AN INTRODUCTION TO
LOVING THE ALIEN
Just to remind you that all credit must go to Mary Rudy for this, as she had the original idea and wrote Moonlight Rhapsody. I merely adapted the idea in Loving the Alien to suit my characterisation and imagination. (Pam Brown)
Captain Scarlet sank with a tired groan into his favourite seat. It was situated in the Garden Room, part of the huge Promenade Deck on Cloudbase. It was dark but he could not be bothered to turn on the lights. The Mysterons had been busy lately, and his body was so tired that he ached with exhaustion, but his mind refused to let him sleep. He'd finally given up trying, got up, showered, dressed and come down from his quarters to see if the peace of the garden could help him clear his head.
The damp, green scent of the room enveloped him as he gazed without looking onto the most spectacular view. Endless night sky, deep penetrating black, studded with icy chips of stars. The Moon rolled ponderously across the heavens looking down on the most unique man in the world.
Captain Scarlet was dead. His body had been found along with Captain Brown's at the scene of a car crash created by the Mysterons. They had recreated both men and controlled them. Brown had been killed again. but due to a twist of fate, Scarlet had regained control over his mind; his body had retained the ability to retrometabolise, to be virtually Indestructible.
Who was the lucky one? Scarlet reflected. What, or who, was he? He had, with much expert help, more or less come to terms with his strange abilities, but how did others see him? More importantly how did Rhapsody see him? Could he, should he dare to inflict himself and his uncertain future on her life? He was aware that Rhapsody, Spectrum's fiery English Angel admired him greatly, but was that enough? He had steered well clear of any emotional entanglements since Nikki. He always enjoyed Rhapsody's company, but pushed any other feelings firmly away, declaring vehemently to any other Cloudbaser who made allusions to him and Rhapsody pairing off that he was not interested, thank you. This was not true. Confusion reigned. What to do? What would Colonel White say? He disapproved, but generally turned a blind eye to his staff s romantic leanings as long as their work remained professional.
Aside from a dark, brooding temper, Scarlet's emotions had nearly always been kept firmly in control, part of his success as a highly professional soldier. Captain Blue was Scarlet's closest confidant and sometimes he felt as though he hardly knew Scarlet at all. Perhaps Blue could help? Scarlet mused; actually Scarlet knew that the sunny American would tell him to go for it ‑ that was his general motto in life.
Thoughts whirling, Scarlet sank even further into his chair; was he going to live forever, a devastatingly lonely life, endlessly stretching on?
Would he die soon, the apparently human side of him worn out with the endless re-creation? What right did he have to ask someone to deal with that? And there was no chance of children; that was the one thing that the medical powers at Spectrum had finally managed to agree on, the danger of the unknown effects of an alien pregnancy being too great. That was the major problem, the unknown; he was a freak, an enigma, an alien, the loneliest man in the world.
Closing his eyes, he viewed the utter blackness of his mind; lucky sky to have the Moon and stars to light the way...
He heard a faint noise.
Opening his eyes Scarlet gave a mental moan of despair; why her? Why now? Unaware of her audience, Rhapsody wandered across to the massive windows and looked out; then with a deep sigh she slumped down onto the window scat, dropping her helmet with a careless crash, and proceeded to unbraid her famous red hair, combing it thoughtfully with her fingers. Then, resting her face in her hands she continued gazing at the night sky.
It took Scarlet a moment to realise that she was silently crying. Now what? Like most males he was helpless when it came to female tears. Doubting he might have been; faint hearted he was not. With the feeling that he was making a serious error he stood up.
Rhapsody leapt up thoroughly startled and then shocked when she realised who it was.
“You idiot! What are you doing, going around scaring people half to death!” she yelled.
Scarlet silently held out his handkerchief. She snatched it, furious because he'd startled her, embarrassed because he'd caught her crying and frustrated because it would have to be him that was there and she couldn't tell him why. So she carried on yelling until her temper fled and she gurgled with laughter instead. Scarlet never ceased to be amazed at her rapid changes of mood. He stared at her.
“Where is your shirt?” she remonstrated.
“What? Oh!” He pointed to the floor near to where he had been sitting. “I'm not on duty yet.”
“If anyone else comes in it will ruin your reputation you know. The Great Captain Scarlet! Spying on Angels whilst half-dressed.” She scrubbed at her face and then held out the remnant of his hanky.
Scarlet took it and asked, “Why do you so rarely call me Paul?”
Thoughtfully Rhapsody sat back down. This was dangerous ground, especially not knowing what mood he was in.
“I guess,” she said slowly, “because you rarely see yourself as Paul Metcalfe anymore. Since the ‑ em ‑ accident you only seem to see yourself as the re‑created indestructible Captain Scarlet.” She waved her hands with a flourish.
Then with her usual impetuousness, she went on. Warming to her theme she stood tip as Captain Scarlet sat down.
“Honestly! You swoop about Cloudbase with this imaginary cloak of darkness about you. you won't let anyone in, or close to you well, apart from Nikki.” She noticed his warning frown. She ignored it. Destiny had been telling her for months to tell him how she felt. “Why won't you let your friends help, talk to us, let us be there for you. You never ask us what we think; you make yourself lonely. Do you think that we don't care or try to understand? I don't suppose anyone can really comprehend what you have been through, what it has done to you, but we could try. Are you dead? Are you alive? Are you human or alien? Will you live forever? Will you die tomorrow? We cannot take your place, but maybe we can make you feel ‑ well, less lonely, less cut‑off.”
Catching sight of her reflection storming about in front of him, Rhapsody ran out of steam. She sat down next to him.
“Remind me never to ask you a question again.” Scarlet sounded annoyed. Defiantly Rhapsody kept her head up. staring at him, waiting for the storm to break. She realised she couldn't read the expression in his eyes. Scarlet put his hand under her chin, tilted her head back a little and gazed at her thoughtfully.
“I suppose by 'we' you mean yourself?”
“Yes. Look, we do a difficult job. You seem to think that you are fighting the Mysterons on your own. You are not; it's a team effort. I don't suppose anyone would dispute the fact that you are Team Captain, but have you ever thought of having a vice captain,' she grinned, 'someone to share the horrors with. And I don't mean Captain Blue either,” she added hastily.
“Do you really have any idea‑ “ he began.
“Are you always going to sound this pompous?” Rhapsody interrupted with a wicked gleam in her eyes.
“Are you always going to look so innocent when you are being so devious?” he countered.
“Paul, why don't you just kiss me and we'll go from there.” He leant forward obligingly, and the door opened. Rhapsody buried her face in his chest with an embarrassed groan of horror.
“Captain Scarlet, if you see Rhapsody Angel could you remind her that I am waiting for her latest duty report.”
“Thank you.” Colonel White turned on his heel and left. He tactfully pretended not to hear Rhapsody's wail of embarrassment, suddenly silenced. Scarlet never missed twice.
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