less smearing. The child tried to bat his father's hand away and staunchly ignored him.

"I'm sure someone would be glad to look after him," Dianne said.

Dominic, however, shook his head again and gave Joshua a warning look. The toddler once more ignored him, and continued to tear apart his bread.

"He's not on his best behaviour right now, and I wouldn't want to inflict that on anyone else."

His comment was rewarded with a wriggling little boy and a peanut butter-covered hand landing on his clean sweater.

"Joshua!" he admonished.

The toddler giggled, and then brought the hand to his face, and then up into his hair. Dominic gave the child another stern look, hooked an arm around the child's waist and stood up, shifting the child into a better carrying position.

"Thanks for the meal, and the invite," he added, looking at Scott and Virgil again, "but I don't think it would be a good idea for me to leave. You might come back to find that the island's been blown up by a toddler tantrum."

There was some laughter, and Dominic nodded his goodbye before leaving for the monorail back to his apartment.

"You, my naughty little man, are getting a bath."

From the dining room, those gathered heard a very loud and very angry, "NO!"

Post by ArtisticRainey on 25/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #743 is a reply to message #742] Wed, 25 July 2012 14:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Christopher rubbed his hands. "Excellent!! An evening of revelry!"

"I'd like to come along." Christopher grinned. "Haven't been on a lads' night out for ages."

Virgil looked at his happy face. "Sure you are up to the challenge?"

"Definitely," Christopher said, "Although I need to do something first."

He got up from the table. "I need to make sure that Asterix is stocked up on food and water, and some nice comfy cushions."

He headed off towards the exit.

"Christopher!" Scott called after him.

Christopher turned around to face Scott.

"See you at seven for dinner." Scott smiled.

"Thanks," Christopher said. "I hope Asterix can amuse himself while I'm gone. "And with that, he left the dining room.

Post by TheWrongTrousers on 25/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #744 is a reply to message #743] Wed, 25 July 2012 14:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"I'm up for going too." Nikki turned from Scott to Kat. "I mean, someone has to look out for Kat here. Keep her out of trouble."

Kat tapped Nikki's shoulder. "I think it's the other way round, since I'm older. I should be looking out for you."

Nikki smiled at her friend. But before she could say anything, Scott spoke up. "Are there any other takers?"

Post by Nikki-browneyes1 on 26/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #745 is a reply to message #744] Wed, 25 July 2012 14:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 13, 2068, 7 p.m. Tracy Island

The day had gone well. Alan had his fill of his favorite activities: fishing off one of the Island's reefs with Brandon and Scott; a late afternoon climb up the promontory with Virgil and Cherie, ping-pong and air hockey in the games room after school with Alex and Tyler. He was looking forward to the birthday dinner and for the soirée in New Zealand afterwards.

Elise had declined the invitation; she still tired easily and she didn't want to bond any further with the denizens of the island seeing as she would be going home soon. Dianne examined her that afternoon.

"I think you're nearly healed, Elise," she had told the chopper pilot. "By the end of the week you should be ready for discharge."

"That's great, Dr. Tracy!" Elise exclaimed. "I can hardly wait to get back to New York."

Dianne merely nodded and smiled.

Jeff napped during the early afternoon as the jet lag was beginning to catch up with him. But he made sure he had a little chat with Scott and Virgil concerning their planned excursion.

"I will let this ride... this time. Just please make sure you're back by 3 a.m. our time and that whoever is flying you back has not had a drink... not even one! And try to keep everyone from getting sloshed."

"Yes sir," Scott agreed. Virgil nodded. Jeff looked at the two of them and sighed, shaking his head.

Just before dinner, Alan got a call from Gordon.

"Hey there, birthday boy!" Gordon said with a grin. "How does it feel to be 24?"

"How should I know? I've been 24 less than 24 hours? How did it feel for you?" Alan quipped.

"Wonnnnderful! Especially after that visit to...."

Alan cut in. "Shhhhh! You do not want Dad to know about that little excursion!"

"Oh, right!" Gordon continued to grin. "So, are they making things up to you for missing the actual date?"

"Oh yeah! Favorite foods all day long. I got to go fishing and rock climbing and played the arcade games with the squirts and no one talked to me at all today about maintenance or responsibility or asked me to do any work! We're having surf and turf for dinner with a cake and gifts for dessert and then Scott and Virge are taking me and anyone else who wants to go over to Christchurch for a night on the town."

"Whoa! Now I wish I were home! I do have a gift for you, Al, but I only ordered it last week so it's still en route I think. You should get it tomorrow or the next day."

"Hey, thanks, Gords! I'll admit I wish you were here, too. The night out won't be the same without you."

"When I get back, we'll go off and do something special, just you and me." Gordon made a face. "That is, if Mom clears my back for such shenanigans."

"Right. Well, it's almost time for dinner. Anybody else you want to talk to?"

"I'd love to talk to everyone, but since dinner is coming, I'd better just talk to Mom. I promised I'd check in every day. She called earlier, but I was out eating my own dinner."

"Okay, Gords. I'll give her a buzz." Alan lifted his telecomm to his mouth. "Mom? Gordon's on the vidphone. He wants to talk to you."

"Gordon? Okay, Alan. I'll be right there," came Dianne's voice.

Alan turned back to Gordon. "She'll be right here. How are things at corporate?"

"Scary. Scott was so very, very particular about everything. I mean, it's not like he didn't make friends or wasn't pleasant and all, but he ran things even tighter than Dad does, I think. They were really surprised to see how laid back I am."

"Laid back?" Dianne had entered the room. "You are the king of 'laid back', Gordon."

"Mom's here. I'll talk to you later, Gords. Thanks for calling me," Alan said as he got up from the desk chair.

"No problem, Al, and enjoy what's left of your birthday!" Gordon called. He then turned his attention to Dianne who had taken Alan's place. "Hi, Mom. How's Dad?"

"He's doing okay. Getting over some jet lag. Now, how are you and how is your back?"

And with that, Gordon proceeded to bring his stepmother and physician up-to-date on what was going on with him in New York.

Post by Tikatu on 30/09/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #746 is a reply to message #745] Wed, 25 July 2012 15:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 13, 2068, 7:50 p.m. Tracy Villa, the dining room

"That was fantastic, Kyrano!" Alan exclaimed as he finished the rice pilaf almondine that had been piled on his plate. "All my favorite foods all day long! You're spoiling me, really you are!"

"That's funny, I thought you already were spoiled," Scott quipped, to the groans of the others at the table.

"A person should always be spoiled on their birthday, isn't that right, Mom?" Cherie asked. Dianne nodded around a bite of scallop.

"Is that why I actually won a game of air hockey against the pinball wizard today?" Alan asked, hooking a thumb in Tyler's general direction. "Did he let me win just because it was my birthday?"

Tyler sat up straighter and directed his eyes to the ceiling, putting on as angelic a look as he could. "I'll never tell," he said with a smirk.

The people gathered around the table laughed, then Kyrano said, "I thank you for you compliments, Mr. Alan. But they should also be extended to your grandmothers, both of whom did much to create the meal we have eaten tonight and the cake we will eat in a few moments."

Alan got up from his seat and went around to kiss first Emily, then Lisa, on the cheek. "Thanks, Grandma. Thanks, Grandma P. You did a great job and I can hardly wait to taste this cake!"

"Speaking of which, we'd better bring it out. Give me a hand with it, Lisa?"

"Of course, Em." The two older ladies left the table for the kitchen.

Brains looked at Lena, who sat in the guest of honor seat to Jeff's left. "Did you enjoy your tour of the facilities this afternoon, Lena?"

"Oh yes!" Lena said enthusiastically. "Dis is a lovely place and Mrs. Tracy is a wonderful guide. I enjoyed de tour very much."

"Now, Mrs. Matumbo," Dianne began, smiling and her eyes twinkling, "Mrs. Tracy is my mother-in-law. If you really want to be formal, I am Dr. Tracy. However, I'd much rather you just call me Dianne."

Lena returned the smile. "Dr. Tracy? Dat's good. But if I am to call you Dianne, den you must call me Lena."

Dianne laughed. "Agreed... Lena."

The two grandmothers came in with the cake, an enormous four layer confection of dark chocolate cake with a white chocolate icing. It was decorated with a race car, red and white, the number twenty-four boldly emblazoned on the hood and door. Alan groaned.

"You couldn't have put confetti icing or something generic like that on it, could you?" he mock-complained. "You had to put a race car on it. Now I feel like a little kid!"

"Oh, don't complain, Alan," Virgil chimed in with a sly grin. "You know you love it!"

"Well, we'd better sing happy birthday before those candles burn down to nothing!" Scott rejoined. The group began the traditional song, very few of them on key and all of them at different tempos. Then Alan took a deep breath and blew out all the candles, moving around the cake to get the ones that he missed.

"See? I told you he was full of hot air," Alex quipped, to the laughter of his siblings and the groan of the adults and newcomers.

Alan pointed a finger at his younger brother. "You just wait, Bug Boy, until I get you at that ping-pong table again! I will whup your butt!"

"You can try," came the confident response.

"While we cut the cake to distribute it," Kyrano said, rising to perform that function, "Mr. Alan can open his gifts."

Tyler got up to help Alan by retrieving the gifts that were in a pile behind the table. One by one the packages were opened, and the givers were thanked. Finally, he came to an envelope with a card inside. The card felt thick and Alan glanced around the table.

"I wonder who this is from?" he asked. "Feels like a wad of money in there. Is it from you, Dad?"

"I don't know, son. Why don't you open it up and find out?" Jeff suggested.

Alan slipped his finger under the seal and opened the envelope. Inside was the obligatory birthday card and another plain envelope. Alan read the card, smiled, and said, "Yep. This is from Dad and Mom." He opened the inner envelope and pulled out the contents. His eyes grew wide and he grinned.

"Tickets to the Grand Prix of Malaysia? That's this weekend! Hotel reservations and everything! Wow!"

"There's more, Alan," Dianne said softly. He pulled out another piece of paper and grinned even wider, his jaw dropping a bit. He gazed up at the head of the table.

"Tickets to the Grand Prix of Monaco, too? The most prestigious Formula 1 race in the world? Wow! Thanks so much, Dad, Mom! This is going to be great!"

"One race for this month, and the other in May when you're back down from the station," Dianne explained. "A couple of long weekends so you can reconnect with some of your racing friends."

"This is awesome! Thank you so much!" Alan got up from the table and went down to hug Dianne and kiss her on the cheek, and give his father as much of a hug as Jeff's casts would allow. Then he sat back down to find the first piece of cake waiting for him.

As they ate their dessert, Jeff leaned over to Dianne. "Good call on the gift, love. It's unusual and will give him some time off, too."

"We need to do the same for each of the other boys. And factor in vacations for our new folks as well. I'm surprised our boys haven't burned out for lack of time alone to recharge," Dianne said as she sipped her coffee.

The dinner was winding down, and Scott finally rose. "All those going on tonight's expedition meet us in the aircraft hangar in 20 minutes!" He turned towards his father. "May I please be excused?"

Jeff nodded, and one by one, the table emptied of diners, all murmuring their pardons and telling Kyrano what a great job he did. Finally, only Jeff and Dianne remained.

"You were quiet tonight, love," she said as she rose to help him with his wheelchair.

"I was just enjoying being with my family," he replied. He caught one of her hands and kissed it. "Especially my wife."

"And I was happy to have you back at the head of the table, where you belong," she replied, leaning over to kiss his lips. Together, they left the dining room, warmed by the glow of the closeness their family provided.

Post by Tikatu on 01/10/2004

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******Tuesday, March 13, 2068; Thunderbird Five; around 8:10 p.m.******

Callie paced nervously around the control room. "I don't know if Alabama even made it into the tournament."

John noticed her high-strung nerves. "Take it easy, Callie. Thunderbird Five does have Internet access."

"Oh, good. Perhaps we can also get info on your alma, it is Harvard, right?"

"Right. Just search for it on When you find a printable bracket with all the listed teams, could you print out two copies, please?"

"F-A-B, John." She went to the sports-oriented website and found the brackets, she printed the two copies and handed one to John. "Hmm...Alabama is an 8th seed in the Midwest Regional. Their first tournament game will be on Friday in St. Louis against 9th seed Miami of Ohio."

John looked to see if Harvard had also made the cut. "Ah, there's Harvard--16th seed in the South Regional. Oooooh...this isn't good."

"What's wrong, John?"

"Harvard has to play top-seeded Texas on the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham, Alabama."

"I know Texas has been a powerhouse this year. In the tournament, though, it means absolutely nothing. I've seen wild upsets before, but to this day no 16th seed has ever upset a top seed, at least not on the men's side."

"Really?" John asked, surprised. "There was one on the women's side?"

"Yes. My grandmother told me about the time the Harvard ladies shocked the women's tournament by defeating top-seeded Stanford by one point. It's the only time in the women's tournament it's ever happened."

"Harvard did it? How come I never knew about it?"

"Perhaps you were too wrapped up with astronomy?" Callie joked.

"Yeah, I probably was, Callie. How did you keep up with the tournament and your studies?"

"Internet, TV, and the school newspaper. I got my Bachelor's Degree from the University of Alabama."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. Anyway, I have a fun little idea. Let's have a bet, but not for money."

"What do you have in mind?"

"We'll each pick one team to take it all the way. Now, if the team chosen wins the championship, the winner is exempt from doing chores here and back on Earth for a month. The loser will have to pick up the slack."

Callie liked the idea. "Okay. If neither team gets that far, we'll go by which team went further and reduce the winning bet to a week. Now, if they both lose in the same round, nothing's lost and nothing's gained."

"Good thinking, Callie. I'll choose Kansas."

"Even though I'm for my beloved Crimson Tide, I know they can't get to the finals, so my pick will be Duke."

John shook hands with Callie. "Done and done."

Callie looked at the bracket again and noticed a score already done. "Hey, it looks like Alcorn State defeated Western Michigan to become the 64th team in the tournament. Too bad they have to play Duke on Friday in Syracuse, New York."

"I have to admit this, Callie. I've never really kept up with basketball, but with anything involving Harvard, I stay very close to the news."

"Back home, Alabama is run by three sports: NASCAR, college football, and college basketball. I'll be more than happy to help you understand the basketball terms."

"Okay, I have one question already: just where is Alcorn State University?"

Callie said, "It's located in southwestern Mississippi. One thing you'll have to remember is a lot of colleges won't mention state names."

"Like where?"

"There's Gonzaga in Washington state, Liberty University in Oklahoma, and thousands of others."

"Oh, boy, that's way too many to remember."

"Don't worry about it, John. Nobody on or off Earth could remember the names of every college team in the country, and some schools don't even offer all of the sports."

John sat down and shook his head. "That's what I get for studying too much. I was more into track and field in my college years."

"In that case, here's your chance to catch up. I'll bring up the highlights of this game, and I'll explain." Callie started showing John the various moves and terms used in the sport of basketball so he could understand it better.

Post by TracyFan4Ever on 02/10/2004

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[Updated on: Wed, 25 July 2012 15:07]

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Tuesday March 13, 2068. 8:45 p.m., Tracy Island

"Ah, to be 24 again."

Alan turned to see who had spoken. He was making his way to the hangar, and was thoroughly excited about getting off the island. It wasn't often that he got to spend a night on the town with his brothers, and it would be even better because of the new people. He really wanted to get to know them.

He stopped and nodded as Dominic walked up behind him, and he put his hands on his hips, smiling at the young boy in the man's arms, who was more or less clean now after the earlier bath, although dinner had spoiled the cleanliness, somewhat.

"It's a pity you aren't coming with us," Alan said. "It's gonna be a great night."

Dominic shrugged with one shoulder and lifted Joshua a little higher up.

"I'm not normally one to turn down a bit of craic, but I don't want to leave the wee'n."

Alan glanced at his watch, but before he could say anything, Dominic started to walk again.

"I'll dander down t' the hangar with you. Josh likes planes."

As they walked, Alan glanced at the man and boy from the corner of his eye, and shook his head.

"I can't imagine being a dad, you know," he said as they neared the hangar entrance. "It just... It's such a huge responsibility, you know? I really can't imagine having kids any time soon."

"I'm tellin' ya, it's not easy. But it's something that came naturally to me. You just see that...that tiny, red, screaming baby, and you just want to hold it tight and treasure it. You'll probably find that when you eventually have a kid of your own. But it's not all fun, as I'm sure you already know."

The two men chuckled, and Alan motioned to the door.

"Well, this is me."

"Have a nice time, Alan. Kiss a girl for me, eh?" Dominic gave the blond a cheeky grin.

"No promises," Alan said. "I might just keep her to myself!"

Dominic laughed loudly, and Joshua yelled, not knowing what was going on.

"See you tomorrow, Alan."

"See you, Dominic."

"Call me Dom, please, it's so much less...stuffy."

"All right. See you, Dom."

Alan grinned again and headed into the hangar, setting off for his night with an even lighter heart.

Post by ArtisticRainey on 02/10/2004

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Tuesday, March 13, 2068, 9 p.m., Tracy Island

Everyone gathered in the plane hangar at 9.00 p.m. Nikki and Kat dressed very casually. Kat had put on beige cord jeans, chocolate brown T-shirt and chocolate brown cord jacket.

Virgil led them out to the plane. Tin-Tin asked for clearance and they took off for the short flight to New Zealand. It seemed like no time at all before Tin-Tin was asking for permission to land at Christchurch airport. A short taxi ride took them to the karaoke bar.

"Come on, birthday boy," Kat said as she and Nikki each took one of Alan's arms and led him inside.

"I think we shall have to watch those two," Scott remarked to Virgil.

"No, they'll be okay, I'm sure," Virgil replied.

"Where are Tin-Tin and Brains?" Christopher asked.

"They'll be along shortly," Scott replied. "I think they were paying the taxi driver and arranging for a time to collect us."

When Virgil and Scott, followed by Christopher and Brandon, entered, they saw Kat arguing with the man on the admission desk. She delved into her bag and produced her ID. "There," she said.

"Sorry, Miss," the attendant said. "But rules are rules and to be honest you don't look twenty-four." Red-faced, Kat replaced her ID in her bag and followed Nikki and Alan into the room.

Nikki waited for Kat and put her arm around her. "Don't worry about the attendant. Let's, as my mate would say, get this party started and have fun." Kat nodded and continued to walk with Nikki and Alan to the rest of the guys. Virgil looked at Kat with a suspicious look in his eyes.

"What was that all about?"

"The attendant just wanted to check my ID," Kat answered. She held her finger to Virgil. "And I don't want to hear any short jokes from you."

Virgil held up his hands. "I wasn't going to say a word."

"Mm," Kat said. "Maybe you weren't going to say anything, but I am sure that you were thinking it."

Virgil looked at Kat. "I said I wouldn't tease you, and I won't. Besides, you're the one who brought it up."

"Shush," Kat said. "That subject is taboo."

Scott found them a table close to the karaoke. Kat persuaded Alan to sing. Sadly, Alan was no singer and his attempts caused the others to dissolve into laughter. Scott and Virgil asked what everyone wanted to drink and battled their way to the bar.

Christopher sat at the table, scanning the list of songs before leaping up and crossing to the man in charge. After much chatting, Christopher crossed to the microphone. The music began, and a lot of other patrons looked round as the old 1930s rythmn swam around the bar.

"I hope you don't mind if I try something different." Christopher smiled, and clicked his fingers to the beat.

He began to sing, his rich voice wrapping around the lyrics of Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers, before ending with a rendition of "I've Got You Under My Skin".

People were clapping as he made his way back to the table. Alan looked at him in disbelief. Christopher shrugged his shoulders. "I used to sing in an amateur operatic society. Now, Alan, I was going to buy you a drink, wasn't I?"

And with that he went up to the bar.

Post by TheWrongTrousers, Nikki-browneyes1, and Tawnyangel22 on 05/10/2004

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[Updated on: Wed, 25 July 2012 15:35]

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #750 is a reply to message #749] Wed, 25 July 2012 15:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Brandon sat at the table drinking a beer. He had been asked to dance but declined the invitations. As he gazed out across the bar from his corner, he could only think about one thing, [What am I doing here?

Flashback: March 13th, 2068 1:00pm

Brandon had finished lunch and was jogging down to the beach when Kat came up and fell in beside him.

"So, Brandon, are you going to go to Christchurch with us?" Brandon shrugged his shoulders.

"I don't think I'm going, Kat. I don't dance all that well and I'm definitely not a good singer. I'd just be in the way of everybody else's good time. You go and enjoy yourself."

"Please come, Brandon. It wouldn't be the same without you. And anyway, I think we all could use a little break."

After arguing back and forth, Brandon gave in and agreed to go.

Post by MagicMaster8 on 05/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #751 is a reply to message #750] Wed, 25 July 2012 15:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Kat said to Nikki, "How do you feel about singing a duet?"

Nikki smiled. "I don't mind. I've only sung on stage with a group of friends a couple of times, which was kind of funny. The guys were off key and tipsy verging on drunk, while the girls at times fell into a laughing fit. Including me."

Kat laughed before Nikki continued. "Not to worry though. I won't be giggling this time. I haven't even touched a drink yet." Nikki looked around the bar before turning back with a smile on her face.

When Kat looked at Nikki, the latter coughed slightly and hid her smile. "What was that about?"

"What was what about?" Nikki asked, looking innocent.

"That smile you were trying to hide." Kat looked around, trying to figure out what Nikki was smiling about.

"It was nothing. Just a random smile," Nikki replied.

"Sure." Kat narrowed her eyes, not believing what Nikki was saying. She wasn't too sure about singing at the moment. "Maybe we should put our duet on hold for the moment." She glanced at Virgil, talking to Scott and Christopher.

"Gosh," she said, looking hard at Virgil. "Just what does a girl have to do to get a fellow to dance with her?"

Virgil saw the look Kat gave him and rolled his eyes. "Kat, would you like to dance?"

Kat grinned at him and said, "Why, Virgil how kind of you to offer, yes please." She looked at Nikki. "That rather cute guy is staring so hard at you! If I were you, I would go over and put him out of his misery."

"How did you..." Nikki began. She saw Kat smile before she departed with Virgil. Nikki shook her head before turning back to the guys and joining in on the conversation. It wasn't long until she felt a tap on her shoulder. Nikki turned around to face the guy she was smiling at before. He held out his hand to Nikki.

"Hi, I'm Jake. Did anyone ever tell you that you have really beautiful eyes?"

Nikki accepted his hand and tried not to laugh at his line. "You noticed that from all the way over there?"

Jake laughed. "Ok, ok. I'll start again. Can I buy you a drink?"

Nikki held her glass up to him. Jake nodded and then continued, "Well, how about a dance then?"

"I would love to." Nikki asked for Brandon to look after her drink and then walked to the dance floor with Jake.

As they were dancing, Jake looked down at Nikki. "You know, you never told me your name."

"It's Nikki."

Virgil led Kat onto the dance floor. She kept looking back at Nikki.

"Why are you still looking at Nikki?" Virgil asked.

"I don't expect a man to understand, but that really good looking guy is interested in her."

Virgil raised a bushy eyebrow. "And why wouldn't I understand? I'm a good-looking guy and I've been interested in women before. I just hope he doesn't try any funny business, that's all."

"Oh, Virgil," Kat said. "Nikki is very discreet, she will not give anything away to a stranger."

Virgil looked down at her. "I trust Nikki. I don't trust him, whoever he is." He took in a deep breath. "Change of subject: where'd you learn to dance so well? Lady Penelope?"

Kat laughed. "No, I studied dance when I was young. I guess you never lose the touch."

Virgil agreed. They danced for quite a while. When the music changed to a slower dance, Kat thought that Virgil would take her back to the table, but he kept hold of her and they danced the next very slow dance. Kat looked around for Nikki and noticed that she, too, was still dancing with the guy who had been staring at her.

Christopher sipped at his Scotch. Time to take the bull by it's proverbials.

Standing up, he walked over to where Tin-Tin was and held out his hand. "Would you do me the honour?"

Tin-Tin smiled as she took his hand, and he led her out onto the dance floor. Christopher looked a little nervous as he began dancing with her.

"What's wrong?" Tin-Tin asked.

"You look gorgeous," Christopher said. "And I get a little shy when I dance with beautiful women."

"You are an excellent singer." Tin-Tin changed the subject, moving a little closer to him.

"Thank you." Christopher smiled. He began to feel his temperature rising a little. "Do you like singing?"

As Nikki danced with Jake, he began to ask her all sorts of questions. "So, whereabout in England are you from?"

"London." Nikki smiled.

"Hmmm, London. I've never been to England. But I would love to go. So are you here on holiday with your friends?"

"Um, yeah. It's our last night here." Only part of that was a lie. It was really their last night there. But Jake wasn't to know that it was their only night. Jake nodded.

"That's a shame. I would've liked to get to know you better."

The music ended and Kat and Virgil returned to the table. Scott had bought another round of drinks. If I carry on like this, Kat thought, I shall be drunk. Christopher had been dancing with Tin-Tin and they too returned to the table.

Post by TheWrongTrousers, Nikki-browneyes1, and Tawnyange22 on 05/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #753 is a reply to message #751] Wed, 25 July 2012 15:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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[size=2]Brandon continued watching the goings on, shaking his head and taking another sip of beer. Man, there is no way I am getting out there and making a fool of myself. He watched as Nikki danced a slow dance with somebody. As he took another swig of his beer, Kat came up to his table.

"Hey, Brandon, why aren't you out on the dance floor?"

"It's like I told you before we left the island; I'm not that good a dancer. I'm content just to watch." Kat sat down beside her friend.

"Have you ever tried?" Kat asked.

"I tried, once, and believe me, once was enough."

"Please, give it another try." Reluctantly Brandon stood up, and together he and Kat walked onto the dance floor. As they began to dance, one thought ran through Brandon's head.

What if I step on her feet? I'll never live it down. Unconsciously, he looked down at his feet, being careful to avoid Kat's toes. This worked fine until...

"Brandon, what are you doing? I'm up here, not down there."

"Sorry, Kat," Brandon replied sheepishly. He turned his attention to his dance partner instead of his feet.

"Brandon just re... ouch...relax. You're do...oww...doing fine."

"You're kiddin' Kat." Brandon pulled away from her, his face turning a bright red. "Look I'm sorry I stepped on your toes. I warned you I was a lousy dancer." Brandon started to walk away. Looking back at Kat he said, "Maybe you'd better find yourself another dance partner."

Kat gripped his right hand. "No, Brandon, wait. If I lead, and you follow, would you try again?"

"I don't know, Kat. It's the guys that are supposed to lead."

"That's true, but you need some help, and I do have dancing experience. Who's going to notice anyway?"

Brandon glanced around. Scott and Virgil were sitting at their table, talking between themselves. Of the birthday boy, there was no sign of him and the others were engaged in activities of their own.

I guess no one will notice. "Okay Kat, I'll do it." He followed her back onto the dance floor and allowed her to lead.

After the song was over, Brandon escorted Kat back to her seat, thanking her for dancing with him and apologizing for stepping on her feet.

Kat smiled. "See, that wasn't so bad now, was it?"

"I guess not," Brandon replied, a relieved smile on his face. "I was just scared. When it comes to dancing, I've always had two left feet." His face brightened even more as he thought of something. "Maybe you can give me dance lessons when we get back to the island?"

"I wouldn't mind doing that during our down time. After all, if you want to attract women, you need to learn how to dance."

"That's true. And I appreciate you being my teacher."

"No problem, Brandon. It's what friends are for."

Brandon had reclaimed his table and was watching the others try their hand at karaoke. He couldn't help laughing at their singing attempts. Man, this is hilarious. If only I had an audio recorder.

"So, Brandon," a male voice said, coming from behind him, "you think you can do better?" Brandon turned around in his seat and looked up at Christopher.

"No, it's not that at all, Chris. It's just...just..." Brandon dissolved into another fit of laughter.

"Well then, how about you put your singing skill to use?" Christopher said, a wicked gleam in his eyes. Brandon wasn't one to back down from a challenge.

"You're on." Brandon got up, going over to the karaoke machine. He flipped through the song list, found a tune he liked and showed it to the DJ.

"This should be good," Christopher said as he took his seat. The others soon joined him and it wasn't long before the strains of the song began.

After a few opening bars, Brandon started singing.

"Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way..."

Everyone was surprised at his singing voice. It was powerful, but not to the point that it overwhelmed. There was one point where Brandon's voice cracked slightly but he was so into the song that he failed to notice.

At the table, everyone was talking at the same time. "Where did he get that singing voice?" "He told me he couldn't sing that well." "Well" what do you know about that" "You go, Brandon!"

Brandon finished his number with a flourish and went back to the table.

Christopher clapped Brandon on the shoulder. "Brandon, mate, you surprised me. For that performance, I'll buy you another beer."

Post by MagicMaster8 on 07/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #754 is a reply to message #753] Wed, 25 July 2012 15:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"Kat," Scott asked. "Where's Nikki?"

"She was dancing with a very good looking young man," Kat answered. "But I don't know where she is. I can't see her at all."

Scott looked annoyed. "Damn."

Virgil looked at his brother. "I think we should look for her. It's nearly time to leave."

After the song had finished, Jake took Nikki to the bar to buy her another drink. "So what would you like?"

"I-I better not. I'm meant to be celebrating with my friends and I have a feeling that they would be missing me. But thanks for the offer."

Jake received a beer from the bartender. He turned to Nikki and smiled. "So, where are your friends?"

"Now that's a good question." Nikki looked through the crowds of people.

"Do you want me to help you find them?"

"You don't have to."

"It's okay. I want to. We have to make sure that you get back to them safely and in one piece." Jake held his arm out to Nikki to escort her back. They didn't get far before Alan found them.

"There you are. We were wondering where you'd disappeared to."

"I'm sorry Alan. I didn't realise I was out there for that long." Nikki answered. She looked between Alan and Jake who were looking at each other. "Oh, I'm sorry. Alan, this is Jake. Jake, this is my friend Alan." Nikki said pointing to each person.

Alan took Nikki's arm and looking at Jake, said. "Thanks for seeing her safely back." Nikki tried to shake off Alan's arm, but he held her in a tight grip.

"Come on, Nikki," he said. "Scott was wondering where you were."

"Is this Scott your boyfriend?" Jake asked Nikki.

"No, no, I don't have a boyfriend," Nikki replied, wishing that Alan would go away.

"So, buddy," Jake said, looking at Alan, "if Nikki doesn't have a boyfriend, then why the protectiveness? Surely she can decide for herself whether she stays a little longer with me."

Alan looked round to see if he could catch Scott or Virgil's eye, but they were all talking together, heads turned away from him. Alan tried again. "Please Nikki, we have to go back to the others. We will be leaving soon."

Jake looked at Alan. "Say, buddy, why don't you leave the lady alone? Surely one more dance won't be that dreadful."

Nikki looked from Alan to Jake. She didn't quite know what to say or do. She took a few deep breaths and looked between Jake and Alan. She really didn't want to spoil Alan's birthday. Her gaze finally rested on Alan. "Alan, you don't need to protect me. I'm old enough to take care of myself."

Alan slowly let go of Nikki's arm. Nikki turned to face Jake. "I'm sorry, I wish that we weren't going. But if Alan says that we have to go, then we have to go."

Jake looked down at the bottle in his hands. "Yeah, I'm sorry, too. Hey, maybe if you ever come back here or if I ever pick up my butt and go to London, we could meet up again."

"Yeah, sure," Nikki replied. "I enjoyed dancing and talking with you tonight."

"Me too." Jake leaned down and gave Nikki a peck on the cheek. He then disappeared into the crowd.

Nikki turned back to Alan, who was looking at her arm. He finally looked up at her face. "Look, we better get back to Scott."

"I suppose." Nikki began to walk with Alan. "Look, I'm sorry about before."

"It's okay."

Nikki walked back with Alan to join the others.

"I hope you didn't talk too much to your friend." Scott demanded, looking hard at Nikki.

Nikki glared at him. "No I didn't," she retorted, and walked round the table to stand behind Kat. Kat stood up a little unsteadily.

"Hey, careful," Virgil laughed, "or we'll be carrying you out."

"I am quite okay," Kat replied, holding out her hand. "There, see, and steady as a rock."

Brains looked at Kat. "Mm, you don't look too steady at all."

"Well, I am not the only one," Kat responded, "I don't think Scott is all that steady."

Nikki looked over at Scott who was leaning slightly on Virgil. He immediately tried to stand up straight. The group began to laugh.

"Too late, Scott. We caught you already." Brandon put his hand on Scott's shoulder.

"Looks like you can't hold your drink, Scott." Alan teased his brother.

Scott glared at him as everyone once again laughed. He pointed towards Alan. "You're lucky that it's your birthday."

"Well technically, it's not." Virgil stated.

"Hmm," Scott looked like he was planning his brother's downfall. "Nah, I'll leave it until tomorrow. I'll let him have his night."

"Sounds like you'll have to watch your back Alan." Nikki said.

Alan shook his head. "Scott wouldn't do anything me. Especially when I have you lot to protect me." Everyone took a step away from him, much to the amusement of Scott. Alan looked around at everyone. "So much for my friends."

"Aww, poor Alan." Kat tried to hide her laugh behind her hand.

Post by TheWrongTrousers, Nikki-browneyes1, and Tawnyangel22 on 07/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #755 is a reply to message #754] Wed, 25 July 2012 15:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, March 14, 2068, 7:30 a.m., Tracy Villa

Jeff looked at Dianne with concern. She had barely touched her breakfast and had snapped at Alex when he asked for a third helping of Farmer's Scramble. Her apology to the boy was immediate and heartfelt, but Jeff could tell she wasn't acting like herself.

"So, what time did they get in this morning?" he asked, conversationally.

Dianne huffed. "Around 3:15," she said sharply. "Scott was so sloshed his brothers practically had to carry him upstairs. He'll be feelin' mighty sick this mornin'. An' it serves him right! Ah have no ideah what condition the new recruits were in, but Ah'm sure we'll find out."

Jeff listened to her, noting the blatant drawl. "Did you get any sleep at all?"

"Not much," she admitted. "And it wasn't all b'cause of the expedition t'Christchurch."

"Then what else was there?" Jeff asked, frowning.

Dianne sighed heavily. "Ah... got a lettah. From the committee handlin' this yeah's memorial service." She paused to take a sip of her coffee. "They... they want me to speak."

"Well, that's a big change of pace," Jeff commented. "Most years they'd rather have you stay home than attend the service. What do you think changed their minds?"

"Ah dunno." Dianne pushed her hash browns around on her plate. "Mebbe they want to look good in the eyes of the media. Ah wish Ah knew what their motive is, and where the catch is in it for me."

"Maybe there is none. Are you going to do it?" he asked.

"Ah haven't made up mah mind yet. An' I don't have much time to think about it either," she groused. She glanced around the table, letting her eyes wander but seeing nothing. "Ah dunno... with everythin' that's happened recently...."

"Oh, no, you don't," Jeff said sternly, taking her chin in his hand and pulling her face around so their eyes met. "You are not using my accident as an excuse to get out of going to this service. You go or not go because you want to, or perhaps because you don't want to. You speak because you want to or not. But do consider the young ones in your decision. You know this means a lot to them. And know that whatever you decide, I'm behind you."

Dianne's gaze dropped and she smiled slightly. "Thank you, love. Your support means a lot t'me."

"Now, I'm going to ask Lisa if she'll oversee the schooling today so you can get some sleep. You put a call in to the committee chair when the time zones are favorable, and ask for more details. Then make your decision."

Dianne smiled widely at him, and he returned the smile. "You're gettin' back to your clear-headed self, Jeff Tracy. Takin' charge again like you always do. Pretty soon, you'll be back behind your desk supervisin' rescues."

"It can't be too soon for me, dear heart. I feel so helpless and useless the way I am now," Jeff said with a sigh.

"You won't be this way forever, Jeff. I promise you that," Dianne replied, putting her hand up to his cheek. He took the hand and kissed the palm, holding it tight for a moment.

"Now, go. No more coffee," he reached out with his good hand to whisk the cup away. "Go back to bed," he said in a mock-stern tone, feeling a sense of déjâ vu as he did so.

"Yes sir," she said with a wink, getting up from the table. She gazed down its length. "Please excuse me, everyone, but I've been ordered back to bed."

There were murmurs of "sleep well" and "you're excused" from the other diners. Dianne leaned over and kissed Jeff on the lips, then left the room, yawning and stretching as she went.

Lisa came in with a fresh pot of coffee and watched her daughter go. "What was that all about?" she asked, refilling Jeff's cup.

"She had a rough night last night. Would you be able to oversee the schooling today for her, Lisa?" Jeff asked.

Lisa nodded. "Sure, Jeff. Just as soon as we clear the table."

"Thank you, for being willing to do it. And for the coffee," Jeff said with a smile. He sipped some more, and looked thoughtful. I hope you do this, Dianne. The public needs to see that you're beyond the pain that the bombing, and its aftermath, caused you for so long.

Post by Tikatu on 07/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #756 is a reply to message #755] Wed, 25 July 2012 15:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, March 14, 2068, 10:30 a.m., Tracy Villa

Tin-Tin loaded up her luggage into the cargo hold of Ladybird. Her father was on hand to help her.

"How long must you be gone, my daughter?" he asked solemnly.

"Hopefully just a couple of days," Tin-Tin said with a sigh. "It all depends on what the situation is when I get there."

"I wish you were not going alone, Tin-Tin," Kyrano told her.

"Father, there is no one else who can be spared. All of the new recruits need to get into their training and since it's the Tracy boys who are teaching them... well, you get the picture. Dianne is busy taking care of Mr. Tracy. And though I know you'd love to go, you've been out of touch in New York for a while. You can't be spared either."

"But I can!" said a cheery voice. Both Kyrano and Tin-Tin looked up to see Emily coming along, a small suitcase in her hand.

"Mrs. Tracy?" Father and daughter asked in unison.

"Yes, of course it's me! You don't think I'm going to let my unofficial granddaughter go off on her own, do you?" She handed her suitcase to Kyrano, who automatically put it in the hold. "Lisa is here to help with meals and other housework. And something tells me, Tin-Tin, that you are going to need someone there to look after you."

"But, Mrs. Tracy...." Tin-Tin tried to protest.

"Don't you 'But, Mrs. Tracy' me, young lady. I am coming along, and that's final! I've already cleared it with Jeff."

"Well, if Mr. Tracy says it's okay...." Daughter looked at father and they both shrugged.

"He does. Now, help me up into this jet of yours. My knees aren't as young as they used to be, you know."

Kyrano handed Emily up into the plane and Tin-Tin helped her to strap in. "We'll call when we get there, Father," Tin-Tin said as she fired up the Ladybird's engines.

"Please do, my daughter. Fair winds and safety to you both."

Tin-Tin taxied her jet out to the air strip. "Ladybird requesting permission to depart."

Alan's voice came over the airwaves. "Permission granted. Have a safe trip."

"Thank you." Tin-Tin said nothing more, just pushed forward the throttle, letting the little jet gain speed until it sailed out over the Pacific, winging its way to Afghanistan.

Post by Tikatu on 07/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #757 is a reply to message #756] Wed, 25 July 2012 15:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 13, 2068, 10:00 p.m., Dover, England

The shapely blonde poured herself another libation. "How late is he going to be this time?" she asked the man in the room with her.

The dark-haired man stirred the fire in the grate again, then sat down on one of the comfortable sofas that dominated the high-ceilinged room. The firelight glinted on the patches of silver over each temple, and he reached out with a long, lazy arm to hold his glass out to the woman.

"Pour me another, would you, Dez?"

She did as he requested, then joined him on the couch, tucking her long legs under her. Her smooth golden hair was swept back in a bun, and she put down her glass on a small table to unfasten and shake loose her locks.

"I don't know why we rely on him at all, Jacques," Dez groused, sipping her highball. "He very seldom comes up with the goods."

Jacques sighed. "I know, Dez. But he assures me that, this time, he has a lead on François Lemaire's fabric, Penelon. No one else has been able to get even the slightest peep at the formula for that. I hear it's manufactured in only one place and security there is tighter than tight. No one even knows who has the rights to it. This might be the only chance we have to get our hands on it."

"Hmm. I hope he's..." Dez's voice trailed off as the door opened and a thin, blond man wearing a sharp suit and small round spectacles entered. His long face had the hint of a smile on it.

"Well, Giles. I thought that perhaps you weren't coming," Jacques commented as the newcomer poured himself a stiff drink.

"I was just getting confirmation on a few details," Giles explained.

"So? What news?" Dez asked impatiently.

"Oh, it's all good. Seems that a manufacturer in Kabul was given an order for a new fabric blend. My sources say it's a merging of Penelon and... get this... Kevlar."

"Kevlar? Who in hell would want something like that?" Dez asked, creasing her beautiful features with scowl.

"The word is that some offshoot of Tracy Industries has sent the order. My sources say that the manufacturer is having trouble getting the blend to specifications, and that they've asked for the brains behind the formula to come out and troubleshoot." Giles claimed an overstuffed, leather chair and stretched his lanky frame out in it.

"The sources, I suppose, have been causing the trouble?" Jacques asked, kicking back his drink.

"Precisely. This particular informant knew that Penelon was one of the items we were interested in, and so created a little havoc to draw out the fabric's designer. She figured that whoever created this blend, has access to the Penelon formula."

"And?" Dez prompted.

"And the creator of the Penelon/Kevlar blend is due to arrive in Kabul any time now. She is one Tin-Tin Kyrano." Giles pulled a thin envelope from his jacket pocket, and handed it to Dez. She looked over the materials, giving them to Jacques as she finished with each item.

"Pretty thing," Jacques commented. "I've always liked Asian women." He glanced sharply up at Giles. "So, she will be in Kabul soon?"

"According to my sources, yes."

Jacques sighed expansively. "Well then. It looks like it might be worth our while to have a little chat with Ms. Tin-Tin Kyrano."

Post by Tikatu on 07/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #760 is a reply to message #757] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island; Wednesday, March 14, 2068; 2PM

Lena was checking the diagnostic results on the computer at Jeff's desk, when she heard a humming sound. She looked up to see him enter the room in an electric wheelchair. His arm was still in a cast, and he looked tired and discouraged, but determined.

"Oh!" he said, startled to see Lena sitting behind his desk. "I'm sorry, Lena. I didn't know anyone was in the lounge." He stopped to watch what she was doing. "Looks like you're busy there. I can get what I need later."

"You don't need to leave, sir. I'm nearly finished wit de diagnostics on dis computer. Den it's all yours." She looked at him keenly. "Are you feeling okay? You look - how did dey used to say it? - down in de mout."

"You're very observant, Lena. The euphoria of actually coming home has worn off and now I'm faced with the day-to-day limitations that this," he lifted his casted arm, "and that," he indicated his elevated and casted foot, "impose on me."

Lena stood up and walked around to the other side of the desk. She leaned against it. "Den don't tink of dose tings as being limitations."

"What do you mean? They certainly limit me as to where I can go, what I can do," Jeff responded.

"But you know dat's only temporary," she replied. "One day, you'll be back on your feet, wit no casts on, probably even piloting your own plane, again. Dere's a lot of people out dere who don't have dat luxury. You should be tinking of dis as an opportunity, instead of a limitation."

"An opportunity? How so? What do you suggest?" Jeff asked, his curiosity piqued.

Lena frowned, thinking about how to word the ideas she had. "Well, for one ting, you have an opportunity to better understand how de permanently disabled feel. Den you might tink about whetter or not you have de facilities to rescue dem. I'm a little surprised you haven't had to before now. Are your machines equipped to extract someone in a wheelchair? Can you rescue a paraplegic, or a quadraplegic? What about someone who depends on der device for der very life?"

Jeff sat quietly, mulling over her words for a bit. Then he looked at her very seriously. "You know, I'll have to look in the logs and see if we have ever had to rescue someone in that situation before. I have no memory of it happening, but then it doesn't mean it hasn't."

He rubbed his chin with one hand. "And you do bring up a valid point. We should be prepared to rescue anyone in any kind of physical situation. That is part of the reason I added the medical component to our operations. But all of our operatives should be aware of the need."

"And your machines dat carry de people away from de danger should be able to accommodate dem, no matter what. Even in dis day and age, some of de machines people are forced to use are still bulky. Could dey fit in de doorways of de rescue vehicles? Would dere be places for dem inside? And would your - operatives - know how to care for dem until dey could get dose people to more specialized care? Sooner or later, you'll probably have to rescue someone like dat. You have a unique perspective on dis type of problem right now." There was a chime from the computer. "Ah, de diagnostics is finished."

"I'll take what you say under consideration, Lena," Jeff told her. He moved closer to the desk. "What kind of diagnostics did you run?"

A look of mischief came into her eyes as she walked around the desk once again and looked at the report. Well, Brains. It looks like I get to tell him after all. "We wanted to double-check dis terminal in view of what happened to bring me here."

"And what did you find?"

"De problem isn't wit de terminal." She looked up and, seeing the confused look on his face, continued. "De reason for de glitch is due to de fact dat de block on accessing non IR mailboxes and sites from computers when dey are accessing de IR servers had a treshhold number of hits it could take. It was a very high number, but it was exceeded. Dat caused a deterioration in de program, resulting in de glitch. It seems dat tirty percent of de hits came from dis computer, Mr. Tracy." She assumed an innocent look. "Now, I wonder who could have been trying to use dis terminal dat way."

"Well, Lena, it IS my computer. I'm not the only one who uses it, but I'm probably primarily responsible," Jeff admitted. "When was the threshhold exceeded?"

Lena looked down at the desk and Jeff noticed a printout there. She turned a few pages and did some mental calculating. "If memory serves me correctly," she looked up at him with a grin, "and it usually does, it was about tree days before your - crash." She looked down at the printout again and a moment later, gave a decisive nod. "Yes, dat's right."

"Hmm. Most likely it was my wife, or my son, Scott, then. They were in charge of the place and would have been using my computer," he replied. He sighed. "It's very easy to forget to switch servers back and forth when you get caught up in your work, no matter what it is you're doing."

"True," she replied. "Having to type a code like de one Brains came up wit can be annoying, but it was de best he could do on such short notice as he had. I'm not blaming anyone, sir. I understand it hadn't been tought of until it was necessary. But de solution is two-fold. One, modify de program so an unlimited treshhold is established, and two, simplify de code. Dat is already being done. But I wanted to be sure dere was no defect in de computers dat had de most hits." She smiled. "Brains' computer had de next highest amount of hits, not much fewer dan yours, but he can be absent-minded, like all geniuses, you know."

Jeff snorted a laugh. "Looks like geniuses aren't the only ones who can be absent-minded. CEOs, doctors, and former fighter pilots can too. Thank you for your work on this problem, Lena. And for the perspective on... this," he indicated the wheelchair. "Looks like IR is going to be going through a lot more changes than we ever anticipated."

Lena's smile faded somewhat. "I hope I haven't been out-of-line in any way. But you did ask. And if I can be of any help in facilitating dose changes, feel free to ask me. Just don't ask me," she chuckled, "to design or build anyting. I'm no good at that."

"Not even designing software or hardware?" Jeff asked with a smile. "I know that Brains is swamped and that Tin-Tin's schedule isn't much better. She just informed me she has to go to Kabul about a formula she completed; seems the manufacturer is having trouble with it." He paused and gazed at her keenly.

"We could use someone like you to lift part of the burden from Brains, at least as far as our computer network and programming is concerned." He chuckled. "I brought Dianne in to lift the burden of medic from the man, in hopes that he'd have more time to work on his engineering, and have more time for himself. It seemed to be effective, but his workload has steadily increased again."

Lena looked at Jeff, stunned for several moments. "I..." She stopped, swallowed and tried again. "I can design and build hardware, of course. And software. I'd be delighted to help any way I can. But if it means leaving my home and my babies, not to mention my job at Tracy Industries, I don't know." Her eyes were pleading for understanding.

"I can understand your feelings, Lena. Uprooting yourself at this point in your life would be difficult, to say the least. We could arrange something, Lena, where you could work for us from your home, or even from the offices at Tracy Industies if necessary. IR has a network of agents around the world who work for us, helping us when we have rescues in their areas, keeping their eyes and ears open for things that would affect IR and letting us know about them. Perhaps we could go that route." He glanced over at the portrait of his wife on the desk top. "Another thought is that each operative we have here who is outside the Tracy family has a position in Tracy Industries." Jeff smiled. "You already have the position. We'd just add 'IR Operative' to your name."

Lena laughed, partly in relief, partly in genuine amusement. "Now DAT would make an interesting name plate. 'Lena Matumbo, I&M Manager and IR Operative'." She looked at Jeff and added, "If dat can be accomplished, den I accept. I do like challenges. And I may be an old woman, but I'm sure I can meet your expectations."

Jeff chuckled again. "I've found, Lena, that age has nothing to do with usefulness or ability. I should introduce you to Sir Jeremy Hodge or Jeremiah and Maudie Tuttle just for a couple of examples." He held out his good hand. "I think we can make this work, Lena. You and I and Brains can sit down and put all the details together... after dinner."

She took his hand and they shook. "Done," she said and found his grasp was firm and his attitude had improved greatly. She picked up the printout. "I'd better get back to de lab. De sooner de program is in place and running, de sooner I can notify everyone at Tracy Industries in Washington and New York, and de sooner my staff can stop worrying about a certain vice president harassing dem about it. And de sooner you all can stop worrying about whedder or not de information is going to de wrong places."

Jeff looked surprised. "You're having vice president trouble? Anything I can do to... help?" he offered.

She laughed. "Dat's okay. It's notting. It's just dat de man gets pompous sometimes. But mention Brains' alternative name, and he gets very accommodating. I told my staff dat if he called demanding status information, to tell him dat I was working with Hiram Hackenbacker to correct de program. He seems to be impressed by de name. But he's a good vice president. He just is someone who is too full of himself at times." She suddenly looked thoughtful, as an idea occurred to her. "Or maybe he is feeling unused or helpless, and dis is de way he can make himself feel more important to de company."

"Ah! I see. I'm glad that Brains's name and reputation proceed him at Tracy Industries," Jeff remarked with a smile. He straightened again. "I think I'd better retrieve that debriefing report before my wife comes looking for me and tells me to rest. I think I can maneuver this thing back behind the desk...."

"Den I'll leave you to your work, and get back to mine." She started out of the room, then paused and turned back. "I enjoyed our talk. I wish you a speedy and complete recovery. And maybe we can have more talks like dis again."

"Thank you, Lena, for your good wishes. And I hope we talk like this again soon," Jeff replied. He gave her a wave, then he fitted his wheelchair behind his desk and opened up a locked file drawer to retrieve the papers he was searching for.

Post by Tikatu and Hobbeth on 08/10/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Growing as a Team [message #761 is a reply to message #760] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Lena had just walked out of the lounge when she remembered she hadn't told Jeff which server his modem was connected to. She turned back and entered the room just as the sounds she'd programmed emerged from the speakers. She saw the stunned look on his face, then watched him slowly turn and look at her.

Mischief appeared in her eyes, as amusement appeared in his. "Sorry, I forgot to tell you your computer was still connected to de IR server. Dat's why I came back."

"That's okay, Lena, but why did you choose that way of reminding people to switch servers?"

She slowly grinned. "It seemed like a good idea at the time. Less annoying that some technical sound."

His grin matched hers. "Much," he replied, as he deliberately hit the "Enter" key, causing the foghorn and the "Ah, ah, ah," to play a second time.

The laughter from the lounge was heard by those who were nearby, causing them to smile.

Post by Hobbeth on 08/10/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Growing as a Team [message #762 is a reply to message #761] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island; Wednesday, March 14, 2068; 3:00PM

"De diagnostics on Mr. Tracy's computer is complete, and shows dat everyting is in optimum condition," Lena told Brains when they met once again in his lab. "And so is yours," she added.

"The other terminals are also in perfect shape," he replied with a relieved look on his face, "so the only one left to check is the one aboard Thunderbird 5."

"Tunderbird 5?"

He looked surprised. "Oh, that's right! You know that the Tracys are the founders of International Rescue, but you don't know about our vehicles. We call them Thunderbirds. Thunderbird 5 is our space station. It monitors the transmissions from Earth, and alerts us here when we are needed."

"Den I presume it is in geostationary orbit wit dis island, so it can contact you at any time of day?"

"That's correct."

"Den how does it get transmissions from de otter parts of de world? Satellites?" She stopped him from answering with a gesture. "No, I don't need to know dat. And unless it's someting I need to work on, I don't want to know."

Brains smiled at her. "Well, it could happen some time in the future, you know." He looked at her speculatively, then seemed surprised that she didn't react. She grinned at him.

"I've already had a conversation wit Mr. Tracy." She filled him in on some of her chat with Jeff.

Brains nodded. "I understand. Interesting, the ideas you gave him. I've had a few notions along those lines, but the time never seemed right to bring them up. I guess I'll be trotting out those designs and ideas very soon. He isn't one to put something like that off for very long."

"Dat's good. Your luck in not having to rescue a disabled person can't hold forever. Well, I tink I should upload your program back into de system now." She turned to her terminal. "I doubt dat dere's any problem wit Tunderbird 5's computers, so it should be okay."


Forty minutes later the program was uploaded and tested. There were no hitches anywhere, and both of them breathed a sigh of relief. "Lena, you're a wonder. You've done a terrific job, and I'm glad to have you on the team." He sighed. "But now I've got to come up with a new code for people to use to switch from one server to the other."

"I've had an idea about dat. What if instead of a series of digits, we used a word or a phrase for each user? Dat way, it will be easy for each one to remember and, in case of any problem, you could identify which terminal was having it, just from de code used."

Brains looked thoughtful. "That's worth considering. What kind of phrases did you have in mind?"

Lena grinned. "Well, I'm sure each user would like to come up wit deir own, but I could see some song titles, or phrases describing de person."

"Such as?"

"Did you ever see any of de original Star Trek television show from de 1960s?"

"Yes. It fascinated me, especially since NASA adopted some of the helm and navigation control configurations for their space vessels."

"Well, I keep tinking dat Dianne could use de phrase 'I'm a doctor, not a space jockey!'"

Brains laughed. "That's a good one. And for me, 'Highly illogical.'"

They started trying to come up with funny descriptive phrases for different people, topping each other until they were breathless from laughter. "Ah, dat was good. I'm as refreshed by all our laughter as if I'd just had a nap," Lena said, wiping her eyes.

"Yes, me too, but will people want to type a phrase each time they want to switch?"

"Dat wouldn't be necessary. I can write a program trough which dey can 'record' it and have de computer type it for dem just by hitting one or two keys whenever dey need to switch."

"Really? I've heard of something like that being used in some companies, but never saw a need for it here, until now. That's a good idea. And it sounds like it wouldn't take long to show everyone how to use it."

"Right. Den I'll get to work on de program now."

They each turned to their computers and, re-energized, got back to work.

Post by Hobbeth on 08/10/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Growing as a Team [message #763 is a reply to message #762] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island, March 14th, 3:30pm.

Jeff Tracy had been home for three days. Three days of bliss as far as his family was concerned. Elise thought back to what she'd seen over the last few days. Lots of love was what she mainly saw. Two happily in love parents and a slew of doting kids!

She smiled at the memories of seeing how the Tracy clan ate a meal together, how they joked around with each other. But somewhere deep inside her stirred a sadness. She'd never had the opportunity to share moments like these in her own family. Losing her parents when she was nine put an end to that. Her aunt loved her and raised her but it wasn't the same.

Elise turned away from the window of the guest room. This part of the house was quiet. John, her immediate next door neighbor, was gone away on duty, and unless she ventured out and mingled in the chaos of the rest of the house, she was alone. She was used to the feeling so it didn't bother her so much. Her ribs hardly gave her any more pain, the bruise on her face had faded, but the cheekbone was still very tender. Dianne had told her it may be that way for a few months yet.

She walked to the closet and took out some more of her things. She'd been here long enough, and now that Jeff had returned, she felt she was overstaying her welcome. New York will be a welcome change from all this tropical weather! At least she knew all of her personal things were safe, thanks to Scott and Gordon.

Scott. I need to talk to Scott about getting me home.

She continued to pack some things and make mental notes to herself until she heard a knock on the door. Laying down the clothes she was holding, she opened the door to find Scott standing there. "Well, hi! I was just thinking about you!" She smiled.

Scott smiled back. "All good thoughts I hope?" he joked good naturedly.

"Would there be any other kind?" She grinned and welcomed him in.

Scott noticed the packing and cringed inside. This was not going to be easy. He'd spoken to his Dad earlier that morning and both of them had agreed they would 'interview' Elise together... today. She had no idea, and was looking forward to going home.

She noticed him looking at the mess of clothes and the suitcases.

"It will be so nice to get back to New York, Scott. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed being pampered here, and everyone has been so good to me, but I need to get back to work, to flying. I miss it. You know how it is."

He nodded, "Yes, Elise, I do. I know you're chomping at the bit, but I came to see you to ask you if you would stop by Dad's study today?" Elise started to look a little unsure.

"Is he okay, about the crash, I mean?"

"Yes, he just wants to have a one on one with you, without all the others fussing around him!" He noted the relieved look on her face.

"Sure, I'd really like that."

Boy, I hate it when she gives me that totally trusting look! "Okay, then, I'll let Dad know, and, we'll say... 30 mins from now?"

"I'll be there." She smiled at him.

She followed him to the door and as he started to leave, he turned back to her.

"I'm glad you've enjoyed staying with us. Virgil said you'd like it, remember ...when we first arrived?"

Elise laughed "Yes! I do, I'll have to tell him he was right about that. That'll make his ego inflate a little more!"

They both chuckled as he departed. Elise closed the door and resumed packing.

At the sound of her door closing, Scott let out the breath he'd been holding.

How in the heck I'm gonna explain this to her? She's going to explode when she finds out we want her to stay.

Scott started towards his father's study. He was not looking forward to this. During the time he spent training her and the other pilots in her 'Flight', he'd come across that fiery temper more than once. Only once or twice had it been directed at him, and heavens did that girl get passionate about flying when she got all fired up! He recalled having to pull rank on her to calm her down and keep her in check on one occasion!

"Well, son?" inquired Jeff as Scott walked into the study.

"She'll be here in 30 minutes." Jeff smiled. Scott didn't.

Post by FrankieCTB2 on 10/10/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Growing as a Team [message #764 is a reply to message #763] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, March 14, 2068, 7:00 a.m., Vele, in the Ural Mountains, Russia

It was a special day for the children who lived at the orphanage in Vele. Today was the day they would get to see the doctor in the small city of Ust'-Uls. It meant a 25 kilometer drive along the narrow winding road that followed the Vishera river and then crossing the suspension bridge that brought them into the city itself. The trip would take all day and the earlier their start, the earlier they would return.

Vladimir, the driver of the ancient school bus, watched as the twelve children, aged from six months to fourteen years, filed into the vehicle, taking their places in the worn bench seats. The babies were cradled in the arms of two of the younger caretakers, Ivana and Galina, while the older Yulja sat with the toddlers to try and keep them in line. Yulja's husband, Fjodor, sat with the older children. At the front of the bus was a paying customer: Ilya had a job interview in Ust'-Uls and asked if he could ride with the orphanage bus to the city.

There was a definite air of excitement among the coughing of the older children and the crying of the babies. Vladimir took one last look around, and, satisfied that his charges were ready to go, started up the bus. The engine puffed out black smoke as the engine gave a deep rumble, and with a noisy clashing of gears, the expedition took off.

The road was narrow, barely wide enough for two vehicles passing side by side. The bus hugged the side nearest the mountain, making Vladimir feel safer, for the roads were slick at that time of morning. Traffic was light; the few autos that were on the road moved at the same snail's pace that the bus did. But things changed once they got to the next small town, Ust'-Garevaya. This small town was larger than Vele, and more traffic flowed southward towards the bigger city. More autos, more trucks, and more impatient drivers. Finally, just before the bridge that crossed the ravine, a driver who could not contain himself pulled out from three places behind the bus and tried to pass. And, as karma would have it, a truck appeared, coming from the other direction.

The impatient driver never stood a chance. He couldn't turn without going into the ravine. He couldn't pull back into the traffic. The road was slick, and though he put his brakes on and skewed his car around, and though the truck driver, in a panic, swerved to his right, the two vehicles collided with a sickening crunch, followed by an explosion. This created a chain reaction, as the cars nearest to the wreck tried to avoid it, and instead, crashed into each other.

Vladimir, always cautious, turned the bus to the left, trying to pull into the now empty lane to avoid smashing into the vehicles before him. But the other lane was less traveled at that time of day and was slicker. The vehicle began to slide, and the truck behind them, whose driver had a similar idea, bumped heavily into its back corner. The children screamed and the women clutched the little ones tightly as the bus slipped and skidded along the edge of the old wooden barrier at the edge of the road. It finally gave way, and the nose of the bus protruded over the edge of the ravine. The truck, as helpless on the slick lane as the child-laden transport, smashed into the back end again, rendering the emergency door useless. The front door was shattered by the broken barrier, but it kept the bus from going forward any farther... for now. In back, Yulja wailed, crossing herself and praying out loud. This added to the confusion and panic of the young passengers.

But the worst was yet to come. The noise of the explosion echoed and re-echoed in the ravine, disturbing the snows that still lay on the side of the mountain peaks. The snow began to slide downward, picking up speed and finally rolling down the steep side and spilling over the cut of the road, burying one car and half burying another. Fjodor cried out, "Avalanche!" and crossed himself, too, as the road behind them disappeared under tons of snow, rock, and trees.

Ilya took stock of the situation. The explosion meant that any help coming from Ust'-Uls couldn't get through. Nor could anyone from Ust'-Garevaya come to their aid. The bus creaked and groaned and threatened to fall into the ravine. While Vladimir coached the children and their caretakers to move to the back of their transport, Ilya pulled out his cell phone. He kissed it, crossed himself, and placed a call to the authorities in Ust'-Uls. With a deep breath, he asked them to call for the only people he thought could help them... International Rescue.

Post by Tikatu on 11/10/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Growing as a Team [message #765 is a reply to message #764] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Elise took a deep breath as she stood before the study door. She hadn't seen Jeff Tracy since the homecoming party and was a little nervous as to what this meeting would entail. She raised her hand and knocked softly.

"Come in." The reply was in a clear, sturdy voice.

She opened the door and gingerly stepped in. She noticed Scott to her left and had a fleeting moment of being puzzled. Jeff remained seated, still needing to rest his body. She smiled as she approached Jeff at his desk.

"Hello, Elise." Jeff's warm smile and soft tone conveyed his understanding of her uneasiness to Elise.

"Hello again, sir."

"Please, have a seat."

Jeff indicated with his hand and Elise parked herself in the nearest chair, glancing quickly at Scott who had now moved closer to his father.

"How have you been, Elise?"

"Fine, sir, thank you. Your family has been very kind to me, since the... well, since the accident." Elise wasn't sure if Jeff wanted to talk about the crash or not.

"From what I understand Elise, I owe you my life." Jeff didn't waste any time getting to the point.

"I just did what I had to do. I, er, don't really remember a lot of what happened that night, but, um... it seems I 'stumbled' across your secret organization and managed to get us both rescued," Elise replied awkwardly.

She averted her eyes briefly and Jeff knew she was uncomfortable so he tried to be a little lighthearted about it all.

"Well, I for one AM definitely grateful you did 'stumble', as you put it, across my organization. We both might not be here if you hadn't."

He paused for a moment before continuing.

"Elise, I understand that your injuries are healed enough for you to have mentioned going back to New York?"

"Yes, sir, I need to get back to a normal routine. Your family has been wonderful, and I've really enjoyed being here, but I think it's time we all got back to our lives. Besides, I've taken up enough of your hospitality and now that you're home, I'm just going to be in the way. I was planning on leaving within the next day or so."

She looked at Jeff, then at Scott when they both remained silent. Scott had been dreading this. He stood stoically, but inside was wringing his guts into pieces.

Jeff looked down at his desk, then back up to Elise.

"What did you think when you saw Thunderbird 3 launch? Quite a sight, isn't she?"

Elise was thrown off for a second and answered,

"Excuse me?"

"Thunderbird 3? I was told you saw her launch and saw John and Callie heading off to Thunderbird 5."

"Yes... I did, it was quite amazing."

Something inside Elise triggered a warning signal. She didn't like the way this conversation had suddenly taken a turn, but she wasn't sure why. Gut instinct maybe, but she didn't like what she was feeling and looked over at Scott. Nothing. His face showed no emotion. Not a good sign.

"What you saw Elise, was awesome, but it was also top secret. No one outside of this outfit knows about International Rescue, except a chosen few, and now you are one of those. But, you are also a TI pilot, one I would like to keep close."

Elise was a little confused "What are you trying to say Mr. Tracy?"

Jeff inhaled, glancing at his son as he did so. Immediately Elise caught on that whatever was going to be said... Scott was in on it. She tried to catch Scott's attention, but now he was looking down.

"Elise, I can't promise that you won't be hounded by the press and media when you return to New York, and if they get the smallest inkling that you're aware of our operations, security would be breached. I don't want to see that happen to you. I'm asking you, Elise, if you would stay and become a pilot for IR. We could have the rest of your stored things sent here, so there'd be no need to return to New York. I need capable "Top Gun" pilots and I'm offering the job to you."

Elise wasn't sure she'd heard quite right. Her? A pilot for IR? She slowly stood up.

"Sir, with all due respect, I already have a job. One that I like and would like to return to."

She was looking directly at Scott when she'd finished talking. He acknowledged her look with his own and knew he was going to fry in hell. It was obvious she'd figured out that he was a major part in this whole 'security issue' conversation.

"Yes, you do have a job, but I'm offering you a better one. A chance of a lifetime. Scott has highly recommended you, and he has every confidence you will be an asset to the team."

"Does he now?" Elise's anger was starting to build.

Jeff heard the stiffness in her voice and looked to his son for answers. None were forthcoming.

"Mr. Tracy? May I have a word with Scott in private please?"

Jeff looked back and forth between them, sensing something, and agreed.

"Certainly. You two can remain here in private, I'll be in my suite. Call me if you need me Scott."

"Thanks, Father." Scott watched his father leave, and the second his head started to turn back to Elise, she pounced.

"WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE! How dare you set me up, Scott Tracy!"

He drew in a deep breath before answering.

"Elise, you're a damn good pilot and my father is serious about wanting you on the team. I've known you long enough to know letting you go back to flying choppers would be a mistake. We need you Elise."

"So you tricked me into coming here?"

"NO! That's not how it happened; I'd mentioned to dad before the accident that I thought he should seriously consider taking you on board at IR. It just turned out that you found out sooner about us and we didn't want the media to get to you while you were in hospital."

She looked at him incredulously.

"Oh, I see, you whisked me out here to your tropical paradise because I was a security risk? My God, Scott! Did you think I'd blab all to the Press? What? Did you think that by bringing me here I would 'make nice with the natives' and never want to leave?"

Her voice was getting louder and angrier and Scott had no choice but to hear her out and bear the brunt of it all. She turned away from him and started to pace back and forth.

"I can't believe this! I can't believe YOU!" She pointed at him. "I trusted you Scott, and this is how you treat me! What if I don't want to join IR, hmm? Did'ya ever think of that! What about what I want? When were you going to ask me that?"

She was now looking straight at him, eyes blazing pure anger, and beneath it all Scott saw the hurt and that got to him more than her tirade.

"Elise, listen to me... please." She cut him off quickly.

"Please what? Please stay, please forgive me? Please let me ship your stuff out here so you'll stay and keep your mouth shut?"

As Scott was carefully planning his next words, Virgil and Alan were on their way through the lounge and heard the loud voices coming from the study.

"What's going on in there?!" asked Alan.

"Dunno, but it doesn't sound good."

As they neared, Virgil recognized the voices.

"That's Scott and Elise in there."

Virgil thought for a moment and realized what Scott was trying to talk to Elise about. Alan started to laugh silently.

"Sounds like she's tearing him up one side and down the other! Whad'ya suppose that's all about?"

"Haven't a clue, bro," Virgil lied to his brother. What Alan didn't know wouldn't hurt him.

Virgil started to leave but Alan grabbed his arm, pulling him back. "Wait, I want to see what happens!"

Virgil gave him one of 'the looks' and Alan merely smiled widely.

They both positioned themselves away from the door but not so far to where they wouldn't hear what was being said, or shouted as the case may be. Alan leaned back and folded his arms across his chest. He planned on enjoying every moment!

Inside the study, the anger hadn't subsided and Scott's voice and temper were now both rising.

"For the LAST time Elise, I did NOT set you up! I have NOT kept secrets from you while you've been here! You know damn well how security works; you got enough of it thrown at you in the Air Force!"

"Oh, so you're going to throw that in my face now? The whole "Classified Information" incident? Well, let me tell you this 'Captain' Tracy, I NEVER once broke a security code, regardless of the write-up of that incident."

Scott locked angry gazes with her. He knew she was well and truly riled now; she'd called him by his Air Force rank, and had done so with loathing. The incident they were referring to had long been cleared up by the Air Force, but it still rankled both of them. It had been one of the times he'd pulled rank on her, and she'd never forgotten or forgiven him for it.

Scott drew himself up to his full height and walked towards her. He was merely inches away, when he looked down at her and spoke.

"For your information 'Lieutenant' I'm fully aware of what happened, and you know it. As for IR, the same rules apply. Saving lives is what we do, and we damn well take it seriously. Being a pilot for this organization is way above what being a pilot in the Air Force is. I take my role seriously and my father does not offer jobs here lightly. I suggest you take that information and remember it well."

Outside the door, Alan and Virgil both winced at hearing their brother's tone. They were expecting to see Scott exit the study but instead heard Elise fire back at him.

"I won't forget a thing! And let me tell you this, Scott Tracy, I will never, ever let myself be taken by you or anyone in this family again!"

Scott started to interject but Elise raced on,

"And another thing, if being a pilot for IR is such a thrill, you can just climb aboard that International Rescue plane of yours and fly it STRAIGHT TO HELL!"

Virgil and Alan both jumped to attention as the study door flew open and Elise stormed out. She glanced angrily at each of them, and marched away, not saying a word. Scott appeared moments later looking extremely worn out and slowly shaking his head, looking angrily in the direction that Elise had gone.

"You okay?" Virgil asked.

Scott nodded slowly. "Yeah, I guess."

Alan let out a low whistle. "Man, I think the 'Great Scott Tracy' just got his ass kicked!"

His statement was met with a reply in unison:

"Shut-up Alan!"

The blond just grinned and started to laugh.

"I'll go check on her, Scott." Virgil offered as he walked by, giving Scott a brotherly pat on the shoulder.

Post by FrankieCTB2 on 11/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #766 is a reply to message #765] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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******March 14, 2068; Thunderbird Five; around 3:30 p.m.******

John and Callie were running systems checks on the controls when they heard something on the radio. They listened carefully to the voice. "Wait," Callie said, "it's Russian! I heard the man say 'International Rescue' in Russian!"

"You're right, Callie. Let's get the details. How's your Russian?" John asked.

"Decent. I worked in Moscow just before my last trip to the International Space Station."

"Then go ahead and answer it, Callie. If there's anything you forget to ask, I'll clue you in."

Callie spoke in Russian to the man, asking him to explain what had happened. After making out the details, she turned to John. "There's been an avalanche in the Ural Mountains. School bus hanging on edge of slick road, bus filled with children and some adults. An explosion and fire are also occurring in the area. Conventional rescue will be impossible."

"Get some coordinates for me and I'll call base," John said, moving over to the panel that would connect him to the lounge at Tracy Island.

"F-A-B, John."

Post by TracyFan4Ever and Tikatu on 12/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #767 is a reply to message #766] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island,4:15pm.

Virgil found Elise out on the balcony of her room. The door had been left open and he'd called out to her, but she hadn't answered. He noticed the clothes strewn around the room, and the suitcases on the bed and chair. He approached the balcony, calling softly,


He noticed how she stiffened when hearing her name, yet she didn't turn around. He also noticed how hard she was gripping the railing with her hands. She was still very angry and upset.

"Did Scott send you?" she suddenly asked.

"No, he didn't," Virgil replied as he casually leaned back on the railings, tilting his head so that he could see her more clearly.

"Then why are you here?" She avoided looking at him, keeping her eyes focused ahead, looking at the ocean.

"I came to see how you were, and if I could help."

She gave a small sarcastic chuckle.

"Yeah, right. More like help your brother by convincing me to stay here."

Virgil didn't appreciate her snide remark, but refused to be baited by it. Unlike Scott, he could remain passive and let things slide, to an extent anyway.

"My brother's too old to need my help. Besides, he likes to think everything is his idea, so why would I help him?"

He smiled as she shifted her gaze sideways to meet his eyes. Her expression softened a little.

"So you here on a mission of your own then?" Elise questioned.

"Sort of." Virgil drew in a breath before continuing. "Look, Elise, I heard what was said between you and Scott. I know he can be a real jerk when he gets fired up, but what he said about IR and our dad is true. We need pilots Elise, and good ones."

She remained silent, and watched Virgil. He was so different from Scott, so much more calm and laid-back. She wondered how two people so different in personalities could be such close brothers.

"You may need pilots, Virgil, but the way Scott and your father went about it irked me. I'm not a commodity, I'm a human being, with thoughts and feelings, and right now, I'm not sure what I think or feel about this whole situation."

Virgil could sympathize with her on that. "Yeah, I know. Dad and Scott can sometimes get so wrapped up in something, it's hard to make them see any other way but theirs!" Virgil laughed a little, causing Elise to smile and emit a small chuckle of her own.

She looked at him thoughtfully. "Sounds like you speak from experience?"

He rolled his eyes mockingly. "Yeah, you could say that."

Elise became serious once more. "Look, Virgil, I was all set to go back to New York, and back to my job, and now all this has been sprung on me, I feel like I'm in a whirlwind, and I don't like it. Be honest with me, were you in on this too?"

He took his time answering, and she knew from his silence that he was part of it. She shook her head, and turned away to look back out over the ocean. Virgil suddenly felt like he'd betrayed her. Why, he wasn't sure, but he felt it none the less. He liked her, and having heard her scream at his brother, knew she had a temper, one he hoped would never be directed at him. He decided to play safe and attempted a little lightheartedness again.

"You know, I honestly don't know of anyone who's told Scott to fly his precious Thunderbird One straight to hell, and lived to tell about it."

He had said it so 'off the cuff' that Elise couldn't help but laugh and as she turned back to him, noticed the twinkle in his eyes.

"Thanks, for trying to help," Elise said.

He smiled. "Sure, no problem. Just want to keep the peace around here!"

Elise started to say something else but was suddenly interrupted by the emergency signal going off. Virgil instantly became serious. "That's a call coming in from TB5, time for action."

He started walking away, and then as if having an afterthought, turned back to Elise.

"Do you want to see how a rescue gets set in motion?"

"Okay, I guess." Her reply was hesitant, knowing that Scott and his father would also be in the lounge, but she followed Virgil anyway, curiosity getting the better of her.

Post by FrankieCTB2 on 12/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #768 is a reply to message #767] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island; Wednesday, March 14th, 4:30PM

Lena had just clicked on "Save" when the loudest noise she ever heard caused to jump and nearly fall off her chair. "What on eart was dat?" She turned to look at Brains, only to see him hurriedly shutting down his computer.

"That was the emergency alarm. Thunderbird 5 is contacting us about a rescue. Come on, let's go. You can see what we do when we get a call."

Lena shut down her computer and did the fastest check of all the electric plugs she'd ever done in her life (it was too much a habit for her to stop doing it now), then grabbed her ever-present needlework bag and followed him out of the lab

Post by Hobbeth on 12/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #769 is a reply to message #768] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, March 14, 2068, 4:30 p.m., Tracy Island

Scott found himself behind the desk, speaking with John as the other IR operatives quickly began to file into the lounge. Looking around briefly, he was surprised to see Virgil followed by Elise, who would not meet his gaze, and Brains followed by Lena, who looked around with curiosity. Dom brought little Joshua with him, and held on tight to the toddler. And following Dianne was Jeff, his wheelchair humming along. He could tell that his stepmom was not happy about Jeff's presence in the lounge, not one bit. The crowd parted for Jeff, and more than one of the operatives looked surprised to see him there. They were even more surprised to see him approach the desk.

"What do you have for us, John?" Jeff asked. John looked surprised as well, especially since Scott had already asked that question.

"Well, Father, as I told Scott, there's a multi-car pile up on a narrow two-lane road outside the small city of Ust'-Uls in the Ural Mountains. A truck and a car have collided with each other and the resulting explosion and fire are stopping rescuers from the city. An avalanche has blocked the road to keep rescuers from an adjacent town in the opposite direction. And there's a bus full of children perched at the edge of a ravine. Someone on the bus called the people in Ust'-Uls, who called us."

"This sounds like an 'all hands on deck' situation," Jeff said. "Scott. Off you go."

"But, Father...," Scott protested.

Jeff turned to him. "Scott, we have no time for arguments. People are relying on us. Now go."

Scott locked eyes with Dianne, who, with a sour expression, nodded her head slightly. Scott shook his head and went to the light sconces. Truth be told, he was partially glad to get out from behind the desk and into the cockpit of his rocket plane. But he wasn't too sure that his father was up to the task of directing rescues just yet.

"Virgil, take pod six with the extra-strong magnetic grabs. I think you'll need one of the recovery vehicles, and the Firefly, which can take care of the fire and probably the avalanche as well." He paused as Scott asked for launch clearance and he gave it. "I also think you'll need Thunderbird Seven... with a full medical complement."

"Jeff...." Dianne began in a warning tone.

"Dianne, you know that Dom and Nikki still aren't as familiar with Thunderbird Seven as you are. You need to go on this one," Jeff said hotly, his tone defensive. He glanced over at Virgil, who hadn't budged. "Well, what are you waiting for, Virgil? Thunderbirds are go!"

"Father," Virgil began. "I'd like Kat along with us on this one. To check the winch's performance in the field and be on hand if there are any problems with it."

"You expect problems?" Jeff asked.

"No, but I didn't expect problems with it last time either. Having her on hand will mean that any problems we might have will be nipped in the bud."

"Okay. Kat, you're going. Brandon, Christopher, Alan, go with him." Virgil now moved over to his portrait and let it flip him up and out of sight. An excited Kat followed the three men named out of the room.

Dianne looked over at Dom and Nikki. "You two go ahead. Ah'll be down presently."

"Can Mrs. Parkhurst look after Josh for me while we're gone?" Dom asked, a concerned look in his eyes.

"Sure. Ah'll call her up here." Dianne activated her telecomm. "Ma, please come to the lounge right away. Kyrano, please join us in the lounge. Cherry, Ah need you in the lounge, sweetie."

Lisa was the first to arrive, followed quickly by Kyrano. Dom handed Josh over to Lisa, then nodded at Dianne and he and Nikki left. Dianne approached the desk while Jeff maneuvered himself behind it. She beckoned to Brains and Kyrano as Cherry entered the room.

"Cherie, come over heah, sweetheart. You, too, Ma." Grandmother and granddaughter approached the desk, little Joshua on Lisa's hip.

"Now, heah's mah ordahs. If any of you see him gettin' tired, or his energy flaggin', you are undah mah ordahs t' take him t' the sick room t' rest. Brains, should that happen. you are in chahge. Y'all unnerstan'?"

"Yes, Mom." "Sure thing, darlin'." "Of course, Dr. Tracy." "I understand, Dianne."

"Now, suh." She turned her attention to Jeff. "You've heard theah orders. Here are yoahs. If you feel tired at all, if you yawn even once, you are t' GO TO BED! Doctor's orders'. You are heah by mah sufferance, Jeff. Ah think it's too soon foah you t' be directin' rescues but Ah don' see how Ah can stop you entirely othah than strappin' you down in the sick room. If you don' cooperate this time, next time Ah will strap you down an' Scott can take the desk. D'you unnerstan', Jefferson Tracy?"

Jeff looked at her stubbornly for a few long moments. What he saw in her face must have convinced him that going along was better than bucking her, for he finally sighed and said tersely, "I will cooperate."

"Good. I'm holdin' you to that." Dianne pointed at him then she turned and ran from the room. Jeff looked up at his interim caretakers. Cherry stood there gazing at him severely, her arms crossed. Kyrano and Lisa exchanged glances and Kyrano left, while Lisa sat down with Joshua beside Lena on Thunderbird Three's couch. Brains sat down at the chess table and set it up for a solo game.

The silence in the room was almost deafening. Jeff looked around.

"I said I would cooperate. And I will."

"Good, Dad. Because I'm watching you," Cherry said, a serious look on her young face.

"So I see," Jeff muttered, turning to the communications station to give Virgil the go ahead for launch. He happened to glance up to see a bemused John looking back at him.

"What are you grinning about?" Jeff asked testily.

"Doctor's orders," John returned succinctly.

"Don't you have something to do?"

"F-A-B. Thunderbird Five out," John replied as he cut communications with his father, and opened them with Scott and Virgil.

Post by Tikatu on 14/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #770 is a reply to message #769] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, March 14, 2068, 10:20 a.m. local time, Ust'-Uls, the Ural Mountains, Russia

Scott took a turn over the site that was now the Danger Zone.

This is not a good scenario. There's more snow down, blocking the other side of the road, nearer to the bridge. At least the bridge itself is empty, and there are only a few cars left near the upper avalanche. That wreck is still burning; looks like those poor devils never had a chance. The bus is in a pretty precarious spot. There seem to be people on the snow at the upper part of the zone; digging out a car? Wonder if they could use some help? My VTOLs would do the job quickly. But first, I need to see where Virgil can put down Thunderbird Two. Not on the road for sure. Maybe there'll be a place up at that small town.

"Thunderbird Five from Thunderbird One. I need the name of the small town to the north of the Danger Zone."

Callie's picture entered the frame of his telecomm. "Ess, it's called Ust'-Garevaya. Jay is onto the powers that be there, but it might be easier for you to find a spot in Ust'-Uls. It's closer."

"F-A-B, Cee. I'll find a good spot for the big green beetle. As for me, I'm going to need some translation. If you can hear it, can you respond to it? I can put your voice out over my loudspeaker."

"F-A-B, Ess. Can do."

Scott made a slow pass over the Danger Zone again and then a quicker one over Ust'-Uls. The stadium looks big enough. "Thunderbird Five from Thunderbird One. I think that the stadium is going to have to do for Thunderbird Two. The bridge looks wide enough for Seven. Can you or Jay have the authorities seal it off for us?"

John's voice answered and he appeared onscreen. "I'm working with them on it. Our nearest agent is in Perm, which is quite some distance away, but she's on her way now. Don't know if she'll get there by the time we need her, but she's going to try anyway. What's the ETA on Two?"

"They're about fifty minutes behind me now. Listen. I'm going to deploy the metal spears into the hillside to hopefully limit any more snow and debris from coming down, then see if I can help melt some snow and free some trapped motorists. Then I'm going to do to that bus what I did to Eddie Houseman's vehicle until Vee gets here. I don't think I'll be setting up Mobile Control this time."

"F-A-B, Ess. Sounds like a plan. Let us know when you need translation services. Cee here has fluent Russian, too."

"Great! I'm sure I'll need all the help I can get! Thunderbird One, out." Scott had been flying back to the Danger Zone all the time he had been talking, and now was facing the cliff above the narrow stretch of roadway. He toggled a switch, and the rack holding the tough cahelium spears lowered from the belly of his Thunderbird. He targeted a specific height at which he wanted to place them.

"Narrow pattern and spread," he breathed to himself, taking aim and then squeezing the trigger as if he were shooting a gun. The spears shot out and buried their pointed ends into the hillside, spaced no more than three meters apart.

"Reload," he murmured as he brought the rack back in. He only had enough of the spears to do two rounds, thirty-two spears in all so he had to be choosy about where to put them if they were going to do the job right. He targeted again, this time to the right of his previous target, and without hesitation, he fired again.

He smiled. The spears were right where he wanted them. The coverage wasn't complete, but there would be no boulders or trees falling on the cars below in case there was another avalanche.

A few able-bodied people from the cars that had collided were standing on the roofs of their ruined vehicles and waving at him. He wiggled his wings at them, then made his way to the upper avalanche, where people from Ust'-Garevaya were trying to dig out the buried motorists.

It may be too late here, he thought, but I must try. "Thunderbird One to Thunderbird Five, I need some Russian here!"

"What do you need to say, Ess?" Callie asked.

"I need to tell the people to move aside so I can melt the snow with my VTOLs," Scott said. He turned on his loudspeaker and patched her through. "Any time you're ready, Cee."

"Thanks a lot, Ess," she responded wryly, her voice echoing in English. He grinned, knowing that she couldn't hear it. Then in Russian, she politely asked the people to move so he could melt the snow with his jets. The workers looked startled to hear a voice speaking Russian, and a female one at that, but they obliged and moved far enough away so that they could watch, and still move in quickly when the time came.

Scott lowered to within just a couple of meters of the car's roof, and positioned the VTOLs so that they were at an angle that fired beside the car, but not on it. Five minutes with the hot exhaust was all it took to clear a deep trench beside the buried car. He lifted up, and the workers moved in quickly, waving at him in thanks. He wobbled again, then went off to repeat his actions twice more at the snow spill on the other end of the Danger Zone.

Now came the tricky part.

"Cee, I need for you to speak to these children and their caretakers and have them move to the back of the bus and stay there!"

Callie gathered up her thoughts and let the Russian tongue flow through her and out into the air. Scott, who had gotten down to the level where he could see the figures inside the bus, watched as they moved even farther back. One little boy's eyes widened, and he tried to come forward to see the silver rocket, but he was grabbed by a man and thrust back. Carefully, Scott maneuvered the red tip of his craft beneath the nose of the stricken bus.

"Damn!" he swore quietly as he realised that the thinnest part of the nose was threatening to bury itself in the dirt below the bus. There was no way he could get the fatter part closer to move the bus back up onto the road itself.

Well, I guess at least I can catch it, or try to, if it shifts any further, he thought. As if in answer to his unspoken musing, the bus shifted forward a bit, and Scott swore again. Hurry up, Virgil! This bus isn't going to stay put forever!

Post by Tikatu on 14/10/2004

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #772 is a reply to message #770] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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[size=2]Tracy Island, March 14th, 6:10 p.m. Island time, somewhere over Russia

Kat couldn't believe it when Virgil had stated that she was needed on the rescue. Sure, it was to see that the winch was working okay, but still! It was her first rescue! As she followed the others down to the passenger lift to Thunderbird 2, she had grinned with delight as she watched Virgil go to his picture, and tilted backwards and out of sight. She had remembered when she had used that form of transport to Thunderbird Two.

Soon she was seated in one of the passenger seats. Suddenly, she started to look feverishly in her pockets.

"What have you forgotten, Kat?" Christopher asked in a concerned manner.

"Nothing, Christopher," Kat replied. "I was just making sure that I had my glucose tablets. With my low blood sugar problem, I don't want to have any incidents on my very first rescue."

"But you have eaten recently?" Christopher persisted.

"Yes, but I don't know when we shall eat again," Kat remarked.

Brandon came and settled in a seat beside her. "Well, rookie," he joked, "how does it feel, going on a rescue?"

"Absolutely great!" Kat replied, returning his grin.

"Ready for take off, are you all strapped in?" Virgil called to the recruits.

"FAB," they chorused back.

They all settled down to a long flight.

Kat got up on at least two occasions just to look at the winch; she was taking no chances.

On the second trip to the winch, Alan joined her.

"I am just making absolutely sure that everything is okay," she explained to Alan.

"I hear you did a very good job when you worked with Virgil." Alan said.

"It was so interesting, actually working on Thunderbird Two." Kat spoke in a faraway voice, remembering how she and Virgil had worked together, forming quite a good partnership.

"From what Virgil has said, he was very pleased with how professional you were."

"Was he?" Kat replied. They walked back to the passenger seats together.

"We are getting close to the danger zone," Virgil remarked. "Better fasten your belts.

"Thunderbird Two from Thunderbird One." Scott's voice crackled over the airways. "How close are you, Vee?"

"About ten minutes away, Ess," Virgil answered.

"Good, Vee, that won't be a moment too soon, I can't hold this bus steady for much longer."

"Kat," Virgil called, "Will you see that the winch is ready? I want you to winch Christopher down as soon as it is safe to do so."

"FAB," Kat replied as she unbuckled herself from her seat.

Post by Tawnyangel22 on 14/10/2004[/color]

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Re: Growing as a Team [message #778 is a reply to message #772] Wed, 25 July 2012 16:42 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
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"Well, here we are again, Nikki."

Dom glanced out of one of the large windows of Thunderbird Two and felt a lopsided grin spread across his face. He loved flying. Nikki craned her neck to look out as well, at the clouds that were zooming past at, quite frankly, ridiculously high speed. It was just another reminder of how incredible International Rescue's machines were.

"Yes. But I'm feeling more confident than the last time, especially now that we've been trained up on Thunderbird Seven. How about you?"

"Definitely more confident. But I'm a bit worried, too. They're know?" He glanced at her and tried to convey to her the feelings he could not quite voice.

Nikki seemed to understand; she had seen the same sort of worry in the eyes of fathers when their children were undergoing surgery. When it came to kids, she knew that many peoples' worry spiked, including her own.

"I know. But I guess you've just got to put it at the back of your mind. If you worry too much, then it might affect your performance."

Dominic nodded, and smiled at the pretty young nurse beside him. He had found that she was an excellent colleague, and he knew he couldn't have asked for anyone better. He turned back to the window. He supposed that it was the case for everyone in International Rescue. They were all excellent, hardworking, not afraid to take risks. And take orders, he thought with a small grin.

He brought a hand up to rub his chin; the stubble told him he needed to shave. Scott's voice resounded in the cabin from the radio. He heard Virgil telling him their ETA. Ten minutes, he thought, and then we're getting down to it. I hope there aren't too many casualties. They're just kids... Soon enough they would be down there, and Dom was determined to do as damned good a job as he could. It's what I'm here for.

Post by ArtisticRainey on 14/10/2004

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