Categories > TV > Thunderbirds > Enhanced

Homeward Bound

by andrewjameswilliams 0 reviews

After participating in a rescue at a US research base John begin's experiencing strange and amazing side effects.

Category: Thunderbirds - Rating: PG - Genres: Action/Adventure - Published: 2006-03-18 - Updated: 2006-03-18 - 2658 words



Chapter Sixteen: Homeward Bound

Eight Hours Later

John Tracy sighed in relief as he leaned back against the wall of Thunderbird Two's pod, watching as Virgil and Gordon secured Firebug back in place, besides the Firefly and the other fire rescue equipment. The fire in the refinery was out, it had been a long hard battle even after shutting down the alsterene flow, but they'd managed it. A short time ago the last of the flames had been extinguished and air tankers and fire trucks were dampening down the few hotspots that remained. The danger of Sydney being wiped off the face of the earth by a fusion blast from exploding deuterium and alsterene had passed.

John was glad that the job was finally done, as it meant that they could now go back home. Home to what he knew would be showers and a large, well deserved meal that Kyrano will have cooked for them, since Grandma was still away in the U.S. Looking at his brothers more closely John unwittingly enhanced his vision slightly so he could see them better. He could see the physical and mental exhaustion in the way Gordon and Virgil were holding themselves. This mission had been very taxing, stressing their physical and mental reserves to the limit, so it was only natural that they were tired. John knew that he was, but there was more to his feeling of exhaustion than to what his brothers would be feeling. Not only was he tired but he felt weak, really weak, drained almost of all energy, he felt so weak and exhausted that he didn't know how he was managing to stand up. And he knew what it was.

It was the nanites, he could tell from the way that his altered, enhanced body was feeling that they were starting to run dangerously low on energy. Makes sense, he thought like his brothers he'd been a high adrenaline charged state all the way through the rescue. They always were, since they'd started International Rescue they'd all become adrenaline junkies to a degree. At least those of us who weren't before, John thought thinking about Gordon and Alan especially. The nanites would have reacted to the increased adrenaline levels in his body and kept him permanently in a state where he could easily access and use there powers. And that probably cost especially since he got the impression that when he used things like his now superhuman strength, nanite power requirements spiked way above whatever the norm was for the things.

Feeling the exhaustion getting slightly worse John closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths, fighting against the impulse to go to sleep. The impulse wasn't very strong at the moment, but it would get worse, he knew it would. Eventually he wouldn't be able to resist it and would fall into a very deep and dangerous sleep, as the nanites would go into a last ditch survival mode, conserving what little energy they had left. It was nowhere near that bad yet thankfully, though the feeling was very distracting, especially as with the exhaustion there was a feeling of growing hunger. He was so distracted by the feelings inside of him that even his unnaturally good hearing didn't detect the sound of approaching footsteps.

"John are you all right?" Virgil asked concerned and John opened his eyes again to look at him and inwardly Virgil shivered. He could see in John's expressive blue eyes - another trait that he shared with Alan along with their blond hair - that John was tired and hungry. More than he should have been even after such a difficult mission as this one had been. Looking closely he could see it in John's soot-smudged features as well.

"Not really Virg," John replied and was surprised to find that his voice was starting to sound a bit weaker, not as weak as it had sounded yesterday when the nanites had first run dangerously low on power, but it was not a good sign. Virgil frowned in concern.

"The nanites," Virgil said softly. John nodded.

"Yeah," he answered. "They're very low on power, I know it, I can feel it." Virgil nodded though he didn't understand what John meant when he said that he could feel that the nanites were low on power. How could he? He didn't have those incredible little machines inside him.

"Maybe you should eat one or two of the ration bars from the emergency survival packs," Virgil suggested. "They should provide the nanites with enough energy to keep working properly until we get back home and we can all eat a proper meal, after we've had showers of course."

John made a face at the thought of eating one or two of the ration bars from the survival packs, they were not the best tasting things in the world. But they were designed to deliver nutrients to the body quickly; taste was at best a secondary concern. Virgil was right though, if anything could keep the nanites ticking over then the ration bars would be it. Virgil laughed when he saw the look on John's face at the thought of eating ration bars.

"I know they're not the best tasting things in the world," Virgil replied still chuckling. "But that's not important at the moment is it."

"True Virg," John agreed his voice slightly weaker than before.

Gently, so as not to inadvertently cause damage, John pushed himself away from the wall of the pod, only to stumble back against it as a wave of dizziness rippled through his head. John closed his eyes again and took a few deep breaths as the dizziness faded away. The dizzy spell was not as bad as the one he'd had yesterday; still he read the warning for what it was. The nanites energy needs were starting to become critical, they weren't there yet but they were dangerously close. He needed to eat something, and he needed to do it now. John opened his eyes again in time to see Gordon disappearing out of the pod, heading up to the gantry that connected the pod to the rest of Thunderbird Two's crew areas. Virgil was still standing in front of him, looking at him in very real concern.

"Gordon's gone to get you some ration bars," Virgil explained. "No offence John but you don't look like you'd be able to make it to the sleeping area let alone the control room without falling over."

"None taken Virgil," John replied feeling the weakness and hunger getting a little bit worse. "You're probably right. There has to be something that we can do about these things in me. Someway we can come up with something that will give a warning when they're starting to run low on power. I don't fancy going through this everytime the damned things come close to running on empty."

"I don't blame you," Virgil answered with an understanding smile. "I would hate it as well. We will have to speak to Brains; he's been studying the information Alan retrieved for us on the nanites. I'm sure he could come up with something to monitor them."

"I hope so Virg," John replied smiling weakly. If anyone can figure out away to help me then it will be Brains, he thought right before another wave of dizziness rippled through his head. I hope he can because this feeling is awful.

After a few more moments Gordon returned. His soot-covered face visibly flushed, with small beads of sweat on his forehead, in his hand he held three wrapped up ration bars, which he'd obviously grabbed straight out of the survival pack. John realised that Gordon had run all the way to the crew areas and back again.

"Here you go John," Gordon said offering John the bars.

"Thanks Gordon," John replied accepting the bars off his younger brother. He ripped open the foil cover on the first one and started eating it, barely even noticing the taste in his haste to get something resembling food into him.

Virgil and Gordon watched with a mixture of amazement and faint disgust as John simply tore through the ration bars. By the time he had finished the third bar his colour was starting to improve and while he still looked tired he didn't look to be as tired as he had been a few minutes ago.

"Better John," Virgil asked.

"A bit Virgil," John replied his voice sounding normal once again as the exhaustion and weakness faded away a bit, it didn't completely go away but it was no longer threatening to overwhelm him, to pull him into a deep, dark place from which he might never return. "It will probably be awhile before I feel the full effects of eating those foul tasting things."

"Probably," Gordon agreed.

"You feel up to moving John," Virgil asked. "You can bet Scott's wondering why we aren't moving yet. Knowing Scott it won't be long before he comes beating down the door to see if we're all alright." Gordon and John both laughed but knowing the truth in those words. When it came to his siblings their older brother was very, very overprotective. If he believed or even suspected that they were in danger or that they needed him Scott would move heaven and earth to get to them and that there was little if anything in the world that could stop him.

"I think I can managed Virgil," John said. "Don't ask me to run a marathon but I think I can make it to the control room." Virgil chuckled. John's sense of humour was still intact obviously.

"Let's go then," he said and turned and started to walk away. John pushed himself away from the wall of the pod and followed him Gordon brought up the rear. Without speaking they headed for Thunderbird Two's control deck, all of them more than ready to begin the journey home.


Thunderbird One

Scott frowned as he looked out his view port over at Thunderbird Two. What the hell is going on over there, he thought. He had tried to call Thunderbird Two twice in the last five minutes; there had been no answer. Concern growing Scott was about to contact Thunderbird Five to see if Alan could get through to Thunderbird Two when his radio crackled to life.

"Thunderbird Two to Thunderbird One," Virgil's voice crackled over the radio. Scott sighed in relief and accepted the signal and Virgil's face appeared on his communications screen.

"Reading you loud and clear Virgil," Scott answered. "Did you have a problem securing Firebug Virgil? I've tried to call you twice in the last five minutes and you didn't answer."

"That would be my fault Scott sorry," John said appearing in range of the video pickup. Scott frowned in concern.

"Are you alright John?" he asked.

"I'm alright Scott. Just a little nanite trouble."

"Running low on energy," Scott guessed still frowning. John nodded.

"Don't worry though Scott we've taken some action to relieve the situation," John said reassuringly. "I've eaten three emergency ration bars. Horrid tasting things." Scott chuckled. He knew what emergency ration bars tasted like they were foul. He remembered that from the survival course he had had to go on back when he had still been with the US airforce.

"I won't argue with that," he replied. "I remember what the infernal things taste like. Are you sure you're alright?"

"I'll be fine till we get back to base," John answered. "I can eat properly when we get home."

"Are you sure you'll be alright?"

"I'll be fine Scott stop worrying." Scott sighed. Stop worrying he says, Scott thought, I can't stop worrying about you John. I'm your older brother. It's my job to worry about you.

"Are we just going to sit here chatting or are we going to get moving," Virgil asked breaking up the conversation before it could go any further.

"You're right Virgil," Scott said. "Our mission is over. We should return to base. We can continue this discussion when we get home."

"F.A.B Scott," Virgil replied and broke the connection from his end.

Scott looked at the blank communications screen for a few moments. Then he sighed. He couldn't stop worrying about John, especially not now that he had those nanites inside him. That technology and how it had altered John's body exactly were unknowns, potentially dangerous unknowns. That made him worry for John's sake and there own. Until they really knew what the nanites had done to John altogether he would continue to worry, even more than he normally did.

After a moment Scott sighed once again, before engaging the VTOL jets and getting Thunderbird One airborne. Scott kept his eyes on his display screens until he was at a safe height, then he shifted the wings into flight/cruise configuration and engaged the main drives and got Thunderbird One into motion heading for home.


Thunderbird Two

John watched through the front view ports as Thunderbird One lifted off the ground. For a moment the rocket powered plane hung there in the air as the landing gear was retracted and the wings shifted into flight configuration. Then her main engines came on and she disappeared, heading away into the distance at high speed.

John quietly sighed to himself and went and sat down next to Gordon in the passenger seats. I do wish Scott wouldn't worry about me so much, he thought but he knew that Scott had good reason to be worried at the moment. He knew Scott would continue to worry until they knew altogether what the nanites had done to him, though knowing Scott he probably wouldn't stop worrying even then. His overprotective big brother complex coming into play again.

"You two ready to go home," Virgil asked from his place in the pilot seat.

"We're ready Virgil," Gordon answered.

"Yes Virg," John added leaning back comfortably in his seat. "Let's go home." Virgil glanced back at them and grinned before turning his attention back to his controls.

After a moment a roar of sound filled the control deck, as Thunderbird Two's four powerful VTOL jets fired lifting the mighty green machine up into the air. Virgil scanned his instruments, making sure that everything was normal, especially checking that the docking clamps had locked onto the pod correctly and were holding it securely, making it a complete part of the fuselage. Happy that everything was okay Virgil cut out the VTOL jets and brought the main drive online. Thunderbird Two began moving away from Sydney, heading away across the horizon, following Thunderbird One's homeward bound course.


Chief James looked up from where he had been about to climb into one of the fire trucks at the sound of engines. He was just in time to see first Thunderbird One then a short time later Thunderbird Two lift off the ground and move away from the blackened and twisted remains of the refinery. Vanishing off into the distance, returning to wherever it was they and their mysterious organisation appeared from like magic whenever somebody in the world needed them.

A soft smile appeared on his tired, soot covered features. Thank you, he thought to the retreating Thunderbirds, thank you for all your help saving our city.

"Chief," one of his firemen prompted from behind him.

"Right sorry," James said before resuming climbing back up into the truck.

"They are impressive aren't they," the fireman said as he climbed aboard behind him. "I'm glad that they are out there somewhere and they will always come to help."

"Yes they are. And you're not on your own. I wish I knew where they came from."

"You and everybody else in the world."

"True, very true. No one knows where they come from, but thank god that whenever they are needed they come."
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