Allies and Weapons

Dr. Barnes' face was pale by the time I finished my narrative. I knew of her engagement to the engineer, Brains, and her special friendship with the brothers, John and Gordon. She even called my Tin-Tin her "little sister". So this news was not good news to her.

"What do you need me to do, Kyrano?" she asked.

"I am sure that if this is the Hood, that he would destroy the telecomm watches to prevent discovery by anyone who would rescue the Tracys. But in case he did not, or he overlooked one, is it possible for you to track them by accessing Thunderbird 5's homing scanners?"

She turned and her fingers began to fly over the keyboard of her new microcomp.

"You're right. He would destroy the telecomm watches. But that's not a problem. Each of the Thunderbirds that have been refitted with microcomps has a homing circuit in the CPU. My old microcomp has one as well. I can bounce the tracking signal off of Thunderbird 5 and have it come back here," she explained while typing. She turned to me again.

"This will take a few minutes. Tell me what else I can do."

I gave her query some thought. "If I am to rescue them, I am at a disadvantage. Belah will know that I will not harm the Tracys or Brains or my beloved Tin-Tin. So I cannot carry a gun or shoot to kill. What do you suggest I use for weaponry? Because I cannot go up against Belah unarmed."

She held up a finger, and turned back to the screen of her microcomputer. "I have a fix on three microcomp signatures. Thunderbirds 2, 4, and the lab's computer. The coordinates are longitude 102 degrees and latitude 5 degrees. That puts it in Malaysia, just north of the town of Ipoh."

I nodded my head. "That was my home when I was a boy." The plantation that would have rightfully passed to me had Belah not corrupted my father's heart. It was a sad memory.

"Now, as to weapons," Dr. Barnes returned to my previous subject. "You'll need a stun gun for sure, and a hypospray with some ampules of sedative will be helpful."

"Yes. I will take those. But I was thinking about your little grenades."

"Of course! Salt and Pepper. Just the thing. You will find some in the locked drawer of the desk where the microcomp usually sits. I also tucked a couple of new items in there before I left the Island."

I unlocked the drawer she specified, pulling the entire contents out and setting them before the viewscreen of the direct link. Dr. Barnes looked at what I had brought and gave me a serious look.

"Now, you know how to use Salt and Pepper. Just throw them where they will do the most damage and they will do the rest. Salt is the magnesium flare and Pepper is the hot pepper spray. Don't take the ones with the red dots on them; those are the prototypes and are not loaded. You'll also find a bottle of eye drops. Three drops in each eye before using a Pepper bomb will make your eyes immune to the spray. The effect lasts for about four hours so use them if you even think you might use one of the black grenades."

I picked up a long, narrow, white tube, about twelve inches long. "What is this?"

"I call that my "buck-and-a-quarter staff"," she said, suddenly grinning at me. "Press the button in the center once." I did so and was amazed to see the tube extend its length to five times what it once was. "That's made of one of Brains's wonder metals. It won't break on you and you can use it for defense or a walking stick or whatever. Press the button again." Once again I pressed the small button and this time, a sharp point emerged from each end of the staff. "Makes the thing a little more dangerous," she added. "Press it again." I pressed the button for a third time, and the stick returned to its orginal size.

I held up the last large item. It was no bigger than my outspread hand, round and almost flat, bulging in the center like a discus and painted bright red. There were two rubber spots on it, one on each side near the edge, and what looked like a compartment for a battery.

"What do you call this?" I asked.

"A thinkfast. You throw it at someone's face, and they reflexively catch it with two hands or two fingers and are jolted with enough electricity to knock them out. Be careful that you don't touch it anywhere but at the rubber spots, or else you'll be the one jolted. You'll find the activation button under the rubber spots, just press on it once to activate, then again to deactivate. Make sure you deactivate it when you change the battery. Changing the power cell doesn't take long. Just open the battery door, dump the spent one out, and pop a fresh one in. There should be a small bag of batteries there. Each use drains one, so you'll need all you have." She grinned again, this time slyly. "This is an example of using your opponent's weight against him. The batteries that power this are the same type that the Hood used to power his remote control homing device." I smiled. I could appreciate the irony of using Belah's own device against him.

"Has this been tested on humans yet?" My concern suddenly bubbled up. I did not want to harm any of the Tracys with the device.

"Yes, it has. It's safe to use."

"How do you know?"

She looked at me rather sheepishly. "Well, it didn't kill me. Just knocked me for a loop. I was out for about a half hour."

"You tested this on yourself?" I asked incredulously.

"Quite by accident, I assure you. I wouldn't use it on Jeff though. His heart might not take it."

I nodded. Her face became sober.

"What else can I do? I'd come out myself, but by the time I got there it might be too late. Maybe I should get Penny to fly Dr. Longfeld to HQ in case of any injuries? She and Parker would be good as back-up."

"That would be a good idea. Please do that for me." I prepared to say farewell to the scientist.

"If you need to access any of the microcomps, use my code. RTBalpha9." She spoke softly now. "Bring them back, Kyrano. And yourself, too. Be careful. We both know who you are up against." Her face showed clearly her anxiety for the Tracy household, myself included.

"I will do my best, Dr. Barnes. Goodbye." I rang off.

I was not a soldier, but I was about to become one. I knew where I was going. I had my weapons at hand. And I had allies, far away to be sure, but allies none the less. Now I was ready to fight.