A 'New Captain Scarlet' story
By Adam Blue
This is a story that’s mixed with the “Universal Soldier” movie franchise.
“Right, Lieutenant Green. Our new lieutenant should be here in a few minutes, so assemble the remaining captains as Scarlet has gone down to fetch her,” Colonel White said with enthusiasm.
“Yes, sir. I don’t mean to be negative, but she sounds like quite a dangerous woman, being in the special operations force. You read her bio yourself and were told about her by her former commanding officer. She has quite a high superiority complex. Are you sure you can trust her to complete the training without overdoing the ‘I know what I’m doing’ attitude’?” Green said with concern.
“Don’t worry, Lieutenant,” White said raising his eyebrows. “Our new Lieutenant will be perfect for our team. She’s everything I’m looking for. She’ll pass with flying colours.”
Green still wasn’t so sure. She didn’t think this newcomer would be able to keep her attitude under control when doing her training. “Well, I suppose Scarlet will have another British Captain on the team and Ochre having another female to chat about guns and other such things.”
A few minutes later, the captains were in the control room, standing around Green’s desk along with the colonel who was introducing the new member to the team.
“Members of Spectrum, meet Lieutenant Catharine Venta, our newest member,” he told the assembly. “Lieutenant Venta will soon assume the rank of captain, once she had passed all our required tests. Lieutenant Venta, these are Captains Blue, Ochre, Magenta, Grey, Purple, and you have met Scarlet. My executive officer, Lieutenant Green. Later, you will meet with Doctor Gold. The Skybase medical officer.”
“Good to meet you, Lieutenant Venta,” Blue said.
“Yes, and good to meet you all,” she answered with a straight face whilst standing to attention.
“Well, Lieutenant Venta, you will have a hard few days coming up, but I think your outstanding martial art skills will be covered, but I would like to see what you can do,” said Colonel White.
Catharine looked puzzled when he mentioned her martial art skills. “Thank you, Colonel White. When do I start?”
“Tomorrow, Lieutenant Venta,” he said, feeling confident. “You’ll start in the simulation room, trying out the Rhino and the Raid Bike. You can settle in today and have a guided tour by Captain Scarlet.” Scarlet nodded to her. “Show Lieutenant Venta to her quarters, Captain.”
“Yes, sir,” he replied. You’d like me to be her sparring partner, sir?”
“Maybe, Captain, maybe.” The colonel walked back to his office.
“So, tell me what made the colonel choose you and not the two men that were on the list?” Scarlet asked as he walked down the corridor with their newest member.
“I don’t really know. But there is only one woman in your team, so...” she said smiling to herself.
Scarlet could see her quarters. “Right, here we are,” he said. “And until you are a Spectrum captain, you won’t have a name on your door.”
“It shouldn’t be long then,” she said, still with a straight face.
Scarlet couldn’t understand her emotionless face. He entered the code and told her to remember it. Then she walked in and had a quick look around.
“You have everything here,” Scarlet said. “A little kitchen, music system, shower, large screen, all the essentials.”
“I’ve never used an oven and music system before. What are they?” Catharine replied, looking back at Scarlet.
He didn’t get why she said that; he was confused and even more when he saw the puzzled expression of her face that she wasn’t joking. He changed the subject. “Anyway... Let’s show you around the rest of Skybase. Oh, and you know about all the security protocols?”
“Yeah, to prove I am who I say I am and not a Mysteron copy.”
“Tell you what, let’s go and see Doctor Gold,” Scarlet said with a smile.
“Even the doctor gets a colour code name, then?”
She then walked out of her room with Scarlet, who was still perplexed by her attitude.
In his office, Doctor Gold was seated in front of his screen, looking at Catharine Venta’s latest blood work she had provided just two days ago when Colonel White had accepted her application, and the sample she had given just a little while back, when she started her altitude proficiency training. There was something that wasn’t quite right about the latest sample.
“Hmm...I wonder why her cells are that shape?”
The young woman’s white cells were different. They were more of a flat shape, rather than the round and knobbly-like. He looked again at her earlier tests; the cells were the normal round shape.
Gold looked at Catharine’s medical reports. He was shocked by what he read.
For the first full year of being in the Special Forces, any injuries she received had healed at a normal rate. But in the second year onwards, she healed much more quickly. What stood out the most was the right tibia she broke six months ago – and which wasn’t in the report. He had noticed the healing mark when he had checked her x-rays. So why didn’t the doctor, who treated her, put it into this report?
Gold looked round as he heard someone walk in.
“Ah, Colonel,” Gold welcomed him. “You’ve arrived just in time. I was about to call you.”
“It’s Lieutenant Venta’s blood work and medical record. Something isn’t right.”
The doctor told the colonel of his findings.
“Hmm...You’re right, this is very peculiar. She’s not a Mysteron copy, is she?”
“Oh, no, Colonel,” Gold said, shaking his head. “As far as I can tell, she’s human.”
“Right, that’s good, but as we know, the Mysterons work in mysterious ways. We’ll have to make sure about this woman, Doctor. You’ll have to contact her last doctor and check this out. Do it discreetly. In the meantime, I’ll ask the other captains to act naturally around her, but to keep an eye out. Just to be on the safe side.” He turned around. “I’ll be in the Control Room. Keep me posted.” And with that, he left.
Colonel White was seated at his desk, working on the latest report from one of his captains, when Lieutenant Green, after answering a call at her computer, turned to him.
“Colonel. I have a call from Base Livingston.”
“From whom, Lieutenant?”
“Commander Main, Lieutenant Venta’s former commander. He wants to talk to you urgently.”
“Right, Lieutenant. Put him on.”
Green acknowledged the order. A second later, White heard the voice of Commander Main in his speakers. The man sounded nervous, on edge. In the background, the colonel could even hear the sound of gunshots. That almost made him jump.
“Commander Main, this is Colonel White,” he said with urgency. “What is going on?”
“Colonel, there is something very odd with my unit! I don’t know what’s going on… We were in training in the desert, and all of a sudden, with no apparent reason, it’s like they wanted to murder one another. Three have already been killed in the shoot out – one of them, Lieutenant Venta’s best friend, Lieutenant Peter Ward. I killed another as he was coming after me.”
“Are you safe?” the colonel asked in concern. “Do you need assistance from Spectrum?”
“No need, Colonel – I’m hiding in an abandoned shed. I already asked for support for the Special Operations Forces, and they’re about to arrive. They should take care of this. I called you… because I wanted to inform you of the events, in case the same happens with Lieutenant Venta. All the men who have been acting that way – they’re all of the same unit, and Lieutenant Venta was with them. Did she do anything that might indicate she would turn murderous?”
“No, nothing yet,” the colonel replied. “Commander, your men, tell me… Do you happen to know if they’ve been healing faster than they normally would of late?”
“Yes… How did you…?” There was the sound of multiple gunshots suddenly interrupting Main. “Colonel, I will have to let you go,” the commander then said swiftly. “Someone is coming my way. I have to take care of that problem first. Be careful with Venta.”
The line then went dead. Colonel White could only hear a beeping sound.
“What the hell’s going on there?” White asked himself. “Lieutenant Green, contact Scarlet immediately. Tell him to bring Lieutenant Venta into the brig and put her in a holding cell. We can’t take any chances if she turns on us!”
“S.I.G, sir,” replied Green.
“I’m going to Doctor Gold to see if he found something else about those anomalies in Lieutenant Venta’s medicals.”
Scarlet was about to walk into Doctor Gold’s office with Catharine when he received the call from the Control Room. He answered it immediately.
“Scarlet. Yes, Lieutenant, she’s with me. What? Any idea what’s caused that?” He listened for a moment, as Green informed him of Colonel White’s orders. He had his eyes set on Catharine Venta, who wondered what was happening. She noticed his hand resting on his handgun.
“Okay, Lieutenant. Tell the colonel I will be following his orders.” Scarlet cut the communication and turned to Catharine.
“Lieutenant… I’m sorry, you will have to come with me.”
“What’s going on?” she asked. “Something’s up?”
“You might say that… Colonel White just received a call from Commander Main… It seems there’s a problem with your former unit.”
“What happened?” she asked with concern. It was the first emotion Scarlet had seen in her since her arrival.
“Your old teammates, they…” Scarlet sighed. “It seems they killed each other.”
“They what?” she asked, looking angry and hurt at the same time. “What, what do you mean, killing each other?” What caused this?”
“Commander Main doesn’t know what caused this. All he knows is that they were acting really strange… and then started killing each other.”
“Hang on… Pete? Lieutenant Peter Ward … he’s my best friend. What about him? Is he dead?” Catharine was now looking at Scarlet with a tilted head.
Gold opened his door at this moment to discover them. He looked at them with curiosity.
“Oh, you’re here,” he said. “What’s going on?”
“We have a situation,” Scarlet told him. He kept his eyes on Catharine. “I’m sorry,” he said with a shake of him head. “I’m afraid… your friend is indeed dead.”
She stared at Scarlet blankly, as if she didn’t comprehend what he just said.
“Are you all right?” Scarlet asked her with a frown.
“Pete’s dead.” Catharine stood there, staring blankly at Scarlet.
“You’re all right?” Scarlet asked her again.
“I don’t know,” she replied with a frown. “It’s like… There’s an emptiness in me, suddenly. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel… but this feeling, it isn’t nice.”
Scarlet and Gold exchanged glances. The young woman in front of them didn’t seem to have any clue how she should react exactly. She was obviously sad, but didn’t know how to express it.
This was very curious.
“I’m sorry, Lieutenant,” Scarlet said.
“Sorry?” she repeated. “Why?”
“Why, for the loss of your friend, of course,” Scarlet explained.
She stared at him, still without any real expression. Scarlet cleared his throat. This was a mystery that will have to wait. “You will have to follow me.”
“Where to?” she asked in confusion.
“I have to take you in detention. Commander Main is concerned that you might act like the others. So just to make sure, we have to keep you under lock. Until we know more of what’s going on, that is.”
“Hang on, Captain,” Gold suddenly interrupted. “I have a question for Lieutenant Venta.” Catharine turned to him. “You’ve been healing a lot faster of late, haven’t you?” he asked.
“Yes, I have,” she said.
“So have the rest of the team. Lieutenant Green just told me,” Scarlet added.
“So why have they all died then?” Catharine asked trying to get her head round things.
“They haven’t,” a voice replied.
They turned around. It was Colonel White who just arrived in front of Doctor Gold’s door.
“Commander Main just got back to me,” he continued. “He’s safe now. He was freed from his precarious situation after the helicopters from the Special Operations Forces arrived and shot what remained of his men. And then, as he got out from hiding… he saw his unit get up from the ground and start walking around again.”
‘Walking around?’ Scarlet asked with a frown.
“Like zombies, more or less, without paying attention to anything or anyone around them. They didn’t even seem to be bothered by their bullet wounds. Main had them rounded up and put into their sickbay for examination.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Catharine said. “So they didn’t die? They’re alive? Pete’s alive?”
“Yes, but as him or a ‘changed’ man, I don’t know,” White said in a sharp tone. “What the hell is going on, Lieutenant? I don’t want a very dangerous woman on board!”
“I don’t know! Why do you think I have the answers?”
“Two years ago you were healing normally – like any normal human being. And now you heal at a much faster rate! You must know!”
“I’m not sure what…”
“How about that broken leg, six months ago?” Doctor Gold asked quietly. “An injury like that normally takes three weeks to heal. How much time do you recall it took, Lieutenant?”
“What broken leg? she said, puzzled.
“Don’t play games with us, Lieutenant!” the colonel said angrily, whilst walking closer to her. “How long did it take to heal?”
She frowned. “I… the twinges I get down here, is that what’s causing it?”
“Well, that is curious enough,” Gold said thoughtfully. “If Lieutenant Venta is telling the truth, then either she has a very bad memory or something else is going on here.”
“Let me think,” she said whilst tilting her head to the right side. “I have flashbacks of some things, but I don’t know what they mean.”
“I can think of only one thing that would make sense,” Doctor Gold interrupted. “Whoever is behind all this is wiping their memories for some reason.”
Colonel White looked at Gold with much curiosity, hoping it wasn’t true.
“I do remember what happened about a year and a half ago,” Catharine replied.
“Go on,” replied Colonel White.
“We were sent at a secret research facility for the Special Operations Forces, in Egypt. All we got from then on was some kind of boosters… A mix of vitamins and mineral shots, to help us keep our energy levels going. We were away for a long time.”
“All your unit?” Scarlet asked.
“Except for Commander Main, yes.”
“Mmm… Interesting. Maybe they weren’t health boosters, but something else,” Gold said, going back to his computer. “Maybe some kind of concoction that makes all of you heal much faster? Obviously, it’s not the only thing that was done to you, in order to take these powers for granted.”
“If they said it was a booster, then it must be something they don’t want anyone else to know about, not even their commander,” the colonel said with his hand on his chin. “He must know what has been going on. Maybe they tried to kill him on purpose, so that the truth doesn’t get out?”
“Why today?” Scarlet asked.
White looked in Catharine’s direction. “One of the members of that unit was transferred to Spectrum. Maybe whoever is behind this thought this would be dangerous for them.”
“The Mysterons, sir?” asked Scarlet. “It would fit: fast healing, people seemingly coming back from the dead…”
“It would fit.” White nodded to Scarlet, then turned to Catharine. “Lieutenant, you will have to follow Captain Scarlet. He’ll take you to the brig, and you’ll be put into a holding cell, until we are sure that it’s safe to let you free onboard Skybase.”
“But, that’s not fair, sir,” Catharine said, getting a strange feeling like she was going to hit someone. “If I was going to do something strange and attack someone, wouldn’t I have done so by now? I would have changed the same time as the rest of the unit.”
“It’s true that this happening to them all at once is also a mystery,” White replied. “Maybe they answered to some kind of command, and who knows, you might be out of reach from whatever control they might be under, here on Skybase. But even so, I cannot risk it. You do know where we are, right? If you are to ever become a Spectrum officer, Lieutenant, you will have to follow my orders.”
“Yes, sir,” she answered, swallowing hard.
“Don’t worry. We’ll get to the bottom of this, Lieutenant. In the meantime, please follow Captain Scarlet. It’s for your safety, as well as for our own.”
Catharine nodded, and walked out the door with Scarlet.
Doctor Gold cleared his throat. “I’ll see if I can get any information about this ‘concoction’ from my sources. But I doubt any of them will know, or will want to say.”
“I’ll knock on a few doors myself,” White declared. “Between the two of us, we might find something that’ll help see clearly into this bizarre affair.”
“Good luck, Colonel. You might end up going in circles or hitting a brick wall like me.”
“We’ll see,” said the colonel walking away to his office.
“Well, here we are, Lieutenant,” Scarlet said as they both stood in front of the empty cell in the brig. “I’m afraid this will be your new quarters for the moment. Sorry, it isn’t as nice as the other place, but…”
Catharine was staring at the blank walls with Scarlet behind her.
“That’s okay, Captain. I understand…” She was about to sit down, when she suddenly hesitated. “Oh, can I go to the girl’s room before I sit on the bed? I might be here a while.”
“Yeah, ok, then. But I’ll wait outside, just in case.”
Catharine walked past Scarlet, then shot ‘round and swung a hefty backhand punch into his face. She acted so swiftly he didn’t have time to react. The punch made him stumble to his right. She then quickly completed the knockout blow with a roundhouse kick to the head which sent him the floor with a thump.
He remained on the floor, motionless.
She took his gun and ran out of the cell block.
The on-duty guard seated at his desk just at the entrance of the brig office saw her getting out. He hit the panic button, sending an alarm blaring throughout the base, and shot out of his seat, in an attempt to stop her. But Catharine was ready for him. With Scarlet’s gun set on ‘stun’ she shot him; the guard fell to the floor with a huff.
With no-one there to stop her, Catharine was in the lift and pressed the button that said “Hangar Bay” where she hoped she could get a lift off Skybase. She felt so confused, her brain pounding painfully. She was trying to make sense of what was going on.
Once the lift stopped, she got out and walked fast with Scarlet’s gun at the ready, listening to the alarm. As she made her way towards a Raid bike, she stopped dead on the spot, unable to go any further. Colonel White and Captain Blue were already there waiting for her, Blue’s gun pointing her way.
She stood there, staring at them with her gun drawn, and was about to turn and run back when Blue stunned her.
“Sorry, Lieutenant Venta” Colonel White said softly. “But I had a feeling you were going to do this. “Captain, help her back to the holding cell.”
Back in the brig, Blue and a sore-headed Scarlet were with the colonel, staring at Catharine through the laser bars.
“I cannot believe she knocked me out! She’s strong for such a slim woman,” Scarlet said, rubbing his head.
Colonel White was also amazed. He turned to address Catharine.
“I think you’d like to know that I called on one of my contacts at the Special Operation Forces Division earlier,” he explained as she sat on her bunk, looking at him and still in pain. “I asked him information about your unit and what he told me was very interesting.”
“What did he say?” Catharine asked him. She didn’t appreciate being locked up, and that plainly showed.
“Obviously, you unit ‘doesn’t exist’. At least not officially.”
“A secret operation unit,” Blue realised.
“Exactly, Captain,” White approved. “So after learning that, I asked Lieutenant Green to call Main back. Thankfully she was able to, but she couldn’t talk to him for long. He told her he was very busy, with the base’s doctor trying to help out his men.”
“Help them in what way?” Catharine asked.
“Understandably, Main was preoccupied that they would again start to kill each other, and try to kill him. So the base doctor made a call, and had a scientist flown in, to assist him. A Doctor Magna, who has a research facility in Egypt.”
“In Egypt,” Scarlet repeated, looking at Catharine through the bars. “So, maybe that’s the same facility where Lieutenant Venta and the rest of her unit were sent to, a year and a half ago. Did he say what kind of facility it was, exactly?”
“I don’t know, but from what Green told me, that Doctor Magna seemed to know what exactly what was going on with Lieutenant Venta’s former companions. Even if Main seemed to totally ignore what it was. I’m not quite sure the base doctor exactly knows, or he might not have called Magna to begin with.”
“Now this is becoming very curious,” Scarlet commented.
“Anyway,” White continued, “Lieutenant Green asked Commander Main if Doctor Magna could help you, as you were suffering the same effects as your former companions.”
“Why would she make a request like that?” Scarlet asked. “Except for trying to escape,” he glared meaningfully at Catherine through the laser bars, “she doesn’t seem to display any of the other soldiers’ murdering streaks.”
“It was under my orders she did, Captain,” Colonel White explained. “And it was a gamble that paid off. Main checked with Doctor Magna, and discovered he was giving some kind of injection to his men. He doesn’t know what it was exactly, but from what he was able to judge, it brought them back to ‘normal’. They didn’t seem to remember anything that had happened. And,” he added, “They were starting to show signs of healing.”
I can’t believe Main doesn’t know what is going on,” Blue snapped. “This is too big for him not to notice anything before today!”
“Whether he knows or not, Main told Doctor Magna about Lieutenant Venta and asked if he could do something for her as well. He’s on his way, so maybe we can finally find out what is going on.”
A few hours later, Doctor Magna arrived on Skybase. Doctor Gold received him personally, and then took him directly to the brig, where Catharine was still being held in the same cell. The young woman was lying on her bunk, seemingly asleep.
“Right, here she is,” Doctor Gold said, waving at Catharine. “We had to put her in here because she was acting very strange and tried to kill one of the captains. She’s under sedative. That keeps her calm.”
Magna nodded. “Ok, Doctor Gold. I’ll take over from here.”
Gold then pressed a button on the remote. The laser bars disappeared, giving access to the cell.
Doctor Magna stepped in, eyeing his patient. Doctor Gold pressed the button again, and the bars reappear, cutting the way out for Magna, who turned around in surprise. Colonel White walked in, followed by Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue.
“Hey! What the hell is this!?” Doctor Magna shouted. “Why have you locked me in here with her?” He turned with fear as Catharine slowly rose from her bunk and sat up, looking at him with a calm expression, but with a glow in her eyes he didn’t like at all. “That woman is mad. She’ll kill me!” Magna said.
“Don’t worry,” Colonel White said. “She’s fine, and she won’t try and kill anyone. We lied. All we want from you are answers to a few questions.”
“You lied to get me here?! I’m not answering any questions!”
“Oh, you will,” White replied. “Or I will leave you in there for as long as it takes.”
“Lieutenant Venta is fine right now, but who knows… she might be losing it at any moment,” Scarlet commented quietly. “But you know that, don’t you?”
“But if she changes, she could kill me!” Magna protested.
“I don’t know if I need to ‘change’ to kill you,” Catharine then declared in a very cold voice. “After what happened to my team… That would be easy, Doctor. Afterward, I could claim I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Doctor Magna looked at her with horror. He was desperate to get out but Colonel White was not bluffing; the man wasn’t going anywhere until he explained everything about what had happened to Catharine’s Venta’s former unit, and what the deal with her medical records was.
“You would let her do that?” Magna accused the Spectrum officers standing on the other side of the bars.
“Do what?” Scarlet said innocently, as if he didn’t know what he was talking about.
“Give us the information and then we’ll let you go,” the colonel said in turn.
Magna gave up.
“Ok, ok! I’ll tell you. But you never heard it from me, ok!?”
Colonel White had no intention to make him any promise. “Go ahead, Doctor Magna. We grow impatient to hear it all.”
“Three years ago, a group of the best soldiers, from the UK, America and France, were bought back from the dead by trying out something we had been working on for quite some time – a special drug that would change their DNA. It was called ‘Project White Star’. We kept each of the bodies’ in a unit which was continuously pumped with nitrogen. It made sure their cells wouldn’t all die. Then we would give them more injections. Four, to be exact.”
“What was the purpose of those injections, exactly?” Doctor Gold asked with a frown.
“The first one is a special drug. It served to ‘bring them back’ and then, enhanced them physically. It made them faster, stronger and heal much quicker.. I can’t tell you what was actually in the injections, but it works. We call them NGS: New Generation Soldiers.”
“You don’t know what’s in that drug?” Gold said with doubt.
“I’m not the brain behind that project, Doctor. Someone else came up with the drug.”
“Tell us about the other injections,” Colonel White prompted him.
“The second drug served to wipe their initial memories,” Magna explained. “We made sure their memories were wiped from the start so they don’t remember anything from their past. We use them for the most dangerous missions that could get human soldiers killed. They heal at a much faster rate, feel no pain and don’t have any emotions, so it doesn’t stop them doing their jobs. Then after each mission they undertook, we needed to give them that injection again.”
“And the other shots?” Scarlet asked. “What was in them?”
“The third was filled with special nutrients to keep the soldiers and their cells alive once they were out of their ‘freezers’,” Magna explained. “Finally, the last drug was filled with energy boosters. A normal human being would eat, say a chocolate bar, but because of the NGS injections, the soldiers can’t eat solid foods.”
“We can’t?” Catharine repeated, incredulously.
“You wouldn’t remember, because of the memory suppressing drug,” White commented.
Magna approved. “That’s why we needed to inject liquid to boost their levels.”
Scarlet then had a light bulb flash in his head. That was why Catharine didn’t know what an oven and a music system was, and why she didn’t know how to really feel when she was told her friend Peter was ‘dead’.
“Even when they are ‘killed’, the soldiers get back up and they carry on with their assignment,” Magna explained. “It’s what they’re programmed to do. They know nothing else. That’s what the men in Lieutenant Venda’s unit are… and her as well.”
“Something went wrong, obviously,” Colonel White commented.
“The problem was… the last batch of the drug had something wrong with it. That’s why they all shot each other. They don’t know they were once human and lived,” Magna said, sweating a little and lowering his head.
Doctor Gold, the captains, Colonel White and Catharine were in absolute shock.
The Spectrum commander moved closer to the bars. “Do you realise what you did to these soldiers?” He spat. “You brought them back from the dead and turned them into zombies you can control at whim! It’s horrific and disgusting!”
“It was a fantastic idea!” said Magna, not noticing Catharine walking up to him in disbelief. “Don’t you see it? They are difficult to kill, they get the job done, and there isn’t any unwanted casualtys. What more can you want from soldiers? But I must admit Lieutenant Venta is unique in that she’s started to get her memories back, and started feeling emotions, contrary to the others, who remained as they were. She wouldn’t fit with this unit any more. So, seeing that, we put her on the list to join Spectrum. It was a further test, to see if one of our soldiers could fit in with other military corps, and return to a relatively normal life.”
“You threw her out to the wolves, so to speak?” Blue said with a deep, angry frown. “Without social skills, without knowledge of the world… She can’t even eat real food. What would she eat exactly, baby food? And what about her cells?! Does she have to carry a rucksack with all those needles in there?”
“Yes, or she’ll die. She was getting normal… So she would have adapted… would have been able to fend for herself. Her memories were coming back. She has capacities… We were confident it would work.”
“Of course,” White mused with a cold voice. “All part of the test. I don’t like Spectrum being used for a test ground, Doctor Magna. I supposed Commander Main knew about all this, of course?”
“When the rest of the unit started getting crazy, he was concerned that Lieutenant Venda would do the same, although there wasn’t supposed to be any problem. That’s why he called to warn you. He didn’t want her going into a killing spree here on Skybase. And when I was told she started acting like the others, I thought maybe it was just a glitch, but I was going to try this new drug out, anyway.”
“The one you used on the others,” Scarlet said.
Magna nodded. “They returned to normal with that. It would hopefully, turn her back as well. I didn’t need to in the end, because obviously, she’s FINE!” He glared at the four Spectrum officers. “You brought me here on false information!” he said in a very angry tone.
“No, no, no!” Catharine said whilst grabbing his top really tight and staring at him with what she didn’t know was anger. “What was I supposed to feel when I was told about Pete’s death? Was it the same as Captain Scarlet? He was feeling sorry for me… I don’t even know what ‘sorry’ means!”
Colonel White noticed she was getting more agitated. He nodded to Scarlet, who set his gun on stun and shot her through the bars. He was forced to fire a second time, as the first shot wasn’t enough.
She dropped to the ground. Magna followed suite, nearly falling on top of her. White lowered the laser bars, and Doctor Gold entered in, to check on the both of them.
“And I thought the Mysterons were evil!” White said, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Magna will be all right,” Doctor Gold announced. “He just fainted, out of shock. Probably believed that Lieutenant Venda was about to kill him. We’d better take him to the medical centre.”
“How about Catharine?” Blue asked in concern.
“She’ll be all right, she’s only stunned. We’d better leave her here until she wakes up.”
“Scarlet, I want you to stay with her,” Colonel White ordered. “And Blue, I want you with me. I want to be there when Doctor Magna recovers,” he added in an angry and sickened tone.
At the Medical Centre, Doctor Magna awakened to discover he was under guard. Colonel White was standing in front of his bed, with Captain Blue by his side. Both men were looking grimly at him. Doctor Gold was standing in the background, watching.
“Hello again, Doctor,” White said as Magna sat on the side of the bed. “Glad to see you back with us. I took the liberty of searching your medical bag and found syringes in there, that I decided to confiscate. I’m guessing these are the four drugs you were talking about?”
“Not all of them, only those I needed to stabilise Lieutenant Venta and make her ‘normal’ again, like I did the other soldiers of her unit.” Magna sighed. “What will you do with them?”
“I’ll be holding on to them, Doctor. They’ll be used as evidences against you before a court of law.”
“You’re going to press charge against me?”
“You and all your colleagues. And Commander Main. I am pretty sure what you did wasn’t condoned by the Special Operation Forces.”
Magna grinned. “Oh, you would be surprised,” he said. “Think about it, Colonel. These men and women were dead, and donated their bodies for the advancement of science… We could do what we wished with their bodies. What can you hold against us? They would still be dead if not because of us. You can’t do anything about it.”
White gritted his teeth. “We’ll see about that, Doctor. Don’t be so sure I can’t touch you. For now, however, I can at least get you off my base,” he said. “Now that you’re awake, Captain Blue will take you to the standby lounge where he will wait with you for your lift. As for your injections…”
“You will not destroy them, will you? Because if you do, Catherine Venta will be dead in less than a week!”
“What do you mean, a week?” the colonel asked, looking rather surprised.
“Well, they were dead,” Magna answered. “So making everything work like it used to was a no go. We were lucky to get that long before they needed any of their injections.” He was obviously trying to cooperate. He knew he could get out of this without being punished too much by everyone if he did.
“You mean to say she needs regular injections?” Blue asked, getting rather impatient.
“Would the drugs we found in your bag be enough to keep her going?” Gold asked in turn, approaching them.
“There’s not enough to last more than a month…”
“Don’t you worry about that,” Doctor Gold then said. “With the equipment here onboard Skybase, I’ll be quite able to reproduce it and to make more of it. That is, until we can cure her of this… addiction.”
“Good luck with that. But in the meantime, you still need the other drugs,” Magna said in a strong but calm tone. “And those were not in my bag. So IF you want to help her, I suggest you let me go to my facility and get more of the new batch made.”
“How do we know you’re telling us the truth and you’re not going to trick us?” Blue asked suspiciously.
“Lieutenant Venta doesn’t have a choice. Put it that way.”
Meanwhile, Catharine has awakened as well, to find herself lying in the holding cell bunk, with Scarlet looking down at her with a smile.
“Welcome back, Cat,” he said. “Good to see you’re okay.”
“What happened?” she asked, rubbing her head, which felt sore. “Feels like I’ve been hit by a truck.”
“You hadn’t, don’t worry.”
“Where’s the weirdo, Dr Magna?”
“He’s with Colonel White and Captain Blue in sickbay. They’re interrogating him.”
“Still can’t get the hang of all this. We were dead and now we’re not,” she said, rubbing her forehead. “I’m having some flashbacks, but I don’t know where I was or why I was there. They are only pieces... nothing whole.”
“Such as?” asked Scarlet.
“I saw a forest or something similar to it. There were other people, looking like soldiers, who were firing. I can hear gunshots.” She lowered her head and took it between her hands. “Oh, I don’t feel too good... Feel rather dizzy. I don’t really know what injection I need. Never felt this ill before.”
“Probably because they always made sure you had enough in you for whatever mission they had set you to do,” Scarlet realised with a dull tone. “But even so, I would have thought you would be okay, by now. Lie down and try to rest. I’ll go and will get some help.”
“We have no choice, Captain,” White whispered to Blue. “Lieutenant Venta needs these shots to survive.”
“I know, sir. But I don’t trust this Magna guy.”
“I don’t either,” Gold said. “But at least, with our hands on all the drugs, we’ll be able to search for a solution for Lieutenant Venta to become truly normal again.”
Just as the three men were having this discussion, Scarlet walked in the room and approached the colonel.
“Lieutenant Venta is not feeling very well,” he reported. “She’s feeling rather dizzy, for some reason.”
“She needs her energy booster,” Magna then declared, hearing him. “She’s using up her strength much faster, because of her emotions coming back.”
“Do you have that drug with you?” White asked him.
“Just a small quantity. I will have to use it all up to stabilise her.”
“We probably will be able to reproduce it anyway once we have made the stuff,” Gold declared.
“Not that drug,” Magna retorted. “It’s a special concoction, Doctor. The chemistry will change as soon as it enters her bloodstream. You won’t be able to reproduce it in its original state.”
“Am I allowed to give it to her?”
“We’ll have to go to your facility to get new samples, anyway,” White muttered. “All right, you can. But, Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue will go with you.”
“I’d rather they come, anyway,” Magna said. “I don’t trust that woman not to strangle me, however weak she may be.”
The colonel nodded to the doctor and he took his bag and injections and followed Scarlet and Blue.
Once they arrived in the brig, Doctor Magna showed himself wary of Catharine.
“I’m here to give you your booster. You’re not so hot at the moment. So don’t attack me again, please!”
Catharine sat up and leaned against the side of the wall. Scarlet lowered the energy bars and he and Doctor Magna slowly entered whilst Catherine glared at him, watching his every move. Crouching in front of the young woman, Magna put his bag on the bed and opened it. He took out a small metal box, put his finger on a small screen on the top of it and it opened.
“Right, I’ll give you your booster and I’ll give you your nutrients jab, just in case. You may need more, now that your brain is working harder to get back the lost memories.”
“Trust me, I want to remember as much of me and my past as possible. And you’re NEVER going to do that to me again!” She stuck her arm out quickly and it made him jump. He injected her with the booster then the nutrient jab.
“Looks like I have no choice now, doesn't it?” he said looking a bit red in the face.
“No, not if you want to keep YOUR life going normally,” she said, looking at her arm.
Scarlet and Blue looked at each other and Blue just smiled. That was one woman he wasn’t going to ever mess with.
Doctor Magna closed the box and, holding it firmly, got up as fast as he could, and was about to leave with his bag when she grabbed his arm, tightly, and looked at his scared and shaky face.
“I hope you’re going to set the others free from this hell. They’re my friends and they’re still human beings. Just make sure they have enough injections to last them a very long time. Or those injections will be tested on a LIVING being.”
Magna was getting really nervous, but he was trying to hide it.
“I’ll see what I can sort out,” he said hoping that his promise would make her loosen her grip.
She let go and he ran past Scarlet and Blue and out the door. Scarlet set the bars up again, just in case, then went after him.
“Well, he’s off your Christmas card list then,” Blue told Catharine.
“That word… Christmas. It sounds familiar,” she said whilst thinking.
Blues arms started uncrossing, as he couldn’t believe she couldn’t remember what Christmas meant. He felt so sorry for her.
Later on, Catharine was visited by Doctor Gold, who wanted to keep an eye on her while she was there. He reported that everything seemed fine and that she was in good shape, all things considered.
Now it was just a matter of keeping her that way, until he could find a cure for her. If that was possible to begin with.
Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue arrived at Doctor Magna’s research facility in Black Desert, Egypt. It was hidden about a mile under the desert’s sands. That was, as he explained, the special soldiers’ ‘home’, where they were kept in-between missions or training sessions.
“Right, I managed to get hold of Commander Main,” he explained. “The team is returning within twenty-four hours, giving them time to recover fully from their momentary crisis. I’m also guessing that Lieutenant Venta will not be part of the squad anymore?”
“Were you really expecting her to return after letting her join Spectrum?” Scarlet asked with a frown.
“No. I guess she wouldn’t come back.”
“After what you did to her, I’m expecting she will be staying with us,” Scarlet added.
He watched as Magna put some very thick gloves on, and headed towards a big container that had liquid nitrogen inside.
“What’s in there?” Blue asked.
“Well, some of the compounds of the nutrients have to be put in here for about eight hours before they can be put with the rest of it. Or it won’t work and the soldiers won’t last very long when they are on missions.” Magna pressed a button to open a small opening by the side of the container. “Once I get the batch done, you can have her for much, much longer. Just don’t get them muddled up. As she won’t be put in a unit to keep her cold, she will have to have the booster whenever she acts like she did earlier. The real giveaway is when she starts sweating.”
“Would a cold shower do?” Scarlet asked, rather sarcastically.
Magna gave it some thought. “I guess that would as well. It would slow down the process a little. But it has to be the coldest setting, until she gets the booster,” he admitted. “Why didn’t we think of this before?”
“Well, she won’t be needing the memory drug,” said Blue, crossing his arms.
“No, but she will need the nutritional one,” Magna said, whilst getting quite a few tubes out of the container. “Right, I’ll put this all in that sealed container. Keep the nutritional ones, with the blue lids, in the fridge, just like fresh food. It has to be kept cold.”
He put all of the tubes into the container, then added other tubes as well, until they had enough samples of the four drugs to last a long time. Then he closed the container and handed it to Scarlet.
“Thank you, Doctor,” Scarlet said, taking it. “It’s about time you did something nice for Catharine.”
“It’s the right decision for many reasons,” he replied. “You will learn that in time.”
Blue and Scarlet just looked at each other and couldn’t believe their ears.
“Right, you wouldn’t want Spectrum to press charges against you, would you?” Blue retorted. “That can still happen, Doctor. Mark my words.”
Magna didn’t answer and Blue shook his head.
“Right, we’d better go before I do to you what Cat said she would,” he said, whilst clenching his fists.
“You better do what you promised Cat,” Scarlet said right into Magna’s face. “Let those brave men have some sort of life again. They are still human, remember that. With what you did to them… YOU are not.”
With that, he joined with Blue and the two men walked off out of the room.
Doctor Magna just laughed softly, as soon as they were out of earshot.
“Oh, you don’t know how right you are... That’s just the beginning, Captain Scarlet.”
The doctor smiled wickedly, an evil green glow flashing into his eyes…
Then with a flash of green, he just disappeared.
This story was beta-read by the Spectrum Headquarters beta-reading panel.