A New Captain Scarlet Fanfiction by Isabelle Saucier
Balancing a tray of food in one hand, Serena Lewis knocked on the door in front of her. Then, without waiting for an answer, opened it and stepped into a good-sized office. She smiled at the only occupant there, saying: “I thought you might want to eat something before this afternoon’s interview.”
Charles Grey’s harsh expression at being bothered while he was working softened at the sight of the young woman. His assistant Connie was off for the day because she was sick with a bad case of food poisoning. Normally, he would have fared on his own, but there were a series of preliminary interviews for the senior officer positions at the slowly, but surely forming Spectrum agency and the day had gone from busy to crazy in no time. He was glad for Serena’s presence. She had the required security clearance and even if this wasn’t the type of work she usually did, being his top computer specialist, she had offered to help spontaneously since she knew that postponing the interviews would be troublesome—some of the candidates were coming from halfway around the world.
She was taking care of the candidates, and, apparently, of him, reminding him he had to stop for a moment to eat something. “You should be careful, Miss Lewis, I might be tempted to take you with me permanently to Skybase once the Spectrum agency is up and running instead of just for the installation and testing phases,” he commented.
“Considering this would be the closest I could be from doing space flights, I might take you up on your offer, sir. Perhaps it’s you who should be careful about what you’re offering, I followed you to London already,” she replied with a beautiful smile before putting the tray on a nearby table.
He smiled back. “I’m happy you did.” He motioned towards the tray. “Are you eating something?”
“Already did. I’m heading back to the computer lab for a bit and I’ll return for this afternoon’s meeting. Are you missing anything from Miss Inukai’s file?”
“I don’t think so. I saw you added some footage of some of her tests for Takamochi. Not sure how you found those, however.”
She shrugged. “It wasn’t very difficult to find. I think you’ll be quite happy.”
He smiled again. “Spectrum is the UN’s elite agency. I only want the best elements for it.”
“Well, it looks promising so far.” She began to back up towards the door. “I’ll let you work, sir.”
“Thank you, Miss Lewis. Close the door behind you, will you?”
Serena left and headed for the computer lab at a brisk pace. She wanted to look at a few bugs that kept the developers from progressing and try to get them on their way for the rest of the day, if not the following morning.
If the morning they had spent with Doctor Mason Frost was an indicator of how things were going, she and Grey were in for a late dinner. Not that she was complaining. Meeting the medical officer had been fascinating. He was a highly competent man and would truly be an asset to the agency. He had provided excellent inputs for the construction of the sickbay and was scheduled to come back soon to collaborate further on his staffing and equipment requirements.
Miss Inukai was a test pilot for Takamochi Air with an impressive and spotless record. If she accepted Spectrum’s offer and passed the qualifications—which Serena had no doubts she would—she would join the flight of Angels, the all-female fighter pilot squadron stationed on Skybase. Serena was impatient to meet her.
She ended up staying longer than she had planned at the lab because of a particularly troublesome bug and she didn’t want to give up until there was some sort of progress with it. That meant that she was almost late for the afternoon assignment and she hurried back toward Grey’s office.
The UN building in London was a real maze and the various departments were further apart than the building in New York. Serena grumbled a bit about architectural crazes compared to efficiency and turned into a side corridor, knowing this was a shortcut even if it meant she had to go through the main hallway and the waiting area for the general visitors.
The hallway was not very crowded, with only a few people sitting in the provided couches and a small tourist group on a guided tour. If only they knew what was going on behind the scenes, she thought.
There was a man at the main desk. She would have barely given him a passing glance as she crossed the room but he suddenly opened his arms in an impatient, fatalistic gesture and she gave him a second look.
He was tall and broad, with a very determined, almost aggressive, soldier-like stance. It made a sharp contrast with his very blond hair that almost seemed out of place on his head and did nothing to soften his features. “I’m asking for ten minutes for crying out loud!” he exclaimed to the receptionist, who looked a little overwhelmed by his presence.
Serena approached the desk. She had recognized the man from the candidate files. “Major Svenson?” she asked.
He turned his head, his deep-set blue eyes staring at her with a mix of impatience and curiosity at hearing his name. “Who are you?” he replied brusquely.
She refused to be intimidated. “I’m working with Sir Charles and helping him. Your interview is planned for next week...” she began.
“I’m here already. I want to see him. I only need a few minutes.”
Adam Svenson was currently stationed in Alaska, so Serena knew he had made an extra effort to cover the distance. She couldn’t just send him on his way... She looked at her watch, then took her phone out. “Can you prepare a visitor’s pass for the major please?” she asked the receptionist, then addressed the man: “Let’s see what we can do.”
He seemed pacified somewhat by her answer and his stance relaxed a little. Serena watched him sign the visitor registry and clip the temporary ID tag on his belt while she tried to contact Grey, but was unsuccessful because he was already on the phone with someone else. So much for that. They would have to go in and wait. She turned to the receptionist. “When Miss Inukai arrives, please let me know and tell her there might be a slight delay,” she said, signing the registry herself next to her unexpected guest’s name.
The receptionist nodded and typed something on her computer. Svenson turned expectantly toward Serena and began walking even before she could ask him to follow her. Wow, if he knew the way, he’d be running ahead of me! she thought, unsure if she should be amused or worried as they made their way to the restricted access area of the building.
They passed a secured door and walked down a corridor in silence. Serena would have made small talk with him, but he didn’t seem to be in the mood for idle chit-chat. Not even a thank you for trying to help him, she mused, a little irritated by his rude behavior.
The only thing at the end of the corridor was an elevator. Serena put her hand on the identification console and the door slid open. She held it that way for Svenson to go through and he actually said “Thank you” in a low voice as he stepped inside the car.
She pressed the button for the desired level and stepped back. Hopefully I won’t get in trouble for taking the major up without Sir Charles’ approval first, she told herself, trying for a friendly smile at her companion..
He didn’t smile back, but wasn’t frowning anymore. At least she thought he wasn’t. His face was difficult to read and seemed to be naturally set in a stern expression. He blinked, then asked suddenly: “How did you know who I was?”
Well. Better than nothing, she supposed. “I’ve seen the candidate files for the Spectrum senior staff,” she replied, then her smile broadened a little. “That, and you look like your father.”
His expression darkened. “Do I?”
She had met General John Svenson and his wife a while back at an official function. Both father and son shared the same sharp, imposing, military bearing—and blond hair—and it was easy to see they were related. However, considering the major didn’t particularly look as if he wanted to talk about his family, she chose not to insist.
She was saved by the elevator door opening and they both stepped out. “Sir Charles’ office is this way,” she indicated and they walked down another hallway until they reached the outer office, which accommodated Connie’s desk and a small waiting area.
Serena motioned for the man to take a seat as she quickly checked the console on Connie’s desk. “He’s on the phone right now. It shouldn’t take long,” she said. “Would you like something to drink? I can make coffee, or tea.”
“No thanks,” he replied, sitting down, but remaining on the edge of the seat as if to get up quickly if he needed to.
She shrugged mentally and held back a smile. He didn’t look like the tea type at all. She looked at the console again. The line was still busy. “You know, even if he does see you, he won’t have a whole lot of time for you. You’ll probably have to come back,” she said.
“As I said before, this won’t take long.”
You won’t talk about it with me. Got it.
“I might be deployed elsewhere next week. I want to settle this beforehand,” he added, surprising her.
She nodded. “I’m sure Sir Charles will appreciate your forethought.” She walked around the desk and leant against it. “He’s in a good mood, the meeting with Doctor Frost went very well this morning, so you—“
“Frost as in ‘part of the ISA big-shot medical team Frost’?” he cut her off.
“The very same,” she replied, thinking he was impressed by the reputation of the medical officer, but he shook his head with an odd expression, almost a sneer, on his face.
She was going to ask if something was wrong, when she noticed from the corner of her eye that the indicator on the phone console had turned off. Let Sir Charles handle this fellow, she told herself.
She had barely moved towards the office door when she felt the man’s presence behind her. She turned around, trying to hide her annoyance. “What are you doing?” she asked.
He was so close he almost bumped into her. “I’m following you in. What does it look like I’m doing?”
“I’ll check if he’ll see you first. Please sit down.”
He remained where he was, staring at her with his unwavering eyes. However, since Serena had some experience being stared at by Grey—and withstanding it—she wasn’t intimidated. “I won’t move until you sit down, Major,” she stated.
He rolled his eyes and moved forward as if to open the door. “We’re wasting time. Just let me—“
The attack came so fast he didn’t have time to react. Serena reached out and pinched the back of his outstretched hand. Hard. Using her nails. “OW!! What the fu—“
She hadn’t raised her voice, but her tone was very authoritative.
“What the hell did you do that for!?” he exclaimed, shaking his hand in pain, his eyes wide open.
At that moment, the door opened and Grey appeared, looking quite displeased at being disturbed. “Miss Lewis, what is the meaning of this?” he asked, but raised his eyebrows as he recognized the man also there. “Adam?”
“Major Svenson couldn’t wait until next week and wanted to see you, sir. I was just explaining to him that he needs to wait until you are available.”
“I see,” the older man commented, amused by the way Svenson was gaping at his assistant even if he didn’t know what had caused it, “You can let him through, Serena,” he added, turning away to return to his desk—and hide his smile.
Serena gave the blond man a stern look, silently telling him to behave, before moving aside. He walked past her, reached the desk, and stopped. Grey motioned toward one of the nearby chairs. “Please, have a seat.”
Svenson shook his head. “This won’t take long sir,” he replied, reaching into his jacket to retrieve an official-looking envelope, “I came to return this. I won’t be joining Spectrum.”
Any remaining trace of hilarity left Grey’s face instantly. “May I ask why?”
Svenson put the envelope on the desk and stood at ease with his hands behind his back, both as a reflex from his own military training and out of respect for the man in front of him. “Sir, I’m a soldier. My duty is to serve my country and fight the enemy. This UN agency has the look and feel of an administrative parade meant to look good, but do little. I’m not interested. I’m a man of action and concrete work. I know I was scheduled for next week, but I will be deployed elsewhere, and I wanted to come and tell you in person. I owe you at least that.”
“I can assure you that my offer is genuine. Perhaps you would like to wait until you’re stationed in your new location before you make up your mind? We can schedule another meeting...”
The blond man shook his head again. “My father’s position as advisor to the President of the United States has taught me about this kind of situation. This is clearly something where politics and connections will play a huge role. He might be trying to advance my career by having me selected, but it’s not for me. I’m a field-work guy and that’s where I want to stay.”
Grey remained silent for a little while and Serena knew that he was disappointed. “I can see that your mind is set despite anything I could tell you.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to having you on the team. This is a serious agency and you would have plenty to do, but I can only respect your choice. Know that the offer will still stand should you change your mind.”
“Thank you, but that’s not likely to happen.” Svenson came to attention as if to salute Grey, then extended his hand. “Have a nice day, sir. I know you’re expecting someone else, so I’ll see myself out.”
“I was glad to see you even if the results aren’t as I expected.”
They shook hands firmly, then Svenson turned smartly to leave the office. He passed Serena, who was still standing by the door. “See? You don’t even need to kick me out,” he murmured in a low voice that was not without humor.
“How ungentlemanly of you to deny me this pleasure,” she replied in the same manner.
She heard him mutter something that sounded like a curse, but the corners of his mouth lifted into a smile. She felt herself respond to him and she had to bite her lip so that it didn’t show. A discreet look at Grey told her to let their impromptu guest go so she followed him to the security checkpoint, wishing him a safe trip back.
When she returned to Grey’s office, she saw that her boss was on the phone with the reception desk, giving instructions about the major and making sure he would have transport to wherever he wished to go. He hung up, and sighed, scratching his head. “Would you believe that the reasons Adam gave me for not joining are exactly why I wanted him on the team?” he told his assistant, not without some exasperation.
“I can try to get him back up here if you want,” she began, but he shook his head.
“His mind is set for now. All I would succeed in doing is alienating him even more. He’s stubborn, won’t listen sometimes... I should know, his father is the same way.”
“What if you contacted General Svenson? So that he can confirm that he had nothing to do with this?”
“It’s a thought, but I’d rather not involve John if I don’t have to.” He sighed. “I’m truly disappointed. I’ll have to find a way to talk to Adam again. Perhaps if I wait for the training period to begin, so he can see this is serious? I have to think about this...”
“I’m sorry it didn’t work out the way you wanted,” Serena commented, retrieving the food tray, happy to see he had actually eaten something.
“He’s not the first who will refuse the offer, but I thought he’d jump right in, much like Miss Giraudoux did—I’ll think about this,” he repeated.
Serena nodded. “It’ll be easy enough to find out where he’s stationed next.” She walked to the door and turned around. “Do you want me to fetch Miss Inukai now?”
“Give me fifteen minutes, please.”
She gave him a reassuring smile and left for the canteen, the tray in one hand and her tablet in the other. Hopefully, the afternoon would end better than it had started...
She returned to the reception area a little later to find out that Yoko Inukai wasn’t there yet because she’d been delayed by a traffic accident on route to the UN building. Great, she thought, looking over the few guests in the room, hoping she would see the Japanese pilot appear soon.
Her eyes fell on a thatch of familiar-looking blond hair. Of course. If the shuttle was late, his transport would more than likely be as well. She bit her lip. What if... ?
He turned his head to look at her when he heard her footsteps. His expression was still hard to read, but his eyes weren’t hostile. If anything, he looked more curious than anything else. He watched as she sat down next to him and waited to see what she was going to do or say.
“Do you know what’s in your file?” she asked, “Why you were short-listed for Spectrum senior officers? Can I read it to you?”
He shrugged, his mouth lifting up in a lopsided smile. “Indulge yourself,” he replied, a twinkle in his azure, almost cat-like eyes.
She gazed down at her tablet. “I see here... you’re a distinguished West-Point graduate with a specialty in defense and strategic studies, and mechanics... tactics and heavy weaponry training in Russia—including Druznyks and mech. infantry units—also improved your knowledge of the language while you were there... Then you were deployed in several different locations where your leadership and quick thinking saved many lives... Purple Heart doubled by a medal of honor for being shot in the leg during the Global Terrorist Wars and still managing to kill a terrorist during a hostage situation in Greece, not to mention free the hostages...” She swiped her finger on the screen, seemingly looking for something, “Hmm... I don’t see anywhere that you have an influential father. I’ll take a wild guess, but I think it’s because it’s not relevant to what you can bring to the team. See?”
She held the tablet so he could read it. He took it in his hand and stared at the page for a short while. “That’s all nice, Miss Lewis, but I think I’ll let you in on a secret,” he said, leaning closer as if to share some information only with her. “The link between my father and Sir Charles, or any private agreements they may have, won’t be in this file, as they shouldn’t be. Those are the kind of things said over the phone—or even better, a business lunch when no-one will be listening. Then, you have this clean-cut, public-friendly list no one can argue about.”
“I can assure you that the team of senior field officers and pilots were hand picked based on their expertise,” Serena stated, and reached over to display a list of names. “I probably shouldn’t be showing you this, but these are the people on the senior staff shortlist. As you’ll see it’s not just anyone.”
He looked at the list attentively and she thought he finally saw this was serious... until he opened his mouth. “Okay! Wow, I’m impressed... the daughter of a wealthy and influential lord, the ISA’s star physician, the daughter of uber-known nanotechnology specialists involved in research about rocket fuel, the son of a three-star general, advisor to the President of the United States—that’s me,” he enumerated, sticking his fingers out to mark each name, “And ho! The son of the first man on Mars... do I sense a pattern here? I’m not even down the whole list yet! And I’m sure none of them have any ‘special note’ officially attached to their files.”
“No, because they were chosen for their outstanding competences, as were you. This is a serious agency with global coverage that will help countless people,” she argued, beginning to lose patience over his lack of good will.
He handed the tablet back to her. “You seem to be a very devoted advocate for this. Almost makes me wonder if you’re part of the club as well...” he folded his arms akimbo, tilting his head. “Whose daughter are you?”
Serena gaped, then her mouth set in a stern line. She wasn’t sure what had stung the most–his words or the almost disdainful way he had said them. She stood up. “Not that it’s any of your business, but my mother’s work has nothing to do with this,” she began, with a sweeping gesture around the room. “And considering my father’s been dead for more than ten years now, I doubt he could have done any pushing to further my career!”
His expression changed and he actually looked contrite. “I’m sor—“ he began, but she didn’t let him speak.
“So no, major, I’m not a member of any club you can imagine. I earned my position here with hard work and great qualifications. That’s why Sir Charles chose me two years ago to work with him at the UN office in New York, and then on the Spectrum project. He’s put his whole heart and soul into this and so has his team. I can understand why you’d refuse to consider a position if it was in fact false representation, but this is very real, and I’m surprised and disappointed at you because if you’re supposed to know the man, you wouldn’t doubt his integrity like this.”
She hugged her tablet to her chest, frustrated by her own failure at trying to change his mind. She hoped she hadn’t ruined any future efforts Grey might make. Pursing her lips, she said: “I’ll leave you alone. Your transport should be here shortly. Have a safe flight back to Alaska when the time comes.”
She didn’t wait for him to reply and headed towards the reception desk, where a petite Asian woman was standing, waiting. Serena gave her a winning smile, signed the registry next to her name while they talked, and they both left for the upper levels.
When she gave Svenson one last look from afar, he was still sitting in his chair, a brooding expression on his face. He didn’t look back at her.
Yoko Inukai had enthusiastically joined up. So had Miss Foster-Finch, who was thrilled to come back to her first love of piloting jet fighter planes instead of rescue helicopters—even more so since she knew this was something her father didn’t approve of. Apparently, coming out of illustrious parents’ shadows was a common trait for several of the candidates and they all saw Spectrum as an opportunity to do just that.
Serena hadn’t seen much of the other candidates, as Connie was back from her sick leave and the young computer specialist had returned to her own duties. As far as she knew, there had been no news about Major Svenson in the last two weeks, but then again, Grey might have wanted to wait longer before talking to him again. He had learned about Serena’s intervention and had not hesitated to let her know how unhappy he was with it.
The interviews were still going on. In fact, there was one this afternoon. That’s why Serena was hurrying down the hallway to catch Grey before he became unavailable. They had had a breakthrough over problems with the communicators built into the design for the officers’ caps and she was impatient to show him.
She arrived in the outer office to see that her superior’s door was closed. Connie, sitting at her desk, was typing something.
“Hey Connie, is the big boss on the phone?” Serena asked, approaching the other woman’s desk.
“No, he’s with someone.”
“Okay, I’ll wait.”
Serena held the prototype cap in her hand and was about to sit on one of the waiting room chairs but Connie called her back: “Hang on. I have something for you.”
Grey’s assistant nodded and retrieved an envelope on her desk. Frowning, Serena took it, not recognizing the scrawl on it. It was obviously a man’s handwriting... she put the cap on the desk and unfolded the plain, white sheet of paper she found in the envelope. It contained only a few lines, but she felt a little thrill in her stomach as she read them:
I want to apologize because I have been judgmental and rude to you. You didn’t deserve this. I’m also sorry for your loss, but I didn’t get the chance to tell you, since you stormed off in justified outrage. If it makes you feel any better, I felt like an ass for the rest of the day.
Hopefully, you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me.
Serena tried to keep an impassive face as she folded the paper and put it back into the envelope. Well, you’re not such a jerk after all, she thought.
She tilted her head toward Grey’s office, picking the cap up from the desk. “Is the man who left this in there with Sir Charles now?”
Connie nodded. “He called, saying he was in England and had to see Sir Charles, that he was expected, then said he’d be here shortly. I had nothing in my appointment book about it, but Sir Charles agreed to see him. Honestly, I think that even if I had said it wasn’t possible to have a meeting, he would have burst in here anyway.”
Serena smiled. “That’s him all right...”
Connie lowered her voice to comment: “He creeps me out a little. He looks like he’s always angry.”
“No, he’s just serious. He’s a soldier, it’s normal that he’s, um, intense.”
Grey’s assistant laughed. “Intense, that’s generous of you. Although I guess he has to scare the bad guys away, with a mug like that...”
“Ah, that’s not nice!” Serena protested.
The other woman raised her eyebrows. “I didn’t know he was your type.”
“Well, he’s not. A little too brawny and blond for me. But still, he’s not bad looking... Some women like big-man hero guys.” She ignored Connie’s unconvinced stare. “Besides, Sir Charles wants him for his terrorist-handling skills, not his looks or social skills.”
The door to the office opened and the two men came out, still talking about something. They both seemed relaxed and were smiling. When Svenson spotted Serena holding the envelope, he slowed to a stop and his expression became a little uncertain. Serena wasn’t the type of person to hold a grudge. She found she was actually happy to see him and his message had looked sincere. That’s what the thrill had meant when she had read it, hadn’t it? She smiled and said: “Good morning.”
Grey walked past Svenson with a nod to his computer specialist and went to talk to his assistant. The blond man remained where he was. He sensed that she wasn’t angry at him, so his stance relaxed and he smiled back. The twinkle was back in his eyes—his intense, sky-blue, eyes—and she felt the thrill again, almost like a tug inside of her.
He nodded at the envelope. “I dropped by to leave that for you, so while I was here, I figured I might as well join in. What if there’s action and the opportunity to take care of a bad guy or two... won’t be a total waste of time and energy.” He threw up his hands in a helpless gesture. “Looks like you’ll be stuck with me for a while” he added.
“Good! Welcome to Spectrum! I wish you lots of pain and sweat and hard work in your near future!” she exclaimed, extending her hand to him.
“Thank you!” he replied with a surprised laugh.
That, and his warm and firm hand that left hers sooner than she would have liked, tugged even harder. Her heart skipped a beat.
Author's Notes and Disclaimer
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.
In her official bio, Serena Lewis was already working with Charles Grey when the UN formed Spectrum. It was only fitting that she happened to be there when Adam Svenson announced he wouldn’t be joining. And it would be fitting that she tried to help, even though her attempt failed... or did it?
As usual, many thanks to Skybase Girl, who had to beta-read not one, but two stories this time. Also many thanks to Chris Bishop who works hard to maintain Spectrum Headquarters, the best Captain Scarlet web site out there.
I wrote Serena’s view on the story first, but then thought Adam deserved his own version as well. To see Adam’s point of view, read Recruitment Pains.
Any comments? Send an E-MAIL to the SPECTRUM HEADQUARTERS site