Categories > TV > Thunderbirds > Enhanced
Chapter Twenty Five: Evolution Part One
Tracy Island, A Few Minutes Later
Scott looked down worriedly at where they had laid John out on the diagnostic bed after himself and Virgil had rushed him here from his bedroom. John was completely unresponsive to them, his eyes didn't even react to light when Virgil shone his pen torch in them he was so deeply unconscious. His skin was no longer flushed but now almost deathly pale and clammy from the fact that John was sweating streams.
"What happened to him Scott," Virgil asked not looking up from the other side of the bed where he was also looking worriedly at John.
"I don't know Virgil," Scott replied. "One minute we were just talking; then all of a sudden he went dizzy before suddenly doubling in intense pain. Then he blacked out. It's the nanites it has to be, but what's up with the things now."
"I don't know. Hopefully Brains will be able to tell us when he gets here. Gordon went to get him."
"Where is Brains anyway?"
"He was in Thunderbird One's silo assessing the full extent of the damage caused by John's close encounter with that pyroclastic flow. Its pretty bad, John was lucky to escape from the looks of the damage Thunderbird One came within a hairs breadth of being destroyed as it is she's going to be out of action for a few weeks."
"It's that bad?"
"Put it this way Scott it looks like someone took a bite out of the drive section from where the ventral stabiliser fin was ripped off and incinerated by the fury of the flow. It's a miracle the superheated gases didn't reach the main fuel lines, if it had gotten those..." Virgil's voice trailed off and he shuddered at the thought of what would have happened. Thunderbird One had two fuel sources one for the conventional jets another for the rocket jets, both were extremely flammable. If even one had ruptured and the fuel caught then Thunderbird One would have exploded with the force of a small nuclear blast.
"You did have to say that didn't you," Scott said shuddering as well realising exactly how close he had come to loosing one of his brothers. "I'm just glad John escaped that fate. Though I wish I knew what's wrong with him now."
"You and me both Scott," Virgil answered. "But we have to wait for Brains. Has there been any contact from Dad while we were out on the rescue. I didn't ask earlier it slipped my mind."
"No. But you know Dad; he'll be buried in the task of trying to keep that defence contract and throttling the people who messed up in the first place," Scott replied. "Though he will probably hear about the rescue on the news, so we can expect an interrogation later as he'll want to know everything."
"No doubt," Virgil agreed. "While we wait for Brains to get here we should scan John to see if we can find out what the problem with the nanites is."
"You're right. Can you operate the diagnostic bed with those bio-scanner attachments Brains put in to scan for the nanites Virg?"
"Yes I can," Virgil replied moving over to the diagnostic beds control console and powering up the unit, going through the menu's for the various different scanning options before locating the program for the bio-scanner units that Brains and Gordon had managed to connect to the diagnostic bed. Brains had improved the connections so they looked less jury-rigged than they had done before. Activating the program Virgil turned to look at the diagnostic bed with Scott as the diagnostic bed began its work.
Slowly the translucent green energy beam stretching between the individual bio-scanner units on each side of the diagnostic bed began to probe John right down to the sub molecular level. As the bio-scanners began moving slowly along the tracks running down the side of the bed the door to the sickroom open and Brains came running in with Gordon and Tin-Tin just behind him.
Had the situation been slightly different Scott would have been amused by the state he could see Brains in; the technical genius was wearing a set of bright orange coveralls. Tin-Tin was as well from where they had both been checking over Thunderbird One. Both sets of coveralls were dirty, covered in a mixture of oil and ash particles which presumably had come from the inside of the damaged Thunderbird One.
"W...w...what h...h...happened to John Scott," Brains asked.
"I don't know Brains," Scott replied. "We were talking when he suddenly doubled over in pain before collapsing. I only just caught him before he hit the floor."
"We think that something is wrong with the nanites Brains," Virgil added. "That's what we're checking at the moment."
"A l...l...logical a...a...assumption Virgil," Brains agreed moving around the diagnostic bed to the control console to wait for the diagnostic scan to complete and for the computer to analyse the data.
After two minutes the bio-scanners completed their scan and the computer began its analysis. Brains read the data as it appeared on the screens and his eyes went wide. What in the world, he thought frowning at the information displayed on what the nanites were doing, what are they doing?
"Brains," Scott prompted. The look on Brains face had him concerned as it was perfectly obvious that the nanites were doing something that Brains had not anticipated, which was worrying even though Brains - like all of them - was still new to the nanite technology.
"T...t...the nanites in John are b...b...behaving in a very s...s...strange way," Brains said. "They a...a...appear to be c...c...changing."
"Changing," Gordon exclaimed. "How they're machines they can't change! And into what are they changing? What will that do to John?"
"The n...n...nanites are not strictly m...m...machines Gordon," Brains replied. "They are b...biomechanical organisms, meaning they are p...p...part machine, part living o...o...organism. It is theoretically p...p...possible that they could change."
"That's fascinating Brains but how are they changing? And what are they doing to John now," Virgil said.
"The organic part of e...e...each nanite a...a...appears to be altering, becoming more e...e...efficient at what it does. The c...c...change is spreading out nanite to nanite from the c...c...core of John's body. The already c...c...changed nanites appear to be subtly c...c...changing the structure of the p...p...parts of John's body that they are merged with as w...w...well as altering the way they interact with it. What the change will do I do not know."
Without speaking Scott, Virgil and Gordon all looked worriedly at John's unconscious form all wondering and worrying about what the nanites could be doing to him now. John had only just gotten used to what the nanites had already done to his body, they didn't know if he would be able to cope with anymore changes.
"Is there any indication of how long these changes are going to take Brains," Scott asked breaking the uncomfortable, moody silence that had fallen on the room. Brains shook his head.
"I'm a...a...afraid not Scott. The change is a...a...accelerating but how l...l...long it will take to c...c...complete I do not know," Brains said unhappily looking down at John and wishing there was something he could do about what was happening to him. But there wasn't anything he could do, though his understanding of the technology in the nanites was growing there was still so much that he did not yet understand. Though as his understanding grew so did his admiration for whatever genius it was who had come up with the nanites, he or she was brilliant. Someone he would desperately like to meet so he could just talk with them about any science related subject, it was so rare for him to encounter anyone whose intelligence matched his own.
"It's okay Brains," Scott replied then looked up at his two other earth side brothers. "Someone should stay here with him for awhile at least till he wakes up."
"We should take it shifts," Virgil agreed. "As we don't know how long John is going to be out for this time. One of us could sit here with him for an hour or two then someone else sit with him. I'll take first watch."
Scott started to open his mouth to reply when a buzzing alarm sounded throughout the villa complex, an alarm to indicate that a call was being received on the vidcom. That is almost certainly going to be Dad, Scott thought with a soft.
"Now I wonder who that is," Gordon said sarcastically as like Scott he knew that the person calling them was almost certain to be none other than Jeff Tracy.
"Dad most likely," Scott replied. "All right Virgil you stay here and watch John while I go and talk to Dad."
"Okay Scott. Thanks." Scott smiled back then turned and left the sickroom to head to the living room. Gordon took a long last look at John then left following Scott.
"Virgil m...m...me and Tin-Tin are g...g...going to head back to Thunderbird One," Brains said. "If John's condition c...c...changes give us a c...c...call."
"I will Brains don't you worry about that," Virgil replied as he grabbed a chair and brought it next to the diagnostic bed before sitting down. Brains and Tin-Tin quietly turned and left the room, leaving Virgil and John alone. Virgil barely noticed them leave; the greater bulk of his attention was focused on John's unconscious form. What's happening inside you bro, he thought, what are those nanite things doing to you now.
Scott arrived in the living room just as the vidcom unit beside his father's desk signalled for attention again. Coming, coming, Scott thought walking over to the unit and pressing the button to answer the call. The unit's small circular plasma screen came on and Scott was not at all surprised when he saw that the caller was his father.
"Hi, Dad," Scott said in greeting. "How are things going in New York?"
"Hello son," Jeff replied warmly smiling at his oldest son. Though he would deny it if asked Scott as his first born had a special place in his heart, all they boys had their own special places. "Things are going okay here. I believe I've managed to keep that defence contract though I have to go to the Pentagon in Washington to meet with the head of the joint chiefs in the morning to confirm it."
"That's good news Dad," Scott replied. "By why do I get the feeling that's not the reason why you're calling."
"You're right its not," Jeff answered turning serious. "I've been watching the news casts about the eruption of Mount Baker that is now raining ash down on both Seattle and Vancouver. I heard you went out there. What happened?"
"Well I didn't go personally. John piloted Thunderbird One this time." Jeff frowned slightly when Scott spoke; there was something in his voice when he spoke about John. Something that set alarm bells ringing in Jeff's head.
"Has something happened to John Scott," Jeff demanded priorities instantly changing as the curious supreme commander of International Rescue was shoved in a box out of the way replaced by the concerned father.
"I'm afraid it has Dad. John's currently out cold in the sickroom."
"What! What happened?"
Despite the situation Scott had to work hard to hide a sudden grin at the commanding tone of his father's voice. It was almost the same as the tone he used when giving an order, though at the moment it was tempered by concern. As calmly as he could Scott explained what had happened. How himself and John had been talking, though he left the topic they'd been discussing out - there would be time to tell Dad about Thunderbird One getting damaged later. How their talk had been interrupted by John suddenly doubling over in pain before collapsing unconscious. How they'd rushed him to the sickroom and what Brains had found was happening with the nanites that had become a fundamental part of the way John's body functioned.
"And no one has any real clue as to what the nanites are actually doing to John now," Jeff said a worried frown on his face.
"No Dad we don't," Scott replied. "We certainly can't stop whatever it is they are doing to him. All we can do is wait. Wait and see what happens."
Jeff sighed on the other end of the link and in his expression Scott could see that his father was not happy with that answer. Not happy at all. But that he knew that it was the only thing they could do. Even with the data Alan had retrieved for them the nanites were still a new technology to them, a technology that they still didn't fully understand. Plus there was the fact that John was actually the first human being to actually be augmented by the nanites, all the data they had been theoretical and based more on computer simulations the scientists in Nevada had run and there was a world of difference between a computer simulation and a real living person.
"I know Scott, I know," Jeff answered at last. "But that doesn't mean that I have to like it."
"None of us are happy with it Dad," Scott replied. "Though I haven't told Alan what's going on with John yet. I'm not looking forward to telling him either." Jeff nodded.
"This would have to happen now," Jeff said with a sigh. "I can't get out of tomorrows meeting with Admiral Hayden now no matter how much I might want to. Why did it have to happen at all? Haven't the nanites done enough to John already?"
"I wish I knew Dad," Scott answered.
"I know Scott. I know you can't provide any answers because there are none to provide. Keep me up to date with John's condition will you Scott. If anything changes don't hesitate to call me regardless of what time of the day it is. If you have to wake me up to tell me then wake me up."
"Sure thing Dad."
"I have to leave now Scott or I'll be late for a dinner meeting," Jeff said looking and sounding very reluctant to break off communication but accepting that he had to.
"Okay Dad. Have fun and try not to worry too much about John."
"I'll try Scott, I'll try," Jeff answered then broke the connection from his end.
"Guess you better tell Alan now Scott," Gordon said.
"While I'm in here you're right I should. Though I'm dreading telling him, because I know that he's going to be feeling even more helpless than the rest of us."
"Because he's stuck up in Thunderbird Five."
"Exactly," Scott said as he sat down at the desk and manipulated the controls there. "Base calling Thunderbird Five. Base calling Thunderbird Five respond please." Immediately Alan's portrait changed to a live feed of the youngest of the Tracy's.
"Go ahead Scott what's up?" Alan said a note of confusion in his voice as it was obvious he hadn't been expecting anyone to call him tonight other than Tin-Tin for their normal evening talk. The look of confusion on Alan's handsome baby face gave way to concern when he saw the expression on Scott's face. "Something's happened hasn't it?"
"I'm afraid so Alan. John's in the sickroom again."
"What! Why is he in the sickroom again Scott? Has something happened with the nanites?" Scott sighed and began his explanation again.
Jeff's Hotel Room
New York Hilton, That Same Time
Jeff Tracy sat at the desk for a moment in the luxurious hotel room he was staying in looking at the face of his wristcom which was a normal watch again. His mind awhirl with conflicting emotions, conflicting thoughts. He wanted to head home right now, head to his sons bedside but he couldn't. Because of some idiots foul up he couldn't go home, he was going to have to go to the Pentagon instead and tonight he had this dinner meeting with the CEO's of some of his companies suppliers who had jumped on the chance to speak to him in person when they'd heard he was here in New York.
With a sigh Jeff stood up and went to put on his dinner jacket, the Tracy Industries limo he'd ordered to take him to the dinner meeting would be here in a few more minutes. He put it on in a robotic fashion moving on automatic pilot more than conscious direction; his conscious thoughts were all about John, wondering what the nanites were doing to him now. Please be okay John, he thought, whoever is listening please don't let the nanites do anything bad to him. I couldn't bear to loose one of my boys, I just couldn't.
With a sigh and feeling the burdens of responsibility to his family and company pressing down on his shoulders Jeff left the hotel room to go downstairs to meet the limo. Tonight and tomorrow were going to really hard for him now that he knew something was once again wrong with John. He was going to worry every minute until he was back on the island with him, but he would have to manage it as best as he could and not let his emotions cloud his judgement. Too many jobs were relying on him keeping this contract, he couldn't allow emotion or personal needs to cloud his judgement less they lead him to make a mistake. But it was going to be difficult to do that. Very, very difficult indeed.
Ten Minutes Later
Alan broke the communications link with Tracy Island and walked over to the view port on the other side of the space stations control room. Like his father in New York his thoughts were completely dominated by concern for John and worry about what the nanites could be doing to him now.
Looking out the port at the planet rotating lazily below Thunderbird Five Alan found that for the first time he hated the view. Not for the first time he felt isolated, cut off up here on this space station. It was a feeling that of his whole family only John could really share, really understand. A feeling of frustrated helplessness that was only made worse at times like this. Scott had promised to keep him informed of any developments and Alan knew his oldest brother would do it but it wasn't the same. He wanted to be down there on Earth besides John's bed waiting for his brother to wake up. What are those things doing to you now bro, he thought suddenly fearing that he might never see John alive again, fearing that the nanites could be killing him without them knowing it. Please be okay John. Please, please be okay.
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