As soon as everyone left her quarters, and her kids were down for the night, Bekkah went down to the lab. She took out her computer interface and began to dictate her ideas. She saw a file listed she had created after her third run-in with the Hood. I have to do something about that, too, she thought. But first, get this down while I can. She pulled up specs on Thunderbird 2 to try and figure out where she would put the unit. Units, she corrected herself. There should be two. One at port and one at starboard.
"I can't envision where this would go just by seeing the specs," she groused. "I need to go down there and look." She headed for the passenger elevator to Thunderbird 2's cockpit. She changed the frequency of her microcomp interface to that of Thunderbird 2's computer.
"Lights!" she said, and the interior lights came on. She looked over the newly refurbished cockpit with a sense of accomplishment. It really looked good to her. She tore herself away, and went down the gangplank to the underbelly of the cockpit. She went all the way forward, measuring between the hydraulic tanks and the bulkhead right behind them.
"Yes. They should fit, if I'm careful. A see-through screen made of polyhexane, an irising cover on the hull for when the guns are not in use. The guns should sit back until used, then move forward to put the end of the blaster outside the hull." She turned and measured distances and area. "Dicetyline tanks back here on each side. That should balance the weight of the guns." This could work, it would work. Now she had to sell Hiram and Jeff on the idea. She went back to the lab to work up detailed specifications.
"Bekkah, have you been here all night?" Brains asked as he came into the lab. The dark circles under her eyes told the whole story.
"Yes, Hiram. I got inspired last night and had to work up an idea I had." She sounded jazzed, like she had had too much coffee. She probably had; the small coffee pot she insisted be installed in the lab had barely a quarter inch of coffee in it. Brains turned it off before the coffee burned.
"What is it? Can you show me?" He moved over to the design table, where Bekkah had her sketches and blueprints laid out. "Hey, that looks familiar! Looks like those laser guns from the movie last night!" he exclaimed.
"Yeah, but they aren't lasers. They are dicetyline blasters. For fighting fires." She paged through her designs. "They would be mounted in the bow portion below the cockpit in Thunderbird 2. An irising cover would protect them while not in use, and a polyhexane port would protect the gunners while in flight. The guns would retract when idle, and move forward so that the blaster is outside the port when ready to use. There would be a remote access function in the cockpit so that Virgil could fire them himself, using joystick controls mounted either to both sides of his chair, or on his chair itself. If we put them on the seat, we'd have to upgrade the seat and put in new. Dicetyline tanks here and here would balance the weight of the guns and keep the nose of 2 from becoming bottom-heavy."
"Now tell me exactly why we need these." Jeff asked, skeptically.
"For fighting fires at high altitudes. Like in high-rise buildings." Bekkah told him, puzzled.
"International Rescue isn't a bunch of equipment just for fighting fires, Bekkah," Jeff growled. "We rescue people. People are the important thing. Not buildings."
There was a long moment of silence. Bekkah flushed red, and her eyes flashed. But her voice became dangerously soft.
"Jeff. How old were you when the Twin Towers burned and collapsed?" she asked.
Jeff was taken aback. He didn't expect that question.
"I was an adult. Lucille and I were expecting John."
"I was a child. 10 years old. And do you know what images were indelibly imprinted on my brain? The people jumping from the Towers. Jumping from the floors above the fire." She stood in front of his desk, stabbing at her designs.
"What if there had been such a thing as International Rescue back then? And these blasters had been mounted in Thunderbird 2?" She looked him in the eye. "The fire could have been doused. Lives would have been saved because those who were on the floors above the fire could get down. The lives of firefighters would have been saved because they wouldn't have to go up there." She backed off and folded her arms. "There is going to come a time when International Rescue is going to face just such an emergency. And we need to be prepared for it. This is the time to prepare."
Jeff had not seen the passion in her eyes or heard it in her voice before. Not like this. Not even when she was working on Thunderbird 4. It shook him.
"I have to give what you've said some thought, Bekkah. You bring up a very valid point. Leave the designs with me. I promise I will consider what you have said."
Bekkah nodded, then left the room. She leaned up against the wall in the hall, breathing deeply and trying to get her racing heart under control. She had stood up to Jeff. She just didn't know if it was going to cost her, and if so, how much.
She suddenly felt very tired. She would look in on the homeschooling, then take a nap.
Kyrano came into the lounge with coffee for Jeff. He found his friend and employer with his head in his hands. The Asian man came around to the back of the desk so he could see the plans laid out upon it.
"Oh! Hello, Kyrano." Jeff looked up. "Thank you for the coffee."
"These are Dr. Barnes's ideas?" Kyrano asked.
"Yes. For firefighting. Dicetyline blasters."
"An interesting concept. Inspired by the film last night, are they not?"
"Yes. Tell me, Kyrano. Do you think we need such devices?"
Kyrano thought carefully before answering.
"They would be most helpful in fires occuring in high rise buildings. A situation that we have not yet encountered, I believe."
"A situation like the Twin Towers?"
"Exactly so. I am surprised we have not been called for such an occurance. But I believe that it will happen some day."
"Can I justify putting this equipment in Thunderbird 2 based on what might happen 'some day'?"
"You have always tried to be farsighted when it comes to the equipment that you have had developed. The remote-controlled elevator cars are a fine example of that farsightedness. They have not been used much, but they were there when Fireflash needed them."
"You are right, my old friend. Maybe I need to be more proactive in my approach." Jeff looked at the designs again. He chuckled. "The boys would love these. Especially Virgil."
He stretched. "I'll go over these again and then talk to Brains. See what he thinks of them." He smiled at Kyrano. "Thank you, my friend, for putting things in perspective for me."
"You are welcome, Mr. Tracy." Kyrano bowed and left the room.