Spectra is at it again. G-force, together with the Thunderbird team must learn to act as one on this first mission as a single team.
Categories: Battle of the Planets Characters:
Jason, Keyop, Mark, Other Crossover Character, Princess, Tiny Harper
Drama, VignetteStory Warnings:
I just had to write something about the commanders of the teams clashing. I must be hard for both Mark and Grant, use to being in complete control.
1. Chapter 1 by Lyssa
2. Chapter 2 by Lyssa
The harsh beeping from his bracelet woke the Eagle from a dead sleep. After a deep discussion about the Thunderbird team last night, Mark felt on edge and not ready to crawl into his bed. Usually he’d spend a few minutes talking to Princess. On this subject they held opposite opinions making conversation stilted and practically impossible. Spending another three hours in the Dojo, Jason ran through his Kata’s alongside Mark before the two men took to sparing. Finally he’d fallen asleep four hours ago from sheer exhaustion.
‘Commander,’ the Security Chief's deep voice demanded attention a few seconds later.
‘Ears on,’ Mark waited until the words exited before letting out a yawn.
‘I need to scramble your team,’ Anderson demanded.
Moving to his computer console, Mark sent the signal. The action instinctive, his teammates would be greeted with the same annoying tone, bringing them out of their slumber. It brought a smile to his face as the Commander shimmied into his white jeans.
‘I’ve reworked the Thunderbird's communicators,’ The Chief continued, ‘so they should be getting the call at the same time as G-force. Please escort our visitors and meet me in the briefing room in three minutes. Anderson out.’
‘All right team,’ Mark broadcast on an open channel, ‘you all heard The Chief, time to rise and shine.’
The five teenagers exited their sleeping quarters within seconds of each other. Dressed in their civilian uniform, Keyop rubbed his eyes. Princess smiled at the smallest member, placing a consoling arm around his shoulders.
‘Who gets to wake up the sleeping beauties?’ Jason inquired sarcastically, pointing a thumb to the end of the now occupied corridor.
Glancing down the hall, Mark noticed three doors open within seconds of each other. Grant, Jesse and JJ appeared, shared a glance and gathered outside the final room. The Senior Captain's grey eyes surveyed G-force and shook his head at the unwarranted comment.
‘We’re trained to react to emergencies,’ Jesse drawled from behind Jason in a broad Texan accent, ‘on and off this planet at a moment’s notice.’
‘That’s the public relations people for you,’ JJ rolled his eyes in exasperation.
‘All accounted for Grant,’ Kallan stated as she finished buttoning the opening on her jacket. Beside her Dylan pulled on a boot as they scrambled out of their room.
‘Good,’ the massive man nodded. ‘My team will follow
your lead, Commander,’ Hanson deferred to Mark, ensuring he wore a blank expression.
‘Let’s go,’ Mark said, his signal telling Tiny and Jason to bring up the rear. He didn’t want to lose any of the Thunderbird pilots.
Eyeing the clock, Anderson said nothing. The teams exceeded his expectations. Indicating the couches, the room contained an arrangement so all ten individuals could be seated during their briefing. Deciding to stay in formation, the two sets of five took to opposite sides of the space.
‘I’ve had your team cleared for restricted missions, Captain Hanson,’ Anderson reported. ‘You may consider yourselves employed by the ISO for the time being. I’m sure the administration types will want to discuss the terms of your contracts shorty. I've had technicians install five couches at the back of the Phoenix's main cabin for your use.’
‘Eventually, you are to form an adjunct to the G-force. However at the moment I must insist you act as observes only. TB4 is being retrofitted with the latest technology after being on display at the Smithsonian Museum for the last ninety years. The rest of your vehicles have been overhauled and will be complete by the end of the week. You’ll start training with the new equipment as soon as the upgrades are complete.’
‘Spectra have launched a new threat,’ Anderson shook his head. Using air gestures, he brought up fuzzy a picture of something metallic looking in a blue sky. ‘We’re not sure how it got past our long range scanners at the Pluto Early Warning Station. Intelligence suspects several smaller vessels with a new cloaking technology over a period of time, perhaps the last three to six weeks. We believe each carried parts of the mecha. If this is the case, it would need to be constructed on Terra. This picture might have come from the initial testing phase.’
‘Which means Spectra has a base on Terra,’ Jason fumed, his grey eyes turning stormy.
'Need experts to build,' Keyop added.
‘Your mission is to follow it,’ Anderson eyed his team, ‘and locate that base.’
‘Are we to infiltrate or destroy?’ Mark asked.
‘At this point,’ the Chief rubbed his chin, ‘we want you to gather intelligence. Size of the incursion, troop numbers, battle readiness, anything that will give us a tactical advantage.’
‘What,’ Grant asked, ‘is the capability of the vehicle?’
‘Mecha,’ Jason corrected. ‘Spectra always send huge mechanical monsters known as mecha.’
‘We don’t know,’ Anderson answered, ‘anything about this latest threat.’
‘Don’t,’ Keyop added, ‘want to find out!’
‘You’re to observe,’ Anderson turned his attention to the Thunderbird team, ‘and offer suggestions. Until we find a plausible way to explain your existence to the population of Terra, I don’t want the media knowing about you. Commander, you have your orders. All the available data we have has been loaded into the Phoenix's on board computers.’
‘Let’s go team,’ Mark stood suddenly. The rest of G-force followed his lead.
‘I guess that means us, too,’ Dylan commented under his breath.
‘We need more information,’ Jesse complained, following the rest of the team out of the room.
‘I’ll get you hooked up to the computers in the Phoenix,’ Princess offered. ‘We have pictures from previous missions. It will give you some idea of the Mecha Spectra sends to destroy Terra.’
‘That’ll be a start,’ Kallan smiled at the younger woman as the Thunderbirds followed G-force into the great unknown.
‘It’s been what,’ Dylan muttered in irritation, catching
Kallan’s eye and accompanying frown, he couldn't hold back the complaint, ‘an hour and we’ve found exactly nothing.’
‘We’d have separated by now,’ JJ offered softly, glancing towards the G-force team. ‘Three vehicles can search faster, cover more ground.’
Launching an hour ago, Princess used the first twenty minutes to bring the Thunderbirds up to speed. They’d sat through a history lesson on the Spectran invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy, the development of the Phoenix and finally a series of Mecha sent to ravage Terra.
After forty minutes, the three young males on the team started to fidget at the inactivity. Their rescues entailed adrenalin fuelled situations and constant action. Sitting in the back of the cabin, watching but unable to do anything exasperated the Thunderbirds. Finally Dylan couldn’t hold back the comment. Kallan, siting as she often did on the other side of Grant couldn’t lay a calming hand on his shoulder.
‘That’s recognisance for you,’ Tiny stated in an easy going tone with a wide grin.
‘Like needle in haystack,’ Keyop offered.
‘Mostly we’re sent in when the action’s happening,’ Tiny laughed, ‘so this makes a nice change.’
‘That’s sector four finished,’ Princess reported in an attempt to defuse the suddenly thick atmosphere. ‘We should move on to the north eastern quadrant, Mark. Long range scanners aren’t picking up any signs of activity. Terrain is rocky so it could easily hide a base.’
‘Copy that Tiny?’ Mark questioned, turning to look at the pilot. The Owl nodded, his hands moving over this station to change their course.
‘This would go much faster,’ Jesse tried to keep the disdain out of his tone, ‘if you used the jet. You’d cover twice as much ground.’
‘The Commander stays with the Phoenix,’ Jason growled.
Unable to stop the comment, the Condor felt the situation spiralling out of control. He’d spoken to Mark about this last night while they spared in the training room. Afraid two leaders, in charge of their teams, might fail to integrate, Jason could only back up his Commander.
‘Dylan is more than capable of piloting G1,’ Kallan offered sweetly, hoping to capture Mark’s interest with the suggestion.
Icy blue eyes board into the woman. Standing, Mark approached the back of the Phoenix’s cabin. Coming to a stop before Kallan, he offered in a tightly controlled tone, ‘thank you for your suggestion, Captain. As you are observers on this mission,’ now he turned to Grant, ‘I suggest you keep control of your team, Captain Hanson. I’ve read the bio on all of you. I know your strengths and abilities. Should I feel we need to break ISO protocol and utilise your specialist training, I’ll ask. Are we clear?’
‘I believe so,’ Grant allowed one eyebrow to rise. Crossing his massive arms over his chest, the senior captain didn’t display an iota of worry. ‘However my team are as skilled as yours, Commander. Not to mention determined and cohesive.’
‘All of us,’ Grant’s gaze sweep the people around him, ‘have at least two undergraduate degrees with post graduate qualifications in one area of speciality backed up by ten years’ experience in space and atmospheric conditions. We may have the advantage of a different point of view. I suggest you take it under consideration because all of us want to see the war at an end as soon as possible.’
‘Further, Commander,’ Grant returned his cool grey glare on the Eagle, ‘we’ve here only because we’ve been ordered to be aboard. My team are making valid observations under the circumstance. Whether you decide to act on them is out of our control.’
Feeling like a child told of by his parent, Mark continued to stand and glare. Use to being in charge, he’d only had his orders questioned by Jason. Even then the Condor usually followed them begrudgingly, along with the rest of the team. Grant’s controlled, logical argument threw the Eagle. It also made him realise the older man had once carried as much authority and responsibility on his shoulders.
‘Son,’ Grant offered, seeing the confusion behind the posturing, ‘I don’t envy you your position. We’ll work with you, respect your decisions but you need to give us the same courtesy. Trust will come with time. It can’t be earned on a single mission.’
Nodding, Mark pivoted on his heal and walked regally back to his seat. Aware he’d won the round only because Grant capitulated. Understanding it took a better man to walk away from a fight, the confrontation demonstrated the older leaders common sense and impeccable judgement. One day Mark hoped to obtain the same level of wisdom.
‘Nothing,’ Jason cursed under his breath, beginning to feel the Thunderbird team had a point. If they’d been able to separate this would have gone a lot quicker. Better still if the Thunderbird team had their vehicle, they’d be done by now.
‘Head for the final sector, Tiny,’ Mark stated, as peeved as his second.
Two and a half hours passed since leaving Centre Neptune, almost a thousand kilometres and they hadn’t seen sight nor sound of Spectra or its latest Mecha. Princess invited Kallan to share her station and work load. Hours looking at a monitor, trying to decipher signals that might mean occupation became easier with a second pair of trained eyes. Both women looked ready to drop from fatigue.
‘I hope we have more luck there,’ Tiny commented, changing direction.
‘How long can this bird stay in the air?’ Jesse asked.
‘At this speed and altitude,’ Tiny waved a hand to the board individual, inviting him to stand and observe, ‘ten days.’
Letting out a long, low whistle, Jesse immediately accepted the offer. ‘I’d be mighty interested in the engineering, especially if your Chief’s installing something similar in TB2.’
Tiny began to explain this equipment calling Dylan to join them. As the main pilots for the Thunderbird machines, they’d both need to know about the changes in propulsion systems. The three voices echoed through the cabin helping to dispel some of the tension.
Catching Jason’s eye, Mark “spoke” to his second in signals. The Condor made a nod of agreement. They’d talk after this mission about the way the teams interacted. For now, they needed to step back and observe.
Neither caught the smile on Grant’s face. It disappeared quickly as he read the silent communication. Each member of the G-force team preformed their duties well. There were obviously seasoned, yet Senior Captain Hanson felt they lacked a certain level of prudence due entirely to their young age and lack of life experience.
He’d managed his own research on the five individuals. This team had been trained to do this job from earliest childhood without a choice. Given all the schooling they required, Grant wondered if they’d ever been allowed to be kids. They lacked only maturity, something his team could supply.
‘There,’ JJ shouted.
‘Locking on,’ Princess took control of the main visual
panel. Zooming in on the object she placed the magnified picture on the secondary screen.
‘That’s what we’re after,’ Jason sounded relieved to finally have something to do. ‘From the design, it has to be Spectra.’
‘Dragon,’ Keyop grinned. ‘Wonder if it breaths fire.’
‘Don’t invite trouble,’ Mark commented tersely. ‘Jason, scan the area for it's base.’
‘Nothing,’ he reported.
‘No indicators of a base within a one hundred kilometre range,’ Princess supplied.
‘Test flight,’ Keyop suggested.
‘Maybe,’ Mark considered his options with the strict guidelines Chief Anderson assigned him. About to turn and order their guest into their seats, he found the Thunderbirds already achieved the action. They watched with a mixture of intrigue and excitement, awaiting his next move.
His mind working overtime, JJ pointed to a position on the dragon like mecha’s neck. ‘Mathematically,’ he stated suddenly, ‘that must be the weakest point.’
‘Structurally,’ Dylan broke in with a shake of his head, ‘it’s very close but on the other side and slightly higher. The stress factors, having the propulsion system under the wings would set up a vibration which would twist the internal structure if we hit it here.’
‘Only,’ Jesse added, ‘if it’s made of a metal we’re familiar with.’
‘Bring up the composition on the monitor above Mark’s station,’ Princess offered. Dylan and Jesse locked gazes for a moment, both smiling.
‘So where do we strike,’ Jason growled out, looking between the two men.
‘We don’t,’ Mark’s commanding voice echoed through the Phoenix’s bridge. ‘Our mission is intelligence. Stay low Tiny. Use these mountains to hide our presence. We’ll follow it back to base.’
‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ Grant used his own version of an authoritative voice. He remained quiet, wondering what the young Commander would do. While Captain Hanson understood the chain of command, he also realised in a situation like this, you had to react to a changing dynamics.
Decreasing the timber of his voice, he offered. ‘We have a chance to take that thing down, now, before it can do any harm to an innocent population.’
‘We need to know how it got here without detection,’ Mark argued. ‘If Spectra have devised a way past the Early Warning System, we have to uncover how they are doing it.’
‘Then take your team in and find out,’ Grant offered reasonably. ‘Before you do, destroy that thing. We still have the element of surprise. If you delay any longer you won’t be able to use the advantage.’
‘If we use the TBX missiles from the bottom launch bay,’ Jason offered, ‘I could aim one at each point.’
‘Then,’ Mark growled at his second. Used to Jason questioning his orders, Grant and his team adding their voices infuriated the Commander. ‘How will we locate the base?’
‘I know you’ve been looking for unusual power emanations and using visual inspection,’ Kallan suggested, ‘but what about waste disposal sites. A base able to support something like that would make tones of rubbish every day. They’d have to get rid of it somehow. Look for methane emissions or areas of newly exposed soil.’
‘On it,’ Princess’s hands flew over her console. ‘Mark, I have something. I don’t know how we missed it back in sector six. I’m sending the coordinates to Tiny’s station.’
What will Mark do next? I'd love to hear what you think of this series.
He didn’t want to do it, yet the leader in him knew it to be a smart move. They needed to destroy the mecha, now, without delay and save countless innocent lives. Only with Jason in the torpedo bay, it left Mark to pilot G1. He couldn’t leave the team without a leader. Or could he?
Could the Commander of G-force choose the unconventional and place Senior Captain Grant Hanson in charge of the mission temporarily? Something inside rebelled at the idea of giving up control. While Grant might have the ability he didn’t have experience with his team or the Phoenix. Tiny could guide him but if a critical moment occurred it might cost the success of the mission. In the end Mark carried all the responsibility. He’d be accountable for the success or failure of the mission.
Which left only one other alternative. Captain Dylan Beyda. Mark knew the man to be more than capable of handling his supersonic jet. Could he give his vehicle up to this interloper? A man who’s intelligence and reaction time equalled his without cerabonics? Undoubtedly qualified, this decision stuck in Mark’s gut, wrenching it into a twisted knot.
‘Listen up team,’ Mark stood, turned and faced n
ine sets of enquiring eyes. ‘Jason, take Princess and one of the Thunderbird team to the TBX bay.’
‘Jesse,’ Grant indicated his choice.
‘I want those torpedos reprogramed in thirty seconds,’ before he finished the three individuals made their way to the elevator. ‘Tiny keep us on the tail of that monster but low enough not to be detected. Use the mountainous terrain to hide our presence. We need to give Jason time to arm and deploy those missiles. Dylan,’ sighing, Mark allowed his glacial blue eyes to boar into Captain Beyda, ‘you have thirty seconds. Take G1 to check out the coordinates and report any Spectran activity.’
‘I’ll take good care of your plane, Commander,’ Dylan’s serious look ensured he understood the price he’d pay if so much as a scratch occurred to the Commanders personnel vehicle.
‘The cockpit is based on Super Stream Jet from your time,’ he added, Mark’s tone laced with warning. ‘We’ll be waiting for your report before attacking the Mecha. Time is the critical factor, Captain.’
Nodding, Dylan treated the assignment with characteristic seriousness. The solemn expression never left his face as he hurried through the pre-flight check list. Only a few of the instruments needed a second’s contemplation. In some respects not much had changed in one hundred years. Allowing a slight smile to display his enjoyment at being back behind the yoke, Dylan pulled the jet out of the Phoenix and into a clear blue sky.
Pulling two and a half G’s, it took fifteen seconds to reach the co-ordinates. A high level sight inspection didn’t show any evidence of a midden pile or other human disturbance. Sweeping around to the right in a tight turn, Dylan spied a clearing. Cleverly disguised, it didn’t stand up to closer inspection. Coming in for a low pass, he discovered the well concealed entry.
Continuing on, Captain Beyda flew past in a straight line pretending he hadn’t seen the obvious evidence of habitation.
‘Commander,’ Dylan opened a channel on his wrist communicator.
‘Ears on,’ Mark returned.
‘I have conformation,’ Dylan reported.
‘Return,’ the terse response ordered.
‘Rodger,’ Dylan tried to stop the disappointment colouring his voice. He’d enjoyed flying the supersonic jet. It reminded him of his days at flight school.
‘Jason,’ Mark changed channels, hailing his second, ‘how long until those torpedos are ready.’
‘Princess is closing up the last one now,’ Jason reported.
‘Get up here and finish this Mecha off,’ the Commander demanded, ‘we need to infiltrate the base and put Spectra’s operation out of commission.’
Kallan sat nervously. Her eyes hadn’t left the secondary screen monitoring Dylan’s progress. She noticed the fast moving object turn in a wide sweep and start back towards their position. Letting out the breath she’d been holding, her gaze caught Grant’s.
‘You,’ Keyop shook his head. He’d been watching the pair. The quiet Swallow sometimes noticed more than he let on. ‘Worry too much.’
‘If,’ Kallan managed a smile at the youngster, ‘you’d pulled Dylan out of some of the scrapes he gets himself into, you’d be worried too.’
‘Trouble maker?’ Keyop questioned.
‘Adventurous, methodical, ethical,’ Kallan allowed her grin to widen, ‘and liable to follow his instincts before thinking his actions through. My husband’s need to race off and rescue anyone in distress is well known among the team.’
‘Jason,’ Keyop stated joining in the humour at someone else’s expense, ‘same. Rescued puppy. Team in big trouble.’
‘That’s enough out of you, Squirt,’ Jason declared as he re-entered the bridge. ‘Let’s blow that Mecha out of the sky.’
‘What about Dylan?’ Kallan questioned.
‘We need to take the tactical advantage, Kallan,’ Grant consoled, ‘while we still have the chance. Captain Beyda has a habit to making it back in one piece no matter what the odds against him.’
‘G1 has a homing device installed,’ Mark offered. The look of acceptance clouded with concern over her significant other affected him. Instantaneously The Commander’s gaze diverted to Princess for the briefest moment. He knew how Kallan felt. He’d felt the same way multiple times before. Yet he sensed her ability to get on with the job at hand because that’s what she’d been train to do. More alike in matters of the heart than he cared to admit, Mark ensured he wore his stoic face. ‘No matter what happens,’ he offered a small amount of reassurance, ‘the Phoenix will be able to locate him.’
‘Understood,’ Kallan nodded, a grim line of determination set on her lips. Internally she prayed for Dylan to return to her.
‘Fire when you have the target in range,’ Mark ordered Jason. ‘Tiny bring the Phoenix into position. Let’s give our gunner the best possible angle to achieve his goal.’
‘Almost,’ Jason whispered standing between his commander and the pilot. Unspoken, Tiny read his teammates anxiety. Wanting, needing to make this shot count, the Condor waited for the exact moment to let the torpedos loose. ‘A little to the left, that’s it, fire.’
The button pushed, the nine people on board collectively held their breath. With agonising slowness, the rockets launched. Directed at their target, Jason drummed his fingers on the console, counting down the three seconds to impact.
Boom! The explosion initially decapitated the monster. Head falling in a fiery ball, it bounced off the mountain side far below. Tumbling end over end it disappeared into a deep ravine. A plume of smoke the only evidence of the destruction rose into an otherwise clear sky. The dragon’s body continued on its course, seemingly unhindered by the explosion.
‘Wait for it,’ JJ commented. His mouth continued a private countdown as his eyes smiled knowingly. The grin erupting on his face stated his calculations had been on the money.
Attempting to glide with the control centre missing, the beast extended its massive wings. That seemed to be the catalyst for the body’s destruction. One moment it continued in a straight line, the next it imploded. The mecha seemed to fold in on its self, becoming smaller. Finally unable decrease in size any further, the energy stored in the twisted metal needed to be released. An amazing ball of fire expanded in every direction, momentarily blinding the watching individuals on the Phoenix.
‘Quite a show,’ Dylan’s voice echoed from the main speakers with a hint of humour.
‘Glad to see you didn’t miss it, Captain,’ Kallan teased in return. ‘For a moment there, we though we’ve have to rescue you, again.’
‘Not a chance,’ the laughter could be heard in his voice. ‘I’m trying to turn over a new leaf this century.’ Suddenly turning serious, Dylan added, ‘I’m docking G1 now.’
‘As soon as Dylan’s on board,’ Mark ordered in Tiny’s direction, ‘head for the Spectran base. Jason, Princess, Keyop, get ready to go in. Captain Hanson, you and you’re team will stay on the Phoenix with Tiny.’
‘I suggest,’ Grant offered with a quirk of his eyebrow, ‘you take Dylan and Kallan with you. Both are consummate professionals and won’t hamper the effectiveness of your team. I usually send them in on recognisance due to their efficient and resourceful skill mix.’
‘Grant,’ Kallan reminded, ‘this is a hostile situation. We’re not appropriately trained or equipped.’
‘Fighting the Kadzilla plant wasn’t a hostile situation?’ JJ asked, astounded.
‘You managed to come out with a sample of the plant, Kallan,’ Jesse reminded, ‘even when it tried to capture you.’
‘Don’t forget the time Lt McBeth attacked both of us,’ Dylan added while walking over to Kallan’s chair, ‘under the influence of that crystal. We escaped because of your sharp shooting.’
Standing Captain James gave her husband a quick hug in greeting. Keeping an arm around his waist, she faced the mission Commander. ‘We’re here to observe, Sir,’ she acknowledged Mark’s authority.
Nodding agreement, the Commander once again found himself in a quandary. Captain Beyda proved himself capable in locating the Spectran base and not arousing suspicion. The General in charge would soon become aware of the dragon mecha’s demise at the hands of G-force. Logically an attack on the instillation must follow immediately with the largest force he could muster. The extra manpower would help. Yet Mark had only records to guide his decision. He’d have liked to see both captain’s in action before being forced to make this decision.
‘Commander,’ Jason gained his leaders attention, ‘I’d let them come with us.’
Remembering the limited conversation about the Thunderbird team as they spared in the Dojo last night, he easily caught the Condor’s message. ‘Kallan, you’re to stay with Princess. Find the central computer. I want the data on how they managed to build that mecha without our knowledge.’
‘Big ten,’ Princess agreed. ‘I’ll see if I can’t plant a little diversion along the way.’
‘Set it for fifteen minutes,’ Mark decided. ‘Jason you have Dylan. Find out what other weapons capability this base has. Disable what you can.’
‘I’ll get a supply of micro explosives,’ he took off for the arms storage locker one level down.
‘Keyop,’ Mark finished, ‘you’re with me. We’re the diversion so the others can get in and out in the allotted time.’
‘I’m going to touch down half a click from the entry,’ Tiny pointed to a manmade outcropping.
‘That,’ JJ offered, ‘is garbage. Man you’re going to stink, wading through that.’
Grinning as he handed the mini-bombs to Keyop and Mark, Jason stated, ‘watch and learn. Ever hand glided, Dylan,’ he challenged with a wicked expression.
‘Once or twice,’ he looked towards Kallan. A shrewd smile covered both faces.
‘Let’s go team,’ Mark stopped further taunting between the teams.
Stepping onto the platform, Tiny engaged the hydraulics, lifting the six individuals to the top surface of the Phoenix. Three hundred metres above the ground, Dylan grabbed hold of Kallan hand. Firing his jet pack, the pair shot off the surface the moment the plexiglass canopy opened.
Jason grinned at Mark’s surprised expression as they leapt after the pair. He’d remembered the conversation between Jesse and JJ yesterday, understanding this team had more technologically enhanced tricks than their files displayed. Over the initial shock, his commander’s eyes berated the Condor.
Hitting the ground running, Mark didn’t make the same mistake twice. Dylan and Kallan managed to keep pace with his team. Easily infiltrating the base, Princess indicated her chosen direction with a quick hand signal. Most of the Spectran instillations followed a similar pattern making their jobs easier.
Jason, choosing the opposite way, gestured for Dylan to follow him. A few hundred metres down the corridor they met their first challenge. Sending a feather shrunken into the goon, he dropped silently to the floor. A round house kick from Dylan’s left boot took care of the second. The Condor’s tight grin displayed his satisfaction. He’d been testing the Captain’s ability and skill.
Making a cut the crap signal, Dylan’s expression displayed his displeasure at the impromptu test. Handing over several mini-bombs, Jason showed his partner how to arm and place them. Every few metres they rigged the corridor to blow.
Princess stole along the well-used hallway. Kallan used her stun gun affectively at every corner, shocking the Swan with her speed and accuracy. The real fight came after they blew the control room door off its hinges. Allowing her attention to become devoted to the computer console, Captain James picked off the goons attempting to enter the room. Even with the smoke, twisted metal and klaxon blaring in the background, Kallan’s rapid and accurate fire gave Princess enough time to start the down load.
‘Watch for a green light,’ the Swan indicated the data cube gathering every speck of electronic
information. ‘When it comes on, pull it out and place this one in the slot. We’ll have about five minutes to get clear before this whole place blows.’
Not waiting for Kallan acknowledgement, Princess went to work. Amazed Kallan kept up her rapid fire taking out almost as many goons as the Swan’s arms and legs without coming close to her swiftly moving limbs. It felt good to have someone at her back, someone she could trust proving her initial reaction to the Thunderbird team had been correct.
‘Done,’ Kallan didn’t come close enough to be a victim to the pink tornado.
‘Let’s move,’ Princess smirked.
At the next intersection they met up with Mark and Keyop. A silent nod and the Eagle signalled the Swallow to move out. Fighting three abreast, Kallan took up the rear, picking off anyone coming from the opposite direction.
‘I’m almost out of charge,’ she stated as they approached yet another intersection. Re holstering her second weapon, she prepared to join the fight once her hand gun expired.
Aiming, she saw the blue streak enter her cross hairs. A bright smile covered her lips as she observed Dylan’s striking from beside the Condor. His movements as smooth and deadly, they’d have to cope with the death and destruction later. It went against every bone in their bodies to kill and maim, yet this planet, now at war, changed the rules. It changed them.
Throwing his side arm in Kallan’s direction, Dylan continued to use this fists and feet to defend himself. Now trapped in the middle of five individuals, Captain James continued to pick off goons using her weapons stopping their escape route. Incredibly the Thunderbirds melded seamlessly into the combined fighting force.
‘Glad you could join us,’ Mark spoke above the noise to greet his second.
‘We need to get out of here,’ Jason’s calm tone announced they’d had a world of trouble about to descend on them. ‘This place is packed with fostforite.’
‘Fire breathing dragon,’ Keyop made the connection.
‘It has to be all Spectra mined in the last ten years,’ Jason hazard a guess.
‘Getting desperate,’ Keyop added.
‘That stuffs unstable,’ Mark commented. ‘When it hits an oxygen supply it explodes like fireworks.’
‘I can see the entry,’ Princess offered.
‘I’m signalling Tiny,’ Mark saw an opening.
Directing his team across the floor space, they made a run for the open exit. Both Kallan and Dylan laid down a rapid cover fire, enough to make it out into the bright sunshine. It didn’t last long as the Phoenix descended on their position. G-force naturally opened their wings and glided up to the Phoenix. A second behind, Kallan and Dylan fired their jet packs. Scooping them up and making for the horizon, Tiny directed his bird away from the fall out zone.
Thirty seconds later the base erupted in a magnificent fireworks display. At first small plumbs of flame exited from the three entrances. As the fostforite ignited, metal heated and the ground melted. White hot magma formed, boiling in a created cauldron. Unable to maintain the pressure, it shot into the atmosphere like a geyser under enormous force.
‘How many men,’ Kallan found her hands covering her eyes at the sight, ‘were on that base?’
‘Fifteen hundred,’ Jason reported, perplexed.
‘And on the mecha?’ Dylan questioned, taking his wife into his arms.
‘Another two hundred,’ Mark offered.
Grant understood the reaction. He’d studied military law and tactics. No stranger to the psychological damage this mission would cost his youngest Captain’s, he rose from his seat. Offering the space so Dylan could sit next to his wife as they digested the loss of human life, he shook his head. Forcing Kallan onto his knee, the stunned silence on the bridge broken only by Captain James soft weeping.
‘We,’ Grant offered, ‘are a rescue team. We save lives, not extinguish them. The only time one of my team attempted to take one, they failed dismally. In fact it led to both Kallan and Dylan being placed on the injured list for several weeks.’
A review or two to tell me what think would be appreciated,
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.