Jeff looked around the island; it was peaceful – too peaceful considering how well he knew his sons. They hadn't had a major rescue in over a month and it was taking a toll on each of them. Gordon had decided the only way to quench the boredom was to commit outrageous pranks as frequently as humanly possible. Whereas Alan felt the need to retaliate as soon as one of the pranks were completed, or to take a pre-emptive strike before Gordon could think of a new scheme to wreak havoc upon the island. Scott and Virgil on the other hand were substantially sounder of mind, and agreed upon creating blueprints for improvements on their Birds and of course throwing their younger siblings into the pool at regular intervals.
But today there were no pranks, nothing was happening and Gordon had remained un-drenched for over three hours. Something was wrong.
Slowly making his way back to his office knowing it was time for John to check in. When he walked in he was surprised to see Scott and Virgil already in deep conversation with John – who appeared to be making his darndest effort not to laugh at his siblings. As he got closer to his sons he realised why John was struggling to keep composure. Both Scott and Virgil were sporting new looks the eldest with purple hair and the other with a grimy shade of turquoise.
He stood in silence while the boys explained their cunning revenge plot unaware of the Tracey patriarch standing directly behind them. John however had, but was clearly not planning on telling his brothers any time soon. In fact they continued for almost five minutes before John lost the ability to contain his laughter any longer.
As Johns' laughter echoed throughout the room the brothers turned to see what had sent their sibling into his current state of hysterics. The sight that met them was their father barely able to contain his own amusement at the look of shock on his 'responsible' sons' faces. Jeff had to admit their plan was good, borderline genius in all honesty, but no matter how much he wished to see the family terrors pay their dues he knew he had to at least attempt to sway his sons into not tormenting their brothers. Whether he succeeded or not didn't really bother him.
Once Virgil and Scott had been informed of their fathers' apparent disapproval of their plan they left to go plan some more whilst he spoke with John. It had been almost three months since John had been on Earth, and both father and son were looking forward to his return. He had been scheduled to come home two months ago whilst Virgil and then Alan took their duties. But Virgil had broken his arm and was unable to go. Alan on the other hand had claimed illness – whether this had been legitimate or not had never been discovered but it meant the youngest of the Tracy clan had remained earthbound for another month.
John however had been stuck up there on his own for three months, missing Scotts, Gordons and his own birthday. But John being John never complained once, just took what life gave him and got on with it. Jeff knew deep down that John did care and would give almost anything to come back to the island rather than remain in the tincan in space.
It would also do Alan some good to be in Thunderbird 5 for more than twenty minutes on a supply run. Naturally Gordon would be accompanying Alan on his first stint, just to make sure Alan would know what to do if anything stopped working or blew up. It was unlikely but always best to plan for such situations.
Up in Thunderbird 5 John was bored out of his mind. Three days that was all he had to wait before he could go home. Just seventy-two hours. Well technically seventy-six at the moment, but the point still stood, he was going home soon.
Then something exploded.
John checked the scanners to see where the explosion had taken place, according to the read out it was in the centre of the engineering section. As he made his way towards the source the computer began bleeping once more.
Suddenly the air was filled with screeching of the alarm and the last thing John saw before everything went black was the meteorite impact probability on the monitor.
Jeff sat watching the monitor with bated breath. He couldn’t see anything from the smoke. “John?” he rasped, heart racing slamming in his chest and gut churning. No response. Just the incessant alarm screeching through the screen.
He took a breath. Released it. Then without hesitation smacked the emergency button on the desk causing the Islands security system to join the alarms coming from the monitor.
Within seconds he was surrounded by four of his sons. All stood and ready for action, the petty arguments of the past few days already forgotten. “What’s going on?” Virgil asked as he positioned himself in front of his portrait.
“There has been an impact on Thunderbird 5,” he began, crushing his worry into the pit of his stomach “Though we cannot confirm this without firsthand inspection it would appear the damage is severe-“
“How severe?” Alan questioned, his voice quaking.
Swallowing, Jeff turned to his youngest “We cannot make contact with John.”
A soft silence descended on the room as Jeffs words settled.
“This is a Red Alert. Scott you’re with me in Thunderbird 3, leaving in ten minutes; start pre-take over procedures now.” Jeff commanded and Scott dutifully left straight for the hanger. Turning to the three remaining men “Right, Virgil get the medical wing ready for when we return. See if Tin-Tin can get back from the mainland to assist.”
“Gordon, Alan you are my eyes and ears on the ground. Brains will be monitoring Thunderbird 5’s status remotely but I need you checking the aerospace surrounding the satellite. Also keep tabs on what’s happening Island-side. If this is another Hood trick I’d rather not get caught out. Understood?”
“Yes Sir.” They responded in unison before taking their places at the command monitor.
When Jeff got to the hanger Thunderbird 3 was set and ready to go. Scott had taken First Seat and Jeff quickly settled beside him in the Second. “Engines at power, systems all online. Ready for takeoff.” Scott recited into his headset.
“FAB,” Gordons tinny radio voice returned “Good luck. Bring John back in one piece okay?”
Exchanging a resolute nod with Scott, Jeff replied “Will do. FAB.”