This story first appeared in Issue 9 of the SIG! Fanzine, Winter 1983, published Brendan J Sheehan and David W Nightingale, in UK. Text and pictures taken from the fanzine. Story by Cornelius Alexander and drawings by Steve Kyte.
This story is posted without the author's or the artist's permission - with due acknowledgment - hoping to attract their attention. If you wish it to be removed, please contact the webmaster without any delay.
Cloudbase, Sentinel of the Earth, hung above the Pacific Ocean at a height of 40,000 feet. The view from the suborbital Spectrum headquarters was spectacular and, at that moment, Colonel White was enjoying it. He moved to the other side of the observation tube, and looked at the Angel strike force waiting for the 'launch' command to be given. The peace was broken by an ominously familiar voice being heard throughout the base.
"This is the voice of the Mysterons.,..we will take the light of the world and use it against the Earth."
Colonel White marched into the Control Room, and spoke to the Room's other occupant. "Lieutenant Green, search through the computers for an reference to any machines using light."
Minutes passed by... but the giant computer finally found the relevant information. "I have it, Sir. The Soltherm Complex, outside Unity City, is being secretly tested tonight. It converts stored solar light into energy." Colonel White read the readout on one of his screens at his desk.
"Project Prometheus will take over the power needs of the USA for an hour at... That's less than an hour away! Can the test be stopped?"
"No, Sir. The preparation needed took hours. If we stop it now, the country will be powerless for hours. It would take a long time for the damage to be repaired, especially with no power - there's more info, Sir. The World President will be attending the ceremony!"
White brooded over the new information, then turned to his Communication Chief, "Contact Captain Ochre in Unity City. Get him to the Complex immediately with an MSV, and get Captains Scarlet and Blue up here now."
* * * * * * *
John Arnold had no such worries. The World Security Council had transferred him to France, and he was enjoying every moment. It wasn't often that Security Chiefs could get to enjoy assignments. Arnold was driving through the French countryside to his place of work, hoping the shift would be as quiet as the others had been lately.
Arnold slowed down. He had recognised the uniform. It was a Spectrum Agent who had barricaded the road to the Aviation Testing Site of International Engineering with his car. He slowly walked to the car, flashed his pass to Arnold, but said nothing, making Arnold feel slightly uneasy.
"Yes, what can I do for you Captain Black ?"
The Mysteron agent calmly shot John Arnold and pulled the body out of the car. Not for me, Earthman, for the Mysterons," was the reply.
A newly retrometabolised John Arnold was at the car wheel. He turned to Black. "Yes, for the Mysterons!" He drove off, followed closely by Captain Black. Arnold was now under Mysteron control.
The duo drove on towards the Testing Site. Arnold was quiet; he was receiving instructions from the Mysteron City! He drove on towards the Site, while Captain Black stopped. He got out of the car and moved through a nearby clump of trees to watch Arnold's car through the binocular glasses which had been resting on his chest. It stopped at the Site's security checkpoint and was waved through. The car drove on and stopped outside a hangar, Arnold got out and walked through a side door.
Captain Black put down his binoculars. He didn't need to see what would happen next. The hangar erupted in flame, metal flying in all directions. The fire alarms were raised, but if the mass who surrounded the burning hangar had scanned the skies they would have seen the latest acquisition to the Mysteron threat. John Arnold was dispensed with; but the ATC-77 was now a weapon to use against the Earth.
Transmissions of these events were picked up in the Monitor Room. Lieutenant Green listened to the messages, then turned to Colonel White. "Sir, an ATC-77 supersonic bomber has been destroyed in France, and there is an aircraft on an illegal flight-path to Unity City."
"All right, Lieutenant. Launch Angels ! This is a seek and destroy mission."
Within seconds three supersonic strikecraft were fired from the Cloudbase flight deck in a tight 'V' formation. They turned on a course for the Atlantic Ocean.
"Cloudbase to Harmony Angel... the ATC-77 is built to evade interceptor craft and remain undetected on radar. Extreme caution to be exercised."
"S.I.G., Cloudbase; message fully understood."
At that moment at the Solar conversion into Thermal Power (Soltherm) Complex, all was well. Captain Ochre had collected the VIPs and had driven them away in the MSV.
Captain Scarlet and Blue drove their SPV through the gates of the Complex. Blue's epaulette lights began to flash, his cap-peak microphone dropping to his mouth.
"Blue from Colonel White. The Angels have been despatched to destroy the Mysteron weapon. However, I want the Complex checked and made sure it's secure. White out.
"Spectrum is Green," came the acknowledgement.
The silvery-blue vehicle drove on until it had reached the entrance of the Complex. A security guard was waiting for the two Spectrum agents. Scarlet got out and showed his pass. All right, Captain Scarlet," remarked the guard. " Security Chief Ferguson has been anxious to speak to you both."
The agents stepped into the Complex through a hallway into a small clearing. It was brightly lit and on one wall was a map of the various departments, all connected by lines.
"Soltherm is so vast that Inter-Departmental transport is used," mentioned the guard.
As he spoke, a cylindrical vehicle arrived, a door hissed open, and Ferguson appeared. "I am Ferguson, I'd have met you personally, but we've been so busy." The agents stepped inside and were whisked away to the Security Department.
At that moment the three Angel aircraft were flying over the Atlantic Ocean searching for their prey. They had so far had no luck either visually or on the radar.
As Angel Leader, Harmony had to decide quickly on a course of action. "Angel Leader to all Angels. We shall take separate areas to hunt for the ATC-77. Please acknowledge!"
"Destiny Angel, S.I.G,"
"Melody Angel, S.I.G."
Immediately they separated and began their desperate hunt.
Destiny Angel was relying on visual identification with the ATC-77's "invisibility radar it was her only course of action. She soon found her prey. The bomber was flying above the thick clouds on its pre-ordained course. The Angel aircraft had risen above the clouds to continue the search when Destiny spotted the aircraft along the horizon. She increased speed and sank back into the cloud to gain surprise.
"Destiny Angel to all Angels. Target at reference Grey-Grey-Green. Commencing attack NOW!"
As the pilot prepared the electron ray discharge cannon she emerged from the cloud cover to find the bomber gone! Destiny dived back down to check if the aircraft had descended to sea level in a bid to confuse its predators. There was no trace of it.
"The bomber realised I was nearby and so visually disappeared."
By this time the others were with Destiny. They had failed.
"What! The Angels failed!" Colonel White was angry, and he didn't try to hide it. All right, Lieutenant, tell them to get to the Soltherm Complex to provide aerial cover and get me Captain Scarlet. Now, man, now!"
The two Spectrum agents were being fully briefed by Lieutenant Green.
Colonel White was talking to the World President. He then spoke to his men. "I've been told by the W.P. that whatever action you decide has his complete support, gentlemen, I hope that you DO have a plan of some sort ?
"This is Captain Blue. I have looked at the security plans of the Complex. They have a number of electron guns which are computer-controlled to use against Mysteron agents. If we can modify them for use against the bomber we'll have almost solved the problem."
"What do you mean, ALMOST solved the problem, Blue ?"
"We don't know if it will destroy the bomber or merely disable it."
"We could use the SPV's cannon, but I wouldn't trust its accuracy or effectiveness against the bomber," remarked Scarlet.
"That's true. So you must use the black box computer in the SPV. It will ensure greater accuracy and see that the right amount of power is created to destroy it. Colonel White out!"
"Well, Blue, that means we have less than 20 minutes to make sure we destroy the bomber."
For the sake of the Unity City inhabitants, let's hope we succeed," Ferguson spoke up.
"I thought the whole of North America would be in trouble, not just Unity City ?" Captain Scarlet turned round on the Complex's Security Chief.
"If that was the Mysteron plan, they'd have had a saboteur at the Complex rigging an explosion here to cause a chain reaction throughout the power stations of North America, doing untold devastation. The ATC-77's impact on the Main Power Generator would unleash the sun's stored energy, destroying Unity City and most of Bermuda too," lamented Ferguson.
"Which is more in keeping with the Mysterons' plan to disrupt our civilisation; what better way than destroying our seat of power?" mused Captain Blue.
"Well, whatever help you need, we're at your disposal," said Ferguson.
"Send an engineer, some power lines and an electron gun to this point," pointed Scarlet to an area on a wall chart.
He stepped through the door and headed for the roof. Blue was busy connecting the black box to a computer terminal in the main Security Room. Time was not on the side of the agents. They worked as quickly as possible, making sure that nothing would let them down at the last moment.
Captain Blue finished first, and raced to the roof to help with the makeshift electron cannon.
"We have less than five minutes, Captain Scarlet. The bomber could be less..."
At that moment the cannon began to move. Scarlet realised that it was taking aim at the approaching target. He also realised that the power cable wasn't fully connected to the cannon.
"Angels to Scarlet, will be flying overhead in less than a minute."
"Scarlet to Angel Leader, the bomber will also be overhead soon. Suggest you use your electron gun."
"We have been, but we can't get in range."
"When the order is given, shoot it down with missiles."
Scarlet connected the power cable with his hands; the cannon finally stopped moving. A black dot slowly developed into the shape of an aircraft. The cannon fired at the craft. The power surged through Scarlet's hands. He was concentrating on keeping the lines connected.
Blue shouted into his cap-peak mike, "Fire Angels!"
The strike craft let loose a cluster of missiles; the bomber was bearing down on its target; the Mysterons would win.
Each missile struck home. The bomber erupted into a ball of flame; debris flew in all directions, shattering windows, embedding itself in walls, causing damage, though none of it serious. The ball of flame had set some areas on fire; this was one part of the world the night sky couldn't envelop in its darkness.
On the roof a dazed Captain Blue came round. He turned to Captain Scarlet. The Spectrum super-agent was lying on the ground, barely moving.
Suddenly, one eye opened. He moved into a sitting position. He turned to his comrade and murmured, "Next time, I don't think we'll cut it so short."
"The Complex was damaged in parts, but nothing too serious I think," said Blue.
"You check with Ferguson; see that everything is A-OK. I will report to Colonel White about the situation, after I've used the mini comp-doc."
"S.I.G." came the reply.
The mini comp-doc healed Scarlet's bums and he reported to Cloudbase. He left the SPV and went to observe a nearby fire. It had been dangerously close to the main Power Generator.
He felt a little faint... He looked up and thought he saw a figure. Suddenly Blue's voice was ringing in his ears. "The engineer on the roof with us, has been found buried under debris. But he has been sent to check....
Scarlet raced to the SPV, He knew where the Mysteron was. He took the Power-unit from its housing and converted it into a thruster-pack, grabbed an electron ray gun, and hurtled towards the Main Power Generator.
Landing on the roof, he spied the agent laying charges. He crashed through the sky-light; the Mysteron reached for a gun but Scarlet was faster and shot him down. He quickly searched for and found the charges, but they had been armed!
Scarlet flew through the sky-light and raced away from the Complex. He realised that the explosion which had killed the man must have damaged the Anti-Mysteron weapons. Scarlet dropped the deadly charges, but they exploded just beneath him. They damaged his thruster pack and he crashed to the ground.
Hours later, back at Cloudbase, the Spectrum agents were going through de-briefing. A totally revitalised Captain Scarlet, together with Captains Blue and Ochre, were present.
White had spoken to Soltherm's creator. "It seems Professor Hughes wants to personally thank you but I said it wouldn't be necessary. He wants to build an orbiting electron-ray platform to use against the Mysteron City but by the time that is feasible the threat will be over."
"We hope so, Sir," said Scarlet, "We all hope so."
Outside the sun began to creep over the earth, proclaiming the beginning of a new day - the possible start of a new threat, but as long as Spectrum watched over the earth, the Mysterons would have to fight, to succeed.
Any comments? Send an E-MAIL to the SPECTRUM HEADQUARTERS site