The Ghost of a Chance

 

A "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons" and "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)" crossover

by Scarlet Lady

 

 

Chapter Two

 

Captain Scarlet stood in the doorway of the officers' lounge, wondering where he should run to. Hopkirk materialised beside him. “Come on! You know this base better than me – they're coming from the hospital end!”

Scarlet glared at him. “Exactly! The sickbay is very close to my quarters, so I can't go there!”

“Oh...” the ghost bit his lip as he realised the problem. “Well, go the other way, then. Maybe we can double back later...”

“WE!” Scarlet grumbled, heading for the promenade deck.

“Faster!” Hopkirk urged. “They aren't far off – they'll see you!”

Scarlet needed no further urging.

 

Unfortunately for Captain Scarlet, a red uniform isn't difficult to miss. Doctor Fawn saw him running up the corridor and called out to him. To his surprise, Scarlet seemed to run all the faster. “Scarlet! Wait!” He gave chase.

“The chap in the beige uniform's after you!” Hopkirk warned his new friend.

Scarlet cursed between gasps. “That's Fawn – I'm for it, now!”

“He has to catch you, first!”

“SCARLET!” Doctor Fawn wasn't far behind now, though he sounded as if he might be tiring.

“You can outrun him – he's rubbish!” Hopkirk encouraged the captain. “He's so slow, I doubt he could even catch a cold! Come on, not much further... Where are we going?”

“SCARLET!”

The captain sighed and slowed down.

“What are you doing?!” the spectre shouted at him.

Scarlet ignored him, and turned to Fawn calmly, as he ran up. “Sorry, Doctor... What did you say?”

Fawn leant against the wall to steady himself as he caught his breath. “Whatever were... you run... running... from?”

“I wasn't running FROM anything – I was... I was running TO the Control Room. I have a debriefing with Colonel White, in...” he glanced at his watch. “Fifteen minutes.”

“It's alright, Captain. Colonel White cancelled the debriefing. I'd like a chat with you, first.”

“That's nice,” Scarlet remarked. “It's been quite a while since we had a little chat, hasn't it? What shall we talk about?”

Hopkirk chuckled somewhere behind him.

“Shall we discuss it in my office?” the doctor asked, taking his arm.

“Tell him 'no', Paul,” Hopkirk advised.

“Fair enough, Doctor. Lead on,” Scarlet smiled at Fawn in a jovial manner.

 

“I can't believe he's shut me in here!” Scarlet grumbled, trying to pick the electronic lock of the little room that Fawn had imprisoned him in.

“Me neither – I'd have thought you'd put up more of a fight!”

Scarlet glared at the ghost, who was sitting on the bunk. “I might have killed him!”

“So what? You're a soldier!”

“And Doctor Fawn HAPPENS to be on MY SIDE!”

Hopkirk shrugged. “Funny way of showing it, locking you up like a criminal...”

“And whose fault would that be?!”

“Yours. You should have evaded him!”

Scarlet folded his arms and glared at him. “Evaded him.”

“Yes!”

“On a base 40,000 feet up in Earth's atmosphere, with no way of leaving without taking a plane and authorising its launch...”

“Why couldn't you just... steal a plane and fly off in it?”

Scarlet threw a screw from the lock panel at him. “For starters, I might well be shot down... and indestructible or not, I don't relish the thought. Besides, I might crash into another craft, or even hit someone's home...”

Hopkirk shrugged and began to pace. “Even soldiers can be cowards, then.”

“COWARDS?!” Scarlet lunged at him angrily, and only realised after trying to thump him the second time that his hands were going through him. “You're lucky that you're a ghost...!” he growled.

“So are you. It means I can't hit you back!”

“Why don't you go and annoy somebody else?!”

“For a start, I'm trying to offer help. For another thing, nobody else can see me, so it's pointless.”

“Only I can see you... Lucky me!” Scarlet growled. “Why me?”

“Good question. Have you always been psychic?”

“Not that I'm aware of,” Scarlet frowned, thoughtfully. How could he tell? If all ghosts looked like Mr. Hopkirk, they didn't seem much different to human beings.

“It's not the whisky; you could see me before your friend tried to get you drunk.”

“I told you before – my retro...” Scarlet stopped in mid-sentence.

Hopkirk frowned at him. “What?”

“My retrometabolism! THAT might be the key to it all!”

“What exactly is... it?” the ghost asked.

Scarlet sighed. “It's difficult to explain. You see... Spectrum is fighting in a war of nerves against the Mysterons, who come from...”

“Mars,” Hopkirk interrupted, to the captain's surprise. “I DO read the newspapers and watch television, you know – I haven't had anything else to do, lately. I get a bit tired of wandering the streets of London alone.”

“Yes, well...”

“But that's all nonsense, isn't it?” he interrupted again. “I mean, Martians? You'll be telling me that you believe in fairies, next!”

Scarlet glared at him. “You'll be telling ME that YOU don't believe in ghosts!”

“Don't get personal!” the ghost wagged a finger at him aggressively.

The captain cleared his throat. “Anyway... The Mysterons have the power of retrometabolism. They can reconstruct an object – or a person – and use them as a pawn in their war of nerves.”

“But I still don't...”

“But first they have to kill or otherwise destroy their chosen pawn.”

Hopkirk stared at him in disbelief. “Are you trying to tell me that you're some sort of ghost?”

“I am NOT a ghost!” Scarlet snapped at him. “I'm still alive, thankyou very much. But I WAS killed – by the Mysterons – and reconstructed. I was... for want of a better word... a robot, during the course of approximately six hours.”

“So what happened?”

“I can't remember,” the captain admitted. “All I know is that the Mysteron me had a fight with Captain Blue, he shot me, and I fell to my death. Spectrum wanted to know what had happened to me, so they brought me back here... Where I somehow returned to life – as me.”

Hopkirk eyed him nervously. “So... You're an alien.”

“I'm Paul Metcalfe – Captain Scarlet! I'm NOT an alien, I'm not a ghost, and...”

“I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you,” he said hastily. “I just find this so hard to understand.”

“YOU find it hard,” Scarlet sat on the bed beside his new friend. “I've been living with the knowledge for the best part of a year, and I still don't understand it!”

“Well...”

“THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS,” announced a voice through the comm. speakers beside the door. “WE KNOW THAT YOU CAN HEAR US, EARTHMEN. WE WILL DEAL ANOTHER CRIPPLING BLOW. WE WILL BRING THE EARTH TO A STANDSTILL. WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN.”

Hopkirk shuddered visibly. “What was that? It was like nothing on Earth!”

“For a very good reason,” Scarlet remarked, going back to the door.

“What are you doing?”

The captain turned to him with a sarcastic expression. “The Mysterons just made a threat, and I'm Spectrum's best man!”

“You think highly of yourself, don't you?”

“Do I? You rate yourself above Sherlock Holmes!”

“Don't quibble!”

Scarlet sighed. “Let's put it another way... I'm Spectrum's best hope in defeating the Mysterons, because I CAN'T DIE. They can do what they like to me, and I'll keep bouncing back like a cartoon super hero.”

Hopkirk nodded quietly. “Then why are you worried? There's been a threat, so they're bound to let you out – crazy or not!”

“That's what you think. Doctor Fawn thinks I'm hallucinating, so he'll want to keep me here, where I can do no harm.”

“WHAT?” the spectre stared at him. “Why would he do that?”

Scarlet sighed tiredly. “Think about it, Hopkirk. I'm on an important mission, when I see an enemy and shoot him...”

“Right...”

“The only problem is that I was hallucinating, and I've in fact shot a friend... Or even worse, a civilian...”

“Well, none of us are perfect!”

Scarlet rolled his eyes and tried to concentrate on the door. “OUCH!” he cursed quietly.

“Lovely manners you have there...”

“I just got an electric shock!”

Hopkirk went to his side. “Let me give it a try.”

“How?” the captain didn't even look up. “You can't even touch anything!”

The ghost didn't reply. He crouched beside his new friend and concentrated on the lock.

“What are you trying to do?” Scarlet asked.

He opened his eyes to find that nothing had happened. “Sshhh! Be quiet!” He closed his eyes again, focusing with all his might on the electronics and what he wanted them to do. He opened one eye at the sound of a faint 'click'. “There!” he crowed, as the door began to open. “And you thought I couldn't help!”

The captain smiled at him and crept off down the corridor, toward the hangar.

“Where are we going?” Hopkirk asked quietly.

Scarlet didn't reply.

 

When they arrived at the hangar, and he was quite sure that they were alone, Scarlet told of his intentions. “I have to talk with Captain Blue.”

“What makes you think he'll be here?”

“As soon as Spectrum have a lead, they'll send agents off to counter the Mysterons. Adam's one of their finest officers – they'll send him. Hopefully, they'll send him out with Grey, and not Ochre.”

“Ochre? Is that the chap that was...?”

“He's the one who you wanted to attack, by blowing in his ear.”

Hopkirk nodded. “He comes across as a right pest...”

“Two words come to mind – 'pot' and 'black'.”

“You want to put Black in the pot?” the ghost stared at him. “Why? Who's Black?”

Scarlet laughed in spite of himself. “I'm sure you know what I meant... But coincidentally, I WOULD like to kill a man named Black, if I ever get the chance.”

“Why?”

“He's the top Mysteron agent. We used to be good friends, but...” he shrugged, trying to seem indifferent. “It's been too long. Even if there was a chance of him ever shaking off their hold over him, the Mysterons would never give him the chance. They made a mistake with me, and they'll be slow to do it again.”

Hopkirk shook his head. “I don't know how you stand it. Being dead and alive at the same time, being forced to fight an old friend...”

“It helps when you don't think about it,” Scarlet told him, pointedly.

The ghost frowned suddenly, and began to look around.

“What is it, now?”

“Someone's coming.” he went toward the door.

Scarlet rolled his eyes and leant on the wall. “I can't hear anything!”

“Neither can I. I can feel their vibrations... and I don't like their aura at all!”

“Ghosts,” the captain muttered, as Hopkirk vanished.

“I heard that!” came his indignant voice.

Scarlet sighed and waited for the spectre to return. He wasn't gone long.

“There are two men coming – in grey uniforms, with big guns.”

“What?”

The ghost tried to remain calm. “Do they sound like friends of yours?”

“It sounds like guards on a manhunt – they know I'm out!”

Hopkirk nodded. “I thought as much. I told you I didn't like their aura.”

“Shut up!” Scarlet hissed. “I have to hide! If they find me, I'm for it!”

The ghost pointed to one of the Spectrum Passenger Jets. “Would they look in those?”

“I don't know! I've never been on the run before – at least, not like this.”

“Well... That's where I'D hide, if I were you, Paul,” he looked at the door, anxiously. “And I think you'd better be quick – they'll be here any minute!”

“Call me 'Paul' once more and I'll...”

“Will you just get going?!”

Scarlet glared at him before sprinting to the jet furthest from the door and letting himself in.

“What did you do that for?” the ghost demanded, appearing beside him in the jet's cargo hold. “They might've come in and seen you!”

“But they didn't.”

“No, they didn't. Thanks to me!”

Scarlet rolled his eyes. “In any case, this one's closest to the airlock.”

“So...?”

“So... In theory, this is the one that Captain Blue will leave base in.”

“You hope!” Hopkirk remarked. “Now, do you want to know how I slowed your friends in the corridor?”

“Uh...” the captain groaned. “You didn't play with the electronics in the lock...?”

“What? Oh! No! No, it didn't even cross my mind. No, I blew the dust from the air vent into their faces! You should've seen them!”

“Mr. Hopkirk... Has anyone ever told you that you're very childish?”

“No,” he lied, thinking of his partner again.

“Then let me be the first to say it. You're very childish!”

“And you're very rude, but I...” Hopkirk stopped in mid-sentence. “They've just come in! They're looking around, out there!”

Scarlet sighed and settled back in silence.

“Did you hear me? I said...” a glare from the captain assured him of the affirmative. “Oh. Sorry. I... I'll leave you alone, for now. I think I'll keep an eye on your friends.”

 

Captain Scarlet made himself as comfortable as he was able and thought about the Mysteron threat. The Mysterons planned to bring the world to a standstill, and all that they had to do to pull that off was to stop trade between countries and continents. How would they do it? Over a hundred years ago, during world war two, it only meant sinking cargo ships and blocking roads, but now there were planes to contend with, too. Surely it would be far too difficult! The sound of voices brought him back to reality, and he tensed in his hiding place.

 

“A squadron of twenty jets! The Angels have brought down three Mysteron angel jets before in a dogfight, but...”

“At least they've split up, now.”

“Yeah, but is that such a good thing? Ten of them seem to have vanished off the face of the Earth!”

Hopkirk appeared beside Scarlet. “Adam's outside – he brought a friend. They're talking about alien jets flying around and blasting anything that moves!”

Scarlet glared at him, but said nothing. He didn't want to give himself away when he was so close to taking part in the mission.

“Does that mean that we're in danger, if we leave the base?”

The captain rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“But...!”

Scarlet put a finger to his lips and closed his eyes.

“Fine! Go to sleep, then!” Hopkirk yelled at him, angrily. “You're as bad as Jeff!”

 

Captain Blue strapped himself into the pilot seat and began to go over the routine checks.

“Makes a change to work with you, Captain Blue,” Grey commented beside him.

Blue nodded quietly, whilst thinking of his partner. “Yeah. While it's nice working with you, I hope Captain Scarlet's OK.”

“Oh, he is,” Hopkirk confirmed. “He's sitting in the back!”

“Yeah,” Grey nodded. “From what Rick said, he's in a pretty bad way.”

“'Rick' is an idiot,” the ghost remarked.

“Tell me about it,” Blue replied, as he prepared for launch.

“Eh?” Hopkirk stared at him. “Can you hear me?” Upon receiving no reply, he frowned thoughtfully.

 

Hopkirk materialised beside Scarlet. “We're heading for London Airport. Wa'ey!”

“Is that all you've come to tell me?”

“Captains Ochre and Mmmm... Mergentar...?”

“Magenta?”

“That's the one. Funny names, aren't they? Even worse than Scarlet!”

“Watch it, Hopkirk...”

“Sorry.”

The captain looked worried. “Ochre and Magenta are in the cockpit?”

“No, they're going to Washington. Why? They can't possibly be worse drivers than you!”

“Thanks VERY much,” Scarlet growled.

“Anyway, there are scrambled jets overflying Tutora... Scrambled, though? I thought they'd be of more use if they were complete!”

“Scrambled means... They've been told to get up there as fast as possible. And I think you'll find that the place is called 'Futura', with an 'F'.”

“I'm not stupid, you know!”

“Aren't you? You don't seem to know very much!”

Hopkirk scowled at him. “I've been around for over a hundred years! I know a world without computers, mobile telephones, satellite navigation...”

“Alright!” Scarlet gasped, exasperated. “I get the picture.”

Hopkirk smiled with satisfaction. “By the way... the one you call 'Adam' is quite worried about you. He seems like quite a nice chap – I wish HE could see me!”

“If you don't shut up, I'll make you wish that I couldn't!” the captain threatened.

Hopkirk gave him a nervous stare and vanished.

Scarlet began to think carefully. Blue and Grey were in the cockpit, and Blue was concerned about him. He really wanted to talk to his partner, but at the same time, he was worried about what might happen if he did. Would they call Cloudbase? In reality, they had to. Even if Blue wouldn't, Grey might well inform the Colonel – it was their duty to do so. He decided that the best thing to do was to sneak away when they arrived in London. That way, he couldn't get anyone other than himself in trouble.

 

Once the plane had landed, Scarlet ran off and hid himself outside the airport's fence. Hopkirk materialised beside him.

“How are you going to stop the Mysterons, if all you want to do is hide, like an escaped convict?”

“You got me into this mess, so you'll have to get me out.”

The ghost sighed and began to pace. “How do you expect me to do that? They can't see me, they can't hear me... and they think you've died once too often.”

“Who said that?”

“Captain Grey, when he was talking to Adam.”

“Fantastic! You're a great help, you are!”

“Well... I didn't know you were going to go mental, every time I spoke to you! I expected you to be... Well... Calmer... And... Sensible.”

“Calm and sensible... When I have an idiot making stupid jokes and asking questions constantly. What were you like when you were alive, that's what I want to know!”

Hopkirk opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted.

“Actually, spare me the details – I don't want to know!”

“I was a good detective, that's what I was like! Even after I got killed, Jeff relied on me. I used to help him with everything – keeping watch while he slept, checking that there was no trouble waiting for him, before he entered a room... I even helped him to find the perfect wife!”

Scarlet rolled his eyes. “In other words, you loved to interfere!”

“I did NOT interfere!” Hopkirk snapped. “He was my best friend, that's all. Jeff used to like going out and getting drunk, finding some girl...” he shook his head with disapproval. “He wasn't getting any younger, and I was worried that he'd end up becoming a dried up, miserable old man, with nobody to care for him but the ghost of his best friend!”

“You're all heart,” the captain remarked.

“Wouldn't you worry about YOUR partner, if he started going through that pattern?”

“Captain Blue is a grown man. He's more than capable of looking after himself.”

“Anyway, I found him a lovely girl. She was small, pretty, friendly and intelligent. Even Jeannie liked her.”

“Jeannie?”

“My wife. She was a right traitor – she had already married again!”

Scarlet sighed. “Did she know that you were a ghost?”

“No, but...”

“Did she know that you strongly disapproved of her marrying again?”

“No.”

“Then how can you blame her? You of all people should understand how lonely it must have been for her!”

“I know, but... It was lonely for me, too.”

“You had Jeff!”

“It's not the same though. When I wander the streets of London, I often see lovers in a warm embrace, looking into each other's eyes as if they're the only things in the whole world that's real... That's how it was for me and Jeannie, once. I miss it.”

“You'll see her again.”

“I know I must sound selfish, but... Think how you'd feel!”

Scarlet began to pull at some tufts of grass. “I have done, lots of times. I might well outlive Dianne – possibly even by hundreds of years! - and she's told me that if that does happen, she'd want me to find another girl when I'm ready, and not to feel selfish or disloyal.”

“What? Why?”

“Because she loves me, and wants me to be happy. She isn't selfish.”

“But... But...”

“And yes, you DO sound selfish. I'm surprised you wanted your partner to find a girl! Weren't you worried that he might forget all about you?”

“I was more worried about his health!”

“Because if he died, you'd be all alone.”

“No! Because I cared about him. He was a good friend,” he hung his head, miserably. “I really miss him. I knew I'd miss him, but not as much as I do. We had some good times together.”

“Aww... Let's all pity the ghost! Where did I leave my violin?”

Hopkirk scowled at him and vanished.

The captain sighed and tried to think. “I wonder what Blue and Grey are doing...”

“If you want me to go and find out, you'll have to apologise, first!”

“Then I'm very sorry, Hopkirk. Would you be so kind as to 'hop' over to the airport and check on my colleagues?”

“How sorry are you?” the ghost materialised beside him again.

“Very!”

“Then... Call me 'Marty', rather than 'Ghost' or 'Hopkirk'. It's not very friendly!”

Scarlet sighed tiredly. “Marty, I'm very sorry about upsetting you and calling you selfish. Please could you go and find out what's happening, before anything else goes wrong?”

“Of course, Jeff. I'm on my way!” he vanished.

“'Jeff'?” Scarlet asked himself.

“Paul,” Hopkirk's voice corrected.

 

END OF CHAPTER TWO

BACK TO CHAPTER ONE

TO BE CONTINUED IN CHAPTER THREE

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