Disclaimer: I do not own the Thunderbirds. No money was made from the writing of this short story.
A/N: This was actually supposed to be a comedy, from Alan’s prospective only hearing his side of the conversations during rescues. Well that is until the huge portion of my brain that thrives in drama and angst took over, and although I think it does have its funny parts, it’s mostly nothing like I had planned. But what is? <G> It took everything in me not to make it a chapter fic. I can’t handle another one right now, lol. So a one shot it is, have fun! All mistakes are mine. – Lauren
Alan sat back in the comfortable, yellow, highly cushioned desk chair that rolled around the main office area of Thunderbird Five. Massive and small computer screens almost surrounded the young adult, monitoring everything his family and close friends could think would ever need to be monitored. Typing up a report on the green laptop in front of him while a red laptop to his right ran system diagnostics on the space station, was what kept him busy at the moment, though he had not been bored at all in the last thirty minutes. A minor system overload, not big enough to send alarms off back on earth but big enough to send the stations alarms blaring had occurred, waking him out of a dead sleep. Rubbing his forehead again from where he had smacked it on the top bunk…again Alan glanced over to the red laptops display.
Alan had not yet been trained in the electrical systems on five to the extent that he could automatically fix this kind of problem. By the time Alan had stumbled into the office the alarm was shutting off as the system went back to normal. Still, the station held an almost brand new electrical system after the Hood attacked it only three years previous. Since then Alan had spent at last a month up here during his summer vacations, and was now going to college from his computer so that he could spend extra time on the station, which he had come to love only a little less then John. He was currently in his second straight month on board Five, for the first time without his space-case brother. A small beep from the red computer told Alan that a problem had been found so he turned his whole attention to that monitor, as he pressed send to the report he had been writing. He would send another report as soon as he knew what the problem was so that he could get information on fixing said problem.
Frowning at the reading’s he was receiving, massive power fluctuations had been happening since the last time he had run the major diagnostic, which he was required to run twice a week. Small checks were run everyday, but they would not have been able to see this. It was a wonder alarms had not been going off before this. The only reason the alarm went off in this case was because it had messed with the life support system for 0.05 seconds. Not enough time to be felt, but a massive problem none the less. Deciding to bypass the report for the moment and just call base for immediate help he was only slightly surprised when the video screen lit up indicating someone from base was calling him. At 3:32am, he wondered who was up at that hour, checking e-mails. His bet was between his dad and John, the latter probably had a small alarm attached to any e-mail that came from the station so that he always knew what was happening. Alan hit the green button and was surprised to see it was both.
“Hey, I was just about to call you… yes…a system alarm went off at roughly 3am indicating there was a problem, but had turned back off by the time I reached the office. I immediately began a major system diagnostic and it had just indicated that since my last major scan, yesterday morning; there have been some massive power fluctuations…No, nothing noticeable by me. As far as I could tell nothing was wrong, the lights haven’t even dimmed. But…Right the reason the alarm went off is because for a tiny bit of a second, it affected life support…” Alan’s brother and fathers explanations were drowned out by the sound of a different much more familiar alarm. International Rescue was being called to duty.
“Right, I understand, your sending Brains up to look at the problem and if need be evacuate the station do so. I will have the space suit and emergency escape pod powering up while I take this call. Five out.” Alan spoke quickly before hitting the red button to hang up while at the same time hitting the transmission button to the radio signal the cry for help was being sent from.
“This is International Rescue, we received a call for help, is anyone reading?” There was a long pause before Alan heard anything. “Sir? Sir! Calm down please. I will be able to understand you if you can please calm down.” Meanwhile Alan was tracing the call from a dozen different smaller satellites positioned around the world. A view of New Zealand appeared then zoomed down to a large boat miles from any land, slowly sinking.
“Captain, I need to know your coordinates”… Alan hit the emergency signal that would wake all of Tracy Island and send them rushing to the command center, he already had an open IM window up so that he could send all information he had to the command computer. At the same time he was already powering up Thunderbirds One and Two and setting the water pod up for Two to pick up. “And does the ‘Pun Intended’ have enough life boats for all three hundred passengers?… Sir, this is not the time to become defensive! I am not the law enforcement, I need to know how many lives need to be saved here…Sir, your boat is sinking, people could be dying, do you really want to argue over my tone right now?… An apology? Fine, I am sorry for my tone, now could you please give me straight answers without the stories and…Sir!” Alan was looking at screen that showed a clear picture of the ship with a look of disgust. The lights flickered around him.
“Captain Neptune! I don’t care if you like me or not. My job is not to be liked, it’s to make sure as many lives can be saved as possible. Now please tell me why I see all of your crew taking up all of the life boats, most are not even near full and evacuating? I don’t think a single passenger has been evacuated!… Yes I can see you!…How, is not important… Violation of privacy?!?”The lights flickered again. Thankfully the fluctuation was not messing with communications or monitors yet, just the lighting. Alan glanced at the red computer which was showing the status of the emergency escape pod and space suit in a closet behind him. Both were powering up much slower then they were designed to. Alan shuddered at the thought that they might not be fully powered if he had to evacuate. He could do it manually but he needed to try and see this rescue through, no matter how much he wanted to hang up on the man. Normally he would have disconnected by now, but he needed the captain to start taking charge of what was happening on his boat. As of right now there were a dozen life boats sailing away only half full while two hundred and fifty people were stuck on a sinking ship.
“Captain, do you have enough life jackets for the people still on the boat?” Alan interrupted the ranting and raving man on the other end of the line. Alan shook his head in dismay, as the man did not even stop to answer the question. It was time to cut the man off and bring in some help from the ships closest to the sinking ship. Quickly contacting the ships with much more official and commanding captains, he arranged them to come in close enough so that the passengers could be ferried off from Two if needed, and if worse came to worse other passengers could just swim to the other boats. The lights shut off for a minute then came back on. Alan glanced at the red laptop which was not blinking a red warning sign; the last fluctuation had turned off life support completely. Alan cursed under his breath, knowing that, that would definitely send an alarm off to command. He knew he had ten minutes of good clean air before things would get stale really fast. His father appeared on screen, not even bothering to wait for him to answer the call.
“Dad, the fluctuations have stopped the set up of my emergency systems, I am sending this rescue down to you so that I can start manual set up. If possible don’t have much communications with the ships captain… Yes well, I’m sure you will see what I mean. I have to…” Alan was cut off as the entire station went black. Alan groaned before turning directly around and feeling for the door handle of the emergency closet. Grabbing the small portable green oxygen tank he set it beside him, it would give him an extra hour of oxygen if he could not get the suit’s oxygen up and running before then. He missed the old space suits; they were so much simpler, get in them and turn on the oxygen. The newest ones were all computer it seemed. They had to be started up, the battery was only kept half charged, so they had to finish charging in order to have full use. Normally this would not be a problem a full charge only took up to thirty seconds, except that the systems set to power it up were affected by the problem, and it had been charging like you used to have to charge a cell phone. At the rate it had been going, it would have taken a good two hours before it was of full use. Shaking his head, Alan stepped into the suit, the can of oxygen going in with him.
The suit was more like a pod itself then any kind of suit you would wear. Stepping in, meant you opened a small hatch then close it behind you. Then you sat on a small seat in a cramped box that used controls to move robotic arms and move the suit’s wheels in any direction or if out in space move thrusters. But it was only designed for short distances, which is where the escape pod came in. The suit fit perfectly into the pod, and was set up to connect to all pod functions so that you never left the suit. If you had to escape without the suit, you could step in and pull out the seats folded into the floor board. The pod could take him all the way home if needed, but was meant to move far enough away from the station that should anything happen to it, the pod and its passenger would still be safe. Thunderbird Three was equipped to catch the pod if needed and bring it in to her haul.
Turning on the pod’s power to seventy-five percent which is where the charge had been up to before the power cut off completely, Alan began to move the suit out of the closet. He knew immediately when atmosphere turned off in the station as the suit’s space features turned on, and he had to carefully propel the suit with the suits lite thrusters designed to be used indoors without fire, so there would be no risk of starting a fire. As he began to feel the air become stale, Alan put on the portable oxygen tanks mask and turned it on. He did not want to use up the massive power it would take to turn on the oxygen system in the suit until he either had to or it was fully charged.
He moved into the escape pods small room where there was also several giant batteries set up to charge the pod, just in case something like this happened. Plugging in to the batteries, he turned them on and groaned at the read out. Some how the power fluctuations had depleted one and a half of the three batteries, shaking his head at his lucks sudden turn for the worst he began to calculate exactly how much power he would need to connect the suit to the pod, turn on the pod, merge the systems, run life support, and fly him off the station because it could take a very long time for Three to manually dock, lock, get the hatches open, start life support on Five, all so that Alan could just leave. No, emergency procedure clearly stated that he was to leave as soon as possible, he had no idea what was causing the problem or what it would do next. Shaking his head, Alan decided to send the rest of the power to the pod, and then carefully turn things on that would use the least amount of power possible. It was becoming very cold, and Alan could not help but think about the Apollo13 mission so long ago, so many years later and he was basically in the same boat. The moment the battery power transfer was completed, Alan began to move the suit into the pod, and was relieved when the pod did as he asked using a lot less power then what it was designed for.
Once all hatches were closed, Alan began the long process of manually turning the bare necessities on. Life support, hummed to life, along with the much loved heat, which he could not turn off, as it was coded in with the oxygen. Then using the only portions of the navigation system he had turned on he ejected himself out into space and watched as the hatch he had just come out of close off only half way before freezing in place. Alan shuddered again, he had not thought about the fact that the hatch was powered by the problem system, he had no idea how he had been able to eject out without power. Shaking his head he suddenly felt, very, very alone. Knowing he needed to keep busy he set the basic systems to keep him near the station before he began to write a program that would hopefully merge the battery system of the suit with the battery system of the pod to hopefully give him more power.
The moment the power systems merged the Pod turned on to full power and immediately began to turn on the most important parts of the system not already manually turned on. The display in front of him came to life showing what was going on around him, what was happening with the pods power and oxygen levels. And then the button of all buttons, the transmission button, quickly hitting the button that would contact base he was relieved to he his fathers face who looked just as relieved.
“Yes, I’m okay…No I could not contact you before now, this was the first time I have had enough power…No they did not charge fully and the emergency batteries had been half sucked dry…I had to change the systems a little to merge the batteries of…Really?…How is the rescue?…Seriously, the captain insisted on going down with the ship, despite there being plenty of time to be evacuated?… Well I’m glad Scott kept Gordon from letting him drown…Okay, so maybe glad is to strong of a statement…Okay, okay, I agree with Gordon, they should have just…Yes sir…Three should be here in an hour? Good…Well tell them all I am fine, no harm done, just waiting it out in my own life raft…No I probably should save the battery life just in case my bad luck continues off the station…Alright I will…Pod One out.”
With that Alan sat back in the tiny pod, turned off the screen with the setting to turn back on if anything changed, and began to watch the stars. He was half asleep, when he felt the Pod jerk violently. Looking up at the now active screen he noticed an unusual power drain from somewhere, which had caused the pod to go back to basic systems at some point, so he would not have gotten the message from Thunderbird Three that it was approaching or that it was going to pick him up. Just as he was set into Three and the hatch to the giant rocket was closed all power within the small machine turned off including life support. Hitting the exit button, he was dismayed to find that it would not work. He grabbed the large wheel to do it manually but suddenly found himself without any oxygen. Grabbing the small tank, he realized he had never turned it back off when the main power had come on and it was empty. He put all of his strength into turning the wheel, but it did not budge. Without oxygen, he could feel himself getting weaker and weaker, black spots took over his vision before everything went black.
When he became aware again, he noticed first that he could breath. A mask covering his face pumped precious oxygen to his lungs. The second thing he noticed was that he was no longer cramped in a tin can but stretched out on a warm soft bed with a light blanket covering him.
“Alan?” Alan moved his head slightly towards the noise. “Alan, I need you to o-o-open your eyes f-f-f-for me, please.” Alan could only groan, he felt so weak and tired. “A-A-Alan, You-you-your eyes, please.” Alan groaned again before forcing his incredibly heavy eyes to open. Each lid felt like they were taped closed. “G-g-g-good.” A bright painful light shined into his eyes and he quickly surrendered himself back to the blissful darkness once more.
When Alan woke up again, he was much more awake, and dismayed to find himself back on the island under Virgil’s watchful, worried eyes. No longer on a mask, he was free to turn his head and look around the large infirmary where his entire family was passed out in one awkward position or another. Alan looked back up at Virgil who was grinning having followed Alan’s glance.
“At least they finally fell asleep. I thought I was going to have to sedate the lot of them.” Virgil sighed. Alan just shook his head.
“What happened? I remember there being a problem on the station, a rescue, with a really annoying, crazy captain, having to escape, then nothing…”
“There was some kind of virus in the stations system, were not sure how it got there or what triggered it to turn on, but it did and it was also in the pod’s systems. When Brains could not get you via transmission, he called an emergency and pulled you in. By the time he got down to you, you were passed out and not breathing for an unknown period of time. You still had a slight pulse however so we know it happened after he got you in. He resuscitated you, but had a very hard time waking you up, you were awake and seemingly aware for less then thirty seconds before you went out again. He quickly piloted you back here, where he and I have been watching you closely since. You must have been exhausted; well that and I’m sure the very slight concussion you somehow gave yourself judging from the giant bump on your forehead, made you sleep for over twenty-four hours. The entire house had been worried and hovering the whole time.” Virgil told him, Alan could only shake his head and roll his eyes before giving off a small grin.
“Well, I’m glad it’s over.” Alan whispered, he was mainly just relieved in that moment to no longer be alone, then the lights went out.
A/N 2: This was a one shot, think what you want about the last line; I just could not help but put it in. LOL! Maybe the virus made it to the island? Or maybe Virgil flipped a switch so that Alan would rest some more. Shrugs and grins evilly. No, no, no, no, a one shot! I suppose with the fact that I made Alan stop breathing again; I could have put this as a third story in the Breath of Air series, but I didn’t. 🙂 Hope you all enjoyed, don’t forget to review! – Lauren