Categories > TV > Thunderbirds > Enhanced0 Reviews
After participating in a rescue at a US research base John begin's experiencing strange and amazing side effects.
Chapter Fourteen: Trial By Fire Part Three
A Short Time Later
John sat down besides Gordon in the back of International Rescue's latest piece of fire fighting and rescue equipment, the Firebug as up front Virgil settled into the drivers seat. All three of them now wore thermal protection suits over their International Rescue uniforms though they had yet to put on the helmets. The thermal protection suites were an absolute necessity considering where it was they were going.
The plan that Scott had come up with was simple but extremely dangerous as it took them right into the heart of the inferno. Thermal images beamed down to Mobile Control by Alan up in Thunderbird Five showed that at the heart of the fire temperatures were extreme, so hot that steel was starting to buckle and in places melt. But it was into that hell that they were going to have to go if they were to shut down the flow of processed alsterene from the automated processing plant to the main storage tanks.
The Firebug - designed to be a companion machine to the Firefly - could take them there and between her dicetylene jets and her cannon she could clear away any fire or obstruction that blocked their path. But it was they themselves who would have to go into the building that housed the high pressure valves and close them and there was no guarantee what the inside of that building was going to be like aside from very, very hot.
"Everyone ready," Virgil asked his brothers.
"As ready as we'll ever be Virgil," John replied, noticing Gordon nodding in agreement with his words. "Let's get this done."
Virgil nodded and pressed the control that remotely opened the pod door to allow him to guide Firebug out of Thunderbird Two. Then he manipulated the radio controls and opened a communications channel to Mobile Control.
"Firebug to Mobile Control," he said into the microphone. Instantly Scott's face and torso appeared on one of the screens in front of Virgil.
"Go ahead Virgil," Scott said.
"We're ready to leave Thunderbird Two and enter the plant Scott," Virgil replied.
"F.A.B," Scott answered, "good luck."
"Thanks Scott we're going to need it." Scott nodded and broke the connection from his end and the screen changed back to a normal display screen.
Virgil took a deep breath then let it out slowly before starting the engine. This was Firebug's first time out in the field so he was understandably nervous about how she would perform in the unpredictable, constantly changing environment of the danger zone. Naturally they had run exhaustive tests on all of Firebugs systems and components, especially the new armour that protected her and her occupants from harm, still there was only so much they could do, so many conditions they could simulate.
A hum of power filled Firebug as the engines started tapping the microfusion power plant that drove Firebug. Smiling Virgil watched his displays as everything started up and gave exactly the readings they were supposed to give. Then he took hold of the wheel and disengaged the breaks before starting Firebug moving slowly out of the pod.
Chief James looked over Scott's shoulder at the portable control station that the man from International Rescue had set up. The equipment was incredibly sophisticated and he only understood a fraction of what the control station displays were showing them but the accuracy of the thermal images being shown was astounding. They showed the location of every single hotspot inside the refinery and showed what was getting dangerously hot.
Scott was allowing him to see the displays so he knew where to best direct his fire crews and the water drops from fire fighting aircraft that were assisting with tackling the blaze. Using these displays they had been able to slow the fires advance down, though they would not be able to stop it or put the fire out until the fire was deprived of its primary source of fuel from the automated alsterene processing facility. Once that supply was stopped putting the fire out would still be difficult but possible and not the impossible uphill battle that it had been until now.
The sound of a powerful engine caused him to turn his head towards Thunderbird Two. A machine completely unlike anything he had ever seen before was coming out of the pod that had been lowered from Thunderbird Two. It had been amazing to see that such a huge section of the massive machine was a detachable pod section the size of an aircraft hanger.
Chief James could see why so many people in the world were so desperate to get their hands on International Rescue's technology. This technology when used for any other purpose than for which whatever genius had come up with it had made it then it would be disastrous. So many people would abuse the power that was behind the Thunderbird machines, use it for war and destruction.
The machine that was just clearing Thunderbird Two's pod was quiet large and slung quite low to the ground, running on powerful tracks that ran along the length of the machine. The sides were steeply sloping and all around them were what looked almost like miniature gun turrets. The machine advanced forward towards the plant entrance with easy grace and power that belied its somewhat bizarre, low slung appearance.
"What is that thing," Chief James exclaimed observing the machine.
"She's called Firebug," Scott replied not taking his eyes off his displays. "She's going to be the means by which we get to those valves and deprive the fire of its main source of fuel."
"How," James wanted to know, "go through the inferno it will burn up."
"It's okay. Firebug is made of an alloy that's completely impervious to heat. Between that, the cooling systems and the dicetylene sprays Firebug and her crew will be completely fine."
"What's dicetylene?" Scott looked away from his displays to look at Chief James with a small, mysterious smile.
"You'll see soon enough," Scott replied.
Chief James considered asking again but knew that he would probably not get an answer out of the man from International Rescue. So he would just have to wait to see whatever this dicetylene was.
With easy skill Virgil guided Firebug into the huge Transcontinental Chemicals plant heading right for the inferno that was slowly but surely consuming the huge facility. The engines humming with power they made quick progress towards the fire front.
"Heat increasing Virgil," Gordon reported as he looked at an external temperature gage that showed the horrendous heat building up outside.
"Right," Virgil replied as Firebug began to penetrate the initial flames licking ahead of the main fire. "Activating dicetylene jets." As he spoke he pressed a level forward until he heard a soft click.
On the outside guided by extremely accurate thermal sensors the small turrets on the outside of Firebug rotated and locked onto the greatest sources of heat and activated sending forth blasts of white dicetylene mist. The moment the dicetylene touched the flames they went out snuffed out and did not ignite again.
Firebug advanced into the inferno and the dicetylene jets switched from firing bursts to firing constant streams of white dicetylene. The dicetylene played over the raging flames instantly snuffing them out clearing a path through the fire as it advanced deeper and deeper into the inferno towards the building that housed the valves for the alsterene transport pipes.
Observing Firebug's progress on one of the screens Chief James was amazed. The dicetylene that Firebug was firing was simply snuffing out the fire wherever it touched it. He had never seen anything like this before.
"This dicetylene is amazing," Chief James said in awe.
"Thank you," Scott replied.
"How do you make it," James asked.
"Classified I'm afraid," Scott replied.
"I understand. I just wish you could make this stuff generally available it would save so many lives."
"Believe it or not we are looking into doing just that," Scott answered with a smile knowing that in a few months dad would be starting to filter dicetylene out through one of the many companies in his corporate empire, or through another company altogether. They had already done the same thing with the tranquillising agent they used in their personal sidearms; it was now used by police and security forces the world over in law enforcement and riot control.
"Great if you do that it would help a lot."
"It's what we're here for," Scott replied. Chief James looked at the displays again.
"Looks like your friends are about to hit a block," he said.
Scott looked at the display screen in question and noticed what Chief James had. A large mass of pipes and girders had collapsed and were now lying across the road through the plant blocking Firebug's path, or so it seemed, Scott however knew that it was not an obstacle.
"Don't worry about it," Scott replied. "That debris is not going to be an obstacle for very long. It won't even slow Firebug down."
Virgil paid close attention to his display screens as he guided Firebug through the plant following the route to the building where the valves were located. Like Chief James and Scott he noticed the obstruction ahead. Virgil resisted the impulse to shake his head, like with the Firefly, Firebug would not be slowed down by the fallen, burning debris.
Virgil brought Firebug to a dead halt and armed the cannon. At the front of the Firebug a section of armour abruptly split apart revealing itself to be a hatch. From inside the hatch the maw of a cannon appeared. Targeting graphics appeared on Virgil's displays and with experienced hands he aimed the cannon and once satisfied pulled the trigger. A dull rumble filled the Firebug for a moment as the cannon fired a single high-explosive shell at the obstruction.
The shell impacted the debris and detonated the explosion shredding and scattering the debris and the concussion wave was so powerful it blew out every flame in the immediate vicinity.
Virgil waited a moment for the dust and smoke to clear then smiled when he saw that the obstruction was gone completely shattered and no longer an obstacle. He closed the cannon port and started Firebug moving again.
"How much further to we have to go Virgil," Gordon asked.
"Not much further Gordon," Virgil replied. "Another fifty-five meters that's all. You two had better get the last of your gear on."
"F.A.B Virgil," John replied standing up from his seat and going to a rack where their helmets, gloves and thermal insulated breather packs were located. Gordon also stood up and went to a cupboard where they kept tools as well as portable dicetylene extinguishers.
From the cupboard Gordon took out three sets of tools and three sets of dicetylene extinguishers, though he wasn't sure if the dicetylene extinguishers would be much good given the sheer intensity of the fire. Hopefully the valve room would be free of fire but if it weren't then as long as it wasn't completely engulfed in flame then extinguishers might be of assistance. John for his part took three sets of helmets and breather units from the rack and checked that they were in full working order.
"Gordon come over here please," he said to his younger brother.
Gordon - having finished getting the equipment out - came over already knowing why John had called him over. He held his arms out to the side and held himself perfectly still as John carefully slipped the breather pack on him and secured it in place.
"That comfortable?" John asked.
"Yes it's okay," Gordon replied as he lowered his arms to his side. "Now let me put one on you." John nodded and moved aside so Gordon could get at the breather units, then he mimicked what Gordon had done, held himself motionless with his arms out to his sides. As he had done Gordon slipped the breather unit on him and secured it in place.
"Comfortable?" Gordon asked.
"Yes," John replied as a jolt ran through the deck beneath them as Virgil brought Firebug to a stop and turned the engines to stand by mode.
Virgil stood up from the driver's seat and headed back to join them. Without speaking he stood motionless and like John and Gordon before him held his arms out to the side. Picking up a breather pack John slipped it on Virgil and secured it.
"Its comfortable," Virgil said before John could ask if it was comfortable.
"Ok helmets and gloves now," Gordon said picking up the three helmets and handing one each to Virgil and John.
Carefully John slipped his helmet on and secured it before reaching behind him and making the connection between the helmet and the breather pack. Automatically the breather pack came on ready to provide oxygen to the helmet as soon as the silvered visor was closed and locked. Looking up he saw that Virgil and Gordon also had their helmets on but the visors were still open. Without speaking he picked up the gloves and handed them around before starting to put them on himself.
The fabric inside the gloves felt odd to John as he put it on but then he hadn't really worn a thermal protection suit before having only been on about thirty earth-side rescues as opposed to most of his brothers. The closest he had ever come to putting something like this on was the hazmat suit that he'd worn when Ocean Pioneer II had unknowingly sailed into an area of the Mediterranean where a huge amount of OD60 was growing, putting the ships three crew in terrible danger, as the devastating reaction of alsterene to OD60 began taking place in the ships cargo hold. Plus there were the odd times when he'd had to put on a spacesuit on a space rescue or when EVA work was required on the exterior of Thunderbird Five. So he had little experience putting on a thermal protection suit, but the way the fabric inside the glove seemed to mould itself to his hand felt downright weird.
As soon as the gloves were on John secured them at the wrists where they met with a locking ring at the end of the arms of the suit. Twisting the ring made a firm seal, then he flexed his fingers making a fist for a moment and found he could feel normally through the gloves.
"Problem John," Virgil asked.
"No problem Virg," John replied. "Just the gloves on these suits feel a little weird that's all."
"That's understandable," Gordon said. "Brains only came up with the fabric in the things two months ago, you've never worn them before, so its bound to feel a bit strange the first time."
"True," John agreed.
"Well if there is no problem lets do this shall we," Virgil said.
"F.A.B Virgil," Gordon and John said in unison. Virgil chuckled.
"Let me just inform Scott that we're moving out," he said. "Then we can go and get this done." John and Gordon both nodded and went to pick up their tools and the dicetylene extinguishers while Virgil returned to the drivers seat to use the radio.
Reaching the driver's seat Virgil reached over and manipulated the controls on the comm system.
"Firebug to Mobile Control. Come in Scott," he said.
"Go ahead Virgil," Scott's voice responded immediately.
"We're in position Scott and are just about to start out," Virgil reported he knew that Scott already knew they were in position, but the protocols that had been laid down when International Rescue was being planned had to be followed. One of the protocols was to always inform whoever was running Mobile Control as to what was happening or what you were about to do.
"F.A.B Virgil. Good luck."
"Thanks Scott," Virgil replied and signed off and pressed the controls that would now route all of the communications from Firebug to there helmet radios. That done he made his way back to Gordon and John who were gathered at the airlock that connected to the outside world. On the way he picked up an extinguisher and tool kit for himself.
"Ready Virg," John asked as Virgil joined them.
"Yes," Virgil replied. "Lets go."
John nodded and closed and sealed his helmet visor. The moment the seal was complete John was startled when a holographic heads up display appeared on the inside of the visor showing everything from wind direction, to temperature both on the outside and inside of the suit. After a moment John got used to it, spacesuits had the same technology after all but he had never seen it on a suit meant to be used earth-side before. Though it was logical to include it on a thermal protection suit as in many ways a thermal protection suit was like a spacesuit.
"Communications check," Virgil said over their helmet radios. "Can you hear me John, Gordon?"
"Yes Virg I can hear you," John replied.
"I can hear you both Virgil, John," Gordon added.
"Okay everything's working. Lets go we've got a fire to deprive of its lifeblood."
"F.A.B," John and Gordon said in unison. Without further conversation all three of them entered Firebug's airlock.