A 'Captain Scarlet' story for Halloween
By Chris Bishop
“Copperhead Leader to Copperhead Two… Jesus Christ, do you see what I see, Orochi?”
“I see it, Billy, but I can scarcely believe it. I thought the reports were a huge prank. Or at the very least, a publicity stunt by one of those New Hollywood studios.”
“Well, this ain’t no movie stunt, that I can guarantee you.”
Captain William ‘Cobra’ Plissken pushed on the helm of his fighter jet to turn it around, so to survey the trail of destruction Kong had left from the Prestige Pictures studio grounds to the M.A.T. complex. He was rather surprised that no death had been reported yet, but then again, there was still the possibility that bodies might be found under the rubble. In any case, it wasn’t his job to worry about that. The reason he was here with his colleague Orochi Nakahara was to put an end to this.
“Let’s get into position and blow that big ape off the top of that building, Orochi,” he said into his radio. “Then we can get back to base and brag to the other guys that we had our own King Kong moment, just like in the movies.”
“Speaking of the other guys, Cobra – you sure we shouldn’t be asking them for back up? That sucker does look enormous. Maybe we just don’t have the firepower to take him down.”
Plissken waved that suggestion aside. “Nah… I’m sure that the two of us will be more than enough to get him. Just need to blow that roof from under his feet and he’ll be down for the count. Police is keeping civilians at bay, making sure no-one will get squashed down there.”
“If you say so, Cobra…”
“Right, let’s take some altitude to make a dive for it and –” Plissken didn’t get to finish his sentence as right as that moment, he caught sight of three streaks of white lightning, which buzzed just overhead with a powerful roar. The wind they caused almost unbalanced him and he needed to fight slightly with his helm to steady his craft. He looked up and saw the three very recognisable jets veer at some distance away, to return towards them.
“Hey, Orochi… Looks like your wish for backup’s been heard,” he said. “We’ve got some pretty company over there…”
“This is Spectrum Angel Leader,” a female voice then suddenly rang in Plissken’s speakers. “Calling Copperhead Squadron on W.A.A.F wide-range frequency.”
“Angel Leader from Copperhead Leader,” Plissken replied with enthusiasm. “Good to see you, ladies… We didn’t send any invitation, but you’re welcome to join the party nevertheless.”
“We didn’t send any invitation either, Copperhead Leader,” the female voice retorted sternly. “You are ordered to withdraw immediately from this vicinity.”
Plissken frowned and looked at the speakers with perplexity. “Say that again, Angel Leader?”
“You are interfering with a Spectrum operation, Copperhead Leader.” The voice had a rich American accent that sounded as if it came straight from the South. Somehow, it was familiar to Plissken, but he couldn’t figure out where exactly he had heard it before. “You and your comrade are to withdraw immediately. We will take care of this.”
“No way,” Plissken protested. “Why should we stay on the sidelines and leave you to have all the fun? Have you seen what you’ll be up against? It’s a giant ape, for Christ sakes, standing at the top of that tall building, like he was damn ol’ King Kong himself –”
“According to our information, it’s actually a robot built to look and act exactly like King Kong,” the female voice replied.
“Yeah, yeah, I know that, we at the W.A.A.F read the news too,” Plissken said with annoyance. “We know all about that movie they’re making. Obviously their material had a little glitch in its computer and they lost control of it. So that makes it our business and not Spectrum. New Hollywood is our turf. So go chase terrorists and Mysterons, little girls, and leave the big guns to take care of the monster-like crisis.”
And with that, he abruptly cut the communication.
At the helm of Angel One, Melody Angel frowned upon hearing this. When she had first heard the man’s voice, she had the feeling that she already knew it, but his choice of words, the arrogant and impertinent way he spoke, finally put a name to that voice.
“Who is that hothead?” she heard Harmony say.
“Someone who hasn’t changed in the last five years, obviously,” Melody replied darkly.
“You know him?” Destiny said in turn.
“Yeah – and you probably know him too, at least by reputation. That’s Captain William ‘Cobra’ Plissken over there, possibly the most foolhardy and risk-taking pilot you can find in the W.A.A.F. And also, one who is known to follow his instinct and initiative rather than orders. We’ll be having trouble if we don’t make it clear we don’t want him around.”
“Here they go again,” Harmony’s calm voice announced.
“Come on. Orochi,” Plissken told his partner. “We’ll show these girls how real guys do a proper job.”
“Is that wise, Billy?” Orochi replied, unsure. “You heard that girl ordering us to pull out… Wouldn’t we get in trouble if we ignore her?”
“Hey, last time I checked, there weren’t no Angel broad authorised to give direct orders to a W.A.A.F captain. This is our call, Orochi, until the big brass tell us otherwise. Come on! Let’s take down that big guy!”
“Who’s the bonehead who called for those planes?” Ochre asked irately, loud enough for anyone in the close vicinity – including policemen – to hear him. “This is a Spectrum operation, they shouldn’t be there!”
“Frankly, I don’t know, Captain,” Greenwood replied. “Maybe one of the security guards, or the police authorities who recognised they would be in over their heads?”
The four of them got closer to the tower but stopped, as a rain of debris fell a few feet in front of them, and made them back away.
“Frankly, can you blame them?” Greenwood continued, pointing to the top of the tower, where they could only perceive the shadow of Kong and hear him roar angrily at the planes circling over him. “That’s enough to scare anyone!” He looked around, searchingly. “Where’s Miss Symphony?”
This time, it was Ochre’s turn to point upwards. “Up there,” he said grimly. “Kong has her.”
“You are kidding!” Greenwood retorted in disbelief.
“Do I look like I’m kidding?” snapped Ochre. “Now you see why these jets have no business here. If they attack that robot, they might kill Symphony!”
“The MIGHTEC’s behaviour is incomprehensible,” Greenwood declared, shaking his head. “Why would it act that way, like a wild animal? It’s only a robot, for God’s sakes… It has programming to follow.”
“Well, Mr. Doyle here told us it’s following its programming exactly,” Ochre explained, waving at the smaller man who was following him like a shadow. “A behavioural sequence that was put into him so that he would act like a raging ape running amok… for the sake of the King Kong movie, that is. But it seems it got out of hand.”
“And how could this have happened?” Greenwood said, addressing an almost accusing look at Doyle.
“By no fault of our own, sir,” Arnie quickly defended himself. “The robot started acting as if on its own accord, without us doing anything. Why, he wasn’t even powered up when it happened.”
“Ridiculous,” Greenwood muttered.
“Mr. Doyle has mentioned some kind of outside signal,” Ochre intervened. “A signal, which might be in control of the robot and which is keeping Mr. Doyle from regaining control himself.”
“The source of that signal?” Greenwood asked with a frown.
“Unknown to date, but we can safely assume it’s being used by the Mysterons.”
“Not so unknown anymore.”
Ochre, Greenwood and Arnie turned around to face Magenta, who was walking just a few feet behind them. At their inquiring expression, he nodded his head slowly.
“With a little help from an Angel,” he said, “Lieutenant Green managed to localise the source of that signal. And you won’t believe where it’s coming from…”
The door between Doctor Gordon’s office and Room 5 wasn’t locked, and Rhapsody carefully pushed it ajar to get a peek inside. Doctor James was leaning against the wall by the door and was craning his neck to look over her head; he rested a calming hand on Binx who was keeping quiet, seemingly understanding the danger his human friends might run into if they were to be discovered. However, there was little risk of them being heard, as the constant humming sound of a large computerised machine set in the middle of Room 5 was enough to provide a useful cover.
“That’s the department’s main computer,” Doctor James explained in a whisper, pointing to it.
Rhapsody reflected that the bulky, circular, floor-to-ceiling computer was even larger than Lieutenant Green’s personal console in Cloudbase’s control room, which was already huge by any standards. Lieutenant Green’s computer was far quieter than this one, but then again, it was obvious the humming wasn’t coming exactly from it, but from all the numerous pieces of equipment plugged into it.
“This controls everything in this room,” James moved on. “All the tests are run and auto-analysed by this super-computer. It even has its own automated laboratory, which can reproduce any chemical-based substance known to man at the touch of a finger.” He pointed to a small stand-alone station, set on the opposite wall, covered with electronic devices and imbedded test tubes. “Doctor Gordon uses it to generate cerebral-enhancing drugs in the various DNI control testing.”
Rhapsody shushed him; she was barely listening to him, as she was already aware of the auto-analyser concept, as used in Cloudbase’s sickbay. In any case, her attention had been drawn to colourful objects which lay on a table, nearly at the other end of the room, and that she had no trouble recognising: they were Spectrum-issued very distinctive radiocaps.
One red, the other blue.
And next to it rested the top of a blue Spectrum uniform.
As Rhapsody’s eyes scanned the room from the table in direction of the huge computer, she spotted the owner of one of the caps, bounded to a leather chair with his back half-turned to her. He was gagged, with his dark head hanging down and he wasn’t moving.
Although she almost expected the scene, she nearly made a double-take.
Two men were busy working at the computer, barely paying attention to their captive, and obviously unaware that they were being observed. Rhapsody could clearly hear their voices echoing in the room as they exchanged information from the various stations they were surveying. One of them was striding from one station to another. Obviously, the equipment wasn’t meant to be manned by one or two persons only.
The second man, looking very calm, wasn’t moving; he stood just a few feet in front of the prisoner, rooted in front of a double-screen monitor. One of them displayed data Rhapsody was unable to read. The other one was showing an image of a panoramic view of a blue sky, in which two dark planes were flying towards the source of whatever camera was feeding that image to the screen.
“This is one of your friends, I take it?” James whispered to Rhapsody, pointing to Scarlet.
She nodded slowly, almost absently, her eyes scanning the room quickly. While she was confident that Captain Scarlet was relatively all right, she had no idea where her other colleague could be. Aside from the blue cap and uniform lying on the table, she could see no trace of Captain Blue.
And that was worrying her.
“Supplementary disinhibitor shot completed, Doctor Gordon,” the man moving from station to station said, attracting her attention. “Increase in beta and gamma brainwave frequencies… Alpha waves have dropped… The subject is stressed and angry.”
“And so is the MIGHTEC,” Doctor Gordon replied, reading his screen. “The injection did the trick.” He chuckled. “And the arrival of those W.A.A.F. and Angel planes might actually have served to give a purpose to his anger. If he could just take one down before they manage to destroy him, that would just be dandy.”
“That’s Doctor George,” James said, pointing to the second man. “Doctor Gordon’s assistant.
Rhapsody nodded bleakly, acknowledging the information. She had already guessed, after hearing the man’s mention of disinhibitor shots. She didn’t like the rest of what he had said, as she had a very bad feeling about who the ‘subject’ he was talking about could be.
Nor did she like the content of Doctor Gordon’s words either.
She closed the door, slightly, and turned to her companion.
“They’re using Captain Blue,” she said with certainty. “To control the MIGHTEC in Los Angeles.”
She was certain of it. All the clues were coming together now. The behavioural programming entered into the King Kong robot, so it would act like a real gorilla; Doctor George’s theory that suppression of inhibitions in a subject would make the DNI control on robotic devices more efficient; the disinhibiting drugs he had used on Binx and the chimp Pan to prove that theory... Added to this was Doctor Veldes’ statement that the disinhibitors, while freeing the subject’s most basics instincts, also caused that same subject to become erratic, uncontrollable… and violent.
And what if that disinhibited and angry subject was in control of the MIGHTEC robot? Wouldn’t the robot act angry as well?
And how about a captive subject, trying to break free?
“I could barely recognise poor Binx when Doctor George gave him a shot of his stupid drug yesterday,” Doctor Veldes had said. “He was trying to tear his cage apart, attempting to escape. He was literally enraged.”
In the right state of mind, possibly unable to control himself, Rhapsody had no doubt that an individual could be manipulated against his will and subverted for unscrupulous use of the DNI controls...
“Where would the DNI controls be, Doctor James?” Rhapsody swiftly asked her companion.
“Somewhere on that computer, I guess,” muttered James.
“I mean… the operator… the subject… where would he be?”
James nodded. He waved towards the door and Rhapsody opened it again, even less than before. He pointed to a large vertical cylinder of about eight feet tall, imbedded into the computer, with a glassy, opaque surface. “That’s the operator’s cabin, that he stands in,” he explained in a low voice. “I saw it once. It’s filled with connectors, that can be plugged into the brain and other parts of the operator’s body… The additional connectors, Doctor Gordon told me, are not essential, but they can facilitate the transmission of movement commands to the robotic device.”
“Whatever,” Rhapsody responded, looking grimly at the cabin. It looked to her like a long, glass-like torpedo, exactly the right size for detaining a captive. She couldn’t see any way to reach it – not without being seen by Gordon and George, who at the moment were still absorbed in their work.
Her hand reached for her handbag, and extracted from it the small pistol with the nacre grip. She was facing Mysterons; she doubted that this almost toy-like weapon would be sufficient against them. And even with the help of the unharmed Doctor James – who would more likely end up killed in a would-be confrontation – she had little hope of succeeding in stopping these men in their nefarious plans.
Not in the short time that was left to her, anyway. If she wasn’t mistaken those planes she had seen on the screen were setting up to attack. And the source of the image, obviously was the MIGHTEC itself.
She needed a better backup. Unfortunately, she was still afraid that if Captain Forrest and his team were to charge in, they would be spotted by security cameras which would alert the Mysterons.
I need Captain Scarlet, she told herself, her eyes shifting to her fiancé’s position. But reaching him might prove almost as impossible. Gordon and George currently had their backs turned on him, but should they turn around…
“If only something could distract them,” she mused, “long enough for me to free –”
The alarmed whisper coming from Doctor James caused Rhapsody to turn to him; the vet’s face was very pale, and his eyes, wide open, were staring past her. It was only then that Rhapsody realised that Binx wasn’t on his shoulder anymore. All absorbed in her thoughts, she had not realised that the small rhesus monkey had left his protector – and she would have bet anything that James himself had not realised his absence until just now.
Apprehensively, she looked in the same direction the vet was looking – towards the table on which she had seen the radiocaps and Captain Blue’s uniform. On that same table, there also was a large glass bowl, filled with a selection of various fruits. Binx sat on the table, right next to that bowl, and had taken from it a large banana, that he was presently eating, without a care in the world.
Rhapsody’s heart sank. Any second now, Binx would be spotted by the two Mysteron agents.
And the presence of his human friends would be revealed.
* * *
Captain Scarlet didn’t know how long he had been out cold this time around; he was still bound to the same chair and his captors had taken the opportunity of his unconsciousness to gag him by inserting into his mouth a dirty piece of rag, which was kept place by another piece of cloth tightly and uncomfortably tied against the nape of his neck.
He felt nauseous, not only because of the rag in his mouth, but also because he still felt under the weather due to the overdose of drug he had been injected and the electric shock received earlier. The nearby presence of Gordon and George possibly didn’t help in the matter either.
Despite his best efforts to free himself, all he had been able to achieve was to badly chafe and nearly break his wrists against the sturdy nylon fasteners holding them together. All he could do for the moment was glare murderously at his captors, while listening at their exchanges with mounting concern. He worried about Blue; he had no idea where he could be and what he could be enduring; he also felt concern for Rhapsody, whose involvement in this mission might be known by the two Mysteron agents or not. Had she been captured as well – or worse? Was she still investigating around the building, unaware of what had happened to her two colleagues?
“What the devil is this?”
Doctor George’s sudden exclamation attracted Scarlet’s attention and he raised his heavy head; the Mysteron was looking at the worktable a few meters away from them. There was a small grey-faced monkey sitting next to the bowl a fruit, biting into a banana. He was quietly looking at the two scientists who had discovered him.
“It looks like Binx,” Doctor Gordon said, narrowing his eyes. “What is he doing here?”
“A better question would be – how did he come here?” growled Doctor George.
At that moment, a male voice suddenly resonated into the room and Doctor James purposefully walked in, making all heads turn to him.
“Binx, you little pest, where are you?”
* * *
Symphony’s heart missed a beat when she saw the two Copperhead fighters turn around and come back towards the giant Kong robot; she could easily recognise that formation they were taking: they were coming into attack.
Kong seemed to also recognise the danger – and at least those in control of him did – and he turned around, growling a challenge; he seemed determined to put up a fight. Desperately, Symphony pushed and pulled on the giant fingers imprisoning her; she knew that if she was still in the robot’s clutches when the attack began, she barely had a chance to survive. Either she would be blown to smithereens with him, or she would fall to her death, a thousand feet below. But the hydraulic joints wouldn’t budge; she was irremediably trapped.
“It cannot end like this,” she panted as she nevertheless continued her attempts. “What a stupid way to die!”
She saw Kong’s eyes shift from the coming planes to her; she didn’t know if she liked that at all. She stopped her struggling and looked expectantly at him.
The eyes were burning with fire.
“Look,” she said, hoping to reason with whoever was in control of the beast. “You cannot hope to succeed. These planes will destroy the robot and your plan will fail. What is it worth, anyway? I’m sure people have evacuated this building, so it’s pointless.”
Of course, she reflected, there would be millions, if not billions, of dollars’-worth of damage caused during the battle, so perhaps this was what the Mysterons were aiming at.
“Why don’t you give up now and let me go?” she added anyway.
She saw a flash pass through the giant mechanical eyes; she didn’t know exactly what it was, but it didn’t seem malevolent. Then, unexpectedly, Kong lowered down the hand that was holding her…
… And deposited her onto the surface of the roof. Despite the obvious gentleness of his gesture, she still fell with a bit of a jolt; her right side was killing her and her left ankle was throbbing. She tried to get up on her feet but without success; most probably, her ankle was either broken, or badly strained.
Lying there, she looked up at Kong with perplexity; he was just staring at her.
“You’re… letting me go?” she asked, not really believing it. “Just like that?”
He huffed in a disdainful way and turned away from her to face the planes again.
Symphony looked around; the robot might have let her go, but that was little comfort; she was still in the line of attack, with few places to hide and no way off this roof. She couldn’t see a door, as far as she could see. Perhaps it was on the other side of this giant antenna. But even if she could walk, she didn’t expect she would have time to reach it – wherever it could be.
It doesn’t matter that I’m free, she reflected. I’ll die anyway…
She looked up with apprehension as Kong, firmly planted on his feet, and holding himself with one hand to the giant antenna, leaned over the edge of the tower and banged loudly on his chest with his free fist.
Symphony covered her ears as he made a thunderous roar, challenging the Copperhead planes to come and get him.
* * *
“Look at that stupid beast,” Orochi said as the two fighters were closing to attack. “He’s setting himself as a perfect target!”
“This’ll be easier than we thought, buddy,” Captain Plissken said with satisfaction. “That bastard will never know what hit him.” His thumb hovered over the firing button. “Let’s get him, Orochi.”
Just as the fighters coming in low formation towards their target were about to fire, a whistling sound made itself heard and something exploded in a ball of fire on the side of each plane’s interior wing, making them shudder; instinctively, each of the Copperhead pilots forgot about their attack and abruptly veered to each side of the antenna. Just behind them came the Angels, in tight formation; two of them followed Plissken, while the last one followed his partner. Kong roared with anger, and leaning forward, tried to snatch the last Angel from the air; he managed to graze the tail.
But Harmony, who was at the helm, quickly veered clear, pointing the nose of her jet upwards to take the sky.
“You all right, Angel Three?” Melody asked in concern.
“I am,” the Chinese pilot replied. “But we are just a little too close to the ground to perform this kind of manoeuvre safely.”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” a male voice suddenly exploded in the speakers. That was Captain Billy Plissken, and he didn’t sound very happy that his attack had been so abruptly interrupted. “You fired on us, Angel Squadron! You could have blown us out of the sky!”
Melody quickly answered him: “Don’t make such a fuss, Copperhead Leader: it was only a warning shot. If we wanted to blow you out of the sky, believe me, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now! Now I repeat: this is strictly a Spectrum operation. Withdraw immediately. Or the second shot will not be a warning.”
“Oh, for Christ sake… We’re supposed to be on the same side! You want to spoil a military operation with pointless rivalry? What about innocent bystanders below? If you fire on us, debris might hit them.”
That comment incensed Melody. “You’re a fine one to mention innocent bystanders now, Copperhead Leader,” she replied. “You didn’t give them a second thought when you prepared yourself to attack the beast! And by the way, have you not noticed that it’s holding a hostage?”
“A hostage?” Plissken’s voice suddenly seemed unsure. Or doubtful, Melody couldn’t decide exactly.
“It’s holding another Angel pilot at the moment, and if you had fired on the beast, you would have killed her as well,” she explained with the little patience she had left.
At the helm of his jet, Billy Plissken was veering his craft to get a better look at their common target, as if searching for the presence of that hostage the Angel pilot had mentioned. He couldn’t see anyone in the giant gorilla’s hand, but he turned on his scanning instruments to make a search on the surface of the roof.
True enough, he discovered a human figure, holding on to the foot of the antenna; a figure that seemed tiny in comparison with the giant that stood beside her.
“It’s true, Billy,” he heard the voice of his partner over the radio. Obviously, Orochi had been using his scanners too. “I can see her clearly enough. It’s a blonde woman.”
“I can see her too,” Plissken mumbled. “Who does she think she is exactly, Fay Wray?”
“This is the last time I repeat this, Captain Plissken,” the voice of Melody then said. “Withdraw, or we will be forced to use force to make you leave.”
Plissken frowned at the use of his name. Now he was certain he knew the owner of that voice, but still, he couldn’t place her. “Do you know me, lady?”
“Yes, I know who you are, Captain William ‘Cobra’ Plissken. All pilots know you and your hot-head reputation.”
Even if it was slight, Plissken had heard the hesitation in the Angel’s voice. He was certain she knew him, but she didn’t seem inclined to say as much. He was about to open his mouth to insist, but a new voice, this one male, made itself heard through the speaker, interrupting him before he could ask her again:
“Edward W.A.A.F Command Base to Copperhead One and Two: you are hereby ordered to pull up without delay, and to leave control of the sky to Spectrum Angel Squadron.”
Plissken sighed deeply and rolled his eyes to the sky. That always happens when it becomes interesting.
“Roger that, Edward Command Base,” he answered. “We’re leaving right away.” He paused a second, before using the radio once again, to address Melody: “The sky’s all yours, ladies. Hope you won’t make a mess of things.”
“With you gone, I believe we’ll do all right, Copperhead Squadron.”
Plissken smiled thinly, hearing that answer. “Hope to see you soon, Angel Leader,” he replied softly. “I’ll buy you a drink in Santa Monica next you’re in this area…”
With that, he turned his plane around; the other Copperhead jet made the same manoeuvre and they both flew out of the scene.
As soon as she saw the two W.A.A.F. jets’ departure, Melody blew a sigh of relief. Having them around could have proven difficult – especially taking into consideration Plissken’s propensity to rush head first into the fray, without thinking of the consequences. The Copperheads’ previous attempt might have succeeded in defeating the King Kong robot, but the ensuing destruction could have been devastating. The M.A.T. tower would have likely been obliterated at the same time; she didn’t take into much consideration the monetary and technological loss for the company, but she was very much aware that people could have been hurt seriously – innocent bystanders standing a little too close to the tower – and Symphony, who was at the very top of it.
She couldn’t help but smile anyway at Plissken’s departing words. Dear Billy, he would never change… She imagined she wouldn’t have him any other way.
“Right, Angels,” she said, addressing her two colleagues over the radio. “Now it’s our time to do the job. And let’s just hope we won’t have to resort just yet to the same solution those W.A.A.F fighters were contemplating… At least, not until we’re absolutely sure that we can intervene with the minimum of damage.”
In perfect formation, the Angels veered and returned towards the M.A.T. tower.
* * *
Captain Ochre pointed to the departing Copperhead jets. “Looks like they’re finally making themselves scarce,” he commented.
“I would too, if the Angel fighters happened to fire on me,” commented Greenwood by his side. “You guys certainly play for keeps.”
“The Angels have the sky now,” Magenta confirmed as his cap microphone returned once more to its place on the visor. “Just received the news from Cloudbase. The W.A.A.F. is leaving the scene and we’re in charge.” He turned towards the police sergeant who had almost stopped them from entering the premises, and who was close enough to have heard all of their exchanges. He spotted the name ‘K. Stone’ on his vest.
Oh please, this must certainly be a joke, he mused.
“Sergeant Stone,” he said in his most authoritative voice and waving towards the ranks of curious bystanders pressing themselves close to the security line. “Those people are too close. If the robot should fall, or if there’s falling debris, they might be hit. You’d better see that this security line is pushed back – at least fifty meters further away from the tower.”
“Er…Yes, sir. Right away, sir.” Stone was definitely eager to make a good impression now, after his earlier blunder. He quickly relayed Magenta’s instructions to his colleagues and they started gathering the bystanders away from the line.
“You are enjoying this, aren’t you?” Ochre whispered with an amused grin on his lips, leaning towards his colleague. The latter answered with a grin of his own, and Ochre turned to Greenwood: “You must get yourself safely behind the line too, Mr. Greenwood… And you too, Mr. Doyle,” he added, spotting the cybernetic operator who had barely left his side.
“I thought you would never say it,” Arnie said with a sigh of relief. “What do you guys say? Oh… S.I.G.”
“Keep close to the police car, and keep trying to work on that control pad of yours,” Ochre advised as the man was already swiftly on his way.
“Captain,” Greenwood protested, “I must insist on staying. This complex is my responsibility.”
“You did say that everyone has been evacuated from the tower, Mr Greenwood,” Magenta remarked. “And that the plans of all your projects have been saved on multiple servers outside of this building.”
“Yes, yes… But years of physical work, projects that are still in their testing phase, irreplaceable prototypes with no existing copies, are still trapped inside this building. And that’s not counting the MIGHTEC itself which is absolutely unique – the technological advance it represents in so many fields – in medicine alone! – is absolutely phenomenal. You might not realise it, but it’s not only M.A.T. which will be set back for decades by the loss of that material – but the World as well.”
Magenta and Ochre exchanged glances; now that was what the Mysterons had planned; a crippling blow to the World’s advance in technology by targeting the corporation that have invested the most in that area of expertise. The MIGHTEC, the most sophisticated piece of robotics and cybernetics ever built, representing the most brutal and instinctive force of nature, sat directly at the top of the very expertise which had created it – and was threatening to take it down by its mere presence.
Did they really dare to destroy the robot, and with it, all it represented? And at the same time, did they dare to compromise the building on which it was standing?
At that moment, Magenta’s epaulettes flashed white, drawing the Irish officer out of his fugue; he answered swiftly: “It’s Cloudbase,” he announced to Ochre.
The latter was about to activate his own radiocap to join the conversation when his epaulettes flashed at the same moment; it was a pale golden-coloured light, which was associated with the Angel pilots. He lowered his microphone.
“It’s me,” he heard a panting voice tell him in an almost whisper.
“Symphony?” he asked with concern. “Are you all right?”
“Yes, I am… Possibly have a broken ankle and my ribs are killing me, but otherwise I’m okay. I thought you’d be interested to know that Kong has put me down.”
“What?” Ochre muttered. Behind him, he could hear Magenta reporting the latest development to their commander-in-chief. He took a few steps away, to better hear what Symphony had to tell him.
“I’m on the roof. Kong isn’t paying any attention on me. He’s still growling at the Angels and challenging them from afar. He must think they are flying a little too close.” Symphony chuckled nervously, and that ended up in a groan of pain that made Ochre wince. “I see no way out from where I am. Can you come and fetch me, please?”
Ochre swiftly turned to Greenwood. “Is there a way to the roof?” he asked rapidly.
“What?” Greenwood replied in surprise. “Yes… sure. You need to take the elevator to the fiftieth floor… There are two more floors to go – those are maintenance floors where we store the servers. You can climb them by using a metal maintenance staircase. That leads to a trap, which opens directly onto the roof.”
“Where’s that staircase, exactly?”
“You turn left in the corridor, when you leave the elevator. At the very end, you turn right, into a new corridor, and it’s there, at the end. But – ”
“Magenta!” Ochre called, turning to his colleague. “Kong has released Symphony but she’s trapped on the roof! There’s a way up there! If the Angels can keep Kong occupied – not by attacking him directly, but by distracting him only – that might permit us to get to her!”
“You heard that, Colonel?” Magenta asked into his mic.
“S.I.G., Captain Magenta,” Colonel White answered. “I’ll call the Angels immediately and will order them to circle around the robot. As long as it stays up there and does minimal damage, we can afford some time. But we can’t permit it to stay indefinitely on that tower and be a threat to everyone. It will have to be destroyed eventually.”
“But sir, as Mr. Greenwood said, what about the loss the destruction of that technology would represent if –”
“Tell Mr. Greenwood I’m very sorry, but there is little Spectrum can do to save his technology, if we don’t find a way to stop it other than by blowing it from the top of that building,” White interrupted. “So far, I haven’t received any news from Scarlet’s team in London that they could stop the signal controlling the robot from there.”
“You reckon they ran into trouble, sir?”
“It looks likely, but if I don’t receive confirmation in the next fifteen minutes, I’ll order the Angels to attack. Now, don’t waste any more time. Get Symphony away from that monster.”
“S.I.G., Colonel White.” Magenta replied. The mic returned to its place and he turned to Ochre. “No news from London yet,” he reported. “There might be trouble there. We have fifteen minutes to get Symphony or to disable the MIGHTEC before the Angels attack to destroy it.”
“The elevator can be up there in four minutes,” Greenwood informed them swiftly.
Ochre nodded briefly. His brain was functioning rapidly. Four minutes up, four minutes down, that left seven minutes tops to complete Symphony’s rescue. That wasn’t much, and there wasn’t any time to waste.
“I’ll go get Symphony,” he told Magenta, as he started towards the tower. “Stay with Doyle and carry on trying to regain control of Kong. Make sure the Angels keep him distracted, without firing directly at him. At least for the next fifteen minutes!”
“S.I.G.!” Magenta called after his colleague, as the latter broke into a run. “Be quick about it and keep in touch!”
* * *
As he witnessed his small protégé being discovered, Doctor Arthur James instantly realised that he and Rhapsody would be found out very soon afterward, and that things might take a turn for the worse from there. Taking what he thought was a fast strategic decision, he made the most courageous move he had ever done in all his life – or the most foolish, he really couldn’t decide.
Straightening up to his full height, he brushed Rhapsody aside, pulling her out of view before she could even realise what he was planning to do; he strode into the room, making no attempt to conceal his presence, and called loudly:
“Binx, you little pest, where are you?”
Doctor Gordon and Doctor George turned on their heels at the sound of his voice, and even their prisoner turned his head in his direction. He could almost feel their combined astonishment, as all eyes fixed on him; he did his best to ignore it, walking directly towards Binx.
“Ah, there you are!” he said, feigning to discover the small monkey on the table. “Come right here, this instant!”
Binx screeched in protest, but nevertheless jumped down from the table, one end of the banana stuck in his mouth, and scuttled on the polished surface of the floor towards the vet. He climbed up and came to sit at his usual place, on James’ shoulder. Gently holding him by the tail, James bravely turned towards Gordon and George, who were now regarding him with a mix of sternness and mystification. He offered an apologetic and awkward smile.
“I’m sorry for this, Doctor Gordon,” he said. “I’m sure Binx didn’t mean to interrupt you in your work… or Doctor George, for that matter,” he added, gesturing to Gordon’s assistant, who was scowling at him. “He’s just a small monkey… he doesn’t know any better.”
“Doctor James.” Gordon took an intake of breath, considering the vet with a coldness that James had never seen in his features before. “What are you doing here exactly… with that monkey?”
“Well, Doctor, I came to talk to you. And it’s actually because of Doctor George I came…”
“Because of me?” George said, his scowl deepening.
“Yes, Doctor George, because of you!”
James felt very nervous, and was now gesturing frantically. He never had to think or talk this fast before, as he fully realised that his life was in danger. He wanted to offer the distraction Rhapsody needed; he meant to cover her presence, for as long as he could, so that she could do what she needed to do to stop whatever madness was happening in this room.
He deliberately pointed an accusing finger at George. “Those tests with the disinhibiting drugs that you performed with our animals… they have to stop now,” he said in a firm voice, causing Gordon to raise a curious brow at him. “You can’t treat animals like that, it’s not humane!” He made a show of suddenly discovering the nearby presence of the tied up Captain Scarlet, and gestured towards him. “You cannot do it to human beings either!” he added with emphasis.
Scarlet looked at him with an expression that seemed to indicate that he doubted his sanity. Neither Gordon nor George gave a single glance in the direction of their captive; they briefly exchanged perplexed looks, keeping their combined attention focused on the overexcited vet who was pacing relentlessly in front of them, gesticulating.
They too were wondering if James wasn’t out of his mind. How could he not realise that something seriously abnormal was going on?
“And you came from the hospital to tell us that?” Gordon inquired, suspiciously.
Captain Ochre pushed open the main entrance door to the M.A.T. tower, jumped over the security gate – which had been abandoned – and ran towards the closest elevator, his steps echoing through the now empty lobby. He punched the doors’ opening button and blew a sigh of relief when they slid immediately in front of him; entering, he pressed the button for the fiftieth floor. The doors closed and the ascent began.
Although the elevator was as fast as Calvin Greenwood had implied, it wasn’t fast enough for Ochre who found himself walking around like a beast trapped in a cage, while checking both his watch and the numbers on the elevator dial passing in quick succession. Three minutes into the ascent, he was very much concerned that he might not be able to make it. He hoped that if there was a minute or two missing from the deadline, the Angel leader would be willing to give them to him.
Melody is Angel Leader for this mission… She’s supposed to love me, right? At least, she likes me well enough. She wouldn’t want to fire on a roof on which I would be standing, if I’m about to leave it in the next few seconds, would she? And there’s Symphony to consider…
He chased those absurd questions from his mind. If the Angels were to find themselves without any other choice but to fire on the MIGHTEC, then he knew they would have to do their duty. In the meantime, he just needed to do his damnedest to accomplish his part of the rescue.
The door finally slid open in front of him and he darted out of the elevator and to the left, into the corridor, as instructed by Greenwood. At a turn of the corridor, a draft blew into his face and he almost stepped into a giant hole, which had been pierced into the floor and concrete wall; he stepped back quickly, looking down with horror at part of the lower floor he could see through the hole, and the street, far below.
Ye God, that was close… That must be one of Kong’s stepladders that he created as he climbed the side of the tower.
He rounded the hole and looked around for the maintenance door Greenwood had told him about. He saw it, at the very end of the corridor he was standing in. He rushed to it and pushed it open, and started climbing the metallic steps leading up to the roof.
Six minutes gone… I do hope I will have enough time!
* * *
Just beyond the police line, squeezed amongst the curious onlookers, Peer Abramson and Harold Biggs were watching everything that was going on. Abramson was taking notes on his digital pad, while Harold, still with his portable in hand, was busy filming.
“I hope you got that Spectrum officer running inside the building, Harold,” Abramson said to his young companion. “Because that specific sequence might actually be the heroic scene of our movie.”
“Sure did, Mr Abramson,” Harold replied, turning his phone towards the producer.
The latter, without raising his eyes from his pad, made a gesture of the hand and pointed upwards. “Not me, lad… Never film me. The star is still Kong, so if nothing’s else happening, you ought to film Kong.” Obediently, Harold turned his phone towards the top of the M.A.T. tower, and Abramson nodded his approval. “That’s a good boy… ” The producer paused a second, before asking: “You didn’t manage to get a good picture at that dogfight, did you?”
“The Spectrum jets, chasing those W.A.A.F. jets… That’s what a dogfight is, Harold. Boy, don’t they tell you anything in school these days?” Abramson rolled his eyes.
“I can’t aim my phone at what’s happening down here and at the same time film what’s going on in the sky, Mr Abramson,” Harold protested. “I don’t have two sets of eyes, you know!”
Abramson gave it some thought. “You’re right. We’re desperately understaffed right now,” he muttered. “I need a crew over here.”
Someone pulled on his sleeve and he turned around; a young man, even younger than Harold, with green hair and multiple piercings in his nose was looking straight at him, chewing a large mouthful of gum as if his life depended on it.
“You’re Peer Abramson, ain’t you?”
Abramson had to make an effort to actually comprehend what he was asking. He sounded somewhat Australian, but there was something very odd with the way he spoke. Possibly it was because of that huge gum he was chewing.
Maybe he was a tourist. One thing for certain, he wasn’t a local. “What is it to you, if I am?” he asked defensively.
“Nothing much, chum. Nothing much at all. Except...” He showed his little handheld camera. “… Just heard what you said. I got that dogfight of yours, here in my camera… ‘Yours for the taking… That is, if you’re interested.” He grinned. “And for a price, of course.”
“What’s your name, son?”
“Benji, mate. Me mates call me Benji.”
Harold rolled his eyes behind Abramson’s back. What a stupid nickname…
“You’re hired,” Abramson declared quickly, much to Harold’s surprise. The young guide would not have trusted this green-haired fellow with even a single dollar. Obviously, Abramson wasn’t of the same of mind. “Benji, Harold. Harold, Benji,” the producer continued as Benji shouldered his way towards them. “Now I have a crew. Be sure to take good pictures and not miss anything.”
“Hi, pardner,” Benji told Harold, grinning like an idiot. “I’ve got a camera, see?”
Harold simply nodded hesitantly. He suddenly felt that his ‘special rapport’ with Peer Abramson had been invaded.
I suppose you have to be careful not to let anyone tread on your toes when you’re in show business, he grimly thought to himself as he concentrated on focussing his camera on Kong.
* * *
From her hiding place behind the door leading into Room 5, Rhapsody Angel was watching with growing concern as Doctor James was doing his best to attract the full attention of Gordon and George by making a fool of himself. She understood what the vet was trying to do, but she couldn’t help thinking it was terribly risky and that at any moment, the two Mysteron agents – there was no doubt in her mind they were Mysteron agents – would grow tired of his antics. However she was also very grateful for his attempts and knew that for them to count for something, she needed to act as quickly as possible.
She swiftly removed her shoes. With James keeping the Mysterons’ focus on him and keeping their backs turned towards the door, she lowered herself to the floor and silently crept towards Captain Scarlet, tied to his chair – and also watching Doctor James’ antics with perplexity.
James was the only one to spot her, but he did his best not to look in her direction, so not to betray her presence. He was pacing in front of Gordon and George, hoping to keep their interest long enough for her to act before they would notice her.
“Yes,” he quickly answered Gordon’s question. “That is, no… Well, it’s you specifically I wanted to see, Doctor Gordon.” He stopped in front of the computer, making sure that the two men had their backs squarely turned to their prisoner and to Rhapsody. Again he pointed to George. “You have to tell Doctor George to stop doing those tests… It’s not… nice! It’s not – ”
“Doctor James,” Gordon interrupted, his voice very even, and interrupting the vet before he would draw breath again to continue. “Would you kindly step away from those controls, please?”
“What?” Playing dumb, James looked behind him, glanced at the computer’s controls, and turned back to Gordon and George. “Why?” he asked. “Are you afraid I would touch anything that might… disrupt whatever it is you’re –”
“This is very tricky equipment, Doctor,” George remarked, interrupting him in turn.
“Well, I’m not a total idiot,” protested James. “I assure you, I can stand next to any such equipment and not destroy it… Oh, or are you afraid that Binx would do something?” He stroked the small monkey, putting on a hurt expression. “Well, that’s certainly not a nice thing to say about the little fellow, Doctor George, but coming from you, that shouldn’t really surprise me. I already figured out you didn’t like animals.”
Rhapsody had successfully reached Scarlet without the two Mysterons noticing her. Leaning to the side of the chair, she grazed his arm; she felt him shiver under her touch and he craned his head back to look in her direction. His eyes lighted with an expression of hope and concern at the same time when he saw her and she motioned him to stay put. She lowered her hand and from underneath the chair, carefully reached for Scarlet’s right boot. She knew of the small knife he kept in it, against the interior side of the zip. All she needed to do was to get it out and she’d be able to cut through those tie-wraps holding his hands.
She pulled the zip down a few centimetres and felt the handle of the knife against her fingers. Gently, she pulled it out.
“Doctor James,” Doctor Gordon suddenly declared with obvious annoyance, “you stated that you’re not a complete idiot. Quite frankly, I’m disputing that. Surely… you must realise you have… interrupted us in the middle of something?”
“Why, yes…” James said, a little hesitantly. “I can see that you were quite busy, but – ”
“And you’re not even wondering why we’re keeping this Spectrum officer all tied up?” Gordon continued quietly.
Rhapsody froze upon hearing these words, fully expecting Gordon to turn around; but he contented himself with gesturing in Scarlet’s direction. Swiftly getting the knife completely out of the boot, she opened the blade and started to work on the restrains holding his colleague’s right hand.
“Is that a Spectrum officer?” James said, making a show of sounding innocent. “I was wondering who it might be…”
Gordon tilted his head to one side, considering him. “You cannot be that absent-minded or stupid. No, there’s something going on…”
With his right hand in his pocket of his white shirt, he approached James slowly, causing him to back away – until he found himself cornered against the computer console. Binx was screeching wildly as if the man’s approach was causing him distress.
James found this even more distressing; he gave the small monkey a perplexed glance. “Binx never reacted that way to you before, Doctor,” he remarked, swallowing hard. “He always liked you, but now… it’s like he doesn’t recognise you.”
“It may be the dumb beast is smarter than you, Doctor James; he probably understood that I am a threat.” Slowly, Gordon removed his right hand from the pocket to show it was holding a gun. “And now… do you finally understand?”
The sight of that gun and the ominous way Gordon was now addressing him was enough to prevent James from saying another word. He became suddenly very pale. Gordon stopped in front of him and looked into his eyes, as if he was trying to read his mind.
And suddenly, he saw in the reflection of the vet’s spectacles what was going on behind his back.
He could see Rhapsody Angel, crouched behind Captain Scarlet’s chair, visibly trying to free him.
“You are trying to distract us!”
Rhapsody was ready even before Gordon’s roar of anger. The first of Scarlet’s restraints had already snapped under the sharp blade, and she put the knife into the captain’s now free hand, a split second before throwing herself flat on the floor. From between Scarlet’s still tied feet, she aimed her gun at Gordon, as he was spinning on his heel, ready to shoot in their direction. Her small pistol cracked twice before Gordon had the time to press the trigger of his weapon.
The short detonations were barely louder than bangers, echoing dully through the room, but the shots were deadly accurate; with two bullets impacting into his chest, Doctor Gordon stumbled against the console behind him. His gun accidentally discharged into the computer, sending sparks flying all around him. He yelled in pain.
Upon hearing Gordon’s warning Doctor George had turned around too, his hand reaching to his pocket, obviously searching for a weapon he was keeping there. He barely had the time to get it out. Despite his precarious position, and with his left hand still tied behind his back, Scarlet took the best aim he could and made use of his free hand to throw the knife straight at the Mysteron agent. The blade imbedded itself to the hilt into George’s throat, stifling his cry of pain. He stepped back and instinctively reached for the knife, but it was already too late for him. He sank on his knees, unable to utter more than a sickening gurgle, as blood gushed out of his mortal wound; then he fell, face first onto the floor.
Obviously frightened by all the violence, Binx had jumped off James’s shoulder to scurry to the other side of the room, screeching in panic. Doctor James’ eyes were riveted on the two dead bodies, opened wide with horror. A pool of blood was enlarging beneath George’s body, while Gordon’s lay motionless, his back across the top of his console, which was smouldering with smoke.
The vet swallowed hard. “Boy,” he said, nearly under his breath, “you Spectrum people sure don’t do things by halves… That was quick business.”
Rhapsody rose to her feet; carefully, her gun still aimed at the still bodies, she approached the console; behind her, with his free hand, Captain Scarlet was already tearing at his gag, which was half-choking him; he took a gulp of much needed fresh air and watched warily as his fiancée checked on the two dead men.
With a grimace of disgust, she tore the knife from George’s throat with one slick movement; behind her, Doctor James shivered and looked away. He was suddenly seeing this charming, soft-spoken young woman in a new light: she was an efficient, deadly agent of Spectrum; someone with whom it obviously wasn’t safe to mess.
Rhapsody returned to Scarlet and crouched in front of him.
“Are you all right?” The question was simultaneous on the two Spectrum agents’ lips. They smiled at each other.
“Can you free yourself?” Rhapsody asked, presenting the knife to Scarlet. He looked awfully pale, and was sweaty, but otherwise, he didn’t seem physically hurt. He accepted the knife with a nod of his head.
“Yeah, I can do that.”
“Good. I’ll be back. I have to find a way to shut this thing down quickly.”
Leaving Scarlet to work on his restraints, Rhapsody got back to her feet and returned to the computer. She stood in front of it, next to Doctor Gordon’s body, which sprawled all across the console. Cagily, Doctor James approached her, unsure of what she was looking for.
“What a mess,” muttered the young woman. She pushed the dead body of Gordon and it dropped heavily to the floor.
Part of the blood-smeared console was still smoking, wires and circuits exposed by the accidental gunshot from the Mysteron agent. Rhapsody found a ‘Power’ level and pulled it down to zero. The green light on the console stayed on.
She turned to James. “How do we stop this thing?”
“You’re asking me?” he retorted. “I’m a vet, remember? I have no idea at all how this contraption works.”
Rhapsody looked at the console in frustration. “Either the gunshot damaged it, or the ‘off’ button is elsewhere.”
Rhapsody and Doctor James turned around at the sound of that voice coming from behind them. Captain Scarlet was pushing himself onto his feet – with some difficulty, it seemed. Rhapsody rushed to him when she saw him sway, the vet following close behind. She was just in time to catch her fiancé before he lost his balance.
Scarlet groaned, and reached for his throbbing head with his hand. He noticed Rhapsody’s concerned expression as she looked up to him.
“I’m okay,” he reassured her. “Just need a little time for my system to get rid of all the drugs Doctor Gordon and his accomplice fed into me.” He shook his head, in an attempt to straighten his thoughts. “Blue is the key. We have to find him fast. I don’t know where these two put him, but I know he’s alive and that they’re using him with DNI technology to control –”
Scarlet gazed at her with confusion. “King Kong?” he repeated with a frown.
“The MIGHTEC prototype the M.A.T. Corporation built for Prestige Pictures for the King Kong movie,” Rhapsody explained.
“A giant robot,” Scarlet muttered, recalling what Gordon had told him.
“Built by Gordon himself, programmed with a gorilla’s natural behavioural pattern,” Rhapsody said.
“And right now controlled by Blue’s mind – filled with disinhibiting drugs,” Scarlet added bitterly.
“You know about that?” Rhapsody inquired.
“You know that Mysterons often like gloating about their plans. Gordon and George’ve been kind enough to give me that bit of information.”
“The disinhibiting drugs have the side effect of rendering the subject violent and uncontrollable,” Doctor James then said, approaching the two Spectrum officers. “If your friend has been injected with them, he possibly cannot help himself.”
Scarlet stared at him, suspiciously. “And who are you, exactly?”
“Oh, sorry,” Rhapsody said. “Captain Scarlet, this is Doctor Arthur James. Doctor James, Captain Scarlet. Doctor James’s a vet taking care of the animals here in this building. He’s been very helpful in providing information about the work of Doctor Gordon and Doctor George… Doctor George has tested his disinhibitors on his animals, so Doctor James knows a lot about their effects.”
“I have a Ph.D. in veterinary biomedical engineering,” James added, as if this additional information was explanation enough. “I have studied DNI control for medical purpose.”
His mind seemingly still in a fog, Scarlet nodded; this single movement made his headache worse, but he ignored it and tried to present a brave façade.
“We are running out of time,” Rhapsody told him quickly. “As we speak, the MIGHTEC is running amok in Los Angeles, destroying the M.A.T. complex. It has kidnapped Symphony and has climbed to the top of the highest building and –”
“Hang on… I must still be very high on those drugs,” Scarlet interrupted her in confusion. “Did you say that King Kong has kidnapped Symphony?”
“That’s what I said, yes.”
“And he took her with him? At the top of the highest building?”
“Which puts her at risk, in the event of an aerial attack from the Angels. That’s why we have to disable the signal used to control the robot at the source. Here.”
Scarlet nodded, this time very carefully. “That source being Blue,” he realised. “If we can ‘disconnect’ Blue from the DNI machinery these two have plugged him into, we might be able to disable the signal.” He looked hopefully at James. “By any chance, Doctor, would you happen to know where these two bastards could be keeping our colleague?”
“He told me already.” Rhapsody left Scarlet’s side and walked purposefully towards the long, oblong, oversized tube Doctor James had pointed out to her earlier. Scarlet followed her, James bringing up the rear.
“There,” she said. “That’s the operator’s cabin for the DNI control.”
“Blue’s in there?” Scarlet muttered, opening wide eyes.
He couldn’t see through the glass surface but he had no reason to doubt Rhapsody’s words. He looked for a handle, a release button, anything that would serve to open the cabin. He could find nothing. He looked at the console set right next to it. There were many buttons and almost as many blinking lights. None of them were marked. He turned to James, who stood behind him. “Any idea how to open this bloody thing?” he snapped.
James scowled. “I’m only a vet,” he said, having the impression of repeating himself. “There could be someone else in this building who might be able to help, but I’m afraid…” he thumbed to the two dead bodies behind them. “…that the two of you actually put down the best experts in that field.”
“Great,” Scarlet muttered. “Any other way to cut that signal?”
“Cloudbase is also looking into the possibility of destroying or disabling the linking satellite,” Rhapsody explained. “I don’t know how that’s going.”
Scarlet examined the cabin again, running his hands over the glass surface – which was very hot – looking for a hidden opening release; there was none. All he could find was the joint of the door… and what looked suspiciously like a lock.
“We have to get Blue out of this tin can,” he muttered. “Maybe we can pick this lock…”
“I’ll work on it,” Rhapsody offered, stepping forward and leaning in front of the door, at the lock’s level. “Between the two of us, I’m the best qualified for this. In the meantime, contact Cloudbase and report to Colonel White. We need to update him on the current situation.”
“Sure,” Scarlet approved. His hand absently reached for his cap to then discover he was bare-headed. He looked around with uncertainty. “Now where’s my cap?”
“We saw it over there on the table,” James informed him.
He turned around to point at the table in question.
He and the Spectrum officer stared in perplexity, as they discovered Binx who, without any care in the world, was seated right in the middle of the table, the remains of an orange peel dangling from his puffy mouth.
The little monkey was playing with Captain Scarlet’s red cap – the communication rod hanging loose from the visor.