International Rescue: The Next Phase


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Re: Cold Front [message #866 is a reply to message #865] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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1:15 p.m., Cliff House

Jeff leaned on the railing of the Cliff House patio, staring off to sea as the denizens of the Cliff House made their way to the meeting. Anna and Dianne sat at one of the patio tables, talking quietly.

"Nice view," Anna said. "But quite a drop. I bet no one plays Frisbee up here."

Dianne snorted. "The kids tried. They learned pretty quickly how hard it was to fetch their toys." She looked up at the sound of a door opening. "Here they come."

Dianne smiled slightly at each as they came out of the common areas, noting how hesitant they were. Callie came from her apartment, but Elise's curtains were drawn.

"Can you check on Elise when we're through here?" Dianne asked.

Anna nodded. "I was planning on it."

When Dom made his appearance, Josh in his arms, Dianne stood and joined her husband at the railing. "They're all here," she said softly, touching him on the shoulder.

He started a bit, then gave her a nod and a grim smile before turning and walking back to the groups of patio tables. Dianne resumed her seat, sitting up straight and looking attentive.

Jeff cleared his throat. "I called you together because something tragic has happened to one of our number." He paused and swallowed. "This morning we heard from Luke's brother. Luke was the victim of a hunting accident..."

There was a concert of gasps and murmurs of "oh no!" Dom's face paled significantly, and he sat down heavily in a nearby chair. Nikki reached for him, putting a hand on his arm and squeezing it tightly, tears filling her eyes. Callie put her face in her hands and began to sob.

Jeff put up his hands. "It's not as bad as it sounds; he's not dead. When we got the call, he was in surgery." He glanced over at Dianne. "I believe it was to repair his lung..."

"That's right." Dianne's tone was both professional and compassionate. "The bullet pierced his back, punctured his right lung, and lodged near his heart. They took the bullet out right away, and now they're taking care of his lung."

It was a grim-faced Will who asked, "What exactly happened, and when?"

"From what I understand," Jeff replied, "some drunks were out firing off at random. They didn't know they'd hit anything. They're under arrest now. I'm not sure what charges will be filed, but we'll be offering the Morels the best legal team possible to see that justice is served." He paused. "As to when, I believe it was Monday, our time. That would be Sunday in Montana."

"So he's been in the hospital since then?" Will pressed.

"Yes." Dianne answered this time. "They pulled him from the mountains via LifeFlight med-evac." She sighed. "They worked on the heart first, stabilized him, and are now working on the lung."

"Where are Cassie and Elise?" Nikki asked, looking around. "Shouldn't they know? They're very close to Luke."

"They already do, Nikki," Dianne said. "We approached them first because, as you said, they're especially close to Luke. I'm sorry if that bothers any of you."

There was an uncomfortable silence, then Dom asked suddenly, "What are his chances? Did the bullet damage his heart?"

"From the information I got, no, the heart wasn't damaged." Dianne turned to him. "His chances are excellent, but I'm sure you realize this will be a long haul to recovery."

"Will he be coming back?" Callie looked up, her face streaked with tears.

"We certainly hope so," Jeff told her. "He's been an asset to the team, and we'll miss him." He paused, looking from face to face. "Are there any questions?"

"Will there be anyone going out to be with him?" Dom asked, sounding calmer. Josh was clamoring to get down from his father's lap, and Dianne opened her arms, coaxing him to come to her.

"We're working on that," Jeff said. "We'll let you know when plans are finalized. It won't be easy to coordinate this; Luke is supposed to be working out of the Los Angeles office and his family will be expecting someone to come from there, I think."

"Will we be able to send him greetings? Cards and such?" Nikki asked.

"You should be able to order cards online and have them sent. Gifts, too, and emails, if you like. We'll get the information on what room he's in and pass it on to you all when we do," Dianne assured them. "You're all his co-workers; his family doesn't need to know where you're working from."

Jeff glanced at Anna. "We still have duties to perform, but if you're feeling particularly overwhelmed, we can be flexible. Anna, of course, is available if anyone needs to talk. Keep in mind, please, that the recommissioning of Thunderbird Seven will proceed as scheduled." He glanced around. "Are there any other questions?"

"Why did this have to happen to him?" Callie asked, her voice catching.

"I wish I knew, Callie." Jeff's tone was sad. "I wish I knew."


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Re: Cold Front [message #867 is a reply to message #866] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Tyler threw another rock into the surf. He had been throwing things for the past fifteen minutes; now there was only one stone left from the pile that had been at his feet. He wasn't sure if it made him feel better or not. He picked up the last rock and threw.

"I always prefer to throw my rocks at a wall or cliff. I think I like the sound they make. And sometimes they make part of the cliff break off." Tyler jumped and turned around to see Anna standing behind him. "Do you want me to find you some more rocks?"

"No, I think I'm done. I better get back to the house." Tyler kept his head down and kicked the sand as he walked.

Anna fell in beside him. They walked in silence down the beach toward the path to the house. After a couple of minutes, Anna spoke. "Scary, isn't it? Waiting while people you love are in danger or hurt."

Tyler grunted a noncommittal reply.

Anna was quiet for a minute then went on. "And what happened to Luke was completely unexpected. It should never have happened to anybody, much less a nice person like Luke."

This time Tyler didn't even grunt a reply.

"Not like on a rescue when you're always scared about something happening to someone. You expect to be scared during a rescue. I know it scares your dad. And it scares Scott even more."

Tyler looked at her. "Why would Scott be scared? He's out there with them."

"And he's giving them orders. If someone is hurt because of what he told them to do, he'll feel it was his fault. It won't be, and he knows that, but he'll still feel that way. He's terrified that someday he might have to tell his dad and his grandma that one of his brothers had been hurt."

Tyler stopped and turned toward her. "Then why does he go? Why does he go out to help people he doesn't know? Why doesn't he let someone besides us do it?"

"Because it has to be done and he is the best one to do it. He would feel bad if one of his people was hurt. But he'd feel worse if someone died that he could have saved, and he didn't try. He remembers how he felt when his mom died and he doesn't want anyone else to feel that pain." Anna sat down on a log. "If you could stop someone else from watching their mom get hurt the way your mom was, would you do it?"

Tyler scuffed his feet in the sand. "Yeah. But..." He looked down at his feet.

"But?"

Tyler's voice was almost inaudible. "What if Luke dies? Or my mom? Or Dad?"

"Then they die. And we miss them, horribly. And we cry and mourn them. Then we do what they died doing -- we keep on helping people. Because that was what we would want them to do if we had died."

"Luke wasn't even on a rescue when he was hurt."

"I know. He was doing something he loved to do. My dad was asleep when he died."

They both were silent for a while. Anna sat watching the waves roll in. Tyler kicked the sand for a while then came over and sat next to Anna on the log. Then he burst out again. "But why Luke? Why does God let things like this happen to people like Luke.? Or..." He grew quiet again.

"Or?" prompted Anna.

"Or my dad. My real dad. Or Mom." He looked up at her. "Weren't they good enough?"

"I don't know why. It doesn't seem fair to me either. It's one of the things I'm planning on asking God when I meet him. Until then I just have to trust. But I still get angry at him sometimes." She paused for a minute then, looking at the ocean, added, "It's ok to be angry about this. It's even ok to be angry at God. I was very angry at him for a while. I suspect God gets pretty upset about some things that happen too."

They sat in silence for another few minutes.

Finally Anna broke the silence. "I love watching waves. When I'm upset or angry I go throw things. I have a bunch of chipped plates and old bottles in my garage I can throw against the wall and break. Or I go hit the bed with a foam covered baseball bat. Or throw rocks at cliffs, like I did the night Lady Penelope and I had a fight. But when I need to think or calm down, I go watch waves on the beach. It's soothing. They're always there, always moving and yet staying the same. I love storm watching, too. All that power."

"I like to watch storms. Alex and I look out our window and see how high the waves come and how far the trees bend down."

They both sat, comfortable with the silence. Gordon found them like that about fifteen minutes later. "There you are. Dad sent me to find you. Dinner's almost ready."

Anna leaned forward and tried to lever herself up. The log wasn't high enough for her to simply stand up like it was a chair. Gordon, seeing her problem, held out his hand. Anna grabbed it and finished pulling herself up.

"Thanks."

Gordon bowed. "Anything for a beautiful lady."

"Oh are there any beautiful ladies around here? I don't see them."

"Next time I'll bring a mirror. Come on, Spud." And they walked in companionable silence up to the villa.


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Re: Cold Front [message #868 is a reply to message #867] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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1:30 PM; The Villa (8:30 PM the previous day in Silver Spring)

Tin-Tin thought about calling Lena from the lab, but decided it would be better to contact her in private. She went to her room and calculated the time difference. "Oh, good. It's only 8:30 PM yesterday there." She placed the call, and waited.

It wasn't long until Lena answered. Her smiling face appeared on the vid-screen. "Hello, Tin-Tin. Dis is a pleasant surprise." She looked more intently at Tin-Tin. "Or maybe it isn't. What's wrong, honey?"

"Lena, it's bad news about Luke Morel, the man who helped rescue you when the jet you were in crashed."

"I remember him very well. And dat Jeff hired him. Dere haven't been any rescues recently, so he can't have been hurt in one. What's happened?"

"He'd gone home for a visit and went hunting with his brother. He was accidentally shot by one of a group of drunken men. It was a ricochet that hit him in the back, piercing a lung and ending up near his heart. The last we heard, the bullet had been removed, and they are performing surgery on the lung now."

There was a gasp, then a pause. Tin-Tin saw the distress on the older woman's face, and said quickly, "We understand that he will survive, but will have to take a long time to heal and get his strength back."

"Dat's good to know," Lena replied. "Do you know what hospital he's in? I want to at least send him a card."

"Neither Mr. nor Dr. Tracy said, so I'm not sure. Somewhere in Montana, I believe. I'll get that and email it to you along with an update on his condition once we have more information. But I felt you should be told."

"I hope dey caught de ones who did dat, and trow dem into jail."

"We heard that they had caught the men, but not if any charges had been filed."

"Well some should be. De nerve of dose men."

"I know, Lena. I believe we all feel that way. But our priority right now is Luke and his well being."

Lena looked at her young friend and smiled slightly. "I should be saying dat to you. You are right about dat. And please do send de info to me as soon as possible."

"I promise. I'll be in touch very soon."

"If you aren't, you'll hear from me."

Tin-Tin smiled at her as the call was terminated.


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Re: Cold Front [message #869 is a reply to message #868] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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******November 15, 2068; aboard Thunderbird Five, approximately 5:40 p.m.******

John took his freshly made dinner from the galley and made his way to the table in the lounge. As he set the food down, he shook his head. "Man, I hope Luke is going to be okay. I'm glad they got the guys who shot him." Just as he was about to take in his first bite, though, he suddenly heard a meowing noise in the intercom.

Knowing the noise came from his quarters, he realized he had forgotten to feed his cat. He ran into his room and saw the little one at the intercom button. "Well, hello, Skitty. I guess you're trying to tell me something, huh?"

He gently grabbed Skitty and placed him back on the bed. "Stay here. I'll get your food for you." Standing up, he went back to the galley and started looking through the pantry for Skitty's cat food. When he found it, he returned to his room and gave Skitty a bowl of his cat food. "Here's your food, buddy."

As he walked out of the room, he said, "I wish I could let you run around the place, but Callie's allergies would act up with your dander everywhere, but at least you get a good view."

Returning to the lounge, he grabbed his dinner packet and placed it in the microwave oven. After setting the oven to reheat, he started thinking back to when he was able to get Skitty on board the space station.

******Flashback, November 1, Thunderbird Three silo, 6:30 a.m.******

John had brought the kitty kennel, which contained his little friend, some food and water, and a small litter box. "Okay, Skitty. I'm gonna have to leave you here because Dad'll throw a fit if he knew I was bringing you along. As soon as we're on Five, I'll get you out, I promise."

Skitty meowed with displeasure.

John said, "You'll have food and water in your kennel, don't worry. The trip won't last that long. In fact, you'll be aboard the space station by around 11." He put Skitty, with the cat food and water, into a special holding area where he would take them out without arousing suspicion. "See you later, Skitty." After scratching its head, he returned to his quarters to eat breakfast.

About an hour later, John went to check on Skitty to make sure the kitten was all right. "You sure ate your food fast. Good thing I packed the cat food bag and plenty of water bottles. He let Skitty run around and stretch for a few minutes. When Skitty tired himself out, John took the kitten and put him back in his cage. "Sleep well for now. Here's the litter box if you need it. I just hope you don't smell up the hull."

At 8:20, John was ready to leave, but wondered what happened to Callie. "It's not like her to be late," he said with some concern.

Jeff shook his head. "I've tried to contact her apartment four times already, and she hasn't answered. I'll have to get Scott to go with you, John. I suspect she won't be space-worthy after last night's party."

"Oh, that's right. She had too much to drink. I guess we don't have a choice."

By 8:45, John and Scott boarded Thunderbird Three and were on the way to the space station. Skitty slept soundly in the kennel through the entire trip.

Alan noticed how late Thunderbird Three had been on its arrival and greeted his two brothers when they came through the door "Hi, guys. You're a little late. Where's Callie?"

John sighed. "She couldn't come. I think that spiked punch got to her last night."

"If I know her," Scott said, "she's probably being hard on herself right now. Dad won't have to punish her."

Alan shook his head. "Yeah, we have a good idea how she feels, but I think she'll get herself together." Changing subjects, he said, " Come on, we've got supplies to get on board the station. The sooner we get them aboard, the sooner I can go home."

After they unloaded most of the packages, John looked at his watch. "Hey, can you guys prep lunch while I check the instrument readings on Three?"

While Scott and Alan fixed some lunch, John seized the opportunity to get Skitty into the space station by wrapping the cage in a thermal blanket. "There. I'll have you inside in no time." He could see his brothers working on lunch, so he quickly ran by the kitchen and got Skitty into his quarters. After putting the cage down, John said, "Okay. As soon as they leave, I'll let you out."

Within an hour, Alan and Scott left for Earth in Thunderbird Three, which finally allowed John to let his little kitten be free. "At last, Skitty. You can come out now." He opened the cage, which allowed the tiny kitty to run around and stretch his legs.

John smiled, knowing he successfully got his cat safely into Thunderbird Five.

******End Flashback******

When John finished his meal, he went back to his quarters and noticed Skitty had already gone to sleep. "You lazy kitty," he whispered. "I'll let you sleep there for a bit, but I want my bed back in a couple of hours." He left Skitty to his own dream world as he went back to the controls to check for any calls.

******Special thanks to Tikatue and Hobbeth for their kitty expertise.******


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Re: Cold Front [message #870 is a reply to message #869] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Thursday, November 15, 8:35 p.m., Christchurch, NZ

Cherie was packing up her art supplies when Anneliese and Manjari came up to her.

"Um, we're going to the ice cream shop tonight." Anneliese sounded a bit hesitant. "Do you want to come?"

Cherie thought for a moment, then shook her head. "Not tonight, thanks. I wouldn't be very good company."

"Maybe we could cheer you up!" Manjari suggested, smiling, trying to look encouraging.

"I don't know," Cherie said, sighing. "You see, someone I know was shot early this week and is in the hospital..."

Anneliese's eyes grew wide. "Oh, no!" she said with a gasp. "Did he cark it?"

Cherie looked puzzled as she tried to decipher the question, then shook her head. "No, he's not dead. But he's going to be in the hospital for a long while. Months and months, my mom says. And it's all such a shock, y'know?"

"I guess it would be," Manjari said, her face sober. She brightened. "Still, an ice cream and a fizzy always cheer me up."

"Thanks." Cherie smiled, a slight, difficult expression. "I really don't feel up to it right now. How about next week?"

Manjari and Anneliese exchanged glances; the first shrugged and the second nodded. "Okay, then. Next week," Anneliese said. "And we'll hold you to it!"

Cherie nodded, biting her lower lip. Then a thought struck her. "Wait a minute." She pulled out a small pad of paper, and wrote a number on it. "This is my cell number," she explained shyly. She handed a copy to Anneliese, then one to Manjari. "Maybe we could chat during the week?"

The girls looked down at the pieces of paper, surprised. "Yeah, I could ring you up," Anneliese said. "When?"

"After three is good," Cherie said, her tone sounding more eager. "My schoolwork will be done by then." She paused, then added, "We're in the same time zone, too."

Manjari frowned a little. "What do timezones have to do with it, eh?"

"All my other friends are in different ones, so I usually have to calculate when I can call." Cherie sounded more cheerful now. "It'll be nice to have friends who I can call and they'll be on the same time and day I'll be on."

"Are you sure you don't want to go to the ice cream shop?" Anneliese asked. "You sound like a box of budgies now."

"So, are we going?" Tim said as he came up suddenly on the group. "I thought about going with Aroha and Jen, just to shut them up, but they brassed me off last week, and told me to bugger off this week." He glanced from girl to girl. "Well?

They all three looked at Cherie, who sighed slightly and smiled. "Okay. I'll come."

"Good on ya, mate!" Manjari said, grinning.

"Just let me tell my brother..." Cherie opened her phone and placed the call.

"Which brother this week, eh?" Tim asked. Anneliese frowned, and nudged him.

Cherie looked up mid-sentence and said, "Alan. Why?"

Tim nodded sagely. "The racer. I'd like to meet him sometime."

His comment made her pause and draw in a sharp breath. Then she resumed her conversation. "I'll see you at nine-thirty, then. Bye"

Straightening, she shut her phone and tucked it into her bag. With an almost grim smile, she said, "Well, let's go. I'd like to hear what else you've learned about my family."


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Re: Cold Front [message #871 is a reply to message #870] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Friday, November 16th, after breakfast, Tracy Island

Cassie headed down to the hangar for her rescheduled flight lesson, thankful that she felt better. The tears had finally come last night as she'd waited for sleep to claim her. As a result, she had awakened this morning with a headache and a groggy feeling. Resisting the urge to just ignore her alarm clock, she had climbed out of bed. The shower had helped to wake her up and the ibuprofen had started to work on her headache.

Scott was already waiting for her as she walked in.

"Good morning," he greeted her. "Are you ready to get started?" he asked after she had greeted him.

Cassie nodded. Scott hung back so he could observe as Cassie began pre-flight checks. It didn't take long for him to realize the young woman didn't seem to have her whole concentration on the task at hand. After pointing out that she had skipped something, he decided to speak up. His father's words about dealing with any fallout came to mind as he spoke up.

"I know you know all this stuff; so what's wrong?"

Hopefully talking things out will help ground her and I won't need to cancel this lesson, Scott thought. He knew that continuing with training and maintaining other day-to-day activities was important for all of them and they never knew when a call might come in.

Cassie sighed. "I guess my mind is partly somewhere else," she replied without turning to face her instructor.

"Montana?"

Cassie nodded. "And New York City."

"Have you talked to anyone? Called home maybe?"

Not wanting to continue the conversation with her back toward him, Cassie turned before answering. "Elise and Callie stopped by to see how I was doing last night. As for calling home ..." Cassie paused, trying to decide how to phrase what she wanted to say. "The only person I really want to talk to is my younger brother, Mark, but I don't feel I can. I'm afraid that if I call him, I might let something slip that would threaten IR security."

"I'm not sure I understand," Scott said, frowning slightly.

"Well, I only know about Luke's accident because I'm here. His family wouldn't know how to contact me even if it occurred to them to do so. I'm afraid that if Mark starts asking me for details, I'll slip and tell him something that I shouldn't. I need time to think things through before I talk to him."

"Do you really think that's an issue? I'm sure your brother would just want to console you and make sure you're okay."

"You don't know my brother," she said with a shake of her head. "He can be way overprotective. He insisted on driving with me to the airport because he didn't trust the cabbie, Bernie, that Tracy Industries arranged to take me to the airport."

Scott smiled. "Yeah, well, Bernie's a character."

"Not to mention, his theory was that you guys were trying to kidnap me because of all the secrecy involving my travel plans. I can usually overlook it. Mark loves me and he means well, and I can be overprotective of him at times, too. Still, I can see him asking me when I found out, if I was going to go see Luke, and he'd probably want to come out and be with me."

With the plane behind her and Scott in front of her, Cassie suddenly started to feel trapped. She took some steps away from the plane as she continued, putting some more space between herself and Scott. "I can't deal with that right now, nor can I trust myself not to say something I shouldn't."

"It's a tough situation to be in," Scott said sympathetically, not sure if he should follow her or give her some space. Before he could figure out what to say next, Cassie spoke again.

"Part of me wants to fly to Montana to see him, but I feel as if I might be intruding on family time if I do that. Then there's a part of me that doesn't want to go. Doesn't want to see him like that. I bet that sounds strange. All the stuff I've seen on the streets as a paramedic and..."

Cassie's voice trailed off, her voice breaking. Reaching up, she wiped a few tears away.

Getting over his hesitation, Scott closed the distance between them. Stopping just behind Cassie, he gently rested a hand on her shoulder. Luke's your friend. No one wants to see someone they care about hurt."

He paused, waiting for a reaction from Cassie. She reached up to wipe away a few more tears. When she didn't say anything else, Scott continued.

"I know this can't be easy for you, but you're not alone here. We all need to help each other through this, but we also can't forget our responsibilities. Hard as it is, we need to go on with our day-to-day duties. We're here for you, Cassie, but we also need you here with us. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

"That you'd like me to pull myself together and do my job," Cassie replied, looking back over her shoulder at him. A half smile came to her face, softening the words.

"Well, yeah, though I'll understand if you want to reschedule this lesson again."

Cassie took a deep breath, and then turned to face Scott. "No, you're right. I've got a responsibility to IR and the last thing Luke would want is for me to be moping around here."

"Ready to get back to work then?" Scott asked, nodding toward the plane.

"Yeah."

The two of them started back toward the plane. "If you really want to send a card to Luke, you could. If we make it look like its coming from LA, his family will just think you're a concerned co-worker sending get well wishes."

For the first time in the last twenty-four hours, things started to look a little brighter. "I didn't think of that," Cassie replied, as they came to a stop beside the plane. "Thanks, Scott," she said, giving him a hug.

Scott awkwardly patted her back. "Yeah, um, you're welcome," he managed to say, as Cassie took a step back. "Let's get to work."



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Re: Cold Front [message #872 is a reply to message #871] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Friday, November 16th, 10 a.m., Tracy Island

Jeff looked up as Gordon stepped into the lounge, quietly closing the grillwork door behind him.

"You wanted to see me, Dad?"

Jeff waved him over to the desk. "I have some resumes for you to look at. Human Resources forwarded them; they're for filling Brandon's place."

"Not wasting time are they?" Gordon commented as he walked over toward the desk. He sat down in a chair across the desk from his father and took the data pads that Jeff was holding out to him.

"No, they aren't -- because we aren't," Jeff commented. "We need someone very soon so we can get them into training."

"Anyone in particular stand out to you, Dad?" Gordon asked as he started looking over the one on the top.

Jeff handed him a pad that he'd kept in reserve. "I think we should start here, with Vincent Crenshaw."

"Crenshaw?" Gordon said slowly, as he set the first few pads onto the desk and took the latest one from his father.

Why does that name sound familiar? he thought to himself. He looked down at the information in front of him.

"He's got the military experience we need," Jeff explained as Gordon read. "And, it seems, he has the diving and navigating experience as well. You'd be a better judge of that, of course."

Gordon frowned a little as he began to scan down the information, then his face cleared and he broke into a smile. "You'll never believe this, Dad, but I met this guy while I was off last weekend. He owned the dive shop where we rented our boat and equipment."

Jeff leaned back in his chair, looking thoughtful. "What was your impression of him?"

"Very professional. The shop he runs is well organized and seems to be fairly busy. Jerry says it is one of the top ranked dive shops in Hawaii," Gordon told his father. "As for the diving and navigating experience, he'd definitely has that. He ended up joining us for the dive trip and he really knows his stuff."

Gordon smiled as he remembered when Pat had repeated Vince's comment about needing to keep an eye on him while they were out on the water. "To tell you the truth, he made a better impression on me than I probably did on him."

Jeff raised one bushy eyebrow. "Now why am I not surprised at that?"

Gordon grinned at his father's comment, as he looked back down at the resume he still held in his hand. Some of the information it contained the aquanaut was already aware of.

"Wow, I knew the guy served in the Navy but I didn't realize he was a Navy SEAL," Gordon said, impressed. "That would explain the professionalism and serious attitude."

"I agree with you there. I think he'll be a real go-getter from the start. And the fact that he has flown fighter jets gives him another edge in my eyes."

"What's that?" Gordon asked, looking up.

"We've been having a hard time with flight hours on Scott, and to a lesser extent, Elise. Someone who has flown fighters is someone we could cross-train on Thunderbird One."

Gordon nodded. The thought hadn't occurred to him but his father had a valid point. Not all rescues were going to require Thunderbird 4 or even utilize any diving skills. Someone who they could use in another capacity would be beneficial.

"There is one thing that needs to be considered," Gordon said. "He is married and has at least one kid. His son was helping out in the shop when we were there. Other than Dom, none of our recruits have had any immediate family. Assuming he would be interested in taking the position, there are bound to be things that come up that we haven't had to deal with before."

"Hm. You have a point there, Gordon." Jeff stroked his chin a little. "The people we have had come in who had children were single parents. I think this will require some thought, and perhaps a bit more digging into his background so we can be prepared at our interview." He put out a hand for the pad, and Gordon returned it to him. "If it's just one child, there shouldn't be a problem - we have a two-bedroom apartment left. But if there's more than one..." He shrugged. "We might be taking on another building project sooner than we expected."

He motioned to the other pads that Gordon held. "You take a look through those and see if there's anyone else who might fulfill the qualifications. I'll make arrangements for Mr. Crenshaw to pay us a visit."

"Yes, sir." As Jeff turned his attention to his computer, Gordon returned to the data pads. There were four other applicants that HR in Honolulu had sent to them. All of them, except for one, had some kind of military experience. There was a guy who was planning on retiring from the Navy at the end of the month. His experience was limited to submarines. There was a former Coast Guard officer and a former member of the Royal Navy. The fourth candidate was a civilian worker at Pearl Harbor who did underwater ship inspection and maintenance. "If Mr. Crenshaw doesn't work out, I think Ms. Susan LaSalle would be worth looking into more," Gordon said, referring to the former Coast Guard officer.

"Okay, son. I'll put her next on the list to contact should Crenshaw not work out." Jeff put on his glasses. "You prioritize the rest, and we'll send them on to Human Resources."

"Yes, sir," Gordon replied. He had already been mentally thinking on the order so it didn't take him long to put them in the order he wanted, with the civilian worker on the bottom and LaSalle's resume on the top. He sat the stack on the desk and pushed it toward his father's side. "If you're thinking about cross-training, I assume you'll include Scott during the interview, then?"

Jeff looked up and nodded. "Yes, I think he should be... if the two of you can actually stand to be in the same room as each other -- especially after Scott's revenge for those pictures." He grinned. "I should have asked Scott for a picture of your tank."

"I'm sure he got some," Gordon said, his tone wry. "Who'd a thought he could come up with something like that." He shook his head, as if in disbelief, then straightened. "You won't have any problem from me, Dad. I guess I had it coming," he admitted. That doesn't mean I don't plan on coming up with another prank, though. He shifted in his chair a bit. I just don't want to have to pass over a good candidate for Thunderbird 4 just because Scott doesn't think they're good enough to fly his precious Thunderbird.

"Good to know," Jeff replied, nodding. "Now, if you'll excuse me..."

Gordon took the hint, and gave his dad a jaunty salute. "Yes, sir!" He grinned. "I can hardly wait to see Vincent Crenshaw's face when he realizes that I'm the one interviewing him!"


Deciding on Vince by Tikatu and Icarus1982


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Re: Cold Front [message #873 is a reply to message #872] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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November 15, 4:30 PM; outside Freedom Hall at the King Center in Atlanta (10:30 AM the next day on Tracy Island)

Lena stood beside the reflecting pool gazing into the water, thinking about what she'd seen and learned that afternoon. What dey teach us in schools, even now, doesn't begin to show de reality, she thought. Of course we know who he was, and about his "I Have a Dream" speech, and about his assassination, but dere's so much more to know. I'm glad Joy asked me to come here.

When she had told the Atlanta I&M manager, Carl Harris, that she wanted to take some time off to visit the site, he offered to be her guide. "I go there at least twice a year, and come away inspired every time. I'd be delighted to take you. And Thursday is a good day to go; it's not so crowded. No school kids, either; their field trips are usually on Wednesdays or Fridays."

"And de only meeting on Tursday is in de morning."

He grinned. "That, too."

So after a morning of meetings and observations, they went to lunch, then on to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. They visited the King Birth Home, Ebenezer Baptist Church (where both Kings, Jr. and Sr. preached), and the Gandhi Promenade. Their final visit was the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, which had the footprints of inductees, those who contributed to the struggle for equality. She slowly strolled along, occasionally taking pictures, looking at names she had been too young to know, but knew from her history classes: Ralph Abernathy, Sr., Medgar Evers, Jimmy Carter, Rosa Parks, Henry Aaron, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, and so on. She marveled at the number of non-blacks who had been included.

Then she stopped dead. Directly in front of her were the footsteps of a man, and the name was Jefferson Tracy. She looked over at Carl, and asked, "Did you know about dis?" as she pointed.

As he looked where she indicated, a stunned expression came over his face. "My God, no! I've seen that name a dozen times, at least, but never connected it with our CEO until now. I've always heard him called Jeff Tracy."

Lena chuckled. "I've met him and his family. Believe me, when you hear his motter call him 'Jefferson' in dat certain tone of voice, you don't forget. But I can see why you didn't realize it was de head of de corporation."

Carl shook his head. "Well, I'll be da..." He looked up at her, embarrassed. "Sorry, Lena."

"Dat's okay."

Shortly after that, they were at the gravesite of the famous man. Carl was still there, and she had moved off, waiting by the pool.

She didn't wait long. A few minutes later, he joined her. "I know you want to spend a little time in the gift shops, so we'd better get inside. They close at 5."

"Den let's get going. If I don't go home wit some tings for Joy and de twins, at least, I'll never hear de end of it."

They turned and headed into Freedom Hall.


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Re: Cold Front [message #874 is a reply to message #873] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Friday, November 16, 1:30 p.m., Tracy Island.

Jeff glanced around the pod vehicle repair bay. He'd only been to one recommissioning event; when the Ares V cargo launch vehicle had been refitted and returned to service. It was, in fact, the vehicle that took him and his crewmates to the moon, allowing him to be part of history as the first man to set foot on the moon in the 21st century. The ceremony had been formal, moving, and exciting.

Today is not quite the same, he mused. Of the people ranged around the edges of the bay, about half were in uniform, as he was. The other half had arrived dressed as they were. There were no flashes of light from journalists' cameras; there would be no press releases proclaiming what was about to happen. And there will be no lengthy speeches, either. I'll see to that.

When everyone had gathered, he stepped forward and cleared this throat.

"When I brought a doctor into our confidence..."

A fully-uniformed Dianne, who was standing behind him by Thunderbird Seven, made a quiet throat-clearing noise herself and raised one brow, causing Jeff to pause and smile slightly.

"Yes. When I brought a doctor into our confidence, I had no idea how she would work her way onto our team. No idea that I'd soon be commissioning a vessel that would bring medical help to rescue victims all over the world. When the vessel was completed and sent out, I had no idea of the impact it would have, of the connection it would make to the people of the world."

He glanced back at the gleaming white hovercraft for a moment. "It was only when that vehicle was damaged, and the personnel who manned it were injured, did I have an inkling of what had been wrought when Thunderbird Seven was created."

Jeff turned this head the other way, smiling at Dianne, Dom, and Nikki. "After that horrible day, I thought long and hard about Thunderbird Seven and its fate. Thought long and hard in the hospital, thought long and hard when we returned home. What should I do about this? Should I scrap Seven entirely? Drop the medical portion of what we do? Could I go through this again? Could I ask my wife, our nurses, to risk their lives like this again?"

He pulled a piece of paper from a jacket pocket. "I guess the decision to repair Thunderbird Seven came when I was reading through some of the many notes that were left at the hospital for us. This one in particular struck home, and I'd like to read it for you."

Clearing his throat again, he slipped on his glasses and began to read. "'Dear International Rescue. It is said that the measure or a man (or woman) is what it takes to stop him (or her). Now, I reckon a tornado's a pretty big thing to stop a person. But I also reckon it's not big enough to stop you. So, don't give up. Never, ever give up. Pick up the pieces, put them back together, and keep going. What you're doing is bigger than you know. Regards, Georgia T.'." He sighed, reaching up to remove the glasses. "The part about picking up the pieces and putting them back together was what hit home to me. I'm not sure why, but it felt like a sign - a sign that we really wouldn't be healed until Thunderbird Seven was back, doing the job it's supposed to do."

Jeff smiled a little. "So, here we are. The new improved Thunderbird Seven. Ready for service. Recommissioned to return to duty." He turned to the three people standing by the cab. "Who will put her to bed in the pod?"

Three voices raised. "I will." "I can." "I'd like to." A chuckle ran through the crowd as the doctor and the nurses glanced at each other, arms crossed, each looking slightly stubborn and belligerent. Then Dianne called, "I think we need an executive decision here, Commander."

The commander shook his head. "Not this time. You three wrestle it out."

With a sigh, Dianne turned to her co-workers. "Only one fair way to do this. Paper, rock, scissors."

"I can go with that," Nikki said, a grin spreading over her face.

"Sounds all right to me," Dom added.

"Okay then; on three." They each put a hand behind their backs, and Dianne counted, "One... two... three!"

Two hands came out with V-shaped first and middle fingers, while the other came out with a fist. Dianne groaned, Nikki made a loud, "Tch!" noise, but Dom grinned.

"Rock breaks scissors. I'll pilot."

"Best two out of three?" Dianne ventured, a comment that made some of the crowd chortle.

"Why, Dr. Tracy," Dom said, an innocent tone to his voice. "I had no idea you were a sore loser!"

"He won fair and square, Doc," Jeff said. "Now, get in there and put this baby to bed!"

"Sir, yes sir!" Dianne shouted, saluting sharply. The crowd laughed again, then Dianne turned to follow Dom and Nikki into Thunderbird Seven's rebuilt cab.

The lights atop it began to flash, and the uniquely familiar sound of the siren sounded out. It reverberated off the concrete walls, causing some of those present to cover their ears. Slowly, the Thunderbird rose on its hoverjets, and made its way into the access tunnel leading down to the aircraft hangar. It turned right as it reached the main floor, floated down past Thunderbird Two, and into the pod vehicle hangar. The crowd followed at a safe distance, some stopping at the wide entrance between chambers. Stopping in front of pod 7, the hovercraft turned 90 degrees. The door to the empty pod slowly dropped; power increased on the hoverjets, bringing the craft to the level of the pod's interior floor. Then the sirens stopped, and Thunderbird Seven backed into the pod, accompanied by a loud, warning beeping. Those who had followed it all the way to the pod saw it lower to the floor. A series of clamps unfolded from the edges of the underside, slotting into pre-cut holes. Then the engines cut off with a soft whine, and seconds later, the door opened. Dom left first, a wide grin on his face. The assembled group cheered, clapped and whistled.

"So, how is it?" Brains asked, an anxious tone in his voice.

"Flies like a dream, Brains. Like a dream."

Jeff stepped forward. "Then I hereby declare Thunderbird Seven officially recommissioned and back to full-time service."


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Re: Cold Front [message #875 is a reply to message #874] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Friday, November 16, 4:00 p.m., Tracy Island

As the lift doors opened, Cassie stepped out onto the second floor of the Round House. Following the directions Cherie had given her, she turned left. She passed the first door, and came to a stop at the second. Reaching out, she hit the buzzer for the door.

"Come in," came Cherie's reply from inside the room.

Cassie walked into the room. Cherie was at a table set off to the one side of the room. Cassie looked around the room as she made her way in that direction. A couple of easels were set up off to one side, neither currently having anything on them. A storage unit was against the one wall. Next to it, the dark-haired woman noticed a blank canvas.

"Hi, Ms. Cassie," Cherie said, looking up from whatever she had been working on.

"Hi, Cherie. So, what did you come up with so far?" Cassie replied, as she reached Cherie's side.

"Well, I've picked out the pictures I plan on working from. I wanted to run them by you and make sure you like the view of each the objects that will be in the mural before I actually start working on the sketches. Thanks for getting the picture of your fire station for me."

"Not a problem. I wasn't sure how much luck you would have had finding a picture to work from on your own," Cassie replied. As it was, the former FDNY member had asked Janet to take a picture of the fire station and email it to her. "Let's see what you have."

Cherie showed Cassie the pictures she had chosen of the Queensboro Bridge, Belvedere Castle, and the Empire State Building. Cassie found herself liking all of the young artist's choices.

"I couldn't decide which view of the Stature of Liberty I liked better," Cherie said, placing two photos side by side. "I thought I'd just let you choose."

Cassie looked at the two photos. After a moment to consider the choice, she pointed to the one she liked better. Cherie nodded and added the picture to the pile with the other three as well as the photo of Cassie's former fire station she was working from. The second photo she set off to the side.

"Before you came in, I was working on coming up with a layout for the mural," Cherie said. She started placing the pictures down on the table in the layout she had liked best. When she was done, the photo of the fire station was in the center, with the other four objects placed as if they would form a square around the center photo if connected with lines.

Cassie looked down at the layout. The placement of the fire station in the center, gave Cassie the feeling as though that was the center of her world. While that would have been correct, not long ago, things had changed. She'd never forget her time at the 66; that was part of her past. She felt the same way about what the Queensboro Bridge, Belvedere Castle, and the Empire State Building. They all represented the past to her. The fifth object, the Statue of Liberty, didn't.

Liberty. In a way that's what I gained by setting out on my own, Cassie thought.

"I think I'd prefer the Statue of Liberty and the fire station got switched," Cassie told Cherie. The teenager picked up the photos and swapped them. "Yeah, I like that better."

"Okay, Ms. Cassie," Cherie said, making note of the arrangement on a padd.

Cherie showed Cassie a sketch of the 66th precinct she had started, as well as the size of the canvas squares that would make up the mural before Cassie left the Round House and headed back to her apartment.


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Re: Cold Front [message #876 is a reply to message #875] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Dominic was limbering up in the gym when the first of his students arrived. He had his leg stretched up vertically and was holding it to the side of his head, one arm outstretched for balance. As Alan and Gordon entered, they winced simultaneously.

"A man should not be able to do that," Alan said.

"I've never been more thankful for baggy shorts," Gordon added.

Dominic laughed as he gracefully returned his leg to the floor.

"I'm not one for leotards," he said, before walking the short distance to his yoga mat. "Okay, guys, if you want to grab a mat from this pile and find a space facing me and get ready while we wait for the others, that'd be great."

It wasn't long before Tin-Tin, Cassie and Will had all arrived, and had also taken their places facing their yoga trainer.

"Okay everyone, thanks very much for coming," Dominic said. "We're just going to take it easy for our first class and learn a little about breathing."

"Breathing? I'm pretty sure I know how to do that already," Gordon said with a wink.

"If you didn't by this stage I'd be worried," Will retorted.

The small group chuckled, and Dominic shook his head.

"We're going to learn about deep breathing," he said. "It's something that you need to do during every yoga pose to help you concentrate, and to help centre your balance. Yoga doesn't necessarily require strength, but knowledge of your centre of balance. First off though, we'll warm up a little. As with any exercise it's important to warm up before doing anything strenuous."

They went through a variety of stretches and twists to limber themselves up, before they got down to the business of yoga.

"Now," Dom said. "I'll be performing the poses first so you know what to do, but you'll have to think of me as your mirror image. Deep breathing is easy, so feel free to do it along with me first time around. What I want you to do is to stand with your legs spread a little and your arms loose and relaxed by your sides. Then, bring your hands up to rest on your stomach, forming a triangle around your belly button with your thumbs and forefingers, like this."

He showed them the position, and everyone did it themselves.

"Now, breathe in deeply, trying to relax your diaphragm and relaxing your stomach muscles. Hold the breath until I tell you to breathe out. Then repeat again."

Dominic showed them how, and they all repeated it several times together.

"That's very relaxing," Cassie said. "I feel my muscles all loosening up."

"It is useful," Dom said. "If you do some deep breathing before you go to bed it can help you sleep."

"Excellent," Tin-Tin said. "It'll be especially useful if we've been on a stressful rescue."

"I do it every night," Dom said.

The small group practised a little more, laughing and joking as they did.


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Re: Cold Front [message #877 is a reply to message #876] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Saturday, November 17, 3:30pm TI (previous day, 4:30, Oahu, HW)

Vince stepped into the house and immediately caught a whiff of dinner. Just from the smell he could tell what Lana had decided to make for their evening meal; beef stroganoff and garlic bread. As she tended not to eat red meat, he also knew there would be a salad. He was looking forward to spending some time with his family before heading to the YMCA for the SCUBA course he was teaching.

Other than the sounds of the native Hawaiian music that Lana had on, the house was quiet. Either the kids weren't home, or they had found something quiet to occupy themselves with. Taking his business case off his left shoulder, he placed it on the floor underneath the coat rack. He then headed to the kitchen. He wanted to tell his wife about the last minute trip first thing.

Lana was at the counter, cutting up green peppers for the salad. She looked over her shoulder as Vince entered.

"Aloha, Honey! How was work?"

"Fine," he told her walking over to her and leaning down for a kiss. Before straightening up, he plucked a piece of pepper from the cutting board.

"Can't you wait for dinner!" Lana scolded good-naturedly , swatting at his hand.

"No," Vince replied before popping the green vegetable into his mouth. He walked over to the refrigerator and grabbed a glass from the cabinet next to it. "I heard back from Mr. Kent over at Tracy Industries," he said as he poured himself a glass of cranberry juice.

"Oh, what did he have to say?" Lana asked, not looking up from the peppers she had returned to cutting.

"I've been asked back for an interview with Mr. Tracy himself," Vince told her, sitting on the low counter nearby.

"That's great!"

"This weekend."

"What?" Lana said, surprised. She put the knife down and turned her chair to face her husband. "That's awfully quick isn't?"

Vince nodded. "I'm surprised myself, but Mr. Kent says that they want to get the position filled as quickly as possible, and wanted to set the interview up as soon as possible. The plan is for me to leave from Honolulu International tomorrow afternoon at three, so I don't have to cancel the class's fourth dive. I'll be away for a few days. If you'd rather I didn't..."

"No, you should go," Lana said quickly, not letting him finish the thought. "The kids and I will be fine for that long. What about the shop?"

"Jim already said he would take over for the next few days. Which brings me to another issue I wanted to discuss with you. You know Jim's been wanting to start a dive shop of his own someday. Well, I was thinking that instead of selling the shop outright, I become partners with Jim. I've talked to both my lawyer and realtor, and they say that coming up with a deal where Jim buys part of the business and then over the years slowly buys me out, wouldn't be that hard. I wanted to run it by you before I spring the idea on, Jim, though as I'll probably need some help from you dealing with the shop from time to time."

"Like I don't already," Lana commented, returning to making her salad. She had helped out with inventory and balancing the books over the years when things at the shop got too busy, usually during the summer months. "I think you becoming partners with Jim is a great solution. We could set the extra money aside for Lea's schooling."

Before Vince could reply, Aaron's voice interrupted the conversation.

"Mom, Dad, look what Lea did to my surfboard," they heard their eldest call. Moments later Aaron appeared in the doorway of the kitchen, surfboard in hand. Vince and Lana immediately saw what the issue was. The normally blue surfboard was now multicolored. Suns with smiley faces had been painted on the board in yellow, red, and green. "She ruined it."

"No, I didn't. I made it look pretty," Lea said, having followed her brother to the kitchen.

"I don't want it to look pretty," Aaron told her, glaring down at her.

Seeing the angry look on her brother's face, Lea's smile faded.

"Poppet, what did I tell you about those paints when I bought them for you," Vince said calmly, successfully hiding his amusement over the painted surfboard.

"That they should only be used on paper."

"Exactly. Now, what do you say to your brother?"

"I'm sorry," Lea said, looking up at her older brother.

"She still ruined my surfboard. Aren't you going to punish her?" Aaron said, ignoring his sister's apology. He was still too angry to forgive her.

"Whether I punish her or not is none of your concern," Vince told his son, even though he had planned on giving Lea a time out as well as have a talk with her about respecting other people's property. Looking away from his son, he looked down at the little girl. "Lea, go have a seat in the time-out chair."

The blonde didn't say anything as she turned and headed toward the dining room, tears in her eyes. She had just wanted to brighten up the surfboard, not make her brother mad at her.

"Aaron, you should be more understanding of you sister's feelings," Lana said, speaking for the first time since the kids had come into the room.

"Mom, she ruined my surfboard."

"It's not ruined. It's not like she broke it or something."

"If I show up on the beach with this," the teen said, holding the painted surfboard up in front of him, "I'm going to be laughed right off the beach."

"You still should've accepted her apology. She didn't think she was doing anything wrong."

"She paints on my surfboard and I get the lecture. Man it sucks having a little sister."

"Aaron," Vince said, a warning tone to his voice.

"Well, she keeps going into my room. She won't leave my things alone."

"I seem to remember another little kid who use to touch things that belonged to others. A set of golf clubs come to mind."

Aaron looked sheepishly at the ground. He hadn't been much older than Lea when he had decided he wanted to play golf like his dad. He had taken a couple of his father's golf clubs out in the back yard to teach himself. The golf ball never had gone very far, but the clubs had been badly bent.

"Point taken. I'll go talk to her," Aaron said with a sigh. "But what about my surfboard?"

"I'll pay to have it repainted next week," Vince told his son. "Leave it in the living room."

"Thanks, Dad," Aaron said, turning to leave the room.

As soon as his son was out of sight, Vince gave up trying to keep a straight face. "Can't blame him for not wanting to be seen with that surfboard," he commented, with a smile.

Lana chuckled as she went back to salad preparation. "You know, art classes may be a good way to channel her creative energy."

"You're right, but they'll have to wait. No point in starting something while I'm looking for a job." Vince said. He downed the rest of his juice and placed the empty glass in the sink. "I think I'll go have a talk with our little creative genius about appropriate surfaces to paint on."


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Re: Cold Front [message #878 is a reply to message #877] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Saturday, November 17, 2068, 5 p.m., Tracy Island

Cherie was busy at her computer when her satellite phone rang. She was building a collage from the images Cassie had chosen; she would later split the collage up into pieces the separate canvases that would make up the mural, and work from that.

She reached into the outer pocket of her art bag for the phone. The ringtone was unfamiliar, one of the default tones that she hadn't taken the time to change. She glanced at the screen which said, "Wilton, A".

"Anneliese!" she cried, grinning. She saved her work, put her wireless earphone in, and answered the call, allowing for the video feed. "Hey! Anneliese!"

Anneliese looked a bit startled, then smiled. "Hullo, Cherie!"

"I'm so glad you called!" Cherie said, eager. "I need a break from this project I'm working on."

"Is it something for school?" Anneliese asked.

"Nah. Just something one of our... uh..." Cherie thought hard about how to describe Cassie and her position. "Neighbors. Yeah, something one of our neighbors asked me to do."

"Neighbors?" Anneliese frowned a little. "I thought you lived on a private island..."

Cherie winced. "Well, yeah, we do. But there are some people who work for my dad's company that also live here." She shrugged. "I mean, they're not like servants or anything, working for the family, and they live on another part of the island. So they're neighbors... sort of."

"Do you have servants?" Anneliese's eyes were wide.

Cherie squirmed a bit. "Well, I suppose they're technically servants. But they're more like part of the family. Though we just got someone new to help in the kitchen." She paused. "In fact, one of them is going to be family because he's marrying my Nana."

"Your nan lives there, too? But not your grandpa?" Anneliese looked a bit confused.

"It's kinda hard to explain," Cherie began. "My mom's mom is divorced; my dad's mom is a widow, and both of them live here. My mom's mom is the one getting married. My mom's dad... well, he sorta dropped out of the family until recently. My biological dad's parents live in Florida. I send them cards and letters and visit them for a couple of weeks every year."

"Ah, now I see." Anneliese's face had cleared and she nodded. "My mum's divorced, too, and that means I don't see much of my nana and nandy on my da's side. He's remarried, and though I suppose that makes my stepmum's folks my grans, too, I've never met them." She paused, then asked, "What do you mean about your 'biological' da? How'd he let you get adopted by your new da?"

Looking down, Cherie composed herself. "My biological dad is dead."

Anneliese looked aghast. "I... I'm sorry, Cherie! I didn't know..."

"Hey, hey, it's okay. I didn't expect you to know." Cherie sighed heavily. "I miss him, sometimes, and it still hurts when I think about him. But if he hadn't died, we probably wouldn't have even come here, and my mom definitely wouldn't have married my new dad." She gave her friend a small smile. "Then you and I would never have met."

"You ain't wrong," Anneliese said with a nod. "Sometimes I think what it might be like if my mum had carked it in that chlorine spill and I didn't." She shuddered. "I'd have to go live with my da and his wife... and all their little brats."

"Sounds awful!" Cherie commiserated. "I mean, my little brothers can be brats sometimes, but at least they're my real brothers, not step-brothers or something." She thought a moment. "I suppose that my older brothers would have been step-brothers if Dad hadn't adopted me." Shaking her head, she asked, "Do you have any brothers or sisters? Living with you?"

"I have an older brother, but he's a scarfie." At Cherie's blank look, Anneliese elaborated. "He's at uni, down in Dunedin. University of Otego. Mum wanted him to go to the Christchurch branch, but he didn't want to live at home. He comes home weekends, anyway. Brings his dirty trousers and jerseys for her to wash, then pisses around with his mates. He's always strapped for cash." She shrugged. "During the week, it's just Mum and me." Smiling, she added, "Sometimes we get brassed off at each other, but I like having her to myself."

"That must be cool, really," Cherie said, smiling back. "It's not easy being part of a big family, but I am the only girl..."

The two girls laughed, and their conversation moved on to other matters. Before they knew it, an hour had passed.

"Oh, here comes my mum." Anneliese glanced over her shoulder. "She's brought home take-aways for tea. I'd better go. It was nice talking with you, Cherie."

"Good to talk to you, too, Anneliese. I'll see you on Thursday if I don't talk to you before then."

"Right. Well, cheers!"

"Take care! Goodbye!"

The call ended, and Cherie sighed with contentment. Putting her phone down, she rose and stretched, then headed out toward the dining room. "Time to see what we're having for 'tea'."


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Re: Cold Front [message #879 is a reply to message #878] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Ewa Beach YMCA - outside pool - just before 8pm, Oahu, HW

Vince followed Monica Makahi, the last student to get her equipment, through the hallway of the YMCA and outside to the pool. For tonight the kids only had the wet suit, fins, mask and snorkel as they wouldn't be in the water that much.

The rest of his class was already outside, waiting. Hoku Akana, one of the center's lifeguards, was perched up on a chair, keeping an eye on them. Vince immediately did a quick head count to make sure everyone had come outside. The count told him that all five of his students and Aaron were present. His son had tagged along tonight to help out, and was currently talking to his best friend, Keanu Hananoki, whom Aaron had convinced to take the course.

Vince walked to the shallow end of the pool and stood with his back to the pool. He called for his class to gather. It didn't take long for them to make their way over. The students gathered in front of their instructor, all eager to begin class. Aaron was busy getting into his gear, as he was going to demonstrate everything his father was going over tonight.

"Well, this is your second to last class. As I promised at the beginning of this course, when you were done you would have both your Open Water Diver certification as well as introducing you to Night Diving. Upon completion of your fourth dive tomorrow morning, you will be one dive away from completing the Open Water part of the course." Vince paused as a chorus of cheers passed through the class. "So, tonight I've decided that we will start learning about night diving. All of the training will be done here at the pool."

"This part of the course was added as a preview to what you will be learning if you choose to take the Advanced Scuba course, which will begin in January. This is not a certification course, and none of you should be attempting an actual night dive until you have some more experience."

Vince paused letting his words sink in as he made eye contact with each of the teens before continuing. He instructed the students to have a seat on the ground before he started talking about the differences between diving during the day and diving at night.


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******Sunday, November 18, Thunderbird Five, 3:45 a.m. (9:45 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 in Cambridge, Massachusetts)******

John had awakened to his alarm clock 15 minutes earlier and was already getting his breakfast together. One of his favorite days had arrived: "The Game," the annual get-together of the Harvard Crimson and Yale Bulldogs football teams. For him, it was the one time he could get on Scott's case if his brother's college team from Yale lost. He hoped the 185th meeting between the two schools would be as exciting as in years past.

This morning, though, his excitement was slightly subdued because of Luke's accident. However, he knew that Luke would've wanted him to enjoy the game, no matter the situation.

Just a few minutes before 4 a.m., he went to the main console and set the communications to send any call with key emergency words straight onto the screen in the lounge. He went to the lounge, turned on the TV, and tuned into the sports channel showing his game.

Throughout the length of the football game, Yale had tried hard to keep up with Harvard, but every time the Bulldogs would get closer, Harvard would score touchdowns.

Every time Harvard scored, John would yell, "Yeah! Go Crimson!" At one point he was so excited he nearly fell out of his seat.

By the time the fourth quarter came along, it was already 6:30. Harvard was well ahead of Yale by the score of 42-17. John smiled while he shook his head. "Unless Yale can do something, I'll get to rib poor Scott today."

Sure enough, Harvard held its ground and scored 14 more points before the game was over. "Yeah, that's it," he said excitedly. "Harvard's won it. Oh, I can't wait to give the news to Scott." He then realized something. "I didn't make a bet with him this year. Well, it's not like I can make him do anything from here anyway, so I'll just tell him Yale lost."

He turned off the TV and went back to his quarters, where Skitty was wide awake. "Good morning, buddy. Ready for some breakfast?"

After hearing the kitten's mew, he smiled and grabbed some cat food for him. When Skitty got his food, John went to the kitchen and grabbed a breakfast pack to heat up. "Well, my game's done, and I've got a long day ahead of me." He needed the energy to keep up with the calls coming in, him always on alert to any call that could possibly require International Rescue's services.


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Re: Cold Front [message #881 is a reply to message #880] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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******Sunday, November 18, Tracy Island, 9:55 a.m. (1:55 p.m. the previous day in Tuscaloosa, Alabama)******

In her apartment Callie had already finished breakfast and was ready for her annual tradition known as the Iron Bowl. On this day, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers would battle on the football field for one simple thing: bragging rights for the next year in her home state of Alabama.

She was excited in preparing for it, but it was tempered by the news about Luke. However, she decided not to think about it because at the moment, this game was all that mattered.

Already dressed in her crimson-colored t-shirt and white capris, she turned on her TV and turned on the sports channel. "Oh, I am so ready for this game." Looking at the little "sports ticker" at the bottom of the screen, she saw the Harvard-Yale score. "All right, looks like the other Crimson team won earlier. Knowing John's for Harvard, he probably celebrated already. I hope it'll be two-for-two on the crimson color."

At 10:15, the game kicked off with Callie yelling, "ROLL TIDE!"

Unfortunately, the Auburn Tigers quickly returned the kick-off for a touchdown. "What happened to the defense? They should've stopped that guy!"

Alabama quickly responded with a touchdown of their own, putting the game into a tie. "That's more like it," she said with that hint of determination in her voice. "Auburn didn't have a good record this year, but they've obviously prepped for the game."

During the first two quarters of the game, Alabama's quarterback gave up three interceptions, but Auburn fumbled the ball twice. Both teams had penalties for various infractions, mostly false starts and going offside. Alabama did manage to get a couple of touchdowns and a field goal.

When the game stopped for halftime, she went to the kitchen to cut an apple and an orange into individual slices to keep herself sustained for the rest of the game.

Returning to the living room, she found the second half of the game was about to get under way. It got off to a very fast start with Alabama scoring a couple of minutes after Auburn kicked it off to them. Auburn, though, got ahead to 26 with a couple of touchdowns (but missed a couple of extra point chances) and two field goals.

Throughout the rest of the game, there were continuous errors by both teams, with more fumbles, interceptions, and penalties. One fumble by Auburn gave Alabama a safety for two points, which put both teams into a tie.

The game reached the incredible climax when Auburn was nearing the Alabama end zone with less than ten seconds left in the game. "Come on, come on," she said, folding her hands tightly in prayer. "Hold that line. Don't let 'em score..."

However, Auburn was able on the second try to break through Alabama's defense and score the winning touchdown.

"Noooooo!" she yelled. "Oh, man, I was sure we had the win!"

Suddenly, there was a knock on the glass door. Callie called out, "Who is it?"

"It's Elise. Is everything all right?"

Callie opened the blind and saw her. She slid the door open and said, "I'm fine. I'm just a little peeved because Alabama just lost the game with Auburn. It was so close, too."

"What was the final score?"

"Auburn won it 32-26. The game was great, but I wish my team won."

"Oh, well, you can't win 'em all." Elise smiled.

"Yeah, and it's already after 1:00. I'd better get something to eat before I get a little too hungry."

"All right, I'll see you later."

"Thanks for checking," Callie said with a smile. After she closed the door, she made herself a sandwich. Even though her team did lose, at least she knew they fought well. "I guess Auburn's fans get to do the trash talking for the next year, but we'll get 'em back."


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Re: Cold Front [message #882 is a reply to message #881] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Sunday, November 18th, 2 p.m. (Previous day 3 p.m. Oahu, HI)

"I'll only be gone a few days, Poppet," Vince told his daughter, as he picked her up and gave her a hug.

"I'll miss you, Daddy," she replied, throwing her arms around his neck.

"Me too."

Vince put Lea down. After giving Lana a kiss, he picked his duffel bag up and placed the strap over one shoulder. As he turned to address his wife again, he saw that Lea had climbed up in her mother's lap.

"Tell Aaron I'll call later to see how the swim meet went and to find out what that letter's about," he told her, referring to the letter from the Air Force Academy that had come that morning.

"I will. I sure hope that letter contains good news."

"So do I," Vince replied, glancing out the front window. A taxi was just pulling up in front of the house. "Well, there's my ride. I better be going."

"Good luck, Honey," Lana told him.

"Thanks!"

Vince blew a kiss in Lea's and Lana's direction and reached for the door knob. Lea blew a kiss back to her father as he headed outside to the waiting taxi. "Honolulu International Airport," he told the driver, as he climb into the back seat of the taxi.

The ride around Pearl Harbor to the airport was a quiet one. Vince watched the scenery pass by outside his window as he thought about the upcoming interview. He hadn't been given many details. All he had been told was that he was to have an interview with Jeff Tracy and that his flight would leave from Honolulu at 2 p.m. on Saturday. He didn't even know what airline he was flying on, let alone his destination.

About a half hour later, the taxi pulled to a stop at the drop-off area of the airport. After paying the cabbie, Vince grabbed his bag and climbed out of the cab. With the strap of the duffel bag over one shoulder, he made his way into the airport and to the ticket counter. The line wasn't long and soon he was giving his name to the lady at the desk.

"Crenshaw, Vincent," she said, repeating his name as she looked for the reservation. "There you are. You can catch your plane at gate 78. It should be arriving on time." The receptionist reached over to the printer to grab the card that had printed out. "Here's a pass to show at the security gate," she said handing the card to him.

Vince to the card. "What about a ticket?"

"You're on a private flight," the receptionist said.

Vince thanked the lady and then stepped aside to let the next customer step up to the desk. Private flight. I haven't had to deal with this much secrecy since I left the Navy, he thought, as he headed for the security gate.

Reaching gate 78, Vince took a seat in one of the many empty chairs. Glancing at his watch he saw that it was five to two. He still had a few minutes until the plane taking him to his interview was suppose to arrive. Taking the newest catalog for diving equipment out of his duffel bag, he leaned back and started looking through it.

He had only looked at a couple of pages when he heard footsteps. He looked up to see two young men walking into the area. The one in the lead had blonde hair. Vince recognized the copper-haired guy who was following the blonde immediately - Gordon Tracy. Vince was surprised to see the young man again, and he couldn't exactly say he was thrilled about it either. It's a small world, he thought, as he got to his feet.

"Mr. Crenshaw?" Alan asked. When Vince nodded, he continued. "Alan Tracy," he said, holding out his hand. "This is my brother, Gordon."

"We've met," Vince replied, as he shook hands with Alan.

"Hey, Vince!" Gordon replied, holding out his hand to Vince. "Bet I was the last person you expected to see today!"

"You could say that," Vince replied as he shook the younger man's hand.

"Is that all you're bringing?" Alan asked, nodding to the duffel bag still sitting on a chair.

"Yeah. I was told it was just going to be a couple of days that I would be away. I learned to travel light during my years in the service."

"Then why don't you come on board," Alan said, nodding toward the door he and Gordon had just come through.

Vince retrieved his duffel bag. Alan gestured for him to go first. As the older man walked toward the door, Alan grabbed Gordon's arm to hold him back a little.

"Well, you sure made an impression on him," Alan said sarcastically, in a low voice. "What did you do, hit on his daughter or something?"

"What daughter? Nah, I was just being my usual charming self."

"Great, that worked well."

"Ha, ha," Gordon told his younger brother and then followed to catch up to their passenger.


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Re: Cold Front [message #883 is a reply to message #882] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Sunday, November 18th, 7:30 pm

After calling home, Vince left the guest room and turned right. Gordon had said the lounge was at the end of the hall, and to meet them there for the interview. As he hadn't had a chance to call before dinner, Vince had wanted to call before the interview. He was anxious to know how Aaron had done at the meet and what news he had received from the Air Force Academy.

Aaron had been ecstatic when Lana had given him the phone. His swim team had taken first at the meet and the teen had set a record for the 200 Individual Medley. The good news had continued when Vince had asked about the letter. Aaron had been accepted to the Air Force Academy! After promising that they would celebrate when he got home, Vince said good-bye to his family, both Lana and Aaron wishing him luck in his interview.

Reaching the entrance on the lounge, Vince knocked.

"Come in," came Mr. Tracy's reply.

Vince walked into the lounge. Mr. Tracy, Gordon, and Scott were seated in chairs.

"Mr. Crenshaw -- Vince - please have a seat," Jeff said, gesturing to a chair. "I understand you've already spent some time with Gordon here."

"Yes, sir," Vince replied, taking the seat Jeff had indicated. "He was at my shop just last weekend.

"Yes, and I had a great dive, too." Gordon said with a wink. He turned to Scott. "Scott's no mariner, but he's listening in on this today."

"I might have a few questions of my own," Scott said, smiling slightly. "Dad?"

"Right." Jeff picked up his data pad. "Your credentials are very impressive, Vince. What makes you want to move from working for yourself to working for someone else?"

"Well, I'm just starting to feel like the shop is too routine for me and I want to find something that poses more of a personal challenge. I opened the shop because, at the time, I needed a way to support my family that gave me the freedom to control my own schedule. Starting my own business seemed to be the most logical way to go."

Jeff made a "hmm" noise, nodding slightly as he made a note on his data pad. Gordon spoke up. "Why Tracy Industries? Why a job that might mean you'd uproot your family?"

Vince shifted his weight a little in the chair. "When I started this job search, I wasn't sure what kind of a change I was looking for. All I was sure of was that I wanted a job that would put more of the skills I had trained for to use. A friend of mine pointed out your ad for marine product testing. The prospect of being a part of bringing new technology to the world appeals to me."

He paused momentarily before answering the second part of Gordon's question, trying to decide best on how to answer it. "As for the potential of uprooting my family, my wife and I have discussed it. A move isn't something my family is unaccustomed to. We both really just want me to be in a position where the family can be together."

He noticed Jeff nodding slightly, and continued. "We also feel that if we're going to relocate, that this is good timing when my youngest is involved. She's five and at the age where we'd like to get her involved in an activity with kids her own age. Before we do that, we want to be settled so that she isn't making friends she needs to leave behind." He paused again, a wide, proud smile crossing his face. "My oldest will be leaving for the Air Force Academy come June. We realize a move is going to be hard on him, but given the situation, my wife and I feel that we need to think more of Lea right now."

Both Jeff and Scott perked up. "Air Force Academy?" Scott said, a grin spreading across his face. "Congratulations."

"Couldn't get him to go Navy or WASP?" Gordon asked, grinning, too.

"Thank-you," Vince commented, addressing Scott. From his reaction, Vince was guessing that he was the older brother Gordon had mentioned who had served in the Air Force. He glanced at Gordon as he continued. "I honestly didn't try. He's always been fascinated in aircraft. I'm just proud he wants to follow in my footsteps and serve our country. Navy, Air Force or Army, all soldiers have the same purpose - to serve and protect."

"Agreed there," Jeff said, nodding. He glanced at the pad again.

"Your application said that you were a Navy pilot," Scott suddenly asked. "What did you fly? Did you see any action?"

"I served as a fighter pilot for two years after I graduated from Annapolis. Most of my experience came in the F-14 Beta Tomcat and was limited to security patrols. I did participate in Operation Red Flag during my second year."

"Red Flag, huh? I was an 'enemy' fighter when I was involved." Scott nodded. "The Tomcat's a good jet."

"Did you see any action as a SEAL?" Gordon asked. "I noticed you had a lot of weapons training."

"I served in the Cuba-Haiti Crisis in '63. My platoon was involved in repelling the invading Cuban forces."

"That was a rough patch, there," Jeff said. He gave his sons each a quick glance, one that said, without words, "No more shop talk."

Then he turned back to the pad. "I see here that you received an honorable discharge due to hardship. Could you tell us a little about that?"

Vince hesitated, trying to figure out how to answer that question. His wife's accident wasn't something he liked discussing, especially not with strangers.

"My wife was injured in a water-skiing accident in '65 while I was on leave. As much as I hated leaving the service at the time, my family needed me more." I hope that's enough information for him, Vince thought, fighting the urge to look away from Mr. Tracy and his sons.

The Tracys exchanged glances, and Gordon hesitantly said, "Must have been a pretty bad injury if you felt you had to leave the service. How bad was it?"

"She suffered a spinal injury and lost the use of her legs," Vince replied, fighting to keep his voice steady.

Jeff nodded, murmuring a sympathetic "mmm". "That is bad." He glanced at Gordon. "We had a similar situation involving Gordon while he was in WASP." He straightened and gave a "Hrumph. Well. Let's move on."

Another glance at the pad, and Jeff came up with another question. "If you had a choice of any sailing vessel to command, what would it be?"

"Well, I've had a chance to be behind the controls of many different watercraft between my time in the Navy and personal experience, most of which I listed in my resume. I'd have to say though, that I always enjoyed my experience on the subs the best," Vince replied, a smile coming to his face. "Something about being able to survive under water and be a part of that world always appealed to me. When I first joined the Navy, one of my goals was to be a submarine commander. My career took a little different turn than what I expected, but I don't regret any of the choices I made."

"How do you feel about hydrofoils?" Gordon asked. Scott gave him a quick look, but there was no wavering in Gordon's voice.

"Well, as you probably know, the US Navy started using hydrofoils in the special forces operations in '58. I had several experiences with the Zeus class hydrofoils while serving. Haven't been behind the wheel of one since I left the service."

Gordon nodded. "We've been designing a new prototype hydrofoil - wanted to see how you would feel about testing one out."

The Tracys had a few more questions, which Vince fielded thoughtfully. Jeff drew the interview to a close with the words, "I think we have what we need. Scott, Gordon, any other questions?"

When his sons replied in the negative, Jeff rose. Scott, Gordon and Vince rose with him, and Jeff shook Vince's hand. "Thank you for your interest in the position. Please avail yourself of our facilities during your stay with us."

"Thank you for your time, sir. Right now I think the only thing I want to test out is that bed in the guest room. It's been quite a long day for me."

After shaking hands with Gordon and Scott, Vince turned and left the lounge. Reaching the guest bedroom, he went inside.

I'm not sure how that went, Vince thought, as he started getting ready for bed. He couldn't quite get a read on Jeff Tracy and he hadn't missed the looks that had passed between the three Tracy's throughout the interview. Guess I'll have to wait and see if they offer me the position or not.


Vince's Interview by Tikatu and Icarus1982



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As the door closed behind Vince, Jeff got to his feet.

"Well, boys what do you think?" he asked, walking toward his desk.

"I think Vince is a good choice," Gordon said, as his father sat down behind the desk. Since picking Vince up in Honolulu, their guest had been politely civil to him. It gave Gordon the feeling that he wasn't high on the former SEAL's list of well-liked people. Still, he got the impression that Vince was professional enough to be able to work with him despite any personal feelings. Besides, hopefully once he gets to know the real me, I'll be able to change that opinion, he thought. "He's got the qualifications we need and from what I understand of SEAL training, you don't make it through without being a team player."

Jeff nodded. His second youngest son made a valid point. Working as a team was one thing military training taught you, no matter which branch.

"Scott?" he asked, looking toward his oldest son.

"I agree with, Gordon. I think Vince will fit in well with the team. Having flown Red Flag, I think he'll do okay with cross-training on Thunderbird 1. As you know, Dad, the Air Force tries to make those training exercise as realistic as possible."

Jeff nodded as he considered his son's words.

"I think we need to keep in mind other things though before we decide to offer Vince the position, though," Scott said, continuing. "His family definitely adds some complications. Is he going to want to relocate his entire family here to the island? Will his wife agree to it and how complete was her recovery?"

"We're hiring Vince for IR, not his wife," Gordon replied. "It's obvious that no matter how complete her recovery is, they've adapted. Don't see why that should affect whether we should offer the position to him or not."

"I just meant that we need to keep it in mind because it could mean we need to make modifications to accommodate her if she's still in a wheelchair or something," Scott said in a defensive tone. He looked in his brother's direction as he continued. "Not to mention, even the two bedroom apartments is going to be cramped with four people sharing it. We may have to consider other housing options for them if we bring Vince on board."

Before Gordon had a chance to reply, Jeff spoke up.

"Scott has some valid points. There will definitely be new issues we need to address if we bring Vince onboard. However, I don't think they should affect our decision at this point as they're all things we can address if he does take the position. Right now we need to decide if we want to offer him the position or not. Gordon?"

"I still think he's the best choice of the applicants we were sent, Dad."

Jeff nodded. He turned his attention from Gordon to Scott. "Scott?"

"He seems to be just as qualified as the other recruits we've brought on board," Scott replied.

"Okay then. Gordon, you and I can tell him about IR tomorrow after breakfast. We'll see then if he's still willing to take the position after he knows what its really about. Could be he turns us down and the other concerns become moot. If he's still interested, we can deal with the other issues at that time. Anything else?"

Scott and Gordon both shook their heads in reply.

"Then we're through for the night," Jeff told them.

The two younger men stood up and with a goodnight to their father, left the lounge. After making a few notes on the data padd in his hands, Jeff stood up from his desk. Heading out into the hallway, he went in search of his wife.



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Sunday, November 18, 2068, 8:25 p.m., outside of Reykjavik, Iceland (Monday, November 19, 9:25 a.m., Tracy Island)

Jacques sipped his après-ski whiskey as he sat by the fireplace, warming himself on both the outside and the inside. He'd just come in from his final downhill run of the day. He wasn't usually one for vigorous outdoor activity, preferring golf and other, less strenuous sports, but for some reason, skiing was an exception. He had never figured out why he liked it. Was it the bracing air? The exhilaration of racing down the hillside at breakneck speed? Was it all of these and more? He wasn't sure, but he did enjoy it -- all the more since neither of his younger siblings shared his appreciation.

It was the beginning of the ski season in Iceland. There had been quite a bit of snow already, turning what were usually fast, hard-packed runs into softer, grainy powder. Since it was also the beginning of the workweek, Bláfjöll Ski Resort was quiet, with only a handful of patrons. In Jacques's eyes, this translated into better service for those who currently resided there; the staff had fewer guests to tend to, and he liked prompt, courteous indulgence. It also meant fewer people to contend with on the slopes and lifts. Looking out the windows to the treeless slopes, he counted only one or two people taking advantage of the night-skiing

Two men walked by, talking in low tones. Jacques was slightly acquainted with one; he had come to Stellar Innovations once or twice, looking for specific technologies -- which the cartel was happy to provide. The other, he knew by name and reputation -- both of which were fearsome. They were meeting with three or four others, men and women who dealt in the shadows and had a very specific political agenda. Jacques had heard rumors about their current endeavors, no more than whispers, really, yet reliable nonetheless. He expected to be approached by one or more of them in the near future, for business reasons... but not now. He was on holiday, and the only business he looked to was his own good pleasure.

"Sir? Would you like a refill?"

Jacques looked up at the waiter who hovered nearby. He waved his hand. "Yes. Another whiskey." After that, I'll take the car into Reykjavik for dinner and whatever else the city has to offer.

"Very good, sir. Right away...." The waiter's voice trailed off as he glanced out the wide windows. Jacques followed his gaze. His eyes grew wide and his mouth went dry.

Tumbling down the slope was a wave of snow. The crest covered everything in its path; it swallowed whole the few skiers who tried to run before it. It loomed larger and larger until Jacques breathed, "Oh my God. It's going to bury us..."

The waiter's scream brought him out of his amazed stupor and with a burst of adrenaline, he jumped up, running for the other side of the building. He flattened himself against an inner wall, cringing in anticipation of the glass breaking and wood splintering in the room he had just left.

But the windows were made of sterner stuff; they did not break. Instead, they were forced wholesale from their frames by the weight and pressure of the snow. The whole building shuddered and shifted. Wood cracked and popped. Patrons and staff screamed and wailed. Then, there was a long moment of dark and silence.

The silence was broken by the murmurs and cries of those in the lodge. The manager hurried from his office, flashlight in hand, to view the damage, giving sharp orders to the staff and brief moments of comfort to the patrons along the way. The building groaned under the weight that pressed against it. Several staff members were sent to different parts of the building, to reconnoiter and to bring their guests to a central location. The desk clerk was given the task of counting heads and confirming who was within the building.

Once he had confirmed his presence, Jacques went to the front doors to see if he could leave. His eyebrows climbed to his hairline as he saw the wall of white that confronted him.

"Yes, sir," the manager said, coming to stand beside Jacques. "I fear we are truly buried."

"Well?" Jacques demanded. "What are you going to do about this?"

The manager pulled himself to his full height. "When I have confirmation of how many people are still inside, I will attempt to call emergency services. It may be a futile gesture; my satellite phone may have difficulty piercing the snow. But I will try."

"Bloody right you will," Jacques said, his eyes narrowing. "And you had best get through or you'll hear from my solicitors."

The manager raised one eyebrow, but said nothing. He was rescued by the desk clerk and two of the reconnaissance team, all talking at once. Silencing them, he drew them into his office, and shut the door firmly.

"Now, what do you have to say for yourselves?" he asked, settling in behind his desk. He indicated that the clerk should speak first.

She took a deep breath to steady herself. "We are missing five guests and two staff. At least three of the guests were seen on the slopes before this happened. I am not certain where the staff are." She put a piece of paper on his desk. "The names are highlighted."

"Very good." The manager turned to the others. "Report."

One, a young man in his twenties, spoke up. "I went to the upper storage level. The roof is caved in but the floor below it seems to be holding for the moment. The roof access points are totally blocked."

With a nod, the manager turned to his other staff member, an older man. "All of the windows show a wall of snow. I opened one to see if I could clear an opening to the outside." He shook his head. "There is just too much of it. We will not be able to dig ourselves free."

The manager had already picked up his satellite phone. "I am calling the local rescue teams. They should be able to get us out." He nodded toward the door. "Go. Do what you can to calm our guests. Have the rest of the staff gather blankets and torches, and keep everyone in a central location. Do not tell the guests the extent to which we are buried. I will be with you shortly."

After sending his people out of the office, the manager said a short prayer and called for help.

xxxx

"What do you mean you cannot come right away?" The manager was nearly hysterical now. His call had gone through, and he had been told to wait on the line for a response. He waited for a good twenty minutes until someone came back on the line. "Why must we wait for the World Government to send agents? Why?"

There was another long period of listening. "And what about the rest of us? There are twenty-five people here in the lodge right now, plus another five that are dying -- if not already dead -- on the slopes! Are we to be sacrificed just so these terrorists can be caught?"

He shook his head violently. "I do not agree!" He paused, then added, "Yes, yes, I know that we cannot let terrorists operate with impunity. No, no, I am not siding with them. I am siding with the people who are the innocents in this! Who are only here for skiing. Who had nothing to do with that sabotage! Please, you must help us. For them..."

He pulled the phone from his ear and swore. Taking a deep breath, he squared his shoulders. "So. The World Government has ordered our rescue be delayed until they can get their agents on the site." He continued to mutter as he moved to the radio set he and his staff used to communicate throughout the resort. "They probably don't even know for sure that those terrorists are guests here!" He switched it on, thankful that the unit was battery-powered. "Well, there is one organization I can turn to that will come... I hope." Putting the earpiece in place, he touched it. "Calling International Rescue. Calling International Rescue... please hear me!"


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Re: Cold Front [message #886 is a reply to message #885] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Monday, November 19, 8:30 a.m.,Bláfjöll Ski Resort, 9:30 a.m.,Tracy Island

"International Rescue! International Rescue! We need your help!"

"This is International Rescue," a calm clear voice replied after a few moments. "Who are you and what is your problem?"

Ragnar took a deep breath to steady himself. "Are you affiliated with the World Government?"

The voice answered "No," sounding rather surprised.

"I am Ragnar Andresson, manager of the Bláfjöll Ski Resort, in Iceland. About half an hour ago an avalanche covered the building where all the guests are housed. We called for local help from Reykjavik, and have received a reply saying that the World Government ordered them to stand down until further notice. They say it will probably be several hours before they will come."

"I see. Is there anyone injured?"

"Not that we know of, but there are seven missing. And we can't possibly hold out long enough! The oxygen supply will surely be gone by then. Can you help us?"


Up in Thunderbird Five, John Tracy glanced quickly at a computer screen as he prepared to open contact with Base. "Approximately how many people are trapped with you?"

"Uh... twenty-five, plus the missing people."

"Right. Now, you said Bláfjöll Ski Resort. Please give me the coordinates."

Ragnar related the coordinates, which John checked on the computers.

"Thank you, Mr Andresson. Please stay near your transmitter, someone will be in contact with you soon." He cut out and opened transmissions with Tracy Island.

"Base from Thunderbird Five. Come in, Base."


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Re: Cold Front [message #887 is a reply to message #886] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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On Tracy Island ...

"Thank-you," Vince said as Jenny finished filling his coffee cup.

"You're welcome, Mr. Crenshaw," she replied as she turned and headed back to the kitchen.

Most of the villa residents had already left the table to get started on their tasks for the day. At the far end of the table, Emily, Lisa and Kyrano were talking quietly. Across from Vince, Gordon had remained seated.

Vince picked up his coffee cup, and took a sip of hot liquid. Mr. Tracy had said he wanted to discuss some business after breakfast. The former navy officer was trying to wait patiently for the Tracy patriarch to bring the subject up.

"Well, Vince, my sons and I talked things over after the interview last evening," Jeff finally said, sending a quick glance at Gordon before focusing his attention back on Vince. "We'd like to offer you the position, but first, there is something more to the job than what we've let on so far."

Vince sat up a little straighter in the chair, his curiosity piqued. He remained quiet though as Mr. Tracy continued.

"However, before I tell you what that is, I need your word that - whether you take the position or not - you keep what I'm about to tell you a secret."

"Of course, sir," Vince replied without hesitation, figuring he was about to hear about some business secret that Mr. Tracy didn't want Tracy Industries' competitors to know about.

Just as he was about to continue, Jeff's wristcomm beeped.

"Yes?"

"Dad, I need to have a word with you privately," Scott said, his voice coming over the watch. "It's an urgent 'business' decision."

As Scott had headed up to the lounge after breakfast, Jeff quickly caught onto what his eldest meant by 'business'. Evidently, something had come up that needed International Rescue's attention.

"One moment, Scott," Jeff said. He looked over at Vince. "If you'll excuse me, this will only take a moment."

Vince simply nodded as Jeff got to his feet. As he left the dining room, the elder Tracy heard Gordon start a conversation with their guest.

"Go ahead, Scott," Jeff said as he reached the corridor.

"Dad, John received a distress call from the manager of the Bláfjöll Ski Resort," Scott informed him and then proceeded to give his father the other details. "As we're under Operation Cover Up with our guest here, I wasn't sure what you wanted us to tell the manager," he finished up.

Jeff considered the situation. With the World Government putting a halt to local rescue operations, International Rescue was these people's only hope.

We were going to tell Vince about IR anyway. What better way for him to get an idea of what he'd be getting into than to see us in action? Jeff mused.

"Scott, tell John to let the manager know we will be responding," Jeff said, coming to a decision.

"What about Mr. Crenshaw?"

"I plan on letting him observe the rescue," Jeff told his son. "Give me a moment before you sound the alert down here to prepare him a little," he said, not wanting to alarm their guest with the alarm going off out of the blue.

"Yes, sir."

The conversation ended, Jeff turned and headed back into the dinning room.

"There's been a slight change of plans," Jeff said as he approached the table. "As I was saying, there is more to the position than what we've told you so far. The research and development position with Tracy Industries is really a cover for our other business." Jeff didn't miss the confusion and bit of curiosity which showed on Vince's face. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Somehow, revealing IR to strangers hadn't gotten any easier. "My family and I run International Rescue and we've been recruiting others to help us with that task."

Did I just hear him right? Vince asked himself. Part of him didn't want to believe what was being said. But who would try to make this up? International Rescue! I've heard the rich can be a little eccentric but really...

"Gordon and I were going to show you around the underground facilities here on the island, but a situation has come up that requires our attention," Jeff informed him. "It looks like you'll get to see us in action. If you'll follow me, please."

Gordon was already on his feet and heading out of the dining room. Speechless, Vince got to his feet too. Still trying to digest the information he had just been told, he followed Mr. Tracy from the room as an alarm started sounding throughout the villa.


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Re: Cold Front [message #888 is a reply to message #887] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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The sound of the grillwork door opening made Scott look in that direction to see his stepmother walk through. Having been in the schoolroom when the alarm went off, she was the first to arrive in the lounge.

"We got a call from a ski resort in Iceland," Scott told her, anticipating Dianne's question before she had a chance to ask it. "An avalanche has buried the lodge."

Before either of them had an opportunity to say anything, others started coming into the lounge. Scott stood up from the desk as Jeff entered behind Gordon. Vince came in behind the two of them. He did a double take as he noticed the portraits on the wall had changed. Though they still showed the same five people, the attire had changed from everyday clothes to a type of uniform.

"John's trying to find more information about the area the ski resort is in," Scott informed his father as Jeff sat down behind the desk.

Vince, meanwhile, was still trying to get past his disbelief at the whole situation. This was definitely not what he had expected when he had come on this interview. Looking for a place where he would be out of the way, the former Navy man headed over to the doors leading out onto the balcony.

"Any new information?"

"Not yet," Scott replied.

To give the others time to arrive, Jeff gave Scott his orders. With a quick acknowledgment, Scott headed toward the sconces. As he disappeared into the wall, Brains and Tin-Tin came into the lounge.

From his position, Vince blinked, eyes focused on the wall where the eldest Tracy son had vanished. I didn't just see that, he thought.

"That's what I've got so far," John said, finishing up a short report on the current conditions in the area of the ski resort. "I'm going to try to find some aerial shots of the resort. It'll give the team an idea of where everything should be."

"Good thinking," Jeff told him, as he did a quick head count. Everyone had arrived. "I'm going to bring everyone up to speed now."

"FAB."

"Thunderbird One, requesting launch clearance," Scott said over the radio.

After a quick glance at a screen, Jeff gave his eldest son permission to launch. "If you look behind you, Vince, you'll be able to see the launch," he told the potential recruit.

Vince turned to look out the window. I don't see where they could possibly launch anything from, he thought as he looked out over the pool area. It was then that he noticed a section of the pool start to move. I've seen a lot of things during my years in the service but this tops everything, he thought, as he watched the blue jet blast into the sky.

Vince watched Thunderbird One until it was out of sight, before turning his attention back to what was going on in the lounge. He listened silently as Jeff explained the situation to the people who had gathered.

"There are innocent people at the ski resort, and I'm not about to let the World Government intimidate us and stop us from rescuing them. I've already told Scott this, and now I'm telling all of you, any contact you have with the World Government personnel should be patched through base, so that I can listen in, and recorded. It looks like the politics of this mission may get sticky, but our first priority is rescuing the people trapped by the avalanche."

There were murmurs of consent throughout the room.

"Virgil, you'll pilot Two. With people known to have been outside when the avalanche occurred, I want all medical personnel on the scene. Cassie, you might be pulled between the rescue personnel and the medical personnel if the need arises."

"Yes, sir," Cassie replied, with a nod. She had been in similar situations before. When she had worked with FDNY she had been asked to help out the paramedics while out with her squad, and vice versa.

"Alan, Gordon, Elise, Callie and Brains, I want you to join them, too. Take Seven, the Excavator, the Mole, and the Firefly," Jeff told them thinking of the bigger equipment first. He paused momentarily trying to think of what else the team would need. "Also take the hover bikes and hand shovels. Oh, and make sure you have the floodlights as it's night time there."

"Mr. Tracy, I suggest we take the Laser Truck too," Brains suggested, speaking up. "Depending on what the situation is, we may need it."

Jeff considered the scientist's addition to the equipment list. "Very well. Take the Laser Truck, too," he told them, preferring to be overprepared than to find they needed something they had left behind once on site.

Vince watched the movement in the room, as people left behind went into action. He noticed one gentleman hand a little boy off to the elder Mrs. Tracy before leaving with the others. He noticed Virgil wasn't with that group, but he also wasn't in the lounge anymore.

I wonder how he left, he mused, remembering Scott's earlier vanishing act.

Tin-Tin approached Vince.

"Why don't you have a seat, Mr. Crenshaw?" the Malaysian said, indicating one of the chairs. "Until the team gets on the scene, the information we get here at base is limited."

Vince nodded and headed toward the chairs Tin-Tin had indicated. He sat down, and the young woman took a seat next to him. Dozens of questions had popped in his mind. As Mr. Tracy seemed to be busy at the desk, he turned to the dark-haired woman beside him. "Perhaps you could answer a few questions for me?"

"I'll be glad to. I'm sure what you've just witnessed was quite a bit to take in."

"That's for sure," Vince commented.

He took a moment to organize his thoughts, and then asked his first question. As Jeff gave Thunderbird Two clearance to launch, Tin-Tin patiently began to answer the potential new recruit's questions as best she could.


Note: Thanks to Icarus1982 for writing most of the parts involving Vince!


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Re: Cold Front [message #889 is a reply to message #888] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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"WGSD to International Rescue vessel currently en route to Iceland. You are ordered to return to your base. I repeat, return to your base immediately. Acknowledge."

WGSD? Scott thought, startled by the incoming transmission. I guess the WG is the World Government, but SD? I can think of a few things that could stand for. I suppose I'd better respond.

He opened the link. "This is International Rescue, Thunderbird One. Please identify yourself."

"This is the WG..." There was a pause, then, "This is the World Government, Security Division. We order you to turn back."

Oh you do, do you? "No can do, WGSD. We are on a..."

"We are fully aware of your mission and destination. You are ordered not to approach the ski resort in Iceland."

"There are people there who need help."

"We are aware of that. Some of those people are upper echelon members of a terrorist organization, the one responsible for the sabotage of a jet carrying pandas from Beijing to Santiago, Chile. If memory serves me correctly, I believe your organization rescued those pandas as well as all passengers and crew aboard the jet."

"You're correct." Scott paused. Wait a minute! He said... "But you said 'some of those people'. We were advised that your timetable for rescue was too long, and most, if not all, would be dead from asphyxiation." Immediately after his statement, he muted his end of the call, and opened a separate channel to his father, quickly apprising him of the situation.

"That is regrettable, but necessary," replied the WG agent. "This is our first opportunity to take down high ranking members of that group, and we don't intend to blow it, or let anyone blow it for us."

Jeff heard most of the agent's reply and told his son not to turn back. "I want to hear the rest of this."

Scot complied, then switched the mute off. "Your price is too high. There are approximately thirty people there, staff and guests. Of that number, there couldn't be more than six members of that group you want to catch, if that many."

"That's beside the point. If they are captured or killed, their organization would be dealt a crippling blow." There was another pause. "You have not complied with our order."

"With all due respect," which isn't much "you have no authority to order International Rescue to do anything. If you want those people, I suggest you get off your butts and have your agents there to take them into custody once we've dug them out. There are too many others at the lodge for us to even think of considering compliance."

"They aren't important."

"Really? Tell that to their families and friends. Thunderbird One out."

He terminated the transmission before the agent could reply, then said, "Well?"

"You said exactly what I would have, Scott," replied Jeff. "I presume the conversation was recorded."

"It was."

"Good. Continue on your present course and advise me when you have landed. I have a communication or two of my own to make."

"FAB."


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Re: Cold Front [message #890 is a reply to message #889] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Will was restless.

Once he'd finished helping the others load the pod, he sped up to his apartment to watch Thunderbird Two launch. He'd only gotten to see it once since he arrived on the island, and it fascinated him. He wanted to see it again. But once it was out of sight, he didn't know what to do with himself. He paced his apartment, thinking.

I wish I could talk to someone about how I feel. I wish I was with them; Brains did say I probably would occasionally have to go on rescues. But that's not what I came here to do. I'm part of the support team. Still...

He mentally went through the names of people he felt comfortable with. Most of them are en route to Iceland. Mr. Tracy is otherwise occupied; I can't interrupt him. And Luke... He shook his head. I sure hope he's going to recover completely and return someday.

He decided to head down to the repair bay. He knew that there would probably be plenty of work to do once the rescue team returned. He wanted to be sure he'd have everything ready to get started as soon as they did.

But once he arrived in the bay, he realized that there was nothing he could do to prepare; everything was in place, ready to be used. He sighed. "Damn! I need something to do; I can't just sit around, waiting."

Once again, he started pacing. Finally he remembered that after being called back from heading to the boat pen, he hadn't returned there, once he and the others had heard the news about Luke. He stopped, thinking. I can check out Gordon's new catamaran and maybe give one of the smaller craft a once-over.

Then, having made his decision, he checked to make sure he had his wristcomm on, and headed out.


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Re: Cold Front [message #891 is a reply to message #890] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Onboard Thunderbird 2, Cassie looked around at her teammates. A couple of different conversations were going on, as the crew tried to pass the time it would take to reach the ski resort. Elise had settled into the copilot's seat up front. Dianne was looking at a padd she had in front of her. Cassie didn't know what information was on it, but from what she knew about the older woman, she figured it had something to do with their upcoming mission. Dom and Callie were quietly talking but as they were across the craft, she couldn't make out what the conversation was about. Gordon, on the other hand, was talking loud enough to Alan that anyone on TB2 that wanted to listen to him would have no problem. Giving the lighthearted nature of the conversation, Cassie figured that was his intent.

Not much different from the last rescue, the former firefighter thought, thinking back to her first rescue with IR, which had occurred near the beginning of the month. Even on the way to the site, everyone has their normal actions that they fall into, just like when I was with FDNY.

That realization had a calming effect on her. It was a reminder that she wasn't totally in unfamiliar territory. Though an avalanche is definitely something I've never dealt with before.

Along with the length of the trip, being unoccupied during it was something unfamiliar, too. Cassie was realizing just how much driving the engine had helped keep her mind from wandering to other things.

"You doing okay?" Brains asked. The scientist's question brought Cassie out of her thoughts.

"Yeah. Just thinking about things," Cassie replied, glancing over at him in the seat beside her.

"Feeling nervous?"

"A little, though not as much as the first time."

Brains nodded. As neither of them could think of anything else to say, they fell silent. Hearing her name mentioned, Cassie tuned into what Gordon was saying. The two youngest Tracy boys were currently telling Nikki about the pool game they had challenged Scott and Cassie to a little over a week ago.

Cassie leaned back in her seat, deciding to use the flight to Iceland as a chance to relax before the rescue. Once they got to the rescue site, they would all be busy.


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Re: Cold Front [message #892 is a reply to message #891] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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At the ski patrol headquarters at the foot of the Jon Oddur and Jon Bjarni runs, Pala Tomasson, evening supervisor for the Bláfjöll Ski Resort Ski Patrol, ended a conversation with resort manager. The fact that the main lodge was buried was not good news. However, Tomasson and her fellow ski patrol members couldn't do anything to help them at this point. Their concern right now were the people that had been on the slopes when the avalanche had occurred.

Three of the five lift operators had responded to her call for their status. They were fine and one of the missing guests was accounted for at one station. However, the lift operators for two lifts on the slope where the avalanche had occurred had not responded. Tomasson had to assume that they were buried. That meant at least two employees who were on duty there were trapped. Those two, along with her two patrol members who weren't responding and the four other missing guests, put the count of missing people at eight.

"We're ready," Gunnar Magnusson, a member of the ski patrol, said, bringing his supervisor out of her thoughts.

Pala turned from the notes she had been taking to see Gunnar standing with three other members of the ski patrol. Karl Kotlum, one of the lift operators, was with them. Giving the situation, they could use the extra help, so when Karl had volunteered to lend a hand with the search, Pala hadn't turned him down.

"Good," Pala replied. "I want everyone to stay in contact. We don't need to lose anyone else. Mr. Andresson informs me that International Rescue is on their way but it'll take time for them to get here."

"What about local rescue teams?" Gunnar asked.

"The World Government called them off. Until IR gets here, we're on our own."

Several of the ski patrol members cursed softly.

"Pala, I got a hold of Jokul and Leifur. They're on their way to give any assistance they can," Katla said, from the doorway. The lift operator had been trying to call in members of the ski patrol who had been off.

"Good," the supervisor responded. She turned back to her search group. She assigned them areas to cover and sent them off.

Now there wasn't much more she could do right now other than wait.


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Re: Cold Front [message #893 is a reply to message #892] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Onboard Thunderbird 5 . . .

"There we go," John said out loud as he was finally able to bring up a recent aerial shot of the ski resort. The picture was still a little over a year old, but it was the most recent shot he had located. A chat with Mr. Andresson will tell me if there has been any recent renovations.

"International Rescue to Bláfjöll Ski Resort."

John waited a few moments for a reply. When one didn't come, he tried the resort again.

"International Rescue this is Bláfjöll Ski Resort," the manager replied finally. "Please don't tell me your organization isn't coming after all." The desperation in the man's voice was evident.

"Relax. Our ships are both en route," John assured the man. "Is everything okay down there? It took awhile for you to respond."

"The situation is about the same here at the lodge. My staff is trying to keep our guests calm. I was talking to the ski patrol supervisor. We were exchanging information."

Ski patrol. He didn't mention them before. Wonder if they were in his original count? Only one way to find out.

"Were the members of the ski patrol in the original count of people at the resort you gave me?" John asked.

John listened to the manager's answer making notes. After a few more questions, John had a better idea of what Scott and the others were heading into. He was also able to determine that no new structures had been added to the resort in the past two years, so the picture he had found would give them an accurate layout of the resort. Ending his conversation with the resort manager, the space monitor's next task was to update his elder brother of the situation at the resort.

"Thunderbird One from Thunderbird Five."

"Thunderbird One here."

"I was able to locate an aerial shot of the resort. You'll have a layout of the grounds when you get there."

"That's good to know," Scott replied, even though he knew that pinpointing things underneath the snow wasn't going to be easy even with the map.

"I've also have an updated headcount for the resort. The manager hadn't included his lift operators or ski patrol in his original count of the number of staff on hand. Seems they only had five lifts running at the time. The ski patrol supervisor reports that the two main lift operators are not responding. Chances are they were buried in the avalanche, too. One of the missing guests is reported to be at one of the unaffected lift stations. That leaves four guests unaccounted for. Along with the two lift operators, two ski patrol members are MIA. With the two missing staff members from the lodge, that leaves six staff unaccounted for and four guests. The ski patrol is beginning a search of the slopes for people who were caught up in the avalanche."

"Copy that, Thunderbird Five," Scott replied. It was a relief to know that a search had been started. Chances were that IR would not be able to reach the area in time to help possible survivors on the slopes. Time was limited for anyone who had been caught up in the avalanche itself. "Where is the ski patrol supervisor located?"

"Ski patrol headquarters is located in the lift station at the bottom of the run off to the east of the lodge. They are unaffected by the avalanche."

"Can you try to patch me through to them?" Scott asked, wanting to talk to the supervisor himself.

"Stand by, and I'll give it a try," John replied. He closed the connection with his brother and contacted the ski resort once again.


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Re: Cold Front [message #894 is a reply to message #893] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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9.35pm local time...

Scott's brow furrowed as his eyes roved over the scans of the ski resort area. He quickly identified the best places to land the Thunderbird craft and relayed the appropriate co-ordinates to Virgil in Thunderbird Two. He then turned his deft hands to the controls and brought his own craft in to land. The great silver rocket landed gently on the snow, its landing jets causing some it is to melt instantly and flow off down the small incline. Hmm. I hope we don't cause too much more of that, he thought. We don't want to start a flood as well.

He called up the aerial shot once more and made a few quick calculations of distance in his head. All right, he thought. As soon as Virgil and the crew arrive we'll get straight to action. I know he'll fly as fast as possible, but I wish he could get here sooner...

Scott unbuckled himself from the pilot's chair and collected his few belongings before heading quickly to the hatch and out into the snowy weather to liaise further with the staff.

xxxx

11.17pm local time...

"Mobile Control from Thunderbird Two."

"Mobile Control here. What's the story, Thunderbird Two?"

"ETA two and one half minutes," Virgil said as he brought the huge green craft around on final approach. "Will land at the co-ordinates and immediately deploy equipment."

"Is everyone clear on their assignments?"

"Briefed and double briefed, Mobile Control," Virgil replied, before adding, "and raring to go."

"FAB. Get those lights up ASAP. We can't see a damn thing here. And be careful with your VTOLs. Turn them off as soon as you can; we don't want to melt too much snow or start another avalanche."

"FAB. Thunderbird Two out."

Virgil glanced at the radar screen and nodded as the great craft reached the landing co-ordinates. He looked over his shoulder briefly.

"I'm going to shut the jets when we're about half a meter above ground, so there might be a slight bump."

"Nothing different than usual, then," Gordon said, winking at Alan.

"I'll throw you out at about ten meters if you aren't careful," Virgil joked.

The laughter in the cabin broke the rising tension, and the crew braced themselves for the impact.

"Cutting engines," Virgil said.

Several hands gripped tighter on the seats as Thunderbird Two dropped the last half a meter. They shook slightly at the force, but it was forgotten in an instant as the crew unbuckled themselves and waited for the go-ahead. Virgil stood up and clapped his hands.

"All right people, first we get the flood lights up and then we get to work rescuing the trapped. Doc, Angel and Tynan, go straight down to Thunderbird Seven and get ready there. The rest of us will get the lights."

"FAB," Dianne said, and immediately she and her crew departed for the pod.

"Okay, let's get to it," Gordon said, and led the way to the equipment.

It wasn't long before the dark Iceland night was illuminated by the brightness of International Rescue's presence, and the hard work could begin.



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Re: Cold Front [message #895 is a reply to message #894] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
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Dominic buckled himself in as Dianne carefully manoeuvred Thunderbird Seven out of the pod. He watched as the bright spotlights lit up the entire area so much that TB7's headlights didn't make any difference. He sighed quietly and stared forwards, bracing himself for what might come. Pneumonia, frostbite, asphyxia, broken bones... Nothing as bad as what they had experienced before on rescues.

I wish Luke were here, he thought. I'm sure Rom would come in useful, too. Though I remember that lecture Luke gave me over beer one night. 'He's a search and rescue dog, not an avalanche dog. Man, you don't know anything, do you, Kelly?' Dom felt a tiny smile flicker on his lips. I hope he's okay. I can't believe he got shot. Shot. I also can't believe how bad I took the news. It was almost as bad as when Mags told me she was leaving me. That...grief. I've never had that with anyone before. I know we didn't know each other for very long, but I felt almost like he was my best friend...or something more? Dom shook himself from his thoughts. It really was not the time for them. Instead, he turned to Nikki and nodded.

"Ready, Angel?" he asked, forcing a smile onto his face.

"As always, Tynan," she replied, a little confusion in her eyes.

Dominic shook his head almost imperceptibly.

"Glad to hear it, guys," Dianne said, missing the exchange of glances due to piloting the craft. "It's going to be a long one."


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Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Karma: 2
Field Commander
Switzerland

The familiar rumble of engines sounded, directing Scott's attention toward the spot where Thunderbird Two was parked. He frowned when he saw the headlights of the Mole as it left the pod.

He glanced at Alan, who had come up beside him, the idling hulk of the Firefly brightly lit by the floodlights they had set up.

"Why the hell did the Commander tell you to bring the Mole?" he asked. "He should know that thing will have no traction in the snow. And there's no way to get it to ground level from the trolley."

Alan shrugged. "I dunno. Maybe he thought we'd have to go in under the building." He made a swooping gesture with his gloved hands.

Scott thought about this for a moment, then shook his head. "I don't think that's an option in this case." He sighed. "It's probably better if Van Gogh leaves it here and helps out with something else. I'll brief everyone as soon as..."

He was interrupted by the skiing form of Pala Tomasson, who came to a stop a few yards away. Scott went out to meet her.

"What's the situation on the slopes?" he asked.

"Not good. We have located three of the missing guests from their avalanche locators and are digging them out, but it will take too long to get them off the mountain..." She glanced over at Thunderbird Seven. "Unless perhaps..."

"Unless perhaps Thunderbird Seven here can go to them," Dianne said, finishing the other woman's thought. She glanced at Scott. "We're the best ones to go. Seven is both fast and quiet."

"I can give you the frequency the avalanche beepers use, and tell you which victims have already been dug out," Pala offered.

Scott returned to the Penelar tent where Mobile Control was set up, indicating that Pala should follow. "Give the coordinates to me and I'll relay them. I'm going to need a general idea of where things are at the lodge." He turned to Dianne. "Better get going, Doc."

"F-A-B." Dianne sketched a sloppy salute and headed into Seven's cab. The hovercraft lifted off the ground a moment later, scattering snow with a hiss.

Alan gave Scott a wave and headed back to the Firefly. Once inside the warmed tent, Scott called each of the pod vehicles outside. "Firefly, Excavator, Laser Truck, and Mole from Mobile Control." When he had acknowledgments from everyone, he brought up the aerial pictures that John took and displayed them on one of Mobile Control's screens. The other vehicles each received a transmission of the same picture, and he changed his mode of communication to an all-call. "Here's an overview of the resort." He used a stylus to indicate a rather largish lump down the hill from where they were. "I'm guessing this is the lodge?" The stylus marks showed up in the transmitted data.

Pala nodded. "Yes, that is the lodge."

"Where would the parking lot be?"

She took the stylus from him and circled an area directly next to the large lump. "Many of the skiers do not stay at the lodge itself, but come for a day. This is where they would park. There should be few cars here; most of the night skiers would stay at the lodge." She circled another spot, perpendicular to the first. "This looks like the front of the lodge and is where the lodge guests would park. They would be as close to the building as they could."

"That will make things difficult," Scott said.

"Especially if you want to use the Firefly as a snowplow," Alan said, his voice sounding out over Mobile Control's speakers

"The imager will give us a better idea of where the cars are," Brains said, adding his opinion to the impromptu conference call. "I should think we might be able to plow between the cars and the buildings."

"If we can't," Scott said, his face grim, "we plow the cars out of the way."

There was a moment of silence, then Pala spoke up. "There is one more lot, here." She circled a spot on the other side of her first, between where they were and the lump of the lodge. "Some of the staff, especially the lodge staff, park their vehicles here. So do those who ski cross-country. They then take the lift to this level."

Another voice cut into the transmission. "Mobile Control from Thunderbird Seven." It was Nikki's voice that called. "We need those coordinates."

Scott touched his earpiece. "F-A-B, Thunderbird Seven." He touched it again, and handed the main microphone to Pala. "Here's the ski patrol, with the coordinates."

As Pala spoke into the mike, Scott continued speaking to his people. "Einstein, we're going to need some images of the lodge here on the ground. Take the Laser Truck down and get them for us, and transmit them to the Firefly, Excavator, and Mobile Control. Indy, you take the Firefly and see what you can do to plow an area clear for the Excavator behind the lodge. When you're done with that, do what you can to get the Laser Truck in close at the front. Cousteau, take the Excavator and get to those doors. Indy, make sure Jade is on standby for whichever team gets through first; she can help triage any casualties."

"What do you want me to do, Maverick?" Virgil asked, his tone impatient.

"The Mole can't function in the snow, Van Gogh. So I want you and Frankie to grab a couple of hover jets and see what you can do to help the ski patrol on the slopes. I'll let you know if I have any other ideas."

Virgil huffed out a breath that sounded loud in Scott's ear. "If the Mole can't function in snow, then why did the Commander tell us to take it?"

"Maybe he thought we'd have to go under the building," Gordon said. Scott could almost see him making a swooping motion with this gloved hands.

"Maybe we should do that," Virgil countered.

Brains spoke up. "Not a good idea. We couldn't get it up close enough for the guests to access the Mole's chassis without taking the building apart, and we'd have to make more than one trip to get all the guests out. Going in at ground level is a better idea."

Scott stopped the discussion before it went any further. "You have your orders. Get moving."

Pala jumped a little at the sound of so many engines revving up. One by one, the pod vehicles headed downhill, following the tow lift lines toward the lodge. Only the Mole's engine moved back toward the pod, making deeper impressions in the snow as the caterpillar tracks reversed direction.

Scott gave Pala a grim smile. "Now things get interesting."


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Re: Cold Front [message #898 is a reply to message #896] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
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Field Commander
Switzerland

"I demand to be in the first group to leave this place!"

"Mr. Hightower, you are not injured in any physical way. Those who need medical attention will be taken out first. They are our prime concern. Once they are out, you will, of course, be free to leave."

Once Ragnar Andresson had been assured that International Rescue was on the way, he'd had his personnel bring all the blankets they could lay their hands on into the lounge, to be handed out to everyone. Some of them had already moved as much of the furniture as possible into what appeared to be the safest part of the room, well away from the windows. Others had brought the guests to the area, settling those who were injured on the sofas and in chairs, then the rest of the guests carefully joined them.

There were a few grumbles when the staff finally joined the guests, but they were stopped quickly when Ragnar told the grumblers that they were free to sit elsewhere - if they didn't mind hypothermia. "Now, I suggest that everyone stay close together to conserve body heat, and try to relax as much as possible, so we don't use the oxygen up too fast," he added.

That's when Jacques made his statement. The manager's response did not endear him to the man. Nor did another remark made a moment later, as he started to speak again.

"Mr. Hightower, you might as well quit while you're behind. You may be richer than some of us, but you aren't better than any of us, and you certainly don't deserve any more privileges."

He glanced over to the speaker, to see that it was a woman in her late twenties, who was gazing at him with disapproval. "Young woman, it is none of your concern. My business is with..."

"We are all in this together, if you hadn't noticed. And what appears to be for once in your life, it isn't about you and only you. I heard what you said to the manager earlier. That comment about him hearing from your solicitors was probably the single most stupid comment I've heard in a long time. If he couldn't get through to anyone, how would you be able to contact them? And what difference would it make anyway? We'd all be dead."

"Fortunately, I was able to get through," interposed the manager, "and we won't die, thanks to International Rescue. Now I suggest we all stop talking, conserve oxygen, and wait."


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Re: Cold Front [message #899 is a reply to message #898] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Karma: 2
Field Commander
Switzerland

With Alan behind the controls and Cassie beside him, the Firefly made its way down the mountain toward the lodge. Brains had taking the Laser Truck ahead of the rest of the vehicles to get the survey of the area with the imager done.

"Firefly from Laser Truck," came Brain's voice over the radio.

"Firefly here. Go ahead," Cassie replied.

"I'm transmitting information from the scans. It appears as if there will be room to get the Firefly to the lodge without needing to move any cars out of the way."

"FAB," Cassie responding. It wasn't long before the information gathered by the imager appeared on the screen in the Firefly. "Transmission received. I see the area you're talking about. We're continuing our approach to the lodge. Firefly out."

Using the information provided from the scans, Cassie gave directions to Alan. Eventually, Alan reached the back of the buried lodge. Brains had followed the Firefly and was sending the group updated scans now that they were closer to the lodge. Alan began to clear away enough snow for the Excavator to start their part of the excavation process.

"Excavator from Firefly," Alan said, opening a link.

"I copy you. Go ahead," came Gordon's response over the radio.

"We've done what we can here. It's your turn," Alan replied.

"Copy that. We're ready. Excavator out."

"Mobile Control from Indy."

"Go ahead, Indy," came Scott's prompt response.

"We're done in the back and the Excavator is ready to take over. I'm now heading the Firefly around front. "

"Copy that. Jade still with you?"

"Still here, Maverick," Cassie replied. At her feet sat the medical bag she and Dianne had put together back on the island. It contained most of the same things that the bags the FDNY paramedics used plus some things they hadn't had access to. "I'll keep relaying directions to Indy until we're almost inside the lodge and then join whichever group has gain entry."

"Understood. Mobile Control out."


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Re: Cold Front [message #900 is a reply to message #899] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Karma: 2
Field Commander
Switzerland

"Ms. Tomasson?"

The ski patrol supervisor, who had started to leave, but stopped at the entrance, turned to Scott and said, "Call me Pala. It'll save time."

Amusement flickered briefly in his eyes, then he focused on the reason he spoke to her. "I'm worried that, although we'll try to do our job quietly, we might set off another avalanche. How likely is that possibility, and would it hit in this area if one did start?"

"That is a good question, and one I was thinking about earlier. Unfortunately with the lights at the ski runs out, we can't go up and check, especially since the lifts are also out. But, from looking at pictures, charts and maps, plus personal experience, I would say that the odds are good that there wouldn't be one.

"Actually, I suspect that what happened is this: the snow -- which, incidentally wasn't supposed to hit this area, according to the weather forecasters -- got too heavy for one of the snow ledges near the top of the runs. It cracked the ice, allowing the snow to head downhill. The contours of the run and the mountain caused it to hit another ledge, causing it to break and hit a third, then a fourth and a fifth. Of course it grew, and eventually picked up speed. The rest, you know."

"Why didn't you break up the ledges before now?"

"We couldn't at the time they were located. We were planning to do just that tomorrow. And, as I mentioned earlier, we weren't expecting to get this much snow. We were told it would head north before it got near us, that the most we could expect were a few flurries. Shows how much those damned forecasters know," she added scornfully. Then she glanced outside, cocking a weather eye up at the sky. "Fortunately, it's tapering off. And though there are a few other ledges up there, they are in different areas and any of them breaking off won't hit more than one other one, and go in other directions that won't be dangerous to anyone at this point."

"That's good to know. Thanks for the information."

She smiled and nodded, then left as he turned back to Mobile Control.


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Re: Cold Front [message #901 is a reply to message #900] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Karma: 2
Field Commander
Switzerland

"We have everything ready? Dom? Nikki?" Dianne asked.

"We're nearing the first set of coordinates," Nikki responded from her place in the control cabin.

"I've got my snow gear on." Dom gave Dianne a quizzical look. "First day jitters, Doc?"

Dianne chuckled and smiled. "I guess you could say that." She glanced around the cabin -- so familiar, yet somehow, new as well. "It feels good to be really back in the saddle."

"It does at that, Doc. It does at that," Dom said, a grin lighting up his face.

"We've reached the first coordinates, and I'm told we have a live one," Nikki said, her voice coming from the control cabin. "I'm keying on the outside lights."

"Keep us afloat and steady, Angel. We'll be back in a flash." Dianne pressed a button and half of the double doors slid aside. Dom jumped out into the night, making the shielding that kept heat inside the treatment cabin flare with a blue shimmer. The wide base of his snow boots kept him from falling more than six inches into the snow. He turned and reached up for the antigravity stretcher. Dianne handed it through the field, settled her medical pack more comfortably on her shoulders, and took the plunge.

xxxx

"Van Gogh to Mobile Control." Virgil checked the controls on his hover bike, and threw a grin at Elise, who was pulling hers to the pod's entrance.

"Mobile Control here, Van Gogh. What's your status?"

Virgil adjusted his earpiece, fitting it more snugly in place and covering it with the thin, insulated flap of his winter hat. "We're ready to set out. Do you have coordinates for us?"

"Here are the coordinates of one of the victims. The Ski Patrol is heading there now, but they could use your help."

"F-A-B. We're on our way. Van Gogh, out."

"Virgil?" Now it was Elise's voice that rang in his ear. "I'm having a little trouble adjusting my visor to night vision..."

He waved her up to his side, and he gently took the visor from her face. The snow was still swirling down, and in the lights of Thunderbird Two's underbelly, he watched a few flakes attach themselves to her eyelashes. It held him mesmerized for a moment, until Elise reached out a hand and, her tone concerned, said, "Virgil? Are you all right?"

He cleared his throat. "Yeah. I'm fine. Let me see here..." He fiddled with the adjustment buttons, peering through the visor to see the telltales that indicated which setting it was on. When the appropriate tiny blue light came on, he smiled and handed them back. "Is this okay?"

She slid them on over her eyes, reconnecting them to the earpiece. "Perfect. Thanks."

"You're welcome. Let's go."

They started off across the snow, pacing each other as they headed up the slope toward their destination. He glanced at the pack strapped behind her. "You have the thermic lances?"

"Yes, though I've never used them before."

"Hm. Training on some of our smaller devices might be in order after this." He looked thoughtful for a moment, then said, "You've use the thermal imager before. Why don't you use that, while I use the lances?"

"Sounds good."

Virgil nodded, then turned his attention to the snowy slopes ahead. They passed Thunderbird Seven, where Dom and Dianne where lifting their patient into the treatment cabin. And while one part of his mind was concerned with what they would do when they arrived at their destination, another, quiet part was storing up the image of the snow-brushed lashes and the green eyes they shaded for a later, more suitable time.


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Re: Cold Front [message #902 is a reply to message #901] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Karma: 2
Field Commander
Switzerland

Bundled in his winter coat, gloves, hat and scarf, Ragnar Andresson left his office once again. He had used the radio there to check on the rescue progress outside. The report of at least one survivor up on the slopes had lifted his spirits some. However, his relief at that news and being told that the excavation of the lodge had begun was tempered by the reality of the cold and the dwindling supply of oxygen. The manager could only hope it would last long enough for the International Rescue agents outside to dig their way into the lodge.

Reaching the lounge, Ragnar saw that not much had changed. The guests and staff were still huddled in the same places they'd been when he had left the room. Though still sulking, Mr. Hightower was seated on the edge of the group, the look on his face saying he still didn't like the position he was in.

I have a feeling we'll be hearing about how unpleasant his stay was once this is all over, Ragnar thought to himself, walking toward the group. He had dealt with some unpleasant customers since taking over as manager of the resort, but after his earlier display, Mr. Hightower was definitely at the top of that list.

His footsteps echoed on the floor as he made his way across the lounge. Other than a few crying kids and their mothers' soft words of comfort, the room was silent. Reaching the group huddled together in the center of the room, Ragnar took a few moments to check on some of the guests.

"Sir, any word about those who were on the slope?" asked a woman rocking her five-year-old daughter who she held in her arms. The little girl had suffered an asthma attack earlier, but seemed to be doing better.

Ragnar tried to recall the woman's name but it wouldn't come. He did remember that her husband had been one of the skiers possibly caught up in the avalanche.

"They've found some survivors but there is no word on who they are. I wish I could tell you more."

"Eric will be fine. He's been skiing for years," the woman said, trying to make the words sound confident.

"I'm sure you're right," Mr. Andresson told her, resting a hand briefly on her shoulder. He wished he could give her more reassurance than that but he also didn't want to give her false hopes. Just as with them, time was something that those on the slopes only had a limited amount of.


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Re: Cold Front [message #903 is a reply to message #902] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Karma: 2
Field Commander
Switzerland

Gordon drove the Excavator while Callie looked over the image of the area. "We should be approaching the back of the lodge any second now," she said.

"F-A-B. I'm ready to start making this snow disappear. Too bad we can't just snap our fingers."

"You'd have to take your glove off to do that," she retorted, "and your fingers would freeze together."

"True, but it'd make our job here a whole lot easier."

"I know, but we've got the next best thing right now." After another minute, she nodded. "Okay, we're in position. Prepare for snow removal."

"All right." Gordon activated the maw, which quickly started removing the snow the back. "Snow's a lot faster to get rid of than debris."

"That's for sure. Good news is the sensors don't show any obstacles that could cause problems."

"Yeah, the last thing we need is to hit something that could cause the maw to be completely ineffective. Besides, Cassie's probably getting impatient to do something. The sooner we get done, the quicker she can get inside and check on the injured."

"F-A-B." Checking the monitors, she observed the distance from the back entrance. "We're within ten feet right now. We should stop within about three feet, right?"

"Check. Just a little more time, and we'll dig the rest of the way. That won't take long."

Callie smiled as she kept her eye on the monitor. Soon, the monitors showed they reached their goal. "Okay, Gordon, you can stop now. We're three feet away from the door."

"Then let's get out there and start digging. With the falling temperatures, we'll need the special shovels."

"Special shovels?" she asked curiously.

"Yeah. Brains developed shovels that can cut through snow like it was heated. We'll get through the snow in about 20 minutes."

"That's...awesome," she gasped. "They feel so light, too." She noticed the heat packs in the locker. "Gordon, want some for your hands?"

"You bet. Grab some for yourself, too. Think you can handle this kind of cold?"

"I survived a couple of Russian winters in the WSA. Let's get going."

They got outside and started digging through.

"A diameter of about four feet should be enough, don't you think?" she asked.

"I agree. That should be enough room to move people in and out of the lodge."

The pair started digging, and the shovels did exactly the task they were supposed to do.

Callie smiled. "We're at the door."

"Great! Contact Scott and let him know we can get inside now."

Pressing a button, she spoke into the microphone. "Mobile Control from Excavator."

Scott heard her confident voice. "Go ahead, Excavator. What's your status?"

"Our part of the mission's completed. The back entrance is safe for us to enter."

"F-A-B, Excavator. I'll let Jade know right away, since she and Indy are just about done in the Firefly. Come on back to Mobile Control and be ready to help out in other areas."

"On our way, Mobile Control. Out." She turned to Gordon. "Let's get out of here."

"All right. I'm just glad we didn't hit any sports cars. Can you imagine someone telling his insurance agent, 'My car was destroyed by International Rescue's Excavator'?"

"I don't think that agent would believe a word. He'd have to face much higher premiums."

The pair shared a laugh as the Excavator moved away from the area.[/size]


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Re: Cold Front [message #904 is a reply to message #903] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Karma: 2
Field Commander
Switzerland

[i]
On Tracy Island . . .

"Jade from Mobile Control."

"I read you Mobile Control. Go ahead."

"The back of the lodge is cleared. You can begin the triage in the lodge."


As he had since the rescue began, Vince listened to the radio conversations among the International Rescue members. Though he had heard about many of rescues they had performed over the year, had even watched part of Ned Cook's program on them, this was definitely the most detail he had ever gotten about their activities.

It's definitely more nerve wracking to sit here and listen to things unfold than any of the missions I went on while in the Navy, Vince thought. He found him looking at Jeff Tracy, sitting behind his desk, and wondered if the older gentleman felt the same way.

Footsteps made him look toward the grillwork door, to see Kyrano walk into the lounge.

"I just wanted to let you all know that we are just about done preparing lunch. I will bring it up to you as soon as it's ready, Mr. Tracy."

"Thank-you, Kyrano," Jeff replied, most of his attention still on the information he was receiving from Iceland.

Kyrano turned his attention to his daughter and their guest. "Will the two of you be coming downstairs or should I bring you something, too?"

Tin-Tin glanced over at Vince. "It's up to you."

Vince thought it over a moment. He could definitely use an excuse to stretch his legs. Not to mention he had some questions he'd like to ask, but at the same time he didn't want to disturb Mr. Tracy.

"I think I'd prefer to eat downstairs."

Tin-Tin nodded as she got to her feet. Following her lead, Vince stood up. The two of them followed Kyrano out of the lounge and downstairs.

Jeff had taken the time to explain things a little more while the team had been en route to Iceland. He had explained to Vince that the job with Tracy Industries was a cover for a position with International Rescue. More specifically, he'd be the team's second aquanaut, and be trained on Thunderbird 4 as well as receiving training to be a back-up pilot for Thunderbird 1.

That news had surprised him just as much as finding out the Tracy family was behind International Rescue. He had gone job hunting looking for something more interesting than running a dive shop. He had definitely found something. The question was: could he realistically consider taking the offer with his family to think about?

"Would you mind answering some questions during lunch?" he asked Tin-Tin as the two made their way down the stairs.

"Of course not," Tin-Tin replied, not at all surprised by the request.

The three reached the dining room. Vince and Tin-Tin found seats at the table with the remaining members of the Tracy family as Kyrano headed for the kitchen.

I chose not to rejoin the Navy because I didn't want my career responsibilities to take me away from seeing Lea grow up, Vince thought as Jenny started bringing the food out from the kitchen. I need to be sure joining IR won't lead to the same thing.

Vince waited until they had started to eat before asking Tin-Tin the questions that had currently come to mind, among them being how much time was put into training, and on an average how many rescues they received.



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Re: Cold Front [message #905 is a reply to message #904] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
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Field Commander
Switzerland

"Thunderbird Seven from Mobile Control."

Nikki, who was monitoring their two patients, answered Scott's call. "Thunderbird Seven here. How can we help, Maverick?"

"The Excavator team has reached the lodge, and Jade is standing by to start triage. But she shouldn't be alone. Can you spare someone to work with her?"

Nikki muted her mike and shot a glance toward the surgical bay. "Did you hear that, Doc?"

"Yes, I heard." Dianne looked up at Dom, who was washing his hands. "Tynan looks like he could use a change of scenery." Dom gave her a questioning look, but Dianne continued. "Tell Maverick we'll have Van Gogh give him a lift down when he and Frankie arrive with their last find." She paused, then added, "We'll be down as soon as we have this group stabilized."

"F-A-B." Nikki touched her earpiece again. "Mobile Control from Angel. Dom will join Jade for triage duties. He'll hitch a ride with Van Gogh when he and Frankie return from the slopes."

"F-A-B. Mobile Control out." Scott made a mental note of the personnel changes. Then he tweaked his broadcast to let Virgil know of the new orders.

As soon as Scott had signed out, another voice was heard. "Thunderbird Seven from Van Gogh. We've got another live one for you."

"We're ready for them," Nikki replied as she moved over to the door. With the touch of a button, the door slid aside, showing the floodlighted figures of Virgil and Elise. Virgil was already off his hoverbike, and helping to uncouple the anti-gravity stretcher from Elise's vehicle. After they brought their first victim down the mountain and Elise saw the nurses wrestle him onto the stretcher, she'd gotten the bright idea of coupling a stretcher to the back of a hoverbike. A quick consult with Brains to see if there was anything to hinder the use, and an equally quick scavenge through the medical supplies to find something sturdy enough for a link, and they were good to go. It meant a slightly slower ride, and that they rode their bikes single file, but it speeded up the turnaround time immensely.

"I've got this one," Nikki said as she jumped out into the snow. "You'd best grab a medikit, Tynan."

"I got the heads up from Mobile Control." Virgil got back on his bike as Dom jumped down, medikit slung across his back. "Frankie, maybe you should take a break and warm up."

"A good idea." Dianne came to the doorway after having settled her last surgical patient into a monitor bed. "Warm up and wait for your partner. No one is to go it alone."

"F-A-B, Doc." Elise said with a jaunty salute. She glanced around. "Where should I put the hover bike?"

"Just leave it beside the cockpit," Dianne counseled. "I don't think it would be stolen. If we have to move Seven up slope or down then you can hop back on and come with us."

"We're off!" called Virgil, giving the medical crew a salute. As he sped off, they could hear a surprised and delighted, "Whoop!" from Dom, who sat behind him.

"Well, add another speed demon to the family roster," Dianne muttered as she guided the stretcher into the surgical cabin. Nikki snorted a laugh, and showed Elise to the cockpit.



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Re: Cold Front [message #906 is a reply to message #905] Wed, 25 July 2012 17:48 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
artisticrainey is currently offline  artisticrainey
Messages: 1228
Registered: July 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Karma: 2
Field Commander
Switzerland

Brains had the Laser truck's beam set on the broadest width, but even with that, he knew it would still take time to make a tunnel through the last few feet. He had set it to hollow out the snow two feet in, and moved it in a circle, to widen the tunnel as well as broaden it. Fortunately, instead of simply melting the snow, he was able to heat it to a steam. He didn't need water running toward him, and possibly causing the Laser Truck to lose traction. The steam did melt some of the snow, but not enough to do what he'd feared.

It was half an hour before his sensors told him that he was within an inch of the door. The tunnel was six feet high and three feet wide. That's enough to walk through, only slightly bent over for anyone. And the medical team will be able to bring the antigravity stretchers in and out with little trouble. "Mobile Control from Laser Truck."

"Go ahead, Einstein."

"The tunnel is complete to an inch from the door. And -- wait a minute," He looked into the tunnel one more time. "Correction. The door is exposed. My last pass must have melted the snow enough to be able to get it open with minimal trouble.

"F-A-B, Einstein. We're waiting for Tynan to arrive and..." Scott was interrupted by the sound of vehicles approaching the area. "Well, well. It looks like the World Government was able to send its security agents in time after all. Go ahead and take the Laser Truck back to the pod, so we can start the next phase of the rescue."

F-A-B, Maverick. On my way."


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