Disclaimer: I don't own any rights to the characters and vehicles that are featured in Captain Scarlet, but I do own the rights to any characters and locations that I have made up myself. I've based this tale on the classic TV series by the legendary Gerry Anderson. I hope you enjoy it. It's my first Captain Scarlet fiction so I hope it's a good one.
The future had definitely taken its toll on all the most desolate places on Earth. Forests were occupied along with the planet’s deserts. The Sahara Desert had once been a desolate, vast area of sand and dried up waterholes. Now, it had become the home to several, small, nuclear refineries that were scattered throughout the desert. They were placed there by the World Government to perform nuclear tests for all their weapons, vehicles and other equipment and were given specific codenames.
However, one of the many stations had been working on a specialized atomic reactor. One that government had kept secret: ‘Armadillo Base’.
Driving along through a maze of complex machinery, nuclear drums and steel works, general supervisor John Monday was reporting to the station control room as he had just finished his shift. He was tired and wanted to get back to his quarters so he could catch some shut eye before his next shift.
"This is maintenance vehicle 334,” he reported. "Reporting back to base. Area C is completed."
The control tower had received his call and the control operator on duty informed John on his next job.
"Ok then, John," the controller replied. "You have three hours to kill before your next shift. We need you to check on our prize project. All we need you to do is perform a service check on the truck that's carrying it and then take it out to the neighbouring station of Juarez tomorrow."
"Roger that, control. Can I get some shut eye first?” John asked. “I haven't slept in a long while ever since you've put me on double shifts."
"I know it's been hard on you, John, but I promise you that when this month is over, you'll get a pay rise,” the controller explained. "It's been busy season. And we're so short on staff."
"I know, control. 334 out." John sighed again, as he switched off his microphone.
The controller then looked over to his manager who had just entered the control room. He didn't seem surprised at his appearance as he was used to his superior sneaking up on him.
"Do we have to be so hard on him, sir?" he asked, feeling guilty. "I think we're working him ragged."
"Look, you and I both know that this project has to be completed by a certain deadline," the manager explained. "The atomaton has to be shipped to Juarez Base tomorrow afternoon, otherwise we'll be out of a job. We are seriously behind schedule as it is. John will get a full vacation at this rate. We can't afford to slow down anymore."
John had pulled up outside his quarters at the southern end of the base. As he left his truck and made his way towards the front door, he was alarmed to see that it was already open ajar and the lights were switched off. He began to feel frightened as he crept into the main room.
Suddenly, three gunshots echoed in the darkness, killing John in the process and sending him crashing to the floor. A man dressed in black emerged from the shadows as he lowered his smoking black pistol. As he continued to step out into the light, the man revealed himself to be Captain Black.
Captain Black stood over John's dead body and fixated his cold, dark eyes oh him. Two, bright green rings appeared from nowhere and began to scan the body. As soon as they appeared, the two green rings had gone along and Black dragged the body into the shadows behind him. Suddenly, the impossible happened.
John Monday stepped out from his apartment just as a security guard drove past the area. He stopped to see if he was alright.
"Hey, John?" he said. "Are you alright? You look like you've just seen a ghost?"
"I'm fine," the mysteronised John replied. "I'm just fine."
Then, the Mysterons announced their next threat.
"This is the voice of the Mysterons. We know that you can hear us, Earthmen. We will continue to take our revenge against your defenceless planet. Our next act of retaliation will be to destroy the nuclear facility of Juarez in the Sahara desert. It will cause the ultimate destruction in your planet and it will be inevitable. Hear us, Earthmen… The nuclear facility of Juarez will be destroyed."
The Mysterons’ threat was instantly intercepted by Spectrum. High up in the sky, on Cloudbase, Colonel White was analysing it and trying to understand what was going on. He knew fully well that Juarez station was the most dangerous and biggest facility out in the Sahara desert, but he couldn't figure out what the Mysterons were going to use to destroy the base as it was practically impenetrable.
He turned to Lieutenant Green, who was sitting behind him and began to examine his newfound theory.
"Lieutenant Green," he said, "bring up the map of all the government nuclear facilities in the Sahara desert, will you?"
"Yes, sir," Green replied as he tapped away at his control panel.
The colonel's screen showed a map of the desert and all the facilities were lit up with a green light.
"Bring up Juarez station," he requested again.
The screen then showed a red ring that circled the base. Colonel White rubbed his chin and tried to think for a moment.
"Lieutenant," he said, "do you know of any bases that are working on any projects that could be an advantage to the Mysterons?"
"There is one base, sir," Green replied instantly. "World Government scientists are working to develop a new synthetic element at Armadillo Base. Spectrum was one of the only organisations to know about the project. According to reports, it’s due to be shipped to Juarez Base tomorrow."
"Bring up Armadillo Base, would you?”
Armadillo Base then appeared on the screen. Colonel White's theory began to make sense after all. Armadillo was the closest station to Juarez and it was only a seven miles drive through the desert. White needed the details on the project as he was concerned that it could be a key part in the attack.
"Armadillo is the closest base to Juarez," he pointed out. "It also happens to be harbouring a secret project. It's all beginning to make sense. Get Captains Scarlet and Blue up here right away and bring up details of the Project that is at Armadillo Base."
"Yes, sir," Green replied.
In the officers’ lounge, Captain Scarlet was relaxing after a twelve hour shift and was reading the newspaper. Captain Blue was next to him, playing a game of chess with Captain Ochre.
"You've been playing that for almost ten minutes now and you haven't made a move yet?” Scarlet said, examining Blue's game pieces.
"Shouldn't you be reading the funny pages?" Blue replied sarcastically. "Chess is a game of skill. A game of patience."
"Which you haven't got," Scarlet joked back. "Luckily, we have just enough time to see you lose."
"I'll show you!" Blue replied.
"Oh, come on, Adam," Scarlet pointed out. "Richard is a chess legend. He's beaten you so many times."
Suddenly, Lieutenant Green's voice echoed over the radio, distracting the three captain's attention:
"Will Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue report to the control room at once?"
"On our way," Scarlet replied, reaching for his cap. "Looks like we're needed again, Captain Blue."
Moments later, the two captains were sitting at the colonel's rotating desk as Colonel White explained the situation. The map of the desert remained on the screen behind the colonel.
"The Mysterons’ next threat is to destroy the Juarez nuclear facility in the Sahara desert,” he explained. "We cannot anticipate yet as to how they are going to carry out their threat but we believe that it could involve the secret project that is being carried out at Armadillo Base, which is developing a new synthetic element. It is the closest base to Juarez Base, which is only seven miles away."
"If the Mysterons do intend to destroy Juarez, could this really mean the end of everything, like they’re implying?" Blue asked.
“We don’t know that yet, and that’s what we have to find out,” White answered. “And even if it doesn’t mean the end of the world, Juarez is still a very volatile target. At the very least, the African continent could be put in jeopardy.”
“Surely, that base is fully secured, if it’s that dangerous?” Blue reasoned.
"That hasn't stopped the Mysterons in the past," Scarlet pointed out. "Security isn't an issue with them, as we already know. They would have to use something as a weapon. Something they could use to their advantage."
"And we believe that answer is at Armadillo Base," White answered. "I want you two to fly out there immediately. I'll inform the base and let them know that you're coming."
"S.I.G.," both captains replied as they got up to leave the room.
"Lieutenant Green, have you been successful in retrieving any information on the project Armadillo is working on?"
"I'm afraid not, sir," Green replied. "I can't access the files at Armadillo. They are encrypted."
"Very well. I can't imagine what could exactly be that element Armadillo is developing that could be of value to the Mysterons, but I just hope that we're not too late in finding out."
The Spectrum Passenger Jet was ready for liftoff on the runway. Captain Scarlet was piloting, while Captain Blue was in charge of navigating.
Scarlet's cap microphone swung down for him to speak into it.
"Request launch clearance," he asked to Lieutenant Green.
"Spectrum is Green," Green replied over the microphone.
The thrusters ignited and the jet flew off into the clouds at the speed of sound. Their destination: the Sahara desert.
Armadillo Base appeared over the desert horizon as the Spectrum Passenger Jet descended towards the clearly marked, desert runway. Scarlet radioed the control tower for ground clearance.
"Ah, Spectrum," the control operator said, his voice echoing over the radio. "We've been expecting you. You have clearance to land."
The jet’s wheels touched down, kicking up dust as it taxied along towards the docking terminal.
The two captains entered the terminal building and had just completed the security checks when they were greeted by the manager of the base. Scarlet took the liberty of addressing the situation.
"I am Captain Scarlet of Spectrum," he said. "This is Captain Blue. Thank you for agreeing to meet with us."
"Well, your superior did sound dead serious over the radio," the manager replied. "So I just had to accept, but this better be good as we are running a tight schedule on our latest project."
"We are well aware of your project," Blue interrupted. "That is why we're here."
"I don't understand," the manager said, sounding confused.
"The Mysterons have threatened to destroy Juarez Base," Scarlet explained. "We believe that they intend to use whatever you’re working on to destroy the base. Armadillo Base is the nearest base to Juarez so any Mysteron activity could occur here."
"But everything here is fine, Captain," the manager explained. "Our project is due to be taken to Juarez tomorrow and we haven't experienced anything strange here."
"The Mysterons operate in strange ways, sir," Blue explained. "For all we know, they could be carrying out their threat right now."
"Well, what can we do about it?” the manager asked.
"We need details on your project," Scarlet replied. "I know it's top secret, but we know it's a new synthetic element. What does it do exactly?"
"It's more than just a synthetic element," the manager pointed out. "Please follow me, gentlemen. I'll explain it to you in my office."
The two Spectrum captains followed the elderly, bearded manager into a tube-shaped express elevator, which took them up towards the management level of the base. The elevator brought them directly to The manager’s office. The doors opened, revealing a big, colourful office that was full of computers, book shelves and models of all the past projects on the main desk. Behind The manager’s chair was a huge, triple glazed window that displayed a view of the entire base. The walls were coated in a metallic, colourful blue that matched the interior colour of the door.
The manager sat down behind his desk and pulled out a file from his desk drawer. He offered the captains to have a seat, but only Blue accepted the offer.
"Over the last few years, we have discovered and developed a new form of nuclear fuel that had proved to have an amazing destructive effect once it reacted with atomic energy," he explained. "The World Government decided that the fuel should be injected into their new range of atomic-propelled missiles, that were due to be released to the world army, but there was a problem."
"A problem?" Scarlet asked.
"Yes,” the manager replied. "The government didn't know if the missiles would explode instantly once the fuel had been added, so they appointed Armadillo with a very special experiment, under top secrecy. Only the World President, his close cabinet and Spectrum were allowed to know, in case a Mysteron situation such as this should occur."
"What was the project?" Scarlet asked again.
"We were contracted to construct that element you mentioned, purely made from the nuclear fuel and its own energy,” the manager continued, using all his knowledge. "The first tests proved that we were successful and that it would provide long-lasting power in the missile to allow it to travel long distances as well as providing maximum damage to the enemy."
“They are the desired target.”
"So basically, you made a new atomic element that would make the missiles invincible and dangerous?" Blue asked.
"That's correct,” the manager replied. "We've made and perfected a new radioactive super-element and we've given it a name. We've called it the ‘atomaton’."
"Sounds like a sensitive and hazardous element," Scarlet said to Blue. "And if that was to fall into the hands of the Mysterons…"
"Then it could end all life on Earth,” the manager replied, cutting Scarlet off in mid-sentence. "All it has to do is connect with the raw, uncontrolled nuclear waste at Juarez base and… kaboom!"
"Where is the atomaton now?" Scarlet asked, knowing that there wasn't a moment to lose.
"It's in our main depot,” the manager replied. "The atomaton itself is secured in a lead-shield box, and stored in a radiation-proof box that has just been loaded into a cargo truck."
"I'm going to requisition a SSC and go down to the depot," Scarlet said. "That truck's going to need an escort to Juarez."
"I'll radio Cloudbase," Blue replied.
Their plan was in action and the two men knew exactly what to do.
But unknown to the Spectrum captains, The mysteronised John Monday was already at the depot. The Mysterons’ plan had begun too.
The distinctive, shiny, red Spectrum Saloon car arrived at the cargo bay where the truck carrying the atomaton element was stored. After receiving the request from Captain Scarlet, a young lieutenant from a nearby Spectrum outpost which was only a few miles away had driven the car to the base to hand it over to the two senior officers.
Captain Scarlet opened the passenger door and stepped out of the car, leaving Captain Blue behind the wheel.
"What do you expect to find in there?" the American asked Scarlet, as his colleague examined the cargo hangar.
The hangar was huge. So huge that the interior seemed to go on and on for miles. There were five different assorted trucks in the cargo bay, all massive in size and fully manned by their designated drivers. Scarlet saw a group of maintenance workers who were all crowded around one particular truck. He observed the truck and the group, realising that it was the one that they had arrived to escort to Juarez Base.
The truck was about the size of an American transport truck. Attached to it was a round, slender, metallic shaped container that was supported on a flatbed and two sets of small caterpillar tracks. The front of the truck has a set of caterpillar tracks as well, but they were much longer to the ones supporting the trailer. The cab section was red with a yellow stripe streaking across its side as well as on the trailer’s side. The trailer itself was a pale whitish colour. Scarlet knew that the colour was meant to reflect radiation blasts from the outside elements.
He turned back to Blue and answered the blonde captain's question: "I expect to find the driver and not a Mysteron agent."
"And what about Captain Black?" Blue asked.
"Hopefully him too," Scarlet answered instantly. "Wait here."
Scarlet made his way into the hangar and walked up to the group of workers; they became alerted to his arrival and immediately stopped their work. Scarlet looked at them all with a straight face for a few moments and then began to speak: "Who is the driver to the containing the Atomaton?"
"I am," came the voice of John Monday, who emerged from the crowd. "You are Captain Scarlet, I presume?"
Suddenly, Scarlet began to feel strange as he looked at John. He felt a bad vibe from the man, something he hadn't experienced in a long time. To hide his feelings, he displayed a smile and began to talk to John Monday.
"Yes I am. I just came here to let you know that I will be escorting you to Juarez Base tomorrow. The Mysterons have threatened to destroy Juarez with the atomaton element so we can’t let the truck go unguarded."
"But if these Mysterons want to destroy Juarez, then why are we going there anyway?" John asked, trying to confuse the Spectrum officer.
Scarlet thought the question over for a few moments in order to find an answer. It was a good question and to answer it, there would've had to be a change of plans. A trick to stop the Mysterons.
Captain Scarlet returned to the car and took his place in the passenger seat, as soon as he closed the door, he turned to Blue.
“Security around the truck tonight and until its departure tomorrow,” Scarlet said to Blue. “So that nobody comes around it or steal it during the night.”
“Of course,” Blue agreed. “I’ll contact our nearby base for security guards.”
"And we need to talk to Colonel White straight away,” Scarlet continued. "We need to escort the atomaton to a safer location."
"I don't understand," Blue replied.
"The atomaton can't go to Juarez Base," Scarlet explained. "Escorting it there is what the Mysterons want. At any point of the journey, they could subdue us with their powers and succeed in destroying the base. We need to make this difficult for them."
Colonel White had received Scarlet's report and agreed with his suggestion to move the truck to another location. The question was where to take it. He sat at his rotating white desk and gazed at the screen behind him. Sitting with him was Captain Grey, who had knowledge of underground military hangars and bunkers out in the Sahara desert. They both agreed that taking the truck to one of the underground hangars would be a good idea. However, there was one slight problem. They couldn't find one.
"Ok then, Captain," Colonel White said, pointing to the two main locations. "Here is Juarez and here is Armadillo. Now there is a seven miles gap between the two bases. Is there any chance of an underground base existing between those two places?"
"There's a chance," Grey replied. "But they are usually located under sand dunes. The sand dunes have been given codenames on the map. Lieutenant, locate any nearby sand dunes within the seven miles radius."
Lieutenant Green punched up the command. The screen zoomed in to reveal the sand dunes and their designated code names. One was located five miles from Juarez.
"There." Grey pointed out at the map. "There's one. Area 56-H."
Colonel White radioed Scarlet to give him the coordinates. After he did that, he turned back to Captain Grey and told him to get permission from the Libyan military to use the underground bunker.
Their plan was set, but the Mysterons had plans of their own with the truck. Juarez was dead in their sights.
Captain Scarlet had received Colonel White's transmission shortly after he had made preparations with the manager at Armadillo Base. Before he could start the escort, he knew that he needed a larger and stronger vehicle, as the Spectrum saloon car wasn't strong enough to withstand any attack. He needed a Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle – a SPV – and he just knew where one was.
Captain Blue drove them to a location where it was meant to be kept, but all they could see was an old, rusted up aircraft hangar. They pulled over and both captains got out of the car.
There was an elderly man sitting by the hangar shed. He was a Spectrum agent who recognised both captains. He stood up as Scarlet was the first to approach him.
"Captain Scarlet, Spectrum," Scarlet said as he held up his identification badge. "SPV 3456, please."
The elderly agent made his way towards a control panel. He pressed a few buttons and stood back as the hangar behind him crashed to the sandy ground in one heap, kicking up dust. As the dust began to clear, a shiny, light blue tank-like vehicle emerged from where the hangar once stood.
Scarlet and Blue made their way towards the SPV and within a few moments, they were on their way back to Armadillo.
Meanwhile, the truck was ready to leave the base. The mysteronised John Monday was waiting for the SPV to arrive, when all of a sudden, the Mysterons contacted him telepathically.
"John Monday. This is the voice of the Mysterons. A Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle is arriving to escort you to an underground facility that is two miles from your current position. When the truck passes past checkpoint 3, veer off and head for Juarez base."
"The Mysterons’ instructions will be carried out," John replied telepathically.
The SPV passed through the security terminal and eventually rendezvoused with the truck. Captain Blue took the SPV to the front of the truck as he and Scarlet were going to lead.
John stared at the circular shaped radio speaker on the trucks dashboard as Scarlet spoke out to him, signalling that he was ready to lead the way. Without further ado, John signalled that he was ready too and the journey was underway.
The SPV led the truck out of the base at a steady speed. Looking through his video monitor, Captain Blue kept close eyes on the road while Captain Scarlet was still bugged by that sudden vibe he felt when he met John Monday. Blue quickly looked over to notice that Scarlet's face was scrunched up. Looking carefully at the road ahead and the distance from the truck, Blue decided to ask what was bothering his colleague.
"Are you alright, Captain?"
"No, not quite," Scarlet replied. "I got that strange bad feeling when I met the driver back in the hangar bay. I can't help but feel that he might be a Mysteron agent."
"Well, what can he do?" Blue asked. "We're blocking his path and the SPV is harder to ram off the road.”
"I don't know," Scarlet replied. "We'll observe him for a little while and see what he does. It might just be me."
The SPV trailed along in front of the truck but made sure not to get too far ahead. They had just travelled over a mile from Armadillo Base and had to be on the look out for the underground facility that Colonel White had told them to go to. Captain Scarlet still had that bad feeling about the driver; he was almost convinced that he was a Mysteron agent now, as any other driver would constantly contact them for details, which would be annoying but human. John Monday wasn't making a sound, which made Scarlet even more suspicious of him.
They had found the underground facility and the SPV turned off the road. However the truck didn't follow. It rushed right past the SPV and sped on towards Juarez Base. Scarlet's suspicions had been confirmed.
"Quick, after him!" he shouted at Blue. "I was right. John Monday is a Mysteron agent and he's heading for Juarez!"
The SPV did a 180 degree turn and headed after the truck.
"Somehow the Mysterons knew that we were heading for the underground bunker," Scarlet explained. "Now we have a new problem. If he exceeds the speed limit of the truck, it'll flip over and the atomaton might explode!"
"Then we can't blast the tires and we can't ram him off the road," Blue replied in frustration. "What can we do?"
"There is one thing that I can do," Scarlet replied. "It's a long shot but it's the only one we've got!"
The truck sped down the desert road at an incredible speed, but it was slow enough for the SPV to catch up with it. Inside the cabin, John Monday kept his eyes on the target ahead of him. He now had been driving for five miles.
Due to its speed, the truck had now become a fully automated battering ram on tracks. It crashed its way through the border checkpoint barrier, forcing the guards to the ground. Ripping the wooden barrier beneath its caterpillar tracks, it was heading straight for Juarez.
Moments later, the SPV sped past the same checkpoint. On their video monitors, both captains could see the truck and not that far ahead of it, Juarez Base. The truck grew bigger and bigger, which suggested that they were gaining on it.
"Right," Scarlet said, lifting himself out of his seat. "Hold her steady and open the door on my mark."
"S.I.G.," Blue replied.
The SPV pulled up along the right side the truck until it was at the same level as the cabin. The door facing the truck opened and Scarlet stepped out, wearing his jetpack gear and safety helmet. Captain Blue kept a steady speed so Scarlet wouldn't fall in the process. At the right moment, Scarlet activated the thruster controls and glided towards the truck cabin. The mysteronised John Monday quickly reacted to Scarlet's presence and drew out his machine pistol.
Aiming it at Scarlet, John opened fire, hitting Scarlet in the right arm. Scarlet ignored the pain and the flowing blood and reached for his sidearm. He aimed it at John Monday and returned fire, hitting the mysteronised man in the chest. John screamed before falling back on his seat. Scarlet knew that it was now his cue to make his way into the cabin. He pulled the passenger door open and pulled out the dead Mysteron agent from behind the steering wheel.
Scarlet reached for the steering wheel and sat down in the driver's seat. The SPV veered off as to give Scarlet room to stop the truck, but time was running out. The entrance to Juarez Base was dead ahead and Scarlet was running out of room to steer the truck away. The controls were stiff, unlike the SPV's, which made it difficult for him to steer the truck clear from the entrance. Tugging at the levers as hard as he could, Scarlet forced the truck off the road, just inches from the base entrance.
The truck swerved, hitting nearby metal pipelines that were buried in the sand. Smoke emerged from the pipes and the truck screeched to a halt.
A shrilling sound echoed from the trailer as the SPV pulled up alongside. Captain Blue left the vehicle to see if Captain Scarlet was alright when he heard the worrying sound. Was the atomaton damaged? Was it going to explode?
Suddenly, there was the sound of multiple gunfire, and then the trailer doors blew open. The shrilling noise grew louder until the unexpected happened. Blue dived for cover only to see that the sound came from Scarlet's thruster pack, which had turned renegade. The thruster pack impacted on the ground causing a hazy mist which obscured Blue's vision for a few moments.
A figure emerged from the trailer. It was Captain Scarlet and he looked okay. Well, of course he was okay, he was indestructible, but what about the atomaton? The question played over in Blue's mind as the figure grew closer and closer until Scarlet fully revealed himself from within the haze. He was a little battered and bruised, but he stood steadily on his feet, and he was holding the element under his arm in an anti-radiation container.
"Are you alright?" he asked a scuffed up Blue.
"I'm fine," Blue replied, removing his cap and wiping the perspiration from his brow. "What the hell did you do?"
"Well it was simple, really," Scarlet replied. "I moved into the trailer when the truck hit the pipelines. The doors were locked, so I removed the thruster pack from by back, put it against the doors, and fired on it to blast them open. I picked up the atomaton just in time. A few more minutes and it would've exploded due to the amount of heat that was building up inside."
"I don't believe it," Blue said, smiling as he surveyed the area.
They were right outside the entrance to Juarez and right now, they had to deliver the element. Minutes later, the SPV entered the base and pulled up outside the maximum security building. The security officers arrived with the scientists to take the element from Scarlet. They then took the two captains to the medical bay for a radiation screening. When their results were checked clear, they were free to return to Cloudbase. They had defeated the Mysterons this time again.
The Spectrum Passenger Jet flew back towards Cloudbase. It was getting dark and the clouds began to build up. Captain Scarlet knew that a storm was brewing but it didn't bother him. He looked over to see Captain Blue, who was deep in thought.
"What's up, Adam?" he asked, knowing that their shift was over anyway.
"Just thinking. Out of all the times we've beaten the Mysterons, surely you would've thought that they would've given up by now? I mean, they don’t seem to give up,” Blue explained. “With everything they threw at us, we countered them nearly every step of the way, with success. Yes, we lost some battles, but it’s obvious we’re doing pretty well. I dare not hope that one day, they decide to stop, thinking maybe it’s a futile war from them.”
“I don’t think that will be happening soon,” Scarlet answered. “Remember, they’re calling it a war of nerve. If we sleep on our laurels, or become overconfident… That’s when they might start to win for real.”
“I know,” Blue conceded. “But I can hope that this war will stop one day.”
“Well hopefully, this day will come,” Scarlet agreed. “And maybe soon, it’ll be our turn to bring the fight to them. And then, we will be able to finish it once and for all – and defeat the Mysterons for good.”