International Rescue: The Next Phase


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Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1971] Sat, 28 July 2012 21:35 Go to next message
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From: Tikatu (Original Message) Sent: 7/7/2006 9:31 PM

As the end of July and the month of August are in sight, many comings and goings will force changes on the International Rescue crew. A new member will be considered, and an old one will come under fire from an unexpected threat, as enemies attempt to gain inroads to the family and its business. A momentous decision will be made, with far reaching consequences for both the present and the future. Friendships will deepen, and wounds - both emotional and physical - will heal. Life will seem to have settled into a comfortable groove... until a day arrives that will test International Rescue and the Tracy family to their limits.


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Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1973 is a reply to message #1971] Sat, 28 July 2012 21:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Hobbeth Sent: 7/8/2006 11:17 AM

July 18, 11:30 PM; Tracy Island

"Does anyone have anything to add to this debriefing?" Jeff asked as it wound down. They were at the dining room table, having dinner. Those who had been on the rescue either said, "No", or shook their heads. Brandon, Elise and Kat had joined the group, wanting to know what had happened. They looked stunned to hear that the Hood had been involved.

"All right. Then we are done here. Finish your meal, then get some sleep." He got up and pushed his chair back up to the table. "Scott and Kat, will you come with me?"

The young mechanic looked startled, then apprehensive, but stood up and followed Jeff and his son out of the room. When they arrived in the lounge, Jeff said to Scott, "Please go and wait in the study. I want to talk to Kat first, in private."

Scott agreed and went into the other room, closing the door behind him. Jeff went over to his desk and sat down, not looking at her. Instead he turned on his computer and brought up a file. She moved to stand in front of him, and nervously waited.

He sat back a few minutes later and looked up at her. "Kat, tell me about the jet pack. I understand that it was the one Gordon 'altered'. According to the maintenance logs," he gestured to his monitor, "it was brought back and you did the repairs on it. As far as I can tell, it hasn't been used since, until this rescue. Is that correct?"

"I-I." She closed her mouth and swallowed hard. "Yes, it is."
And did you test fly it?"

"I-um. . . Oh wait! Yes. Some time later, when Brains was there, I did take it up and brought it back down. It seemed to be working fine."

Jeff frowned, puzzled. "What did you have to do to fix it?"

Kat thought back. "Let's see; Gordon had attached a receiver to the control panel, so he could fly it using a remote control device. I removed the receiver, and made sure there were no loose wires."

"Anything else?"

There was a pause. "No, sir."

"I realize you had never worked on one prior to that day. Did you have the manual with you when you worked on it?"

"Yes, of course."

He sighed. "Kat, the maintenance of the vehicles and equipment are your area of expertise. You should have checked more thoroughly to make sure nothing else in the pack had been affected. This problem should never have happened.

"Now I realize that Brains has been working with you to some extent, but he has many other tasks on his plate. You are here to take over this part of the work from him. Am I to assume from this incident that you aren't up to the job?"

She was shocked. "No, sir. I can do it!"

"Then you must constantly keep in the back of your mind the fact that our equipment has to be in top repair at all times. This includes testing whatever you have repaired. The lives of everyone on a rescue can depend on it." He leaned forward. "Kat, Gordon could have been seriously injured. In fact, I'm having Dianne check him over. You remember that he hurt his back a few months ago, during that Tower Bridge rescue?" She nodded. "That was the second time. His first back injury was an extremely serious one. He has come back from both very well, but he is more vulnerable than usual because of it."

Kat felt shaky. She realized that Jeff was right; she hadn't been thorough, and she was responsible for what had happened. Jeff watched her, his stern expression never changing.

"Sir, I take full responsibility. It will never happen again."

"It had better not. I give only one warning. But I can't just overlook what happened; I haven't before now, and I must be consistent." He sat back, considering his options. Finally he said, "I am taking into account the probability that you had never worked on equipment of that type before, although I presume you had the manual with you at that time. Therefore I'm going to rectify that situation. Starting tomorrow, in addition to your already scheduled work, you will completely take apart that jet pack, repair it, put it back together, and test it. You will also fully check over and test the other packs, as well. And you will do this without anyone's help. I expect all the jet packs to be fully functional by the end of the week. Today is Wednesday. You have until Saturday."

"Without any help? Does that include instruction manuals?"

"No, of course not. I meant that no other person will be allowed to assist you in any way. This way, you will be fully conversant with the function, mechanics and usage of the jet packs."

Kat was silent. She wanted to protest, to say it wasn't fair, that Gordon was partly responsible, but she knew that wasn't true. She was maintenance, not him. At last, she nodded. "I accept your punishment. And I won't shirk any other repairs I have scheduled."

"I'm glad to hear that. Now you may go."

Kat left the room, thankful that things hadn't been worse. She left the Villa and headed to her apartment.

Jeff sighed again, and shook his head. Too many things had gone wrong on this rescue for his liking, and he was thankful that it ended as well as it had. In fact, I'm surprised it did end so well, he thought. He called Scott and asked him to return to the lounge.

His eldest son walked in and stood in front of the desk, as Kat had, but in the military "at ease" posture. Jeff noticed and was inwardly amused, but didn't let it show. He closed the maintenance logs window and set the computer to record this session with his Field Commander.

"Scott," he began. "We were damned lucky things weren't worse than they could have been. What were you thinking, letting Callie go off on her own like that?"

"Sir, it seemed to me that I had no other choice, if I was going to get everything done in fastest possible time. But I told her she had to report in every five minutes, instead of the normal fifteen."

"That may have been the one thing that saved her -- and us." Jeff stood up and paced around the desk and into the room. He returned to Scott's side. "Can you imagine what would have happened had The Hood gotten any more information than he did? He might have even spirited Callie away to wherever he had his hideout! It's a good thing we injected those chips into everyone. I shudder to think what might have happened otherwise."

Scott remained silent. What could he say? He agreed with his father completely. He remained standing still, staring straight ahead.

Jeff looked at his son, feeling pride that he didn't argue or contradict his father's assessment of the situation. Finally, he relaxed somewhat and moved back to his desk, saying, "Sit down, son. You're starting to make me feel like a major dressing down a private."

Scott's posture eased, and he turned and went to the nearest chair. He smiled, but didn't respond. Jeff resumed his seat, leaning back and gazing at his son. "This is unacceptable. We have security in so many areas, but not when it comes to something like this. And it would be very naïve to think it won't happen again."

"I agree, sir. But what can we do. Too often we have to be in several places at the same time. Even I'm vulnerable, at Mobile Control, unless we're in a populated area and can have local security around."

"I know, son. But bringing everyone back safely is your responsibility. So I want you to come up with ideas to enhance security for all who go on a rescue, whether in a remote area or a populated one. I want a minimum of five suggestions. A minimum, mind you; I expect more. And I want it on my desk by ten tomorrow morning."




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Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1974 is a reply to message #1973] Sat, 28 July 2012 21:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/8/2006 8:36 PM

July 19, 2068, 12:15 a.m., Tracy Island

Jeff tapped the last key on his report about the disciplinary actions, saved it, and put the computer on standby for later in the morning. He stood, yawning, and rolled his shoulders one by one to relieve the tension. Heading out through the study, he caught Gordon just opening the door to his room. The redhead yawned widely, barely covering his mouth with a hand, and followed it up with a weary, "G'night, Dad."

"Goodnight, Gordon. Sleep well."

"Oh, I plan to," Gordon mumbled as he stepped into his suite.

Glancing down the hall, Jeff saw Dianne waiting for him outside their rooms. She was leaning up against the wall, looking for all the world as if that wall was the only thing holding her up. He activated the door, and motioned for her to precede him. She smoothed one hand over his cheek as she stepped inside.

"So, how's Gordon?" he asked as they crossed the sitting room.

She pulled her dark red shirt over her head as they entered the bedroom. "Gordon? He's fine. No damage to his back."

"We're fortunate, then," Jeff replied, unbuttoning his shirt.

"Very." Dianne sat down to take off her boots. "I'll want to take another look at both Virgil and Callie in the morning. I don't expect to see any physical changes in Callie, but it wouldn't hurt to keep an eye on her for a little while. There's bound to be fallout over this. Hopefully I can convince Virgil to go easy on his leg while that bruise heals." She sighed as she looked at the boot in her hand. "This Penelar is a godsend. You need to give Tin-Tin a raise."

"I'll keep that in mind," Jeff said as he sat next to her on their bed, removing his shoes one by one, then standing to put them away in his closet.

While Dianne made her way into the bathroom for a quick shower, Jeff changed out of his pants and put on pajama bottoms. He entered the bathroom to wash his face and hands and brush his teeth, and so was on hand as Dianne came out of the shower. He gave her as wide a smile as his toothpaste-filled mouth would allow, and she wearily returned it as she toweled herself dry.

She wrapped herself in the towel, and joined him at the double sink to brush her own teeth. As he watched her, he said, "I was very worried today, Di. The near lack of communication was as frustrating as hell."

She glanced over at him, then spit out the contents of her mouth and rinsed. When she was done with that, she said, "It was just as frustrating to us, love. We missed hearing the encouragement that you give us; we missed the brainstorming that usually goes on between base and the rescue crew." She put her toothbrush in its place. "I hope we can find a way to keep that from happening again."

"Me, too," Jeff said, nodding. He smiled. "I think we're both too tired for any hanky-panky tonight."

Dianne huffed out a laugh. "Try me in the morning," she told him as she passed by, smoothing her hand over his cheek again. She walked over to her dresser and pulled out a clean nightie, slipped it on, then ran a brush through her damp hair. He came up behind her and put his arms around her, then when she turned, planted a soft kiss on her lips.

"Goodnight, Dianne."

She traced the outline of his lips with a finger, then kissed him back. "Goodnight, Jeff."




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Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1976 is a reply to message #1974] Sat, 28 July 2012 21:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: FrankieCTB2 Sent: 7/9/2006 8:11 PM

The relief Elise had felt upon seeing Virgil when he arrived back from the rescue had lifted a great deal of worry from her shoulders. However, she'd waited until the de-briefing was over before going to talk to him.

She knew he'd gone to his room, as the others had gone to theirs when they had come out of the dining room. She knocked quietly.

"Who is it?"

"It's Elise, are you up for a visit?"

The opening of the door and Virgil standing there smiling was her answer. "Come on in." He indicated with his arm.

Having never been in Virgil's suite, she was a little nervous and hesitant.

"I won't bite, I promise!" he said, picking up on Elise's nervousness. She smiled and walked in.

Compared to her apartment the suite was quite large. It was tastefully decorated, with comfy chairs and sofas, a big screen television and various other bits of simple but contemporary pieces of furniture. "I know you must be tired and in pain," she began, still a little nervous. "I just wanted to make sure you were okay. You gave us all quite a scare!"

Virgil smiled again "It wasn't planned, that's for sure!" He hobbled over to an overstuffed couch. "Here, come and sit down for a while." Virgil indicated an overstuffed chair and Elise plopped down in it.

She noticed the double sliding doors on the left of her, obviously leading to his bedroom. I wonder what that looks like! She mentally scolded herself for allowing her thoughts to wander that way. The man's injured for crying out loud, and all you can think about is his bedroom!

"You want something to drink?"

"Um, sorry; what?" she answered.

"Drink?" Virgil asked again, this time holding up his glass for emphasis.

"Oh, no, I'm good, but thanks." She then noticed his easel and paints in the corner near the balcony doors, and noticed other paintings on the walls. "Did you paint all these?"

"Yep!" he replied proudly.

"They're amazing!"

"Thanks, I enjoy them."

"You're quite the talented one of the bunch aren't you? You're not only a great pilot, but an artist and musician too," Elise stated, admiringly.

Virgil downplayed himself by answering, "Well, painting and music keep me busy. They are more hobbies than anything else. Besides, my brothers all have their own talents too."

"Yeah, I've heard. Let me see, there's an Olympic Medal winner, a race car driver, an author, and a Top Gun. Just your everyday, average family, huh?" They both laughed at her casual perspective of his brothers. Virgil started to sit down on his couch, wincing as he lifted his injured leg back onto it.

"So, how are you really feeling?"

"Not too bad; the bruise still hurts a lot, but I'll live." He grinned.

"You know, I probably should go. It's getting way too late," Elise said, starting to feel guilty for intruding when she knew he was dog-tired.

"It's okay, Elise; please stay," he gently pleaded.

"Okay, but you have to tell me what the heck happened out there today. All we could hear was static and broken communications. We had no idea what was going on. We heard yelling, then 'man down', but we had no idea who was hurt and what had happened. Your dad was driving poor Alan and Brains crazy!"

Virgil laughed, picturing his youngest brother and his father getting on each other's nerves.

"It's not funny!" Elise said, almost laughing herself.

"I know, I know. But I also know how Alan can be when he's under pressure from Dad."

"So, how did you get hurt?" she asked.

Virgil became more serious. "Saving Scott's rear end." He went on to explain how the tree limbs had fallen and he'd pushed Scott out of the way and was unable to get out of harms way fast enough.

Elise listened, inwardly admiring how these brothers looked out for each other the way they did. She knew Scott would have done the same thing in a heartbeat. Sure, the rest of the team, well, we'd do the same for each other, but we'll never have what these Tracys have got, she thought as Virgil continued telling her how Dianne started fussing over him and ordering him to stay put when he wanted to help. Elise smiled at Virgil's expressions as he talked. "Didn't like being told you couldn't fly huh?"

He glared at her, his emotions getting the better of him as he recounted the events of the day. "No! I didn't like being told. I could have helped more, I know I could have, but..."

She interrupted him. "But nothing, Virgil Tracy! You were given an order and you were being obstinate!"

"Oh, no... not me; you want obstinate, Scott's your man!" They both laughed at this, knowing full well how Scott could be.

"Well, I'm glad that your leg wasn't broken. It could've been a lot worse, you know."

"Yeah, I know. Our new uniforms are definitely worth it, that's for sure."

They continued to talk, feeling comfortable with each other. So comfortable in fact, that even though it was late, and he knew he should be in bed sleeping, Virgil decided to broach the subject of Elise's trip to New Hampshire. He'd honestly been quite worried about her, even though Dianne and Scott had been with her; he knew the trauma of reliving it all over again would be difficult. It was only three days ago that she'd returned, but because of the rescue he hadn't had a chance to talk to her about it. He'd only gotten to talk to Scott briefly.

"Okay, honey, enough about me; how are you doing? Since you got back from New Hampshire?" Virgil noticed how she bristled slightly at the mention of the trip.

"Good, I guess." She looked away from him as she continued, "It's not exactly a vacation I want to remember."

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked so soon. Maybe if...."

Elise cut him off. "No! It's okay; it's not your fault. Besides I haven't really talked about it since I got back." She turned her eyes back to him and saw genuine compassion in his. She swallowed hard. "Reliving that awful night was the hardest thing I've ever done. Being up there, at the crash site, brought back memories I hadn't remembered at all until then. I remembered every sickening thud that chopper made as we went down and I was helpless to stop it."

Her gaze had shifted again, and Virgil knew she was back there, once more." She paused and then went on. "I'll never forget the cold as long as I live. The way your father looked... I thought he was ... " She swallowed again, choking back tears that had suddenly threatened to spill. "I thought he was dead. He looked awful."

Virgil saw how upset she was getting and how choked up her voice had become. He got up and went over to her, kneeling down on his good leg beside her.

Elise didn't notice he was there until she felt his hand softly squeezing hers. She looked at their hands, and then lifted her eyes to him. "I just didn't want to die alone Virgil. I didn't want to die alone," she half sobbed.

"I know, honey, I know. But you're not alone anymore."

Elise tried to smile and when she spoke again, it was almost a whisper. " I know I'm not. I had Scott and Dianne with me. They were wonderful. I know it was hard for them, too."

Still holding her hand, comforting her, Virgil said, "I wish I could have been there for you, too."

A bigger smile appeared on her face. "You were, Virgil; in spirit you were there. I had your letter with me the entire time. So, I had you and Scott and Dianne." As she calmed down, she realized Virgil was on one leg. "Shouldn't you be off that leg?"

"Oh, I'm fine. It's you I'm worried about."

Elise wiped her hands across her face and apologized for letting herself get upset. "I came here to cheer you up, and look at the mess I've become!" She stood and helped him up. "I think it's time for both of us to head for bed, especially you," she said.

"Yeah, I guess so. If I don't rest up soon, the wrath of Doctor Mom will be all over me!"

Elise chuckled at Virgil's description of Dianne. "Well, I'm outta here!"

As she started towards the door, Virgil stopped her, gently taking her arm. "Thanks for talking to me about it, I know it's wasn't easy."

"I'm glad I did. It helps to get it all out. Now if you promise me you won't get hurt on a rescue again, I promise I won't come down here and sob all over you again!"

He chuckled and held out both arms. "C'mere." She did and he gave her a hug. They parted and said goodnight to each other. Elise went back to her apartment, her mood a whole lot lighter than it had been.




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1978 is a reply to message #1976] Sat, 28 July 2012 21:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tawnyangel22 Sent: 7/10/2006 2:20 PM

Tracy Island, Wednesday 18th July, midnight

Kat was feeling resentful as she headed to her apartment. She groaned to herself. As well as her usual work there was now the additional work on the jetpacks. I'll be hard pressed to complete the work by Saturday, she thought. Although she had repaired and tested the jetpack, she hadn't been thorough enough. I really thought that it would be okay. I removed the remote control device, and managed to fly it with no problem.

Entering her apartment, Kat picked up a cushion and hurled it across the room. It still seemed so unfair. Although the maintenance of the jetpacks, and the other equipment were her responsibility, she still felt a little of the blame lay with Gordon, for playing the practical joke on her in the first place.

Feeling worn out from the long day spent waiting for news of the rescue, and unhappy with the reprimand she had received from Mr Tracy, she got herself ready for bed.

But try as she might, sleep just wouldn't come. She thought back to that fateful day, when John had offered to show her how to use the jetpacks. She hadn't been with International Rescue very long and all this equipment was so new to her. When the jetpack had malfunctioned on me, I was absolutely terrified, she remembered. To Gordon it was just a huge joke, but it wasn't to me at the time. I thought I must have done something wrong.

Totally out of control, or so she thought, the jetpack had carried her across the island. Finally the straps had given way causing her to fall, as luck would have it, into the swimming pool, where Virgil had helped her out. John must have realised what had happened, because just as she was standing at the poolside, wringing the water from her overalls, the two brothers landed. Scott had been furious with Gordon, telling him in no uncertain terms that Kat could have been seriously injured. Suddenly Kat's lips twitched. I guess it must have seemed amusing, me sailing over the island, waving to Elise and Nikki. But all the same what would have happened if I had been seriously hurt?

Kat tossed and turned. It's no good; I shall have to get myself something to help me sleep. And getting out of bed she went into her kitchen and made herself a hot milky drink.

Eventually the young mechanic fell asleep, but her sleep was full of dreams about repairing and flying jetpacks.




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Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1979 is a reply to message #1978] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: TracyFan4Ever Sent: 7/11/2006 8:14 PM

******Thursday, July 19, 2068; 7:45 a.m. on Tracy Island******

Callie finished her breakfast, cocoa-flavored cereal and a glass of orange juice. She had an uneasy sleep the night before, thinking less about the Hood and more about forgiving Kat. Oh, brother, I'd better get this out of my system before I go completely nuts!

After getting dressed in a casual t-shirt and denim jeans, she walked out of her apartment to find Kat.

Kat, too, had had an uneasy night, but for a very different reason. She didn't feel like eating, but knowing that if she didn't, she could have a problem later, she forced herself to have a sandwich spread with vegemite and a glass of orange juice. She was just about to leave, when her door chimed. "Who is it?" she called out.

"Hi, Kat, it's me, Callie."

Kat opened the door and, with a look of surprise on her face, said, "Hi, Callie."

"Listen, do you have a few minutes? I really need to talk to you."

"Please come in," Kat replied. Callie followed Kat into her lounge. Both young women sat down. Kat glanced at her with concerned look on her face. I wonder what she is going to say?
With a sigh, Callie said, "I really need to get this off my chest. I've carried my anger long enough, and it's time I finally said...I forgive you."

"You do?" Kat sounded slightly relieved. "Does this mean that we are friends again?"

"Yes, but it's going to take a while for us to completely trust each other again. Things won't be back to normal after only one conversation."

Kat nodded her head. "I understand, but at least we can work together without a strain on our teamwork. But Callie, what's changed your mind? It's not so long ago that we had that heated conversation." Kat began twisting her hands together.

"I usually can't forgive until I'm not upset anymore, and now I've calmed down enough to do so." Callie looked through the balcony doors. "But, my experience with the Hood that brought home to me how precious life is, and that it's too short to carry the anger."

"Oh, Callie," Kat said quietly, "your experience with the Hood must have been truly awful. I just don't know how I would have coped in a similar situation. I guess that it's situations like that which make people re-evaluate their lives. Thank you for forgiving me. I understand completely that this is only the start, and that it will be some time before we are good friends again."

Callie patted Kat's hand. "I'm glad you do understand." She remained calm as she added, "However, you should know that I can't just sit by and forget it happened. That wound is still deep and hard to heal."

"Oh, Callie," Kat said, "I realize just how much I hurt you; I let my own feelings get in the way. It shouldn't have happened. John had just declared he had feelings for me, and I feel the same about him. I just couldn't bear the thought of him leaving earlier than planned. It was very selfish of me; I can see that now, and I promise it will never happen again." She looked at her friend.

Callie said, "I hope you can keep your promise. I just don't want a repeat, because if it does happen again, I may not be so forgiving next time." She paused for a few seconds and then asked, "So, do you have anything planned for today?"

Kat sighed. "Oh, yes, quite a lot. After the debriefing, Mr. Tracy took Scott and myself into the lounge. He reprimanded me for the fact that the jetpack which Gordon had used was faulty. That was the jetpack that Gordon played that trick on me, when he hid a remote control in the equipment. At that time, although I took out the remote control and repaired it; I didn't test it very well. My punishment is to take that faulty jetpack to pieces, check each piece, reassemble it and thoroughly test it without any help. And then I have to check and test the other jetpacks by Saturday, as well as doing my other chores."

Callie shook her head. "You'll be really busy for the next few days, huh?"

"You can say that again," Kat replied. "But I really must go, Callie. It was good to clear the air between us, but the sooner I begin, the sooner I can finish. John intimated that he and I will be able to spend some time together before he leaves." She blushed slightly. "And I'm looking forward to that."

"I don't blame you one bit," Callie said with a slight giggle in her voice. "I'll let you get to work. Me, I think I'm going to find Kyrano. I need to ask him how to deal with the aftermath of a 'Hood attack'."

"I'm sure he'll be able to help you," Kat said, as she left her apartment. "I'll see you later." She walked to the elevator to the monorail link-up in order to reach Thunderbird Two's hangar.

Callie left through the balcony doors of Kat's apartment and took the outer stairs down to her first floor apartment to gather her thoughts. She looked down at her right hand, which was shaking badly. What's with my nerves? I've got to hold myself together. I'm back on Tracy Island, and there's no Hood here. I need to find Kyrano, since he knows that creep better than anyone else around here. I hope he can help me deal with the aftermath and effects of those eyes.

******Forgiveness by TracyFan4Ever and TawnyAngel22.******




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Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1980 is a reply to message #1979] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/15/2006 9:05 PM

Wednesday, July 18, 2068, 4 p.m. (8 a.m., Thursday, July 18 on Tracy Island)

"All right, Doug. I understand. It's a good move for you and your family, but I'll miss you all. I know Dianne will want to know; are you going to tell her?" Lisa Parkhurst looked at her watch, and sighed. "Yes, it's tomorrow morning there. You might want to wait an hour or so; she'll be up and about by then." There was a pause, then she nodded. "I'll let you know what I decide before you and Angela leave. Yes, I promise." Another, shorter pause, then, "Talk to you later."

She terminated the call, and sighed again, shaking her head.

"Grandma?"

Startled, Lisa turned to see Cherie standing by her shoulder. "I overheard you talking to Uncle Doug. What's going on?"

Lisa put an arm around Cherie's waist, and looked up at her growing granddaughter. "Uncle Doug just called to tell me that he's getting a promotion."

"He is!" Cherie's eyes lit up. "That's great!"

"It is good news," Lisa conceded. "But there's some not-so-good news with it." She sighed heavily again. "To take advantage of the promotion, Uncle Doug, Aunt Angela, and Stephanie will have to move... to Indiana."

Cherie frowned. "Indiana? They're going to leave?"

"I'm afraid so, honey," Lisa said, nodding.

"But... but that's not fair!" the girl cried. "Can't he get a promotion and still stay here? I'll miss Stephanie! It's not fair!"

"I know it's not, Cherry, but I remember how unfair Stephanie said it was when you and your brothers moved out to Tracy Island."

"This stinks!" Cherie said, extricating herself from her grandmother's grasp. "Can't Stephanie stay here to finish school? I know you have been talking with Mom and Dad about me staying... why can't she?"

"It's not my decision to make, sweetie," Lisa reminded her. "But... if your mother and father give you permission to stay with me for the next school year, I'll offer the same to Stephanie."

"Okay, Grandma." Cherie came back to give her grandmother a hug. "I hope Mom and Dad go for it."

"You're welcome, sweetheart. Now, go get your brothers and get ready for dinner. I'm sure they'll have a lot of washing up to do."

"Right."

Cherie walked off towards the back door, and Lisa watched her go. I don't know if I can handle two teenaged girls at my age; but for their sakes, I'll make the offer. But if Dianne and Jeff say no, then I won't mention it to Doug and Angela. Cherie is a calming influence on Stephanie, but Steph by herself... no, just no. She shook her head. Looking again at her watch, she got up. Time to fix dinner.




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Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1982 is a reply to message #1980] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Hobbeth Sent: 7/16/2006 4:15 PM

After Callie left her apartment, Kat set off for Thunderbird Two's hangar. Her talk with Callie had to a certain extent cleared the air. There would still be coolness between them, but at least they could talk and work together. The young mechanic went into the pod to retrieve the faulty jetpack used on the rescue.

Fetching the manual, she opened it at the right page, and then set to the task of dismantling the jetpack. Looking at the complete jetpack, she began to lay the bits from the faulty piece of equipment out in some sort of order. After carefully checking each piece, she began to start slowly re-assemble the jetpack. However, she was having difficulty in getting it back together. Tears of frustration were blurring her sight and she began to feel dizzy and hot. Am I up to this? Come on Kat Williamson, it's not like you to give up, an inner voice seemed to be saying, Mr Tracy was right; it's your area of expertise. You can do it; you know you can.

While she worked, she began to remember how proud she had felt when she had been invited to be a member of International Rescue. She was delighted that she was part of such a famous organisation, and so happy that she and John were becoming close friends. Kat referred once more to the manual and the jetpack, and concentrating hard, managed to get everything back in place.

Picking up the equipment, she strapped it on, and mentally crossing her fingers, pressed the button to ascend. Slowly she rose above the floor of the hangar and travelled a short way, before turning the controls of the jetpack to descend. Landing on her feet, she again pushed the control button to ascend. This time the young mechanic flew around in circles and figure eights, making the equipment rise and hover, and then rise further, before finally descending again. Once back on the ground again and satisfied that the jetpack was fully functional, she returned it to the pod.

I'll check the mobile crane and then have a break before I work on a couple more jetpacks, she thought.

Written by Tawnyangel22




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Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1983 is a reply to message #1982] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: FrankieCTB2 Sent: 7/17/2006 2:21 PM

Tracy Island, July 19th, 10:30 a.m.

The arrival on mail on Tracy Island always caused a buzz and today was no exception. The occupants of the island, family and team members alike congregated on the airstrip or mingled nearby awaiting the mail plane. Once it had landed and taxied to a halt, Scott, Brandon, Brains and Alan went to unload and sign for the bags and boxes.

Too impatient to wait until the mail was taken into the villa, everyone started to crowd around to get their own, most of which was usually the junk variety, but any letters from family and friends were always a welcomed bonus. After a few minutes of chaos, the crowd began to disperse and everyone went their different ways with their mail.

As usual, Virgil had waited patiently until nearly everyone was gone. His philosophy was that his mail had waited this long to get to him, so a few more minutes wouldn't make a difference. He hobbled over to Scott, who was cleaning up the empty canvas sacks the mail had come in. "Anything exciting for me?"

Scott looked up. "Right over there," he replied, nodding in the direction of the mail pile.

Virgil picked up his pile and thumbed through it: a few bills for art supplies, two magazines and a credit card bill - nothing exciting. "Need a hand?" he offered to Scott.

"Nah, I got it, thanks."

*"Ok, see ya back at the house." Virgil turned and started back towards the villa. It was then that he noticed Elise slowly walking the same way. He caught up with her and noticed she didn't have any mail. "Didn't get any today?" he asked.

"Oh, hi, Virgil." She'd been miles away and hadn't noticed him beside her. "No, not today. But then again, I don't often get any anyway. I just like to watch the others get all silly when the mail plane arrives." She smiled but Virgil could tell it was a forced smile. They stopped when they reached the villa steps. "Well, I gotta load of laundry to do, I'll see ya later," Elise said.

"Lucky you! See ya later." Virgil smiled back. As he watched her go, an idea came to life that he was sure would put a real smile on her face.


From: FrankieCTB2 Sent: 7/17/2006 2:31 PM



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Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1986 is a reply to message #1983] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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July 19th, Tracy Island, early afternoon.

With Virgil's leg injury forcing him to rest, Elise had readily agreed to work on some of Thunderbird Two's maintenance. Brains had called her, asking her to stop by Virgil's room and pick up the diagnostic work-ups, then drop them off at the lab on her way to Two's hangar. She'd called Virgil on her commlink and his door was open when she got there. He was busy painting out by the balcony.

"Hey!" Elise called out, entering the suite.

"Hey yourself! The print-outs are on the table."

"Got 'em." she answered, bending to pick up the documents from the coffee table.

Virgil called out as she turned to leave. "Thanks for working on the diagnostics; I appreciate it."

"No problem. The thing is, will that pampered pet of yours appreciate it? I'm sure she'll end up sulking all afternoon once she realizes its me and not you working on her! See you later!"

Virgil chuckled as Elise walked out then returned to his painting.

She was on her way toward the elevator that connected the villa to the monorail when she almost knocked John over. "Oh! I'm sorry, John. I wasn't looking where I was going; are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," he replied, chuckling. "Heading to the hangar again?"

"Yep! The big green bug is calling." Elise waved the diagnostic print outs, indicating what work she was planning to do.

"Mind if I ride along? I've got some more work to do on Three."

"I don't mind at all," Elise answered.

They boarded the monorail in silence and sat down. Looking across at John, Elise noticed that he seemed happier than he had been a few days ago when they'd shared a ride on the monorail, going the same route they were now.

(Flashback)

He looks so miserable, Elise thought as they sat down. Maybe if I start some chit chat with him, it may lighten his mood. "Hey, John."

"Hi, Elise."

"It's been a while since we've got to chat. How are things going for you?" she asked.

John inhaled a deep breath. "Well, not too bad, I guess." His sullen expression gave away more than he was saying.

"Well, while I have the chance again, and you're here, I want to thank you for all that you did for me the night of the crash."

John looked surprised to hear the thanks, until he realized that Elise had just returned from New Hampshire. "You're more than welcome, you know that." He smiled softly.

Elise decided to be blunt. "Okay, spit it out! What's eating you?"

John hadn't expected such a direct question. "What makes you ask that?" he said cautiously.

Elise chuckled. "C'mon, I can tell by the miserable look on your face that something's up!"

He sighed. "Well, you asked, so here it is." John began to tell her how he and Kat had become close friends and had spent a lot of time together recently.

"You and Kat are an item?" Elise asked.

John had to laugh at the expression on her face. Apparently not everyone knew! "Yeah, I guess you could say we were heading that way."

"Were?"

John went on to tell Elise how he and Kat had stargazed and e-mailed and hung out together.

"That's really cool, John. I'm happy for you."

"I thought so too, until really recently" At her quizzical look, John proceeded to explain how he had offered to switch rotation with Callie so she could spend her birthday with her family. His dad had approved it and Callie had been thrilled with his kind offer. However, Kat was not impressed at all. "I tried to get her to understand, Elise, but she convinced herself that it was all Callie's doing. She all but flew off the handle at poor Callie!"

"Whoa! Back up. She did WHAT!" Elise could hardly believe what she heard.

John let out a miserable sigh and continued to tell Elise that he'd told Kat that he expected her to apologize to Callie, and that even though Kat did, she wasn't exactly tful to him again about it.

As John went on, Elise was having a hard time trying to picture Kat acting like a jealous wife. "John, Kat doesn't seem the possessive type, but if what you're telling me is how she's been acting lately, then you've got a big problem."

"I know, Elise. I mean, I'd like to pursue a relationship with her, but I feel like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. I just don't know if I feel 'sure' about her. I want to, but if she acts out like this every time life throws a curve she doesn't like; well - I guess this whole thing has just gotten to me."

Elise sympathized with John and felt bad for her friend. "John, I think you should stop feeling like you are to blame. You have done nothing wrong. In fact, what you've done is a lot more than some men would do! I think Kat has been way out of line, and I don't blame Callie for feeling the way she does. I'm no relationship expert, trust me on that! But if you both want to take things further than they are, she's got to be honest with you. If you're doubting her now, how can you trust her further down the road?"

John thought carefully about Elise's words. She was right. Any doubts he and Kat had with each other had to be faced now, or there probably wouldn't be a tomorrow for them.

"Looks like my stop," Elise announced as she stood up and the car slowed to a halt. "I hope it all works out for both of you," she added as she exited the car.

"Thanks, Elise. Me, too." (End of flashback)

The car jolted slightly, bringing Elise back to the present.

"Hey, didn't we just do this the other day?" John asked, smiling.

"Déjà vu!" Elise giggled back then added, "You look more positive today than you did the other day. How are things now?"

"I feel better and I'm going to see how Kat's day was. I hope to get together with her tonight."

It was Elise's turn to smile. "That's good to hear, John." The friends then turned the conversation to maintenance work until they reached Thunderbird Two's hangar and Elise departed.
[/color]



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Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1988 is a reply to message #1986] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/17/2006 5:04 PM

Thursday, July 19, 2068, noon (8 p.m., Wednesday, July 18 in South Carolina)

"Hey, love," Jeff said as he held out Dianne's chair at the table for her. "You've been preoccupied today."

"Ah know," Dianne replied, as she sat down. "Ah've heard from both mah brother, Doug, and from mah mother today. Seems Doug's got himself a promotion."

"He did!" Jeff exclaimed with a pleased smile. "Good for him!"

"Yeah, it's good, but it's left owah mother with a dilemma. Y'see, he's got t' move t' Indiana foah the promotion." Dianne put her napkin in her lap and took a sip of juice. "She's not sure she wants t' stay in Greenville by herself."

"Hm. That is a dilemma," Jeff said thoughtfully.

Scott, who was listening in, asked, "Why doesn't she just move with him?"

"Greenville's been her home foah a long, long time, Scott. She's got friends, customers; it's got a lot o' history and memories," Dianne explained.

"Just like the Kansas farmhouse had for me," Emily piped up from further down the table. "It wasn't easy to pull up stakes and come here; I can attest to that."

"What do you think she'll do?" Tin-Tin asked, her pretty face carrying a concerned frown.

"Ah don' know," Dianne replied. "But part o' what she does depends on whether or not we let Cherie stay an' go t' school in Greenville." She turned to her husband. "If'n we say that Cherie can stay, then she'll offah th' same opportunity t' Stephanie. Othahwise, she won't mention it t' Doug. She can handle both girls together bettah than just Steph alone."

Jeff took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Looks like we're going to have to make a decision on Cherie and school pretty quickly, then." He shook his head. "I know Cherry would like to stay there with her friends and all, but... I'd miss her. And there's the security aspect..."

"Yes, Mr. Tracy," Brains said from where he sat beside Tin-Tin. "Did you get that message I forwarded from our security people about what happened in Florida?"

"I did," Jeff replied with a nod. "These reporters are getting craftier. And... I don't like the idea of her or her grandmother being alone. Not with the Hood out there, looking for us."

The table fell silent for a few moments, then Jeff turned to Dianne. "It really falls to you, love. What you say goes in this instance. If you don't want Cherie to stay, we'll suggest that perhaps Lisa come out to live here, where she'd be a huge help in so many ways. Otherwise, we'll make arrangements for the security. But we don't have much time to waste; school will start sooner than you think."

"Ah know," Dianne said. She took the salad he handed her and dished some out for herself. "Ah'll talk to mah mother again and work it out."




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Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1989 is a reply to message #1988] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: TracyFan4Ever Sent: 7/18/2006 7:17 PM

]******Thursday, July 19, 2068; Tracy Island; 1:00 p.m.*****[/I]

Callie finished her lunch and was in the middle of cleaning up her table. Noticing a crumb fall to the floor, she picked it up and tossed it into the trash can. She saw her hand shaking again. "I've got about an hour before I meeting Doc for my appointment. What I need to do now is talk to Kyrano. I'll drive myself mad if I don't."

As she rode the monorail to the elevators, and all the way up to the Villa, Callie thought about what she might say to Kyrano. "Where might he be at this time of day?" she muttered to herself. "I'll try the kitchen first."

Kyrano had just finished his own lunch, and was preparing to run the auto-washer when he heard a hesitant footstep out in the dining room. Durian padded over to the door, looking up at it expectantly. Shaking his head, Kyrano picked up the cat, and opened the door to find Callie standing outside. "Come in, Miss Callie," he said with a gentle smile. "I have been expecting your visit."

"I figured you knew I was coming to see you," she said. "I've got to talk to you about the aftereffects of being hypnotized by the Hood. The more I try not to think about it, the more it scares me."

"Please, sit down," he said, motioning to the small table at which he usually ate. "I will prepare some herbal tea; it will relax you as we speak." He put the kettle on, and pulled out a canister with one of his own herbal blends, and began to prepare the tea for both of them. Callie sat where he had indicated, unsure of herself. Durian decided that she needed some attention, and began to wind his orange body between her ankles.

She took some comfort from Durian's fur. "You're a good cat, Aster--I mean, Durian. I keep forgetting." After receiving her tea from Kyrano, she took in a sip. "Mmm...this is good."

"I am glad you like it, Miss Callie." As he sat down next to her, he asked, "Please tell me, are you still thinking about your experience with my brother?"

She nodded. "Yes. I can't shake the memories of those eyes. I feel like I'm going nuts."

"I understand," he said softly. "I actually have not seen my brother's eyes when he uses his hypnotic powers, however, Tin-Tin and Mr. Brains have both told me of them. Their memories of their encounters were very unnerving, to say the least." He paused to sip his tea and consider what he might say next. "You should realize that what happened was not your fault. There was nothing you could do to stand against him. So do not blame yourself."

Callie shook her head. "I know, but it's not that easy. If Dom hadn't come to my rescue, I could've given all the information to the Hood. I could've easily compromised IR's security." She held her hand to her face, trying to fight off tears.

Kyrano patted her free hand. "Perhaps, or perhaps not. From what I understand, you were fighting as best you could against his influence. And Mr. Dominic did come to your rescue." He sighed lightly. "As I said before, this was not your fault. It was a near thing, true, but you are safe, and we will all be more on our guard in the future. You must do what you can to put it behind you, Miss Callie, and look ahead." He smiled a little. "He will be caught, never fear. If there is anything I know about my brother, it is that he is supremely overconfident. It will be his undoing."

Callie returned a light smile. "Maybe you're right, Kyrano. I may be just making myself sick with worry because of this one situation. I also know I can't get over this in a day, which is why I'm heading to see Doc at two. She wants to make sure I'm mentally and emotionally all right."

"Excellent, Miss Callie," he said, nodding. "There will be aftereffects, to be sure, but you cannot let them rule your life. This was a single frightening experience; I am sure you have had others in your life that you have dealt with and conquered." He paused to sip his tea. "You may seek me out if you need a listening ear. And it may be of help to you to speak to my daughter, or Mr. Brains, as their experiences parallel yours more closely than my own."

After taking another sip of her tea, she added, "I think I'll do that. I don't want to worry about this forever." As she stood up, Callie said, "Thank you for your help and advice, Kyrano. That and this herbal tea have been helpful to calming me down."

"You are very welcome, Miss Callie," he said, nodding and standing with her. "Again, if you need to talk about it, you may seek me out again."

She nodded at him, smiling a little, then turned and left the kitchen, walking with purpose toward her appointment with Dianne.

******By TracyFan4Ever and Tikatu.******




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Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1990 is a reply to message #1989] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/18/2006 9:00 PM

Thursday, July 19, 2068, 1:35 p.m. Tracy Island

Callie stepped cautiously into the infirmary, looking about for Dianne. She hadn't been there since getting her tracking chip implanted, and felt a little intimidated by the clean room with its empty beds.

"Dianne?" she called. "Uh, Dianne?"

"Callie!" Dianne came out of the passageway between the infirmary and the examination room. She was dressed in scrubs and clogs, her workday clothes. "You're early."

"Yeah. I, uh, took some time to speak to Kyrano," Callie said.

"Good. I'm working with Virgil at the moment," Dianne replied, smiling. "Why don't you wait in here?" She indicated a couple of chairs in her office. "I'll be with you in a few moments."

"Oh, sure." Callie stepped inside the office, and sat down. As she waited for Dianne, the images of her run-in with the Hood played over and over in her mind. She tried to remember what Kyrano had said about not blaming herself, but still, she felt guilty that she'd let him get to her in the first place. She fidgeted in her seat, looking at her watch, wondering how much longer Dianne would take.

Finally, Virgil limped out of the examination room. He gave Callie one of his gorgeous smiles and said, "How are you doing, Callie?"

"I'm... okay," she replied. "How's the leg?"

"I'll survive," Virgil said. He glanced back at Dianne, who was now behind him. "I have to obey Doctor Mom here, and stay off my leg, but I should be back to piloting within the week."

"If you behave yourself," Dianne said, shaking a finger at him.

"I'll behave; I promise." Virgil said, rolling his eyes. He kissed her on the cheek as he limped off, giving Callie a quick salute.

"I'll be right back," Dianne said, following Virgil as far as the sick room. It was only a few moments when she returned, and beckoned Callie to follow her. "Let me disinfect this quickly, then we'll have a look at you."

Her arms wrapped around herself, Callie watched as Dianne wiped down the examination scanner, first with a disinfectant cloth, then with a paper towel. She looked on as Dianne reset the scanner's computer.

"Okay," Dianne came back out from behind the computer console. She patted the examination bed. "Climb up here, and let's see what the scanner will tell us."

Callie did as she was told, but looked at Dianne with a frown. "Why are you doing this? I thought we'd be dealing with my emotional and mental state."

"We will," said Dianne as she pulled a sheet over Callie. "But I want to make sure there weren't any physical side effects either." She returned to the console. "This is the first time that we've dealt with a victim of the Hood so soon after this kind of attack. It's an opportunity to see if there are any lasting physical side effects." She smiled as she activated the scanner. "I'm sorry if it sounds like you're being a guinea pig..."

"Didn't you have the chance when Brains and Tin-Tin were attacked?" Callie asked.

Dianne shook her hand. "No, that was before my time. And it was hours before Scott, Virgil and Gordon found them. When they did, Brains had been buried in the sand up to his neck in the heat for quite some time. Then it was a bit before they got back to base."

"Buried in the sand up to his neck? Poor Brains!"

"Yeah. The Hood used good old fashioned torture to get Brains to talk, but it didn't work." Dianne looked up at the screen. "And it didn't quite work with you, either."

Callie lay back and thought about that for a few moments as the scanner did its work. Finally, Dianne smiled, and downloaded the information to her computer. "Okay, Callie, we're done in here."

"Will I live, Doc?" Callie joked, trying to cheer herself up.

"Yes, you'll live," Dianne said. "You're doing well. A bit tired and on edge, as seen by your lactic acid levels, and the tension in your muscles, but that's to be expected after such a scary time. No difference in brain chemistry." She helped Callie off the table, and guided her into the office.

When the two women were settled into their chairs, Dianne said, "You told me you went to see Kyrano. What did he tell you?"

"That this was not my fault, and that there wasn't much I could have done against... him. That I should put it behind me, and move on." Callie shook her head. "I don't know that I can do that; at least, not right away."

"Kyrano's got it right; you're not at fault here, Callie, and you shouldn't think you are," Dianne said. "But you're right that getting over this won't happen overnight,either. I'm sure you'll have some nightmares, and times where you can't stop thinking about what happened. When those times come, as they will, come see me. If you find you're not getting the sleep you need, I can give you something to help, and we can talk about it. The fright of it will eventually fade; my job is to see that you get to that point in relatively good shape physically and emotionally."

"Do you think I'll need to take medications?" Callie asked, frowning. "I've never taken any kind of medication for... mental problems."

Dianne smiled a little. "If necessary, you may have an anti-depressant for a short time. It all depends on how you handle this. But it wouldn't be permanent. Right now though, I'm talking more along the lines of sleep aids. If you're physically exhausted, then your emotional state will be negatively affected by that exhaustion. So, I want to make sure you get your rest."

"I see," Callie said. She looked down at her hands. "Will I be able to continue with my work?"

"I think so," Dianne said. "It'll help keep your mind off what happened. But if you need to have your workload cut back, I'll have a talk with John and Brains about it." Reaching out, she patted Callie on the knee. "We want to make sure you're dealing with this."

"And if I'm not?"

"We'll cross that bridge if we come to it," was the firm answer. "Now, I want you to find something to do for the rest of the day. Even if it's swabbing the decks of Thunderbird Three."

Callie snickered. "All right. I'll ask John what I can do to help out."

"And if he has nothing for you, go see Brains. I'm sure he can find something for to do." Dianne winked at her. "Doctor's orders."

"F-A-B, Doc." Callie rose from her seat. "Thanks for the talk. I'll be sure to tell you if things get rough."

"You do that," Dianne said.

Callie left the sick room feeling better. Instead of looking for John, I think I may head down to the lab and see what Brains and Tin-Tin have for me to do... and maybe arrange to talk to them about their experiences with the Hood.




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Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1992 is a reply to message #1990] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: ArtisticRainey Sent: 7/19/2006 11:29 AM

Thursday July 19th,3.30pm , Tracy Island.

...I wonder...no. No, that wouldn't work. Hmm...
Scott's pace was slow as he walked along the poolside. His mind was filled with ideas and concepts from his work on security issues. He had come up with far more than the five he had been required to put forward, and more were forming. He made a few notes on his PDA as his feet found the path down to the garden, and he tapped the stylus against his lips. There's so much room for improvement. The suggestions are endless. The gravel crunched in a steady beat, and Scott called up another menu as the foliage became denser and he fell into shade.

Insect moans grew stronger, and the scent of jungle-floor fauna rose upwards. Scott's head remained bent over his PDA as the path wound towards the shore and he emerged into the sun again. His feet met paving as he came across the small viewing area, and he went towards one of the benches.

"Sot! Sot here, look!"

Scott glanced up to see Dominic and Joshua, surrounded by a plethora of coloured blocks, already sitting in the area.

"Oh, sorry for disturbing --"

"Sot! Come see! Come see!"

Joshua ran over, grabbed one of Scott's trouser legs and began to tug on it.

"Come see house!"

Scott grinned and tucked his PDA into his pocket, and allowed the child to guide him to a square of stacked blocks. Dominic, who was sitting cross-legged within a wobbly circle of blocks, nodded in greeting, and Joshua turned his round face upwards.

"Like house? Is my house!"

"It's great!" He said, and squatted down to take a closer look. "You're very talented," he said, and tipped the child a wink.

Joshua grinned and flopped down beside his blocks, and started gathering the stray ones together.

"How's tricks?" Dominic asked.

"My head's full of security problems and solutions," Scott said.

"Rather you than me, so," Dom said, "though I do have to tink of a new codename for meself."

"Any ideas yet?" Scott asked.

"No clue. I'm not very good at that sort of ting. Haven't much imagination, unlike this wee fella."

Scott chuckled.

"He sure loves his blocks."

Joshua pushed a pile over to Scott.

"Play too. Sot play wi' Jossa. Da no play. Sot play."

Scott glanced across at Dom, who shrugged.

"He made me a 'chair'," he said, motioning to the circle. "I guess that's enough."

Scott thought for a moment, and decided to indulge the child. I have time. He sat down and reached for the proffered blocks. Dominic rested his chin on his palm and watched his child with half-shut eyes. Joshua hummed to himself, repeating, "Sot" often, and occasionally swapping his blocks with Scott's. Scott placed a few into a pyramid to placate the kid; it worked well.

"You ever tink about havin' kids yourself?" Dominic asked.

"Well, I would like to some day," he said. "I need to find the right lady first, though," he added with a grin.

"Yeah... You'd best be careful on that front. They're not all angels, you know."

"Oh, I know that all right. Believe me."

"Sounds like a man who's been burned," Dom said, keeping his eyes on Joshua.

"Let's just say I know what it's like for something not to work out."

"Hmm."

Joshua started to build a tower, and very quickly it began to waver.

"Do you tink you should put any more blocks on there?" Dom asked.

"Yes! More bocks!"

Joshua stood on his tiptoes to add another block, and he squealed with delight as the whole thing collapsed, sending bouncing bricks in all directions.

"All fall down! Fall down, fall down!"

"I wouldn't recommend recruiting Josh into IR when he's older," Dom said. "He likes to destroy things, rather than save them."

Scott chuckled.

"Don't all kids?"

Scott watched as Joshua set about collecting the scattered remains of his tower. I would like kids one day, he thought. Though in this job, there's not much scope for relationships. Not for me, anyway. But who knows what the future will bring?




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1993 is a reply to message #1992] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tawnyangel22 Sent: 7/19/2006 1:50 PM

Tracy Island, July 19th -- Afternoon

Just as she was about to start checking the mobile crane, her communicator watch bleeped and John's face came into view when she answered. "Hi Kat. How about we meet after you have finished your work today and spend some time together?"

"I don't think I can John; it may be late by the time I finish. You see, Mr Tracy has reprimanded me for not thoroughly testing the jetpack that Gordon used to play that trick. He said that the maintenance of the vehicles and equipment is my responsibility, and that the lives of everyone depend on keeping the equipment in top repair at all times. As punishment, he told me to take apart the faulty jetpack, check and rebuild it and test it thoroughly, which I have just done. And as well as my usual chores, I have to check and test all the other jetpacks by Saturday."

"I see," John said.

Kat went on to explain. "After Gordon played that trick on me, I removed the remote control he used, and repaired and tested the jetpack. It certainly flew okay, and I assumed that it was fully functional. But sadly it wasn't."

John could sense the resentment in her voice. "Kat," he said, "Dad is perfectly correct in what he said. We do rely on Brains, and now you, to make sure that our equipment is reliable."

"I know, John, and I will always ensure that everything I repair or check will be thoroughly tested. It's completely my fault; I didn't know enough about the jetpacks and should have asked Brains to help me."

"Looks like you're going to be busy. When you've finished, give me a call. We'll go for a walk on the beach, and you can tell me how your day went."

It was very late by the time that Kat had finished checking the crane and two more jetpacks. She deliberated whether or not she should call John. But, having been on her own all day, she wanted some company.

Switching on her communicator, she was pleased when his face appeared on the screen short while later.

"John, I've finished for today. Is it too late to go for a walk?"

"No, I'll call for you at your apartment in, say half an hour. Will that give you time to clean up?"

"Yes," Kat replied. "I'll see you later, John."

Feeling happier, she headed back to her apartment.




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Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1994 is a reply to message #1993] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tawnyangel22 Sent: 7/19/2006 1:54 PM

Tracy Island -- Thursday July 19th, early evening --

Kat had just showered and changed when her doorbell chimed.

"Who is it?"

"It's me, John."

She opened the door. "Hi, John, come on in. Would you mind if we didn't go for a walk? I'm rather hungry, so I wondered if I cooked a meal, you'd care to join me."

"I'd like that very much," John replied.

"It'll only be a quick meal cooked in my wok."

Grinning at her, he remarked, "Perhaps I should warn the family to get ready with the fire extinguishers."

Kat rolled her eyes at him. "Gosh! I'll never live that down will I? Actually, I have become quite adept at wok cooking. Maybe I could teach you to use it as well."

"Oh, I'm not sure about that," he replied, "I don't get much time to cook while I'm here at base, and there's really no place for a wok on Thunderbird Five. I'll just enjoy your cooking."

Kat cooked a quick stir-fry using vegetables, bean sprouts, herbs and a dash of Soya sauce.

They sat down to eat. Kat watched as John looked at his plate. "I hope everything is okay." She sounded a little worried.

John began to eat. "It's fine. In fact it's quite tasty," he added, "although I have to admit that I haven't had truly vegetarian food before."

Kat looked relieved. She hadn't been too sure whether John would like the meal or not.

After they had finished, John helped her clear up, and then sat down on her sofa, his long legs, stretched out. Kat made them both some coffee and joined him, curling her legs underneath her.

"So, how did your day go?" he asked

"It went fairly well," Kat replied. "At least I know my way around a jetpack. I also checked over the mobile crane. But I haven't forgiven Gordon; I'll find some way to get him back."

John laughed. "I wish you the best of luck. It's not often he's caught out."

"I've been thinking about poor Callie. To think that that monster tried to get information out of her, she must have been quite traumatised."

He nodded in agreement. "Yes; thank goodness Dom arrived just in time."

"So that person who stole the hoverbike in the tunnel was the Hood. I think I had a lucky escape."

"Yes, I think you did, Kat," John replied.

Suddenly Kat tried to stifle a yawn.

He noticed. "Hey you must be very tired; you've had a long day. I'll head back to the villa, and let you get some rest."

"I'm sorry John; that must seem rude of me."

"Not at all. Thanks for the lovely meal. How about we spend some time together this weekend? We could watch a movie in the theatre, and maybe I can reciprocate by cooking you a meal."

"I'd like that very much, thank you," she replied.

As he left the apartment, he said, "Goodnight Kat, sleep well."

"Goodnight John."




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #1996 is a reply to message #1994] Sat, 28 July 2012 22:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Hobbeth Sent: 7/20/2006 3:25 PM

Friday, July 20; 9 PM; Silver Spring (1 PM the next day on Tracy Island)

Lena stared at the computer screen in front of her. I know the answer is in front of me, but I can't see it. Why? She stood up and began pacing around, trying to break through the block that kept her from completing the challenge she'd accepted from Brains.

After the Tracys were well on the way to recovering from the food poisoning, and she'd rested, Brains had allowed her to go down to the lab. He'd showed her a few of the projects he was working on, one of them being a way to upgrade the security of the communications for International Rescue.

"Right now, I've hit a stumbling block. I need programs that will scramble and unscramble transmissions at both ends, but won't allow any unauthorized person to get anything but static, or gibberish."

"What's de problem?"

"The transmission won't unscramble properly, unless it does so before it reaches the other end. It ends up with only every fifth word getting through -- if I'm lucky. Can you help?"

She'd looked at his program. Something there wasn't quite right, but she hadn't been able to put her finger on it. She'd straightened up and turned to him. "I'd like to try. But I don't know dat I could do it right now. So much has happened dat I tink I wouldn't be able to concentrate."

He'd put his hands on her shoulders and squeezed them gently, but comfortingly. "I understand. It can wait a while. We haven't had any compromise of our system, yet. But it's only a matter of time. So I tell you what; I'll send everything I have to your home computer. When you're ready, take a look at it and see if you can come up with a solution. How would that work? Are you up to the challenge?"

She'd smiled and replied, "Dat would be fine. Tank you, Brains. I may not be up to it yet, but I will be, as soon as I can take care of a few tings. And I'll keep in touch to let you know how I'm doing."

It had taken time for her to start working on it. Even after her meeting with her family, it had been several days before she was relaxed enough to concentrate on something as complex as this program. So although she hadn't been working on it very long, she was frustrated that she hadn't made any progress.

She thought back to that day in his lab, and remembered how proud he was of the new "heads-up" program he and Tin-Tin had come up with, so the rescuers in the field could talk to each other and still have their hands free to continue doing their job. Suddenly she looked at the computer screen again. Dat's it! He didn't take dem into account when he worked on dis program. Dey must have different specs, and dere's probably a basic incompatibility wit dis programming.

Knowing she needed more information from Brains, she emailed him.

I've started working on the upgrade of the communications program you sent me. I couldn't figure out why it wasn't working, until I remembered the day you finally let me go to your lab. I believe the problem is an incompatibility between this program and the way your new "hands free" transmitters are configured. Would you please send me the specs on them, so I can confirm my theory?

She finished with a personal note, and sent it. Then she sighed and, after saving what she'd done, turned off her computer and, making her usual checks, left the room.




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2004 is a reply to message #1996] Sun, 29 July 2012 09:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: FrankieCTB2 Sent: 7/22/2006 1:11 PM

July 21st, Tracy Island Lab.

As Tin-Tin entered the lab, she found Brains pacing back and forth mumbling to himself about specs and thermodynamics.
"Brains! You'll wear the floor out if you keep moving like that!" Tin-Tin laughed as she spoke.

At the sound of her voice, Brains looked up and half smiled but kept walking. He had so much on his mind that he was starting to muddle things. He needed to be certain that all the written material he wished to take with him was in order, and had spent the last few hours at his computer making sure everything was airtight, so to say. Yet, he still wasn't satisfied. These conventions made him much more nervous than usual, and being the perfectionist that he was, he had to have everything 'just so'.

"Oh, Tin-Tin, I, er, I didn't hear you come in. I'm sorry. I was just making sure that all the data I need for the conference is, um, secure. After the recent problems we've encountered with viruses, I need to be 110% certain that no one can hack into any of my files, especially as I'm sure I'll be adding to them while I'm there."

Tin-Tin's smile faded a little as she remembered that the e-mail she'd opened from Giles had set off a series of problematic events culminating in Lena's kidnapping. Although not directly responsible in any way, she still felt guilty and ashamed that she'd let someone like Giles Hightower influence her. "Yes, of course, Brains. I understand."

Brains noticed her change in demeanor and changed the subject a little. "While you're here, Tin-Tin, would you mind double checking my flight reservation and confirmation at the hotel?"

Tin-Tin brightened again. "Gladly!" she answered and sat down at her computer. "All right, Brains, you're all set. Once you leave the island and arrive in Sydney, you'll connect to Qantas Flight 900, First Class all the way to Paris. Once you arrive, the limo Mr. Tracy insisted on will be there to take you to the hotel." A question crossed her mind as she was reading out loud. "Brains, maybe you could ask Lady Penelope and Parker meet you in Paris at some point. You know, for extra security? After all, Penelope is very familiar with the city and Parker knows his way around. I was just thinking how extra security could have helped when Lena was kidnapped."

Brains stopped walking and came over to Tin-Tin. "I, er, I don't think that's going to be possible, Tin-Tin, the, um, arrangements are very specific. I'm sure that if she were needed, she would be there, possibly incognito. Mr. Tracy may have even contacted our agent in Paris for assistance."

Tin-Tin smiled at his logical train of thought. He always seemed to be prepared for every possible scenario. She liked that about him. That, and many other things, like his genuine enjoyment of her company when they'd spent downtime together. The walk and picnic they'd had on the beach a while ago had been a very pleasant afternoon. She couldn't recall such a relaxed afternoon like that with Alan, at least not towards the end of their relationship.

"Don't worry about me, Tin-Tin, I will be back here before you know it!" Brains added.

She smiled at his attempt at humor and rose from her seat. "Would you like some help packing the rest of your things?" she asked.

Brains was quite taken aback by her offer. He was so used to doing things for himself that he hadn't given thought to anyone ever paying this much attention to him. He stuttered a little as he answered, causing Tin-Tin to giggle softly. "Um, y-yes, if you'd, um, like."

"Yes, Brains! I would very much 'like'." They both chuckled as they left the lab.

I'm really going to miss him, Tin-Tin thought as they walked along together.

I think I may really miss her, Brains thought to himself as Tin-Tin happily walked beside him.

"Brains?"

"Yes, Tin-Tin?"

"You will be extra careful when you're in Paris, won't you?"

"Yes, I will. I promise," Brains assured her, finding that he liked her concern for him. "Now, to find the suitcases I need!" he said as they entered his suite to begin packing.




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2005 is a reply to message #2004] Sun, 29 July 2012 09:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tawnyangel22 Sent: 7/24/2006 3:49 AM

Tracy Island -- Saturday, July 21st -- 5.30pm

It had been a long day. Kat had finally finished testing all the jetpacks as well as her other jobs and was now looking forward to having a shower. John had arranged to meet her after she finished work. She had just put the tools away and was about to wash her hands, when she heard John's voice.

"Hi Kat. How's it going? Are you finished?"

"Hi, John, I'm just about ready," Kat called back.

John came over to her and smiled at the young mechanic. Looking at her, he chuckled. "Looks like you've had a busy day."

As soon as Kat was ready, the couple headed back towards the Cliff House. She headed for the shower calling over her shoulder, "There's some fruit juice in the fridge, could you pour us both a drink? I won't be long. The glasses are in the small cupboard above the fridge."

John found the carton and pouring two glasses, sat down to wait for her. It wasn't long before she came back into the lounge looking clean, dressed in jeans and a sweater.

"Do you have any plans for this evening?" she asked.

"I thought maybe we could watch a movie in the theatre," John suggested.

"Sounds good, "Kat remarked, "but I must have something to eat first; I'll just fix myself a sandwich. Can I make you one?"

John declined the offer, saying that he had recently eaten. When she finished, they walked back to the villa and down to the cinema room. They decided on a movie and John placed the DVD in the machine. Handing her a box of popcorn he brought along, sat down beside her to enjoy the film. Kat glanced sideways at him; he was watching the film intently. He was so good looking and they were becoming such good friends. It was pleasant, just sitting there beside him in the darkened room.

After the film had finished, John asked if she would like a snack.

"Yes, please," she answered.

Leaving the theatre they made their way to the kitchen, where John began preparing a light meal. "I'm afraid it's only a cheese salad," he said, "followed by fresh fruit."

"It looks wonderful," she remarked. "Besides, I don't want anything too heavy at this time of night."

John carried the plates into the dining room, followed by Kat who brought the glasses and a bottle of wine.

"Bon appetite."

"Merci," she replied.

"So, you speak French," he said.

"Oui. I learnt French and German at school. I did start Spanish, but somehow I neither had the time or the patience to continue."

"Would you like me to teach you?"

"Oh would you? Yes please," Kat replied.

"I can be a hard task master," John said laughing at her. "I'm very thorough."

"Can we start now?" she asked.

John chuckled. "No, not tonight. We'll start the lessons another day; starting with the basics."

"Thanks John," she replied, "I'll look forward to that."

They continued talking about International Rescue, and their respective families, until Kat said, "It's very late, John. I have to go; thanks for a lovely meal."

"You're welcome, Kat."

John walked her back to her apartment. On the way down in the elevator, he began thinking, and then with a smile headed back to the villa.

Edited by Lillehafrue




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Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2007 is a reply to message #2005] Sun, 29 July 2012 09:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/24/2006 11:23 AM

Saturday, July 21, 2068, 7:30 p.m., England (7:30 a.m. Sunday, July 22 on Tracy Island)

"Is everything in order?"

"Yes, sister dear," Giles said in a desultory tone. "Mr. Hackenbacker will be arriving at the airport in Paris tomorrow. Our taxi driver will be there to pick him up."

"Are you sure that Tracy hasn't made any other arrangements?" Desdemona asked, giving her brother a dirty look.

"No, of course I'm not sure!" Giles snapped back. "It's not as if I have any contacts at Tracy Industries. Just the one at the conference and at the airline. He's flying from Sydney, first class." He sighed. "It's safe to assume that he'll take a taxi to the conference hotel, just as the others will."

"Nothing is 'safe to assume' when it comes to Tracy and his people, Giles." Jacques turned from the window of his office. "I hope you have other plans in hand to capture this Hiram Hackenbacker should he slip through your fingers at the airport."

"Of course I do," Giles retorted. He took off his glasses to polish them with a handkerchief. "Are you keeping an eye on that Lady Penelope? I am certain that she had something to do with our losing Mrs. Matumbo."

Desdemona snorted a laugh and shook her head, her golden mane of hair swaying. She pushed it back out of the way. "Just because the woman humiliated you in a public place doesn't mean she's some sort of... secret agent." She lit a cigarette, took a drag, and blew the smoke out. "Really, Giles, you're obsessed with the woman."

Before Giles could sputter out a rebuttal, Jacques held up a hand. "I've had the woman thoroughly checked out, Giles. She's into good works and attending the events on the social calendar. Yes, she is a good friend of the Tracy family, and perhaps was more to old man Tracy at one time. But there's nothing in her background to suggest she is any more than what she appears: a rich social butterfly."

Giles subsided, grumbling. Desdemona smiled at his discomfiture, and stood up, grinding out her cigarette in one of the room's crystal ashtrays. "Well, boys, if Giles has everything well in hand, I'll be heading out." She paused at the door. "I'm looking forward to meeting this Hiram Hackenbacker."

"Will you do better with him than you did with Mrs. Matumbo?" Giles sneered.

"Oh, yes," his sister replied, dropping her voice to a breathy, sultry tone. "A man like him won't be able to resist me."

She left, and Giles rose. He put his glasses back on. "I am also heading home. I'll be ready to leave for Paris in the morning."

"You had better pull this off, Giles," Jacques warned. "I want this man. He's the key to all of Tracy's secrets."

"And you shall have him," Giles replied. He left the room, and there was silence for a few moments. Then Jacques picked up his phone.

"The car, Jacobs. I am going to the club."



98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2008 is a reply to message #2007] Sun, 29 July 2012 09:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/24/2006 2:01 PM

Sunday, July 22, 2068, 11:30 a.m., local time, Sydney. (1:30 p.m. Tracy Island)

Brains settled back into his first-class seat and pulled out his PDA. He was on his way to Paris, to a conference where, for once, he was going to do far more listening and learning than teaching. He looked over his itinerary for the next few days, but didn't really see what was on the tiny screen. All he could think about was his last few moments with Tin-Tin at the Sydney airport.

She and Kyrano had been deputized to fly him to his departure point. Kyrano needed to get some groceries, especially in lieu of the children's imminent homecoming and Sydney was a prime place to get in some shopping. Before the pair went off to tend to Kyrano's list, they said their goodbyes at the airport, just before Brains stepped through the security checkpoint.

"I... will miss you," Tin-Tin had said shyly. "Remember your promise."

"I will," Brains had replied, smiling. He had taken her hand and squeezed it gently, and she had given him a small, chaste kiss on the cheek before turning to join her father. The kiss had made him feel warm all over, and the memory of it made him sigh, much as he'd sighed as he'd watched her leave.

He shook his head to clear it, and turned his PDA over to his "to-do" list. He checked off Lena's name; he'd emailed her the specs for the HUD and earphones. Don't know why I didn't think of that, he thought, shaking his head again. But it feels good to leave the project in hands as capable as my own.Looking over the list again, he checked off Kat's name, too. He'd left her with a data pad that had a list of chores above and beyond her normal ones so she'd keep busy while he was gone. Tin-Tin had a similar list, and there were several things marked for Callie's attention as well. I have to admit, it feels nice to get out from under the workload for a while. Thunderbird Eight will be claiming more and more of my time in the near future, and a breather before plunging wholeheartedly into that design will help me focus on it better.

An attendant came to his seat, smiling widely. "Sir," he asked, "can I get you a drink?"

Brains smiled back and nodded. "A glass of red wine, please."

"Very good, sir." As the attendant went to fetch his drink, Brains suddenly turned off his PDA, and slipped it back into his briefcase. No more work, he thought. Treat this as downtime before the conference, and whatever Paris may hold.



98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2009 is a reply to message #2008] Sun, 29 July 2012 09:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/24/2006 2:40 PM

Saturday, July 21, 2068, 11:15 p.m., local time, Greenville, SC (Sunday, July 22, 3:15 p.m. Tracy Island)

"So, how was th' flight?" Lisa asked her daughter. She had met Dianne and John at the jetport, and they were now en route to her house.

"Long, as usual," Dianne said with a sigh. She glanced back to see her daughter and three of her sons riding in the van, the youngest two half asleep already, and turned back to her mother with a puzzled frown.

"Why'd you bring the kids?" she asked. "Cherry could have waited at home with the boys; she's old enough."

Lisa steadfastly looked to the road, and paid attention to her driving, and there was a long silence between mother and daughter.

"Ma?" Dianne prodded.

Lisa sighed. "Theyah's been a... an incident," she said, not looking at Dianne.

"What kind of incident?"

John, sitting behind Dianne, perked up his ears and leaned forward a little.

"A sort of... security incident."

"Ma," Dianne's tone was now warning. "What happened?"

Her mother seemed to deflate a little. "Garrett."

Dianne's eyes widened in disbelief. "He's heah?!" Lisa nodded, and Dianne glanced away, stunned.

John took the opportunity to ask a question. "Who's Garrett?"

Almost simultaneously, Lisa said, "Mah ex-husband," and Dianne answered, "My fathah."

"Your father?" John echoed. "That would make him my... step-grandfather... sort of."

"If'n mah mothah wasn't divorced from him, probably," Dianne said sourly. She turned back to her mother. "What's he doin' heah?"

Lisa sighed again. "It seems that he heard 'bout yoah marriage, and is tryin' t' insert himself back into owah lives. He started with Doug, comin' around, sayin' he wanted t' make up foah what he did, be a 'real' grandfathah t' Stephanie."

"Ah hope Dougie threw him out on his ear!" Dianne said fervently.

Lisa shook her head, and glanced at her daughter, her expression a plea for understanding. "No, he didn't." Before Dianne could say a thing, she went on, "Doug was very young back then, Di. He doesn't remember what happened the way that you do. He doesn't see anythin' wrong in his fathah makin' amends."

"Ah guess Ah'll have t' have a little talk with him. Remind him of owah family history," Dianne growled, folding her arms belligerently. She took a deep breath to calm herself, then asked, "Did he see... the kids?"

Her mother looked back out at the road again. They were getting close to home. "Yes, unfortunately. He's been watching me, it seems, and when Ah went out to the store with the kids, he came up t' us. He greeted me, then asked if'n the kids were yoahs. Wanted me t' introduce him. Ah tole him t' get lost."

"What did the kids do?"

This question brought out a snorted laugh. "Alex gave him his patented, 'you are a bug' look. Tyler just looked confused, but Cherry asked me if'n Ah wanted security. Ah said, yes, and she called them. Simone showed up, draggin' a store manager along foah good measure, and while she was politely arguing her point 'bout the kids and theyah privacy, we made good our escape. With the groceries, Ah might add."

Dianne relaxed a bit. "Sounds like you handled it well."

"Ah suppose so." Lisa pulled into her driveway, and took the car all the way down to the back door, an unusual move for her. "The kids were full o' questions when we finally got into the van. They wanted t' know who that man was, and why he stopped us in the store. Ah tole them a little; you'll have to tell them more."

"Ah will, in the morning," Dianne said. "Did he follow you home or anything?"

The lights came on in the van as John opened the side door and stepped out to stretch. Cherry stirred; she'd been listening in on the conversation, but didn't want her mother to know that just yet. Reaching behind her, she shook Alex's knee and then Tyler's. "Wake up, guys. We're home."

"John, could you get Tyler in the house? Ah don't think he's going t' wake up," Dianne asked her stepson with a strained smile.

"Sure, Mom," he replied.

Lisa handed her keys to Cherie. "Go and open the door foah your brothers and turn the lights on so John can see where he's going."

"Yes, ma'am," Cherry said as she took the key ring and climbed out of the car. Alex followed her, drooping and yawning, and John brought up the rear, practically carrying a zoned-out Tyler. When the children and John were safely inside, Lisa put a hand on Dianne's arm.

"After we got home from the store, he called me."

Dianne frowned. "How'd he do that? Yoah number is unlisted."

"He talked Doug into giving it t' him, or at least, that's what he said," Lisa explained. "He asked when his daughter and new son-in-law were goin' to put in an appearance."

"Hmm." Dianne said thoughtfully. "Sounds to me like he's got an eye on Jeff." She gave her mother a piercing look. "Do you think he's sincere in this 'making amends' business?"

Lisa shook her head. "Ah don't know, and Ah don't want t' know. Ah washed him from mah life years ago and Ah'm not lettin' him back in. Not now, not evah."

Dianne nodded. "Ah understand. And it makes mah decision about Cherie's schooling a whole lot easier t' make. There's no way Ah'm leaving her heah; not while he's hanging around."

"Ah thought that'd be yoah decision," Lisa said. "Ah've already got mah things packed t' visit the island. Ah wasn't going to, but this... encounter has changed mah mind."

"You know you're welcome, Mom, always," Dianne said with a small smile. She glanced up. "Here's John. We'd better grab the overnight bags and get inside." She paused. "Thanks foah taking such good care of my kids. Ah hope you realize that you're not the problem heah; he is."

"Ah know," Lisa replied, nodding. "We can talk more about this in the morning."

"Right," Dianne said, opening her door. And I can call Jeff and give him my decision regarding our daughter.




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2010 is a reply to message #2009] Sun, 29 July 2012 09:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Hobbeth Sent: 7/24/2006 5:19 PM

Sunday, July 22; 3:30 PM; Lena's home (9:30 AM Monday on Tracy Island)

Lena was in her home office trying to work the specs of the heads up display into the security program. She had gotten only so far, and kept running into walls. She sat back and closed her eyes. Everyting is becoming a blur. I tink I'd better quit for de day. Dis keeps getting more and more complicated. It's one of de most difficult challenges I've ever had. Good ting I have time to figure it out. Maybe when Brains gets here, I'll be further along.

She opened her eyes and looked at the screen once again. "I'm not going to let you defeat me. I'll figure out how to integrate de specs into de program, no matter how long I have to work on it. And I'll get it to work for data as well. But I'm not going to do it today. So," and she reached out to save her work, then shut down her computer, "I'm going to put you out of my mind and enjoy de rest of de weekend."

She stood up and stretched, then did her checks of the outlets in the room. As she left, and just before she closed the door, she said, "I've got a murder mystery waiting for me to finish, but I tink I'll make some tea first."




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2011 is a reply to message #2010] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/25/2006 12:06 PM

Monday, July 23, 2068, 10 a.m., Tracy Island

Dianne let out a quiet sigh as John brought Tracy One in for a smooth landing. It had again been a long flight, with a lot of talking done along the way.

They'd left Greenville around nine, with Dianne in the cockpit. John napped in the back for a couple of hours, waking just short of L.A., where they had a quick pit stop and refueling. Then Dianne moved to the back, and John flew the rest of the journey.

She watched her kids as they read or played with their vid games, and wondered how to explain the situation with Garrett. There hadn't been too many questions in the general rush to pack up and leave, but she expected some now. I think I'd better broach the subject now, she thought. Might save a lot of questions coming at awkward times in the next week or so.

"Kids?"

The three young ones looked up at their mother, who put on a pained smile. "Grandma told me about you meeting up with a man in the grocery store..."

"You mean that guy who got her all mad?" Tyler asked. He saved his game and put it aside, sensing that his mother wanted to talk about the incident.

"Yeah, him," Dianne replied, nodding. "I want to explain a few things about him..."

"He's our grandpa, isn't he?" Cherie piped up, her tone accusatory. When Dianne gave her a questioning glance, she added, "I overheard you talking last night."

"Is he really our grandpa?" Alex asked.

Dianne glanced at her mother, who nodded slightly, indicating her support. With a sigh, Dianne said, "Yes. He is. He's my father, so that makes him your biological grandfather."

"Why are you making the distinction?" Alex asked, frowning. "It's like when you talk about Papa and Nana."

"Your Papa and Nana Koch are far more grandparents to you than Garrett -- that's his name -- will ever be," Dianne said, her tone turning sharp. Then she relented a little and smiled. "Kids, Garrett hasn't been a father to me, or to your uncles, for a long, long time. He...." She foundered and glanced at her mother.

Lisa nodded. "When I was far younger and more naïve than I should have been," she began, "I married Garrett. We had three beautiful children together. But Garrett had a problem; he liked to drink alcohol. When he got drunk, he was mean and violent, but when he was sober, he was sweet and caring." Lisa paused and took a deep, shaky breath. "The problem was, the more he drank, the more he wanted to drink, until finally, that was all he did. He became an alcoholic, but he wouldn't admit that he was one."

There was a long silence as Lisa looked down at her hands and tried to compose herself. Finally, she raised her eyes to gaze at her grandchildren. "When he was drunk, he would hit me, and tell me all sorts of lies about myself. Because I loved him, I believed him and soon became very depressed."

"Why didn't you tell the police, Grammy?" Tyler asked, his eyes wide.

"Because I thought he was right. He said I deserved to be hit because I was a bad person... and I believed him," Lisa said softly. "But one night when he came home drunk, and started to hit me, your mother woke up." The children glanced over at their mother, who sat silently watching Lisa, a world of sadness in her eyes. "She came out to the kitchen, and started yelling at him to leave me alone. That's when... oh, God..." The last two words came out like a sob.

Dianne picked up the tale. "That's when he started hitting me. He hit me hard enough and long enough to put me in the hospital." She glanced at Tyler. "I was only nine at the time -- a little younger than our Tyler here."

The children's mouths had dropped open at this, and their eyes had widened in shock. After a moment, Alex's face had an angry scowl, while Tyler got up and went to his mother, putting an arm around her shoulders and saying, "It's okay, Mom."

"What happened then?" Cherie asked quietly.

Lisa spoke again. "He made me so angry when he did that. Maybe I deserved to be beaten and screamed at, but your mother didn't. So, for the first time, I told the police what was going on, and filed charges against him. Then, I called your great-uncle Drew, who was living in Myrtle Beach at the time, and he came down to watch your mother and your uncles while I went to the court house and asked for a restraining order. I also found a lawyer, and filed for divorce." She sat up more now, straighter, as if she had regained her pride. "Garrett heard about all this, and disappeared. For two years I looked for him to finalize the divorce, and to see that he was jailed for what he did. It was hard; I worked two jobs to make ends meet, and your great-uncle helped me, too. Finally, we found him, and he was arrested for beating your mother. The divorce became final, and I was free to raise my children in a house where there was no fear."

There was a long silence, then Alex asked, "How come he showed up at the grocery store?"

The two women glanced at each other, and Lisa spoke, "It seems he's been watching me. I don't know how, but meeting him in the store was no coincidence."

"He heard about my getting married to Jeff," Dianne added. "I think that's the reason he's popped up so all of a sudden."

"He started with your uncle Doug," Lisa said. "Trying to make amends with him first, and getting information at the same time... like my unlisted phone number."

"So... what's he going to do now?" Cherie asked, looking from mother to grandmother and back. "I mean, he's not married to you anymore, Grammy. He can't hurt you anymore."

"I think he may be looking for money, Cherry," Dianne said quietly. "He thinks he'll get it from your dad."

"But... what if he's really trying to say he's sorry?" Tyler asked, a puzzled look on his face. He had taken his seat again, and was leaning forward to listen better. "I mean, you're always telling us we need to forgive..."

"If he were really sorry, Ty, then why didn't he come and do this when your birth dad was alive?" Dianne asked. "Why did he choose to come now, when you kids were visiting your grandmother?" She shook her head. "I don't trust him. I probably never will. As far as forgiveness is concerned..." She took a deep breath, "Let's just say that it'll take more than a few words for me to believe that he's really sorry for what he did. That and respecting both your grandmother's privacy and our own."

Cherie sat up straighter, looking alarmed. "What does this mean for school? Does this mean that I won't be able to stay with Grammy and go to school with my friends?"

Dianne sighed. "As long as he is hanging around Grammy's house, yes, that's what it means. I don't want him near you, any of you."

"That's not fair!" Cherie shouted. "I mean, Grammy can get another restraining order, can't she? Then he'll have to stay away!"

"For me to get another restraining order, Cherry, I have to prove that he's stalking me, or he's hurting me," Lisa explained. "And a restraining order for me doesn't necessarily translate to one for you when you're away from the house without me. You have to have a very good reason to ask for one, sweetie, and I don't intend to let him get close enough to have that reason."

There was a lot of crying, pleading, and pouting from Cherie from that point on, until Dianne put her foot down and said the discussion was over. Then the teenager sat silently pouting, her arms folded belligerently. The other two children asked a few more questions, mostly about their uncle Doug. Finally, Dianne went back into the cockpit as they got close to the island.

Now they had taxied into the hangar, the cool darkness of the caverns enveloping them. Cherie was the first one out of the plane. Scott stood waiting to greet her; she didn't even say hello as she went stomping off in the direction of the lifts.

"What's wrong with her?" he asked Lisa, as she stepped out of the plane.

"I'll tell you later," Lisa promised.

Jeff frowned as he watched his daughter stomp off, then called in his 'I-will-not-be-disobeyed' voice, "Come back here, young lady, and help unload your luggage." Cherie stopped mid-stride, let her arms and shoulders swing down, stomped a foot, and returned, not speaking to anyone as she grabbed two bags and headed off to the lifts once more.

Kyrano watched the interchange, and frowned, a concerned expression. He took Lisa into his arms, and said, "Welcome back, dear one."

She laid her head on his shoulder and said quietly, "I have a lot to tell you."

Jeff greeted his tired sons, and helped Dianne down from the cockpit. "What's with Cherie?" he asked.

"Ah made mah decision, and she's none too happy with it," Dianne explained as her eyes followed the girl. She glanced back up at her husband and smiled slightly. "Theyah's a lot t' discuss and explain. Later, though, when we're all feelin' a bit more rested."

"Okay, love. Later."

With that, the crew moved to finish unloading the cargo hold and went on up to the villa.




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2012 is a reply to message #2011] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/25/2006 3:19 PM

Monday, July 23, 2068, 11:30 a.m., Tracy Island

Dianne was taking a nap. The boys were in the games room, probably whipping their older brothers at pinball. Lisa and Kyrano were in the kitchen with Emily, preparing lunch, and Cherie had headed off down the beach.

Most likely having an adolescent pity-party, Jeff observed sourly. Just like Alan used to.

He was at his desk, looking over the resumés and applications he'd received from Human Resources for the "family pilot" position -- otherwise known as "Christopher's replacement". All the ones that had been sent on were stellar, but most of them -- like the first batch -- were mavericks, people dissatisfied with what they were doing and hoping for what might promise to be a more exciting career move.

The helijet crash didn't help, Jeff groused. Now they all think they can be heroes. They think I've fired my personal pilot... whoever I choose will get quite a shock to know that Elise is still on board, and can fly both One and Two.

Scott sat on the sofa, helping his father by sorting through the pile of data pads. He knew that, though his father's decision would be made independent of his own conclusions, his point of view would be considered with due weight. Right now, the list of pilots that he deemed unworthy was growing, and the pile of actual possible candidates was small. Very small.

He picked up another one, and began to peruse it. Hmm. Former Navy pilot -- can't hold that against her -- Blue Angels? That's impressive. He read a little farther, then glanced up at Jeff. "Uh, Dad? Have you seen this one yet?"

"Which one?"

Scott got up and handed the data pad to his father. "Take a look under experience."

Being thorough, Jeff read down through the application, making small thinking noises as he did. Finally, he looked up at Scott. "You think she's a possible?"

"With that organ donor business, yeah. I do."

"And she's female, which is something Dianne requested."

"Mom requested a woman?" Scott's eyebrows went up in amusement.

"Yes. A result of that sandstorm rescue," Jeff said wryly. He turned to his computer. "All right. I'll notify Human Resources, and email this woman to set up an interview. Hopefully, she's right for the job." He adjusted his reading glasses. "Heather Kennedy... now why does that sound familiar?"

"The historic politicians?" Scott asked.

Jeff shook his head. "No, something more recent..." He shrugged. "Well, whatever it is, we'll find out if the lady responds to the invitation." He looked up at Scott. "Make sure we have a second and third choice, though."

"Right," Scott said, going back to the couch and taking up the next data pad.




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2013 is a reply to message #2012] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/27/2006 6:34 PM

Sunday, July 22, 2068, 10:30 p.m., England (Monday, July 23, 9:30 a.m. Tracy Island)

Giles Hightower poured himself two fingers of Scotch. He paced back and forth in his quarters as he sipped it, frustrated beyond measure.

He'd gotten a report from his contacts in Paris. Hiram Hackenbacker had gone through customs and checked into his hotel without incident. He had eaten in the hotel's dining room with friends and had retired to his room where - Giles supposed - he was sleeping the sleep of the innocent and jet-lagged. No one had gotten close to him, and no one who was watching him had found any opportunity to do so.

They'd better pick up the pace when I get there, he thought. I have to bring this man back to Jacques!

He eased himself into one of his chairs, and finished his drink. Tomorrow. There should be plenty of opportunity tomorrow.


10:30 p.m., same day, Foxleyheath

"Beg pardon, milady." Parker approached his employer after having seen her dinner party to their cars.

"Yes, Parker? What is it?" Penelope was very tired. She had been playing the bright, effervescent hostess to a group of possible investors for the cancer research station that Jeff was planning on helping out. The more private donations, the better, she thought, and had gathered a group to have dinner, idle chat, and a word in each person's ear about this venture. She hoped to hear from half of them, but began to fear that she would have to hold a much more gala, formal affair as a means of raising funds. She did wish Jeff could have been at the dinner; his presence would have carried more weight than hers, but with his children coming home... A necessary thing, I suppose. But after all these months, I have yet to fully acclimate to the change.

"Ay've 'ad a word wiv our agent in Paris, milady," Parker replied. "He reports that Mr. Brains 'as arrived safely, and is checked into 'is 'otel."

"Very good, Parker," Penelope said, smiling softly. She rose, her stylish frock glittering in the light of the fireplace.

"There's more, Milady."

"More?" Penelope stopped, her face showing a brief touch of confusion, then it cleared. "What other news?"

"Well, Milady, it seems that someone other than our own bloke is watchin' Mr. Brains. 'E's seen two or three people, gents and ladies, 'angin' around an' followin' 'im."

"Hm." Penelope put her chin in her hand, forefinger up and cradling a cheek. "I wonder who is so interested in our Hiram this time?" She thought for a moment, then said, "Parker, I believe I need to make a little visit to my dear François. While we're there, I'll take a little side trip to visit with Hiram... and see if I can determine whose interest Brains has piqued this time."

"Very good, Milady. At wot tayme should Ay 'ave the Rolls ready?"

"At ten, Parker. We should be in Paris in plenty of time to have dinner with the dear boy." She hid a small yawn behind a discreet hand. "But now, I need my rest. Good night, Parker. See to the alarm system."

"Yus, Milady. Goodnight, Milady."

Penelope climbed the stair in her ancestral manor, heading for her own boudoir and bedroom. This comes relatively soon after Mrs. Matumbo's kidnapping. Perhaps the Hightowers have decided that Brains would be a more rewarding target. I shall soon see for myself.




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2014 is a reply to message #2013] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: FrankieCTB2 Sent: 7/28/2006 5:20 PM

Tracy Island, Monday July 23rd , 2:30p.m.

It was raining the next time the mail plane came in. Virgil, Tin-Tin and Nikki, all clad in raincoats went out to get the precious cargo. It had only been two days since the last arrival of mail, but Brains had more important packages arriving for various projects, so the plane had made a run back to the island. There were only a handful of bills and letters this time.

Tin-Tin and Virgil arrived back in the lounge where Jeff was working at his desk and Gordon, Scott, Elise and Kat were in the middle of a card game. Due to utter boredom, the girls had agreed to the game only to please Gordon, who'd cornered them in the workout room of their apartment complex, begging them to play.

"Mail Call!" Virgil announced as he walked slowly towards his father's desk.

"This is all yours, Dad." Virgil plunked down a stack in front of Jeff, who looked up above his reading glasses, and said, "Thanks, son," with a small smile.

"Now, who is left? Tin-Tin, you've already got yours," Virgil said to no one in particular, as Tin-Tin was already engrossed in her fashion magazine.

The four card players looked at Virgil, who was now hobbling over to them. "Gords, a fishy magazine for you!" he announced, as he threw it at the redhead.

"It's the World Aquatic Marine Dige..."

"Yeah, whatever!" Virgil cut him off humorously.

"NOT a FISHY magazine!" Gordon added. Kat grinned and Scott and Elise laughed at poor Gordon. "Dad? Tell Virg to quit picking on me!" He pleaded. Jeff looked up, merely shook his head in amusement and went back to his work.

"Nothing for you this time, Scott." Virgil continued, still ignoring Gordon. "Oh, there's a letter here for you, Kat, looks like it's from Lady Penelope."

"Oh! Wow, I wasn't expecting anything!" replied Kat, taking the envelope from Virgil.

"And this one is for you, Elise." He handed an envelope towards her. She'd still been laughing at Gordon and was caught by surprise. She looked up, like a deer caught in headlamps.

"Me? Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure. It says Elise Collins, right here on the envelope!"

Elise took it, and examined it. She didn't recognize the writing, and who would be writing to her anyway? She stood up and walked over to an empty chair to open it.

Virgil seated himself at his piano and pretended to mess about with music sheets, all the while watching Elise. She opened the letter slowly, fearing some sort of bad news. It was far from it. Neatly written in what she now recognized as Virgil's handwriting, from his caring note he'd sent her a while back, was this...

I couldn't help but notice how sad you seemed the other day when you didn't get any mail. I know how lonely life can be out here sometimes, but I want you to know, you've always got me to unload on, go flying with or just hang out with! Smile, you have a beautiful one! Let me know if you want me to send you any more mail, that way you too can get "all silly" when the plane arrives! Your pen pal, Virgil!"

Below, he had drawn the most ridiculous looking cartoon smiley face, and Elise started laughing. Virgil always seemed to know just what she needed and when she needed it. She looked over to him; he had a smug, knowing smile on his face.

She mouthed, "Thank you!" and he mouthed back, "You're welcome!" and followed it with what Elise thought was a very seductive wink.

"Good news?" Tin-Tin asked Elise.

"Oh yeah! You could say that," Elise replied as she went back to her card game.

Virgil, still smiling, sat back and folded his arms. She hadn't even noticed that the envelope wasn't stamped or postmarked. He'd merely slipped it in when he was getting the mail, but he was very glad he'd made her smile.




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2015 is a reply to message #2014] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: AmandaTracyandFred Sent: 7/28/2006 9:21 PM

Sunday July 22, 2068 El Dorado, Kansas 6:30pm

Sitting at her favorite chair with a bucket of fried chicken on a table next to her, Heather studied the tri-screen with the weather patterns on one side and the broadband Internet through Tracy Industries on the bottom right, while Amy, a younger version of her mother, sat looking back at Heather on the top right. She sighed with relief as the A/C cranked cold air all through the house.

"Hi, Heather! How are you?"

"Pretty good. Pretty beat. Just got home. Putting up my feet." Heather wiggled her toes at the screen. "How's everybody doing?"

"Mom's upset. Dad's reading--"

"I just know I'm going to regret asking this, but why is she upset?"

"Mom applied at her club and she was turned down yet again."

"Which one?"

"Oh, the Daughters of the Revolution Society."

"Oh no! She'll be moody for the next two weeks solid. Why doesn't she give up? Her credentials aren't enough evidence to list our family with them," Heather commented as she scrolled through her email. "Oh, nuts! I was outbid on eBay again!"

"What do you have to do that for? You could afford anything you want."

Scrolling down further, Heather saw an advertisement from Tracy Industries. "No, I do not wish to add myself on your mailing list! I'm on your payroll already!" With a touch of a button, the offending ad disappeared into cyberspace.

"Oh, I know I could, but it's so much fun to just jump in on the auctions. I get a feeling of satisfaction when I beat out somebody on here. I'm bidding on a beautiful emerald cut diamond ring with tiny perfect diamonds surrounding it. It's gorgeous!"

Amy shook her head. "How do you know it's authentic?"

"Because I made a personal call to the owner, then made a call to the store he bought it at, and had it verified. That's how I know. I had the verification mailed to me. It's gonna be mine!"

Scrolling further down on her email listing, Heather found another Tracy Industries email and opened it. She glanced over the headings and then read the body of the electronic missive.

"Dear Ms. Kennedy,

Your application for the position of Family Pilot has been accepted. Please call my office at the following number between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. CDT to schedule an interview. I look forward to meeting with you in person and discussing the position.

Sincerely,

Jeff Tracy"


"Yeeehah!" Heather yelped for joy. "I'm going to meet the first astronaut to return to the moon! Yippee!"

Amy groaned as she covered her ears. "Mother is going to just--freak!"




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2016 is a reply to message #2015] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 7/28/2006 9:25 PM

Monday, July 23, 2068, 1:30 p.m., Paris, France (Monday, July 23, 11:30 p.m., Tracy Island)

The conference was very interesting so far. Brains had met up with several different friends, having dinner with them the night before it started. He was looking forward to more seminars, and his panel discussion later that afternoon. Right now, he was heading out to a local technical university for a demonstration of a new method for generating an anti-gravity field.

If it's more powerful than what we are already using, and could be adapted for field use, it could have multiple applications, he thought. Especially in debris removal. We still don't have an effective method to remove large piles or pieces of debris without disturbing what is beneath them. An anti-gravity ray, or perhaps a lifting device, like Thunderbird Two's grabs, that can be positioned using AG, would be a boon to our operations.

He was deep in thought all the way down in the elevator, humming absently under his breath, which gained him a few strange glances from his fellow passengers. One of those people, however, was interested in him from a different perspective. She had been discreetly following him most of the day so far, and was reporting every so often on where he was and where he seemed to be heading.

As he left the elevator, she lifted a phone to her ear and said, in French, "He is heading for the main doors. We need that cab up here, now."

So it was that when the doorman of the hotel where Brains was staying called a taxi for the engineer, a particular car pulled up, one that had been especially prepared for him. Another man waited nearby, smoking a cigarette, ready to climb in after their target and prevent him from climbing out again.

The doorman opened the taxi door for Brains, who smiled and gave him a small salute. He received a touch of the cap in return as he slid into the back seat. But just before the cab could move, Brains saw someone he hadn't expected.

"Oh my!" he said aloud to himself. "Professor Borrender!" He moved over to the other side of the taxi cab and slid right out the door, waving and calling -- just as the taxi driver's accomplice slid in, and an impatient doorman waved them on.

Brains's stalker watched in stunned amazement as the engineer met up with the older man and the two of them got into a taxi together. She shook her head slowly. "Monsieur Hightower is waiting for this man," she muttered. "He will not be best pleased about this development."




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2017 is a reply to message #2016] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: ArtisticRainey Sent: 8/1/2006 4:44 PM

Eight inquisitive eyes blinked against the light as young Blacktuft the Spider appeared at the edge of the jungle. He crept out of the shadow of the foliage and onto the rolling mountains of sand with tentative steps. He had never been this far out before. The older spiders always warned against venturing beyond the jungle's edge. There's no need for us spiders to go out there, cranky old Sevenleg would say. We have all we need here, and you don't know the dangers that lie beyond our borders. Blacktuft rolled his eyes and took a more confident step out into the sunlight. Bah! What did they know? There was nothing to be afraid of. Water? Who cared? He was a tarantula; nothing frightened him! That was what he would tell his friends when he got back, anyway. The water, however, was many spidermiles away, and Blacktuft's hair stood on edge looking at it. As far as Leggy and Squint would know, he had strode right up to it, and even touched it! They would never know the difference.

Blacktuft trundled across the dunes with some discomfort. He squinted against the sunlight, still strong in the winter, and began to think that perhaps his excursion hadn't been such a good idea. He turned to look over his steps, and twitched when he realized just how far he had come. Perhaps I should go back... I'll just embellish a little more than I thought I'd have to. He turned back around to take one last glance at the ocean, when something caught his eye, something very large and pale. Is that...yes! I must investigate! This opportunity cannot be missed! He scurried closer, stopped for a better look, and blinked a few times before darting on further. This would be far better than a water story: a human!

The creature was lying on the sand, very still, and most certainly hadn't noticed him. Blacktuft trundled forwards, and slowly lifted one leg up to touch the human, and gently pressed into its flesh. It was fairly soft, but the young spider was certain it could take his weight. Very carefully, Blacktuft climbed onto this strange creature, his body trembling, and tremendous pride built up inside him. I am the best EVER! he thought. But his joy was shattered as a heavy, slack hand suddenly batted at him, and he leapt backwards. This is the end! Why am I so stupid? This is the end!

***

Dominic brought one had up to swat at whatever it was that was on him. He had been enjoying a quiet rest on the sand, allowing the sounds of the ocean to wash away the tension of the day (most of which originated from a certain small blond terror), and had found that dozing under the pleasantly warm sun was a marvellous habit to get into. I just wish it hadn't been interrupted, he thought. Stupid... wait - There. Was. Something on him. Dom's head shot up, and he was met with eight-eyed, eight-legged creature sitting atop his chest. Everything stopped. He couldn't move, and he couldn't breathe. Nothing existed except himself and the monstrosity staring back at him. When his heart began to beat again, he did the only thing he could think of:

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

***

Scott watched as Tyler and Alex bolted up the beach, and shook his head. He had never thought that the island could get more boisterous than it already was. Then his littlest siblings had arrived in their lives, and suddenly he appreciated the slight calm his biological brothers sustained. Saying that, he wouldn't give up his youngest brothers and only sister for the world. He had made it a point to spend some quality time with them when they had returned from the mainland, and so he found himself strolling along the beach in the wake of Alex and Tyler's races, pointing out that he couldn't possibly know who had won, as he was so far behind. Alex soon took to simply chasing Tyler instead, and their jubilant yells reverberated over the dunes. Scott stopped dead as another voice rose suddenly in an anguished scream. The boys stilled as well, and all three glanced around to locate the source of the trouble.

"Over here!" Alex shouted, and disappeared around an outcrop of rocks, followed by Tyler.

Scott followed their lead, and rounded the corner to find a deathly pale Dominic lying perfectly still on the sand, his eyes fixed on the large, black tarantula sitting on his chest. The look on Scott's face must have said it all, as Alex fixed him with a confident gaze and shook his head.

"It's not venomous," he said. "It's one of the more common indigenous species." His words belied his age. "And it looks pretty young. It's harmless."

"We need to get it off --" Scott's words were cut off as Tyler suddenly leapt forward, waving his arms.

"Get off!" he yelled.

The spider, which had been undeterred by Dominic's bellow, darted off in an instant. While the method was efficient in ridding Dominic of the spider, unfortunately it also snapped him from his stupor, and the man leapt into the air and then scrambled backwards onto the rocks his eyes frantically searching for another eight-legged assailant.

"Where did it go? Where did it go?! I can't see it! Is is on me? Is it dead? Where is it?"

Scott became acutely concerned that the Irishman might actually have a heart attack. That's a strong phobia.

"Dom, calm down!" He said. "It's gone! You're, uh, safe now."

Dominic seemed thoroughly unconvinced, and the three brothers shared a helpless and bewildered look. After a little more coaxing, however, Dominic slid down off the rocks, his eyes still darting around, before he stared straight into Scott's face.

"I'm leaving. I can be packed in an hour. Spiders. Tarantulas. Huge. Tarantulas. On me. This was not part of the job description. Tarantulas..."

***

Blacktuft watched as the largest of the new humans grasped the first one's arm and turned him around to head back up the beach. The smaller two walked away in their wake. Clearly the smaller they are, the more dangerous they are, he thought. He watched as they disappeared from sight, before turning and heading back across the beach on unsteady legs. The jungle had never looked so welcoming. What a story I have to tell! And I don't even have to make it up!
[/color]



98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2018 is a reply to message #2017] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: TracyFan4Ever Sent: 8/2/2006 7:27 PM

***Tuesday, July 24; Paris, France; 8:45 a.m. (6:45 p.m. on Tracy Island)***

Lady Penelope and Parker sat in the posh penthouse suite of a luxurious downtown Paris hotel to discuss their plans for the day.

"Thank goodness the h'air conditioning 'asn't let up, 'specially with this 'eat wave," said Parker as he turned the thermostat to a more comfortable setting for both of them.

"Yes," Penelope said. "I can't believe how hot it is both here and back in London. The paper did say Europe was experiencing one of the worst heat waves in decades."

Suddenly, just as she was ready to discuss their plans for the day, the power, including the air conditioning, went out. "Oh, dear, what's happened?" she asked.

"Must be a rolling blackout," answered Parker. "I did read there could be those 'ere in Paris today h'and tomorrow."

Already starting to sweat from the oppressive heat and humidity, she took the hand fan from her purse. "Parker, do you have my satellite phone?"

"Yes, M'Lady. Fully charged for use."

"Thank you." As he handed her the phone, she said, "I need to make two calls. The first will be to François to schedule an appointment and view his autumn line. That will be the cover excuse for our being in Paris when we meet with Brains for lunch."

"But Mr. Brains doesn't know we're 'ere." He shrugged, wondering how they were going to fool Brains.

Penny looked straight at him. "Parker, we all have satellite phones at our disposal. Brains never goes anywhere without his. I doubt he'll mind if I meet him for lunch...depending on where the power has not gone out."

"H'is there anything you need me to do while you have lunch?"

"Yes, there is, Parker. I want you to check with your contacts here and determine in which hotel Brains is staying. If he plans to have dinner at the same hotel, we must be there to watch him. I know other people are after our resident genius." She started dialing François's number, hoping to reach his cell phone. "I certainly hope he hasn't lost power at his residence."

******12:30 p.m.; La Chocolét café (Same day, 10:30 p.m. on Tracy Island)******

Brains sat quietly at a table on the inside of the café, himself already sweating from the heat wave. "I wasn't quite prepared for this heat." He started on his fourth glass of ice water to try to cool himself down.

Lady Penelope used her pink parasol to protect herself from the sun's beating. Upon entering the establishment, she folded up the umbrella and started looking for Brains.

He suffered a brain freeze from drinking too much cold water too quickly. When he saw Lady Penelope approaching, he did a quick wave and then held his head.

Walking up to the table, she said, "My dear boy, are you all right?"

"I'm okay, Lady Penelope. I'm just trying to keep myself cool. Unfortunately, I've been taking my cold water in too fast."
She sat down next to him. "So, Brains, how goes the conference so far?"

"It's been great. I've been picking up a lot of useful information and possible ideas for the... company." After taking a bite of his salad, he asked, "What about you, Lady Penelope? What brings you here to Paris?"

With a smile she answered, "I find that my wardrobe is getting terribly passé, so I am here to see what François has available to liven it up."

Rubbing his chin, he said, "François... why does that name sound familiar?"

"He hosted the fashion show on the new jet liner you created."

"Oh, yeah," he said with a nod. "Now I remember him. Good luck finding some seasonable fashions."

"Thank you." She took a bite of her garden salad and said, "Do you have plans for this evening?"

"Actually, yes, I do," he answered, then taking a sip of his water. "Professor Borrender has invited me to dinner."

"That's good. I'm sure you both will have many scientific ideas to discuss."

"I agree. It'll be good to see him again." Brains looked at his watch. "Oh, my. The next part of the conference is in less than 30 minutes. It's supposed to be a discussion of the advancements of aerodynamics in the 21st century. I really can't miss this."

He whispered to her, "I need to get some sort of improvement made for Thunderbird Two."

Penelope giggled at the comment. "Of course. Why don't you go ahead. I'll pay for the lunch."

"Oh, no, Lady Penelope, I--"

"Please, I insist. You go on to the next part of the conference."

Brains knew he couldn't win against her. "All right, if you say so. I'll see you later."

When she finished her meal and paid for it - leaving a hefty tip - she walked outside, parasol fully open. She saw Parker standing at the street corner.

"Well, Parker, I have some information. Brains will be having dinner tonight with Professor Borrender. Did you learn where he is currently staying?"

"Yes, M'Lady. He's staying at La Calais, about four miles north of here. 'Nother source told me 'e'll be 'aving dinner there as well."

She nodded. "Very well, Parker. Let us return to our hotel and prepare to keep an eye on him at dinner this evening."




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2019 is a reply to message #2018] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 8/5/2006 7:39 PM

Tuesday, July 24, 2068, 8:15 p.m., Paris, France (6:15 a.m., Wednesday, July 25 on Tracy Island)

Brains had dinner at The Calais that night, meeting Professor Borrender in the lobby and escorting him to the hotel's restaurant. The talk at first was personal, each catching up with the other's life, then -- as the meal came - the two men began to talk more earnestly.

Behind Brains, at a table where the occupants could see their target yet hopefully not be noticed, a young woman with dark brown hair and attractive spectacles sat with an older man, his curly black hair shot through with the occasional silver strand. They were speaking French, and had ordered wine to drink.

"The wine is excellent, Jean-Claude, though I would much prefer my usual Pernod," the woman said quietly to her companion, her accent perfect. She glanced at the table. "Do you think they will dare strike while he is with someone?"

"I do not know," Jean-Claude replied with a sigh. He toyed with his goblet. "Is your chauffeur in place?"

"Yes," she replied, taking a sip of her drink. "He is watching the bar to see that nothing untoward is added to the drinks on that end."

"But if something is added to the food?" Jean-Claude asked. "What do we do then?"

"We must let our actions be guided by circumstances," she responded. She glanced at Brains and his companion out of the corner of one eye. "They seem to be enjoying themselves."

Indeed, Brains seemed far more animated than she'd seen him for a while. He seemed to be telling Professor Borrender a funny tale, one that had the older man laughing... discreetly, of course.

Suddenly, a slight beeping in her handbag caught her attention. Jean-Claude looked at her with a puzzled expression as she picked up her bag and pulled out her powder compact and lipstick. She opened the compact, hating it that people thought she was primping at the table, but remembering that she wasn't Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward at that moment, but a French woman, and one with rather poor taste at that. Opening the compact, she used her lipstick to send a silent, coded signal to Parker. "What news?"

"Summat's 'appening, Milady." Parker's voice sounded in her ears via her earrings. "One o' the waiter blokes was takin' a pair o' drinks out. Ay 'eard the number 'vent-doo'" - Penelope quickly translated that mangled pronunciation to "Vingt-deux"... twenty-two. - "which is Mr. Brains's table. He was stopped by a man 'oo asked 'im a question an' Ay'm sure Ay saw the lady wiv 'im drop summat inter one o' the drinks."

Penelope nodded slowly, her signal that she'd received the message, then she closed the compact and put away both it and the lipstick. She motioned her head in the direction of the waiter, who was coming up on the scientists' table. He had two drinks on a tray -- one was a bottle of fine German lager, meant for Dr. Borrender, and the other was a martini, a drink that surprised Penelope as she saw it placed by Brains's plate. The older man looked up and thanked the waiter verbally as his beer was poured for him, while Brains gave the server a bare nod, continuing, single-minded, with his story.

The waiter left, and Penelope kept her eye on Brains without really seeming to do so, while bringing her companion up to speed.

"What do we do?" Jean-Claude murmured. "If we make a disturbance, the enemy will know we are here."

"We will have to wait and see what happens," Penny said softly. "If he drinks it, the effects should not take long to become evident, and we can step in then."

However, Brains took care of the matter himself, unawares. His story was reaching a climax, it seemed, and as it did, he flung out both arms... and knocked his martini to the floor, breaking the glass.

The crash brought the attention of the whole room to the scholarly pair, and conversation stilled as Brains, red-faced, began to pick up the larger pieces of glass. The waiter returned, bringing a dustpan to collect the shards, waving aside Brains's proffered help, and accepting with a smile the scientist's abject apologies. Conversation began to pick up again, as people realized there was really nothing to see, and Professor Borrender had a quick word with the waiter before he left. The server nodded, and returned moments later with two more bottles of beer and one glass; a refill for the professor, and a new, tamper proof drink for his younger companion.

"That was a close one," Penelope breathed, suddenly relaxing. "I doubt very much that our mysterious adversaries will try that trick again... at least, not this evening."




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2020 is a reply to message #2019] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 8/13/2006 5:33 PM

Tuesday, July 24, El Dorado, Kansas; 3:00 p.m. (8 a.m., Wednesday, July 25 on Tracy Island)

Tuesday afternoon, Heather stepped into her bedroom. The clock on her bureau near her quilt covered bed read 2:49 p.m. She stood in front of her vanity mirror and ran a brush through her hair. She'd heard all kinds of stories about Jeff Tracy from the mythological to the mundane. "Just remember," she told herself. "He's your boss. Plain and simple. He's probably so busy, he's only got time for a short vidphone meeting. He's looking for a simple pilot, and that's what you are."

Above the headboard of her double standard hung a picture of Jeff dressed in his astronaut's flight suit, holding his helmet in one arm, waving with the other. An excited smile crossed her face. "Well, it's now or never!" she said as she straightened her clothes and hurried back into the living room. Tapping the console on her chair, she brought up the vidphone and dialed the number the much acclaimed astronaut had sent her.

An elegant woman with dark brown hair set in a beautiful French twist, soft brown eyes, and a rather hawkish looking nose appeared on the screen. "This is Jeanette Shapiro speaking for Tracy Industries. How may I help you?"

"My name is Heather Kennedy. I'm a test pilot for Tracy Industries in Wichita, Kansas, and I would like to speak with Jeff Tracy, please. I'm inquiring about the Personal Pilot position, and he asked me to call."

"Just one moment, Miss Kennedy, and I will see if he is available."

While Heather waited for Jeff to answer her call, an elderly rattlesnake dared to poke the pits of its nose past the gates of the house. From the vibrations it felt, it sensed the presence of a field mouse skittering through the jungle of prairie grasses. Shifting its body side to side, the reptile continued its journey across the expansive lawn, looking for its chance to make a kill. Ordinarily, the rattler avoided anywhere humans existed, but its hunting ranges had become smaller and smaller and extreme hunger forced it to encroach upon a human's territory. Determined to catch the mouse, the diamondback crawled closer and closer to its target.

"This is Jeff Tracy speaking. Hello, Miss Kennedy! How are you?"

With some success, Heather controlled her urge to sigh and answered with a confident, "I'm fine, sir. And you?"

"I'm doing well in spite of all the work I have to do. How's the weather?"

"Well, it's been awfully quiet, Mr. Tracy. We haven't had any wild weather in quite awhile. It's my opinion that the longer it takes for rain to come, the bigger the boom when it arrives. We're due, and I'm actually looking forward to it. Well, I know you're a busy man, Mr. Tracy, so I've called as per your instructions."

Jeff appreciated the fact that she wanted to get straight to business. "Okay, Miss Kennedy. I want to say first that I am impressed with your credentials. I would like to set up a time for you to come visit my home to discuss what it is I would like you to do for me, should I accept you as my personal pilot. How would the 27th be? I'll have someone pick you up, and fly you to my home. You'll stay for the weekend as my guest."

"That sounds just fine, Mr. Tracy. I can use a small vacation, but I could just fly myself there. Your family homestead is somewhere near Topeka, isn't it?"

"We're a little bit further out than that."

As he studied her image on the vidscreen, Jeff could almost hear the wheels in her head turning underneath the luxuriant auburn hair. Gordon might find himself either jealous or a comrade for life. Her green eyes seemed to have a way of capturing him in her gaze and holding him fast with her confidence. "Okay, Heather. I'm going to be sending two pilots: my eldest son, Scott, and my assistant head engineer, Tin-Tin Kyrano, to pick you up on the 27th at 9 am. Will that work for you?"

"That would be fine, sir." Heather agreed, already planning on taking her photo of Jeff Tracy to have signed. "I'll be waiting...where shall I meet the plane?"

"You'll be picked up at the testing grounds."

"I'll be there, Mr. Tracy."

"I'll see you then. Good day, Miss Kennedy."

As she talked with her employer, the rattlesnake coiled itself up, buzzing his tail in warning, disturbing a firefly from its perch in the grass. With careful aim, the rattler snapped out with venom dripping fangs. Sensing danger nearby, the field mouse leapt nimbly out of the way and onto Heather's porch. Angry at missing its dinner, the diamondback uncoiled its body and raced after the little rodent.

As soon as her connection for Jeff Tracy broke, another call came in. She tapped the keys and a picture of her brother appeared. "Hi, Feather!"

"Hi, Donny! I love you! How are you, honey?"

Donny peered into the camera and the picture of her living room. "There's a lightning bug in your living room!"

Looking around, Heather saw a bug flying across the screen and a moment later, she saw a tiny flash. A few seconds later it flashed again. "Hang on, Donny. I'll put him back outside."

"Why?"

Ignoring the question, Heather followed the bug until she caught it in her hands, and walked to the doorway to her garage. "Good thing I got done talking to Mr. Tracy, or I would have had to explain that I had a flasher in the house!" The bug continued to blink on and off. "Trouble is, you'd be wasting a lot of energy, because there aren't any lady fireflies to attract. Here..."
Opening her hands in the open garage, she allowed the firefly its freedom.

As Heather turned to go back in, she heard a buzzing sound that chilled her spine. The sound caused her to look toward the porch and she spotted the western diamondback rattler. With her heart banging hard in her chest, Heather raced back into the house, and past the camera to a hall closet.

"Feather! Whatcha doin' now?"

"I've got a cotton pickin' rattler on the porch!" she yelled out towards the mike when she stepped out again with her favorite service revolver.

She could hear Donny calling for her mother. "Mother!"

Heather took a moment to look into the vidphone camera. "No, Donny! Don't tell her--!"

"Mom! Heather's getting her gun out! She's gonna shoot a rattlesnake!!"

From the video connection, Heather could hear a distant scream. Taking the safety off the her favorite service revolver, Heather groaned. "That's all I need. That trip to Mr. Tracy's can't come soon enough!"

"Mom's calling Aunt Jenny!"

With her mind only on her target, Heather raced back out through the garage and saw the rattlesnake strike out again and continue wiggling its body further up on the porch.

Meanwhile, her aunt received a phone call. Serving a pot of tea to her neighbor, Mitzi, Jenny walked over the vidphone and tapped an acceptance code. She didn't even have time to give a proper greeting when her younger sister wailed, "Jenny Lynne! You've got to call Heather and stop her!"

"Oh Martha! Calm down. What's going on now?"

Pouring a cup from the bone china tea pot, Mitzi rolled her eyes at Jenny's high society sister.

"Donny said she was about to shoot a rattlesnake!"

Hearing this, Jenny's eyes went wide with delight. "She is?! Lord have mercy! Come on, Mitzi!"

With a broad smile, Mitzi set her cup down and followed Jenny to the window. She liked Jenny's niece, Heather. The girl had all the spunk of Annie Oakley, and excitement out on the prairies was at a premium.

"Jenny! Are you listening to me?!" Martha called out fruitlessly.
Grabbing two sets of binoculars off the refrigerator, Jenny handed them to Mitzi and hurried to the kitchen window. Touching a button, the window slid open. "Here! Give me those electronic binoculars!" Mitzi obeyed and together the two women peered out the window excitedly.

"There it is, Mitzi! And there's Heather!"

"Oh my! It's huge! Big ol' rattler!" breathed Mitzi. "This is so exciting!"

The rattler was about to crawl after the field mouse when Heather came out with her gun armed. "You're not going anywhere!" Picking up a rock, she tossed it up in the air high enough to land right on the snake's tail. Startled, the rattler turned around to see a human in its territory. Coiling its body, the rattler gave a hard angry buzz with its tail. Heather bent down, sighted down the barrel and fired twice. The first bullet nailed the snake's underbelly and the second bullet tore through the head.

Once the snake fell back, Heather walked over to check out her handiwork. Kicking the carcass, she thought about what to do about dinner.

first contact by AmandaTracyandFred




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2021 is a reply to message #2020] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 8/14/2006 11:04 AM

Wednesday, July 25, 2068, 9:30 a.m., Tracy Island

Jeff looked up as Dianne came into the lounge, a tray with cups, saucers and an insulated carafe in her hands. "This is a pleasant surprise," he said, smiling.

"I thought you might appreciate it," she replied, as she set it on a table. She fixed a cup of coffee for her husband, and brought it over to the desk. "How did that phone call go?"

"Very well," he replied as he took cup and saucer from her and set them down on the desk top. I'm making arrangements for Tin-Tin and Scott to pick Ms. Kennedy up. They'll arrive in Kansas early in the morning of the 27th, so I've got the caretakers of the farmhouse on notice. They'll be able to get a few hours of sleep before returning."

"By this time, Scott must feel like a commercial pilot with all the ferrying around he's had to do," Dianne said as she fixed her own cup.

"True. I bet he never thought that he'd be reduced to being a flying taxi driver." Jeff took a sip of his coffee and watched as his wife sat down in the chair closest to the desk. "What's up, lady?"

"Am Ah that obvious?" she asked with a sigh.

"To me, yes. To your mother and mine, yes," Jeff admitted. "This is about your fa... this is about Garrett, isn't it?"

"Yes," she said, looking away. She sipped her coffee, then gazed back at her husband. "Ah... Ah don't know what to do heah. Ah suspect he's lookin' foah money, but..."

"But you're not sure," Jeff said, completing her sentence.

"Rahte," she replied, her voice dropping in volume. "An'... an' if'n he's sincere about makin' amends, Ah don't know what to do theah eithah." She sipped her coffee again, put her cup down, then sighed again. "Ah've hated him for so long..."

Jeff gave her a look of sympathy. "If it helps any, I've already got our security department looking into his finances, and seeing if there's a possible motive for him turning up now of all times." He sipped his own coffee and added, "I've also spoken to your mother about changing her phone number again, and possibly even moving." He shook his head. "She doesn't want to move north with Doug, nor do I think she should. But Jared's a possibility..."

"So is here," Dianne stated flatly.

"Yes, I've made the offer," he assured her. "I've also suggested moving out near Drew if necessary."

"Ah'd feel better if she was here," she said.

"So would Kyrano," Jeff admitted. He blew out a soft breathy sigh. "We should hear soon about what Garrett's been doing."

"An' what if he's legit? What if he's really tryin' to make amends? Then what?"

"I don't know, love." Jeff set down his cup, and went to sit down by his wife. "I think you should consider forgiving him. In the long run, it'll be better for you if you can let it go. Just because you've forgiven him doesn't mean you have to have a relationship with him. You can still walk away, but without the bitterness."

"If he's sincere," Dianne said stubbornly.

"Even if he isn't," Jeff amended. He held her gaze until she looked down, and sighed.

"Ah'll try," was all she would promise. "Do you think he might try to pull a 'grandparent's rights' thing with the kids?" she asked, leaning toward him.

He put an arm around her. "I don't know, but if he does, I'll step in. He really couldn't get anywhere; he's never been a part of their lives, or yours, but there's also the fact that they're my children now. And I'll do my dead-level best to protect them." He smiled and drew her close. "He wouldn't stand a chance against our legal team."

Dianne smiled, then turned serious again. "If'n Dougie gives him owah private phone number, Ah'll string him up by his toes!"

"I'll help you," Jeff said. "He knows better than that... I hope."

They were quiet for a moment, then she asked, "When do you expect to heah from the security people?"

"I set a deadline of next Monday. I know it doesn't give them much time, but they're putting their best people on this and should find enough to give us an idea of his motives."

"All right." Her drawl was dying down, a sound that Jeff welcomed this time. He held her a little longer, then kissed her on the lips. "No rest for the weary, I'm afraid," he said as he stood. He drew her to her feet and held her close once more, then kissed her again. "I've got to get back to work."

"I know. I have things to do, too," she admitted softly, stroking the side of his face. "Do you think people would be upset if we didn't turn up for lunch?"

He smiled. "I think you have a date, love."




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2023 is a reply to message #2020] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tawnyangel22 Sent: 8/14/2006 11:17 AM

Tracy Island -- July 25th 2068 -- early afternoon

Tin-Tin had agreed to teach Kat to learn to fly. Now the Malaysian girl was waiting in the hangar for the young mechanic. She could hear hurrying footsteps and Kat, breathless from running, came into view.

"Hi, Tin-Tin. Sorry I'm a little late. Brains and I were so engrossed in working on the Laser Cutter vehicle that we simply forgot the time."

Tin-Tin smiled. "That's okay, Kat. I know it's easy to lose track of time when you get involved in something. I haven't been waiting long, anyway.

Asking her to follow, Tin-Tin led the way to the Ladybird. On the way, she said, "I understand that you are familiar with the plane."

"Oh yes," came the eager reply. "This was the first vehicle that I worked on when I came to the Island."

Kat clambered up the retractable ladder behind Tin-Tin and sat in the co-pilot's seat. Tin-Tin asked her to name the controls as a refresher. Kat did so and looked at her teacher for confirmation.

"Actually Kat, you've missed one thing; though strictly not a control as such, you didn't mention the clock," she said, smiling at the young mechanic. "But apart from that you remembered very well. Now," the older girl continued, "I understand you didn't do too well in the simulator."

"Actually on my very first lesson with Scott, I managed to crash the plane on landing. I've gradually got better, but I'm still nervous."

"I think then for a few lessons, I'll take off from Tracy Island, and once we are airborne, you can take over the controls, handing them back to me so that I can land the plane. I want you to watch me and listen carefully to what I tell you during both taking off and landing, so that when the time is right, you can start to take off."

She called for clearance. Virgil's voice was heard over the radio. "Clear for take off. Have a good lesson."

The plane taxied to the end of the runway, then Tin-Tin began to build up speed before releasing the brake. The plane gathered speed down the runway, until it was going fast enough to get airborne. All the time, Tin-Tin was talking to Kat, explaining what she was doing and why.

Kat watched and listened to her every move intently. Will I be able to do this? she thought to herself. Of course you will, an inner voice seemed to say.

"Okay, Kat. It's all yours. Now just relax and take things easy."
The young mechanic took control of the plane. Carefully she began to work the controls.

"Hold her steady, Kat, don't push the levers too hard, just relax."

Kat flew in a large circle over Tracy Island, and a little out to sea, before handing back the controls to Tin-Tin, so that she could land.

Once back on the runway, Tin-Tin glanced at her trainee. "Now, before I take the plane up again, I want you to tell me the sequence I followed."

Kat went through the sequence of steps. "That was accurate; you didn't miss anything," Tin-Tin told her.

The same procedure as before was followed, and again Kat took over once they were airborne. This time the young mechanic felt a little more confident. She couldn't believe that she was actually in charge of a jet for the first time.

"Good," Tin-Tin remarked, "you're relaxing at last. Now take a wider sweep over the island, and a little farther out to sea. You're doing fine."

Looking at the vast expanse of ocean below her, Kat noticed the water was a lighter shade in patches, due to reefs lying just under the surface. She noticed that a few small rugged atolls broke the surface of the ocean, causing the water around them to appear like white foam. In the far distance, the ocean and horizon seemed to blend together. This is wonderful, she thought as she felt the exhilaration and feeling of freedom. I really want to get my licence. I shall feel a complete member of International Rescue, when I can fly on my own. A little turbulence made her momentarily panic, but with Tin-Tin's calming words, she was able to compensate, a feeling that pleased her.

When they landed again, Tin-Tin said, "I think that's enough for one lesson. I'll give you more lessons, just doing the same as today. "When I think you're ready, we'll start working on take offs." When you are fully conversant with that, then we'll start circuits and bumps."

"Circuits and bumps?" Kat queried.

Tin-Tin said. "That's the term for taking off, circling and landing. You will have to do that over and over, until I'm confident that you've fully mastered every aspect of flying."

"Can I try that in the simulator for extra practice?" Kat queried.

"Yes, you should have more lessons in the simulator. I'll have a word with Scott about scheduling more time for that purpose."
Kat thanked Tin-Tin for her lesson, and headed back to her apartment.

She couldn't get over the feeling of elation of actually flying the jet. Wow! That was amazing! I'm going to tell Mum and Dad I'm learning to fly; they'll be absolutely astounded.

Back in her apartment, she opened the patio door and standing on the balcony, looked up at the sky. To think that I was up there flying, being in control of the Ladybird. Going back inside, she began to fix herself a snack before sitting down at her computer.




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2025 is a reply to message #2023] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tawnyangel22 Sent: 8/14/2006 11:24 AM

Tracy Island -- July 25th -- early evening

Taking a bite of her sandwich, Kat opened up her emails. There was one from her brother in Washington.

Dear Kat

Hope you are well, and not working too hard. I see from the news that tornadoes are forecast in the Gulf of Mexico. I hope that they don't head for Kansas, although I would think that Mr Tracy has storm shelters.

Anyway the main reason for writing to you, is that Suzi's three months pregnant. We don't know the sex, but we are not expecting twins this time. Of course Estelle wants a sister and Jake wants a brother. I don't know whether Suzi will be able to attend Andrew and Melanie's wedding in November. But I'll be there with the twins, because that is all that Estelle keeps talking about, being a bridesmaid. Melanie has sent us the material and a pattern for the dress. I expect that she'll send you the same. Hope you can get someone to help you. As I recall you were never very good with a needle. Mum and Dad are fine, although Mum was remarking only the other day, she hadn't heard from you recently.
Anyway that's all for now.

Love

Tim, Suzi, Estelle and Jake


Although Kat was delighted at the news, reading the email did make her feel a little homesick.

Dear Tim

I was so delighted at your news. I can't wait to be an aunt again. It'll be a shame if Suzi won't be able to attend the wedding, but I can completely understand.

Life is not too busy in Kansas, but it is hot. We are experiencing thunderstorms almost daily. We have heard about the tornadoes, but so far we have been lucky, as they seem to miss us.

I am just about to email Mum and Dad. I have the most amazing news. I'm actually learning to fly. Hopefully when I get my pilot's licence, I shall be able to visit you in Washington some time.

Well that's all for now.

Love

Kat


She smiled as she pressed "SEND".

Dear Mum and Dad

I have just received the news from Tim. I'm so delighted. Though this time either Estelle or Jake won't get what they wish for.
I'm sorry I've not been in touch recently, but I have been very busy. However, guess what! No, you'll never guess. I'm learning to fly; how cool is that! Mr Tracy wants all his employees to get their pilot's licence. I had my first lesson in an actual plane this morning. Although I have had lots of lessons in a simulator, flying the real thing is a little daunting. But my instructor seemed pleased with me.

I have been cooking in the wok which Lil, Lady Penelope's cook, gave me when I left. I cooked a vegetarian meal for John the other day. I was a little nervous, wondering whether he'd like it, but he seemed to enjoy it. Now Mum, don't get too excited, but John, who is one of Mr Tracy's sons, and I are becoming close friends. We spend time together on the weekends and sometimes in the evenings. He studies the stars, and has lent me a telescope, so I can watch them as well.

Tim mentioned tornadoes, but so far none have come close to us here in Kansas.

Well I think that's all for now.

Lots of love

Kat


Happy with what she had written, she again pressed "SEND". Finishing her snack, she decided to have a workout in the gym.




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

[Updated on: Sun, 29 July 2012 10:54]

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Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2026 is a reply to message #2025] Sun, 29 July 2012 10:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Nikki-browneyes1 Sent: 8/14/2006 1:28 PM

London, England, 25 July, 2068, 2:30 p.m., (Tracy Island, 26 July, 2068, 2:30am)

During the car ride from the airport to her parent's house, Nikki found herself surprisingly quiet.

"What's happened to you?" James, Nikki's younger brother, asked.

Nikki frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Usually you have a lot to say, trust me." He grinned. "I thought you'd be revealing all about your new life and home away from England."

Nikki wondered how she could dodge his statement. It didn't take long for her to remember something from their past. "I mostly work. Do you really want to hear about that? Because, seriously, you were never really all there when I spoke about working at the hospital."

"Good point."

Nikki looked in the small bag she had resting on her lap.

"Forgotten something?"

"No." Nikki pulled out a filled and sealed envelope and smiled as she thought back to when she received it.

Flashback

Nikki glanced away from her lunch as she heard her door buzzer. Standing up, she put her fork down and answered the door. She was surprised to see Alan standing on the other side.

"Hey."

"Hey yourself." Nikki looked somewhat surprised to see him. "I thought you'd be busy getting your belongings ready for your departure."

"I was; I still am. I just wanted to give you this before I forget." Alan handed the envelope to Nikki, who was about to open it. "Don't open it now. You have to wait."

"Wait?" Nikki smiled. "Wait until when?"

"Your birthday. I won't be here when it happens or before you go back to England, so I'm giving you this now."

"Thanks. But now I'm going to be wondering, between now and then, what's in here."

"Ok, fine. I'll tell you. Since you're going to be visiting all your friends, I thought I'd give you autographed pictures of me to give to them."

This caused Nikki to laugh. "I'm sure they'll be impressed."

End Flashback


James peered at the envelope before looking back at the road ahead. "So what's in there?"

"I have no idea. But I look forward to finding out."




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2027 is a reply to message #2026] Sun, 29 July 2012 11:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: Tikatu Sent: 8/14/2006 5:42 PM

Wednesday, July 25, 6:30 p.m., Paris, France (Thursday, July 26, 4:30 a.m., Tracy Island)

"You people are total incompetents!" Giles Hightower hissed. "You've tried and tried to capture this Hiram Hackenbacker, and nothing has worked! Nothing!"

Celeste, the woman who was in charge of the operation looked definitely uncomfortable. "But Monsieur Hightower," she said. "We will get him. There are three more days to the conference. In fact, this evening we have planned to remove him from his room."

"Then I shall expect to see him here soon afterwards," Giles retorted. "Don't fail me, Celeste, or believe me, you will have earned my extreme displeasure."

xxxx

Brains untied his bow tie and tossed it on his bed. It had been a long, hot day, and all he wanted was a cool bath, something to eat, and a good sleep. It was intention to get exactly that, and he had announced it to his fellow panelists after the final session. He began to draw the bath, and while it filled, he looked at the menu, trying to figure out what to order.

Meanwhile, Celeste and her helper - the man who was supposed to get into the taxi with Brains -- had commandeered a room service cart with someone's dinner order on it -- and the uniform of the unconscious waiter who was to deliver it. The man put the uniform on as they took the elevator up to Brains's floor, while Celeste secreted herself on the the lower shelf of the cart, concealed by the linen table cloth.

The phone in Brains's room rang, and he picked up the receiver. "Hello? Someone turned in what? My wallet?" He patted his back pocket, and found his it empty. He sighed. "I'll be right down."

He went into the bathroom to turn off the water and drain the tub, then headed for the door. Just as the false waiter was going to press the buzzer to Brains's room, the door slid open, activated from the inside. "Pardonnez-moi," Brains murmured, as the cart was pushed inside his room... and he stepped out.

The false waiter looked around frantically as the door closed between him and his quarry. "Celeste!" he cried. "The man... he's gone!"

"Idiot!" she said sharply. "Go after him!"

Her compatriot opened the door and looked down the hall, just in time to see Brains enter the elevator, and the door closing behind the engineer. He hurried to the elevator, Celeste in pursuit, and punched the button to call the other car to their floor, all the while keeping an eye on where Brains might be heading.

"The lobby," Celeste said as she pushed her compatriot into the car. There were people already aboard, and those passengers regarded the false waiter and Celeste with wary expressions. The car stopped at least twice to pick up more passengers before they got to the lobby. When the duo came out, they saw Brains step into the car going up, surrounded by a small group of other hotel elevator riders. Not only that, but the sirens of both an ambulance, and the local gendarmes, could be heard outside.

Celeste drew her companion aside into a secluded nook. "They may have found the waiter!" she whispered. "Quickly! Take off the uniform shirt and let's get away!"

"But... Monsieur Hightower!"

"We will try again tomorrow!" she said. "Now we must go!"

Brains got off the elevator on his floor, his wallet in hand. Good thing it was one of my fellow panelists who found my wallet, and that she knew I was staying here. I'll have to be sure to thank her when I see her again.

He used his card to get into his room and stopped short at the sight of a room service cart sitting just inside the doorway. "Did I order this?" he murmured to himself. "I don't remember ordering..." Reaching out, he drew the cover off of the tray. "Mmmm. A roast beef sandwich and a cold beer" Picking up the plate and bottle, he took them over to the suite's table, and set them down. "Even if I didn't order it, I might as well have. It's exactly what I need." With a contented sigh, he sat down to eat.




98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2028 is a reply to message #2027] Sun, 29 July 2012 11:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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From: TracyFan4Ever Sent: 8/14/2006 5:46 PM

******Thursday, July 26, 2068; Tracy Island; 3:00 a.m.******

Callie found herself in a dense jungle filled with lush vegetation. It was vaguely familiar to her, like the jungle where she had encountered the Hood. She looked down to see what she was wearing. It was her IR uniform, but she didn't think this was strange. All around her were the cries of the jungle birds and the buzzing of insects in the humid air. She felt calm. Then, she heard a rustling nearby, the rustling coming with voices.

Jeff yelled, "Have any of you found her?"

"No," said Alan, "no one's seen her yet."

The way their voices sounded, she believed they wanted to find her safe.

"We need to find her," demanded an angry Scott. "We have to punish her!"

Brandon said, "Yeah, she almost gave away everything! We'll teach her a lesson!"

With a gasp, Callie knew everyone in International Rescue was after her. "I've got to get out of here..." Running for her life through the jungle, her feet sloshing through the bushes made enough noise to alert the others.

John yelled, "She's gone that way!"

"We have to get her back here!" shouted Jeff. "She must be punished for almost destroying International Rescue!"

She kept running while dodging trees and frantically swatting swarms of midges with her hands. Occasionally, she would look back, hearing the now-vague shouts of her pursuers over her own heavy breathing. During one of those times, she tripped over some thick vines and fell down, scraping her right knee against the Penelar material.

As she started to get up, someone said, "Hold it, right theah."

Callie looked up, only to see Dianne holding a gun on her. "Doc? What are you doing? I--" She gasped when she noticed Dianne's eyes glowing in yellow. "Your...your eyes..." Shaking her head, she tried desperately to stand up.

Firing a warning shot, Dianne angrily said, "Ah said don't move! Y'all can come ovah heah, Ah've got 'er."

Everyone ran to where Dianne and Callie were. "Good work, my love," said Jeff with a snicker in his voice. "This will make things much easier for us."

"Easier? What do you mean?" Callie asked frantically.

His eyes glowing in yellow, he answered, "Because you almost compromised our security, we have to...eliminate you...now!"
The others, eyes also glowing in yellow, took their guns from their holsters and had them all pointing at Callie.

"No...stop, please," she pleaded. "It's not my fault."

"Oh, yes, it is," Jeff whispered angrily. "Time to die, Miss Spencer!"

As they all pulled the triggers on their guns...


Callie awakened with a jolt and screamed, "NO!" Her heart beating fast, she was sweating and shaking badly. Looking at her surroundings, she realized she wasn't in the jungle but in her apartment. Her breathing returning to normal, she took some deeper breaths. "It was that dream again, only worse than ever! The guns...all pointing at me. And the eyes. They never turned yellow like that before..."

She got off her bed and checked to see if her scream had awakened anyone. Not hearing any knocks at her door, she said, "Good. At least nobody heard me."

Afraid to go back to sleep, she poured herself a glass of milk and heated it in the microwave. When it was warm, she sipped it, trying to control her shaking hands as she thought about the dream.

"Why is this happening to me?" she asked herself. "Perhaps I should--no." She shook her head violently. "I can't allow this to get to me." With a sigh, she added, "Oh, what am I thinking? What I'm letting this do is affecting IR's operation. I really need to get some help."

After finishing her milk, she went back to her room and noticed how damp her sheets were. "Can't go back to sleep like this." She changed the sheets to a fresh batch and soon climbed back into bed. Despite a little tossing and turning, she finally managed to get herself back to sleep.



98% pure evil...and loving every minute of it.
Luke Morel Rommel in Vest
Re: Home is Where the Heart Is [message #2029 is a reply to message #2028] Sun, 29 July 2012 11:11 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
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From: TracyFan4Ever Sent: 8/17/2006 6:26 PM

******Thursday, July 26, 2068; Tracy Island; approximately 9:00 a.m.******

Callie was supposed to help John restock supplies for Thunderbird Three, but she contacted him and said she had to visit Dianne.

John noticed the pallid look on her face. "Callie, are you all right?"

"Huh? No, I'm not, John," she said with a yawn. "I've been having nightmares."

Looking at her, he asked, "Is there anything I can do to help?"

With a wan smile she said, "Not really. I'm hoping that Dr. Tracy can." She added hesitantly, "About the restocking..."

"Don't worry about it," John said. "We still have a couple of days."

"F-A-B." She took the monorail and lift into the villa, placing her just down the hall from the infirmary.

Callie stood outside the infirmary but hesitated with her hand shaking again in nervousness. Should I really go through with this? I don't want Mr. Tracy to think I've gone crazy. No, I need to do this. If I don't get help now, I could seriously cause problems for IR. She hoped Dianne was in her office.

Dominic, holding little Joshua in his arms, walked by the infirmary and noticed Callie there. He backed up and said, "Hello, Callie. Are you looking for Dr. Tracy?"

"Yeah, I am. I really need to talk to her." A disappointed look crossed her face. "She's not here right now?"

"No, and I'm not sure where she is at the moment. Can you wait about 10 minutes?"

She nodded. "I can do that."

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

"Dom, wait," she said, holding his shoulder.

"What is it, Callie?"

"I just wanted to say...thank you, for saving me from the Hood."

With a light smile he said, "You're welcome, Callie. I'm just glad you're all right." He walked away from her and said, "Come on, little one, we have some play with Cherie today."

"Play! Play!" Joshua exclaimed.

Callie sat quietly in the chair just outside Dianne's office. One image she still couldn't clear from her mind was Doc pointing a gun and firing the warning shot at her. "It was just a dream...a bad one, but only a dream." Unfortunately, that image kept playing itself over and over again. "No, stop...it's not real...it's not real...it's not real!"

She felt a hand holding her shoulder, which caused her to jump up and get into a defensive position.

"Whoa, Callie, easy," said Dianne. "It's only me. Dom passed by and said you wanted to see me." Looking at Callie's facial features, she became worried. "My goodness, you look like you haven't had any sleep in days."

"It's a...recurring nightmare, Doc. I haven't been able to sleep much the past few nights, and last night was the worst of it."
Dianne motioned for her to enter the office and take a seat. "Now tell me, Callie, what's happened in your nightmares?"

"I keep seeing the Hood's glowing yellow eyes...except last night, everyone, including you and Mr. Tracy, had glowing yellow eyes. And then you all..."

"We all did what, Callie? Please tell me."

Tears welled up in her eyes. "You all shot me for compromising IR's security."

Dianne stood up from behind her desk and sat next to Callie, rubbing her shoulder for comfort. "Callie, listen to me. It's not your fault for what happened. The Hood caught you when you were most vulnerable. It could've happened to any of us." With a sigh she added, "I'm going to give you some sleeping pills which should help you during the night. If you do continue to have nightmares, though, please come to me immediately. Don't wait for so long to get help."

"I thought I could handle this on my own," said Callie in tears. "I didn't want anyone to think I was weak."

Dianne gave her some tissues to dry her eyes. "Sugah, you are not weak. It's foolish to try to solve this on your own. Your health is more important than anything around here, and I don't want you to go on like this mentally or physically, especially since your birthday's coming up." She gave Callie a week's worth of sleeping pills. "Here you go. I want you to take one every night just before you go to sleep. However, because of this, I wouldn't advise you going next week on Thunderbird Three for the changeover. I'll let John know about this immediately."

"Okay, Doc. I should've come to you sooner about my nightmares."

Dianne smiled. "Hey, you got to it before it was too late. Just remember, you have nothing to be ashamed about. If you want to blame anyone, blame the Hood. I do want to see you again in a week, pending any rescue missions."

"I understand, Doc." Callie stood up.

"Now, why don't you go relax for the rest of the day."

"I think I'll do that. Thanks." She walked out the door of the office and the infirmary.






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