A New Captain Scarlet Fanfiction by Isabelle Saucier
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 as always, no profit is intended from this.
I have no idea where this came from. I know it would probably never happen on Skybase, but bear with me... I had a lot of fun writing this particular one.
Many thanks to Skybase Girl for her usual, terrific beta-reading and suggestions—which usually result in yet more pages to beta-read! Any remaining mistakes are mine.
Returning from a routine patrol, Harmony and Melody Angels stepped into the lounge. Their flight had been uneventful, but Colonel White had made them circle around several times, adding maneuvers to their normal flight pattern. "Well, I'm happy I'm done for today," Melody said to her partner, collapsing onto one of the lounge couches. "Hey girls!" she added as a greeting to her fellow Angels, Lieutenant Green and Captain Ochre.
They all returned the greeting. "What's going on, is this Ladies' Night Out or something?" Harmony asked.
"Almost. The guys requisitioned the gym to play basketball so they basically kicked us out of there," Green replied. "I didn't feel like staying cooped up in my quarters, so I came here instead."
"Me too," Ochre added.
"All we need is a chick flick and pop corn and we'd be all set!" Destiny exclaimed.
"Well, we probably could set up a viewing screen next to the coffee machine, or at least project a picture onto the wall..." Green began.
"You would already have something in mind," Harmony said, laughing.
"Sorry, can't help it." Sighing, the young lieutenant brought her legs up under her. "Sometimes I do miss girlie activities while I'm up here in Skybase though; maybe we should set something up."
"You know what's a girlie thing I really miss?" Ochre said, closing the book she was reading and setting it on her lap. "A sleepover."
"With the sleeping bags, and doing each other's nails, and gossiping about boys?" Harmony asked, a mocking expression on her face.
“Aren’t we a bit old for all that?”
Ochre shook her head emphatically. “Nope. We’re never too old for that.”
Rhapsody began to laugh. "I can only imagine Colonel White's face if we ever asked him to convert the lounge into a teenager's bedroom!"
Colonel White stared at his executive officer. "You want to do what?"
His stare was deceptively calm; his voice, deceivingly soft. Destiny gave a quick sideways glance at Green, who was calmly staring back at their commanding officer. The girls had almost instantly elected the young lieutenant as the official spokesperson for their silly project, as she was the only one who would dare ask White for his permission. The Falcon pilot was technically there for moral support, but she shamelessly admitted to herself that she wanted to see how Green would pull it off.
"We'd wait until we're all off-duty, of course, and make sure that we pick everything up in the morning. You wouldn't even know it happened," Green said.
White stood up and walked around his office, his pace casual, but neither women were fooled and continued to look forward. "And, pray tell, whose idea was this?"
"It was a collective effort, sir."
He stopped behind them. "Was it now?" He paused. "Take a look around you, lieutenant. Does it look like I run a daycare center to you?"
"No sir. You are running a state-of-the-art military facility employing elite personnel."
"And in your opinion, is a state-of-the-art military facility the appropriate location for your little gathering?"
"In my opinion? I say, why not?"
Destiny almost gasped aloud because Green actually talked back to him. And it didn't seem to faze her at all. "Consider this request as a team-building effort," the young lieutenant continued.
He said nothing, but came to rest against the desk with his arms akimbo. His piercing blue eyes went from one woman to the other. Was that a glint of amusement Destiny just saw in them?
"Come on, sir! The guys transformed the whole gym area into a basketball court two days ago! You didn't say a thing!" Green exclaimed.
"Considering they were using the sports facilities to practice a sport, I didn't really see a problem with it. You want to turn the lounge into a lady's boudoir."
"Well, technically, it would be full of ladies in it, so..."
"It would be a bend in protocol, I—"
"It would boost the troops' morale!"
"Are you interrupting me, lieutenant?" His voice was stern, but the glint of amusement was definitely in his eyes.
"Please, sir, just this once," she said gently.
He raised his eyebrows."Begging, Serena? Really?"
She added a pout, for good measure; Destiny bit her lip to hold back a giggle that would definitely not have helped their case at that point. White sighed, looking annoyed. Then, he stuck his hand out and began ticking items off on his fingers. "One, you limit yourselves to one room, and one room only. No meandering about Skybase in your jammies (Destiny bravely fought the giggle back once again). Two, you'll be quiet about your arrival and departure, and leave before duty starts in the morning. Three, when you do leave, there mustn't be a trace of your stay. Not a pillow, no food, nothing. I don't want this to end up in some sort of escalating match between you and the boys."
Both young women were grinning happily, and he had a hard time keeping a straight face. His executive officer was about to say something, but he raised his finger to indicate that he was not done. "Four, this is a one instance event only. And I don't want to hear about it ever again. Is that understood?"
Both nodded. Destiny thanked him politely, and as usual, Green was more expressive in showing her happiness. "See how the troops' morale is improved already!" she exclaimed.
He went back to his chair, pressing the button that opened the glass partitions between his office and Central Control. "Now get out before I change my mind," he growled.
As they made their way back to Green's desk, Destiny thought she heard a sound as if someone was trying to hide a chuckle with a cough.
"Are you kidding me?!"
Harmony stared in dismay at the lounge couches, which were bolted to the floor. They had planned to move the furniture into one corner to use most of the floor space, benefitting from the magnificent view as much as they could. The five Angels, one captain and one lieutenant— Silver was on duty and had to remain in Central Control—had just arrived with assorted bundles of blankets and pillows.
Destiny scratched her head. "I can't believe we didn't check for that before. They can swivel, but they can't be moved," she said.
"Can we try to settle around the couches?" Rhapsody asked, trying to find a solution.
"It's not the same. Aw, this sucks, I was looking forward to this!" Green complained, scrunching up her face.
They all looked at each other with different degrees of disappointment on their faces. "Can we go somewhere else?" Rhapsody asked again.
"Where? Our quarters are too small, and the gym and the canteen won't do," Harmony replied.
"What about the observation deck? It's big enough," Ochre suggested.
"It's also in Central Control."
The Irishwoman shrugged. "So?"
"I'm not sure Colonel White would agree to this..." Melody began.
Ochre pursed her lips. "Serena?"
"What do you think?"
"Well, Central Control is empty at this time. Colonel White has a meeting tomorrow at 08.00 in his office, and I'm due for duty at the same time, along with the tech guys, so I guess it could work if we make sure we're gone before that," Green said.
"What about Bethany? She's on duty there right now," Harmony said.
"She won't rat out on us. Besides, technically, we won't be in Central Control. So we won't be bothering her. Much,” Green replied.
"If anything, she'll welcome the distraction. It must be quite boring to be on her lonesome all night," Ochre piped in.
"It's only one level up, so we wouldn't really be meandering..." Destiny added.
They had changed into nightwear before leaving their quarters, knowing that they didn’t have far to go to get to the lounge and feeling that arriving in civvies added to the authentic atmosphere of the sleepover. "Okay then, let's go!" Ochre said, before picking up a bundle and walking toward the lounge exit.
Lieutenant Silver looked up in surprise at the procession entering the doors at the other end of Central Control. She opened her mouth several times as if she were going to say something, but remained quiet.
"Hey Beth, don't mind us," Green said as a greeting.
"Not enough room downstairs," Ochre added.
"You'll get in trouble! If the colonel finds you here..." Silver began.
"He won't. Why would he? We'll be gone before he arrives tomorrow."
"Not that we were ever here in the first place," Green commented with a wink.
"Oooh. I get you... Well, I'll be glad for the 'non-company', then," Silver replied with a lopsided smile.
The young women walked down the few steps to the observation deck, then set their bundles down again. "Look at all the room! And the view's great here," the Irishwoman exclaimed, gazing out of the large glass bays.
"Can you imagine watching the sun rise from here? It must be breathtaking," Symphony commented.
They all agreed to set the alarm clock earlier so they could witness it, even if it meant that they probably wouldn't get much sleep that night. They settled down in the middle of the deck, where their view of the outside wasn't obstructed by the consoles. Destiny sat down on her blankets, untied her hair and started brushing her blonde locks.
"Here, let me do it," Harmony said, kneeling behind her and holding out her hand to take the brush.
With a chuckle, the other woman complied. "We should take pictures," she commented.
Melody laughed and reached into her overnight bag. "Got it covered!"
She snapped a few shots of the two pilots, including one where Green and Ochre photo-bombed them, making stupid faces in the background. Then, they called out to Silver so that she joined them in a few shots as well to have the "full girl cast". Before returning to Central Control, she said half-jokingly that if she got in trouble because of the pictures, she would blame Green; Serena took full responsibility without hesitation and told her not to worry about it.
The girls took other photos, including Symphony displaying her freshly painted, different-colored nails, all of the Angels taking a group fighting stance (they weren't sure if their pastel and girlie-patterned apparel made them look more or less dangerous), and a picture of Green leaning forward against one of the consoles, sporting two bunches on the top of her head held by small flower clips; she smiled impishly at the camera.
Her somewhat innocent look was ruined by the fact that the neckline of her Don't mess with Texas tee-shirt—that obviously came from Captain Blue's closet considering its size—was showing some cleavage with a small sapphire pendant nestled in it. Harmony looked at the camera preview display and pursed her lips appreciatively. "That's a pretty cool picture, actually, just a tad racy," she commented.
"I know someone who wouldn't mind seeing it," Melody added.
"Maybe we should send it to him,” Harmony suggested with a mischievous smile.
"Hey!" Green exclaimed.
"He hasn't seen her in a week. I think it's a great idea!" Ochre jumped in.
"My point exactly. This should be interesting. Consider it your official sleepover 'no-truth just dare' challenge, Serena!" Harmony said.
"What, you want to send it now?" the young lieutenant protested. "He and Scarlet are on duty in Washington D.C. and that’s in a different time zone, don’t forget. They’re probably escorting dignitaries around as we speak.”
Both Angels flashed evil grins. "So?" the redhead asked.
"He's probably in a public place..."
"That's half the fun of it, my dear. Note here that she's arguing about when we send it, not if," Harmony said to Ochre with a smirk.
It had taken quite a while for Blue and Green to confess their feelings for each other, although they had been obvious to everyone else on Skybase. Now that they were officially together, they were regularly the target for friendly teasing. They both took it in good-natured fashion, accepting the banter as a seal of approval from their teammates. Green crossed her arms. "All right, I'll do it. But only if Simone sends one to Paul as well!"
"WHAT?" Destiny yelped, turning an interesting shade of pink.
"Take it or leave it."
Someone—either Ochre or Harmony—made a very low clucking chicken sound. Melody laughed. "Remember the sleepover criteria for success: hair, make up, doing something naughty, admitting or doing something embarrassing, teasing at least one girl about her love life—Elaine we'll get to you in a flash—and crying together about some girly sentimental stuff."
"I'm not sure what we have to cry about," Ochre said doubtfully. "Well- maybe my love life, go for a two-for-one bit," she added with a snort.
"No... not after what I saw you do with a certain color-coded captain the other day," the redhead teased, crying out as she was hit by a pillow.
A friendly fight broke out almost instantly, with everyone joining in, except Symphony, who stood back to take pictures, grinning all the way. At some point, the Angel exclaimed: "I think I got the picture for Simone!"
They all stopped and approached her to see the camera display. It showed Destiny with a bright smile, twisting agilely around to avoid a pillow. Her unbound hair was floating on her shoulders and her lavender tank top had ridden up quite a bit, showing her toned stomach. And, if you looked very closely and used your imagination... "Oh we are so sending this to Paul," Harmony stated.
Destiny shook her head, smiling despite herself. "You first," she said to Green, tilting her chin towards her friend.
The other woman took the camera and climbed up the steps to Central Control, searching for the picture at the same time. "Hey, Beth, would you mind if I took over just for a second?" Green asked Silver.
Well, I'm surely not taking part in this!" Silver commented with a chuckle, then stood up to go work on the other console a little farther away.
Green sat down at her desk, as the other girls gather around behind her. She opened a direct communication window to Captain Blue, typed "Hey handsome, remember me?" in the title and added the picture before sending it to his Spectra-tech communicator.
The reply came in less than a minute as Blue's face appeared on-screen. "What are you doing?!" he exclaimed, managing to look both worried and pleased at the same time. "Someone could've seen this!"
He seemed about to say something else, but noticed that his lover wasn't alone and changed his mind. "Hey girls," he said instead, to which they all cheerily replied.
He glanced behind him, as if checking his privacy levels. “Where are you?” Green asked, trying to identify the background. “Can you talk?”.
"Yeah. We're at the airport. Scarlet just took care of the last dignitary. He went to get coffee while we're awaiting confirmation to return to Skybase."
His sharp azure eyes returned to the communicator display and from the way he was looking at it, he had switched views to see the picture again. "Nice shirt," he commented, his mouth stretching into a smile.
"We thought you'd like it," Harmony said.
He looked around again, still smiling. "White's gonna have your butts if he finds out you're in Central Control, sending pictures to agents who are on duty. I really like it, though. Really nice."
"He won't find out," Green stated, feeling blood rush to her face and thanking her dark complexion for hiding it.
"Adam, is Paul nearby?” Melody asked.
He switched the display back to the live camera, then looked around him. "Yes. He's coming back into the hall. Why?"
"We have a surprise for him too, of course!" Harmony said enthusiastically.
Destiny rolled her eyes as Green prepared a communication window on-screen to her right. She typed "Simone says to hurry back home. XoX", attached the picture and sent it.
Blue saw Scarlet frown as his communicator alerted him to the message. He watched as the other man opened the device and gaped at the screen. He turned white, then red. "What the heck did you send him!? I can't tell where his jacket ends and his face starts! Oops, he almost got run over by a luggage cart," he chuckled. "He's making a weird face, I don't... uh oh, Simone, I sense an incoming call in your future."
Almost at the same time, a Spectra-tech rang in the observation deck. The Falcon pilot ran to answer it, followed by the others, who were commenting over her shoulder and probably embarrassing Scarlet further.
Now relatively alone, Blue and Green stared at each other for a little while. "Two com-link goodnights are better than one, I guess... I miss you," she said gently.
"Only a few hours left."
"I know. I can't wait."
He scanned the area again, as a reflex. The dignitaries were now airborne and it would be their turn soon. "Maybe I should get you a picture, too," he said. "You know, ditch the jacket and the body suit and keep only the pants, the boots and the cap."
"Thank you for putting a vivid and naughty image in my mind," she muttered.
"Then you know how I feel right now." He winked at her. "Scarlet is coming over. I'll have to go. See you tomorrow."
She blew him a kiss before he cut the communication link. "All yours again, Beth," she announced, vacating the seat and walking down the steps and accepted a mug of hot cocoa from Symphony. They had stopped at the canteen to get two large thermoses, even managing to obtain a bag of small marshmallows to go with them.
"I think that Paul was a little angry," Destiny said, her face downcast. “Maybe that wasn’t such a clever idea after all.”.
Ochre shook her head. "He wasn't angry. He had to put on a show because he was in public. I bet you he's gonna print the picture and carry it around in his wallet," she said reassuringly. "Hey Beth, do you want a mug?" she then asked in a louder tone of voice.
The Irishwoman stood up and went up the stairs to hand a beverage to Silver. "Join us for a chat," Ochre offered.
"I'll stay up here where I can see the monitor if you don't mind," Silver replied, and stood up to lean onto the railing.
She watched as the others settled down in their makeshift beds of blankets, sitting in a circle and enjoying their hot cocoas. "This is actually nice, just sitting here. No noise, no people running around, no emergency," Rhapsody sighed.
"Lieutenant, don't launch the Angels," Green stated, imitating Colonel White's accent, which earned her a few sniggers and an "S.I.G." from the others.
Melody yawned. "Well, I don't know about you, but this Angel is going to bed."
Green stood up to put the mugs away and dim the surrounding lights as much as she could, leaving only a slightly eerie glow. After an exchange of good-nights between them and Silver, who went back to the computer, and a little moving around, the room became quiet.
Until a voice rose. "So, Elaine..."
"Sh..." The sound that came from the Irishwoman's direction could have been a request for silence, or a muffled curse.
"What happened in the gym the other day with Captain Magenta?"
"Och, Rebecca!" There was a pregnant pause, then she sighed. "Fine! I was exercising on one of the stationary bicycles and he came over with his usual lame pick-up lines. I swear, he made a special effort to be ridiculous that time, so I couldn't help myself and I started laughing, and well... that's it."
"And I happened to walk in and found them kissing over the bicycle handle bar. It was pretty cute actually," Harmony said.
"He tricked me! I was laughing and I didn't see him approach me!"
"Mario and Elaine sitting in a tree—or rather on a bicycle—K.I.S.S—" Melody began.
"Maybe we should have taken a picture of you, too!" Destiny piped in.
"Girls!! Please! He doesn't need a picture, trust me! That would be awful!"
Green and Harmony snickered, and Ochre smacked her pillow on the floor in their general direction.
"He's actually a good guy underneath all this, um, lameness," Symphony offered.
They all reflected on that thought for a moment. "There’s a lot to like about him, but I wish he would stop acting like a world-class idiot," Ochre said in a low voice.
"Maybe you could just have a long, serious talk with him," Destiny suggested in the same quiet way.
Ochre sighed. "Maybe. Not sure how I'd manage that without him starting to flirt."
"Let him kiss you again. He was quiet for at least an hour in the gym after that. But then again... so were you. Ow!"
The pillow landed on Harmony's head with surprising accuracy considering that Ochre was not looking where she aimed it. "Jealous," the Irishwoman muttered, a hint of a smile in her voice.
Being over Russia during Fall had some benefits. Sunrise was a little later and they did manage to get some sleep before their alarm went off. "Wow, I must be getting old. I don't remember it being so rough to sleep on the floor," Melody complained. "Good morning ladies," she added in a more cheerful voice.
The replies from the others were a little mixed, ranging from Green's equally cheerful greeting to Rhapsody's comment on needing coffee before doing anything else. The Angel and Ochre took everyone's orders and went up the stairs to get coffee from the machine. It was better at the canteen, but the no-meandering rule limited their choices. "Good morning Beth! Was your watch good?" Rhapsody asked when she saw Silver turn around to greet them.
"Uneventful, which isn't such a bad thing," Silver replied.
"I hope we didn't bother you too much during your shift," Ochre said.
"No. You were quiet most of the time. Although I did get to learn a few interesting tidbits of information..."
Ochre winced. "Not you too!"
The Australian woman smiled at her friend's pained expression, then stood up to go help them with the several mugs they had to carry down the stairs. In the meantime, the others had started packing and putting their things away to prepare their promised quick and quiet exit.
They were done in a short time, and finished their drinks, chatting quietly, and inquiring about the others' schedules for the day. Harmony was giving a training seminar in the afternoon and would be leaving in a few hours, while the other Angels were probably going to fly practice runs. Ochre had a pile of reports to fill and would be doing office work most of the day, to her dismay, and Green was due back in Central Control in a little while to take Silver's place.
The sun was slowly rising on the horizon, and as Symphony had predicted, the view was simply awe-inspiring. They all leant on the railing of the viewing bay, looking out, remaining silent for a time and admiring the play of lights and colors on the clouds below, the sky above, and Skybase. It seemed as if the aircraft carrier itself was waking up with the sun.
The communication channel came alive, and Silver moved to the side console to instruct an approaching Swift to land on runway 03. They all watched as it went down with the revolving platform at the end. This was probably Scarlet and Blue arriving from Washington D.C. "You know, sometimes I can't believe my luck, working in a place like this," Rhapsody commented. "I know it takes top qualifications and a lot of hard work, but still..."
"I know what you mean. When they selected me, I couldn't believe it either," Harmony said, looking at the sky with a smile. "I mean, Colonel White isn't necessarily the easiest boss to work for, but the payoff is really worth it."
The meeting was not due to start until a while later, but Colonel White had always enjoyed taking a quiet moment by himself at the beginning of the day; to reflect on how things were on Skybase, or simply to look about on the observation deck. Sometimes, you could even see the terrain below if the sky was clear. As the lift doors opened in front of him however, he heard his Angel leader say: "... expect him to be mister Nice Guy all the time, when you think of Skybase, and Spectrum as a whole."
Frowning, he remained close to the lift, listening. "Considering everything, I'd say we have it relatively easy with him," Lieutenant Green said.
"You have it easy, Serena, he practically eats out of your hand." That was Captain Ochre's voice.
He began walking quietly towards the observation deck as his lieutenant laughed gently. "I've had my share of reprimands, girls. Most were deserved, too. The first time it happened, we were working for the Security Development Committee at the UN headquarters. I was so terrified of him, I hid in the ladies room after I left his office and cried there for nearly half an hour."
He stopped close to the top railing surprised by her words. He knew he was a demanding employer. He valued discipline and left little, if no margin for errors when he thought that what had to be done was clear. He remembered the event she was referring to, but hadn't known how affected she had been by it; she had hidden her reaction very well at the time...
"Well, I've seen him stare down seasoned military men when they were not giving him the answer he wanted. I can understand why you would have been scared," Harmony commented.
"When you're not on the receiving end of the stare, it's actually almost funny to watch." Green smiled at the Falcon pilot. "But you know what? I deserved the reprimand. I had failed to complete all of the safety protocols surrounding some sensitive files; I’d become cocky about my work. We could have been in a lot of trouble. He had every right to be angry. I could have ruined his whole project. I've seen him build all this from nothing. Setting international security, selecting the agents, finding funding..."
He approached the top step, looking down at the observation deck, his mouth forming an "o" at what he saw. All of his Angels, his only female captain, and his two lieutenants were all leaning against the railing, forming an odd, almost rainbow-like picture in their nightclothes. It was a little unsettling. Not because they were indecent—they were all properly covered—but rather because they all looked, well, like... girls. Anyone stumbling upon them at that moment would have never thought that they were elite pilots and fighters, he thought, slightly amused.
Green leant forward, then spoke again: "You feel lucky to be here Caroline, and you're right. We all are. I've seen him put all kinds of hours into this. I've seen him put his job before his family, or his health, to make sure we're all safe collectively from international conflicts, terrorism, and now, the Mysterons. He provides us with the best equipment, the best teammates, so that we can do our jobs."
"He also won't hesitate to sacrifice one of us if it doesn't work as planned," Harmony said with a wry smile.
"Yes, we've all been witnesses of times when he made decisions that made him look heartless. He has to. This whole, huge machine can't stop. It's bigger than us. It's bigger than him. But if there is something I can assure you, he is not heartless at all. Remember I'm usually up there with him when he makes those decisions."
She paused for a long while. A silent tear ran down her cheek and she wiped it away absent-mindedly. Destiny put a hand on her back, rubbing gently.
"He thinks I don't notice how it affects him." Serena sniffed. "He really cares about you all, and he prays each time that something will stop him in time, whether it's Paul acting like a stupid daredevil or Adam defying his orders, or you Elaine, leaving Skybase to settle things on your own." She was silent again for a little while. "Sorry. I kinda broke the mood. Well, Esther, you said we needed to cry over sentimental stuff to make this sleepover perfect, so there you have it," she tried to joke. "What frustrates me the most is that all I can usually do is sit there and watch and do nothing!"
"He does seem alone sometimes," Ochre commented in a low voice, looking out at the runway lights below her and blinking rapidly.
"He does," Harmony echoed.
They looked at each other and, hearing Green sniff again, began crying themselves as if the tears had created a chain reaction.
"He knows you're there, Serena, and that you understand. It probably matters more than you think." Destiny's voice was suspiciously wobbly.
"I guess, but still..." Green gave a short laugh, wiping her eyes again. "I know it's not protocol, but sometimes I just want to give him a big hug. He'd probably huff and puff and go 'What's the matter with you!', but I wouldn't care. It would solve absolutely nothing, and it probably constitutes assault on a superior officer somewhere in the rule book, but I'd feel bet—"
She froze in mid-sentence, gazing in horror at the reflection in the glass panel in front of her. Destiny and Ochre, on each side of her, looked confused, then the Falcon pilot turned her head and gasped.
White took a deep breath through his nose as the rainbow of young women in front of him turned around with various expressions of surprise and worry on their faces. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs, with his hands behind his back, his mouth set in a thin line, his brow furrowed. He looked at them all in turn, his stare finally stopping at his executive officer, on the flowery clips still holding her hair on the top of her head in two bunches, on her soft brown doe eyes.
They probably expected him to say something at that point, but he found that he was unable to. All he managed was to clear his throat gently. Green straightened up. "Sir?" she asked quietly, but didn't say anything else.
Instead, she moved forward, her bare feet silent as she walked up to him and boldly put her arms around his waist. She always had had more guts than most people he knew, he thought dumbly, as his arms went from his back to his sides. He closed his eyes, not expecting the rush of emotions that washed over him with her gesture of affection.
Then he felt two more sets of arms encircle him as Harmony and Ochre joined in the group hug. They were followed by the remaining Angels and Silver who formed a circle surrounding him and his executive officer in a tight embrace. Colonel White squeezed his eyes shut, taking another deep breath to fight the lump forming in his throat. He was very far from being able to huff and puff as Green had predicted.
Captains Scarlet and Blue stepped out of the lift and headed for Colonel White's office. It was deserted but they were early so they didn't think much of it. They would simply wait for their commanding officer to show up, and proceed with debriefing. As they entered the glass-walled room, Blue glanced out across the viewing bay. His attention was instantly drawn to the observation deck, where he saw the cluster of girls surrounding White in a silent embrace. "What on Earth...?" he muttered, alerting Scarlet, who came to look over his shoulder.
Both men watched for a moment in silent fascination. "What's going on?" whispered Scarlet eventually, feeling a little uneasy that they had stumbled upon an obviously personal event.
"Dunno," Blue replied in the same tone. "I told Serena she'd get in trouble if he caught them here. Maybe it's the girls' tactic to be forgiven. You know, daze and confuse him or something."
“With a mass love-in?” Scarlet gave his friend a doubtful look. "I'm not sure we're supposed to see this,” he added.
"Of course not. But we're here, there's not much we can do about it. If we move, we'll give ourselves away." Blue couldn't help smiling. "Damn, that shirt looks even better in person," he muttered to himself, looking at Green below.
"Now, can someone explain to me why my observation deck was transformed into Pixieland considering I gave you clear instructions?" Colonel White asked after a while, his baritone voice steady and firm.
If the girls noticed that the man's eyes were rimmed in red as they moved back to look at him, none of them commented on it.
"We didn't have enough room in the lounge," Ochre explained.
"We were supposed to leave before anyone arrived. You would not have seen a thing," Destiny added.
"We just didn't plan that you'd show up so early," Green admitted with a sheepish smile.
"Obviously," he muttered.
His gaze went to Silver, and Green hurried to come to her rescue: "Lieutenant Silver was on duty all night, sir, we didn't corrupt her with our silly idea. She was here just for coffee."
"I'll go back to Central Control," Silver said shyly, then went up the stairs to sit at the computer.
White watched her go, then his attention returned to the other girls.
"Are we in trouble, sir?" Melody asked.
"If I still see a speck of pixie dust in here in five minutes, you will all be," he deadpanned, giving them a stern look.
Ochre and Green exchanged a quick glance, and in silent agreement, leant forward quickly to kiss him. The others caught on almost immediately and the man was duly smothered. "Well, I never!" he sputtered, blushing, as they scattered away, laughing, to pick up their bundles.
Symphony and Rhapsody were the first ones to leave, passing White on their way out. "Have a very nice day, sir!" the Asian Angel said in her soft voice.
He watched them go, then turned back to the remaining girls, crossing his arms on his chest. Melody added a pink, frilly pillow on top of what Harmony was carrying, before picking up her own things. As they left, the redhead sent a dazzling smile in his direction.
Still on the observation deck, Destiny picked up a few mugs, then stopped to look at him. "Sir, when was the last time you saw Lady Grey?" she asked. casually.
He said nothing, but something in his ice-blue eyes changed. Destiny looked at Green, certain that the lieutenant would know. "Months," came the answer.
"Where is she now?" Destiny deposited the mugs in the coffee machine’s dishwasher without any indication that she was particularly interested in the answer.
"She's attending a two-week seminar in Paris for the Global Heritage Foundation," White answered shortly; he did not see his wife often, but knew where she was at all times.
Green smiled, seeing exactly where this was going. Ochre, who was hoisting her backpack onto her left shoulder, slammed it back down on the floor. "Oh no, sir. That just won't do!" she exclaimed, jumping right in along with the others.
"The clock is ticking, ladies," White warned, trying to regain a little control over the situation.
"Sir, your lady is in Paris for a weekend and you're not going!? How can you not go!?" Ochre continued, looking baffled.
The Commander in Chief of the world's top defense organization was being chided by a woman wearing a pink striped tee-shirt with a teddy bear on it. The situation was so ridiculous, he wasn't sure if he should cry or laugh.
"As you are quite aware, Captain, leave is not always granted when we want it and requires more preparation where I am concerned," he began.
"Pshhtt. Please. Colonel." The Irishwoman rolled her eyes at him. "Serena?" she asked.
"Sir, it could be done,” Green replied eagerly. “You have an appointment with the US Secretary of State on Friday morning, but you could leave in the afternoon, and come back on Sunday night. I'm sure Captains Blue or Scarlet would gladly take charge while you're away.
White realized he had lost control of the situation the second he had set foot outside the lift this morning. So far, his day was not going at all as planned, and he wasn't sure if it was improving or getting worse by the minute. "I would need an escort," he argued.
"Captain Ochre and I would be happy to escort you, Colonel," Destiny replied. "Unless you plan to take Lady Grey to, say, the Jules Verne. Then I would suggest Captain Magenta instead of myself so as to make it look as inconspicuous as possible." Ochre made a strange sound halfway between a groan and a choke, but otherwise said nothing
. "The Jules Verne is a timeless establishment that requires reservations, Destiny," White replied.
"Colonel." His executive officer looked affronted at the suggestion that last minute bookings were something she couldn’t handle. "I could even get you a box at the opera or the ballet if you want," she offered.
"Sir, think about it. Lady Grey finishes her conference, she thinks she'll be dining alone in some hotel restaurant, but no! Wait! Who's there to save the day? I'll spare you the bad puns about white knights, you get the idea," Ochre added.
He looked at them, pondering the situation. They were right, he had not seen Diana in person in months. The offer was extremely tempting, and he knew his officers could handle Skybase for a few days. Maybe the day was improving after all. He sighed. "Very well. I'll take you up on that offer," he said.
All three seemed delighted by his decision. "I'll handle the details, sir," Green assured him.
"Get dressed first. Your five minutes are up."
They were halfway up the stairs with their bundles when he said: "Thank you."
"A little pixie dust never hurts, Colonel," Ochre replied, making the two others chuckle.
He shook his head, a small smile on his lips .Gazing out of the viewing bay at the blue and gold vista in front of him, he ruminated on the vagaries of girl-power. Maybe I should send them for a sleepover on Mars, he thought fleetingly. The Mysterons would never know what hit them until it was too late.
It was probably close to debriefing time with Captains Scarlet and Blue. He looked down at his watch, and something caught his eye on the floor, next to a console. Bending down to pick it up, he realized that it was a hair clip. A golden heart. How fitting. Walking back to Central Control, he put the small object in the front pocket of his jacket. He would give it back to his lieutenant later. Or "forget" it in his pocket. "Ugh, I'm getting sentimental in my old age," he muttered.
Both men were in his office when he got to the top of the stairs (they had strategically retreated to the far side of the room, where they could not be seen from the observation deck). Blue was his usual impassive self, while Scarlet had a strange expression on his face, as if he was nervous about something, but trying to hide it. White wasn't fooled. "You didn't see a thing," he told them curtly.
White stared silently at Scarlet and the younger man didn't say anything else, blushing slightly in confirmation that they had seen at least part of what had happened.
"You can't beat them when they regroup, sir," Blue commented sympathetically.
"Speaking from experience, Captain?" The ice-blue stare shifted to the other man.
Blue gave a half-smile. "Well, I usually deal with only one of them, but I think I can relate."
"Might as well tell you right now. My female senior staff has more or less kicked me off Skybase for the next weekend. I'd wipe that grin off my face if I were you, Captain Blue, as your better-half has readily volunteered you for guard duty."
Scarlet coughed to hide a laugh at Blue's sour expression. "We'll share, Adam," he said to his friend, knowing that the blond officer didn't particularly enjoy "babysitting Skybase", as he called it.
"Review your assignments with Lieutenant Green later today to fit in these new duties”, Colonel White continued briskly. “As for now, I believe you have reports for your assignment in Washington D.C.?"
Both captains became serious again as they officially began their debriefing, which took a while considering that they’d been away for several days. At some point, White saw Lieutenant Green arrive at her desk to relieve Silver from duty. There was no trace of the pixie as she handled Harmony Angel's flight take-off, and her discussion with the US Secretary Of State’s office in preparation for Friday’s meeting was conducted in her usual calm and professional manner. White concentrated on his men again as they continued their report.
When they finished, he dismissed them and they left to get some deserved rest. Blue stopped by Lieutenant Green's desk to give her a peck on the lips before departing with Scarlet. They would return in the afternoon for their schedules. White prepared to refill his coffee mug from the machine when he saw his executive officer frown at something on her screen. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"When the technicians did maintenance on the jet fuel units in the hangar, they didn't redo the security sequence in the right order, so now they're locked out of the system. They have a new guy in, so that probably explains it. Guess I'll have to go down there and sprinkle pixie dust around." She stood up, chuckling. "Sorry, sir, I think the expression is here to stay."
He grumbled something as she linked her Spectra-tech to her computer in case something happened while she was down in the hangar. She was close to the glass lift when he called her name. "Did it feel better anyhow?" he asked, tilting his head towards the observation deck.
She stopped. "Of course it did. I felt better, the girls felt better, and you felt better, despite that light show you put on." She backed up a few steps towards the lift. "Problem is though, that it's probably going to wear off, so..."
He gave her a warning stare, but as he watched the lift go down with her and her knowing smile, he knew there would be more light shows further down the road.
And he found out he didn't mind all that much.
~ The End ~
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