Categories > TV > Thunderbirds > Heroes Genesis

Chapter One

by andrewjameswilliams 0 reviews

AU Thunderbirds. A traumatic watershed event starts Jeff Tracy on a path that will change his and the lives of his family forever.

Category: Thunderbirds - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst - Published: 2006-11-15 - Updated: 2006-11-15 - 3461 words


Chapter One

Tracy Industries Headquarters

New York

February 2036

Jeff Tracy smiled as he pored over the progress report his aerospace arm's research and development department had submitted. They were making good progress in finding a way to power long range commercial aircraft without depending on now-extinct fossil fuels. It was slow going, but Jeff didn't mind. He knew this task - bringing back commercial airliners was a very tough one.

Commercial airliners had vanished from the skies of the world sixteen years ago - during the deep dark days of the energy crises. That was the point when global fossil fuel reserves were no longer capable of meeting demand. The air travel industry with its massive fleets of aircraft had been the first to suffer. Even with the return of the airship it had not recovered. Airships - while energy efficient - were slow. It took two days to make the flight from London to New York. The only other way of flying now was a helijet but they lacked the capability for decent long range travel.

Developing a fast, fuel efficient airliner was the only way to help that industry recover from the energy crisis - a job easier said than done. If only the military would stop interfering. Then my researchers would find it a little bit easier, Jeff thought, sighing softly.

The Pentagon was constantly interfering with any research to bring back the commercial airliner. They were worried someone would find a way to adapt the same kind of microfusion power cells used in jet fighters to power an airliner. The Pentagon complained that research in the commercial use of microfusion power cells was jeopardising America's national security. They conveniently ignored the fact that fusion power was now widespread and many nations utilized that type of power in military aircraft. Jeff's opinion was that far too many of the Armed Forces top brass were mired in America's past, when the U.S had the best military technology - something that was no longer the case.

A soft beeping sound from his desk communications unit made Jeff jump. Sighing, Jeff put the electronic file down and pressed a button on the offending device.

"Yes?" he asked.

"Excuse me for disturbing you, sir, but Jason Peterson from the NTSB is here to see you," the voice of his secretary, Ms Parks, replied.

Jeff blinked, startled by the name. Jason Peterson was one of the National Transport Safety Board team investigating the horrific train crash last year - the one that had claimed Lucille among many others. Remembering how she died, Jeff again felt the deep pain that came from the hole her death had ripped in his heart and soul. It never really went away. He especially felt it in the morning when he would wake and, in his initial sleep fogged state, would search for her, confused, wondering where she was. Then he would remember that she was gone, and feel the sharp stab of reality: he was alone. Not even knowing that Lucille was watching him from beyond the grave really helped to banish the aching loneliness.

"Mr Tracy," Ms Parks voice prompted from the intercom, and Jeff blinked, suddenly realising that he'd gotten lost in that deep gulf of pain again.

Can't go there now,
he thought, not when there's work to be done. He took a deep breath to control the shudder in his voice and said. "Send him in Ms Parks."

"Yes sir."

"And Ms Parks? Call Virgil up here. Something tells me he will need to hear this, too."

"Yes sir." The intercom clicked off. Sighing, Jeff leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.

For a moment he stayed like that taking deep, slow breaths to completely regain his composure. He refused, point blank, to let anyone outside his family see how much he still suffered. He'd hide it from the family if they'd let him, focusing instead on helping the boys live without Lucille there to turn to and talk to. It wasn't easy. She had been such an integral part of their lives. Living without her was very hard on all of them.

The door of his office opened. Jeff roused and sat up straight as Jason Peterson - carrying a briefcase and dressed in a smart, sleek business suit - entered the room.

"Mr Peterson, this is a surprise." Jeff rose to shake Jason's hand as the latter crossed the large office. He gestured to a chair, then returned to his own. "Please, take a seat. To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?"

"Hello Mr Tracy," Jason replied as he accepted the offered seat. "I'm afraid its business that has brought me here today."

"I guessed as much. Are you here about the accident investigation?" Jeff asked. Jason nodded. "I thought so," Jeff responded. "We'd better wait for Virgil before we go into that."

"That's fine, Mr Tracy."

"Would you like some coffee? A cup of tea?"

"Yes please. Coffee, cream and two sugars."

Jeff smiled and got to his feet to fix the drink. It was odd for someone in his position to do such a menial task, but the simple normality of it would distract him from the reason Jason was there, at least, while they waited for Virgil.


Five Minutes Later

Virgil Tracy stepped off the lift onto the hundred and tenth floor of the Tracy Industries skyscraper with a puzzled frown on his handsome face. Navigating his way towards his father's office from memory he couldn't help but wonder why his father had suddenly asked for him to come up here.

He had been hard at work sixty floors below assisting the team that was designing a new longer range helijet when Ms Parks had called down. She had told him that his father needed him in his office, while she hadn't said more Virgil had clearly heard in her voice that it was something both personal and important. That had been more than enough for him to know, after tending his apologies to Derek and the rest of the team he had come straight up.

Arriving in the small anteroom before his father's office Virgil smiled when he saw Jennifer Parks hard at work on her desk computer.

"Hi Jennifer," Virgil said still smiling.

Jennifer Parks looked up from what she was doing and smiled at Virgil. Like many of her friends who worked here she liked Virgil Tracy a lot. Not just because the former college and university football star had a gorgeous physique that most men would die for. But because he was generally a kind and pleasant person to be around. Jennifer often wished she could go on a date with Virgil but she knew full well that Virgil didn't go on dates, with girls anyway.

"Hi Virgil," she said at last.

"So what's up," Virgil asked.

"A Mr Jason Peterson from the NTSB arrived to see your father," Jennifer replied. As she said that Virgil felt a chill go down his spine and a premonition about the nature of Mr Peterson's visit filled his mind.

"I see," Virgil replied with a hollow feeling in his stomach. "I'll go in there now then. Jennifer I would advise that you be prepared to cancel any meetings or appointments that Dad has this afternoon. Something tells me that neither of us is going to be good for anything after this."

"Already arranged," Jennifer answered. "Good luck in there."

"Thanks," Virgil replied before stepping up to the door to his father's office. Taking a deep breath to steel himself against what he believed was coming he pushed open the door and went into the office.

"Ah Virgil good," Jeff said seeing his second born son coming in. "Please come and sit down. Mr Peterson here has something to tell us."

"About the accident," Virgil asked sitting down in one of the seats opposite his father. He already suspected what the answer was going to be - why else would someone from the NTSB be here - but he wanted it to be confirmed by someone.

"Yes it is about the accident Virgil," Jeff replied. Though his father's voice was outwardly calm and controlled Virgil wasn't fooled. He saw through his fathers mask and knew that his father was just as apprehensive about this meeting as him. "Do you want to get a drink before we start?"

"No I'm fine Dad."

"Alright, okay Mr Peterson please tell us exactly what this is about? We have already submitted statements to the NTSB on a number of occasions."

Jason Peterson nodded and picked up his briefcase and unlocked it before beginning to speak. He would need to get something out of his briefcase very soon now.

"As you are aware Mr Tracy I have been part of the team investigating the fatal train crash in the Colorado Rockies last year," he began. "The investigation into the cause of the crash and the reason why so many of those onboard died has been concluded. Our report into the accident is ready to be published; it will officially be released to the public two days from now. But before that we are giving the families of those involved a copy of our findings so you have time to read over them before being swept up into the media storm."

As he finished speaking Jason opened his briefcase, reached inside and took out two slim plastic boxes. Boxes that contained one high-compression read only data card each.

"There is a copy of the report on each of these data cards," he said putting the carrier boxes down on the desk. "Colleagues of mine are delivering copies to the rest of your family and all the others affected by the disaster as we speak."

"I see," Jeff replied picking up one of the boxes and holding it almost reverently as he knew it contained the thing he had desperately wanted for the last year; answers. Answers as to why that train - a train so advanced and modern that an accident should have been impossible - had crashed. Answers as to why and how his soul mate and so many others had perished in the disaster. Yet now that he held the answers in his hand he found that he scared to find out what they were. Why he was scared Jeff wasn't quite sure, he just was. As it was he knew reading the report would bring a lot of the pain, a lot of the grief back. But it was necessary to know the answers to provide a sense of closure, only with that could he keep his promise to his wives spirit and go on with his life.

"This will take sometime to read in depth," Jeff said after a few moments of silence. "Would you mind giving us a quick summary of the findings Mr Peterson?"

"Certainly Mr Tracy," Jason replied. He took a drink of his coffee then he began to talk, spelling out in a concise a form as possible what exactly they had found during the course of their long and very thorough investigation into the crash.


Twelve Minutes Later

Silence reigned supreme in Jeff Tracy's office. But it was not a comfortable silence but a deep, brooding, oppressive silence as Virgil and Jeff sat still lost in there own thoughts. Jason had just finished detailing the NTSB's findings and both Tracy's were thinking hard about what had been said to them, what had been revealed. It was almost impossible to believe but they knew that it was true.

It was a truth that was hard to bear, hard to comprehend, let alone understand. The train crash that had claimed Lucille Tracy's life had been caused by a catastrophic failure of the trains breaking systems. Both the primary and secondary breaking systems - each independent of the other - had been frozen in the unlocked position. The two systems had been controlled by the trains computer system as modern trains relied heavily on computer control. One of the many computer viruses currently making the rounds on the Internet had somehow gotten into the trains computer and damaged several programs including the power control system. Records retrieved from the trains data recorder showed that several minutes before the crash there had been a rouge power surge through the engine of the train. A power surge that had somehow fried both the break control system and the sensors that monitored them. The surge was minor and hadn't been noticed as more than a blip on the drivers screen, else there would have still been chance to evade disaster with the emergency hand operated breaks in the engine and carriages.

As it was the train had kept going but without the ability to slow down or stop. The train had come off the tracks at a sharp bend and plunged twenty metres down an embankment before slamming into the valley floor below. The driver and the people in the first coach had died instantly as both the engine and the front coach were reduced to little more than mangled wreckage. Even then the engines emergency GPS locator beacon while had damaged came on, summoning help. The other carriages - including the carriage Lucille had been in - had survived, damaged without windows and with sections of crumpled metal but largely intact. The high tech safety systems had prevented the passengers suffering serious injuries.

But it was then that the next phase of the catastrophe began to take place. The freezing air of the mountains had been barely half a degree above freezing as winter hadn't yet released its grip. The bitterly cold wind had chilled the air even further so the temperature had actually been about five degrees below freezing. With the windows smashed and no power for the heaters the surviving people on the train had had absolutely no protection from the savage elements of nature. By the time rescue workers arrived at the scene of the crash - having had to come by poor, barely clear forestry service roads. The only two emergency helijets in the area had been trapped in Denver by a bad storm that had made flying them impossible - four hours had passed. All bar twelve people on the train had been dead, frozen to death, and two of those still alive had died later in hospital while the others suffered bad frostbite.

The report had concluded that had Denver's emergency helijets been able to fly, or had some of the chronically under funded ranger stations in the area possessed either helijets or helicopters retrofitted with hydrogen fuel cells, then the disaster would not have been as bad as it was. While nearly a hundred people would have still been dead the rest of the people on the train would have survived.

"Are there any questions Mr Tracy," Jason asked breaking the uneasy silence that had fallen upon the room.

"No," Jeff replied his voice shaking a little with barely suppressed emotions. Renewed grief at his soul mates death, anger at the fact that she'd frozen to death and that she and the others who had died could have survived the disaster and still had been here with him had the rescue services been better equipped. There deaths had been unnecessary but funding for groups like the forestry service had not really been increased from the reduced level they had been at during the massive economic depression that the energy crisis had spawned. Certainly it wasn't enough to refit helicopters with hydrogen fuel cells or afford many helijets. It galled Jeff that the politicians and accountants in government hadn't thought about that kind of thing. They were so concerned with big prestige ventures and rebuilding the military that they hadn't though about updating the technology available to emergency services.

"Then I will take my leave Mr Tracy," Jason said locking his briefcase and standing up.

"I'll show you out," Jeff replied standing up and coming around his desk before leading Jason out of the room.

Alone in the office now for a few moments at least Virgil stood up and made his way over to a partially walled off sitting area. Virgil walked right across it as if drawn by something before standing still and looking at a painting mounted on the wall. One he himself had painted last year.

The painting was of himself and his brothers back dropped against the big red barn on their grandparent's ranch. He'd started working on it the day before their mother had left to go on that fateful trip. She'd never seen it as more than a few guiding outlines with the odd first wash of colour here and there, never seen the finished masterpiece though he knew she'd wanted to, and would have liked it very much.

"I miss you mom," Virgil said as he began to shake as the emotional numbness that he had felt for the last twenty minutes wore off and reaction began to set in. He'd been extremely close to his mother, closer than any of his siblings; they had shared many of the same interests and hobbies. It had been his mother who'd taught him how to paint and how to play the piano. When he'd wanted to develop a new idea for a new painting of piece of music it had always been mom that he'd spoken to. He felt her loss strongly, almost as badly as dad did. To learn now that she need not have died made the loss that little bit worse, that bit harder to bear.

A hand abruptly landed on his right shoulder and Virgil jumped slightly before turning his head. To see that his father had returned and was standing beside him and looking at him in concern and understanding.

"I miss her Dad," he said his voice like his body shaking with barely suppressed emotions.

"I know son," Jeff replied. "I miss her to."

"And to hear that, to that mom need not have..." Virgil's voice trailed off and he looked down as his fragile composure disintegrated and a sob was wrenched from his lungs as his eyes burned with unshed tears.

Hearing his son sob Jeff physically turned Virgil to face him before pulling him into a comforting embrace. The action opened the floodgates. In seconds Virgil was crying full force into his jacket, the whole of Virgil's powerful, muscular form shaking with anguished heartbroken sobs. Jeff felt his own eyes begin to burn and in less than a minute he too was crying, weeping out his grief and rage at Lucille's needless death.

Finally after what seemed like ages but was in reality about ten minutes the tears and sobs of the two Tracy's subsided. Jeff and Virgil continued to cling to each other in mutual support for another few minutes before Jeff broke the embrace.

"Come on Virgil," Jeff said. "Let's go back to the apartment and make preparations to go to the ranch for a few days."

"What about Gordon?" Virgil asked. His copper haired younger brother was just starting a month's shore leave from the Navy while the submarine he was assigned to the USS Swordfish underwent some maintenance work on its engines. They had been due to meet up after work today and go for a meal.

"We'll call him and get him to meet us at the apartment," Jeff replied heading back into the main area of his office. "He knows where it is. Plus I have to call John and Alan and arrange for them to get to the ranch."

"True," Virgil agreed as he followed his father and watched as he picked up the boxes that data cards. "We can do all that from the apartment."

"Yes," Jeff answered as he put the boxes in his pockets before picking up his coat. "So let's get going."

"Okay Dad. We'll need to nip by my office downstairs first so I can pick up my coat and briefcase."

"No problem. It won't take long to pick those up. Lead the way Virgil."

Virgil nodded and led the way out of the office towards the lifts. Despite the situation he smiled slightly at the knowledge that he would soon be with all his brothers in the warm comfort of their grandparents farmhouse on the ranch that had been the home of the Tracy's for two centuries. They were definitely going to need each others strength and support for the next few days as they came to terms with the findings of the investigation into the accident that took their mother from them. We'll have to come to terms with the findings, he thought, but it will be hard for us, it will be so very hard.
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