The ramblings of a Nut who should be doing something else – Adelaide, South Australia

Four

Title: Four
Part Two of Il Mago
Sequel to Sotto Voce
Author: Gumnut
16-17 Sep 2018
Fandom: Thunderbirds Are Go 2015/ Thunderbirds TOS
Rating: Teen
Summary: “How can we trust him, if we don’t even know he is Virgil?”
Word count: 2665
Spoilers & warnings: Spoilers for Season 2 and Sotto Voce. Discussion of suicide.
Author’s note: This one was emotional to write. It opens more threads rather than closing any, but it is necessary for the plot. I hope you enjoy it. Please don’t kill me 😀 Poor, poor Virgil, I’m so mean.
Disclaimer: Mine? You’ve got to be kidding. Money? Don’t have any, don’t bother.

-o-o-o-

Scott leapt across the
room and grabbed Alan’s arm before he could leave. “No, you do not get to say
something like that, and simply walk out. Get your ass back in here.” Alan
glared at him. “What the hell gives you the idea that Virgil would do any of
that?”

“He’s done it before. He
did it to you. He did it to me. We both could have died.”

“It wasn’t him, Alan. It
was the Hood.”

“Yes, tapped into that
thing in his head. How can we trust him when anything can tap into it?”

Eos’ flared up over the
speakers, her ire melting the air. “He is protected. I have written multiple
shield programs, no-one is getting to Virgil. Not while I’m alive.”

“You? You who tried to
kill John? What has you suddenly so invested in Virgil’s safety? What is he to
you?”

“Alan!” And suddenly John
was there, the fury on his face so uncharacteristic that when combined with his
new appearance, Scott had to concentrate to see his brother beneath his anger.
“We’ve discussed this!”

“No, you decided. I didn’t
like it when you gave her full run of Thunderbird Five. Now apparently she has
full run of Virgil and consequently us.” Alan stood his ground. “I may be the
youngest, but I know a major security breach when I see one.”

Scott grit his teeth. “So
what is your solution, Alan? Please tell me in all your great wisdom, exactly
how you would solve this problem?”

Blue eyes met blue eyes,
Scott making it clear that he knew all of what Alan was saying, but had yet to
find a viable solution.

Alan looked away and down.
“I can’t trust him.”

“Well, little bro, I don’t
think that will be a problem for you anymore.” Gordon’s sarcasm dripped bile, a
hand gesturing to where Virgil had been sitting, his sketchbook abandoned, the
artist long gone.

-o-o-o-

Virgil fled, his thoughts
a jumbled mess of guilt, betrayal and hurt. He had known Alan was having
trouble working with his condition, but he had never thought…

He stopped and leant
against the wall and closed his eyes.

He has no idea what he is talking about.
Eos was so angry, she was vibrating his brain.

Eos, please.

Sorry, but what right does he have to say that?

He has every right. Because he is right.

You are not a vulnerability!

Yes, I am! I haven’t worked this all out yet. I’m still a mess,
Eos, and a danger to my brothers.

No!

Yes! I appreciate all you have done to help me, but that does not
cover the fact that I am a security risk. The Hood had a secondary. We know
that. We haven’t even managed to identify who yet, and he could do something at
any time. And I have no clue what to do!

I will protect you!

I will not endanger you! I am not your responsibility! If
anything, I should be looking after you.

Why? Why, Virgil? Why can’t you accept my help?

Quietly. I’ve hurt too many people already. He
reached into his pocket and fumbled with the isolator, the signal processor
that would separate him from both the z-band network and Eos.

No! No, Virgil, please don’t disconnect. Please!

It’s for the best, Eos.

No! No, I need you. Please, Uncle.

He flipped the switch and
his mind fell quiet. So quiet.

A ragged drawn in breath
and he left the villa.

-o-o-o-

“He’s disconnected me!”
Eos’ wail bounced around the comms room and stabbed Scott in the heart.

“John, find him!”

John didn’t reply, his
feet hitting the floor hard as he leapt over the lounge towards their father’s
desk, his hands immediately pulling up a map of the villa and the island.
“Where was he last, Eos?”

“Outside his studio on the
upper level.”

“Did he say anything to
you?”

“He said he had hurt too
many people already.” If an AI could cry, this was it. “Please, Father, find
him.”

God.

“Gordon, you take the
lower levels. I’ll take the upper. John, keep us updated if you are able to
detect anything. Alan, you can damn well stay here and think of what exactly
you’ve done.” Alan was satisfyingly pale.

Scott hit the staircases
at a run.

The necessary nature of
the isolator was that is essentially was a cloaking device. The only way Brains
had been able to disconnect Eos from Virgil was to cloak all outgoing and
incoming – access to the z-band network, life signs, everything. His brother
completely disappeared from scans when that damned device was activated. He
hated it. In an organisation that was used to knowing exactly where each of its
operatives were currently located…each of his brothers…to lose one beyond
even lifesign detection was alarming. Scott hated that little gadget. But it was
necessary. It was the last-ditch effort to protect his brother. The only
solution they had found to the list of problems Alan had so kindly emphasised.
And it was not a perfect solution.

Over the last few months,
Virgil had gotten used to Eos being in his head, and Eos seemed to almost need
Virgil to ground her now. The rest of the family wasn’t as comfortable, but
Scott had thought they were coping as best they could.

Apparently Alan was the
exception. Who chose to blurt it over all and sundry regardless of the
consequences.

Door after door and no
Virgil.

He hit his comms.
“Anything, John?”

“Nothing. Brains is too
damned good.”

“Keep at it.”

Virgil was not in the
upper levels of the villa. Where would he go? Where would he go?

Through the window he
caught sight of the round house far above the villa. He stared at it for a
moment. Virgil sometimes went up there to paint the view, but he had no special
attraction to it that he knew of.

But something…

He slammed open the door
and hit the path at a run.

Halfway up the hundreds of
steps to the summit, John’s alarmed voice barked over his comms. “Thunderbird
Three’s launch hatch has been opened.”

“Close it!”

“I can’t! It is on
manual!”

Scott ran faster.

-o-o-o-

Virgil stood on the inner
ring of the round house staring down at his brother’s Thunderbird, oh, so far
below.

It was so quiet up here.
So peaceful. So opposite of how he felt.

He took reassurance from
the presence of the red Thunderbird. It hadn’t exploded. He had managed enough
control to save his brothers from himself. Brains had gone through all the
systems and found all the damage he had done.

Or had he?

Was Alan right? Could he
have sabotaged Scott’s chute?

Could he purposefully hurt
his brother?

Everything screamed no!
Scott meant more to him than his own life. He’d rather throw himself off this
balcony than hurt any of his brothers, but particularly Scott. His brother had
been his one constant his entire life. Always there.

Always there.

He closed his eyes and
hung his head. But apparently his strength wasn’t enough because he had still
managed to sabotage Thunderbird One. She came so close to taking everything.

Not strong enough.

A security risk.

Maybe he should turn the
isolator on permanently.

That would mean giving up
his role in International Rescue and moving away. He could not pilot with the
isolator on. It interfered with the z-band network. The z-band network ran
everything around here. That was its role. He was walking interference with it
turned on.

And Eos.

He had grown used to the
AI sitting just beyond his consciousness. She was a resource and company.

It was quiet without her.

Too quiet.

A sigh.

What the hell was he going
to do?

A hand wrapped around his
arm and held him securely.

Instinctively he flinched
away, only to realise it was his older brother holding onto his arm. “Scott?”

Scott was staring at him
as if attempting to peer into his soul.

Virgil frowned. “You
okay?”

His brother opened his
mouth to say something, but nothing came out. Instead, Virgil found himself
drawn into a tight embrace, Scott’s arms drawing him in tight, his breath harsh
against his ear.

“What’s wrong?”

“Oh, god, Virgil, you
scared me.”

Virgil frowned, but with
his brother hugging him even tighter, the dots connected. The height, his state
of mind, what Alan had said. And admittedly, that avenue had crossed his mind,
however briefly.

It would be the easy way
out.

It would save so much
effort.

And his brothers would be
safe.

“Don’t you ever, ever do
that to me. I could never forgive you.”

Virgil didn’t answer, just
tightened his grip on his brother.

Scott slowly stepped back,
his hands falling to grip Virgil’s arms, his eyes searching. “Tell me what you
are thinking.”

“What I’m thinking?” A
slight smile despite everything. “I was thinking how quiet it is up here. Just
the wind and the birds.” He looked up at the blue sky. “I needed quiet.”

“Why did you open TB3’s
hatch?” Those eyes were drilling into him.

Virgil shrugged. “I needed
to see her. Alan was right. I tried to destroy her. Part of me just needed…I
just needed to see her.”

Scott peered over the balustrade.
The drop was massive, Virgil knew, certainly enough to do what Scott was
thinking.

“I wasn’t going to jump,
Scott.”

Those eyes snapped back, a
worried frown accompanying them. “Promise me you never will.” It was both
commanding and somehow pleading. Scott’s hand tightened their grip on his arms.

“Scott-“

“No, Virgil. You promise
me.”

It was Virgil’s turn to
grip his brother’s arms. “I would never throw my life away for nothing. But if
it is ever mine versus yours or our family, you know my price.”

“Is that what happened in
the hydrofoil?” Electric blue.

“What?”

“You crashed the hydrofoil
on purpose.”

“I did?” He thought back.
Those early days were blurry. He hadn’t realised what was happening to him. Or
had he? He visualised the cabin of the hydrofoil. Was there a moment? Nothing
was clear. “It certainly would have solved a lot of problems.”

Scott shook him. “Don’t say
that! You are not a problem!”

A calm he probably shouldn’t
be feeling settled on Virgil. “Alan disagrees.”

“Alan thinks of Alan. He’s
still a kid and occasionally a stupid one at that. Do you honestly think your
little brother wants you dead?”

Virgil didn’t answer, his
throat tight, his eyes suddenly moist.

“Oh god, Virg.” And he was
being hugged again.

Voice rough. “It just
seems that it would have been easier for everyone if I had died in that crash.”
A ragged breath. “I’ve hurt you all so much.”

“Not as much as you would
have if you had died.” There was fire in Scott’s voice. “We are your family.
You are worth every moment, every sacrifice.” Scott paused. “Unless you don’t
think you would do the same for any one of us.”

Virgil sucked in a breath
and it caught in his throat. He squeezed his eyes shut and let his head drop to
Scott’s shoulder. “God, no. It can never happen to any of you. Ever.” A
whisper. “Please no.”

And suddenly his legs
could no longer hold him and he was crumpling. Scott gasped, struggling under
his sudden weight. “Virgil?!”

Consciousness slipped
away.

-o-o-o-

Virgil.

Viiiirgil.

Uncle.

I know you are there. Please answer me.

Wha-?

Virgil Grissom Tracy!!

His eyes shot open and he
gasped. “What the hell?!” Blue sky. Lots of it. And three pairs of worried
eyes. Cobalt blue. Carnelian brown. Sea green.

“Virgil? You with us?”
John.

“Yeah. What happened?”

“It appears you fainted.”

“I fainted?”

“Uh huh.” Gordon.

Great.

He struggled to sit up and
found several hands holding him down. Something soft was under his head. “I’m
okay.”

Scott grunted. “I’m not
going to even acknowledge that stupid statement.” His brother was in his
undershirt, that explained what was under Virgil’s head.

“How long was I out.”

“Long enough.” Scott held
out his hand, the isolator in his palm. Virgil reached up and took it,
fingering its surface. “I wouldn’t turn that on if I were you. Eos was the only
one who could wake you.”

Eos.

Virgil.

His name said so much.
Frustration. Anger. Fear.

Are you okay?

She didn’t answer him.

Instead she directed the
video feed she had recorded from the balcony cameras. He saw himself collapse,
Scott staggering under his sudden weight. His brother’s yell into his comms as
he settled him to the ground and checked his vitals. Overlaid over the video
was Eos’ emotional response.

Virgil gasped at her
terror. He saw John and then Gordon run into the scene, both brothers’
paramedic response exemplary, but he could see their expressions, he could see
the fear. Scott was yelling his name. Eos’ fear burned.

Stop! “Stop! God, stop!” He blindly
flung out a hand and someone caught it. “Eos, stop!”

“Eos!” John’s voice was
sharp and the images disappeared.

Virgil was panting. “Sorry.
I’m sorry.”

“Eos, what the hell did
you do?” Scott’s voice cut the air.

No answer.

“Eos!” John’s voice was
even sharper than Scott’s. “What did you do to Virgil?”

Attempting to catch his
breath, Virgil struggled to sit up, this time pushing away their protesting
hands. Elbows on his knees, he ran his fingers through his hair. “It’s fine. She
was just scared.”

“Yes, we knew that. What
did she do to you?”

“Shared her feelings.”

John stared at him.

“It’s okay.”

“Didn’t look like it.”

“She has a bit of a temper.”

“Tell me something I don’t
know.”

Virgil caught John’s eyes,
holding them with his own, ignoring their green. “She feels very deeply.”

“And that affects you how?”

“It can be a little…overwhelming
at times.”

John’s lips thinned. He could
practically hear Scott’s blood pressure.

“We’re working on it.”

Any further discussion was
cut off by three comms going off at once.

Alan, a little hesitant. “Uh,
guys. We have a situation.”

-o-o-o-

A mine collapse in Guatemala.
Thunderbirds One and Two along with the Mole Pod – Alan and Gordon were already
on their way. Virgil was planted on the lounge with a firm look from Scott that
clearly said ‘take it easy and we will finish that discussion when I get back’.
John received another look that said, ‘look after him’ before Scott was running
the long way around to TB1’s dock.

It was reassuring to hear
the pool retract and the roar of the rocket plane launching skywards. “Thunderbird
One is go.”

Virgil grabbed the hologram
remote and pulled up TB2’s launchpad. His beautiful bird was rumbling along her
runway. He felt a pang of loss. He hadn’t flown her in months.

She slowed to a stop on
her launch pad and it rose, angling her into her optimal thrust position. He
could almost feel her thrum beneath her fingers. Those adrenalin inducing
moments before he engaged the main thrusters.

The thrust plate opened, ready
to optimise her push against gravity.

He held his breath. Five.

Four.

Three.

Two.

One.

And she fired.

But only one of her
thrusters ignited. The port side excited to full thrust, her starboard rocket flamed
once and died.

“No!”

Physics took over. Thunderbird
Two struggled at half thrust, her immense weight not gaining enough speed to
get airborne. Her unequal push spun her off centre and kept her going just
enough for her to slide inelegantly off the end of the platform sideways.

She came down hard and at
an angle, her one thruster still pushing, friction sparks flying as she spun
off the runway into the palm trees.

There was a god-awful
crunch as reinforced cahelium met volcanic rock, and her single thruster
finally died.

Thunderbird Two settled
against the cliff, half hidden in a haze of exhaust and burning palm tree.

-o-o-o-

End Part Two

Part Three

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