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 Fifteen: Trial By Fire Part Four
As soon as Virgil broke off the communication with him Scott checked his displays again to check on the progress of the fire. Things were not looking good, the fire refused to stay confined and was still slowly spreading despite the best efforts of the Sydney Fire Department to contain it. The fire was almost to one of the smaller deuterium tanks, air drops of water and bombardment from fire tenders was being focused on that area. Everyone knew that if the fire reached the deuterium tank then it was all over.
Scott frowned at the worsening situation but then turned his attention to the monitor that showed Firebugs position beside to concrete building that housed the valves. It was a smaller building next to the huge concrete silos that were in fact the alsterene processing facility. There has to be away for me to help them in there, he thought then an idea dawned on him and he mentally berated himself for not thinking about it before.
"Mobile Control to Thunderbird Five," Scott said into his radio. "Mobile Control to Thunderbird Five please respond." Instantly Alan's face flashed up on his communications screen.
"Go ahead Scott," Alan said.
"Alan I need to know can you use Thunderbird Five's sensors to probe the interior of the pump house where the valves for the alsterene pipes are located," Scott asked. Alan blinked.
"I'm not sure Scott," Alan admitted. "I'm almost over the horizon now and I don't know if the sensors would penetrate the reinforced concrete of the roof from this position. But I'll certainly give it a go."
"No problem Scott." Immediately from the speaker grill there came the sound of typing on computer keys as high above Scott's head Alan manipulated Thunderbird Five's sensor controls.
Scott waited patiently while his youngest brother worked, mentally crossing his fingers that Alan would be able to scan the interior of the pump house given that as he had said Thunderbird Five was almost over the horizon from Sydney. Had Thunderbird Five still been directly overhead Scott knew that Alan would have had little trouble doing as he asked, but now they had Thunderbird Five's orbital path to contend with.
After a few moments of anxious waiting Alan came back to him.
"Scott I have been able to do what you asked," Alan said. "But only just. I'm sending you the information that I've been able to gather, but I won't be able to run another scan as I'm already crossing the horizon."
"Understood Alan," Scott replied as a light appeared on one of his panels indicating a download from Thunderbird Five was in progress. After a moment the download completed. "Download complete."
"F.A.B Scott," Alan replied. "Good luck with the fire."
"Thanks Alan though its Virgil, Gordon and John who need the most luck."
"True. Fill me in later on what happens will you," Alan replied.
"No problem." Alan smiled at him then broke the connection from his end and his baby brother's face vanished from the screen.
With a quick command Scott brought the data he had just received up on one of his screens and carefully examined it. Thunderbird Five's powerful scanners had been able to penetrate the reinforced concrete walls and ceiling of the pump room, just as Scott thought they would and get a semi-detailed scan of the interior. It wasn't perfect, as it would normally be, but it was still very accurate given that it had been taken from an awkward angle.
Using the scan results Scott was able to trace the pipes coming in and out of the facility to three main points where the valves would be located. The thermal image showed that it was unsurprisingly extremely hot inside the building but there were only a few scattered spots of extreme heat that indicated the presence of very localised fires. Scott sighed in relief knowing that was going to make his brothers jobs easier, now he just had to share this information with them.
"Mobile Control to Firebug," he said into the radio knowing that Virgil would have activated the diversion system to the helmet radios of the thermal protection suits.
"Go ahead Scott," John's voice responded immediately.
"Alan's been able to scan the interior of the pump house your heading for," Scott replied. "I'm relaying all relevant data to the three of you now."
"F.A.B Scott thanks," John said.
"No problem," Scott replied.
John studied the scan information as it appeared on his visor display screen just as along with Virgil and Gordon he stepped out of Firebug. While it was a bit hazy on exact details it was still a good quality scan which was surprising considering it was on the edge of Thunderbird Five's scanner range. Since he spent six months of the year up there he like Alan knew Thunderbird Five's orbit like the back of his hand, he knew she would have been just slipping over the curve of the horizon when the scan was run.
"Okay now we know what it's like in there," Virgil said nodding at the door to the pump house. The fire that had been clawing at the door and managed to trip its release mechanism opening it had been extinguished when Firebugs dicetylene jets had played over the front of the building.
"Yeah that helps a lot," Gordon replied. "I'm surprised though by how accurate the scan is. Correct me if I'm wrong John but wouldn't Thunderbird Five been almost out of range when the scan was taken."
"Correct Gordon," John answered. "The upgrades to the sensors Brains did three months ago are obviously paying off. Okay looking at this the junction points where the valves would be located are on three different levels of the room."
"Yes I noticed," Virgil replied. "John you take the one on the upper level, while I take the one on the middle level and Gordon takes the lower."
"F.A.B," John and Gordon replied in unison before they started moving away from the protection of the Firebug to the side of the building.
It was only a short distance but making the crossing John couldn't help but feel extremely vulnerable, small and fragile. Practically all around them there was nothing but roaring flames and the only thing keeping the fire back was the computer-controlled bursts of dicetylene from Firebugs turrets. Intellectually John knew that the thermal protection suits would protect them even if the dicetylene blasts were to stop, but it didn't stop the primal, instinctual fear of the inferno blazing around them.
In moments they were inside the building. Powerful halogen lamps built into the helmets came on as the helmet sensors registered that it was dark, with the only light in the room coming from the faint orange glow of the handful of small fires that were burning here and there in the room.
For a moment the three of them stood in place carefully sweeping the room with the powerful beams of the helmet lights, getting their bearings. The room itself was large but was a virtual serpents nest of machinery, gantries and pipes that ranged from small ones that were as thick as a mans arm to giant pipes that were as thick as John was tall and everything in between. There were only three of those thick ones all of them on the north wall which faced the automated alsterene processing facility next door. They were the main feeder pipes from the three huge processing units each one carrying millions of gallons of processed alsterene from the processors.
Branching off from each feeder pipe were three smaller pipes that themselves were massive, these pipes made their way to three huge pumps before splitting off into a dozen smaller pipes that snaked in various directions to the south and west walls. In front of each still softly humming pump was a block terminal into, which were set the valve controls along with pressure gages.
A central gantry ran down the centre of the room and led right up to the first pump. Smaller gantries branched off from there and led to sets of steps that led up and down to the other two pumps.
"Let's go," Virgil said starting forward heading down the gantry to the central pump station. John and Gordon followed and when they reached the central pump went in different directions with John going to the upper level pump station, while Gordon went down to the lower level pump.
"Virgil to Mobile Control," Virgil said into his helmet radio.
"Go ahead Virgil," Scott replied.
"Scott is there any specific sequence in which these valves have to be closed," Virgil asked.
"Stand by," Scott replied.
Scott looked over at the plant engineer who had been called over to Mobile Control by Chief James when Firebug had reached the pump house.
"Do they?" Scott asked the engineer.
"Yes," the engineer replied. "The valves have to closed in a linear left to right pattern otherwise there will be a pressure built up and with the pipes damaged elsewhere we can't afford that. All three pump stations can be worked on simultaneously there is no specific pattern for them. Once all three valves are closed the pumps will automatically power down and the flow of alsterene down the pipes will stop." Scott nodded and turned back to his radio.
"Virgil, Gordon, John I've just spoken to one of the plant engineers he's informed me that the valves need to be closed in a linear left to right pattern, other than that there is no specific pattern."
"F.A.B Scott," Virgil said.
"F.A.B Scott," Gordon echoed a moment later followed by John.
At the upper pump station John took a deep breath and moved over to the far-left valve control. The valve controls were large wheels as opposed to levels and an inscription on the top surface showed that you had to turn them anti-clockwise to close.
John put his tool kit down and grabbed the wheel before starting to turn the wheel anti-clockwise after a moment's resistance the wheel began to turn. John turned the wheel several times before the wheel wouldn't turn anymore, as he reached that point there was a soft click and on the pressure gage directly above the wheel he saw the pressure in the pipe drop to zero as the valve closed stopping the flow in that pipe. As it did so his enhanced hearing picked up a change in the pitch of the pumps humming, it had dropped as one of the three impellers in the pump shut down.
John moved on to the central valve and repeated the process without a hitch though he did notice that there was slightly more resistance with the second valve. But after a moment it to click closed and the pitch of the pump dropped some more. This is easy, John thought moving over to the right hand side valve. Putting his hands on the wheel he tried to repeat the process to find the valve didn't move. Putting more effort into it he tried to move the wheel again. Again nothing happened. Silently cursing every bad word that he knew John tried again.
This time as he tried to turn the valve he felt the same internal power surge as he had felt back on the island when they had been seeing how fast he could run. Suddenly the stubborn wheel turned with effortless ease as John's nanite enhanced muscles overpowered whatever it was that had been preventing the valve from closing. In an instant he heard the valve click closed and the humming of the pump dropped and became a downscaling whine as the pump powered down.
"Pump number one shut down," John said into his helmet radio still feeling his muscles throbbing with the superhuman power the nanites gave him.
"Pump number two shut down," Virgil added a moment later, "boy those things were stubborn." John blinked even as he felt the internal power surge fade back down to normal. Aside from the third and final valve he hadn't found his three valves that difficult to close. Had he been tapping the power of the nanites in his muscles even then?
"Guys I've got a problem here," Gordon's voice abruptly said over the radio. "I've been able to close the first valve on this bank. But the second won't move."
"Okay Gordon we'll be right there," Virgil replied.
John picked up his toolkit and extinguisher though he knew now that he wouldn't need them and hurried back down to the main level. He could see Virgil moving down to the lower level to assist Gordon and he followed.
As he arrived he saw Gordon desperately trying to close the second valve. Virgil leaned in and lent his strength to the effort, but still the valve refused to move.
"Shit it must be jammed," Virgil said.
"Language," John replied. "Let me try guys."
Gordon and Virgil looked at each other and then stood aside allowing John to step in and grab the valve. They both knew that thanks to the nanites John was stronger than the two of them put together and then some.
Grabbing the wheel John tried to turn it but it wouldn't move. Closing his eyes for a moment he concentrated trying to figure out how he could consciously tap the power of the nanites that were fused with his body, rather than subconsciously tap their power as he had done the last few times. After a few goes he imagined a dial labelled strength and mentally turned it up.
Instantly he felt the internal power surge again and felt his muscles once more throb with superhuman power. Smiling behind his visor he tried to turn the valve again, and it turned easily in his hands. After a moment it clicked closed and the pump's whine changed pitch. John quickly moved to the third valve and closed it with exactly the same ease as he had the last valve. It clicked closed and with a downscaling whine the final pump shut down.
Then John closed his eyes again and imagined the strength dial again and he turned it back down to normal and felt the power surge fade away back to normal. He opened his eyes again.
Virgil and Gordon stared at John in awe for a moment, both realising that the strength and power they had just seen John display closing the valves was due to the nanites. They realised that because of them John was incredibly, incredibly strong, just like he was incredibly fast. Gordon made a mental note to stay in John's good books, as he didn't want to imagine what John could do with that strength if enraged.
"Virgil to Mobile Control," Virgil said at last into his helmet radio. "All pumps shut down."
"F.A.B," Scott replied. "Well done guys. We can already see the effect. The fire has stopped advancing now that no more alsterene is leaking out. Return to Firebug and use all the dicetylene you have left to put out as much of the fire as you can."
"F.A.B," Virgil replied for all of them. "You heard him let's go. We've deprived the fire of its main source of fuel. Now lets put the rest of it out."
"F.A.B," Gordon said.
"F.A.B," John echoed a moment later.
In silence the three of them made their way back up to the main level and then headed back to Firebug.
A Few Minutes Later
John collapsed into one of the rear chairs with a soft whumph, though strangely he didn't feel tired at all.
"That was amazing in their John," Gordon said as he to sat down.
"You're telling me Gordon," John replied. "I can't believe I was able to do that. But two things have come of it."
"Oh?" Virgil asked.
"Yeah. One we've stopped the flow of alsterene to the fire. Two I've got more of an idea how to control my powers now," John said.
"True and that can only be a good thing," Virgil agreed. "Now then you two straps yourselves in. Then we'll finish this mission."
"F.A.B," John and Gordon replied in unison.