Original series Suitable for all readersAction-oriented/low level of violence

 

Nature VS. Nurture, by Allison Lannister

 

 

Part 2

 

“The combination can be as long as you want it to be,” Lieutenant Green told Lieutenant Onyx as he fiddled with the control pad outside her new quarters. “It can be the classic four digits or a more advanced code, but you do, of course, need to be able to remember it.” He tinkered with it for another couple of seconds before motioning Onyx forwards to enter her code. The new lieutenant swiftly entered a combination of numbers and pressed the button that Green had indicated. The code pad beeped and a green light flashed as the doors slid open.

“Thank you, Lieutenant Green,” Onyx smiled.

“My pleasure, Lieutenant Onyx.” Green returned the smile. “I’d best be getting back to the Control Tower now: Colonel White wants me to do a maintenance check to make sure everything on Cloudbase is operating at maximum efficiency and that there aren’t any faults anywhere. I guess I’ll see you at dinner then?”

“See you at dinner.” Onyx waved goodbye to him before entering her quarters and pressing the button to close the door behind her.

Stretching slightly, she sat down on one of the armchairs and pulled her new Spectrum ID card out of her pocket. She flicked through it absently before putting it down on the table in front of her. Getting up again, she walked over to the bookcase which stood by the porthole on the left of the room. Her fingers ran lightly over the spines of the books she had stacked on the shelves before selecting one. She walked back over to the armchair, sat down and flicked to a page. Her eyes travelled down the page before flicking up at the sound of a knock on the door.

Lieutenant Onyx?” a voice called from the other side. “It’s Captain Blue. May I come in?

“Yes, Captain,” Onyx responded.

She rose up from her chair in order to press the button to let him in. As she did so, the sharp corner of one of the pages pierced the skin of her index finger, leaving a small cut. Onyx blinked down at it in surprise and watched as the split skin joined back together and the small line where the cut had been disappeared almost instantaneously. This had always happened to any injury, minor or more severe, she had managed to obtain over the years. During her check up with Doctor Fawn, she had inquired as to why this happened and why so quickly.

“From what we know of the Mysterons,” he had replied, “their powers of retrometabolism take different amounts of time to work on their reconstructions, depending on the severity of the injury. For example, a fatal wound means that they need several hours to recover from it, as it is the case for Captain Scarlet, whereas a cut may only take a few minutes to heal. However, although human, you are an actual Mysteron so it would be assumed that your powers of recovery can surpass those of a reconstruction’s and therefore, any injury you receive might heal in a much faster time. In fact, even if you were shot at point blank range, I doubt that the bullet would have time to do any damage whatsoever before your retrometabolism healed the wound.”

 “Lieutenant?” Captain Blue’s voice jerked Onyx out of her thoughts and she hurried to the door to let him in.

“Sorry Captain,” she apologised as he stepped into her room. “Just experienced a slight… head rush from standing up too quickly.”

“No need to apologise, Lieutenant,” Blue smiled. “It happens to everyone occasionally. I just stopped by to check how you were doing, what with this being your first day and all.”

“Cloudbase is certainly very different from Koala Base,” Onyx replied softly as they sat down. “There’s a lot to take in.”

“I can assure you that we all felt the same when we first arrived here,” Blue grinned. “I remember Captain Ochre muttering that he must have inhaled a bunch of narcotics in a drug raid and was hallucinating.”

Onyx’s lips curved up into a smile. “Captain Blue,” she began tentatively, “could I ask a question?”

“Of course, Lieutenant,” he replied jovially. “Ask away.”

“Well…” Onyx bit her lip. “In training, we were told very little about the Mysterons, just that they’re from Mars and have the power of retrometabolism, among other abilities, so I was just wondering… what are the full extents of the Mysterons’ powers?”

“Well…” Captain Blue knitted his fingers together and thought for a moment. “The only powers we definitely know the Mysterons have are those they’ve revealed to us. They keep telling us that they have ‘powers we cannot hope to understand’, so it can only be assumed that they have more. We just don’t know what they are yet.”

“And those they have revealed?” Onyx inquired. “What are they?”

“Obviously there’s their retrometabolism which they can use on people and objects,” Blue answered.  “But over the past five years, we’ve learned that their weakness is high voltage electricity and they can be detected by X-rays. They also possess the power of teleportation and, if some of our theories about Captain Black are correct, mind control. There is also a possibility that they can manipulate the weather. Additionally, they can turn their reconstructions into walking bombs, which is what happened to Captain Brown and Major Brooks from S.H.E.F., and can control objects which they haven’t even retrometabolised. On one occasion, a Mysteron reconstruction was able to mimic Captain Scarlet’s voice precisely and on another, the Mysterons were able to actually change the molecular structure of a piece of metal in order to affect the machinery it was part of. Does that answer your question?”

“Thank you, Captain Blue. Yes, it does,” Onyx smiled gratefully.

Blue grinned back. “Glad I could help, Lieutenant.” He checked his watch and got up out of his chair. “Well, I’d better be getting back. I promised I’d meet Symphon- er, I mean, Colonel White has asked me to look over some reports.”

“Of course.” Onyx smiled. She got up and opened the door for him. “Thank you again, Captain.”

“Not a problem, Lieutenant.” Blue waved as he set off down the corridor towards the escalator that would take him up to the Control Tower.

Once she had shut the door, Onyx whirled around and walked briskly over to the doorway of her bedroom. Bending down and reaching in, she pulled out her suitcase and flipped the top open. Her fingers ran over the inside until they found the zipper of the secret compartment. Opening it, she pulled out the small object that was wrapped up in tissue paper and set it on the floor. She took a screwdriver and some tongs from her suitcase, before closing the lid.

She picked up the object and walked back to the armchair she had been sitting it. Putting the object, the tongs and the screwdriver down on the table, she carefully unwound the tissue paper, revealing a toy car and a small bent screw next to it.

The car had been a gift from her grandmother, the only member of her family she cared for, when she was seven. What made this car special was that it had tiny thrusters in its base which allowed it to hover two inches off the ground when they were engaged. Onyx had loved it, but her brother had gotten jealous and had kicked it across the room, just a week after she had received it, which damaged the thrusters. Since they hadn’t been completely destroyed, Onyx had been unable to use her powers of retrometabolism to repair them and so her gift was broken. A few years later, she had taken it apart and found that the problem was that a screw had become bent when her brother had kicked it, which prevented the tiny propellers in the thrusters from turning and so stopped the thrusters from working properly. She had had no idea how to fix it. Now though, she had an idea of how to. She picked up the screw.

“The Mysterons were able to change the structure of that piece of metal in the machinery Captain Blue said,” Onyx muttered to herself. “Now how exactly did they do that?” Her eyes squinted, as she scrutinised the screw, and then began to glow. Slowly, the screw began to straighten out, until it was as good as new. Onyx set it down, satisfied with her work. Popping open the bottom of her car, she carefully slotted the screw back into its rightful place, using the tongs and the screwdriver, before replacing the base.

“Here goes nothing,” she murmured and pressed the switch to engage the thrusters. A low hum was heard before the car began to rise. A slow smile spread across Onyx’s face.

“I think that this is going to work out after all.”

 

****

 

Over the next month, Lieutenant Onyx gradually began to come out of her shell. She began to engage in and initiate conversations with the other officers on board and the Angels pilots, she didn’t seem as unsure about spending time in the officers’ lounge as she had been before and she had even begun to take judo lessons from Harmony Angel.

As the lieutenant walked down the corridor towards the officers’ lounge, shuffling some of the reports that Colonel White had given her to look over, she heard her name being called from behind her. Turning, she saw Captain Scarlet walking towards her.

“Hello, Captain,” she greeted. “Can I help you?”

“You’ve got reports to look over too?” Scarlet inclined his head towards the small pile in Onyx’s arms. She smiled wryly and nodded. “It’s such a pain,” Scarlet grumbled, shifting the files in his own arms slightly. “Even though the paperwork’s a necessity. Give me thwarting the Mysterons any day.”

“They haven’t been very active recently, have they?” Onyx responded as they began walking towards the officers’ lounge.

Scarlet frowned slightly. “No, they haven’t, and I have to admit, Lieutenant, that it has me worried. We know that they’re planning something but we never know what until they announce it.”

“Could their lack of activity mean that they’re planning something big?” Onyx suggested, as they reached the door of the officers’ lounge.

“Possibly,” Scarlet replied, entering and holding the door open for her. “One never really knows with the Mysterons. They like keeping us in the dark up until their announcement and even then, it doesn’t always reveal everything about their plan. Usually, they’ll just tell us who or what they’re going to try and destroy, and sometimes, we’ll get a time period, but never how they’re going to attempt to do it.”

“Getting a bit edgy, Paul?” Captain Magenta’s voice floated towards them. Scarlet and Onyx turned to see Magenta standing by the window and Captain Ochre was fiddling with a model on the table he was sitting at.

“Don’t tell me you’re not concerned about the Mysterons keeping quiet, Pat,” Scarlet grumbled as he and Onyx set their reports down on the nearest table.

“I never said that,” Magenta protested. “All I said was that you were getting edgy.”

Onyx rolled her eyes at their bickering and wandered over to the coffee machine in order to get herself a drink.

“Don’t touch that!” Ochre shrieked suddenly, throwing himself across the room to place his body in between Onyx and the machine.

The lieutenant’s eyes widened in confusion, her finger suspended as if to press the button to distribute a drink.

“Um…” she glanced around the officers’ lounge, hoping that someone would explain why Ochre was behaving like this.

“Honestly, Rick,” Magenta sighed. “You’re so melodramatic. Tasting Captain Blue’s coffee isn’t going to kill the lieutenant.”

“It near enough will,” Ochre snapped back. “Have you ever tried that stuff, Pat?”

“Once,” Magenta conceded, barely concealing his shudder. “Never again.”

“I rest my case.” Ochre smirked. “Take it from me, Lieutenant,” he wrapped his arm around Onyx’s shoulders and led her away from the coffee machine. “When Captain Blue has made the batch of coffee for the machine, only drink it if you have no sense of taste whatsoever.”

“I have tried to teach him how to make a decent coffee.” Scarlet shook his head in despair. “Honestly, I’ve tried.”

“From the sound of things, I take it that hasn’t worked?” Onyx inquired dryly.

Ochre chortled and opened his mouth to respond before Cloudbase’s speakers crackled into life. The voice that sounded, however, was not that of Colonel White:

This is the voice of the Mysterons. We know that you can hear us, Earthmen. We intend to deal you yet another crushing blow. Our next act of retaliation will be to assassinate the Chancellor of Europe, Suzanne Vögel. We have not forgotten.

 

****

 

“We came as soon as the message ended, Colonel,” Captain Scarlet announced after throwing open the door to the Control Room and entering, closely followed by Captain Ochre and Lieutenant Onyx.

The trio started towards Colonel White’s desk, where Captain Blue and Captain Grey were already waiting along with the colonel, as a grumbling Captain Magenta staggered through the doorway, his arms laden down with the stacks of reports that the other three officers had left behind on the tables in the officer’s lounge in their haste to get to the Control Room. Once he had offloaded his burden to a smirking Lieutenant Green, Magenta joined his colleagues at White’s desk, glaring at Ochre as the latter barely concealed a snigger.

“The Mysterons have announced that they will attempt to assassinate Suzanne Vögel.” White turned to face them. “As the Chancellor of Europe, she is responsible for the European economy, and if the Mysterons were to succeed in killing her, the consequences would be catastrophic.”

“Frau Vögel is, at present, the only Chancellor that Europe has, due to the old Vice-Chancellor’s sudden retirement,” Green explained. “A new Vice-Chancellor is currently being trained but until he is ready, Frau Vögel is on her own. Without her, the entire European economy would crumble.”

“What are our orders, Colonel?” Blue asked.

“You are to fly to Frau Vögel’s main office in Berlin, Germany,” White replied. “We have already contacted her about the threat to her life and Spectrum has set up a secure sector around her office. Road blocks are also being set up in the surrounding streets with guards armed with Mysteron detectors and electron rifles. We want you to guard Frau Vögel from any attempts that the Mysterons might make to assassinate her.”

“SIG, sir.” Grey saluted their commanding officer, and he led the other officers out of the Control Room.

White turned to Green. “Lieutenant Green, launch all Angels.”

“SIG, Colonel.” Green turned to his microphone. “Angel One, immediate launch.”

Spectrum is Green,” Rhapsody Angel’s voice answered.  On the runway outside, Angel One’s engines roared into life as the jet shot off into the sky.

“Angels Two and Three, immediate launch.”

SIG, Lieutenant Green,” Destiny Angel’s voice replied. A few moments later, Angel Two and Angel Three powered up and followed Angel One into the sky.

Green turned back to White. “All Angels sky borne sir,” he reported.

White nodded in acknowledgment; just then, Scarlet’s voice sounded through the speakers:

Request launch clearance.”

“Spectrum is Green,” Green responded. On the runway, the SPJ’s engines fired up and it took off after the Angel aircraft.

“Officers en route to Berlin, Colonel,” Green told his commanding officer.

“Very good, Lieutenant,” White replied. “I’m sure that Suzanne Vögel will be safe. But you can be certain that somewhere, the Mysterons are planning to carry out their threat.”

 

****

 

“We’ve been waiting here for bloody ages,” Captain Ochre grumbled, shifting in his seat to get into a more comfortable position.

The six Spectrum officers had arrived at Berlin International Airport and had driven to Suzanne Vögel’s office, only to be told on arrival that the Chancellor of Europe was busy at the moment and if they wouldn’t mind, they should be waiting in the reception area until she was free to receive them. In response, Scarlet had started an angry conversation with the receptionist, trying to ensure that they could see her quickly, due to the danger which the Mysterons’ threat posed to the Chancellor’s life.

“Oh, come on, Ochre,” Captain Magenta admonished. “We haven’t been waiting for that long.”

“They told us that she could be up to two bleeding hours, Magenta!” Ochre snapped. “I call that too long! All this waiting just provides the Mysterons with more time that they can use to attack!”

“Well, it looks like we won’t be waiting for much longer.” Captain Grey pointed towards a door at the end of one of the corridors that was slowly opening.

“If it’s the tea boy…” Ochre muttered darkly. 

The Spectrum officers watched as a woman in a suit walked out from behind the door and shut it behind her. Her dark brown hair was tied up in a bun at the nape of her neck and she was carrying a laptop under one arm and a stack of papers under the other.

Guten tag gentlemen,” she called in fluent English when she saw the assembled officers. “I am sorry if I kept you waiting; I have just been having a long and rather tedious conversation with the Bank of Poland about adjusting their interest rates to combat their concerns over the country’s inflation.”

“Hello, Frau Vögel.” Captain Scarlet smiled through slightly gritted teeth as he and the others stood up. “I’m Captain Scarlet, and this is Captain Blue, Captain Grey, Captain Magenta, Captain Ochre and Lieutenant Onyx. We’ve been forced to remain here twiddling our thumbs while the Mysterons, who have threatened your life I might add, have been using that time to begin to put their plans into motion. Is it unclear how dangerous making us wait was?”

Suzanne Vögel gave a wry smile. “Hallo, Captain. I am sorry that you have had to be kept waiting but I have a job to do as well as you. However, now that I have finished what I have been doing, I hope that it will allow you to do your jobs.”

“Well, ma’am.” Blue stood beside Scarlet. “We have orders to ensure your safety at all times and as long as you remain within the protective radius we’ve set up around your office, the Mysterons should find it very difficult to approach and harm you.”

“Spectrum has obviously gone to a lot of effort, Captain, and I am really very grateful.” The Chancellor bit her lip. “Aber… I am due to take a trip to Hamburg tomorrow. You see, I am visiting the Universität Hamburg and am due to give a speech to the students who are studying economics and politics.”

“Couldn’t you cancel?” Grey inquired, frowning slightly. “I’m sure they would understand and you could re-schedule after the Mysteron threat has passed.”

Frau Vögel shook her head. “I am afraid not, Captain. Both the universität and I have very busy schedules and this was the only time we could both manage. Also, this trip is rather personal for me. I graduated from Universität Hamburg when I was twenty-two, and it has always held a special place in my heart. I am very sorry, Captains, but everything has been booked in advance and I am due to leave for Flughafen Hamburg at ten o’clock tomorrow morning.”

“But that’s too dangerous,” Magenta protested. “The university will be a wide, open space; perfect for the Mysterons to attack you. It will be safer if you remain here.”

The Chancellor frowned. “Captain, I am afraid that my mind is made up. I am going to the universität tomorrow, Mysterons or no Mysterons.”

“Well, that makes our jobs a lot easier,” Ochre muttered sarcastically. Frau Vogel showed no indication of having heard him, but a sharp jab to Ochre’s ribs showed him that Blue had.

“Alright, Frau Vögel,” Scarlet sighed. “We won’t stop you. I will have to contact Colonel White to update him on the situation.”

 “Ja, of course,” Frau Vögel smiled. Scarlet nodded his thanks and his cap microphone swung down.

Is everything alright, Captain Scarlet?” Colonel White asked.

“We’ve arrived at Frau Vögel’s office, Colonel,” Scarlet reported. “However, she has informed us that she is due to make an important speech at the University of Hamburg tomorrow and her flight has already been booked for ten in the morning.”

"And there is no chance of cancelling?"

"No sir, Frau Vögel told us that everything has been booked in advance and they couldn't cancel or reschedule."

"Booked in advance you say? Hmm, the Mysterons might be planning to attack her on the flight. Captain Scarlet, new orders. Frau Vögel will take off for Hamburg at ten o'clock tonight."

"Colonel? Are you sure that will be safe?"

"Quite sure, Captain, for you will fly her there in the SPJ and the Angels will escort you. Frau Vögel can then give her speech to the university and then return to Berlin."

"SIG, sir."

"I want all of you on constant alert throughout this trip. The Mysterons could still try to attack. To ensure Frau Vogel’s safety, I want three of you to fly ahead to await her arrival and have the necessary security measures in place. Also, I will contact Spectrum: Berlin and have them send a security team to the university."

"We understand, Colonel. We'll prepare to leave for the airport at half past nine tonight."

"SIG." White ended the conversation and Scarlet turned back to his colleagues and Suzanne. "Change of plans," he informed them. "We will escort Frau Vögel to Hamburg tonight."

Dankeshön, Captain," Frau Vögel beamed. "If you will excuse me, I still have some details to finish regarding a very important deal with Portugal and then return to my apartment to pack my suitcase."

"Of course." Scarlet turned to the other officers. "Captain Ochre, Captain Magenta, go with Frau Vögel to her office, check it for any possible threats, and one of you stand guard outside it, and the other one inside to ensure that the Mysterons don't try to attack her. Afterwards, I want you two and Captain Grey to fly ahead to Hamburg in order to help with security preparations."

"Not a problem, Captain Scarlet," Magenta grinned as he grabbed Ochre's shoulder and pulled him down the corridor after the Chancellor.

"Captain Grey, Captain Blue," Scarlet turned to them. "Go back to the airport and inform them of the change in plans. Better take a Mysteron detector too in case anyone has been taken over," he added. "We don't want to give them an opportunity to attack."

"SIG," Grey replied and he and Blue exited the building.

"That just leaves me and you, Lieutenant." Scarlet turned to where Lieutenant Onyx was standing, waiting silently in the corner of the room. She had been so quiet, he had almost forgotten she was there.

"What are we going to do, Captain Scarlet?" she inquired in her soft voice.

"We will go with Frau Vögel to her apartment," Scarlet replied. "It's possible that the Mysterons might try to kill her there. It may also be worth asking the other residents if they've seen anyone suspicious."

"Such as Captain Black?" Onyx suggested.

Scarlet nodded grimly. "Yes, Lieutenant, exactly that. He has been known to scope out a target before the Mysterons announce their intentions regarding it. In fact, right at this moment, they are probably setting their plans in motion."

 

****

 

"Packing up for the night, sir?" the voice of Doktor Heinrich Tanenbaum’s assistant sounded from the doorway of the university professor's lab.

"Ja, Karla," he replied, raising his head to look at the young woman standing before him. "As we have finished covering the compressed gases required in explosives, I'm going to take these canisters back to my house." He indicated the box that was on the desk in front of him. "And bring the chemicals that we are going to go on to study ready for tomorrow's lecture."

"Sehr gut, Doktor," Karla smiled at her mentor. "It will be valuable for the students to learn this, so they can identify them in their later lives."

"Indeed Karla," Dr Tanenbaum smiled back. "Our students are aiming to join bomb disposal squads in the European Army, and so learning about what makes a bomb tick will help them understand how to deal with them."

"Ja, Doktor." Karla watched as Dr Tanenbaum closed the last of the boxes. "Don't forget Suzanne Vögel is flying over tomorrow to give her speech."

"How could I forget?" Dr Tanenbaum stretched. "The universität has been gearing up to it for months."

"Very well then, Doktor." Karla smiled and raised her hand in farewell. "I will see you tomorrow. Auf wiedersehen."

"Auf wiedersehen, Karla," Dr Tanenbaum called after her as she exited the lab and walked off down the corridor.

He turned to where he had stacked the three boxes containing his gas canisters and went to pick one up. As he did, he glanced out of the window and saw something out of the corner of his eye.

"What was that?” he muttered, blinking hard and looking with attention.

Whatever it was, it had vanished.

"Must have been a trick of the light," he theorised, turning back to his boxes.

Had Dr Tanenbaum looked again and a little harder, he would have seen a dark-haired figure with a pallid complexion and dressed all in black slink out from behind the trees which surrounded the university, and silently make his way across the campus to where his silver Mercedes was parked.  Glancing around to make sure that nobody was watching him, the figure crouched down by the front wheels. Reaching underneath the car, he attached a small device to the rack and pinion gear set, which prevented the wheels from turning enough when faced with a sharp bend and increase the speed. Once he had done this, the figure stood back up again and slowly faded into thin air.

A few moments later, Dr Tanenbaum emerged from the university building, carrying the three boxes. He fumbled in his pocket for his car keys before withdrawing them and unlocking his car. Walking over to it, he unlocked the boot and carefully placed the boxes inside before closing it again. He checked his watch and saw that it read 17:30.

"Ideal," he murmured to himself. "I should be home for six and then back here for half past."

He opened the driver's door and climbed in. He started the engine and pulled out of the university car park.

For the first twenty minutes of his journey, everything went smoothly and Dr Tanenbaum contented himself by thinking of what Suzanne Vögel was going to talk about in her speech the next day. He was no economist, preferring to specialise in science, but he decided that he would still go along for no other reason than to see the Chancellor of Europe, who just so happened to be a graduate of his beloved university.

As he was thinking about this, he didn't notice that the steering of his car was becoming more unresponsive as the corners in the road became sharper and that his speed was slowly increasing. As the car came to a hairpin turn, he turned the steering wheel to the left.

Nothing happened.

"What the-?!" Dr Tanenbaum exclaimed in alarm.

The car sped up and drew closer to the corner. Frantically, he tried the steering again but to no avail. The car hurtled off the road and slammed straight into a tree. The impact caused the compressed gases in the boot of the car to explode and the entire car was engulfed in a ball of fire.

Out of nowhere, two rings of green light appeared and slowly travelled over the scene before disappearing again.

Soon afterwards, a silver Mercedes drove past the scene of the accident and rounded the corner. Inside, Doktor Heinrich Tanenbaum checked his watch. The time was 17:54. He was right on schedule.

"This is Captain Black, relaying instructions from the Mysterons. Tomorrow, Suzanne Vögel will arrive at the university to give her speech. You know what you must do."

"Yes," the Mysteron agent hissed. "The Mysterons' instructions will be carried out."

 

****

 

“This is some university,” Captain Magenta noted with approval as he stood in front of the main building of the University of Hamburg along with Captain Ochre and Captain Grey.

The flights from Berlin International Airport to Hamburg Airport had gone smoothly, with no Mysteron attacks on either journey, but they had all been warned numerous times by Captain Scarlet not to let their guard down at all, as the Mysterons would be certain to exploit it.

“It’s magnificent,” Grey agreed. “The architecture is simply stunning. Where is the conference going to be held?”

“Outside the Auditorium.”

The voice of Suzanne Vögel sounded from behind them and the four officers turned around. The Chancellor of Europe was standing by the side of the black Audi which had brought her from the airport to the university. Through the open door, the Spectrum officers could make out Captain Blue’s uniform; he had been nominated to ride with Frau Vögel in the car.

“The Auditorium is located near the main campus in Von-Melle-Park,” the Chancellor continued as she walked up to them and Blue followed her out of the car. “There are also some teaching buildings located in that area. If I can remember correctly, they are the science labs, the economics department, and the centre for mathematics and social sciences. Of course, they are not the only courses available at the universität; the other teaching buildings are located around the city.”

“Will you be visiting the other buildings?” Ochre inquired.

Frau Vögel shook her head. “Nein, I will just be giving my speech outside the Auditorium and then I will be returning to Berlin.”

“Nonetheless, I think it would be worth checking out the other faculty buildings,” said Captain Scarlet, joining them at the entrance from where he and Lieutenant Onyx had been talking to the Spectrum Berlin personnel who had accompanied them from the German capitol.

“SIG,” Blue’s cap microphone dropped down. “I’ll contact all members of Spectrum in the area and tell them to go over the buildings with Mysteron detectors.”

“What about this building and the Auditorium, Captain Scarlet?” Onyx asked quietly. “Should we examine those as well?”

“Already in progress, Lieutenant,” Scarlet replied. “Spectrum ground agents are currently scanning the area with the detectors and setting up defensive perimeters. The university staff is also being tested, as are the students. They assured me that it shouldn’t take more than three quarters of an hour. What time is the talk meant to begin, Frau Vögel?”

“At midday, Captain,” she responded. “It is due to finish at half past one.”

“That gives the Mysterons at least an hour and a half window to attack,” Grey muttered. “We’ll need to be on constant alert.”

“Maybe more than that,” Magenta frowned, checking his watch. “It’s quarter to eleven now. The Mysterons might be planning to attack before the speech begins.”

“That’s a good point,” Scarlet frowned. “Okay, we’ll move into a room in the main building which has already been cleared.”

“SIG,” Blue nodded as his cap microphone swung back up. “The ground agents say that the cafeteria has the all-clear so we can wait in there until everything and everyone has been cleared.”

“Right.” Scarlet turned to the other four officers. “We’ll wait in the cafeteria – and no, we can’t eat anything, Magenta! - until everything’s ready for the conference. The Angels are already patrolling the area, so to make sure there won’t be an aerial attack.”

“SIG, Captain Scarlet,” Magenta replied, a little sulkily. He followed Grey, Onyx, Ochre and Frau Vögel into the main building. Blue paused and turned around to see Scarlet staring out across the street, frowning slightly and obviously deep in thought.

“Paul? Are you alright?” he asked.

“What?” Scarlet glanced at him. “Oh, Adam… I don’t know. I can’t quite put my finger on it… I just have a hunch that somehow, the Mysterons have everything in position for their attack.”

 

****

 

The replica of Doktor Tanenbaum attached the final two wires into the device he had been working on ever since he had returned to the university. After almost seventeen hours of building and perfecting his contraption, it was finally complete.

“Now,” he muttered darkly, admiring his handiwork with a thin, cruel smile, “The Mysterons’ revenge will be carried out! The Earthwoman will be destroyed and the Earthmen won’t -” A knock on the door interrupted his monologue.

Doktor? Are you in there?” It was the voice of Karla, Tanenbaum’s assistant. “Can I come in?”

Nein!” the Mysteron agent snapped back, with an annoyed growl. “I’m working on something and I cannot be disturbed!”

Are you sure, Doktor?” Karla sounded puzzled. “I’m really sorry to disturb you, but I need to come and collect the textbooks I left in your office yesterday. I need them for a course in the afternoon.”

Dr Tanenbaum grounded his teeth in frustration, looking down at the device he was working on. He couldn’t move it right away, and when Karla would enter, she would see it. The irritating Earthwoman simply would not go away so he would have to get rid of her. The Mysterons’ plans could not fail.

“Doctor, this is really important,” Karla said through the door.

 “Very well then!” he hissed. He reached behind for the heavy gas canister he had brought with him.

The door handle rattled as Karla opened the door and entered the lab. She gave her mentor a smile before turning her back on him and reaching for the pile of textbooks she had left on his desk before he had left the university the day before.

I’ll just get these books and leave you to whatever you’re doing, Doktor,” she told him. Her eyes fell on the device set there on the desk, and she frowned with perplexity.

I don’t think so, Earthwoman!” Tanenbaum’s voice snarled behind her.

Her eyes barely had enough time to widen in surprise before the Mysteron clubbed her over the head with the gas canister. He smiled wickedly as Karla’s unconscious body slumped to the floor.

“And now to take care of you,” he said ominously. “Before the Mysterons assassinate Suzanne Vögel. We will be avenged!”

 

****

 

“Our ground agents have cleared all the staff and students attending the conference,” Captain Scarlet told Suzanne Vögel as he led her up the steps onto the temporary stage that had been erected outside the Auditorium. “Also, the Auditorium itself and the surrounding area have also been cleared.”

“I am very glad, Captain Scarlet,” the Chancellor smiled, glancing around as university students and lecturers alike began to fill up the seats which had been set up opposite the stage.

“Spectrum ground agents are in key positions on the ground,” Captain Blue informed her, as she took her place at the forefront of the stage where a microphone on a stand had been installed. “And the Angels are patrolling the area.”

As soon as he said that, there was the sound of jet engines and Frau Vögel and the university members looked up to see the three Angel aircraft soar overhead.

“Spectrum does not leave much to chance, do they, Captain?” Frau Vögel said to Blue.

“No, ma’am,” he replied. “In light of the Mysteron threat, your safety is what is most important to us.”

“And I am thankful that the Earth has an organisation like Spectrum defending it,” she smiled. “Now, I believe that everyone is here and that it is time for the speech to begin.”

“So it is,” Blue grinned back. He and Scarlet stepped down from the stage, but remained in front of it, keeping their eyes on the Chancellor.

Scarlet frowned and put his hand to his head; he was starting to feel slightly dizzy. He was unsure whether it was the heat of the day or his sixth sense. He took in his surroundings to see if he could pick up on anything that the Mysterons might try and use against the Chancellor. All he could see however, where a couple of bikes leant against some trees and an old, beat up VW Golf parked a not that far away.

He narrowed his eyes to the car. What is it doing here, anyway?  Possibly it’s owned by one of the university’s students…

“Captain Scarlet, are you alright?” Blue whispered to him.

“I’m not sure,” Scarlet whispered back. His headache was slowly increasing and he was starting to feel even more nauseous. Blue frowned slightly before moving to the other side of the stage, keeping a watchful eye out for any sign of a Mysteron attack.

Up on the stage, Frau Vögel cleared her throat. “Guten tag. I must say that it is a real pleasure for me to be -”

“Everybody, get down!” Scarlet roared suddenly. His sixth sense had pinpointed the danger, and that sent him springing onto the stage and tackling the Chancellor to the ground, just as the Golf exploded. Small parts of flaming debris landed near the end seats on the side where Scarlet had been standing. Instantly, the air was filled with the sound of screams and the crashing of chair as students pushed past each other in desperate attempts to flee the scene.

“Everyone please, remain calm!” Blue tried to make his voice heard over the pandemonium but it was no use. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that Captain Ochre and Captain Grey weren’t succeeding either in their attempts to calm everyone down and he could only assume that Captain Magenta and Lieutenant Onyx were having the same problems. As soon as he had though this, however, Onyx appeared by the left hand side of the stage, climbed onto it and walked to the centre.

Everyone calm down!” she ordered in fluent German, her voice ringing out loudly across the area.

It seemed to have the desired effect as the chaos quietened down and everyone turned to look at her.

Please follow the Spectrum ground agents to a safe location and remain there until the all clear is given,” Onyx continued in her clear voice. "And until then, please remain calm for your own safety.”

Onyx then climbed back down from the stage, as the university students began to follow the ground agents away from the Auditorium. A few feet from there, Captain Scarlet was helping Frau Vögel to her feet.

“I’m sorry about that, Frau Vögel,” he said, a little sheepishly.

The Chancellor shook her head, breathing heavily. “It is no problem, Captain Scarlet,” she gasped. “I-I believe that I must thank you greatly. You just saved my life.”

She turned around, her eyes setting on what remained of the car; it was now burning with a raging fire. “Was anyone hurt?” she asked in concern.

“It doesn’t appear so,” Blue said.  “I saw first aid personnel already on the scene…  They’ll make sure everyone is all right.  Our concern is your safety.  Are you alright?”

“Yes, I am…”  She checked herself. “Not a scratch, thank you.  And that fire...? It must not spread around…”

“The car is isolated enough for that not to happen,” Scarlet replied.

“The firefighters are already on their way,” Onyx confirmed, pulling up her cap microphone.  She nodded to her colleagues. “I just called the University security.  They confirmed that.”

 “We need to get you back to Berlin immediately,” Blue told her.

Behind him, Magenta was rushing up to join the group in front of the stage, Ochre and Grey right behind him. “The Spectrum ground agents have a car ready to take you back to Hamburg Airport,” Magenta added. “Captain Grey and I will accompany you with them. It is highly likely that the Mysterons will try and attack again.”

Frau Vögel nodded, her face still very pale.

“I understand,” she replied. “I shall go with you. Danke again, Captain.” she nodded to Scarlet. “And Lieutenant Onyx,” she turned to the younger woman. “Congratulations are in order for you too for the way you controlled the crowd and calmed everyone down. Where did you learn to speak such good German?”

“I studied it at school,” Onyx replied, her cheeks reddening very slightly. Frau Vögel nodded, not noticing the small blush.

“Frau Vögel?” a Spectrum ground agent walked up to her. “We have your car ready and the SPJ is prepared to take off for Berlin International Airport.”

Danke,” the Chancellor nodded.

She followed her escort from the stage towards the main entrance of the university, flanked by Magenta and Grey.

“Now then,” Scarlet turned to the other three colour-coded officers. “Let’s wait until the firemen arrive to put out the fire, and then see if we can find out why that car exploded.”

“It’s strange that it didn’t test positive on our Mysteron detectors,” Ochre said, frowning.  “Maybe there was a fault?”

“I definitely felt my sixth sense go off,” Scarlet frowned. “But maybe the car wasn’t a reconstruction?  Didn’t Frau Vögel say that the science labs were located nearby? Well, maybe the Mysteron agent, whoever he is, used some of the chemicals from there and they wouldn’t have shown up on the detector.”

“That’s a good theory, Scarlet,” Blue nodded. “I remember that we found out that the university offers a course in explosives when we did the security check. Captain Ochre, go to the science labs and see what - and who - could have pulled something like this off.”

“SIG.”

Ochre went off in the direction of the science labs. The sound of sirens approaching alerted the officers that the fire brigade had arrived to extinguish the fire.

“Once that fire has been put off, we’ll examine this car and see what made it explode,” Scarlet continued, turning to Blue. “Captain Blue, call Colonel White and update him on the events.”

“SIG,” Blue replied and his cap microphone swung down.

“That was some very clear distribution of orders, Lieutenant,” Scarlet said to Onyx, as they slowly made their way towards the smouldering car.

“Thank you, Captain.” Onyx gave a small smile; she was rather unused to getting so much praise.

“By the way, how did you make yourself heard over all that noise?” Scarlet inquired. “I was rather busy trying to shield Frau Vögel, all I could hear around me was the crowd panicking. It must have been hard.”

“Oh, It was… the microphone. It was available, so I simply used it,” Onyx explained hastily.

Scarlet nodded and walked ahead. Inaudibly, Onyx breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed that nobody had heard the slight echo in her voice which could not have been created by a microphone, nor had they noticed that the microphone had been turned off and her voice didn’t come out of the speakers.

 

****

 

“Have you found anything?” Ochre asked as, a couple of hours later, he joined the other three Spectrum officers at the scene of the explosion.

“Nothing,” Scarlet grumbled, sifting aside chunks of metal that had been blown off the car’s body when it had exploded. “Have you?”

“We might have,” Ochre smirked slightly. “Turns out the University’ expert, a Doktor Heinrich Tanenbaum, was last seen by one of his students, leaving his lab at half past eleven, carrying a package of some sort and going in the direction of the Auditorium. He was then seen leaving right before the speech began.”

Scarlet frowned. “Sounds like this Doktor Tanenbaum could be our Mysteron agent.”

“It gets better,” Ochre held up a bunch of keys. “We got the keys for his lab and the cupboards in it.”

“Excellent.” Blue stood up and brushed the dust from his knees. “Let’s go over there now.”

 

As the Spectrum officers made their way over to the science labs, the man dressed all in black who had caused the car crash which killed the original Dr Tanenbaum was watching them through a pair of binoculars. Captain Black lowered them and checked his watch; the Mysterons’ plans were continuing right on schedule. By now, the Earthwoman would be on an SPJ to Berlin and Dr Tanenbaum would be on his way from Hamburg to Berlin to finish the assassination.

He raised the binoculars to his eyes again. The Spectrum officers had arrived at the entrance to the science labs and Captain Scarlet was talking to another Earthman in a white lab coat. Black scanned the group, his binoculars coming to rest on Spectrum’s newest member, dressed in the colour of his own codename.

Lowering his binoculars again, he initiated contact with the replica of Doktor Tanenbaum.

This is Captain Black, relaying instructions from the Mysterons. The Spectrum officers are getting closer to discovering our plans. Be on guard. Should they come after you, you know what you must do, especially regarding their newest officer. The Mysterons always reclaim what is theirs.”

 

 

BACK TO PART 1
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 3

__________________________

 

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fan fiction using characters from the Captain Scarlet world, which is trademarked by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and Century 21 Productions. The Spectrum officers and the Mysterons are characters created and owned by Gerry and Sylvia, and I do not claim any ownership over them or the world of Captain Scarlet. The story I tell here is my own invention, and it is not purported or believed to be part of the Captain Scarlet story canon. This story is for entertainment only and is not part of the official story line. 

 

I am grateful to Gerry and Sylvia for all their wonderful creations, which made up a big part of my childhood, without which this story would not exist, and also to Chris Bishop who beta-read this story for me.

 

 

OTHER STORIES BY ALLISON LANNISTER

 

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