A Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons short story
by Tiger Jackson
Why am I finding this so hard to deal with? I’ve always known it was a possibility. We all know that. Every mission has risks. Heck, just being alive has risks. He bit his lip as he looked down at the dead man. But he was my partner. And my best friend.
Glancing sideways at the man beside him, he wished, not for the first time, that Colonel White had not sent his partner out with an inexperienced agent. If I’d been there instead… He stopped that train of useless thought. Under the circumstances, his partner’s death had been unavoidable.
His eyes were dry but he rubbed them with the back of one hand. I haven’t cried. I don’t even feel like I can cry. Maybe it’s the shock; I still can’t take it in that you’re dead. Or maybe it’s just my upbringing. I learned, by admonition and by example, that boys don’t cry. Ever. I wish I could now. Just this once.
He wished the man beside him would leave. He should have refused the offer of company, should have said he wanted some time alone to come to terms with his friend’s death. Is this vigil as hard on you as it is on me? he wondered. Can it be? Soon, a family would have to be told that their son was dead. They would undoubtedly have questions about his death for him and for Colonel White. What are we going to say? Is there really any comfort for them in hearing that he died bravely in the line of duty?
Swallowing hard, he tried to pray, stopped, tried again. Somehow, he just couldn’t feel that anybody was listening. Or that his prayers would matter. There should have been a huge memorial service or at least a formal service in the chapel. I should have tried to arrange something. Flowers. Prayers. Tears. He hesitated, then looked down into his dead friend’s face. His lips twitched with bitter humor in spite of his grief. Neither he nor his partner had ever particularly enjoyed being the center of attention and the thought of an absurdly grandiose funeral for either of them would have been an escalating joke. Perhaps a shower of rose petals, doves released from the flight deck, Mozart’s Requiem sung by a chorus of hundreds… By now his friend would have been scowling at him furiously before breaking into laughter. You would have hated that, wouldn’t you? Maybe this tiny, informal, very private funeral is what you would have wanted. I can only hope so.
The undertaker and his assistant entered the room quietly. “Begging your pardon, sirs,” he said, bobbing his head towards each of the men impartially, “but the jet is ready. We have to be at the crematorium as soon as practical.”
They nodded and stepped back. The undertakers neatly closed and sealed the coffin, then wheeled it out of Sickbay.
The other man’s clenched jaw cracked softly but audibly as he spoke. “Will you help me dispose of his remains?”
“I’ve already promised I would. If permission is granted.” The reply was clipped, the voice guarded.
“Thanks.” The dark-haired man turned away and nodded to the Spectrum security guards, who swiftly flanked him for the walk back to his room in the quarantine ward. Dr Fawn was waiting to conduct more tests.
Captain Blue watched him go. I’ve just said goodbye to my best friend, yet he was standing beside me the whole time. Or was he? What was he thinking? What was he feeling? What is he?