A ruthless industrialist hatches a devious plot to steal the secrets of international rescue while Scott wrestles with a deep personal dilemma.
Authors Note: Takes place two years after the events of the movie.
Satoza Enterprises Headquarters Tower
Alexander Satoza frowned in displeasure as he read the latest report from the accounts department. Profits were down for the second quarter in a row, especially in the aerospace arm of his company. The losses were caused by a fall in sales of small aircraft, though sales of spare parts were still doing well.
He knew full well what had caused those losses in an area where they'd previously been doing well. Six months ago, the aerospace wing of Tracy Industries had brought the Swiftwind luxury personal jet on the market The Swiftwind was sleeker, more luxurious, more fuel-efficient and generally a lot faster than any other model currently available. The deployment and lightning success of the new jet had caught all the other aircraft manufacturers off guard, and they were paying for it while scrambling to come up with their own version.
Why is it that whenever Tracy Industries introduces a new product, it always takes off? Alexander asked himself, and not for the first time. He also felt a twinge of jealousy; again, not for the first time. He had been well on his way towards becoming the richest businessman in the world before Jeff Tracy had appeared on the scene. How any man could go from running a tiny, single factory to owning one of the biggest corporations on the planet in a mere twenty years eluded him.
A buzz from his desktop communications panel made him jump. Now what? he thought. He turned his attention away from his computer and pressed the button to receive the call from his secretary.
"Yes, Ms Thomas?" he asked.
"Sir, there is a call for you on line three. It's Doctor Avoki," Ms Thomas replied.
"Put it through."
For a few moments nothing happened, then the desk phone began ringing. Alexander picked it up immediately.
"Doctor Avoki," he said in greeting.
"Good afternoon, Mr Satoza," Doctor Avoki replied immediately.
"What do you have for me, Doctor?"
"They are ready."
Alexander smiled hearing that. Finally! he thought. There had been so many delays, so many setbacks, and so many technical glitches to overcome with the project over the last four years. He had begun to wonder if Doctor Avoki's team would ever finish.
"Excellent. Have the first batch prepared, Doctor," he replied at last. "Mr Benson will be in touch with you very shortly."
"Oh, and Doctor? Well done. You can expect a sizeable bonus if they perform as expected."
"Thank you, sir."
Alexander put the phone down, then picked it up again to dial a number, a number he had dialled many times before.
"Yes?" a cool, familiar male voice answered.
"Hello, Benson. I have a job for you," Alexander replied.
"Ah, Mr Satoza. What do you wish of me?" Benson asked.
"I want you to contact my head of research and development, Doctor Avoki. I believe you have dealt with him before. He has the details of the assignment that I wish you to carry out."
"I see. I will contact the good doctor immediately. I trust payment arrangements are as normal?"
"Yes, they are."
"Then I will call Doctor Avoki as you have requested Mr Satoza. A pleasure doing business with you, as always."
"Likewise, Benson, likewise," Alexander replied before hanging up.
For a moment, Alexander just sat there in his comfortably padded leather chair, then he swivelled his chair around. He stood and walked over to the window that made up the whole of one wall and looked out across the Manhattan skyline.
After a moment, he found the building he was looking for: the Tracy Industries skyscraper. It towered above its neighbours, a hundred and fifty-five floor cone of polished glass and chrome that seemed to glow in the bright sunshine. It was a beautiful building to look at from a purely aesthetic point of view, yet from another, more important perspective, he hated the sight of it. Looking at it, he imagined he could see right into the office of Jeff Tracy himself, into the office of his greatest rival.
Soon, he thought, soon you and all the other company execs will no longer stand in my way. Soon my company will leave all of you in the dust, and there is nothing that anyone can do to stop me.
That Same Time
Alan Tracy sighed as he climbed out of the back of the people carrier that his dad had rented from the airport. The drive from Boston to Wharton Academy had taken much longer than it normally did. Alan stretched to loosen muscles that had cramped up in the journey here, mostly from having to sit still for so long. In the last two years he had gained a lot of additional height and weight, and sitting still for long periods in the back seat of a car tended to cramp him up after awhile.
Normally Alan would have sat in the front passenger seat as he had more legroom there but he hadn't been able to this time as Brains had come along as well. Things had improved a little after they had dropped Tin-Tin off at the exclusive Castlewood School for Girls. It had been a stop of almost half an hour where he could stretch his legs as he helped carry her things to her dorm room. He had been relieved at the time because he knew there was less than an hour from Springfield - where Castlewood was - to Pittsfield, the city nearest Wharton.
But the benefits of that stop had been soon undone. An accident in Springfield itself had blocked part of the main interstate highway, creating a stream of slow moving traffic that stretched back for several miles. A journey that would normally take about forty minutes turned into a two-hour trip.
Finishing his stretching, Alan looked at the facade of Wharton Academy's administration building, the first building anyone saw when entering the sprawling campus grounds. Not for the first time he wished he wasn't here, though he had to admit the school wasn't bad. Truth be told, he actually quite liked it, it's just he hated being away from home and from his brothers He missed what they did together, either just playing around as always or with International Rescue. But he knew that school was important as well, and what he learned here did have meaning for the future that he already knew he had. As a result, he no longer complained about coming back when a holiday - like the recent spring break - ended. He hadn't complained since that fateful school break two years ago when they had encountered The Hood. He was first to admit that that encounter had changed him. It had matured him in a way, and had shown him that there was more to being what he wanted to be; that there was more to being a Thunderbird than cool adventures and riding around in the most advanced machines the world had ever seen. He had learned that the view of it he'd had before was a child's view and he wasn't a child anymore.
Sounds behind him made Alan turn away from the building to look over at Fermat was getting out on the other side of the car. After his latest growth spurt, the now fourteen-year-old Fermat had gotten to be quite tall, though he wasn't as tall as Alan who was two years his senior after all. Puppy fat was starting to burn off and Fermat was maturing into a handsome young man.
He still looks weird without glasses, Alan thought, smiling to himself. Like most teenagers, Fermat was becoming very conscious of how he appeared, and he had finally ditched wearing the large, blue rimmed glasses favoured by his father, and now wore contact lenses. It made him look a whole lot better.
"You okay, Fermat?" he asked his best friend. Out the corner of his eye, he noticed his father and Brains getting out of the car too. They wouldn't be going in with them, and this was the point where they would say goodbye for another few months.
"I'm f...f...fine, Alan," Fermat stammered back, stretching a bit. "J...j...just a little c...c...cramp."
"Sorry about that, boys," Jeff said as he went around to the back of the car and sprang the boot.
"It's okay, Dad," Alan replied. "You couldn't have known that a semi was going to jack-knife and block part of I-90. It was just one of those things."
Calmly, he approached the back with Fermat and Brains coming from the opposite direction. He helped his father retrieve the cases and bags that contained changes of clothes and everything they would need for the next school term.
In short order, the bags and cases were out and sitting on the sunbaked concrete of the path. There wasn't much: just two large cases, two backpacks and two laptop cases. Jeff closed the boot and turned to look at them.
"You ready, boys?" he asked. Alan looked at Fermat, who nodded.
"As ready as we can ever be, Dad," Alan replied. "It's just always hard coming back here after having been home."
"That's u...u...understandable," Brains said. "Y...y...you miss b...b...being home j...j...just like we miss h...h...having you around."
"Exactly," Alan replied.
"Well, it's not forever," Jeff said. "It'll be summer vacation before you know it."
"True, Dad, true," Alan answered, approaching to get a goodbye hug off his dad. Quietly, Jeff held his arms out and gave his youngest son a farewell hug as he had done every time he had dropped Alan off at school. Though he's not a little boy anymore, he thought to himself. None of them are. Where does the time go?
"Good luck for the new term, Alan," he said softly in Alan's ear.
"Thanks, Dad," Alan replied, noticing out the corner of his eye that Fermat and Brains saying goodbye as well. "I'll miss you."
"I know. I'll miss you as well and you can bet your brothers will as well," Jeff answered.
Alan smiled softly and, after a few more moments enjoying his father's loving embrace, reluctantly pulled back. Looking across at Fermat, he saw Fermat reluctantly being released by Brains. He always hated this part of coming back, having to turn away from his father to walk into the administration building for signing in and getting his room keys back.
"Ready, Fermat?" he asked his friend. Fermat nodded. Alan turned away and carefully picked up his luggage. Fermat came over and picked up his own and then, almost as if telepathically linked, the two teenagers looked back at their respective parents. No words were spoken. No words were needed. Then they turned and walked away, heading to the entrance of the administration block.
Jeff watched his youngest son's retreating back as he walked away. He watched without saying a thing until Alan was out of sight, disappearing inside the administration building, followed, as always, by Fermat. The depth of the friendship between Alan and Fermat never ceased to surprise him. The boys were complete opposites in many ways, yet the opposing aspects of their personalities didn't make them clash, as one would expect. Instead, their differences seemed to make them perfect compliments to each other... ninety-nine percent of the time.
"It's time for us to go, Brains," Jeff said. "We have a long journey home."
"Y...y...yes, Mr Tracy. You are r...r...right," Brains agreed, looking over at his employer and friend. "We s...s...should g...g...go."
Jeff nodded and walked back around to the driver's side door, pausing for a moment to make sure that the boot door was closed properly. Satisfied that it wouldn't come open while they were driving, Jeff climbed in to the drivers seat and put his seat belt on. Glancing over at Brains, he was that the genius was ready to go. With a sigh, Jeff started the engine, shifting the car into gear, and beginning the long drive back to Boston, where Tracy One waited for the long, boring flight to Tracy Island.