Categories > TV > Thunderbirds > Enhanced
Chapter Thirty Four: After The Storm Part Two
Scott paused for a moment to wipe some of the sweat from his forehead, it was starting to seep into his eyes and the small amount of salt in human sweat was making them sting. Both John and himself were making their way through the jungle towards the point where the communications mast stood. Normally to check the communications mast for damage or to fix any problems, they would just airlift someone there with Thunderbird Two, but with the main runway still clogged up with debris from yesterday's storm,
That left the longer, harder way of getting there through the jungle. While it wasn't that extensive it was always difficult to walk through. It was almost all hills, steep ravines and narrow canyons that had bored into the tough volcanic rock by the many small streams and rivers on the island. The path was long, and wound around a lot and not that well used, so it was starting to get overrun by the fast growing jungle plants. At the moment it was also like walking through a sauna, the rain that had thoroughly drenched everything was slowly evaporating in the tropical heat. Beneath the tree canopy, the air was stiflingly hot, and the humidity was through the roof.
"You okay, Scott," John asked from behind him.
"I'm okay, John," Scott replied, turning to look at the blond haired astronaut. Immediately he felt a touch of envy at the fact that John looked completely comfortable, the heat and humidity not bothering him at all. He wasn't even sweating lightly. Damn, wish I had something like those nanites of his to keep me cool, Scott thought.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, its just like walking through this jungle is like walking through a sauna at the moment. How much further to the communications mast?"
"Only another few minutes at our current pace," John answered. "At least you'll get something of a break from the humidity when we get there, Scott."
"That will be something at least," Scott agreed, resuming walking. "Though I do hope the array is intact and hasn't taken any damage."
"We both hope that, Scott. And I'll tell you Alan will be as well," John replied. "It's awful when something happens to knock out communications with home. It's worse than..." his voice trailed off, he didn't really want to burden Scott with the knowledge of what he had been about to say.
But Scott was not about to be deterred. He had heard something in John's voice then that leapt out at him. Something that instantly had his full attention, he didn't like it when something disturbed his younger siblings.
"Worse than what, John?" he demanded to know. John did not reply, Scott frowned but pressed the issue. "Worse than what, John."
John sighed softly in resignation, while mentally berating himself for being so careless with his words. Now that he knew something bothered him, Scott would not stop, would not let up until he knew what that something was. Why does he have to be so overprotective all the time, John thought in mild but familiar irritation. Scott's overprotective, big brother streak could be downright annoying sometimes, especially when he locked onto something like he had done now.
"Worse than when we're stuck on Thunderbird Five when the rest of you are out on a rescue," John admitted at last. "I know we do a vital job, Alan knows it as well but still hearing you guys and not being able to physically do anything but listen makes us feel..."
"Feel what," Scott asked, his mind reeling. Somehow he had never really thought about what things were like for John or Alan when they were on Thunderbird Five during a rescue before.
"Feel helpless, useless. We both accept that our job up there is necessary but it doesn't make it any easier. And before you say anything, Scott there is nothing you or anyone can do about it," John answered. "Not without making Thunderbird Five totally unmanned which, as you know is a completely unworkable scenario."
"The technology exists to do it but I know what you mean," Scott replied, with a sigh. "Still, there has to be something that can be done to make it easier on the two of you."
"Not at the moment. Not until Brains can fix the problems with that holographic communicator of his; the potential uses for it are myriad and it would help both myself and Alan feel more involved when we're up on the space station."
"He's probably going to give it priority attention once the repairs to Thunderbird One are complete. I know for a fact that he wants to include it in the new Mobile Control unit he's making to replace the one destroyed at Mount Baker."
John winced at the memory. "Yeah sorry about loosing Mobile Control, Scott."
"Ah, don't worry about it. Brains had been on about replacing it for months anyway, plus from what you told me that lava flow was going incredibly fast, there was no way for you to save it."
"True, Scott. Very true, would have been suicide to even try."
"Yes. Though while we're on the subject of the holographic communicators, why don't you give Brains a hand with them, John?"
"Believe it or not I have been. The challenge appealed to me," John replied grinning. Any potential new communications technology would get his attention and the challenge of making the holographic communicators work had stressed his minor genius IQ, something John didn't mind at all. Scott grinned back and was about to reply when they came out of the forest and there in front of them was the base of the rocky outcrop on which stood the communications mast.
It was immediately obvious that something was wrong with the array, it was pitching noticeably to the right; two of the four high tension cables that helped to hold it upright were gone. One of the satellite dishes from the top was also missing and even from a distance they could both see signs of scorching on the mast as well, it had obviously been hit by lightning, possibly more than once.
Scott's shoulders slumped seeing the state the mast and the array on top were in. "Oh boy," he said, with a sigh. "We could have a serious problem here."
"I think we already have one, Scott," John answered grimly. He could hear that the mast was making soft moaning sounds of stressed metal. "From what I can hear the mast is unstable, the breeze coming off the ocean is increasing the strain on it."
Scott swore softly at John's comment. He knew what that meant. The remaining securing cables could come away at anytime, then there would only be the bolts at the bottom holding the mast upright. If they were already damaged, then Scott knew they wouldn't hold for long. The mast would fall, possibly right off the rocky outcrop and down the cliff into the ocean.
"You can say that again, Scott," John said grinning. He had easily heard his older brother swear. "Looking at this I would be very surprised if long range communications are still working," he added looking at the array. "If they're not working then you can bet, Alan's bouncing off the walls up in Thunderbird Five. I know I go batty whenever communication is lost for one reason or another."
"We'll have to check it, can't be without communications," Scott answered frowning, worried for both everyone on the island and International Rescue. Without the mast they were deaf and blind to the outside world, though Brains and John would probably be able to rig up a temporary system. Still, Scott didn't like the idea of being cut off from the world beyond the secluded shores of Tracy Island for even a short period of time. Especially as they would be cut off from Thunderbird Five until they could sort something out.
"I know, Scott," John replied. "Though we can't climb the mast when it's in this condition, it would be far too dangerous to even attempt it."
"I'm aware of that. We can still check the connections at the base of the array though, see if there is any power going into it. We could also try sending a test signal if there is power."
"We could try that, yes."
"Then what are we waiting for? Let's get started," Scott said, taking a small diagnostic unit from one of the pockets in his coveralls and heading towards the base of the mast.
John sighed to himself, then took a diagnostic unit from his own pocket and followed Scott. He was not at all confident that they were going to get good readings - if they got any back at all - from the power and data terminals at the base of the mast. But he knew that Scott was right, they had to try and get something before they headed back to the villa and told Dad about the damage to the array.
Arriving at the base of the mast, John walked around to one of the terminal covers and took a screwdriver from his utility belt. With another sigh of resignation he began to carefully undo the first of the four tough, stiff screws holding the cover in place.
The first screw came undone surprisingly easily and he was just getting started on the second screw when a loud creaking, moaning sound came from the mast. Looking up in concern, John frowned as for a moment he saw the mast move, on the other side he saw Scott also look up, his attention drawn by the sound.
"What was that?" Scott asked frowning. "Sounds like the mast moved slightly."
"It did," John replied. "Scott, I don't think it's safe to check these panels, this thing's going to fall."
"I know, but we have to try," Scott answered. "As long as the guide cables hold we'll be okay."
"Alright if you're sure," John said not convinced, he was beginning to think checking the array like this was an unnecessary risk, but he trusted that Scott knew what he was doing. Quickly he got back to work undoing the screws on the panel.
He was just taking off the panel when the array emitted another creaking moan, accompanied by the sharp snap of a breaking cable. The cable clanged instantly against the side of the array. Oh hell, John thought leaping to his feet in time to see the array start to fall.
"Scott, move," he called out leaping clear and rolling. Scott looked up and his blue eyes widened in horror as he realised that the mast was about to fall. If it landed on top of him he would be either killed instantly or seriously, seriously injured. Leaping to his feet, he started to run clear, only to trip on a broken piece of metal and was sent sprawling.
Turning over, Scott started to get back up when a sound made him freeze in place, the sound of the remaining guide cable snapping. What happened next seemed to do so in slow motion; with nothing holding it up the mast began to fall to the right. Scott desperately tried to haul himself clear along the floor as the mast slowly descended. He almost made it, the edge of the mast crashed down on the lower portion of his right leg, triggering a sharp crack of breaking bone. Blinding, searing pain exploded along the length of his right leg. Time speeded up again as he cried out in agony.
"Scott, hang on," John said racing up. He had heard Scott's leg break and a quick glanced showed that Scott's right leg was pinned from just below his knee. The mast that was now lying on its side, though it could slide into the Pacific Ocean at any moment. With Scott's leg pinned underneath it, it would most likely take Scott with it, dragging him down to his death. John shuddered slightly at that thought, then shook it off as his training took over. At least as much as it could where one of his beloved brothers was concerned.
"Hang on, I'll get you out of there," he said looking at the fallen mast and knowing that with his strength he would be able to lift it off his brother. "If I lift this up can you pull yourself clear?"
"I think so," Scott replied sweating, his voice thick with pain. "But first thing, John, call Dad let him know. I won't be able to walk down from here." John nodded, Scott would need a stretcher to get back to the villa. Reluctantly he raised his wristcom and pressed the transmit button.
"Dad," he said and almost instantly the watch face vanished to be replaced by the face of Jeff.
"Yes, John?" Jeff asked. One look at this sons face immediately told him that something was seriously wrong. "What is it, John? What's happened?"
"Dad, Scott and I are up at the communications mast," John replied. "There has been an accident. The mast fell while we were doing the checks. It landed on Scott and broke his leg. He can't walk, I need help."
"I see," Jeff replied, concern readily apparent in his normally calm voice. "Get Scott out from under there as quickly as you can. I'll get Gordon and Brains to come up there with a stretcher and emergency medical kit."
"F-A-B, Dad," John replied, before breaking the connection with his father and turning to look at Scott. "You heard?"
"Yes," Scott replied, the response more of a gasp as tears of pain made their way from the sides of his eyes. "Let's get this done then, John."
John nodded and moved up close so he was beside Scott, his feet parallel to Scott's uninjured left leg. Squatting down he slipped his hands under the edge of the mast and got a grip on the metal. Closing his eyes he mentally once again envisioned a dial labelled strength and turned it up from normal to full. Immediately he felt power surge through him, felt his altered, enlarged muscles virtually throb as the full superhuman power of the nanites inside of him made their presence known.
Opening his eyes again, John stood up and as he did so lifted the heavy metal mast as if it weighed nothing at all.
"Go," he said to Scott, feeling his muscles straining slightly. The mast with the box on the other end weighed a good hundred tons or more and even with his strength he noticed it; he would not be able to hold it up for very long. Though the nanites had transformed him into what was basically a superman; John knew full well that his strength was far from infinite. There would be some weights that would be too great even for him.
Scott nodded and summoning up every ounce of determination that he had, he slowly began to haul himself across the rough rock floor. Every movement sent a fierce blast of pain from his leg through his nervous system, but gritting his teeth, Scott persevered and pulled himself clear.
"Clear," he called out weakly, even as darkness encroached on the sides of his vision. Faintly, as if hearing from a distance, he heard the sound of metal hitting stone as John dropped the mast, then a scraping sound that meant the mast had fallen off the cliff to the sea below.
John appeared over him, but Scott couldn't really make him out his features through the haze of pain obscuring his vision. He was sure he could hear words but they seemed to come from so far away that he couldn't make them out. He was vaguely aware of someone holding his hand.
Then, the blackness that had been hovering at the edges of his vision enveloped him, and he knew no more.
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