A 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' story
by Vicki Lister
Captain Scarlet leaned forward, peering out of the screen before him, scanning through the thick falling snow around him, searching for any sign of the missing jet. Captain Blue watched him, sighing impatiently.
“Paul, will you please relax, you’re making me edgy…”
“She’s been missing for seven hours, Adam,” he replied curtly, continuing his search of the heavens.
“I know, but she’s going to be ok. She’s an excellent pilot.”
“But look at this!” yelled Paul desperately… gesturing to the ferocious blizzard that was kicking up around them. “Strong winds… zero visibility! How can anyone pilot successfully in this?”
“We are.” Adam pointed out quietly, straining against the controls to keep the helicopter on course.
“Only just. But Rhapsody… what if she crashed?”
“Paul…Paul! Look at me!” Paul sighed and twisted round to meet the eyes of his concerned friend. “We’re going to find her.” Paul nodded, anxiously turning back to continue his scan of the surrounding area.
“I hope you’re right.”
The helicopter swooped on… continuing its search for the missing Angel. As time passed Paul grew increasingly more frantic as Adam doubled his efforts in calming the worried captain and maintaining control of the aircraft.
“Come on Rhapsody… hang on…please… we’re going to find you.”
Rhapsody had disappeared whilst returning from her last flight patrol, when a sudden blizzard swamped the area. Rhapsody battled her way back through the wind and snow to return, but her radio had failed and she hadn’t been heard from since. The rescue patrol had been out for nearly five hours, and Captain Scarlet was among the first to volunteer to join in the search for his fiancée. Captain Blue had accompanied him and they had been battling their way through the ferocious weather ever since. No sign of neither hide nor hair of Rhapsody had been reported since the rescue team began and it was beginning to look hopeless. With each passing hour the chance of finding Rhapsody alive was fading, and Scarlet was growing frantic. Suddenly the radar bleeped into life and Scarlet’s heart soared.
“We have something on radar, it could be her!” Captain Blue yelled into his radio, trying to steer the helicopter on a correct course towards their find as the wind battered into the side and the snow swept across the canopy.
“Captain Scarlet to Rhapsody Angel do you read me? Come in please!” Captain Scarlet spoke swiftly into his mike, fighting to keep the panic in his voice to a minimum. The radio remained silent.
“It must have been knocked out. I’m sure she’s ok,” Adam muttered reassuringly, his arms straining with the effort of controlling the chopper. Paul grabbed onto the side as they swerved violently to the right, slicing through the snow. He winced as he heard the engine groaning around him and glanced at Adam biting his lip. Adam noted his worried glance and gave him one of his own, smiling nervously.
“Come on… its going to be ok… any visual on the jet yet?” Paul leaned forward… resuming his frantic searching.
“No not yet…” A metal glimmer caught his eye and he scanned the area quickly. “She’s there! I can see her jet… she… oh my god, she’s crashed!” His heart pounded as he stared at the crumpled outline of Rhapsody’s crashed jet, desperately seeking for some sign that she may have survived. Adam leaned forward to survey the scene.
“It’s not in a bad way… she could be ok, Paul!” Adam mumbled, noting the minimal damage to the jet. “She was probably just driven out of the air, or had to make an emergency landing or something!” Paul nodded silently, his eyes not moving from the flickering image of the partially submerged jet as it appeared and disappeared through the heavy snow. “OK. Landing. Now this could be tricky.” Paul nodded again, swiftly moving back into the safety of his seat and securing the belts around him as the chopper lurched about in the frozen air. “Oh god, hang on, Paul!” The chopper sliced through the air, the rotors flailing frantically as the engine spluttered under the strain. Both men clung on frantically, as Adam battled to regain control. The chopper span round, plummeting towards the ground, dropping through the sweeping snow like a rock through the air.
“Mayday mayday, Central Control, we are going down, we have spotted Rhapsody but are going down!” Scarlet yelled hurriedly into his mike as Adam desperately flicked various switches, to no avail.
“The engine’s not responding… nothing’s working!” he cried, pummelling the dashboard with his fist.
“Central control to chopper 091… SIG Scarlet, send coordinates then eject, repeat eject.”
“Sending coordinates now…” Scarlet began, typing on the screen. It remained blank. He swore violently. “Central control, that is negative there is no response…” His words were cut short as out of the swirling mists of the blizzard, the ground came up to meet them. Both men flung their arms over their heads as they collided, the canopy around them smashing, as the force flung them both forward. The engine crashed and erupted brutally, spurting red-hot flames around them, and as Scarlet lay back, his vision failing as his flesh burned…
“I’m sorry, Paul…” The last pain-wracked words of his dying friend echoed in his head as he passed out of all consciousness.
Paul awoke with a scream, tumbling onto the hard stone floor. His eyes wide, he lay there gasping, clutching his heaving chest as the sweat ran down his face. It had been nearly a year since that fateful day, but the dreams continued, never letting him forget, never letting him rest. He heaved himself into a sitting position, shivering slightly as he looked tiredly around his dark cell. He pushed himself to his feet and sat down on the edge of the dark stone ledge on which he had been sleeping.
“ROTA TWO, SCHEDULED FOR WORKING SHIFT, 6 AM to 10 PM, COMMENCING IN 7 MINUTES.” Scarlet winced as the heavy Mysteron voice echoed around the cell, pounding through his exhausted and aching head. He remained still, glaring around the cell waiting for them to respond. He didn’t have to wait long.
“PRISONER S-012 SCARLET, GET UP.” Scarlet sighed and leaned back against the wall behind him, knowing what was coming but not really caring.
“PRISONER S-012 SCARLET, GET UP!”
“Bite me,” he muttered angrily, staring at the barred door before him, waiting for him to come. Surely enough, a few minutes later the door swung open.
“Hello, Conrad,” he muttered, staring at the man in the doorway. The man before him bared his teeth, snarling.
“Hello, Scarlet. Work refusal again I see?”
“So it would seem. My, I do treasure these little get-togethers.”
“As do I. I request you personally, you know.”
“The pleasure of seeing you writhe in agony, far outweighs any pleasure I see at the sight of you toiling over our machines.”
“Well, good. I will have to refuse more often then, won’t I?” Scarlet replied, watching him with a sigh, as his old friend smiled in response.
“Every day of the week,” he whispered, bringing the device out from behind his back. Scarlet had barely a second to brace himself before he was on the floor, screaming in agony, every cell of his body on fire as the electric current passed through him. After a few moments the pain stopped and he lay still on the floor, heaving in great shuddering breaths, his body aching.
“You do take your time with these lessons, don’t you, Scarlet?”
“I am a slow learner,” he muttered thickly, his teeth clenched in an effort to remain both conscious and silent.
“Then perhaps it’s time for another dose.” Scarlet screamed once more as the current peaked in his body, screaming violently as he thrashed and writhed on the floor, fighting to remain conscious as the current soared through his limbs. But it was no good. The pain rose through his mind, like a knife slicing through his every thought. His mind shut down and he collapsed, falling down into darkness.
Scarlet stirred softly, groaning thickly. He opened his eyes a crack, peering around at his charred surroundings. He coughed thickly, the strong smoke that hung in the air seeping through his lungs and making him splutter. He rose a little, but the crisped straps of his belt held him down surprisingly firmly considering the damage they had sustained. He fumbled with the buckle, releasing himself from the chair. He gazed numbly around at the blackened walls that surrounded him, choking on the thick air as he scrambled around, trying to get to grips with where he was and what he was doing there. He coughed thickly, stretching his aching limbs, and wincing as his sore skin grated over his throbbing muscles. His gaze fell on the second charred seat that lay before him, knocked to the side, shielding the body that it imprisoned. Biting his lip, dreading the sight that he knew he would find, Scarlet pulled the seat towards him, twisting it round. The seat swivelled, depositing the burnt body on the floor in front of him, and Scarlet had to twist round, fighting against the rise of tears and vomit that he felt battling within him. That was Blue that lay behind him. Captain Blue. Adam. A friend. Slowly he turned back towards him. Blue was burnt beyond recognition. His face was distorted; most of his hair was gone and his uniform was burnt and blackened. His skin was a tangled mass of black and red and his nose had been reduced to a blackened stump. Only a hint of the sky blue uniform and a small shock of his blond hair gave any clue to his identity. Scarlet looked at him sadly, his heavy tears falling through the thick smoke that snaked through the air.
“Adam,” he whispered, his heart aching with the sadness seeing the pain that his friend must have suffered, the agony he must have endured before he was so cruelly released from his life. “Adam I’m so sorry.” A new fury rose in him, overriding the pain. Another close friend dead, another one passed on, leaving him behind. Alone. To face the world, with no relief from his suffering. Alone, through the ages. Alone through his pain. Alone. Alone. ALONE!
With a sudden jerk, Scarlet came to. He was lying on the stone floor where Black had left him, curled up in a protective ball. He groaned, rolling over and pulling himself up against the wall, his chest heaving. It was a cruel fate that left him imprisoned in there, he could find no relief, not even in his dreams. His waking hours were filled with taunts, strenuous work, and brutal tortures whilst his sleep was disrupted with reminders of that last day that had destroyed his world.
“PRISONER S-012 SCARLET REPORT FOR MAINTENANCE DUTY IN SECTOR 9. YOU HAVE THREE MINUTES.” Scarlet groaned again, as the heavy voice echoed round his narrow chambers. Trying not to cry, he dragged himself to his feet and waited patiently by the door. A few minutes later it clicked open and he shuffled out into the corridor, plodding with heavy steps down the corridor towards Sector 9. Mysteron Agents patrolled the corridors, snarling at him as he passed, jabbing him with their knives. He fought hard against the anger that was welling up within him, knowing that it would only result in more pain if it were unleashed. They laughed, taunting him. They had the most fun with him. His abilities meant that he was the only prisoner they were allowed to treat so brutally. He could take it. He would recover. He couldn’t kill himself, or die from blood loss or exhaustion. As he knew, there was no relief from his suffering. It was a lesson he had learnt well. No sweet welcome of death and lost friends for him. His eternity was only just beginning.
He went to his work quietly, his muscles throbbing with the abuse that they had suffered earlier. He sighed. Some days the only thing that kept him going was hope, hope of escape, hope of a better future, but right now that was running low. There must be someone left, some people, Spectrum wouldn’t just give up without me…he thought, trying to shake off the overwhelming depression that grasped his mind. But without me the loss of personnel would be catastrophic… and they had already lost two of their best members that day… “Don’t give up,” he told himself sternly. “You’re going to get out of here, and soon. You just need to hang on. That’s all. They want to break you, don’t give them the satisfaction.” He nodded grimly, continuing his work with a new improved vigour. His mind drifted as he worked, sliding back through time… back to when it happened…
He crawled through the snow, the bitter wind circling him, freezing him and throwing him off course. He shivered, his limbs shaking uncontrollably with shock, cold, and the supreme effort that it was costing him to keep going. He had to reach that jet. He had to save Rhapsody. The dim outline of the jet emerged through the swirling drifts of white that hung in the air, fogging his vision. He scrambled towards it, bellowing out his beloved Angel’s name as he approached it but it was no good. The harsh wind swept his voice away, roaring in his ears and drowning out all sound. He continued towards it, forcing his numb and throbbing muscles to pump harder, determined to reach his target. The jet was on its front, and seemed to have suffered very little damage in the crash. His heart rose with hope as he noticed this. She’s still alive, she must be, I know it! Please, please, let her be ok! The jet was partially buried in falling snow, and he had to delve slightly in the papery white substance before he could free the emergency door and heave it open. He staggered inside, pulling the door to in an effort to provide some shelter from the roaring winds and blasting snow. Shivering, he shook the excess snow off himself and crawled forwards, towards the cockpit. Jeez it’s almost as cold in here as it is outside! he thought to himself as he crept forwards. The heating system must have packed in. He carefully opened the cockpit door and leant in. “Rhaps? Rhapsody, are you here? Rhaps…it’s me, Paul…” The words died on his lips as his eyes settled on the body. He scrambled over the seat towards it, his heart thumping painfully fast as he felt his world come crashing down around him. Rhapsody’s body was stiff and white, her hair and skin laced with a fine frosting of ice. Her lips were blue and her eyes were wide and staring. She was curled up in the pilot seat, a hollow purple cut just above her left eye; a memento of the crash that she had endured. She had escaped the crash landing with minimal injuries, and then froze to death waiting for a rescue. She was dead. Scarlet scrambled back, his heart shuddering under the double shock that it had suffered. Rhapsody and Adam were dead. The two people that kept him going, his fiancée and his best friend. Both gone. And it was his fault. Gasping for air as his heart struggled to cope with what he was seeing, he staggered backwards, collapsing to the floor as his lungs restricted and he passed out, the world darkening around him.
Scarlet jumped as the whip cruelly lashed into his leg, snapping him out of his reverie and causing him to him crash to the floor. He clambered back to his feet, grumbling as the Mysterons hooted with laughter. His fellow workers ignored him studiously, simply being glad that it was him receiving the beating, not themselves.
“Get on with your work!” one snarled, slashing his whip once more. Scarlet snarled at them but then turned back to his work. Don’t rise to it, he told himself. That’s what they want you to do. Just sit it out. You’re going to get out of here.
Captain Scarlet had been one of Spectrum’s finest Agents. After a brief tussle with the Mysterons relatively early on in his career, his special, supernatural retrometabolisational abilities had aided him in every mission that he took on. And if that wasn’t a mouthful, then Scarlet just didn’t know what was. His indestructible capabilities meant he could save the lives of other Spectrum personnel, preventing any long-term loss of life.
Spectrum Headquarters, Cloudbase, had received reports of some suspicious activity going on in the Arctic Circle just before the Mysterons had delivered their final threat.
THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS. WE KNOW YOU CAN HEAR US EARTHMEN! YOU WILL PAY THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR YOUR ACTS OF AGGRESSION AGAINST THE MYSTERON COMPLEX ON MARS. YOU WILL BE DEALT A DEVASTATING BLOW. WE WILL CAPTURE YOUR MOST PRECIOUS WEAPON. YOU WILL BE RENDERED DEFENCELESS. YOUR ACTIONS MAY HAVE HURT US, BUT THEY WILL DESTROY YOU. WE WILL BE AVENGED!
Assuming that the threat was linked to the present suspicions of a Mysteron Complex operating in the Arctic Circle, the Angels were immediately launched and were sent out to the Arctic Circle to search the area whilst the captains focused on other possible targets. After the disappearance of Rhapsody, many of the captains assumed that the threat was referring to the Angels, who collectively were one of Spectrum’s best weapons against the Mysterons.
It wasn’t until after the helicopter transporting both Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue went down that Spectrum began to realise how wrong they had been. After the blizzard had died down two transports were sent to locate the three members. Only two were found. Adam Svenson’s mangled corpse was transported back alongside Dianne Simms’s frozen form.
Captain Scarlet was never found. His blood was found in the cockpit of the helicopter and his shoeprints in Rhapsody’s jet. He had clearly recovered from the crash, but the shock of finding both bodies had clearly been too much of him. There had been much debate as to the details of what had happened to him. Some thought that the shock of seeing the two main people in his life dead had finished him and he’d simply walked out, either dying from the cold, his body packing in from a basic lack of will to live or still there, drifting between life and death, unable to die but equally unable to live in the brutal conditions.
They couldn’t have been more wrong. Spectrum had indeed been dealt a devastating blow that day. A blow from which they had never recovered. Yet Scarlet, Spectrum’s most precious weapon, was not killed, as they believed, but captured, as promised. A minor detail, which no one seemed to pick up on.
Scarlet came to in a dark narrow vessel, which smelt strongly of gasoline. He was trapped in there for about half an hour, during which time, he staggered back and forth searching for an escape route before finally giving up and sitting down to mourn his losses. He found that he didn’t really have the energy to escape simply because to him, there was no world worth escaping to. His life had been destroyed that day, but by a cruel twist of fate, he had to live on without it. Alone.
The vessel turned out to be the cargo of a large transport truck, which had collected Scarlet whilst he was unconscious. He was transported back to the Mysteron Complex in the grubby vessel, where he was then gassed and carried into a cell. Where he had been ever since. 11 months, 1 week and 4 days. Working for 16 hours a day most days, and spending most of the rest of that time lying unconscious of the floor having nightmares about… about…. about that day. The day that turned his life around. He heaved in a great shuddering sigh. “11 months I’ve been here. 11 months I’ve spent working for my enemies, building new machines to destroy everything that I’ve spent my life working to build, and all because I’ve not had the spirit to fight,” he growled to himself. “I just gave up. Rhapsody wouldn’t want that. Nor would Adam. Well now it’s my turn. I’m going to fight and I’m going to get out of here, back to Spectrum.” He smiled, a grim resolve lingering over his lips as his mind sought for ideas, searching through the various possibilities. It’s my turn now.
“PRISONER S-012 SCARLET REPORT TO SECTOR SIX. YOU HAVE THREE MINUTES.”
Scarlet smiled softly to himself, and rolled onto his side. “Ten more minutes,” he told the empty room, keeping his eyes closed. He could almost hear the shocked anger in the room as he muttered this. The voice sounded around the room once more.
“PRISONER S-012 SCARLET REPORT TO SECTOR SIX. YOU HAVE THREE MINUTES. FAILURE TO COMPLY WILL RESULT IN ELECTROCUTION TORTURES.”
“Ooh goody, there’s nothing like a little torture to give you that extra zap in the morning, is there?” he replied. The voice went silent. Scarlet smiled. Well at least I’ve got their attention. Moments later, as predicted, the door swung open, and Captain Black strode into the room, grinning, his eyes glittering with malevolence.
“Scarlet! I see you took me at my word!”
“So it would seem!”
Black grinned, crouching down in front of him. “You really can’t wait to die, can you?” he asked with a smirk.
Scarlet snorted. “As if! Too many people left in this place, mate. Besides, how would you manage that anyway?”
Conrad smiled, pulling a gun out of his pocket. Scarlet frowned. It was slimmer than the bulky gun that he remembered. Black swung it quietly to and fro in front of him.
“There have been a few updates since you left,” he whispered with a grin. “And too many left? Like who? They’re all dead, Paul… every – last – one of them.”
Paul froze. “What? No, they’re not…”
“How long do you think they could have lasted without you, Paul? The world as you know it has ceased to exist. Spectrum went down about two months after you were captured.”
Scarlet shook his head determinedly, a slight smile lingering over his lips. “You’re lying. You just want me to give up, don’t you?”
Captain Black leant forwards until his face was barely an inch from Scarlet’s. “Now wouldn’t that be just peachy?” he remarked with a grin.
Scarlet reacted quickly. Slamming his fist into Black’s face, he leapt off the bed, knocking the gun out of the Mysteron’s hands. Black reacted swiftly, swinging his fist round and catching Scarlet hard in the stomach, but as Scarlet doubled over in pain, he kicked out, knocking Black’s feet from beneath him. As Conrad Turner collapsed to the floor, Scarlet threw himself across the floor, snatching up the fallen gun. With an angry yell, Black half rose to his feet, but stopped, crumpling back onto the floor as Scarlet pulled the trigger. He lay still. Scarlet scrambled to his feet smiling triumphantly.
“All those years we’ve wasted trying to catch you… all too easy, my friend,” he muttered, striding for the door. It seemed that most of the base had already been alerted to his presence and his actions. He ran along the corridor, shooting each Mysteron Agent as they came towards him, and twisting round every now and then to catch the ones that were coming up behind him. He sprinted on, not pausing, despite the fact that his muscles were screaming in protest at the sudden strenuous exertion that he was forcing on them. He reached the doors quickly. He swung round, firing the gun to finish off the last few Mysterons that were running towards him, and then he turned back to the door. A few clear shots took care of the lock, and he yanked the door open, stepping outside for the first time in nearly a year.
Scarlet stared around in horror at the scene before him. The sky was dark red and streaked with blackened glimmers of metal. The land before him was open and desolate, a barren wasteland littered with dead bodies. The musty air pulsated with the stench of the dead, and the silence was punctured with screams, of the alive and dying. Paul’s mouth hung open as he gaped at the blatant horror that lay before his eyes. The world, under the rule of the Mysterons. Black had been right. There was no way that Spectrum could have recovered from the losses that they suffered that day. They had succumbed to the Mysterons quickly… once their ‘weapon’ was removed… they were defenceless. Spectrum was gone, his friends dead, the world doomed… Paul looked down at the gun in his hand. All these months he had been clinging on, hanging on to an ideal that some day he would escape, rejoin Spectrum and continue the battle. “Well... today is that day, and I did escape. And I will rejoin Spectrum,” he muttered to himself. He switched his gaze from the gun, up to the skies over his head. “See you soon, guys,” he whispered, his heart pounding at the thought of seeing his friends once more. He raised the gun to his head… the one gun that could finally free him from his torment.
Closing his eyes, he pulled the trigger. A single gunshot echoed through the air, mingling with the screams of pain. It went unnoticed. Paul Metcalfe dropped to the ground, finally free from his pain.