A New Captain Scarlet Fanfiction by Isabelle Saucier
The entrance hall of the United Nations building in London was bright and airy. There were a few tourists at a display while a guide was explaining some historical fact to them, some people on nearby seats in a resting area, and an elaborately designed reception desk at the back of the room.
With a determined stride, Major Adam Svenson made a beeline for the desk, noticing the slightly wary look the receptionist gave him right away. He was used to it and didn’t pay attention to it. He wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat anyway.
The receptionist pasted a polite smile on her face. “Good afternoon, sir. Welcome to the United Nations’ headquarters. How may I help you? Would you like to join the guided tour? It began only moments ago,” she said as a greeting.
“Good afternoon. No thanks. I’m here to see Sir Charles Grey, actually.”
His tone of voice had been polite but assertive and he saw the exact moment when her attitude changed; she became more guarded automatically. “Do you have an appointment?”
“No, but this will take only a few moments.”
“Sir Charles is a very busy man. If you don’t have an appointment, he won’t see you.”
“This won’t take long, just squeeze me in between two meetings. I won’t bother his schedule.“
“Sir, he’s not available. I could schedule something for next Thursday if you want. I’ll need to see an identity and security clearance pass—“
Adam grew frustrated by the woman’s condescending attitude. He suddenly opened his arms in an impatient, fatalistic gesture and exclaimed: “I’m asking for ten minutes for crying out loud!”
He had the meager consolation to see her jerk back with a slightly worried expression. She was probably considering calling security... he forced himself to calm down, when he heard a low feminine voice on his right say: “Major Svenson?”
He turned his head, seeing a rather tall, dark-haired woman with large, expressive eyes and an uncertain smile. He had no idea who she was, or why she knew his name. “Who are you?” he replied brusquely.
To her credit, she didn’t shrink back like the receptionist did. “I’m working with Sir Charles and helping him. Your interview is planned for next week...” she began.
Perhaps she could be convinced to help him. “I’m here already. I want to see him. I only need a few minutes.”
He was currently stationed in Alaska, and was more than likely going to be transferred the week after to Australia, right when his interview would normally happen. Not that it mattered. He wasn’t going to accept this offer Sir Charles had made. But he wanted to tell him in person and had taken a few of his leave days to settle this even if he was early.
The young woman 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 Adam: “Let’s see what we can do.”
Her voice was calm and soothing and he felt himself relax a bit as he saw that she was trying to help him. The receptionist handed him a visitor registry where he had to sign his name and a temporary ID tag that he clipped on his belt. He saw his helper close her phone, apparently unsuccessful at reaching Grey, and approach the counter. “When Miss Inukai arrives, please let me know and tell her there might be a slight delay,” she said, taking the pen to sign her name next to his on the registry.
Serena Lewis. Fitting name. She didn’t seem unnerved by anything. And she smelled darn good. He turned toward her, but began walking away before she asked him to follow her. He had to put some distance between them because he was afraid he was going to say or do something stupid.
They passed a secured door and walked down a corridor in silence. Wow, great, I didn’t even thank her for her help. She’s gonna think I’m some sort of jerk, he thought.
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 Adam to go through and he managed to say: “Thank you” in a low voice as he stepped inside the car.
She pressed the button for the desired level and stepped back, smiling at him. She had a beautiful smile. He knew he should have said something to start a polite conversation, but all he could think about were banalities. Was she Grey’s secretary? She wasn’t wearing typical office clothing, with her jeans and soft green sweater, but she seemed to be in a position of authority... Say something, anything... “How did you know who I was?”
It came out wrong, almost like an order for her to answer. He hoped she didn’t notice.
“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.”
The comment had the effect of a cold shower on him. Of course. His father. Just as he thought. This was his father’s doing. He probably had a talk with Sir Charles, and as they were longtime friends, it had been easy to “suggest” some names to be part of this new fancy agency. Adam Svenson, prestigious member of the Rainbow Squad. His expression darkened. “Do I?” he asked, his voice sharper than it was before.
How she knew his father wasn’t clear—perhaps he had visited here—but he didn’t want to know. The faster he cleared things up, the faster he could go back to real army work and duties.
The elevator door opened 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 accomodated a desk for White's assistant Connie and a small waiting area.
Serena motioned for Adam to take a seat as she checked the console on the 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. Won’t stay long enough for that anyway, he added to himself.
She looked at the console again. The line was probably still busy and she didn’t want to interrupt. “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.” He knew he didn’t have to justify anything to her, but felt he had to anyway, so he added: “I might be deployed elsewhere next week. I want to settle this beforehand.”
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.
Well, that confirmed it. This was just a big-shot club of popular or known people so that the UN could flash their authority around. He shook his head, feeling slightly disgusted, wondering why and how an intelligent man like Grey had been suckered into this.
Apparently, Grey had hung up because Serena straightened and walked toward the office door. He stood up immediately to follow her, to make sure he wasn’t going to be blocked from seeing the man. She must have felt his presence because she turned around, almost bumping into him. “What are you doing?” she asked, making a very commendable effort not to look annoyed.
“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.”
Her voice was still pleasant, but she was clearly telling him she wouldn’t take crap from him. He remained where he was, staring at her, hoping she’d give up and let him in. “I won’t move until you sit down, Major,” she stated.
It was almost as if she read his mind and it got a little on his nerves. He rolled his eyes and moved forward as if to open the door. “We’re wasting time. Just let me—“
The attack came in 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—“
He had been trained to endure worse pain than that of course, but the surprise factor had made it feel even worse and the fact that the rest of her hadn’t moved made it almost surreal.
She hadn’t raised her voice, but her tone was very authoritative. She probably had no idea of how attractive that looked. To him anyway. “What the hell did you do that for!?” he exclaimed, shaking his hand in pain, his eyes wide open, trying to hide the fact that he was oddly turned on by the situation.
At the same moment, the door behind Serena 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,” she replied, still silently challenging the blond man to try and pass her.
I think I’m in love, Adam thought stupidly, his mouth still open.
“I see,” the older man commented, amused by the way Adam 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.
She gave Adam 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.”
Well, this was it. Time to free himself. Adam 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?”
Adam 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...”
Adam 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.” He would have added that he didn’t understand why Grey was involved in this, but held back, as it wasn’t his business.
Grey remained silent for a little while. “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 Adam turned smartly to leave the office. He walked up to Serena, who was still standing close to 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.
“You’re friggin’ incredible,” he muttered too low for her to hear, the corners of his mouth lifting into a smile despite himself.
She bit her lip in return to try to hide her own smile and followed him out of the office area and into the hallway. They walked quietly to the elevator and he felt like a weight had lifted off his chest now that he had done what he came to do.
The ride down in the elevator was quiet as well. Too bad he was only staying in London for a few days, he thought. He would have considered asking her out somewhere, although he might not have been a popular guy at that point... besides, she most probably had someone in her life already. They stopped close to the security checkpoint.
“You’re nearly done. Just sign the registry at the reception desk. And don’t forget your ID badge, otherwise you’ll trigger the alarm at the door,” Serena said.
“Have a safe trip back, major.”
She gave him one last polite smile and headed back where they had come from. He allowed himself just a few seconds of watching her and the elegant sway of her hips before he headed for the building’s main hallway.
The receptionist was more pleasant that time. Either she had been told by Grey to behave or she was simply happy to see Adam leave. She arranged transportation for him while she signed the registry again. “We just had a report that there was an accident on the way from Heathrow, so there might be delays,” she informed him.
Oh well, it went along with how the rest of the day had gone so far... “I’ll wait over there and you can page me when it’s time?” he asked, gesturing to the waiting area.
The receptionist nodded and he settled himself down in a chair, selecting a place where he could see most of the area in one glance.
The seats were pretty, but not very comfortable. He hoped he didn’t have to wait for long. He sat and thought about his upcoming assignment in Australia. He was to help train some troops in handling various vehicles on difficult terrain, including motorcycles and mechanized infantry units. That would be practical and physical work he knew about. What could he be a specialist of in here, he wondered, looking at the hall with its tourists and cheery ambiance. He shook his head.
Then a familiar shape clad in blue and green walked into the room. She talked to the receptionist for a while, nodded at something the other woman said, then turned to face the hall, as if she was searching for someone.
He hoped a little childishly that she was looking for him, but realized that it was unlikely. He forced himself not to look in her direction, but he could still see her from the corner of his eye and felt a little funny when her gaze stopped on him. She seemed to hesitate, then walked in his direction.
He dropped any pretense he could still have about not knowing she was approaching and turned his head fully toward her. She was holding a tablet, so she probably wanted to talk business, not invite him out. She sat down in the seat next to his and asked: “Do you know what’s in your file? Why you were short-listed for being a Spectrum senior officer? Can I read it to you?”
Was that a personal initiative, or was she Grey’s secret weapon to change his mind? She could always try... He shrugged, his mouth lifting up in a lopsided smile. “Indulge yourself,” he replied, already steeling himself against anything she might say.
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 allowed to save 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...”
Adam thought she sounded impressed by what she was reading. Or was she sounding impressed on purpose? Surely this wasn’t the first time she read his bio. It was a little unnerving that she knew that much about him and he knew nothing about her though...
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 on it. He took it in his hand and stared at the page for a short while. Surely, she wasn’t this naive? “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. These 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 tried to concentrate on the list rather than how close she was and saw a few familiar names... just as he thought. Someone had been smoking pretty strong stuff when they came up with those names... “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.
She was working a little too hard for this. What had Grey told her? How couldn’t they see what this truly was? Was her name on the list? 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?”
She gaped at him, then her mouth set in a stern line. He had clearly offended her. 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 to show 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!”
Even if she hadn’t given him a look that made him feel like a total asshole at this point, he would have still felt bad. He began to apologize, but she didn’t let him speak and continued: “So no, major, I’m not a member of any club you can imagine. I earned my position here through 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 so far, 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.”
Her words sank in and made him feel worse. He should have tried again to apologize, but she had put a wall between them and seemed too upset to care about what he could have said. She hugged her tablet to her chest, pursed her lips, and 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.
Adam sat in his chair, thinking, wondering if he had been too hasty with his father’s long-time friend’s proposal. Serena had seemed truly angry, and not just because he had insulted her parents. He hadn’t let Grey explain himself either, because he was so convinced this was not what it looked like. Things weren’t going at all as he had planned.
He would have missed his transport had the receptionist not personally come to tell him it was there and waiting. He stayed in London a few days more, but didn’t enjoy it all that much—the whole UN fiasco was fresh in his mind. His entire flight back to the United States was spent pondering the situation; his mind was still not set when he landed, but he knew he had many questions to ask specific people.
One week later, he called Grey back. “Sir, I know I had my chance, but I’d like to have a serious discussion with you,” he said.
“My door is open when you’re ready. You actually beat me to contacting you. I was hoping to have the opportunity to try and convince you—and that my computer specialist’s insistence hadn’t driven you away for good...”
Adam laughed a little. “She’s your best supporter, sir. I don’t know where you got her, but hang on to her to recruit the others.”
Their conversation was short, but friendly. They agreed to meet at a later time, when Adam could travel back to Europe at the end of his current mission. Grey thought it wise not to mention that he could help should there be problems with any transfer and chose to wait and see what the younger man would have to say.
Unsurprisingly, Adam had arrived with little notice. He did call early in the morning to announce he was coming and after insisting over the phone that Grey would see him. After putting him on hold for a while—probably longer than she should have—the young woman at the other end confirmed that Sir Charles would spare some time between meetings...
When he arrived at the reception desk, he was disappointed that the woman who came to get him wasn’t Miss Lewis. But then again, maybe Miss Lewis thought he was a total idiot and had said she didn’t want anything to do with him. He hoped not. It was probably just because it wasn’t her actual job to greet people and the previous occasion had simply been a coincidence.
He thought of seeking her out to apologize, but opted to write her a note instead. That way, if she wasn’t there or available, he could still reach her. And, well, it wasn’t as intimidating and he could find the right words that way. He ignored the little voice in his head that called him a coward as he handed the plain white envelope to Grey’s assistant, asking her if she could deliver the message for him. He wasn’t sure how to interpret the look she gave him; he hoped she wouldn’t throw the message in the trash as soon as he entered Grey’s office.
She hadn’t. When he came out after his meeting with the older man, Serena was right there in front of the assistant’s desk, holding what looked like some sort of helmet or cap in one hand and his letter in the other. He slowed to a stop, feeling warmth in the pit of his stomach at actually seeing her, almost afraid to find out whether she was angry and would throw his message back in his face. I feel like a goddamn schoolboy, he thought, hoping she wouldn’t notice his face was a little red.
She smiled. It was as if a weight lifted from his shoulders and he relaxed. “Good morning,” she greeted him.
Grey walked past Adam with a nod to his computer specialist and went to talk to his assistant. The blond man remained where he was. It was better if he didn’t have an audience. He had to find something witty and friendly to tell 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, shaking her hand.
Her handshake was firm. Of course. But when he saw her expression change a little, he wondered if he squeezed her fingers a little too hard. He let go immediately. To his dismay, he seemed to be unable to avoid blunders when it came to her.
He was relieved when she didn’t say anything and simply went on explaining something about the cap she was holding when Grey asked her about it.
He also felt stupidly giddy when he saw that she slipped his note into the pocket of her jeans before turning her attention to her boss.
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.
This story comes from a little fact in Captain Blue’s bio that mentions that when he was approached to join Spectrum, he refused because he thought his father had influenced Charles Grey. That’s all I needed to take the idea and run, and add meat to the bone (and a touch of green—not that I’m saying she’s another reason why he changed his mind, it’s just a coincidence of course...).
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.
Both Adam’s and Serena’s versions can be read as standalone stories, but they also complement each other in some aspects. To see Serena’s point of view, read Pains in Recruiting.
Any comments? Send an E-MAIL to the SPECTRUM HEADQUARTERS site