A ‘Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons’ short story
by Hazel Köhler
“OK, Captain Scarlet, it’s either gonna be you or me.”
Blue moved in for the kill, a fusillade of bullets sending Scarlet plunging 800 feet to his death. There was no time for Blue to dwell on what he’d done – the Car-Vu was on the verge of collapse, and the World President was clinging in terror to an increasingly flimsy girder. Blue scooped him up, and opened up the jets of his hover-pack just in time, as the damaged structure twisted, bent and collapsed in noisy ruin.
* * *
Security was tight around the SPJ as it sank into the hangar back on Cloudbase. As soon as the outer hatch closed, and pressure was restored, a team of armed guards escorted Doctor Fawn and his team of medics to the aircraft. A door opened in the side of the jet, and a set of steps telescoped out and down. Two guards accompanied the medical team inside the SPJ, while the others waited. They didn’t have long to wait.
A few minutes later, the medical team re-emerged, carefully guiding a stretcher, on which lay a sealed bodybag. Four guards fell in around the stretcher as Fawn and his team lifted it to the floor. Two more accompanied Captains Blue and Grey as they disembarked in their turn and checked in with Deck Control.
* * *
Fawn stripped off his gloves, mask and gown, and threw them into the appropriate bins. He was bone-tired, but elated at the same time. He’d just completed examinations on two bodies – not only did they look identical, they were identical. Identical in every way he was able to check. Not even the most similar of twins matched that closely, and Fawn knew that Scarlet had no brothers or sisters. No, incredible as it might seem, the Captain Scarlet retrieved from the crash site and the other Captain Scarlet, who had kidnapped the World President and got into a fire-fight with Blue, were, to all intents and purposes, the same person.
Fawn pinched the bridge of his nose. Coffee was called for…
* * *
The two corpses, carefully tagged to avoid confusion, lay at opposite ends of the chilly room. A guard stood outside the room’s locked door; an unimaginative man, it didn't even occur to him to wonder why he had been assigned to guard a locked room containing two dead bodies. There was no guard inside the room - there was no reason to have one. After all, dead men don’t get up and walk away, do they?
Therefore, there was no-one to see when two pale green rings appeared out of nowhere, sliding across the more recently-arrived corpse.
"The copy is flawed. Contact would be intermittent at best. Destroy it."
The green rings intensified, their colour deepening as they scanned up and down the body. A moment later, there was only one corpse in the morgue.
The rings swept over the badly burned body, and vanished.
Once again, there were two corpses.
The newly-created copy smiled to himself in the darkness of the room. His instructions were clear; he would be a 'fifth column' inside Spectrum. The Mysterons anticipated that he would have some trouble re-establishing himself, but he was confident in his ability to handle his reintegration. Spectrum would have an indestructible agent, but that was a small price to pay.
The Mysterons would have their revenge.
Many thanks to Tiger Jackson, whose chilling Halloween story Attrition sowed the germ of the idea that culminated in this short story.