Categories > TV > Thunderbirds > Enhanced0 Reviews
After participating in a rescue at a US research base John begins experiencing strange and amazing side effects.
Chapter Ten: Answers
That Same Time
Alan Tracy smiled triumphantly as the program he was using to break into the US government computer network slipped in through the last of their firewalls into the main information system. There would still be barriers around specific areas for him to get through but that would not be a problem. Feeding in the search request for information on any and all technologies that had been undergoing research and development at the research base in Nevada he waited.
After a moment the search program reported back that it had detected additional firewalls and guardian programs designed to catch any unwary intruder or unauthorised person from accessing that part of the database. A part that Alan noticed uneasily was used extensively by both the wing of the military that dealt with black projects and the intelligence services especially the CIA and NSA. The fact that those two paranoid agencies could have been involved in whatever had been researched at that base was worrying.
He made a few adjustments on the console before him and then sat back to wait for the search program to slip past the guardian programs and through the firewalls. Hopefully it would not be long before he got his father some answers about what exactly the government had been up to at that base. And what it was doing to John.
Scott and John were unsurprisingly the last ones to arrive at the sickroom and it came as no surprise to them to see the whole family - except Alan of course and grandma who was still away on the US mainland - waiting for them along with Brains, Kyrano and Tin-Tin.
No one spoke as they came into the room and moved towards where Brains was standing at the diagnostic bed. As he approached the diagnostic bed again John took in the adjustments that Brains and Gordon had made to it. Long tracks had been added to the left and right side of the diagnostic bed and each mounted a slim bio-scanner unit. The pylon like units lacked the elegance of the commercially available models but that was no surprise considering that Brains had made them in a hurry. Both units trailed optical cabling that plugged into the base of the diagnostic bed.
"I know the set-up doesn't look pretty but it will do the job we need it to do," Gordon said watching John.
"Looking nice doesn't matter as long as we get some answers," John answered as he climbed up onto the diagnostic bed and lay down flat on the surface.
"T...T...True," Brains agreed. "Are you ready John?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," John replied hiding his nervousness about what Brains might find.
Brains gave John a reassuring smile then turned to the control console and powered up the new systems of the diagnostic bed before bringing the other systems on line as well.
The inward facing panels on the bio-scanner units lit up then a band of translucent green light grew between the two units. Then they began moving slowly along the track the glowing scan field between them passing through John's body scanning him right down to the submolecular level. To John the scan felt really, really strange as the scan passed along him the parts of his body the scan beam was currently going through tingled weirdly - it wasn't strictly unpleasant but it wasn't really comfortable either. And even when it passed a faint tingling like very mild pins and needles remained behind for several seconds
The scan took almost two minutes to complete - two minutes that got increasingly uncomfortable for John. He sighed in relief when the bio-scanners shut down their sweep completed. But then the normal diagnostic scan unit came on again at its maximum sensitivity and slowly swept John's body with its laser-fan like scanning beam taking almost a minute to complete its task.
Brains examined the analysis as soon as it appeared on the consoles display screens. The analysis took longer than it normally would as the amount of information gathered by the bio-scanners and the diagnostic sweep was far more than the amount of data the system was normally designed to cope with. Indeed Brains had had to add data buffers between the bio-scanners and the main diagnostic system for the whole thing to work in the first place.
But what he saw when the scan results finally popped up on his screen made his jaw drop open in amazement. What on earth are these things, he thought.
"Well Brains," Jeff Tracy prompted. "What has the scan revealed?" John sat up and looked at Brains and had the situation been any different he would have laughed at the completely dumbfounded look on the technical genius's face.
"What is it?" John prompted.
"I'm p...p...putting it up on the m...m...main monitor," Brains stammered as he wasn't sure he would be able to describe what he saw.
Everyone turned their attention to the sickrooms main monitor screen as it lit up showing a false colour magnified image of a section of John's blood stream. There floating over the magnified images of blood cells was something's that were well and truly bizarre and definitely did not look like they belonged inside the human body.
The main body of the objects was a smoothed oval shape inlayed with an incredibly intricate looking pattern of electronic circuitry. Yet the rest of the main body seemed be organic. It was like a fusion of a living organism and a machine. Projected from the body of the objects were a number of small tendrils that seemed to end with tiny manipulative tools of somekind.
"What on earth are those," Scott said finding his voice.
"I'm not sure," Brains admitted. "But I b...b...believe that what were seeing is some form of n...n...nanotechnology."
"Nanotechnology," Virgil repeated shocked. "But that's practically impossible. No ones ever been able to develop a practical form of nanotechnology."
"Well it doesn't look like an impossibility anymore Virgil," John said. "And these things are inside me? Floating around in my blood?" Brains nodded.
"T...T...There not just in your blood John," Brains said manipulating his controls. "This is an image of one of cells in your body that h...h...has be c...c...changed."
An image of a cell in John's body magnified thousands of times appeared on the big screen. And there inside the cell was one of the nano things. Yet it was slightly different to the ones that were floating around in John's blood. The main body was still an oval shape but slimmer and edging closer to being round like the cell it was in. There were many more tendrils coming from the central body, yet they seemed different somehow and they were interfacing with the rest of the cell.
John was stunned.
"My god," he breathed in shock. "So these nano things whatever they are, are what's causing my cells to change?"
"Yes," Brains said. "The p...p...process is still ongoing but the diagnostic scan shows that eighty-five percent of the cells in your body have now been c...c...changed. I estimate that the change will be c...c...complete within another two hours."
"So what are these things doing to me," John asked. That after all was the question that he really wanted answered. They now knew why his cells were changing and what was doing it but what exactly were these nano machines doing to him.
"They s...s...seem to be enhancing the p...p...performance of every system in your somehow."
"To what end," John asked stunned.
"I don't know," Brains replied. "Your g...g...guess is as good as mine."
"Maybe Alan will be able to provide the answer to that question," Jeff said thoughtfully. "He's using the computers on Thunderbird Five to sneak into the US governments computer network."
"That will be easy enough for him," John replied grinning. "The firewalls and guard programs the US government use are good but no match for our systems. And the beauty of it is they won't even know we've been there." Everyone in the room grinned at that.
Before anyone else could reply a bleeping came from the intercom unit indicating that a message was coming in from Thunderbird Five. In unison Jeff, Scott, Virgil, Gordon and Brains left the sickroom. John hopped off the diagnostic bed and followed with Tin-Tin coming along behind him.
They reached the main living room just as Jeff answered the hail from Thunderbird Five.
"Go ahead Alan," John heard his dad saying as Alan's portrait on the wall disappeared replaced by a real time image of Alan himself backdropped by Thunderbird Five's control room.
"Dad I've got the information you wanted," Alan said immediately.
A Few Moments Earlier
Alan read through the information that the search program had retrieved from the US government's database about what exactly the government had been researching on that base in Nevada. There was a lot of information here about a variety of different projects. Naturally most were to do with weapons design and new defence systems. Though one was a design for a sensor that according to Thunderbird Five's computer once put into production and use would be able to break even International Rescue's stealth technology. Alan would have to give that design to Brains as soon as possible so he could make adjustments or improvements to their stealth technology to counter the sensor. The sensor design might also be able to improved upon by Brains for use on the Thunderbirds as the information indicated that it had some really impressive capabilities.
Alan only found one project that could be doing anything to John. And he could barely believed what it was. Somehow some genius working for the United States government had after almost three decades of work developed a practical form of nanotechnology called nanites. The engineer in Alan was very impressed with the accomplishment even though he was disgusted at some of the things the government was considering using their new technology for. Thankfully they wouldn't really be able to do anything with it for awhile. According to the last entry in the database the destruction of the base had meant valuable research data had been lost, data that would take at least a decade to recover. The surviving nanites - the ones rescued by the researcher - had been designed for one purpose. And reading over the information Alan was willing to be it was those nanites that were what was causing John to change.
Alan manipulated his controls and hailed Tracy Island. After a moments waiting his father's face appeared on the communications screen.
"Go ahead Alan," Jeff Tracy said.
"Dad I've got the information you wanted," he replied. "I think I know what is happening to John though it's pretty hard to believe."
"We've found out a few things ourselves," Jeff answered and explained what the bio-scan had revealed. "But we have no idea what these nano machines..."
"Nanites," Alan interrupted. "They are called nanites dad."
"Oh!" Jeff replied. "But as I was saying we have no idea what these nanites are doing to John. We know some are merging with his cells somehow but for what purpose we do not know."
"I think I can answer that question," Alan answered. "I've had a look over the information. There is a lot of it and most goes way over my head but I understand enough to be able to tell you."
"Go on," Jeff prompted.
"Basically dad the nanites that are in John as designed to transform a normal human into a superhuman by enhancing the bodies capabilities dramatically. Sensory perception, strength, speed, reflexes, agility all become enhanced. To what degree is not said."
"Wow," Alan heard Scott's voice say from off screen.
"But there are drawbacks," Alan added.
"Such as," Jeff prompted.
"Increase nutritional needs. The nanites are biomechanical their organic component requires food to survive just like any living thing. And the machine part is powered by that part of the nanite. Basically dad John's going to have to eat more than normal to cope with the energy demand or eat more high-energy foods. Otherwise it could result in nanites starting to shut down and that would be a very bad thing."
"How so," Jeff asked.
"Another drawback of the nanites is that once they're a part of a person they can't be removed," Alan answered. "The team at the research base were trying to solve that thorny little problem but weren't getting anywhere. Basically once the nanites are part of the human body as they're becoming with John then the body becomes completely dependent on them for continued function. Any attempt to remove them could lead to what the information terms total systemic collapse." Alan flinched slightly as he said that. Total systemic collapse was just another way of saying that if the nanites were removed from John's body it would kill him.
For a couple of moments there was silence over the communications link with the island. Alan could tell from the look on his fathers face that he knew what they information meant by total systemic collapse as well.
"I see," Jeff said at last. "Send the information down here so Brains can have a look at it."
"F.A.B dad," Alan replied. "And dad there is something else that I found. But its not related to the nanites but it's a real threat to us."
"Go on," Jeff answered catching the seriousness immediately.
"Dad the US government has come up with a prototype sensor system. A sensor that from the quick analysis I did up here will see through our stealth technology like its not even there. Once these sensors are put into production in a month they'll be able to track us wherever we go. I've got the design specs here."
"Send it down here with the nanite information," Jeff instructed.
"F.A.B," Alan replied flipping some of his controls. "I'm sending the data to the computer in Brains lab now."
John sat back on one of the couches in the living room area his mind awhirl as he tried to fully process what Alan had said the nanites were doing to him. The nanites were changing him into somekind of superhuman. It was hard to believe yet it was better than turning into a monster which is what he'd feared and it certainly explained a few things.
Like how he'd heard what dad and Virgil were saying this morning when he should not have been able to, it was the enhancements in his hearing starting to come into play. The thing with the jam jar lid had been the first sign of his increasing strength and the thing on the beach when he had seen Scott as if he was standing next to him.
John frowned when he heard Alan speaking about the sensor that had been developed by the US government. A sensor capable of penetrating the stealth technology they used to prevent someone tracking the Thunderbirds back here to Tracy Island. And John was willing to be that wasn't a coincidence that the sensor could do that. He was willing to lay odds that it had been designed with penetration of their stealth technology in mind. Certain parts of the US government and military had made no secret that they believed that the Thunderbirds should belong in their hands. Never mind that they would use the technology to destroy life not save it.
"Data transfer complete dad," Alan's voice said.
"F.A.B Alan," Jeff replied.
"That new sensor has some pretty impressive capabilities dad other than penetrating our stealth systems," Alan said. "With a few improvements and modifications we could integrate it with our own systems."
"I'll look at it," Brains replied intrigued he would have to analyse the sensor design anyway to make adjustments to there stealth technology or redesign it completely at any rate.
"Is there anything else Alan," Jeff asked. Alan shook his head.
"That's all I have dad," Alan replied. "Do you want me to get back into the database and see if I can get some more information?"
"No the information you've found is enough Alan. Well done." Alan smiled at the word of praise from his father. One didn't get praise out of Jeff Tracy very often so when it happened it was something to treasure.
"I better get back to work," Alan said at last. Jeff nodded and Alan broke the connection from his end. His face disappeared and the portrait reappeared instead.
Jeff turned to look over at John who still had a thoughtful look on his face, obviously still taking all this in.
"Are you alright with this John," he asked concerned.
"To be honest dad I'm not sure," John admitted. "But I guess I've got no choice but to learn to live with it. Who knows I might even come to like it." He sighed and stood up. "But that's for the feature right now I just need to go for a walk to clear my head."
Jeff nodded and John started to leave the room when a wave of dizziness accompanied by a wave of exhaustion rippled through his head. John stumbled and was quickly caught by Virgil otherwise he would have fallen.
"John are you alright," Scott asked.
"I don't know," John replied. "All of a sudden I felt really dizzy and really tired. Whoa." Another wave of exhaustion and dizziness rippled through his head and he leaned against Virgil to avoid falling.
"You haven't eaten properly today," Scott said thoughtfully. "None of us have. And Alan did say you'd have to eat more because of the things inside you. Maybe that's what's causing this."
"A l...l...logical conclusion Scott," Brains agreed.
"Well that settles it you're going to eat John before you go anywhere," Jeff said. "Kyrano."
"Yes Mr Tracy," Kyrano said appearing immediately from the corner where he had been quietly listening to what was going on. "I will go and get Mr John some food." Jeff nodded and Kyrano left.
Meanwhile Virgil helped John over to the couch where John sat down fighting against the sudden urge to go to sleep. He hoped that Kyrano got back soon with some food because he suspected that Scott was right. He needed to eat something now. Because if he didn't he did not want to think of what could happen.