A ‘CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS’
STORY FOR HALLOWEEN
Captain Scarlet, the
Mysterons, et al belong to and were created by Gerry Anderson. The nain rouge
is an old legend, so it doesn’t belong to anybody.
Thanks to Hazel Köhler
for taking the time to beta-read this, and to Chris Bishop for all the support.
THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE
MYSTERONS. WE KNOW THAT YOU CAN HEAR US, EARTHMEN. WE HAVE NOT
FORGOTTEN THE UNPROVOKED ATTACK ON OUR MARTIAN COMPLEX. AS YOU HAVE
DESTROYED OUR CITY ON MARS, WE SHALL DESTROY ONE OF YOUR OWN! WE WILL BE
The ethereal voice faded quickly from the Cloudbase
speakers, but less so from the ears of the color-coded officers who had heard
it. A meeting in the Control Center was called immediately.
“I suppose there’s no point in reminding you all of the gravity of this
threat,” Colonel White told the assembly of officers around his desk.
“Considering that there are hundreds of thousands of cities on Earth, this
might be one of our most difficult tasks yet.”
“And let’s not forget that the word ‘city’ can have many different meanings,”
Captain Blue added grimly. “Spectrum’s going to be pushed to its limits.”
“Then the sooner we get started, the better!” White’s voice solidified with
resolution. “Think, everyone!” Everyone’s expressions tightened as
they did just that. Captain Scarlet spoke first.
“I say we concentrate on a more literal interpretation,” the British captain
suggested. “The ‘eye-for-an-eye’ implication of the threat would make it
a logical starting point.”
“Not that it helps,” Blue replied. “Like the Colonel said, there are
hundreds of thousands of places on Earth that could qualify as cities.”
“It would have to be a place of some significance,” Scarlet suggested.
“Destroying a major city would leave a more devastating impact than if it were
a smaller or less important one.”
“That still doesn’t narrow it down much,” Lieutenant Green added from the
Colonel White had been staring down at his hands folded on the console,
frowning thoughtfully. Finally, he glanced up.
“Lieutenant, I want you to put out an alert to all Spectrum bases. Tell
them to spread their officers out as much as is reasonable to the largest
“S.I.G.,” came the reply.
“From this moment onward, nobody is off duty,” Colonel White
continued. “I want all the officers on Cloudbase assigned to the
following metropolitan areas. Angel pilots, you will receive your orders
in the Amber Room.”
There was a collective “S.I.G.” as the four present Angels filed out of the
room. White turned to his remaining officers. As the most
experienced and competent members of Spectrum, they would receive the largest,
most important cities of all to patrol. With no time to lose, Colonel
White started giving them their orders.
It was nearly dark when Captain Ochre pulled his Spectrum Saloon up to the camp
he and Captain Magenta had set up deep within the city of Detroit, where they
had been assigned to patrol the streets for anything suspicious. Their
only help were a few low-level security officers, and then not that many, as
most had been sent out to the smaller surrounding cities.
Now, Magenta sat in a folding chair alongside a card table set up in the center
of Hart Plaza. The city itself had been evacuated hours ago; where
Magenta had found the fast food was a complete mystery. As Ochre parked
his car next the Magenta’s, he heard the faint ping-ping-ping of cooling metal
from the latter--apparently Magenta had only just arrived as well. He sat
down on the empty chair.
Both men had spent the day driving around the city, stopping only to refuel,
and hunting for everything from Captain Black himself down to a suspiciously
displaced manhole cover. Their search was, naturally, futile.
Detroit was a vast, gigantic city whose endless nooks and crannies could never
be fully investigated, even with the help of a hundred thousand security
officers, much less the dozen or so they actually had.
Ochre sighed. He hadn’t even seen
Detroit since his “death” several years ago, aside from pictures.
Nevertheless, it was here that was born, raised, and lived the majority of his
life so far. No distance of space or time could diminish the bond he felt
with his birthplace, and Ochre suspected this was true of everyone. Maybe
it had been a coincidence that he was assigned to his own city of origin, or
maybe the colonel had felt that Ochre’s knowledge of the place would give
Spectrum an edge. If that were the case, then why wasn’t Magenta assigned
to New York City?
Either way, Captain Ochre was too hungry to think about it any more. He
gestured toward the collection of cheeseburgers, French fries, and soft drinks
on the card table.
“Where did that come from?” he asked.
“Some guy who worked at a local burger joint was having car trouble, and I
happened to pass by.” Magenta said. “He offered me this stuff in
return for a lift out of the city.” Ochre gave his partner a doubtful
“Hey, it’s either this or Spectrum’s MREs,” the Irish-American stated.
“Which would you rather have?”
“You have a point there.” Ochre picked up the nearest hamburger and
unwrapped it. Magenta grinned and did the same.
As the two men chewed thoughtfully on their cholesterol bombs, the former
policeman scanned the sky for the faint, orange-tinged speck of light that was
Mars. Despite his limited knowledge of astronomy, he managed to find it,
and glared in its direction. Puzzled, Magenta followed his gaze.
“Damned Mysterons,” Ochre grumbled. “There
wasn’t even any permanent damage to their stupid little city! I can’t
believe they’d wipe out the entire planet over one tiny little city they just
retrometabolized back to normal anyway! It doesn’t make sense!”
“Well, I guess that’s why we call them aliens,” Magenta replied. With
some help from his partner, he too had found Mars in the night sky.
After a moment, Ochre raised his hand and flipped off the tiny dot of
light. Magenta chuckled.
“Here’s what I think of your stupid war of nerves!” growled the yellow-clad
Spectrum captain. He added the other hand to his gesture, and waved both
for emphasis. Laughter bubbled from both men, the tension melting away.
“No, no! I have a better idea!” Magenta exclaimed. He stood
up and moved to a more open location. He then turned his back to Mars,
checking over his shoulder to make sure he was aligned correctly, and started
to undo his belt. Ochre gasped when he realized what his friend was about
“Real professional, Pat!” he chided. “What if someone’s around and sees
you?” The other’s mischievous grin only grew wider.
“But there isn’t anyone around, is there?” said the Irish-American.
“So no one is going to...hey, what’s that?”
“What’s what?” Magenta pointed towards a small, thin figure a few yards
or so away, obscured by the thick shadows of the night.
“Over there,” he said. “Is that a kid? What’s he doing here?
The city’s supposed to be evacuated!” Magenta straightened up,
redid his belt, and took off after the small figure in front of them.
Ochre got to his feet and jogged after him.
Being considerably taller than the youngster, it didn’t take long for the two
Spectrum personnel to catch up. Magenta approached first.
“Hey kid!” he called. “The city’s been evacuated. Where are
your mom and dad...whoa!” The kid had stopped under a street light to
look back at them. In the sodium-yellow glow, Magenta saw for the first
time that it hadn’t been a kid they were after. Come to think of it, he
doubted it was even human!
The strange figure was short, no more than four feet tall, and very lean and
scrawny, but it certainly didn’t look weak or frail. Quite the contrary,
its lanky arms and legs almost seemed to ripple with raw animal strength
. The creature’s face would have been right at home on a Halloween mask,
and when it sneered at the two men, it bared sharp, rotting teeth. Its
eyes glowed like the deepest volcanic pits. Most remarkable of all, the
thing’s entire body was covered in thick, ratty-looking red hair.
The two Spectrum captains had scarcely acknowledged all this, then the
troll-like creature took off down the street, fast as a rabbit.
“What the heck was that?” Magenta demanded after he got over his initial
amazement. “Did you see that, Rick? Rick? Hey, are you
listening to me?” He turned toward his strangely silent companion.
To his confusion, Ochre’s face was icy pale. “What’s with you?” Magenta
“Captain Ochre to Cloudbase,” Ochre intoned, ignoring his partner.
The cap mic swung down obediently. “Sir! You’ve got to bring
all available officers to the Detroit area! Immediately!
Detroit is the Mysterons’ target!”
Are you sure?” Colonel White sounded baffled,
and rightly so. “How do you know this?”
“No time to explain! Just trust me on this! Ochre out!”
The Cloudbase captain sprinted for the SPV. “Go get the sedan, Magenta,
and find yourself some backup! I want you to head toward the east and try
and block him off! I’ll go south!” He raised his voice to a nearby
Spectrum security guard standing at the corner. “You! Beatty!
You’re with me!” The two joined up and headed towards the waiting
vehicle, while Magenta rounded up his own backup partner and transportation,
still feeling very much in the dark.
“What’s all this about, sir?” Beatty asked as they climbed into the
sedan. Captain Ochre didn’t respond, but gunned the engine and started a
fresh patrol, scanning the streets desperately, and hoping he wasn’t too late.
“What are you looking for?” Beatty asked eventually.
“Captain Black, mostly,” the Cloudbase captain replied. “But pretty much
anything that looks suspicious” Several helicopters flew overhead,
carrying Spectrum officers from adjacent areas. “Looks like the cavalry’s
on its way,” he commented. Apparently his call had been taken
“I don’t think it would be anything as obvious as a nuclear bomb in the middle
of the city,” Beatty commented.
“No,” Ochre agreed. “It would probably be disguised as something--or
someone--who’s integrated into the city backdrop. Something that nobody
would look at a second time.” His jaw clenched in desperation. “It
could be anything from a building to a pop can. But whatever it is, I’m
not gonna stop until I’ve found it.”
“You already have found it...Earthman!” Beatty snarled. Before Captain
Ochre could react, the Mysteron that looked exactly like a Spectrum security
officer pulled a gun and aimed. Years of police work had honed Ochre’s
reflexes razor sharp; he lunged at the creature’s hand just as the firearm went
off. The noise was deafening in the close confines of the
SPV. The pair wrestled vigorously for the gun, with Captain Ochre the
winner. He leveled the weapon at the traitor’s face and took aim.
“Go ahead and fire, Earthman,” Beatty sneered. “It will do you no
good.” Even as he spoke, the Mysteron’s body went limp in his seat.
Smoke poured out from his collar and sleeve cuffs. Realizing what was
happening, Ochre immediately wrenched the SPV’s steering apparatus into a
skidding, gravel-crunching turn that directed the racing vehicle across the highway
and out into the empty field bordering the road, where it could do the least
harm. Not waiting to see whether this plan was successful, he threw his
door open and rolled as far as he could, just as the SPV burst into a mushroom
cloud of flaming debris that washed the field in orange light, and burned the
dried plant husks into ash.
Captain Ochre stumbled away from the wreckage, blinking the afterimages from
his hazy vision. A dull ache along the right side of his body spoke of
nasty burns and scratches, and also of adrenaline threatening to wear
off. A similar, more urgent pain in his arm indicated a broken bone at
the very least.
“Rick!” Captain Magenta called as he ran up to his friend and
partner. “Rick, what happened? Did you find the booby trap?”
“Yeah,” Ochre grunted.
Beatty. The Mysterons must have got him before even arrived.” He
winced as the pain in his arm turned up a notch or two.
“How did you know Detroit was the target?” Magenta asked. The other
captain only shook his head.
“You wouldn’t believe me.” Magenta blinked in consternation, but Ochre
refused to say any more.
There is an old legend, at least as far back as the eighteenth century, that the
city of Detroit is haunted by a specter called the nain rouge, the red
gnome. It is said that seeing this small, ugly creature foretold a
terrible disaster for the city. Thanks to Ochre’s hasty communication,
the disaster, in this case, never happened. Spectrum had concentrated
their resources on Detroit, eventually finding and disarming about forty
well-hidden bombs before any damage could be done, as well as the true
triggering device; the Mysteronized Officer Beatty had merely been a backup.
Captain Ochre spent the remainder of that night wandering the streets of his
home city, thinking about the red-furred creature he and Magenta had
seen. He had never believed in fairy tales before, but now it would seem
that one had actually saved a city. Stranger still, the being in question
had long lived under the label of evil. This, of course, begged the
question as to whether the nain rouge actually brought disaster, or did it
merely warn of what was to come? And if the latter was true, could it
really be considered evil? Ochre shook his head; this was getting too
cerebral for his liking. He quickly turned and headed for his hotel,
where Magenta was probably already asleep. As the Spectrum captain
started on his way, the faint peals of the old Church of Detroit rang out in
the night. He stopped briefly to listen, and to count each chime:
twenty-nine, just like it had been for almost one hundred years.
Captain Ochre smiled and continued on his way. All was right with the
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