It was the day before Halloween and a number of people stationed on Cloudbase were looking forward to the up and coming celebrations. Most of the festivity preparations had been made and sanctioned by the colonel, while others still needed last-minute tweaking. However, all that and the routine activities stopped as the out-worldly voice of the Mysterons come over the airwaves announcing their latest threat:
“THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS. WE KNOW THAT YOU CAN HEAR US EARTHMEN. BECAUSE OF YOUR ATTACK ON OUR MARTIAN CITY, WE WILL ATTACK ASCENSION’S FOREMOST RESOURCE PRODUCER. ANY ATTEMPT TO STOP US WILL BE INEFFECTIVE AS WE WILL OVERCOME IT.”
Of course, that meant that there was a flurry of activity as Spectrum personnel tried to work out what the Mysterons’ target was. As it happened, after they ran the threat through the seventh-generation plasma computer’s algorithms, they found it quite swiftly. It was a company; Ascension Ocean Mining, which had brought a wave of prosperity to the nearby Atlantic Island. The compound was built on a floating platform that was positioned over a high point of the Atlantic ridge. This meant that some of its operations and machinery were underwater. It was not going to be easy to protect them; divers were going to be the only way.
Six teams of two were formed. Conveniently, Captains Grey and Sepia were able to make up one of the teams, with the others being made up of ground-based captains and lieutenants.
Captain Scarlet stood by a desk as he went over a map of the compound, highlighting the areas that had been checked and secured. They hadn’t been there long, about half an hour, but they were making good progress in checking and clearing the company’s personnel and some of the buildings, but they still had a long way to go. The dive teams were in the water and making steady progress in their checking. Captain Blue was alongside Scarlet, monitoring the radio traffic. So far so good, all was going well.
“Lieutenant Khaki to Captain Scarlet, S.I.R!” an unexpected radio call from Spectrum’s liaison on the World Navy support ship came across the airwaves.
“Scarlet here, what is wrong, Lieutenant?”
“You need to call back the divers, Captain!”
“Their air mix has been tampered with!”
Startled, Scarlet looked at Blue, who had also heard the transmission. “What? What are you saying?” Scarlet asked the lieutenant.
“The air mix in their tanks is not what should be in them,” Khaki replied. “It’s been altered and will have adverse effects on them.”
“What type of effects?”
“We’re not quite sure but an initial analysis seems to indicate that it will interfere with their thinking,” Khaki answered. “The doctors on board are concerned about the harm it might cause. They want to examine the divers as soon as possible.”
“S.I.G., Lieutenant. How soon can the other dive teams get into the water?” Scarlet enquired, “We can’t give the Mysterons a chance to strike!”
“They’re suiting up now, Captain, and will be in the water ASAP,” was Khaki’s reply.
“Good. Submit the rest of your report to Captain Blue, lieutenant.” Scarlet signalled Blue to take over the questioning of Khaki as he changed frequencies to contact the dive teams.
One team he couldn’t raise, which worried him. Why didn’t they respond? Was there something blocking the radio signals or something else more serious? Whatever the reason, he was confident that the replacement dive team could deal with it. He tried contacting another of the dive teams. ‘Why should we? We’re not going to miss the fun’ was the one and only reply that he got from them. It didn’t ease his concern about what might be happening down below. Lastly, he tried to reach Grey and Sepia, “Captains Grey, Sepia, stand down, the threat has escalated. The Mysterons have tampered with your air, return to the surface.”
He heard back from Sepia, “Sepia to Scarlet, please confirm the order.” Finally a proper reply, may be things were not as bad as they seemed.
Scarlet didn’t hear from Grey, but presumed he was with his diving partner, so he continued, “Stand down, Sepia, the mission’s code word is ‘surmount’. You and Grey need to return to the surface immediately.”
He waited for an acknowledgement, but none came. What was going on down there? There wasn’t really any way of knowing until the replacement divers arrived on the scene. With a small wave of his hand he caught Blue attention. “The doctors might be right. There’s definitely something odd going on with the dive teams. Inform Khaki that we might need some of the World Navy divers for back up and that the medics are standing by.”
“S.I.G,” Blue replied as Scarlet contacted Cloudbase to inform Lieutenant Green, and therefore Colonel White, about what was happening. Having done that, he returned his attention back to Blue, only to see his partner give a small shake of his head as his microphone returned to his cap.
“What’s wrong, Blue?” Scarlet asked.
“We’ve got a problem,” Blue stated. “Captain Sage was injured neutralizing a replicant when they uncovered the tampering. He and Lieutenant Coral were going to replace Grey and Sepia.” A slight grimace showed on his face. “So we’re short one Spectrum diver. We could send down a World Navy diver to partner Coral, but I don‘t like the idea and I’ve got the feeling that you don’t like it either. It would be too easy for the Mysterons to make use of that.” He gave Scarlet a questioning look. “There is another option.” He saw Scarlet lift an eyebrow. “I could go down with the lieutenant.”
“I’m not sure I like that idea either,” Scarlet said. “You haven’t dived with Coral before and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mysterons made use of that as well.”
“Well, what do you propose?” Blue asked. “That we send down two World Navy divers? We don’t have the time to call in a new team of Spectrum divers, even if there was one.”
“I know,” Scarlet answered. Then, after a second or two of thought, he added: “No, there’s only one solution and that is for you and I to go down.” He gave a firm nod, pleased with the plan. “You organize our gear, Blue, while I update the colonel and Ochre on what’s happened and what we’re going to do.”
“S.I.G., Scarlet,” Blue replied.
Dropping down through the warm tropical waters was really quite lovely, but its appeal was lost on Blue and Scarlet. While they were kitting up, the situation had escalated. None of the divers from the first teams had returned to the surface and, even worse, one of the replacement teams had reported that the first team had started to damage some of the complex that was around them. Thankfully, they had been easily subjugated and after been cleared by a Mysteron detector, they were now being escorted back to the surface by a couple of Navy divers while the replacement team continued the checking and patrol.
As for the other two of the original dive teams, they still had to be accounted for, although some garbled radio messages from one them showed that, at least, they were still around.
They soon arrived were Grey and Sepia were supposed to be. Of course, there was no sign of them. As Blue and Scarlet started to look for them, the news that the first team had reached the surface and were now in the hands of the medical staff was radioed to them. Pleased and relieved by the news, they continued their search for Grey and Sepia. They had just checked behind a couple of conveyor belts when the report that the second set of divers had been found and sorted was relayed to them. They too were cleared by a Mysteron detector, but like the other team, they also needed medical care.
Now, there was just Grey and Sepia to deal with.
Scarlet and Blue passed a set of service and storage bays for the maintenance, mining and surveying robots, SS bay 3. As they did so, they saw a diver in the distance, hanging motionless in the water by a group of pipes. Who was it, was he alive? The occasional release of bubbles indicated that he was. However, a big question remained: was he going to turn out to be a Mysteron? Quickly but carefully, they swam towards the diver.
The diver turned out to be Sepia. His eyes were open, but his arms were hanging limply by his side and he didn’t react to Scarlet’s questioning or Blue’s checking with a Mysteron detector (he was clean). It was as if Sepia didn’t see or hear them, his eyes didn’t even blink when Blue waved his hand before his face, nor did he react when Scarlet put restrains on him.
“I don’t like how he’s not reacting, Scarlet. What do you think happened?” Blue asked.
“No idea, but I think the sooner he gets to the surface the better and we still have to find Grey. I just hope that he hasn’t started to wreck anything like the others did.” Scarlet switched frequencies on his radio, “Captain Scarlet to Lieutenant Khaki.”
“Receiving,” Khaki answered.
“Still no trace of Grey, but we’ve found Sepia and require an escort for him,” Scarlet stated.
“S.I.G.,” acknowledged Khaki. There was a moment of silence, then “They’re on their way and will be with you soon.”
“Good, Scarlet out.”
Blue looked at Sepia, then back at Scarlet. “You go and hunt for Grey. I’ll keep an eye on Sepia until his escort arrives, then I’ll join you.”
“S.I.G., Blue,” Scarlet replied, then, after looking around, continued, “This isn’t going to be easy. There’s a lot of areas where he could be.”
Blue waved at the pipes nearby. “That would be a good place to start, he’s likely to have checked them out.”
“True.” With that reply, Scarlet swam towards the pipe and was very soon among them. “A coconut for you Blue. I see Grey, he’s here in the pipes as well. Seems like he might have gotten tangled in some old fishing line but he’s free now.”
Scarlet approached cautiously, trying to contact Grey, “Scarlet to Grey. Is everything okay with you?”
his surprise, he saw Grey turn around, spot him, release his weapon and take
took a shot at him, before swimming out of the pipes. Thankfully, the shot
went wide. As Grey swam away, Scarlet heard his stressed voice into his
speakers, saying, “S.I.R.! S.I.R.! This is Captain Grey. I am under attack
from a shark. I repeat, I’m under attack from a shark. Need immediate
“Hell, Blue, Grey’s seeing things! He just shot at me, thinking I was a shark!”
“What?! Heck, it sounds like he’s really been affected. You better be careful, Scarlet.”
“Of course I will.” As he made his way through the rest of the pipes, Scarlet thought he heard a quiet “ha” from Blue.
Exiting the pipes, Scarlet scanned the area he was now in, looking for Grey. Nearby, there was some more service and storage bays, with three conveyor belts a bit further away, and beyond them, another lot of service and storage bays.
“Blue to Scarlet, Sepia is away and I’m on my way to join you.”
Scarlet moved past the bays and as he did so, he heard the sound of a weapon being fired repeatedly. He homed in on the sound and saw Grey firing at one of the mining-bots. He updated Blue as he closed the distance between him and Grey as fast as he could, but he kept machinery between them, so he could have the element of surprise. It worked and he was able to grab and disarm Grey before he had a chance to react. Fortunately, Blue caught up with them and removed Grey’s diving knife, before taking a good hold of Grey’s other side. It was just as well, for Grey had started to resist quite vigorously, making it very difficult for Scarlet to put restrains on him, which he managed with some difficulty.
Scarlet was about to request an escort when Grey’s stressed voice came once more over the radio, “This is Captain Grey, S.I.R.! I am under attack from unknown assailants. Is there anyone who can hear me? I need urgent assistance. I repeat I need urgent assistance!”
“Scarlet to Grey,” Scarlet responded. “It’s us, Blue and I. We’re not going to harm you, the Mysterons are causing you to see things that aren’t real. Do you hear me, Grey?” Scarlet asked, trying to get a response from Grey, only to get none.
Again Scarlet was about request an escort for Grey, when all the bits and pieces of what was going on, came together - making a whole.
“I think I’ve worked out what the Mysterons’ plan is, Blue,” Scarlet said to his partner.
“Yeah I think I have too. This has shades of that Mysteronized Champagne incident, although that didn’t really alter our perceptions like this has seemed to. And I hate to say it Scarlet, but it looks like it’s affected Grey pretty badly. I don’t think we can wait for another team to take him to the surface.”
“I have to agree Blue, which means we will have to split up. I don’t like it, but I can’t see any other way. Just be as fast as you can in taking Grey up and getting back to me.”
“Who said that I’ll take Grey up? I’m the better diver!” Blue protested
“I know, but I’m…well, you know… and you know I’m right, Adam.”
Blue shook his head. “I hate it when you say that, Scarlet… Okay, I’m going, just keep in contact will you and I’ll be back as fast as I can.”
“S.I.G.” was Scarlet’s reply.
Blue took a firmer hold of Grey and headed for the surface. Which was just as well, for on their way, Grey once more tried to get away before becoming still. However, Blue noticed an increase in Grey’s breathing and a very slight trembling.
They surfaced by the ship and Blue was relieved to see a team of medics already waiting for them. Happily, he handed Grey to them and watched as they manoeuvred him up and onto the deck before returning to Scarlet.
Colonel White sat back in his chair. He had just finished reading the reports from the last Mysteron threat. It had been an interesting one and one that could have easily succeeded if it hadn’t been for Lieutenant Khaki. He had gotten suspicious when he saw a mark on one of the tanks for the second lot of divers that he didn’t remember seeing when they were first checked. So, he had all of them retested, thereby uncovering the tampering of the air mix in them. If that hadn’t happened, then who knew how quickly Spectrum would have worked out what the Mysterons were up to.
As it was, there had been some damage done by the first lot of divers. Not as much as there could have been, but still enough for some officials to grumble about it. However, Ascension Ocean Mining could continue operating, so the effect of the attack wasn’t going to cause too much disruption to the economy of Ascension Island.
He was also pleased that Doctor Fawn, along with the other doctors, had been able to confirm that there wasn’t going to be any long-term effects from the tainted air. All the captains and lieutenants exposed to it were recovering satisfactorily and would be able to return to duty after a couple of days.
The colonel slowly shook his head. This threat had stretched them; they didn’t have a lot of certified divers. It was a good thing that the target was in the Atlantic, it had made it easier to get them there in time as most of them had been stationed nearby countries. Furthermore, as usual, the threat’s meaning was now totally clear. The overcome was more a take-over and this wasn’t the first time the Mysterons had used a substance to alter the way his officers behaved. He was going to have to seriously think about what could be done to stop it from happening again.
All in all, his staff had done a good job in countering the threat and it turned out that the Mysterons didn’t seem to have a plan B this time, as they often did. However, that didn’t lessen the difficulty that they faced. No, they definitely had done a good job and Lieutenant Khaki was certainty due for a commendation, if not a promotion.
The thought of it brought a slight smile to his face. Now, that was a part of his duty he didn’t mind doing.
This story was inspired by two others: Dr Seuss’s Whacky Wednesday and a Thunderbird fanfic story, Flicking Lights by Kaeera, which can be found on the Tracy Island Chronicles website and is a very good Halloween read. I was also helped in finding the right setting by a Stingray episode: Raptures of the Deep.
I also acknowledge and thank Isabelle Saucier, with a bit of input from Chris Bishop, for their hard work in helping me getting this story sorted (Any mistakes left are on me for not seeing them). As well as Chris for this great website and all the hard work she does in keeping it going.
This story has been written so that others can have the enjoyment of reading it and not for any monetary gain and I am aware that I’m not the copyright holder of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (Anyway it’s just as well because, really I could never do him or them justice).
And may you (valued readers) have a great scary Halloween.
Any comments? Send an E-MAIL to the SPECTRUM HEADQUARTERS site