The bright lights before us never looked so good. I swam, Joe following sluggishly behind me in the frigid water. Time was of the essence; our air had almost run out.
I held on tight to a half-conscious Joe as we were buffeted from side to side, sliding about in the small compartment. Even though we were getting bruised and battered, I spared a thought for the International Rescue man who was piloting the craft. The only glimpse I had through the wide viewport was of a blue uniform, an orange sash, and coppery hair. I could only hope that he was in better shape than we were.
Eventually, the sea calmed and so did the ship. I could feel a slight thump beneath me as the vessel landed somewhere, miraculously right side up. The airlock had finished emptying during our wild ride, and now the door before me opened. The copper-haired man stepped in.
“Are you two all right?” he asked, his tenor voice full of concern.
In the background I could hear someone shouting for “Thunderbird Four” and “Gordon”, a strident and worried tone coming across. Our rescuer helped me move Joe into the cramped cabin, and found warm blankets for both of us to wrap around ourselves. Then he moved to the command chair.
“Thunderbird Four to Thunderbird One. We were caught by the compression surge created by the second building falling. Thunderbird Four has sustained minimal damage and my passengers are a little worse for wear. I’m heading out of the passage now.”
“FAB, Thunderbird Four,” came a relieved and familiar voice – the voice of the man at the oil field. “See you at the surface.”
I could feel the little submarine lift and turn about, could see the brightly illuminated and rocky walls of the underground river through the viewport as we moved swiftly along. My eyelids grew heavy and I jerked awake when our pilot turned to us with a cocky grin.
“That was some ride back there, wasn’t it?” he asked cheekily.
“Yeah. Just like something at old Coney Island,” I replied sleepily. Joe was already out, his head leaning on my shoulder.
The young man didn’t answer, he just nodded and grinned, and then got back to piloting the craft. I nodded, too. I was just happy to be alive. Slowly, my eyelids slid shut, and I knew no more of the craft and the man of Thunderbird Four.