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





Bad Trip 


A New Captain Scarlet Fanfiction


By Isabelle Saucier




After walking in the cold for a while, the festively decorated and cozy interior of the pub was a welcome sight, although Captain Scarlet could have done without the obviously fake but strong evergreen smell—no doubt an attempt to add to the holiday ambiance. He took a short moment to look around as the door closed behind him, trying to see if he could find his contact right off.

Captain Blue and he had split up in hopes of working on another lead at the same time. They had debated whether it was safe to proceed this way, but had concluded that it looked less threatening if there was only one of them showing up in each location. If they were lucky, they would both get information worth their while and, who knows, perhaps they could even fit in some Christmas shopping before they headed back to Skybase!

The pub was a little busy, enough to provide cover for his meeting, but not so much that he would be close to prying ears—it was as if everything was set for his mission to be a success. Good. He had been following Black’s trail for weeks and he was anxious for the chase to come to an end.

He hoped his field partner would be as lucky with his lead on a missing lab worker. That in itself would have been a case for the local police force, but some top-secret research data that could be used for chemical weapons had made it Spectrum’s business.

Not seeing anyone fitting his contact’s description, Scarlet approached the large bar, where a few other patrons were standing, waiting for their orders. He watched as the barmaid danced around agilely behind the counter to get everyone’s orders and avoid a worker going to the back, likely where the kitchen was located.

When it finally was his turn, he fished in his pocket for a few bills and ordered a pint of bitter. Spectrum regulation was against drinking on duty, but he had to play the part of the normal customer, and no one was going to see him. Not that alcohol had any effect on him anyway…

He watched the barmaid pour the dark amber liquid from the tap and place the glass on the counter. Scarlet handed her the bills, asking at the same time: “Has anyone left a message for Metcalfe?”

The young woman raised her eyebrows in surprise. “Again?” she asked.

Scarlet frowned. “What do you mean, again?”

“Another bloke asked me the same thing a little while ago. Looked a lot like you… your brother, perhaps?”

His frown deepened as he tried to figure out what this meant. The barmaid shrugged, taking the money. “As I told him, no messages.”

“Where did, erm, my brother go?”

She pointed toward one of the side rooms. “Through there.”

Scarlet nodded, then slid another bill onto the counter. “Thank you. Have one on me.”

She smiled, but quickly turned to another customer. Scarlet picked up the glass of beer and headed toward the side room, his pace casual, but his senses on alert. His brother? Who asked if there were messages for Metcalfe? What was going on?

He walked through the arched entrance (and through another puff of the awful evergreen smell), his trained eyes already scanning the location. A few customers were seated in the plush leather chairs, enjoying their drinks and nibbles. There were small groups to the left and right, a couple by one of the windows. He searched specifically for single occupants... and came face to face with a pair of bright blue eyes staring straight back at him.

The man was sitting in one of the leather chairs by a window. His black hair was short, cut in a military style, but long enough to be parted on the right. His dark eyebrows were furrowed and his mouth was open in surprise and confusion. Scarlet thought fleetingly that his own expression probably mirrored the stranger’s, as they indeed could have passed as brothers… right down to their right hands reaching for their concealed holsters at the same time.

The room grew quiet as the other patrons stared at the two men. Scarlet frantically tried to reach within himself to feel any of the telltale manifestations of his sixth sense, but there was nothing. And strangely enough, he didn’t feel threatened by the other man. Is this another of their tricks? They’ve put me in an alternate universe before where we hadn’t destroyed the Mysteron city on Mars, so why not an alternate me? he thought.

The barmaid brushed past him with a “Sorry, love,” bringing some food to one of the groups.

It wouldn’t do any good to get his weapon out and cause a general panic... the other man watched warily as Scarlet moved his hand away from his back, but was still ready to defend himself if need be. Was that the Mysterons’ plan? To put two Scarlets in the same room and watch them fight? Considering both knew the other’s strengths and weaknesses, he supposed it was something they could try... but the result would be a gamble at best. Perhaps it was their twisted version of entertainment?

The barmaid brushed back past him, giving him a smile that was really a polite way to tell him to find a seat and get out of the way. Scarlet stepped forward, deliberately slowly to show the other man that he didn’t pose a threat. The other patrons, disappointed that nothing actually happened, turned back to whatever they were previously doing.

The other man stood up fully as Scarlet reached him. They were almost the same height, give or take an inch. He briefly wondered if they sounded the same as well. Only one way to find out… He took a deep breath. “Paul Metcalfe?”

The other man blinked. “Is that a question or a statement?”


The stranger's expression changed briefly. Was that the hint of a smile that Scarlet had seen? “I suppose the answer is ‘yes’, then? Both as a question and a statement?” he said.

Scarlet reached into his pocket again. Metcalfe tensed visibly, but relaxed when he saw that it was to take a wallet out. Scarlet flipped it open to reveal his Spectrum ID. “Not sure why I’m showing you this, but under the circumstances…” he muttered.

Metcalfe stared at the iridescent rainbow on the stylized S, at Scarlet’s picture. His frown reflected oddly how Scarlet felt—but then again it shouldn’t be a surprise… Then, he produced his own ID. The Spectrum roundel looked slightly retro compared to Scarlet’s but still clearly represented the organization they apparently both worked for.

Scarlet felt a headache coming on. “Are you waiting for an informant named Jarvis?”

Metcalfe nodded slightly. “Wearing a yellow scarf…”

“Said to wait for him if he didn’t leave a message with the barmaid?”

Metcalfe nodded again, then sighed. “Why do I have the feeling that we could be waiting for a long time?”

Scarlet hesitated. “Are we dead?” he asked.

That question would have sounded ridiculous to anyone else, but Metcalfe seemed to ponder it for an instant. “I don’t feel dead. Do you?”

“No. This isn’t what it usually feels like.”

“I know…” They smiled thinly at each other; Metcalfe tilted his chin toward the glass of bitter. “Might as well sit down and drink that.”

“I guess… I’d really like to know what’s going on, though,” Scarlet replied, taking a seat in the armchair across from the other man.

“I think we were supposed to shoot each other.” Metcalfe lowered his voice before continuing: “Whatever good that would do without a Mysteron rifle…”

Scarlet gaped, his hand stopping before his glass reached his mouth. “A what? There’s… there’s such a thing?”

“Well, of course,” Metcalfe replied, a little taken aback by his companion’s reaction. “It’s an electron rifle, shooting a high-voltage blast of electricity. The only thing we found that they are vulnerable to. I take it that you don’t use them?”

Scarlet shook his head. “We don’t have them. And I don’t think they’d work because one of the replicants was able to put his arm out of the brig’s electric bars. Granted, he flew backwards when we increased the voltage, but he didn’t die… or whatever they do… He had the time to utter his masters’ threat before he disintegrated.”


“I’m not sure how else to describe it. There’s a blinding, green flash and then nothing. It’s as if they were never there in the first place.” Scarlet drank some of his beer and added: “Creeps the hell out of me each time I see it.”

Metcalfe looked puzzled. “But... where do they go?”

“Don’t know. The Mysterons never cared to elaborate on that aspect. Spectrum’s Bereavement Team have become rather creative in finding ways to announce the disappearance of the victims.”

“Our bereavement team has the original victim when we find them. We make sure the replicants are not able to come back.”

Scarlet seemed to ponder over the difference for a moment. “What a mess,” he commented, unsure if he meant the replicants or the current situation.

They both sat quietly, sipping their beers in an oddly companionable silence.

“So… what now? We wait for Jarvis? We leave? How can we even report this? ‘Scarlet here, met myself at the local pub. I’ll come back after we make sure it’s safe’—I wouldn’t mention the beers…” Scarlet said.

Metcalfe was able to suppress his smile, but there was a twinkle in his eyes. “Indeed,” he said; however, as silly as his “brother/self” had made it sound, he couldn’t help himself and retrieved his personnel communicator. “Scarlet to Cloudbase,” he tried, watching the other man pull out what he figured was his own communicating device, but received only static in return.

It wasn’t very surprising that it didn’t work considering the current situation and he gave up after a couple of tries. He nearly threw the device on the small table in front of him in frustration, but changed his mind and pocketed the communicator. “No luck either?” he asked Scarlet, who was doing the same on his side.

It was strange to have this almost mirror image of himself doing more or less the same things he did... “You’d think that Green’s super computer would be able to reach everywhere possible on Earth and beyond, but I guess not... and for some reason, I already know that going outside wouldn’t make a difference,” Scarlet commented.

He frowned. Normally at this point, he would have tried to contact Blue, but was he going to blow his field partner’s cover? Was he even there? Were there two Blues? Two Jarvises? He took a swig of beer. “I guess I can forget about Christmas shopping… Blue’s gonna be upset. He was counting on this to get Green’s present. He’s usually pretty good about this, I don’t know why he waited this time.”

Metcalfe shrugged. “Secret Santas aren’t always that inspiring,” he offered, drinking from his glass.

“Oh no, that’s his own gift outside Secret Santa. Last year, he got a pair of tickets for that band Green is crazy about—not sure how he managed it.” He chuckled. “It was about time those two acknowledged what was obvious to everyone else. Perhaps not love at first sight, but it was pretty close!”

Metcalfe nearly spat out his beer. “What?” he sputtered. “Blue and Green? Are you sure?”

“Uh, yes, pretty sure…”

The look of uncertainty on the other man’s face was almost comical. “Does… does Karen know about this?” he asked.

Scarlet looked genuinely confused. “Who’s Karen?”

“Symphony Angel.”

“No… he has never been involved with Symphony Angel. And her name is Yoko, not Karen.”

“We don’t have a Yoko; we have a Chan, Harmony Angel…”

“Harmony’s from the Southern States, she’s Destiny’s second-in-command.”

Metcalfe ran a hand through his hair, looking slightly discouraged. “Should I even ask if Destiny is French?”

“She is.”

“Feisty, beautiful blonde?”

“Hm-mmm.” Scarlet’s smile was obvious in his voice.

“Well, at least some things don’t change…”

“No. Simone will always be Simone…”

Metcalfe blinked a few times, then stood up. “I need something stronger than this…” he muttered, leaving the room.

Scarlet watched him go. I guess his Destiny’s name isn’t Simone, then, he mused.

The other man returned with a full bottle of scotch and two glasses. Scarlet’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “A whole bottle?”

“The situation is calling for it.”

“That must have cost you an arm and a leg!”

“They’ll grow back…”

Scarlet made a face at his bad joke. “At least let me pay for half of it…”

“If we end up staying here for as long as I think, you can pay for food later on.” Putting the glasses on the table, Metcalfe poured a generous quantity into them. “So... Blue and Green, really?” he asked, sounding incredulous. “I wouldn’t have thought…”

Scarlet shrugged. “Whatever she did the first time they met in London made an instantaneous and lasting impression on Adam.”

Metcalfe sighed. “Green is a woman. And why not?”

Well, that explained his initial surprise, Scarlet supposed. “She worked with Colonel White for a few years before following him to Skybase. She designed the whole communication and computer system for the base; we’re still not sure if she stayed to keep an eye on it, on White, or because Blue was stationed there. Probably a mix of all that.”

“My Green is a very competent computer expert as well. Unparalleled as far as I know. They would probably get along well,” Metcalfe commented. “This is fascinating.”

“You can say that again,” Scarlet said, then raised his glass. “Excellent choice, by the way.”

“Thank you. Can’t go wrong with that year. If we’re to wait for someone, we might as well do it properly.”

Scarlet had a lopsided smile. “Can you get drunk?” he asked.

Metcalfe smiled back. “Not really…”

“Good!” Scarlet poured more scotch into both glasses.

He settled back into his chair, but Metcalfe remained leaning forward. He stared at his glass for a moment, then asked in a softer voice: “What about Dianne?”

Scarlet blinked, clearly not knowing who he was talking about. Metcalfe put his glass on the table and reached back into his pocket to retrieve his wallet. He flipped it open to reveal the picture of a woman. “Rhapsody Angel?” Metcalfe tried, handing him the wallet.

The woman had vivid blue eyes and vibrant red hair. She was smiling at the camera with a hint of mischief and obvious complicity.

“Lovely lady. Is she your wife?” Scarlet asked, handing the wallet back.

“I would like her to be someday; however, with… my... our condition… I wonder sometimes if marrying will condemn her in a way?”

Scarlet nodded. “I know what you mean. Had the ‘discussion’ myself with Simone. Got my head nearly chewed off for ‘trying to think in her stead and not letting her make her own choices’.” He had a slightly guilty smile as he produced his own wallet to show Metcalfe a picture of Destiny.

The other man didn’t even try to hide his amusement. “Well, you should have known better than choose the feisty French one slash leader of the Flight of Angels.” He cast an appreciative look at the picture. “Although I’ve been served pretty much the same speech from my own English Angel…”

“Simone makes it sound so easy and obvious, and she has no idea of how that makes me feel—normal, human.” He turned his glass between his fingers. “But can I expect her to cope with me getting hit by a car in the morning and showing up for dinner in the evening? Then die from a bio attack a couple of weeks later and then take her to Italy on vacation? Then drown a few months later while she’d be expecting?”

“Is that even possible?” Metcalfe asked.

He was clearly not talking about the drowning part. Scarlet opened his arms in a helpless gesture. "Your guess is as good as mine at this point. Any medical test Doctor Gold could perform came back with an uncertain result. Technically, everything is working as it should be, so there's every reason to think that it is possible. And there’s only one true way to find out…”

Both men shared a look with a similar emotion—something close to worry? Uncertainty? “I’m going to say something horrible. In a way, this scares me more than dying...” Scarlet added.

“Everyone is scared of the unknown. Our unknown happens to be different. And wears nappies. And has a chance of inheriting from us.”

Scarlet took his wallet back. “Simone said that it would be a blow to them, showing them that life goes on despite their threats.”

“She has a point, although I wouldn’t have children just to spite the Mysterons.”

“Me neither.”

Scarlet finished his glass in one gulp, welcoming the burning sensation in his throat. Admitting that there was any possibility of starting a family with Destiny felt extremely strange and personal and he didn’t really want to continue this conversation with his—whatever he was. He filled the glass again, wondering absently if they were going to be comparing how they had died by the time the bottle was empty.

Someone stepped into the room and both Scarlet and Metcalfe turned their heads in a similar gesture. The newcomer, a man in his late forties, seemed to hesitate and look around. He had on what could pass as a yellow scarf, although it looked a little more brown than yellow, so they watched him intently. He looked around, clearly saw them but had no reaction, and finally walked over to a table where a woman was seated. Scarlet and Metcalfe watched the two greet, then returned to their drinks. “I hate waiting,” Metcalfe grumbled.

Scarlet smiled. “You sound like Blue.”

“Adam is one of the most patient men I know,” Metcalfe retorted, which made Scarlet laugh out loud.

“You didn’t see him in New York the other day when we were stuck in traffic in lower Manhattan! Good thing we weren’t in a Rhino, he would have pushed the other cars aside!”

“Well, now that you mention it… there was that one time when he did push a car into an intersection because it was in the way. We were driving a lorry containing an explosive device to a place where it could detonate safely and we didn’t have any time to spare.”

“Did you succeed?”

“Yes, but I died in the process.”

Scarlet winced in sympathy. “I hope it was quick,” he commented.

“The lift shaft I was in blew up. The car fell back down and I was crushed under some debris. I was aware for a little while, but the next thing I knew I was back in Sickbay.” Metcalfe shrugged. “I’ve had better, but I’ve had worse.”

“Yeah, explosions are never a sure thing. Usually better than drowning, though. I think that’s the worst.

“Fire isn’t all that great either.”

“Ugh. No.” Scarlet looked pensively into his glass for a moment. “Do you remember the first time you died?” he asked.

“I remember the car going over the railing into the ravine. Then nothing until I woke up back in Sickbay. But apparently, a lot happened in between. They took possession of me… made me do horrible things that could have ended up very badly for Spectrum, for the World President… for Earth. Thank God Blue shot me when he did and made me fall hundreds of meters. I know he felt guilty over that. He should never have. He saved me from whatever evil plan they had for me.”

The bottle wasn’t empty after all... “I was turning off the engines on Skybase to crash it when Adam shot me. Went straight through the plasma stream of one of the jets and fell several feet below too. They made me see what I was doing, right until the stream burned my face and eyes.”

“That’s when you were freed?”

“Yes. I didn’t know I had died on Mars until after Doctor Gold did some tests on me. I thought I had just passed out after we ran away from the rings and they caught up with us…”

“You were on Mars?”

Of course, being on Mars wasn’t just being on Mars. Once again, Metcalfe didn’t need to elaborate.

“There’s nothing I could have done. Captain Black acted in panic and launched that missile toward the Mysteron city, then all Hell broke loose. It was terrifying. And no matter how fast we were fleeing, they were right there, after us… the voice…” Scarlet shook his head sadly. “There was a flash of green, searing pain, then nothing. I don’t know how long I was gone.”

“And Black?”

“Conrad didn’t wake up. We’re still speculating about why I did and he didn’t. Was it because he destroyed the city? Because we were guinea pigs? Because he was more dead than I was?”

“So that you were distracted by something other than them so they could act?”

“That’s also possible. He was my best friend, I was devastated. But all I could do then was to take his body back to Earth to bury him.”

“We never found Captain Black’s body. He vanished after he came back from Mars. Until the Mysterons needed him as their agent, that is. That’s why I’m here. Jarvis is supposed to give me information that will help Spectrum locate Captain Black.”

“Same here.”

“But you just said you buried him…”

Scarlet’s mouth set in a grim line. “That doesn’t mean he stayed where we put him.”

Metcalfe looked like he was going to say something, but held back. A couple came into the room. It was slowly becoming more crowded. Scarlet picked a small menu card from the table and looked at it. “I think I’ll go get something to eat and have a look around. Want anything?” he asked.

“Anything that doesn’t need to be cut and eaten with a fork?”

“They have a steak sandwich… fish goujons… calamari?”


“All right. Be right back.”

Scarlet stood up smoothly, the impressive quantity of scotch he had drunk not having an effect on his step. It had however an effect on his bladder and he decided to visit the restroom before ordering the food. He walked to the other side of the pub, looking around for Jarvis as he did. What’s taking so long, he wondered, entering the antique-looking, but clean room.

He didn’t linger about and washed his hands after he was done, looking out the small window that overlooked the alley behind the pub. It was slightly ajar and Scarlet could feel the breeze come in. It was a relief to be away from the heavy Christmas tree smell for a while…

He reached for a paper towel nearby but faltered, as sudden nausea washed over him. He recognized the feeling right away... there was a Mysteron nearby! He put a hand against the wall to stabilize himself. Was the replicant outside in the corridor? He hadn’t felt anything coming in and the room was empty save for himself…

The open window let in more cold air, and the sound of a man’s voice. Scarlet approached the window, making sure not to be seen, and strained to try and hear him despite his discomfort.

“He’s inside. Been there for a little while now,” the voice said.

“I know, I saw him. I had the time to set almost everything up,” whoever he was talking to replied.

Scarlet tried to flatten  the side of his head against the wall to see better outside. He was able to make out the two men, but barely; the one he could hear was the worker he had seen earlier. The other man, who was facing in Scarlet’s direction… had a yellow scarf.

“Go around the block and ‘entertain’ him. You have to make sure he stays there long enough for me to light things up in the kitchen. He should be mellowed enough already—if needed, offer him another drink,” the worker continued.

“Right, Guv’nor,” Jarvis replied.

They both went their separate ways. Scarlet moved away from the window to make sure they didn’t see him, then exited the restroom. There are two of us. We can handle one each, he thought as he went across the central room. If I take care of the worker, Metcalfe can hold Jarvis back when he arrives from the alley.

Metcalfe wasn’t at their table. Scarlet looked around, trying to fight the nausea the replicants and the evergreen smell were causing. Well, Jarvis and Metcalfe would have to wait. That other guy wasn’t going to light anything up in the kitchen on his watch!

He came back into the central room and stepped behind the bar purposefully. The barmaid protested at this intrusion into her work space, but he hastily said: “Spectrum business!” and continued on his way.

She followed him, talking back but he wasn’t listening to her. There was no door into the kitchen and he would have stopped to have a look before he went in, but the barmaid was too noisy and pressing and had probably alerted the worker. Scarlet unholstered his gun, making the barmaid yelp in fright, and rushed inside. The worker, currently “fixing” something, whirled around at the noisy intrusion and Scarlet saw what he was holding—a lighter. Things are just getting better by the minute, Scarlet thought ironically, he was going to set the whole place on fire!

The kitchen was tiny and there was not a lot of room to move about. The worker swung the lighter in front of him, trying to burn Scarlet, but the Spectrum officer swatted it efficiently aside. Since no one was holding it anymore, the lighter fell harmlessly on the floor. Not conceding defeat yet, the worker swooped down quickly, picked up a canister close to his feet, and hurled it at Scarlet, his eyes briefly flashing green. Scarlet raised his arm to deflect the blow and the canister fell back down, hissing its contents out now that it was disconnected from where it was before.

The worker kicked the canister and turned to flee out the delivery door, into the alley. Scarlet was right behind him, nearly tripping over the obstacle, but managed to remain upright. He pushed the delivery door open, looked left and right to see where his quarry had gone to and set off after him. As he ran, he pulled his Spectra-tech out and flipped it open. He was relieved to see the communication device indicating that the service was working and punched in the shortcut access to Blue’s comm. channel. Not waiting for his partner to say anything, he started talking: “Adam, I’m in pursuit of a replicant, the pub was a trap! I’m leaving my tracker on so you can catch up with me.”

Scarlet flipped the Spectra-tech closed and pressed on the tracker to enable it. He knew that whatever Blue was doing, he’d stop and come over.

Running on after the worker into a maze of alleys and side-streets, he cursed the fact that he didn’t know where he was, or where he was going. All he could do was make sure he didn’t lose the worker while the latter ran like he was possessed.

The pursuit took Scarlet into yet another side-street, then he saw the worker turn into an alley. However, when he skidded and turned as well, the alley was deserted. Scarlet slowed down, frowning, frustrated at having lost the replicant. There were a few entranceways and recesses along the alley, and it seemed to turn right at the end. It was darker in the alley than in the actual street and Scarlet struggled a bit to see in the recesses as he passed them. What I’d give for my partner and my cap right now… he thought, clearing a recess and not seeing any trace of the worker.

He reached the end of the alley and turned right, only to realize it was a dead end. There were a few crates close to one of the brick walls and a fire escape ladder. A quick look upwards told Scarlet the worker wasn’t in it. “Did he just sprout wings and fly off?” he wondered aloud, peering behind the crates even if he knew the space between them and the wall was too narrow for someone to hide there.

All he could do was to walk back and look in the recesses again, but at this point, Scarlet was almost sure he had lost him. He took a step forward, but froze, hearing a faint noise from beyond the corner. Footsteps. Coming his way. There was nowhere to hide, and climbing up the ladder would make him even more vulnerable… Scarlet remained close to the crates, even if he knew they would offer little protection.

Whoever was closing in kicked a bottle, scaring a stray cat that yowled as it scuttled away. Scarlet tried to blend in with the shadows as much as he could; he soon found out that it was useless when he was half-blinded by the bright stream of a search light.

The worker didn’t waste much time. He opened fire on Scarlet, who braced himself against the ladder to take the hits. Damn, where did he get an automatic? he thought, feeling the sting of the rounds as the volley of bullets went through him.

One in particular hit his thigh and connected with his femur; he stoically endured the pain, shifting his weight onto his other leg to try and remain standing. He had to at least try to place a shot before going down and he had to make it count. When he saw an opening in his opponent’s shooting, he raised his arm and fired back. His own round hit the worker squarely in the middle of his forehead and the man fell with a grunt. He didn’t stand back up.

Gasping, feeling his jeans and shirt getting soaked with his own blood, Scarlet fumbled with his tracker to activate the emergency setting on it. He told himself he could use his belt on his leg as a tourniquet to give his retrometabolism a chance to kick in and heal him faster if he controlled his worst injury, but never got the chance. Must have hit the artery, he figured, dropping to the ground, unable to hold himself up anymore.

Before he closed his eyes, he at least had the satisfaction of seeing a flash of green as the worker replicant vanished.




When he opened his eyes again, he was met with the vision of a small Christmas tree on the hospital table close to his usual bed in Sickbay. He blinked at the harsh light in the room, frowning at the decoration, feeling a little disoriented. He was parched and his retrometabolism must have been going at it for a while because he was also famished.

“Hey buddy! Welcome back!” Blue’s cheerful call came from his left.

Scarlet found something oddly comforting about hearing his partner’s voice when he woke up. It was something familiar he could grab onto. He had never actually asked the American to do this, but Blue made it his duty to be there if he could. He also apparently acted as a buffer for Destiny Angel, keeping her away when Scarlet was very badly injured, at least until he was more “presentable,” for a lack of a better word. “She doesn’t need to see all of your body parts,” Blue had explained, showing his sensitivity in his own rough and unrefined way.

However, when Scarlet turned his head to look at his partner, he was surprised to see that Blue’s right arm was in a sling—not that it stopped him from hopping down from his own bed and immediately going for the water pitcher. That was another thing his partner did without being asked. He always made sure that there was some cool water nearby and poured a glass, or two, or three, as soon as Scarlet woke up.

“What happened to you?” Scarlet asked, using the bed controls to sit up .

“There was a two-for-one special on stitches today,” Blue replied, handing him a full glass, then walking to the room door to say something to the medical personnel, most likely asking for some food to be brought over.

Scarlet drained the glass in a few gulps and poured himself more water as Blue came back. “I think today was the Skybase canteen holiday special meal, so get ready for a big plate full of different stuff,” Blue said.

“Good. I could eat a whole turkey... how long was I out for anyway?”

“A while. You were dead by the time I got to you. Sorry about that.”

“Well, apparently, you ran into trouble of your own…” Scarlet nodded toward the sling.

“Just some little gnat…” Blue grumbled, sitting back onto his own bed, but towards the end so that Scarlet didn’t have to twist around to look at him. “I guess I should start from the beginning, although I don’t have all of the details myself… Magenta took over after I left with you to get back here.”

Scarlet nodded and poured himself a third glass of water. He raised the pitcher, silently asking if Blue wanted any, but the other man shook his head before speaking again: “As you know, I went to the lab to get more info about this missing tech guy. Turned out he was sick and reappeared a few days later, but had to leave again, but this time with a doctor’s notice.”

“Could he have been Mysteronized?” Scarlet asked.

“I dunno… I saw the medical certificate and it said pneumonia. Apparently the poor bastard was spitting his third lung out when he came in to hand it out to his supervisor. So he wasn’t there when I visited. But the rest was actually pretty much the usual stuff. They fussed about letting me into the high-security areas, as they always do until you either flash a Spectrum ID or they get a call from the colonel, but after that, they cooperated.”

“So what’s in that lab?”

“They have a transportation division, an environmental division and a medical division. The missing-slash-sick guy works for the environmental division.”

“Okay... so did you pick up anything that could be of interest?”

“Well, they do some solutions for train engines and water pollutant controls. However, I scanned everyone there and none of them came out as positive. There wasn’t much I could still do there, so I left, but I took the guy’s address to see if I could go see him anyway.”

“Good idea.”

“I went to his place and it was deserted, so I reported back to Skybase and got a team from Spectrum London to try to track down his whereabouts. Since I hadn’t gotten news from you at that point and that I didn’t have much to do, I stopped at a shop I saw on my way to the guy’s apartment.”

“Oh? Got anything interesting?”

“Yeah…” Blue fidgeted with the sling in annoyance. “Not that it matters now.”

Scarlet frowned. “What do you mean?”

An orderly came into the room, bringing a tray of food. He set the tray on the table, removing the Christmas tree to put it on another table further away. While Scarlet heartily began to eat the generous portions of turkey and ham with all the trimmings, the orderly came back to give Blue a mug of chicken broth with a few packets of saltines. “Great,” he sighed.

“We have to make sure your kidneys are working properly and that you can ingest a little food after the anesthetic, Captain Blue,” the orderly said, “If that goes well you can eat more if you’re hungry.”

The orderly left the room, not hearing Blue’s low: “That’s it, run away, you coward, starve me, you don’t care,” as he took a packet in his left hand.

He rolled his eyes at the fact that he couldn’t open it with only one hand and put the edge in his mouth to tear it off.

“You know he’s right, Adam,” Scarlet quipped between two bites of turkey, smiling at his friend’s hardships.

Blue let go of the packet and made a rude gesture with his good hand.

“Look on the bright side, in a few bites, you can continue your story, I have to finish all this before I tell my part,” he added, sweeping his hand over his full plate and laughing good-naturedly when Blue added a finger to his salute.

A soft knock on the door frame made both men look round. Lieutenant Green was peeking inside with a tentative smile on her face. “Am I interrupting something?” she asked, looking a little perplexed to see her partner with a packet of saltines hanging from his mouth.

“No, come on in, Serena!” Scarlet exclaimed, waving her in.

Predictably, Green went directly in Blue’s direction. Scarlet turned his attention to his meal to give them some privacy, but could still hear the young woman’s protesting at Blue apparently not telling her how bad his injury was and his “don’t worry about it”, said in that low voice he used with her.

“But what happened? To both of you? Paul, Doctor Gold’s report stated you were shot fifteen times...” she said, taking a moment to help her partner with his food, then leant against his bed without sitting on it.

Scarlet figured that Blue didn’t want to talk about his Christmas shopping when Green was there, so he took over: “I was at the pub, sitting at a table and... waiting for my contact to arrive. It was taking a while, so at some point, I needed to go, so I got up and went to the back of the pub. While in there, I heard two guys outside talking. One of them was a maintenance worker I had seen earlier, and the other one was my contact. I didn’t hear everything, but apparently, Jarvis was supposed to keep me busy inside while the worker set the place on fire.”

“So that’s when you called me?” Blue asked.

“Yes. I found the worker in the kitchen with a lighter and ran after him. I figured he was more of an immediate menace than his accomplice.”

Blue nodded with a “makes sense” expression on his face. “I used my tracker to find you. You were running all over the place!”

“I don’t know where I was going. He took all kinds of shortcuts and turns. All I cared about was not to lose him, but he was more knowledgeable about the area than I was and got me into a dead-end. With a fully automatic weapon, and not really anywhere to hide. I managed to take him out before I died. He was a replicant.”

Green winced in sympathy. Or it might have been because she imagined what happened next and it wasn’t a pretty sight. She had a thought for her partner who usually either witnessed Scarlet’s deaths or was the first to see the aftermath and shifted slightly around so that her hip would touch his leg. Blue automatically moved so he was leaning back against her, putting his left arm behind her. “That’s when you activated the emergency signal, right? I was still some distance away…” He frowned. “You say you got the replicant?”

Scarlet nodded, pushing his table away. “I saw the green flash before passing out. He was standing close to the corner of the alley. Why?”

“When I arrived where your signal was coming from, you weren’t alone. There was a guy there. About your size. Dark hair with a coat on…”

Metcalfe? Scarlet thought, raising his eyebrows. “What was he doing?”

“I think he was freaking out a little, actually. Probably didn’t expect to find you like you were. The wall behind you was—” He stopped and looked at Green, who was touching his knee in a silent plea for him not to go into detail if he didn’t have to. “Anyway, I went in to arrest him. Regardless of who he was, he was due for some questioning once I got you back to safety. What I didn’t know at the time was that he had picked up your gun, Paul. And since he didn’t know what the hell he was doing, he had his finger on the trigger when he turned around, so one sympathetic squeeze later, he got me.”

“Good thing his aim was bad,” Green commented, stroking his knee as her hand was still on it.

“Actually, it could have been worse. He shot me about here,” Blue replied, shifting away from her to show the upper part of his chest, on the right. “But remember what I said earlier, Paul? I had stopped at that shop on my way back from the lab guy’s apartment.”

“Yes, you told me that,” Scarlet replied.

Blue tilted his head toward Green. “I had gotten you a really nice metal box to put tea in. It was really pretty with designs and reliefs. And since you’re always cold, I had also gotten a cashmere scarf… I wrapped it around the box and put them inside my jacket so I didn’t have to carry them around. The bullet went through them at an angle and somehow got deviated to hit my arm. The way I was standing probably made a difference, too.”

Green gasped at the unexpected turn of events.

“Talk about good fortune, in a way…” Scarlet said.

“I was so pissed off that he ruined my presents that I tackled him and tied him down with that ugly-ass yellow scarf he had around his neck! I guess after that, the adrenalin shot back down though, because it started hurting like hell. I had to sit down on one of those crates and stop the bleeding. I took the package out and used the scarf… It was ruined anyway.” He addressed Green: “Sorry about that. I’ll get you something else but we’ll have to wait after Christmas.”

She had an odd, determined, expression on her face. “I don’t want anything else. I want that. And the box. I want them. They’re perfect.”

“They have holes in them! The scarf is burnt in places where the bullet went through, it’s got blood on it... Dr. Gold probably got rid of it when he sewed me back together.”

“Oh no! My present!” she exclaimed in panic and rushed out of the room.

“Honey, don’t worry about it, I’ll get you something else!” Blue exclaimed, but she was too far, or didn’t want to listen. “I don’t get it...” he added, more to himself than Scarlet. “Good thing I didn’t use that scarf to tie the guy up, I guess,” he muttered, scratching his head.

Scarlet frowned. “Wait. You said the guy’s scarf was yellow?” he asked.


“You tackled my informant?”

“Considering the idiot had just shot me and that I thought he had killed you, he only got what he deserved and was lucky I didn’t do more to him! He wasn’t a replicant, though. He didn’t do that vanishing act they usually do. He whined and bumbled about while I was waiting for Magenta. I tried to get him to talk, but all I got was that he had seen you run after the other guy, followed you up to the alley, and he kept complaining I couldn’t detain him because I wasn’t a ‘real cop’… Hopefully, Mario got more out of him than I did.”

“He did, I received his report. That’s why I had my tablet with me.” Green said as she returned triumphantly with a plastic bag containing the damaged scarf.

She set it on Blue’s hospital table and gave him a quick kiss before sitting on the bed next to him. Taking her tablet, she searched for something on it. “Magenta had the man you call Jarvis taken to Spectrum London for interrogation and had a very interesting conversation with him.”

“His name isn’t Jarvis?” Scarlet asked.

“Actually, it’s Edward Gervase Matheson.” She looked at Blue, whose eyebrows shot up.

“What the… the lab technician?” he said.

“Yep. A few weeks ago, he was approached by a man called George Theodopoulos about a way to make some fast money…”

“Captain Black…” Scarlet murmured, recognizing the name combination of Conrad Lefkon’s parents.

“Exactly. The lab where Mister Matheson works is developing anesthetic formulas for veterinarians. He was instructed to bring canisters of one of their experimental gases to the pub you were at, Paul, then keep you busy for a while. He claims he was told that he was helping to stop a dangerous criminal.”

Blue snorted derisively and Scarlet made an impatient gesture at him to let Green continue. She looked down at the report. “You were supposed to become somnolent and unaware of your surroundings so the police would catch you easier, or so Mister Matheson was told. He said all he had to do was to take the canisters there and someone else would handle the next part.”

“The worker replicant… He was fiddling around with them when I caught him. Threw one at me. It was connected to the ventilation system,” Scarlet said. “It was supposed to make me drowsy so that that worker could set the pub on fire, kill me and destroy any evidence of their actions!”

“Matheson was supposed to die as well if he was supposed to keep you in there,” Blue added. “Looks like being tied up with his own scarf wasn’t so bad after all!”

Green swatted lightly at his leg. “Magenta went back to the pub. He said there were some empty canisters in the kitchen, so the gas had been circulating around for a while. I did some research on the contents. The compound is similar to ketamine, but they managed to diffuse it out in gas form. The lulling effects don’t last once you’re not exposed to it anymore, but it can induce confusion and hallucinations or out-of-body-like experiences in some people… They had problems with the compound smelling moldy, so they added a fragrance to it... nasty.” She winced. “I really don’t envy you guys. You put up with all kind of bad things.”

She hopped off the bed, still holding her tablet and picking up the plastic bag from the table. “I have to go back up to Central Control, my shift isn’t over. I thought you’d be interested in Mario’s findings, though. You can add to his report when you’re ready and/or thawed out,” she said, winking at Blue, who tried to grab her but failed as she scooted away, laughing.

Scarlet watched her leave, feeling a little ill at ease. So that whole discussion had been a side-effect of the drug? Had the beer and scotch made it worse? Had he spilled out Spectrum secrets to a stranger? Had it been Matheson all along? Although he supposed that anyone he would have talked to could think it was a silly side-effect as well, being accosted by some crazy guy talking about being dead several times…

“So? Seen any purple spiders or Elvis while you were in there?” Blue asked jokingly, trying to move his right arm.

Scarlet hesitated. He wasn’t sure he was ready to say anything about what he had seen or the fact that he might have taken in half a bottle of hard liquor, and was seriously considering leaving all of this out of his report.

A nurse entered the room with some pain medicine for Blue. Scarlet’s eye widened at the sight of her. Her copper hair was neatly plaited into a long braid, but her features and bright blue eyes were unmistakable… “Dianne?” he asked uncertainly.

The attractive young woman smiled. “I’m flattered, Captain! I only started working on Skybase a few days ago and you remember my name already?”

She picked up his food tray, putting the Christmas tree back on the table before leaving the room. He watched her go, uneasy, and the feeling increased when he saw Destiny Angel in the doorway, staring back at him over the redhead’s shorter silhouette.


 ~ The End ~



Author's Notes and Disclaimer


Thank you Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and the CGI team for creating such a beautiful playground! The characters are not mine, I'm having a great time writing the stories, and no profit is intended from this.

This story was more of a challenge than I thought it would be! It all started with a picture I made of both Scarlets in a pub:



I wanted to tell the story that went with it, but nothing precise came to mind, so I let it simmer for a while. At first, I thought it could be a Halloween thing, but VMR suggested that it felt like a Christmas story to her, so I took that approach instead—so  special thanks to VMR for that!

A big thank you to Hazel Köhler for beta-reading and for putting up with me saying  “it’s almost ready but I’m stuck!” about 200 times. Any remaining mistakes are mine. Thanks also to Chris for setting up the story on SHQ in her usual tasteful way that make the story look even better.

Happy holidays everyone!







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