A 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' story for Halloween
by Big Bear
"I'm bored," Captain Ochre whined.
"You're always bored,” Captain Magenta retorted. “You're nearly as bad as Scarlet."
"I'm also bored," an English voice piped up.
"Shut up, Metcalfe. You're not part of this conversation."
Ochre snorted. "Just because he’s on my side doesn’t mean he’s lying."
"Ochre, grow up." Magenta rolled his eyes.
"But I'm bored," Ochre insisted.
"If you say that one more time, I will put you through that window, and wave as your body spirals gaily towards Earth, okay?" Magenta growled.
"Hm. Okay." Ochre thought for a moment. "But that doesn’t change the fact that I'm bored."
Magenta jumped to his feet. "That's it. I gave you plenty of warnings. Prepare to die."
Ochre had got to his feet and was backing slowly towards the door, laughing. Magenta saw his chance and lunged forwards, breaking into a run as Ochre spun on his heel and disappeared through the door.
Blue sighed. Scarlet reclined slowly in his chair.
"You know what, Blue?"
"I'm really bored."
Blue opened his mouth to make a cutting reply, when Grey appeared in the doorway.
"What do they feed those two?"
"Who? What?" Scarlet turned his head.
"Magenta and Ochre. They sound like they're drunk or something!"
"No, no. That's just how they are." Scarlet smiled.
"Anyway, do either of you want coffee?"
"Please," Blue replied.
"No, thanks," Scarlet put in.
Grey walked to the coffee machine and set it for two cups. He turned back around and looked at Blue, whose nose was now buried in a book.
"Yeah, it’s a good one."
"I'm bored," Scarlet then said.
"Shut up, Scarlet," Blue and Grey said, simultaneously.
"Is he always bored?" Blue asked of Grey.
"The only times I've heard him not bored is when he's dead. And then you don't hear much from him at all."
Scarlet glared heatedly at Grey. “Do you think it’s fun, Grey? Maybe you should try it too. Oh that’s right… if someone shoots you, you won’t get back up.”
“Come on, Scarlet, I’m sure Grey didn’t mean it that way.” Blue addressed a reproachful glance to his compatriot, as if requesting of him to say something.
Grey got the message and nodded. “Sure, Scarlet. I’m sorry I said that.”
Scarlet still looked irked.
"And believe me,” Blue stated, seeing his friend was still upset. “I have no desire to get shot in the near future."
"I don't want you getting shot either. That's my point. I wish I didn't have to die and wake up not knowing whether one of you died.”
Grey and Blue stayed quiet. Grey brought Blue's coffee over, and then joined them on the sofa.
"We're overdue a threat," Scarlet said.
"What do you mean, overdue?" Grey interrupted.
"Well, I'm keeping this graph, of all the –"
"Scarlet, you're keeping a graph?" Grey was sceptical.
"Well, yes. While you lot get all broken and have to spend time in the sickbay, I make my graph. Magenta and Ochre help me, sometimes. They seem to be better at staying in one piece than either of you."
Blue and Grey shared a look.
"So, this graph has all the threats, when they started, and when they ended. They happen, on average, two months apart, varying slightly depending on the scale of the previous one. Last one was fairly minor, so we should have had one last week."
Blue and Grey gave Scarlet identical looks of surprise.
"You're trying to tell me that you have done a statistical analysis of all the Mysteron threats we have received?" Captain Blue was incredulous.
"Um, yeah, I have."
"Scarlet, you never fail to amaze me." Blue laughed.
At that moment, Ochre staggered into the officers' lounge, out of breath. Magenta stumbled in shortly after.
"Calmed down a bit?" Grey asked, eyebrows raised.
"Not as such,” Ochre answered. “We ran into Colonel White."
Magenta sniggered. "Literally, in Ochre's case."
"It was your fault, if you hadn't been chasing me –"
"If you had been watching where you were going, you wouldn't have crashed into him."
Grey laughed. "You know you are both utter idiots, right?"
"Of course," Ochre replied with a grin as he flopped down into the sofa, and Magenta did the same by his side.
The speaker system crackled to life.
“This is the voice of the Mysterons. We know that you can hear us, Earthmen. Our next act of retaliation will be to destroy the leading light in the scientific world. This will be our most devastating blow. We will be avenged.”
Ochre and Magenta sat up, suddenly serious. "The cycle begins again," Magenta sighed.
"What do they mean?" Ochre asked.
"Has anything major happened in the scientific region recently? Any new equipment? Buildings? Anything Mars related?" Scarlet threw out the questions.
"I think they're building a new World Government Centre for scientific research, down in Washington D.C, USA," Grey chipped in.
"That could be it!" Blue exclaimed.
The speaker system crackled once again, and Lieutenant Green’s voice was projected into the room: “Captains, the colonel wishes to see you in the Control Room at once.”
Ochre sighed, looking to his colleagues.
"Come on then, guys, Control room."
They got up and headed for the Control room together.
"All of us?"
"Yes, Captain Grey. All of you will be dispatched to Washington D.C shortly."
"Are you sure, sir?"
"Yes, Captain Blue, absolutely certain. You will leave within the hour to protect the World Government facility. Dismissed."
Blue left the control room with the others, feeling distinctly uneasy. Why would the Mysterons say that this would be their most devastating blow? He shared his thoughts with Scarlet.
"It just doesn't make sense to me," he said.
"It'll be fine, Adam. You'll see."
Scarlet had no idea how wrong he was.
As he was standing next to the bus driver who was taking them back to base in Washington, D.C., W.A.A.F. Sergeant Johnson tried to hide his impatience towards the rowdy soldiers laughing and singing loudly behind him. The men under his orders were particularly cheerful on their return from the countryside, after three days of joint training manoeuvres with the National Guards. At the end of the last day, the top brass in charge had decided to give a break to the two military groups which had constantly been at each other during the whole time of the training, by organising a match of ‘capture the flag’ between them.
The W.A.A.F had won, and the actions of Johnson’s squad had been decisive in the victory, which accounted for the men’s behaviour at the moment.
“Can’t you be quiet for just one minute, you bums?” he finally said, without turning around. “You’re all giving me a headache!”
“Aw, Sarge… can’t we be allowed to have some fun?” one of the soldiers moaned.
“One more word out of you, Spencer, and you’ll be on fatigue duty when we’ll arrive on base!” growled Spencer. “Now, all of you, quiet! “You’re rocking the bus… Do you want us to end up in the ditch?”
“But we’re not doing anything,” another soldier replied.
Johnson glared at him over his shoulder, but he had to admit that his men were not responsible for the way the bus was swirling on the road. All of them had sat down at his first warning. He turned to the driver who was seated rigidly, his hands clenched on the wheel. Suddenly, the bus seemed to go faster; a sudden bump on the road sent the bus on the left lane, and nearly threw the sergeant down on the floor. He caught himself in time against the driver’s seat. Behind, the soldiers started to murmur in concern.
“What do you think you’re doing, Corporal?” Johnson barked, leaning forward to address the driver. “Slow down, before you kill us all!”
“I can’t, Sarge!” the flustered driver snapped back nervously. “I can’t control it… It’s like, there’s somebody else driving this thing!” He pressed the brake flat on the floor, but the bus didn’t even slow down. “The brakes don’t respond… I can’t stop it!”
The bus took more speed, and the soldiers started shouting in panic. Johnson could see that the corporal was now white as a sheet, and was literally fighting with the wheel, which refused to obey him. Johnson thought that maybe he should take the wheel, but as he raised his head, he realised it was already too late.
The bus was heading right to the cliff by the side of the road.
The shouts of panic from the soldiers transformed into cries of terror as the bus, going at high speed, smashed onto the fence bordering the road, and drove right off the cliff, jumping into the air, to finally plummet towards the rocks far below.
The five captains were together for once: Scarlet, Blue, Magenta, Ochre, and Grey, on Earth, to clamp down on the latest Mysteron threat.
The science complex in which they were stationed was cold and metallic, in Blue's opinion, but Ochre and Magenta seemed fascinated. They flitted from room to room, calling to each other when they found something of interest. The construction team had been evacuated in light of the recent threat and the place was all deserted, except for the five of them.
No Mysterons were to be found.
"Are you as bored as I am, or are you doing a Magenta and skipping around, surveying equipment?" Blue asked of Grey.
“I admit, this is a boring assignment,” said Grey. “I still don't understand why the colonel had to send all of us. What if we’re wrong, and another place is left entirely unprotected?”
"I know exactly what you mean."
"Magenta! Magenta, come and look at this!" Ochre called suddenly. And Grey and Blue saw a blur of pink flitted across the corridor and into Lab 17.
"How is it they enjoy themselves so much, surrounded by metal and whiteness?" Grey asked.
Blue sighed. "I fear I shall never understand."
"And where are the bloody Mysterons? If we're all going to be sent down here, surely the least they can do is turn up on time so we can kick some ass."
"I'm getting a little tense, if I'm honest. I don't like being crept up on, and I like it even less when I know they're coming, but not when."
"I can understand that feeling."
Scarlet came back through the door on Grey’s left, satisfied that there was no threat from hidden assailants in that room.
"I think, honestly, that if the Mysterons were going to launch an attack, they'd go for Magenta or Ochre, given how preoccupied they are with all the kit in this place,” Blue said. “I sort of wish they hadn't evacuated the place, then maybe we'd get some professionalism from the two most childish members of the team." Blue had pronounced these last words with a raised voice, in the hope that Magenta and Ochre would hear him and react.
Curiously, there was no reply. Scarlet, Blue and Grey looked at each others.
"I was going to say, they've gone strangely quiet..." Grey said.
All three men peered into Lab 17.
"Magenta? Ochre?" Grey called.
Scarlet, Blue and Grey scouted the room, but found no trace of their colleagues.
"Where are they?" Blue asked, when Scarlet declared the lab to be empty.
"Well, I don't know. This could be a very amusing joke by the pair of them," Grey suggested.
Blue shook his head. "They would never pull this kind of stunt with a serious threat over their heads. They know better."
"I think we might have the Mysterons' first move, here," Grey said.
"Okay, draw weapons. We're on high alert from here on in," Scarlet said.
Blue pulled his gun from its holster, finding small comfort in the way it settled in his grip. The familiar stripe of azure across the top also made him relax a little.
Beside him, he saw Grey and Scarlet doing the same.
"Right. Let's go and find them. I hope they haven't got into too much trouble..." Grey didn't dare finish where his train of thought was leading him.
Blue headed forwards, poised on the balls of his feet, ready for any incoming attacks.
Grey crept close behind him, and Scarlet brought up the rear. They lined the corridor at the first junction, peering round and checking if it was all clear.
There was no-one in sight.
Blue found he couldn't breathe a sigh of relief, as the lack of Mysterons made him even less comfortable.
Glancing at Scarlet, Grey gestured that he and Blue would go one way, while their English colleague could go the other. Scarlet was reluctant. His eyes lingered over the pair of men in front of him, before he gave a curt nod.
Blue turned the corner and set off, only glancing back at Scarlet once, as they left him, and he went in the opposite direction.
There were four gunshots, somewhere further down the corridor. Blue tensed up.
"Brad, stay close. Keep my back. Something is going on over there.”
"I know, Blue, I know. Don’t worry. I'm right here."
They moved down the corridor together, guns held ready. The first room they checked was empty, as was the second. They were in the third when Grey, who was looking through a door leading into an adjoining room, gave a shout.
"Blue! Blue, over here!"
Captain Blue turned. There were two bodies on the floor of the room, each killed by a bullet to the chest. The two Spectrum officers closely approached them; the first thing they noticed, was the uniform both men were wearing.
“Who are these guys?” Grey muttered.
“By their uniform, obviously W.A.A.F. soldiers,” Blue said. “Isn’t there a W.A.A.F base, somewhere in the area?”
Grey nodded. “You think they are Mysterons?”
“More than likely. Why else would W.A.A.F. soldiers be here? I wonder were the others are…” Blue’s voice trailed off as he turned around slowly.
He saw Ochre crumpled in the corner and broke into a run, vaulting a table. He arrived at Ochre's side and knelt down. Grey joined him.
Their comrade's legs were twisted awkwardly beneath him, and his head was facing away from them. One of his arms stretched out and away from his side, his palm slack. His gun was on the floor beside him, fallen from his grasp.
Blue swallowed, and placed two fingers at Ochre's throat. He shifted his position slightly, and then tried again. He felt Ochre's wrist. Then he placed a hand over the fallen man's chest. He felt no heartbeat from within. His hand came away bloodied.
"Oh, Richard." Blue removed his hand. "I'm so sorry."
Grey's face had gone pale. "It wasn't his time." His voice shook as he spoke. "He wasn't supposed to go like this."
"Brad..." Blue couldn't comfort Grey. He knew the Chicagoan had been very close to Ochre.
"Oh, Richard... What is Patrick going to say?" Grey reached out and took Ochre's hand. "Why did it have to be you? Why couldn't it have been me? I don't have a partner who'll miss me like you'll be missed."
"Grey, you know that's not true."
"Yes, it is! Ochre is dead, Adam." Grey was suddenly angry. Blue flinched.
“You know how close Magenta was to him. He’ll be devastated. He’ll feel as if they have killed him too.” He looked around. “And maybe they did kill him too, who knows?”
“Calm down, you don’t know if that’s true,” Blue said, soothingly.
“Then where is he? After the Mysterons, maybe, to avenge Ochre’s death? He’ll get himself killed if he’s on his own!”
Blue swallowed. He knew Grey was right. Slowly, he got to his feet. His cap mic swung into place.
"Scarlet?" Blue's voice was hoarse.
"Blue? What is it? What's wrong? Where are you?"
"Oh, you found him? Is he okay?”
Blue swallowed hard. “No, he’s not, Scarlet.”
“He’s hurt? Do I need to radio Spectrum?"
"He's dead, Scarlet."
"Oh God, no… Where are you?"
"Lab 36. Come quickly."
Blue heard Scarlet cut the communication and knew instantly he was on his way. He knew there was nothing to be done now for Ochre. He removed his cap and held it to his chest.
By Ochre's side, Grey was kneeling. He had rearranged Ochre's body and closed his eyes so that he appeared he was just sleeping. Somehow, that made it all the harder to cope with. Blue felt a burn in the back of his eyes and a lump in his throat.
“We’ve lost him,” Grey said, his voice wavering slightly. “Just like we lost Steve and Conrad. But I think… this time, it’s worse. Rick might have been insufferable at time, with his jokes and all, but he always knew how to make us laugh. How to make me laugh. His loss will be difficult to cope with.” He looked at Blue. “And Patrick… how will he cope? That’ll change him, Adam. He won’t be the same again.”
Blue wrapped his arm around the forlorn captain's shoulders. It provided little comfort.
Scarlet skidded around the corner and appeared in the doorway. His frantic look became one of sadness as he regarded Ochre, Blue, and Grey.
"Oh, God, no." He swallowed hard, as he approached and crouched by their side. "Please tell me you made a mistake." He aimed this at Blue, then checked Ochre's vital signs himself. "No. Please, no."
"Did you find Magenta?" Blue asked.
“He wasn’t here?” Scarlet asked.
Blue shook his head. “We haven’t seen him.”
"I'm sorry… I saw no sign of him either."
"We have to find him." Blue got to his feet, pulling Grey with him. He squeezed Grey's shoulders. "Come on, Grey, I need you to be brave."
Grey squared his jaw. He turned and took a lab coat from the door, then laid it over Ochre's body. "He was a good man. A purely good man."
"I know, Grey, I know."
A smattering of gunfire jerked Blue to his senses. "Magenta," he and Scarlet said in unison.
Grey took the lead as they ran down the corridor. They found Magenta firing feverishly at a Mysteron agent wearing a W.A.A.F. uniform, hiding in a doorway. Blue shot the Mysteron four times in the back. Magenta smiled gratefully.
Then the rest of the Mysterons appeared in the doorway.
Blue ran to Magenta's side as five Mysterons opened fire. Blue dispatched one, as Grey took out another. Scarlet, from the doorway, shot one in the head. Magenta was mowing Mysterons down, shooting one then the next with pinpoint accuracy.
But it seemed the Mysteron agents they shot weren’t staying down. Those who had not been shot in the head would come back for more, and more were appearing through the doorway; Blue counted six more, entering the room, all wearing a W.A.A.F. uniforms, all firing at them. Where the hell do they all come from? he thought savagely, as he shot one more soldier. It wasn’t often that Mysterons would use such a large number of agents during one of their threats. There was obviously something Spectrum missed this time. Why would the Mysterons send a bunch of foot soldiers to destroy a science centre? That wasn’t quite their style.
Unless the science centre wasn’t the target.
Blue saw Grey lose his gun, and his compatriot resorted to kicking and punching the attackers. It was working well, but not well enough.
Two well placed bullets felled Grey, who staggered backwards and dropped to the floor. Blue didn't see him get up.
Magenta cried out in fury and continued firing. He turned to where Grey had fallen.
"Grey! Grey!" he screamed between shots. "Brad! Please, get up!"
Scarlet launched himself into the mix, wading through the Mysterons, shooting them in the head at point-blank range. They finally appeared to be dying out, and covered with blood and multiple wounds, they now remained still on the floor of the room. Scarlet soon found himself in front of the last one who rushed him. The English captain killed his attacker with ease.
Breathing hard, Scarlet glanced down at the dead man as his feet and looked around; all their adversaries were down, and there wasn’t any gunshot anymore. He saw Magenta and Blue leave their position.
“I think that’s the last of it,” Scarlet said with a sense of finality.
With all the Mysterons down, Magenta leapt over the bodies to where Grey lay in a pool of his own blood. He crouched by his side. Blue came as well, while Scarlet, remaining a little behind, lowered his cap mic to call base for an emergency pick up: an officer was dead and another needed medical attention.
"Grey?" Magenta asked with worry.
"Still here,” was the slurred answer.
"Jesus Christ, Grey. Please, please, just hold on until Spectrum support gets here."
"Don't know about that…"
"Bloody hell, Holden, do as you're told for once!"
"You'll manage without me..."
"No, Brad, I won't. Who'll save me from Ochre if you leave me?"
"Ochre?" Grey repeated with uncertainty.
"Yes, Ochre. Who’ll help me cope with his irritating jokes, if you’re gone?”
“Oh…” Grey coughed. “So you don’t know… You weren’t there…”
"Know what?" Magenta asked with a frown. When he saw that Grey didn’t seem willing to tell him, he became frustrated with concern. “What’s going on? Bradley Holden, you’re keeping something from me! You’re not in a fit state to do that. What are you talking about?”
Grey looked tiredly at Blue, who was crouched by his head. The blond man nodded. "He has to be told.”
"Can you do it?” Grey requested in a weak, pleading voice. “I don't feel so good right now."
Blue grimaced. "If I do, you have to promise not to die on me."
"I don't think… "Grey's chest heaved and a little blood trickled from the corner of his mouth. "I don't think I can promise you that…"
"Tell me what, Blue?" Magenta asked in concern. “Has... has something happened to Ochre?”
Blue looked down. "I'm so sorry, Magenta. We found Ochre in one of the labs. He killed two Mysterons, but he took two bullets to the chest."
Magenta's hand flew to his mouth. He paled suddenly, and Blue feared he would be sick.
"I'm sorry, Patrick," Blue repeated, finding insufficient words to console his friend.
Scarlet rejoined them after his radio conversation with Spectrum HQ. Help is coming, Brad. Hang on."
"Can I see him?" Magenta asked, quietly.
"Scarlet." Blue looked up. "Please, take Magenta to Ochre."
"I'll stay with Grey. Don't be too long."
With that, Scarlet helped Magenta to his feet and together, they left the room. Magenta was walking like a robot, leaning against Scarlet's side for support.
Scarlet was gritting his teeth in anger. Damned Mysterons... they had promised to deal them a devastating blow. They certainly did at that.
They reached Lab 36.
"Are you sure about this, Magenta?" Scarlet asked his colleague.
"I'm sure. I have to see him…" Magenta choked on his words. "…One last time."
Scarlet opened the door and led Magenta over to where Ochre lay. He pulled the lab coat back.
Magenta crumpled beside his partner.
"God, no… Please, God, no..." He choked. He took Ochre's hand in his. "Why you, Richard? Why you? I'll never have as much fun with you gone. Who is going to be my partner in crime?"
Scarlet looked away, giving Magenta a moment of privacy. He tried to ignore the Irishman's tears. He waited three minutes, then turned back around.
"I'm going to miss him too, Patrick. We all will. But we have to go."
Magenta looked up, and nodded. He addressed one last look of sadness to his fallen friend, squeezed his hand, and then put the lab coat back over his face.
"Let's go,” he said, pulling himself to his feet.
Blue cried out in frustration.
"Hey, Adam, easy." Grey tried to comfort Blue as he himself bled steadily in his friend’s arms.
"It's not fair. Ochre didn't deserve this, and neither do you. You're going to need intensive treatment, and Ochre..." Blue growled. "It's not like me to just come undone; I would rather be dead than lose Ochre or you. Or anyone!"
"But imagine what that would do to Scarlet," Grey reasoned.
"Look what it's done to Magenta! He looked broken, before even seeing the body yet. He'll never be the same."
"Neither will we." Grey's voice got weaker. "Adam, I think I'm going to die."
Blue shook his head in negation. "Don't think like that. You're going to be fine.” He looked around in desperation. “Where the hell is Spectrum? We need to get you medical attention!"
"You're a brave man, Adam,” Grey said tiredly. “Take care of Patrick for me?"
"No, Brad. You can’t go. Patrick needs you, and you need him."
"Maybe… But you'll have to help him, because I'm not going to pull through. Sorry, Blue. I shouldn't leave that on your shoulders."
"Brad, don't do this... Hang on, please!"
"I'm sorry, Adam,” Grey replied with a voice so weak Blue could barely hear him. “Tell Patrick… I’m sorry. I think this is… goodbye.”
There was no ceremony. No sad music. Captain Grey just died in Captain Blue's arms.
Scarlet returned from the other room with a broken Magenta by his side; the first thing he saw was Blue, holding Grey in his arms. Grey wasn’t moving and his eyes were opened. The English captain approached quietly, and stood over his friend.
“Adam?” he asked with a catch in his voice. “Grey…?”
"Why weren't they faster?" Blue howled. "Why couldn't the medics get here faster? He's gone, Scarlet. They can't save him, now because he's dead." Blue hugged Grey's motionless body to his chest.
Magenta went rigid. Scarlet swayed on his feet. "First Ochre, now Grey..." he said in a murmur.
"They can't be gone. They just can't. It's not fair for them to go, and leave us behind to try and fill the chasm they've left behind. Brad, please…" Blue looked down on the body in his arms. Gently, with a shaking hand, he closed Grey's eyes, just like Grey himself had done with Ochre, mere minutes before.
Blue's throat ached. Magenta had his head against the wall. Scarlet's face was turned up, his eyes fixed on the wall out of respect.
Blue swallowed. He tried to push down the pain as he laid Grey softly down and got to his feet. His gun was still in his hand.
It was as Blue holstered his weapon that he was shot in the chest.
The revived Mysteron gave a short laugh, before Scarlet howled in anger and put two bullets between his eyes.
The primary emotion in Blue's mind was surprise. Then confusion. Then sadness. And finally, anger. Then Blue fell to his knees. When he coughed, blood came from his mouth. He looked up, pleading for help, and Magenta caught him.
"Hold on, Adam. It's not your day to die."
Captain Blue had thought, when the bullet had hit, that he was indeed going to die. Somewhere inside, his body adjusted to the fact that his death had been unavoidable. With Ochre dead, and then Grey, he had dropped his guard, and now he had been hit.
"It wasn't their day, either," he said, looking in Grey’s direction.
"We're not losing you too, Adam,” Magenta insisted. “You're the strong one. The brave one."
"Not today," Blue whispered. He could feel himself weakening.
"Where the hell is back up?" Scarlet yelled. Assured that the Mysteron agent wouldn’t revive again, he came over and dropped to his knees by his friend. "Don't leave me, Adam. I might be indestructible, but I'm nothing without you." Scarlet’s face was strained with his heartfelt confession.
"It's the Americans," Blue whispered.
"What do you mean?" Scarlet was confused by the declaration of the wounded man.
"The leading light in the scientific world… That's us."
"I don't follow," Scarlet whispered.
"Ochre. Grey. Me. We're American,” Blue explained, swallowing hard. “At the moment… with all the findings made over here in the last few years, the leading light in the scientific industry is America... That's why it'll be the most devastating blow. Three members of Spectrum dead..."
Scarlet whipped his head around at the sound of that voice; he saw a group of people entering the room; Doctor Fawn was leading the way, and four medics were following behind with stretchers. Three Spectrum security guards brought up the rear.
"You're not dying in my care, Captain Blue," Doctor Fawn said, as he knelt by Magenta, who held Blue in his arms.
Magenta was shaking as he gripped Blue's bloodstained torso, and the doctor examined him. Behind them, Scarlet helped lift Grey onto a stretcher. He only did so to hide his emotions from Blue. He looked down on Grey. His colleague, his equal, his friend... His life snuffed out like a candle flame.
Still held by Magenta’s arms, Blue looked at Grey, as the latter was taken out of the room. He looked so fragile, but so at peace. As the darkness blurred his vision, Blue realised he wanted to join Grey, to let it all go. But Fawn would never let him, and Scarlet would never forgive him. And Magenta couldn't do without him. So Blue hung on.
Doctor Fawn had unwound Magenta’s arms from Blue’s shoulders so that the blond man could also be put on a stretcher. Blue had lost a lot of blood, and was now wavering between consciousness and oblivion; he needed to be taken to the sickbay quickly if he stood a chance of surviving his wound.
Quickly, the medical staff made its way towards the exit, with Fawn keeping close to Blue and making sure his condition didn’t worsen. Scarlet was following close, aware that Magenta was walking behind him, almost like an automaton, defeated, his spirit broken.
“Magenta, you’re going to be okay?” he asked over his shoulders.
“What a stupid question,” Magenta replied, almost snapping.
“I know it sounds stupid. But you have to hang in there.”
“What’s going to happen to me?” Magenta asked with a weak voice.
Scarlet frowned in annoyance. He didn’t like the defeatism he could hear in his colleague’s voice. “Nothing’s going to happen to you. You’re strong. You’ll survive this… that’s what Ochre and Grey would have wanted to.”
“No… You don’t understand,” the resigned Magenta said.
“What don’t I understand, Magenta?” Scarlet retorted with irritation. “I get that it’s really hard for you, but it is for me too, okay?
“Paul, you’re English…”
“And that makes me unfeeling?” Scarlet’s frustration at his friend’s negativity was growing. Plus, he didn’t like that Magenta would assume he felt nothing over what had happened. “You’re not the only one to have lost friends, I did too! And Blue is seriously wounded. I know the future looks shaky, right now. But we have to grit our teeth and don’t lose hope!”
The medical staff, with Fawn and Blue on his stretcher, had left the building and were now rushing towards the medicopter, which stood on the parking lot, a few metres from the door. Scarlet, who was right behind them, stopped and turned around to face Magenta.
The latter stood in the doorway, and was looking at him with a strange look on his face.
“You don’t get it, Scarlet,” Magenta said softly. “It’s not you, it’s me.” He swallowed hard. “I’m an American too.”
Scarlet’s heart skipped a beat.
“Patrick…” He started towards Magenta. The latter didn’t move, seemingly having lost all hope. A feeling of impending doom filled Scarlet; it was one of those feelings he often had, which was related to a Mysteron threat. Something bad was going to happen. Realising how serious the situation was, Scarlet broke into a run. He was halfway there when Magenta stepped towards him.
Then the building exploded.
Scarlet sat in the sickbay. Blue was in intensive care, and Ochre and Grey's bodies were in the morgue. Magenta was in a separate sickbay room, on life support. Doctor Fawn didn't want to admit it, but it didn't look good for Magenta.
Scarlet wanted to stay close to his partner, while the latter was undergoing surgery. He knew Fawn was doing all he could, but an icy feeling had crept into his bones, leaving him hollow and feeling vaguely ill.
He was there, he should have been more careful, known what was about to happen. He should have been able to save him. To save Ochre, and Grey, and Magenta too. His heart screamed at him, accusingly.
Magenta was not doing well. Apparently, he had received serious injuries from the explosion that had destroyed the science complex. So close to the explosion, Scarlet had taken the brunt of the falling rubble, but fortunately, the medical staff were far enough from the explosion to avoid most of it, although they had been hit by some flying debris. The medicopter pilot himself had had a small piece of metal embedded in his left arm.
"Good thing I'm right-handed," he had told Scarlet, but his smile didn't reach his eyes. Ochre and Grey's deaths had rocked all of Spectrum. And it looked likely that Magenta would join the death toll.
Scarlet felt sick. He had paced backwards and forwards in the waiting room, but it hadn't helped, and he had slumped, brokenly, into a chair.
Fawn came to see him, his face grave. Scarlet shot to his feet.
"What is it? What is the news?"
"I think we may be able to save Blue."
"Well, that's great! Why do you keep looking like that?"
"We've lost Magenta."
Scarlet felt his stomach drop. Fawn put his arm around Scarlet's shoulders.
"I'm so sorry, Paul. I understand how hard this must be for you. Patrick sustained heavy head injuries in the explosion. He's got no higher brain responses, so I think it's best if we let him go."
Scarlet tried to be strong in the face of this news. He nodded his assent. "If that's best for him, he'd want you to do it."
"I think he would want someone to be there, at the end. Would you stand in with him, one more time?"
Scarlet bowed his head. "He would have wanted Ochre. But I'll substitute."
"Thank you, Scarlet. It would mean a lot to him."
"You really think Blue’s going to live?"
"Probably.” Fawn looked a little grim, but hopeful enough. “There's still a little bit of doubt, as he might have internal bleeding. If he's bled into his lungs, there's very little we can do for him. But it doesn't look like he has, so he should be fine."
Scarlet didn't breathe out. He found this news was a small comfort, and that it removed little weight off his shoulders, but he was grateful nonetheless.
"Can I see him?"
"Give me five minutes. I'll see what I can do."
Scarlet sat down again. When Fawn returned, and told him he could see Blue, he walked briskly behind the Australian with his head high.
Laid on his bed, Blue was deathly pale, his eyes darkened with bruise-like circles. Scarlet sat at his bedside and choked back a sob.
"I'm so sorry, Adam. For everything. For not being there when you needed me." Scarlet rested his head on Blue's bed. He took his friend’s hand. "You don't know how much I want you to talk back to me, now. I can't imagine how you feel when I do this, but I hope it's nowhere near the kind of pain I'm often in. I said I was nothing without you. I meant it, and I still mean it. I won't give up on you. But please, don’t give up on me."
He turned to Fawn, who was standing behind him in silence.
"I need to go and see Magenta for a little while. But I'll be back, Adam. Wait for me."
Fawn led him from the room. Two corridors away was Magenta's room. Scarlet felt the chill as he entered.
He was deeply saddened by the scene he was presented with. There was no life left in the liveliest of the Captains. Magenta lay on his bed, perfectly still, his eyes closed, the machine breathing for him. The English captain looked at the monitor, but was unable to read what it was saying.
"He's not here, is he?" he asked Fawn with a soft voice.
"I believe he was gone the moment he found Ochre, Scarlet."
Scarlet approached the bed, and ran a hand over Magenta's face.
"Hey, Patrick… You don't look so good. We want to help you, really, and I think you need Ochre, to get well again. So we have to let you go. I know you want it to be this way. You and Ochre can carry on winding up Grey, and one day, Blue can join you. I hope he doesn't today, though. As for me… well… I don’t know if I can even die to begin with. So that might leave me all on my own. So maybe I’m the unlucky one of all of us, come to think of it.”
He gave a glance in Fawn’s direction.
"We're going to turn off your life support, now,” he added to his unconscious friend. “So you can go off to wherever Grey and Ochre are. I'm going to miss you, Patrick. The base won't be the same without you."
Scarlet nodded to Fawn, and the latter move towards the machines keeping Magenta alive. He pressed one button.
"Safe journey, my friend,” Scarlet murmured.
The beeping stopped. The machines shut off, one by one, and Magenta was gone.
Scarlet let out a deep sigh, meant for a man much older than him.
Now there was just him and Blue left.
Blue heard the beeping, felt an itching over his body. He tried to open his eyes, but couldn't.
I’m in a hospital, he thought. He tried to speak, but couldn't formulate anything other than a gurgle in his throat. He felt a hand on his arm.
"Adam?” Are you coming around?" He knew the voice.
He grunted again, and slit his eyes open slightly. A swathe of red hurt his eyes, so he closed them again.
"Shh," Blue hissed. The voice fell silent.
"How are you feeling?" This was a different voice. Australian.
"Pretty rough," Blue coughed out.
"The good news is you haven't got any internal bleeding, and the bullet has come out. The bad news is… you look awful."
"Doctor Fawn." Blue finally placed the voice. The first voice, he knew. “Scarlet.”
Subconsciously, Blue reached for Scarlet's hand. Scarlet gripped it tightly.
"You're going to be fine, Adam. I swear."
"I know. I'll live." Blue suddenly remembered. "Oh, God… Ochre and Grey… They’re dead…”
Scarlet bowed his head. "We lost three good men, today."
"Three?” The hurt was obvious in Blue’s voice as well as in his tired eyes. “Not Magenta too?"
"I'm sorry, Blue. After you passed out, the building was blown up. Mysteron bombs, I'm afraid. Magenta was just in the doorway. If it's any consolation, he won't have felt much pain."
"Poor man… He didn't deserve that."
"Of all of us, he was the one who least deserved any of this, despite what his background says."
Blue opened his eyes. The light didn't hurt anymore. Fawn examined him quickly, and seemed satisfied with the result.
"Right,” he said. “Captain Blue, your condition has improved significantly. Your pulse is normal, your levels are good... We'll keep you in here for a bit longer, because you're not exactly in one piece. And you need to rest, for a long, long time."
"Can I stay?" Scarlet asked.
"I'll have to ask Colonel White,” Fawn promised. “It's fine by me if you stay out of my doctors' way."
"Okay," Scarlet smiled a small, weak, smile.
"Thank you, Paul." Blue squeezed Scarlet's hand.
The next two months passed in a slow, sombre silence. It took that long for Captain Blue to be declared fit for light active duty.
Ochre, Magenta, and Grey's deaths weighed heavily on everyone’s shoulders, Blue's especially. The American couldn't help but feel like he should have died alongside his friends. Fawn believed this had hindered Blue's recovery, holding his mental injuries back while his body had healed. But nevertheless, after all these months, Fawn had finally declared him fit, hoping that returning to duty would help the blond man cope.
As Blue walked into the officers lounge, Scarlet, who was reading a newspaper, left his seat and walked briskly to his friend.
"Adam!" Scarlet embraced his partner tightly, grateful for his one remaining comrade's presence.
"Yes, I'm free now. Put me down. I’m still fragile."
Scarlet grinned. He felt as though he hadn't smiled for months. Then his face fell, suddenly.
"What's wrong?" Blue asked.
"I've just remembered something I learned this week,” Scarlet explained. “Spectrum is holding a joint commemorative funeral service for Magenta, Ochre, and Grey. It's in three days."
"Oh." Blue felt a soreness in his chest. For a moment, he had forgotten all that had happened all those weeks ago, and just been happy. He felt awful, as though he has disrespected their memory.
Scarlet squeezed his shoulder. "Hey, Adam… Take it easy."
"I know. I just miss them, is all."
"We all do. That's why we're going to the funeral. Then we're going to cheer up and get on with our lives. That's what they would have wanted, isn't it?"
Blue nodded. "Yes, it is. Do you have a black suit?"
"Of course I do."
"Of course you do, you're English."
“Not all Englishmen own black suits, you know,” Scarlet replied, smiling lightly.
But this attempt at a joke had made Blue think of his non-English friends, and his vision blurred again.
"Do you?" Scarlet asked him.
"Probably,” Blue answered, swiftly wiping his eyes with his fingers. “I wore one to Steve's funeral; I should still have it.”
“You need to rest,” Scarlet said, nodding. “I’ll walk with you to your quarters.”
They left the officers lounge and walked the corridors of Cloudbase in silence, until they reached the sleeping quarters. Blue's was directly opposite Scarlet's. He typed in the code with trembling hands.
"Adam, are you sure you're okay?" Scarlet stood behind him and watched as his friend typed the wrong code four times. He reached out and typed the code for him.
"You know my code?" Blue asked, glancing at him.
"Of course I do,” Scarlet replied. “Who do you think took care of your things while you were in sickbay? You're avoiding the question. Are you okay?"
Blue turned around. "No, Scarlet. I'm not okay." He fell forward and Scarlet caught him. "There is only us, now. The others are gone. Grey died in my arms and I'll never forget the look on his face as he died..." Blue shook his head. "I'm never going to be okay again."
"Yes, you are,” Scarlet retorted. “You are going to move on, and go places, and one day you'll join them, but not today, and not tomorrow. What would they want you to do?”
“They would want me – all of us – to move on, as you say,” Blue said, squaring his shoulders.
“Exactly. They would want us to do just that. It's okay to be sad. We all are. And you need to stop blaming yourself.” Scarlet hesitated for a second, before adding, in a low voice: “Just as I stopped blaming myself. Especially for Magenta.”
“You?” Blue inquired with surprise.
“Seconds before the centre explode, I had that feeling that the Mysterons were about to strike one last time. I felt it… but it was already too late.” Scarlet shook his head. “I keep telling myself that if I had been more attentive, maybe I would have been able to avoid any of this.”
“There was nothing else you could do,” Blue said with assurance.
“No, there wasn’t,” Scarlet confirmed with sadness. “There was nothing any of us could do. Not for Grey, nor for Ochre, or even Magenta. We did was we could at the time.”
“You’re right, we did.” Blue lowered his head. "Thanks for that, Paul. I need a kick up the ass every now and then."
The door was open behind Blue, so Scarlet bodily grabbed him, and lift him up from the floor to carry him into the room.
Mortified, Blue protested. "Put me down! What do you think you’re doing?"
Scarlet put him down. "You need a kick up the arse, every now and then,” he said. “And you need a friend, every now and then. So you're going to bed, and I'll get you whatever you need to make you comfortable."
"Don't argue with me. Just shut up and let me do it."
Blue relented and sat down on the bed.
Lieutenant Green breathed in a shuddering breath as Magenta's casket was lowered into the pre-dug grave. He would miss Magenta's chatter about computers and technology; it was a passion no-one else shared with him on Cloudbase. Of course, he would miss Ochre and Grey too, very much. Tears sprang to his eyes and he turned away to dry them.
Blue's eyes were fixed on the horizon, his jaw locked. Scarlet stood by his side, his shoulders squared. Doctor Fawn was just a couple a feet away from him, standing with a silent dignity as he watched the dirt falling on Ochre's coffin.
The Angels were stood close together by the graveside, having been replaced temporarily on Cloudbase for the funeral service. Melody cried softly into Symphony’s shoulder. The latter was holding her friends into her arms, trying to comfort her, and the other Angels gave support to each other.
Colonel White stood rigidly by Fawn’s side, his eyes not displaying any of his emotions. He had steeled himself to the fact that three of his finest officers were now dead, and were currently being lowered into the ground. He saw the others, though, and made a note of their sadness. He decided to check on them in the months to come.
After the ceremony, while all the others were gone, Blue placed a flower on each grave. He and Scarlet had picked them out before hand, making sure each one was perfect.
On Grey's grave, he placed a dark purple carnation. The curled edges of the petals all folded and interlocked creating a rich combination of tones. Scarlet had chosen this one.
On Ochre's grave, Blue placed a yellow lily. The petals were crisp, pure yellow, with a smattering of speckles and a streak of red in the centre. Blue smiled, slightly.
Finally, they came to Magenta's graveside. Here, Blue knelt and placed a single, deep red, rose. This one had been chosen mutually. Neither Scarlet nor Blue could think of a better fitting flower for Magenta.
Blue straightened and addressed the graves. "I'm going to miss you three. I don't think Cloudbase will be the same without one of you springing traps on another, or being up at five in the morning, to brainstorm another evil plot to wind up Ochre.” He paused for a second, then continued: “The colonel told us your substitutes will come to Cloudbase next week. We need the help of course, and we will welcome these new men. But truly, no-one can replace the three of you, nor the bond we had. I hope, wherever you are, that you're listening, because if you're not, I'll just be standing here, talking to a rock. Well, three rocks, to be fair."
Blue took a deep breath.
"Scarlet says we need to move on. And I get that you all would want us to. But I'm going to visit every time I can. No one is going to stop me. I'll come down here.” He looked at the Englishman standing by his side and smiled. “And I'll bring Scarlet too,” he added good-naturally. “We'll tell you all about what's happening with the Mysterons – and what exciting way Scarlet has got himself killed this time."
Scarlet punched Blue gently in the arm. "I can hear you, you know."
Blue chuckled. "I know. You were meant to."
They stood together for a while, looking down on the final marker of the lives of their three irreplaceable friends.
Before they knew it, the sun was setting. Scarlet regarded his partner, then smiled. In the face of it all, he felt a little happiness bloom in his chest. Through thick and thin, he would still have Captain Blue.
"Come on, Adam,” he said, gently thumping his friend’s shoulder. “Let's go home."