Three

Title: Three
Part Three of Il Mago
Sequel to Sotto Voce
Author: Gumnut
18 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: 3267
Spoilers & warnings: Spoilers for Season 2 and Sotto Voce
Author’s note: Wow, the whole part in one day…well, two minutes shy of midnight 😀 Many, many thanks for all those who have commented and liked, you are wonderful. I hope the fic lives up to your expectations. Things happen in this part 😀 I hope enjoy them 😀
Disclaimer: Mine? You’ve got to be kidding. Money? Don’t have any, don’t bother.

“Thunderbird One, return
to base immediately.”

“John, what?”

“Scott, Thunderbird Two is
down.” John’s voice was uncharacteristically tense. “We need you here. I’ve
alerted the Guatemalan authorities. Please return to Tracy Island immediately.”

His brother sent a
recording, and as Scott spun his ‘bird around, his stomach knotted up.

Gordon and Alan.

He hit his boosters and
tore across the Pacific.

It took minutes, seemed
like years, and he was on approach. He skipped the pool and took her into land
beside her wounded sister.

His brother’s ‘bird was
jammed up against the mountain cliff, smoke streaming off her thrusters, brush
fire out of control all around her. A pod was clambering over downed palm trees
spraying fire retardant foam, he assumed it was Virgil, his brother clearing a
path to his ship.

As soon as TB1 was down,
he grabbed his own stock of firefighting equipment and hit the tarmac running.

“Anything from Gordon and
Alan?”

John. “Nothing. But I’m
getting no ping from Thunderbird Two’s comm system, so it is likely down. I’ve
tried a direct link to their comms via TB5, but still no response.”

“Any idea what happened?”

Virgil, breathing heavily.
“Other than a thruster misfire, I’ve no idea. Eos and I cleaned out both
thrusters just yesterday. They were performing perfectly this afternoon. Eos
ran an inflight performance check over the Indian Ocean. There were no
indications of any issues.” A grunt and the pod hatch opened. “I’m going in
through her top hatch.” Virgil, dressed in his grey fire suit clambered out of
the pod, and shot a grappling line, hooking it in TB2’s tail plane. With a leap
he flung himself onto her starboard jet engine, pulling himself onto her flank.

Scott sprayed a dampening
line along the track his brother had already made, and secured the pod. “John,
can you get some water bots out here to take care of the rest of this
brushfire. I’ll take care of TB2.”

“FAB.”

Scott sprayed foam
liberally down the length of TB2, killing off the fire licking the crippled
ship.

Another grunt over the
comms and Virgil was standing on top of his ‘bird. Scott could just see his
head.

“Alan!”

Virgil’s surprised and
relieved shout had Scott climbing the pod to get a better view. Sure enough,
there was his youngest brother…lugging an unconscious Gordon from the open
hatchway.

Virgil reached down to
help.

Alan flung out an arm and
shoved. “Get away from him!”

The engineer stumbled in
shock, and Scott was moving. His own grapple line wrapped around TB2’s tail
plane and he was climbing.

“Don’t you think you’ve
done enough?!”

There was no answer from
Virgil.

Scott threw himself onto
TB2’s roof. Alan was crouched over Gordon checking his vitals. Virgil stood motionless
a few steps away.

Damn you, Alan.

“Virgil, secure
Thunderbird Two.”

A whispered FAB and Virgil
turned and climbed into the hatchway. The machinery hesitated a moment before
lowering her pilot into the dark.

Scott grit his teeth and turned
to Alan.

“Report.”

“Gordon hit his head when
we fell. He was strapped in, but we hit the ground pretty hard. I think it was
an impact with his headrest.” Alan drew in a breath and started coughing.
“H-had to get him out.” Smoke was still drifting from the cockpit hatch.

Scott activated TB1’s
remote and across the runway, his ‘bird fired up. “We’ll evac to the villa.”
TB1’s VTOL fired, her landing gear retracted, and she moved to a hover above
them. Scott deployed her external ladder, taking a moment to jump on board and
grab a hover stretcher for his unconscious brother. Together, he and Alan moved
Gordon to the stretcher and dragged him aboard Thunderbird One.

“Status, Virgil?”

“She’s not good. I’m
reading a fluctuation in the starboard thruster. There is a lot of unburned
fuel pooled in her intake. I’m going to have to evacuate it manually. She’s a
fire hazard.”

“I’ll send Brains and John
out here to help. Need to evac Gordon and Alan to the infirmary. You safe for
the moment?”

“I’m good.”

“Keep me updated.”

“FAB.”

Retracting her ladder,
Scott pushed TB1 into the sky and back to the villa.

-o-o-o-

There was no comforting
evening meal that night. No gathering in the lounge. Virgil spent a good part
of the night securing his ‘bird so she wouldn’t spontaneously combust. Both
Brains and John wrapped themselves in fire wear and joined him, the runway lit
by portable lighting as the sun finally dropped below the horizon.

Scott stayed with Gordon
until he woke up. He was subdued and in pain with a throbbing headache, but
only had a minor concussion. Both Gordon and Alan were suffering from some
smoke inhalation, something which also aggravated Gordon’s headache to give him
a little extra misery.

John and Scott dragged
Virgil back to the villa at about two in the morning, his protests loud and
numerous.

“She’s stable, Virgil.
You’ve drained the fuel; the fires are out. She will be fine until morning.”
John’s voice was calm and factual.

“But-“

“C’mon, Virg, it has been
a shitty day. I’m sick of it. Let’s put an end to it.” Scott was damned tired
as well. He still had a hand on his reluctant brother’s arm, and he dragged him
to the comms room and pushed him towards the lounge. John followed and made a
beeline for Dad’s desk.

Scott sighed and
backtracked to the kitchen. He grabbed some leftover pizza and threw it in the
microwave. Ten minutes later he returned to the lounge and dumped a plate of
supreme in front of both Virgil and John. “Eat. Bodies need fuel to function.”

He dumped himself on to
the lounge beside Virgil and ate his dinner.

Fifteen minutes later,
Scott’s pizza was gone, Virgil had eaten two mouthfuls and John hadn’t even
realised the food was there.

John was muttering to
himself.

Virgil was staring into
space.

Scott ran a hand over his
face. “Is she okay?”

Virgil didn’t respond.

“Virgil?” Scott nudged
him.

“Huh? What?”

“She okay?”

“Eos?” Scott nodded.
“Still pissed at me, but the current situation overrides that. She’s running
diagnostics on Thunderbird Two.”

“Anything?”

“Not a thing. She’s on her
fifth cycle. Nothing. That thruster should have fired.”

Scott looked over his
shoulder. “You have anything, John?”

His brother’s response was
a negative grunt.

He turned back to Virgil
and found him staring into space again.

Scott rolled his eyes.
“Well, I’m calling it a night.”

Neither responded.

Scott sighed and headed
off to check on his youngest two brothers before a shower and bed.

-o-o-o-

“Found it!”

Virgil started out of a
deep sleep. His face was mashed into something padded but hard and his neck was
jammed at an awkward angle. Drool was sticky on one side of his face. Ugh

“Virgil. I found it. It’s
smart, but not smart enough.” John? Huh?

We’ve found traces of an electronic intruder.

What?

Virgil, boot up. We found it.

Found what?

Oh, you are so painful first thing in the morning. Get yourself
some coffee and then maybe we can have a constructive conversation.

Huh?

She prodded him and he
shot up on the lounge. “Augh, god. Eos.” His head spun, his neck, back and
pretty much everything complaining about sleeping slumped over on the couch. He
let his head drop back over the top of the lounge and stretched his shoulders.
He raised his arm to check the time. “Six am?!” What the hell? He’d be lucky if
he had had three hours sleep.

He tipped sideways again
and tried to get comfortable on the too small couch.

Virgil!

Go-way.

Virgil, get up.

No.

There was silence for a
moment, then his mind was suddenly filled with Beethoven’s fifth symphony – the
disco version.

Wha-? Augh! He ground his hands into his eye
sockets. Anger flared. “Turn it off! Now!”

Wake up!

No!

Yes!

“No! I’m sleeping!”

“No, you’re not.”

“I am.”

“You’re not.”

“Am.”

“Not.”

“Go-way.”

“Can’t”

“Don’t wanna.”

“Haveta.”

“Tired.”

“Sleep later, party now.”

“Don wanna party.”

“There will be cake…”

“Cake?”

“With cream.”

“Cream.”

“Chocolate and
strawberries.”

“Sounds nice.”

“Yes, it does. Want some?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Then get out of bed.”

“Okay.” He pushed himself
vertical and it wasn’t until he opened his eyes to see a frankly stunned Scott
Tracy paused mid-step halfway into the sunken lounge that his sleep fogged
brain caught up.

“Wow, Eos, you’re a
master. I gotta try that one next time.”

“Oh, god.” He fell over
sideways again.

Beethoven upped his
sub-woofer.

“Okay, okay, okay.” He
struggled into a seated position again. “Turn that damn noise off.” Elbows on
his knees he dropped his head into his hands. “This time of day should not
exist.”

“It’s that whole physics
thing.”

“Shut up and give me
coffee.”

A deliciously warm mug was
pushed into his hands and he inhaled its wonderful aroma before letting its
scalding hot, life-giving energy infuse his system. Ohhhh, so good.

You alive yet?

Shut up.

I’m choosing to not take that personally.

Good. I don’t have the energy for personally yet.

You are ridiculous.

On occasion.

“So why am I awake at this
god-awful time of day?”

Scott was sitting next to
him on the couch. “John has found traces of someone in our system.”

Virgil looked over at his
brother, still sitting at Dad’s desk. “Did he go to bed last night?”

“Did you?”

“Point made.”

You really do suffer from extended dopey.

He ignored her. “So what
do we know?”

John spoke up. “Not much,
but I do know that there was an intruder in our system at 1.12pm yesterday and
again at 5.33pm last night.”

“Scott’s elevator and
Thunderbird Two.”

“Yes.” He stood up. “Only
the barest traces were present – I missed them on the first three scans.
Whoever it is, they are very good at what they do.” John sighed. “I need to
return to Thunderbird Five, both to cast a better net and to set up further
defences. Eos is working on countermeasures in the meantime.” Walking past
Scott, John stole his coffee, downed it in one long gulp, handed it back, and
headed off to his space elevator.

Scott stared down at his
mug in resignation.

“So Alan was right.
Security has been compromised.” He didn’t want to think about what that meant
for him. Perhaps it had been him after all.

No-one will get to you, I promise.

Eos.

No-one.

He sighed. “God, this
sucks.”

“Virgil.”

“I’ve got a Thunderbird to
repair.” He put his mug on the table and left for the hangers.

-o-o-o-

Scott stared after him for
a while, his thoughts whirling around inside his head. He was sick to death of
feeling so powerless. There was very little he could do to help Virgil other
than be there for him. So frustrating. His fists clenched.

Of course, that was the
moment Alan chose to walk into the room.

Well, that was one thing
he could set straight.

“We need to talk.”

There was immediately
steel in his brother’s blue eyes, but he nodded once and sat down on the lounge
furthest from Scott. He looked at the floor, his lips pressed firmly together.

“How are you feeling?”

Alan looked up as if
surprised. “Okay.” His throat was obviously still a little dry as his voice had
just a touch of hoarse.

“Good.” He swallowed. “I
want to make something perfectly clear. I am well aware of the security risks,
the multiple security risks, Virgil currently presents to International Rescue
and our family. If you think John and Brains weren’t able to identify these
issues as soon as the nature of the device in Virgil’s head presented itself, I
need to question your belief in all of us, not just Virgil.” He drew in a
breath. “We have been unable to find an immediate solution to the multiple
issues other than the use of the isolator, which would see an end to Virgil’s
participation in IR. Nor do we know the effects of its extended use. Our first
priority has been Virgil’s health, mental and physical.”

Alan appeared to find the
floor very interesting.

“So your concerns have
been noted. As a solution has yet to present itself and you haven’t lifted a
finger to help on any front. Yes, I know you have been avoiding him. Great one,
Alan. A member of our family takes a life-threatening hit and you ignore him
why he is down. Worse, without thought you then proceed to kick him.” Scott
glared. “Yesterday, Alan, yesterday I truly thought you were that last straw. I
thought he had climbed to the round house to solve all our problems by removing
himself from the equation. Virgil is not an idiot, he can do the math as well,
if not better than you, and nothing, NOTHING, is more important to your brother
than the safety and care of this family. Including his own life. Think about
it, Alan.”

“If you feel the need to
accuse your brother in the future, I would appreciate it if you came to me or
John first and present your facts in a logical and well thought out manner,
minus the snark and immaturity. Also, professional conduct at the minimum is a
requirement. You are not a kid any more, stop acting like one.”

Scott sighed. “This isn’t
easy for anyone. Please don’t make it any harder.”

His youngest brother
looked up at him. “So in the meantime we just have to hope that Virgil doesn’t
turn into some kind of murdering zombie and kill us all in our sleep?”

“What do you expect me to
do?!”

“Get him off the island!”

“He’s our brother!”

“I know!”

“So the first sign of
trouble and you want to just cast him off?”

“We could have been killed
yesterday!”

“Virgil didn’t have
anything to do with it.”

“How the hell do you know
that?”

“Virgil would never-“

“But he’s not Virgil!”

“HEY!” Gordon stood
outside the sunken lounge. “What the hell?”

Scott was trembling just
slightly and his heart was racing. Alan was red in the face.

“No-one, I repeat, no-one
is abandoning Virgil anywhere. I don’t care about the risks. We owe him our
support and protection.” Gordon’s glare narrowed in on Alan. “I don’t know
about you, but I’d rather die by my brother’s involuntary hand, than contribute
to his death. How would you like to be abandoned on the mainland, on your own,
with that thing in your head, your only protection a gadget that cuts you off
from all technology? Such fun to be had.” He turned to Scott. “And you, share
the knowledge, bro. Alan might not have been so stupid if he knew we had it all
in hand.” A breath. “And you know what is worst? I’m apparently turning into
Virgil. Shut up, both of you, and give my poor head a break.” And he turned
around muttering and wandered off in the direction of the kitchen.

Alan took one look at
Scott, stood up and left, back stiff.

Scott sagged and let his
head drop into his hands.

Damn.

-o-o-o-

John entered Thunderbird
Five and let out a long relaxing breath. Oh, it was good to be home.

“Welcome home, John.”

“It is great to be here.”
He let himself float for just a moment, revelling in the lack of gravity. “How
goes the new countermeasures.”

“I’ve created new tracking
software using what little we know about the perpetrator. If it gets in again,
we may be able to trace it back to its origin. I’ve reinforced every pathway I
can think of. I still haven’t determined how it got in or where, so I have done
my best to cover all contingencies.”

“What about Virgil?”

“I have created a remote
trigger that can deploy his isolator on command. It will separate him from the
network should there be an intrusion.”

“Automatically?”

Eos hesitated. “Yes.”

“I know you hate that
device. So do I, but it is his last defence.”

“I know.”

“And what about you?”

“I’m protected.”

“How?”

“Do you really expect me
to tell you all my secrets?” Her tone was playful, but had an echo of serious.

“I expect you to be safe.”

“I will do my best.”

“Well, excuse me if I add
a few defences of my own.” A small smile. “Call it parental prerogative.”

“If I had eyes, I would
roll them at you.”

“I can see Virgil has had some
influence on you.”

“Aren’t you glad that he
is such a good one.”

John smirked. “That
remains to be seen.”

“Is this where I say,
‘Daaaaad!’”

“Only if you want to prove
my point.” He grinned. “But we should focus. Give me a read out on activity in
E sector.”

They worked together
smoothly for several hours. John had to admit that Eos had changed over the
last few months. Many of her hard edges had been smoothed over. Her
understanding of human nature had expanded dramatically, of course, learning
the hard way, no doubt. She had grown, almost blossomed, her confidence
expanding far beyond the terrified and persecuted soul she had been when they
first met.

“John, I think I have
identified another intrusion.” Eos was worried, he could hear it in her voice.

“Show me.”

Code flashed up.
“Yesterday?”

“5.08pm. But this one is
different. The code is more fragmented, which is why we missed it.”

5.08 yesterday afternoon.
“What time did Virgil faint?” Shit. “Give me everything you’ve got.”

Eos flung the code onto
his display. He scanned it. “Give me that last readout again.” John frowned.
“That variable has changed from the last time I scanned this sector.”

“Investigating.” The code
rippled. ”Uh, John?”

Something in her tone set
of alarm bells. “Eos?”

“It doesn’t feel righ-“

“Eos?” No answer. “Eos?!”

-o-o-o-

Thunderbird Two’s cockpit smelt
bad and Scott could feel the shuddering in the hatch mechanism as it lowered
him to the floor. It hurt to see his brother’s ‘bird in this state. He may
tease Virgil about his ‘big, green brick with wings’, but he secretly loved the
security of the smooth machine at his back.

“Virgil?”

“Back here.”

The cockpit door was open
so he stuck his head through to find Virgil sitting on the deck surrounded by pieces
of disassembled Thunderbird. “She’s blown out all her primary circuit breakers.
My guess is that is how Alan shut down her thruster, by killing them all. They
are going to need to be replaced.” He sighed. “Just another thing to add to the
list.” He clambered up off the floor and walked back into the cockpit, heading
directly for the pilot’s dash. “Starboard thruster will need a complete
overhaul, port side wing has been damaged, along with one of her VTOL engines
and her landing gear is toast. She fell hard. We’ll have to go over her structural
integrity with a fine-toothed comb. Don’t let me get started on her paintwork.”

Virgil looked back at him.
“It is going to take a while.”

“But she will fly again.”

“While I’m alive, she will
always fly.”

Scott snorted. “Way to be
dramatic, Virg.”

“She lives for the drama.”

“O-okay.”

Virgil grinned at him. It was
so off beat to the damage around them, Scott couldn’t help but grin back.

But his brother frowned, the
grin dropping away. “Eos? Wha-?”

“V-“

Staring at Scott in
surprise, Virgil collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut.

-o-o-o-

End Part Three

Part Four

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