Back at Tracy Island, Scott needs to watch out for Grandma. I'd feed them, but I don't own them
Thunderbird One's change to vertical flight woke Scott,
and by the time he was fully alert, she was back in her
silo. He and Alan both got onto the retractable walkway
and it carried them back to the villa, where they
squeezed through the revolving picture panel together.
"Nice flying kid." Said Scott. "Sorry for the hassle, I
guess I just worry about her."
"That's alright Scott. You're overtired, that's all."
"Welcome back boys." Jeff's gravelley voice greeted them
from behind his desk. "That was good work."
"No Father. I left my kit where it got buried under a
roof-fall, I fell asleep on duty..."
"Scott. You got the job done. I don't blame you for
falling asleep while you were waiting. There was nothing
you could do anyway and I guess Ned knows the set up well
enough. You made him comfortable first - Virgil tells me
you gave him your shirt and froze yourself? Well I can't
ask more of my boys than that. I'm proud of you. You were
alert when it mattered. I'd say a bit of sleep helped the
rescue more ultimately than trying to stay awake."
"Thanks Father. I don't believe you, but thanks."
"Go to bed Son, you still look as if you're about to
collapse. Grandma's got something good cooking." Suddenly
Alan piped up,
"Boy, is Virg going to be for it! He had that pack of
cookies from Grandma still in Thunderbird Two. I made him
wait till we got Scott, and we forgot. I bet he's eaten
"I'm too tired to care, I'll grab something from the
kitchen now. 'Night Father, 'night Alan." Scott wandered
off to the kitchen. As he came through the door he could
see a flurry of activity on the opposite side of the
room. He sneaked open the door of the refrigerator and
pulled out a chocolate tart, cut into neat slices. He was
just about to make off with it, when a chilling voice hit
him across the room.
"Scott Tracy, you put that right back! I don't care if
you've been out thirty-six hours on twelve different
rescues, you don't steal my chocolate tart! That's for
the party tonight. You can have toast or soup, Tin-Tin
will bring it to you, and when you get up tonight you can
wait for your pudding like everyone else. Now get out of
my kitchen when I'm busy." Scott retreated under this
"Soup please Grandma, sorry, I..."
"Get out!" Scott almost ran out of the kitchen, Tin-Tin
giggling in the corner, and went to his room. He showered
quickly and got into his pyjamas and was sat up in bed
when Tin-Tin knocked and entered with his soup.
"Well, you look a little better. Here, have your soup.
You should know better than to try to steal food while
Grandma is actually in the kitchen." Scott smiled,
soothed by the soft sounds of Tin-Tin's accent. She sat
on the side of his bed while he ate.
"You've had a pretty rough day. What did you say to Ned?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, about him always getting into trouble. Your Father
was moaning about people who don't know when to get out
"Oh Ned's alright. He. Well, he's been asked nicely and
I'll keep at him..." Scott trailed off, looking at Tin-Tin
out of the corner of his eye to see if she had noticed
anything. She looked confused for a second, but then
"Well I'm glad you're safe. I was worried about you, and
Virgil; being on a rescue when you were so tired. It
could be dangerous." Her soft hand stroked Scott's arm
and then moved up to caress his face, rasping slowly over
the line of stubble on his cheek.
"We've probably been more tired before. It was just that
the adrenaline had gone down when we thought we were
going home, so it was hard to build that up again. Tin-
Tin, hands off, honey. I've told you before. Alan's in
the lounge debriefing. If you want to flirt, go do it
with him." Tin-Tin pouted a little, then smiled,
"Poor Scott, always so serious. You ought to get yourself
"You stop messing Alan about and I might be prepared to
take your advice. Here, I've finished my soup. Thanks for
that, Tin-Tin." She took the tray from him and they
kissed on the cheek.
"Sleep well." Said Tin-Tin, and left, the door sliding
shut behind her.
Scott lay back, closed his eyes and slept.
He woke six hours later with the Image of Ned Cook
blazing brightly in the forefront of his mind. He closed
his eyes again and thought as his mind raced through
snatch after snatch of dream narrative, seconds contained
hours as he plunged through the last selection of dreams
from his sleep.
He was with Ned, they were in the chamber, but it was the
cockpit of Thunderbird One, which he was flying, except
he wasn't because he was talking to Ned, so Alan must be
flying, but there was too much room, maybe they were in
Thunderbird Two, anyway, it didn't matter where they were
because he was sat next to him with his arm through Ned's
and they were in the lounge in Tracy Villa and he was
trying to explain to his father about him and Ned, but he
kept bottling out and coming back to the same point
again, and trying again, and bottling out, and it wasn't
Ned, it was Virgil, Ned was in the kitchen and Grandma
was shouting at him for making a chocolate tart, no she
was shouting at Scott, but Ned was behind him with his
arms round his waist and he turned round and kissed him,
but Tin-Tin was pulling Ned away and telling him that
Scott loved Alan because he had a voice just like Ned's,
and Scott was protesting that this wasn't the case and
they were back outside and falling down a hole on Tracy
Island, which was the chamber again and he was holding
hands with Ned, but not doing anything and he was outside
the hole looking down at Ned even though Ned was next to
him and they could see Jeff and Alan in the swimming pool
and Scott was on the diving board and he dived in. And
woke with a jerk.
His back was stiff from lying on the cold rock and his
arms were indeed feeling the effects of being stretched
between two lumps of metal in a gale. The front of his
mind was worrying itself with his dreams and the future,
but way back at the base of his brain was a warm, snuggly
feeling, like he had a blanket wrapped round him,
protecting him from the worst. He looked at the clock:
6.45pm. He was pretty sure it was still 'today', and
certain that his stomach had not finished with 'today',
it was rumbling like a truck and making him feel like his
insides were knotting up. Clearly one bowl of soup was
not enough to sustain a hungry Tracy boy on two
missions...at least not a Tracy boy with the first name
Heaving himself out of bed, he touched his toes a few
times to loosen up, swung his arms from side to side, and
nearly clouted Gordon as he came through the bedroom
"Hey! I surrender!" cried Gordon, ducking down rather
"Sorry Gord. But if you will sneak into a fella's room..."
"Dad said to come and get you up before you sleep right
through dinner. It's in half an hour. Like we need the
competition at the table!" Scott swung another playful
clout at him, and regretted it as his shoulders twinged
"I'm up. When was the last time you saw me miss dinner
kid? In fact, I might just go and check out what's in the
kitchen. Just...make sure it's alright, you know." Gordon
"Well don't let Grandma catch you. She's still muttering
something about a chocolate tart."
"Oh boy! I guess I'm still in hot water then?"
"Not as much as Alan. He took a load of Grandma's lemons
down to the pool to further lighten his hair when she
wanted them for cooking! I'm not even sure he's coming to
dinner! Tin-Tin's gone to find him. I'm going to get
Gordon left and Scott pulled on his blue roll-neck and
check jacket. Maybe he could get Tin-Tin to make him
another jacket soon, he'd nearly worn this one through,
and it was the third she'd made for him. Still, it was
his favourite and very comfortable. He wandered
nonchalantly into the kitchen and put his arms round his
Grandma's waist. She jumped violently and looked round.
"Scott Tracy! You do that to me and I'll..." But she didn't
look like she meant it.
"What's for dinner Grandma?"
"A good old-fashioned country stew, packed with
nourishment, with Kyrano's special bread; then a choice
of dessert. One you tried to steal this morning, and one
your dear brother nearly stopped me from making at all.
Honestly, you boys give me such a time of it. You're all
as bad as your father." Scott leaned over the cooker and
pulled the lid off the hot pot sitting there. "Oh no you
don't! I told you this morning, out of my kitchen.
Dinner's not for twenty-five minutes, and that's when you
get it. Go on."
Scott kissed her on the forehead and went to the lounge.
Alan was sitting there, looking huffy, with Tin-Tin
stroking his shoulder softly.
"Did you get anything Scott?" Tin-Tin asked with a
"No such luck. I was rumbled before I could get so much
as a taste. Tin-Tin tells me you're in the soup too
"I didn't know she wanted the darn things! Besides, how
else am I supposed to keep my hair this blond?"
"You are a natural blond Alan. You really don't need to.
Does he Tin-Tin?"
"I think he looks lovely with it a bit lighter. It suits
"You see?" said Alan.
"You missing dinner then kiddo?"
"Not on your life Scott. Nice try. Mind you, I'd rather
face a dozen dangerous rescues than Grandma in a bad
mood. I just hope she's cooled off a bit by now."
"Well, she seemed alright when I went in there...until I
tried for the stew."
Virgil came into the room from the hall, as Jeff came up
from the pool, his hair wet, a towel draped over his arm.
"Good evening boys. Feeling better?"
"Yes thanks Father." Said Scott and Virgil together.
Scott looked at his brother.
"Did you tell dad about what Gordon did?"
"No. I went straight to bed. I was falling over, Scott."
"What's this boys? What did Gordon do?" So Scott
explained about the girl and Gordon diving in to save
her. Jeff looked concerned.
"You all had quite a day didn't you? I hope he got
properly warmed up once you were back on board?"
"Sure Dad." Jeff hummed as Gordon came in.
"That was a mighty brave thing you did today Gordon. I'm
proud of you."
"Gee, thanks Dad. I wasn't sure. I thought maybe it was a
bit too risky. I...I wasn't going to tell you."
"You risked your life to save someone else's life. It's a
bad deal if it comes off badly, but that's what we're
signed up for. I'm glad to know I can trust my boys.
Hell, I'd be mad if you risked it for something material,
or just for a stunt, but a life's a life." Gordon sat,
rather red-cheeked, next to Scott on the couch. Scott
"Was everything okay with Ned and Taylor when you dropped
him off Virg?"
"Yeah. Taylor had got back alright. He sure was glad to
see Ned safe. Oh, by the way, your top's in my room, I
brought it up with me. Ned said there was something you
wanted to get out of it."
"Uh, yeah. I, um, sewed a...thing into the hem and I don't
want it washed out."
"Oh, that reminds me Scott," piped up Tin-Tin, "I found a
note in your pocket when I took the rest of your uniform
to wash. Do you need it?" Scott almost gasped out loud,
but managed to keep an even head,
"Yes please Tin-Tin. Ned behaved himself then Virg?"
"Sure. He was fine. He's not a bad guy actually. I
thought he was kinda stupid before, but maybe he just
gets a bit too worked up over his reporting. He seemed
pretty level-headed today. We'll have to watch his show
this week, see if he mentions it - or if he's too
"I can't honestly see Ned Cook getting embarrassed over
Just then Kyrano came in to announce that dinner was
served and they all hurried through to the dining room,
Scott in the lead.
The next week, the Tracy family was sat in the lounge,
waiting to see The Ned Cook Show. Virgil was sat on his
piano stool, restlessly picking at notes, Alan and Tin-
Tin sat on one of the couches, Gordon on another. Scott
was clinging to one of the poles that ran up from his
father's desk, while Jeff sat in his usual chair behind
it. The announcer brought their attention to the start of
the programme, and Virgil took his hands off the keys.
The titles ran and Ned came running onto the stage,
waving at the audience and hushing them, smiling and
bowing slightly at their protracted applause and cheers.
Scott's stomach did an uncomfortable little flip and he
stared resolutely at the screen.
"Good evening folks. What a great show we have for you
tonight!" Ned shouted as the audience finally calmed
down, "But first, I'd like to say a few words. Many of
you will remember how, not all that long ago, I was
rescued from the ruins of the Empire State Building by
the brave men of International Rescue. Well folks, your
intrepid reporter just can't seem to help getting himself
into trouble, and last week, I once again found myself in
mortal danger, stuck down a hole in the freezing cold in
the middle of nowhere. I owe my life once again to those
fearless men. I can't tell you anything about them,
firstly because I know so little, and secondly because no-
one has the right to betray the trust of their rescuer,
but I cannot miss this opportunity to let the world know
how fantastic they are. I spent a lot of time with one of
them. We had to wait for rescue gear to arrive and it
left us chatting for a while. I tell you now folks, if
ever you need to be rescued, pray that whoever comes to
your aid is as charming, highly trained and reliable as
the man who saved me. If you're listening out there
buddy, thanks, and get yourself some leave, you deserve
it. Now on to the show, first we're going to se a man who
has wowed the world with his..." Jeff turned off the screen
and turned to face his sons.
"I guess that's enough. Well, all credit to the man, he
knows what we did and he knows to keep his mouth shut...I
wouldn't have believed it of him. I thought he was
generous last time, but he seems to have a soft spot for
Scott." Jeff said, chuckling, then Virgil piped up,
"Yeah Scott, how come you got singled out for special
mention? As far as I remember all you did was go down a
hole and fall asleep! How did you come out of that
as...what was it? Oh, 'Charming, highly trained and
reliable?" Scott turned quickly to his brother, but saw
the twinkle in Virgil's eye and laughed,
"Well Virg, I must be a very charming sleeper. I tie a
more comfy rope harness than you ever did too, so he was
"My harnesses are fine."
"Yes, except that if you happen to be a boy, you come out
with two meat and four veg!"
"Boys!" Interrupted Jeff, warningly.
"Sorry Father." Muttered Scott, "But I can answer you
actually Virg, Ned remembered me from the last time. I
had to chase him for his film of Thunderbird, remember?
He thought it was quite nice that I apologised to him for
having wiped it." Scott stopped, not sure whether he
wanted to have said this. Virgil looked at him and rolled
his eyes, Gordon decided to put his oar in
"I recall something about not being supposed to get
ourselves remembered." Jeff looked sharply at Gordon.
"Back off your brother Gordon. He didn't tell anything he
shouldn't. You can interfere when you come out with such
a glowing report. You all did well last week. I'm not
having any sniping in this house.
Scott got up and went to leave. Tin-Tin called him to
"Do you want that note Scott? I've got it in my room,
shall I come and get it for you?" Scott nodded,
"Thanks Tin-Tin." Virgil was playing softly on the piano
as they left the room, Alan gazing wistfully after Tin-
Tin, but too comfortable to get up and follow.
Scott followed Tin-Tin down the corridor to her room and
stood at the door while she rummaged on her dressing
"I put it here somewhere. I didn't know I'd put so much
stuff down on here! Oh come in Scott, for goodness'
sake!" Scott stepped into the room as Tin-Tin found the
scrap of paper. She turned round and gave it to him,
standing very close.
"There you are. Ned's phone number. I didn't tell. Your
father would blow his top." Scott took a small step back
and bumped into a chair. He sat down hard and struggled
to get up.
"I've only got it so I can tell him off if he forgets to
leave us alone or puts himself too much at risk. He
admitted he's stupid sometimes."
"You're blushing Scott. I'm not convinced. I won't say a
word, but you could stop telling me off in return."
"What? I don't understand, Tin-Tin."
"Fancy saying I flirt with you."
"You're not saying it's not true?"
"Well..." Tin-Tin looked at her hands coyly. "Oh, but you
know I don't mean it Scott."
"Doesn't that make it worse?" Tin-Tin ignored him.
"I mean, I'd be a saint not to in a house with five brave
and handsome boys. But I'm not that bad, you're lovely,
but you're not Alan, and I'm pretty certain you're not
"What do you mean?" But Tin-Tin just smiled sweetly at
him and walked out of her room, back to the lounge and
Alan, leaving Scott to make his own way out.
"Father?" Scott asked as he came into the lounge later
"What's up Scott?" His father asked in return. Scott bit
his lip, he knew what the answer to his question was
going to be, but he had to try. Not doing anything was
driving him mad. The lurching sensation every time Ned's
face floated into his mind, the dreams, the daydreams
that had his brothers looking at him oddly. Maybe seeing
Ned again wouldn't change any of this; maybe it would
make it worse, but he had to ask.
"Father, can I take a couple of days' leave?"
"Well I was kinda hoping this week." Jeff looked at him
appraisingly and wandered out onto the balcony with him
for a chat.
"No Scott. You know Alan's going up to do his stint on
Thunderbird Five tomorrow. I can't replace you with John,
he's just not experienced enough to go out on his own,
and he can't really cope with the speed of Thunderbird
One. You'll have to wait till Alan gets back."
"Can't you trust John at all? He's been out a few times
now. Virgil would look after him"
"No Scott. You know I can't. John's a great kid, and good
at what he does, but he doesn't have the training the
rest of you have. He can be a bit erratic. That's just
what he is, but there isn't room for the sorts of errors
he makes on a rescue. He needs someone to command him,
and Virgil can't do everything on his own. Why the sudden
need for leave anyway? Not listening to Ned Cook are
"I...I'm tired I guess. I just wanted to get away for a
bit. That last rescue with Ned and being so tired
already. It scared me a bit. I just thought it might do
me good to get away."
"Sure Scott. But you'll have to wait. It's only a month.
I depend on you for this. You understand that."
"Sure, Dad." Scott looked out to sea, leaning on the
balcony, his father's hand on his shoulder. 'I depend on
you': words Scott was usually happy to hear, happy to
feel that he could help his father, that he could take
some of the strain of running International Rescue off
his shoulders. But today... Scott cursed himself inwardly:
'Pull yourself together. Nothing's changed here, so don't
expect what you have no right to.' Jeff looked at his
"You've been a bit preoccupied this last week, it's not
like you. Anything you want to tell me?"
"No. I'm off to bed. Sorry to bother you Father."