Move and You’re Dead: Cooling Off

Virgil had just moved the Jet Air Transporter off of the San Miguel bridge when it went up in a violent explosion. Pieces of the bridge rained down around him, but he focused on his goal: getting his equipment, and more importantly, his charges, back to Thunderbird Two. He kept his eyes on the pod’s entrance and pushed the throttle open as far as it would go.

Brains waited in the doorway to the pod, his part in the drama still ongoing as he switched from his role as engineer to his lesser-used role as medic. He was concerned about Alan’s physical state. The younger man was draped over one of the Transporter’s hand holds, looking as if he had finally succumbed to the heat of the San Miguel sun. He couldn’t see Mrs. Tracy at all, though he had seen her actually jump, not fall, into the strong jets of air that were the Transporter’s only output. He deduced that she was sitting on the air jet generators behind Virgil.

This proved to be the case as Virgil drove the Transporter into the cool darkness of the pod. He brought the vehicle to a stop on the spot where it would be locked down for the flight home and Brains hurried over.

“L-Let me assist you, Mrs. Tracy,” he offered, reaching up to help Grandma down from the generators. Virgil was already pulling an unconscious Alan into a fireman’s carry for transport up to the infirmary area of Thunderbird Two.

“Why, thank you, young man. You must be the one they call Brains,” Grandma Tracy said, her voice weak but cordial as she slid off the back of the machine and into Brains’s grasp.

“Y-Yes, Mrs. Tracy. I’m p-pleased to make your, uh, acquaintance,” Brains said politely, as he slipped a supporting arm around the old lady. “Let me, uh, guide you to the infirmary where you can c-cool off.”

“Normally, I wouldn’t need the help, but, land’s sakes! It was hot up there! I feel positively wilted,” she exclaimed, leaning on Brains for support as they made their way over to the lift. Virgil had used the remote controls to close the door to the pod, and to lower the body of Thunderbird Two back over the cargo area. He carried Alan to the lift, and preceded Brains and his grandmother up to the command level. Brains recalled the tiny elevator and he and Mrs. Tracy followed Virgil up.

Virgil laid his brother down on one of the infirmary beds and began to loosen Alan’s clothing, removing the striped jacket and the white pullover. He grabbed an ear thermometer and took his brother’s temperature.

“Brains, he’s too hot! He’s suffering from sun stroke!” Virgil cried, his handsome face showing nothing but deep concern for his brother’s condition.

“W-We’ll soon fix that,” Brains assured him as he helped Grandma Tracy to sit on another bed. “You let me deal with, uh, Alan. I th-think your grandmother n-needs your, uh, attention.”

Virgil’s face cleared a bit as he went to his grandmother. He crouched before her and took both of her hands in his. “How are you feeling, Grandma? What can I do for you?”

“I’m feeling much better here inside this cool place, Virgil. But you might help me off with my coat, and take my hat for me. And I could really use a drink of cool water.”

Virgil smiled and complied with his grandmother’s wishes, taking her coat and hat and hanging the coat up where the special-use suits were kept. Then he got her one drink of water, then another as she asked for it.

Meanwhile, Brains was busy sponging Alan down with cool water, hoping that between the air conditioning and the sponge bath, his internal temperature would come down. It took some time, but finally, Alan stirred.

“Wh-Where am I?” he asked, whispering, momentarily confused. His eyes focused on the engineer. “Brains.” He looked around and recognized his surroundings. “I’m in Thunderbird Two. In the sickbay.” He relaxed and sighed, throwing an arm up onto his forehead. “It’s so good to get out of that sun!”

“I-I’m sure it is, Alan. Your body has c-cooled off at last. You might w- want to, uh, put your shirt back on,” Brains suggested. Alan sat up gingerly, scrubbed his face with both hands, and took the shirt that Brains held out to him.

“Thanks, Brains. How’s Grandma?” he asked, his voice stronger and full of concern.

“I’m over here and feeling much better, Alan,” Grandma’s voice came from elsewhere in the room. “In fact, I do believe that Virgil turned up the air conditioning a bit. I’m getting chilled. Brains, would you be so kind as to fetch my coat? And my hat? I’m sure Jeff will want to hear from us and I want to be properly dressed.”

Brains smiled and retrieved the old woman’s coat and hat. She left her bag on the bed, and Brains escorted her out to Thunderbird Two’s cockpit, Alan tagging along behind.

“Oh my! This is just so impressive!” Grandma exclaimed as she looked around. “It’s so big! And it looks so… complicated!” She looked over at the grandson who sat in the pilot’s chair. “Do you really fly this all by yourself, Virgil?”

“Well, he pretends to, Grandma,” quipped Alan. “But Brains made things easy for him. So easy that even Gordon can fly this bird! Not at all like my Thunderbird.”

“Ha, ha, very funny, Alan. I’ll remember that crack,” Virgil said with a scowl. Then his face softened. “I was just about to call in to base and let them know you are okay. Come over here, Grandma, and stand by me. I’m sure Dad will want to see you for himself.”

Grandma moved over to his left, and Alan stood at Virgil’s right, while Brains stood behind Alan. Virgil toggled his radio switch and picked up his microphone.

“Base from Thunderbird Two. Leaving danger zone. Mission successfully completed.”

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