Title: Vengeant Chorus
Part One of Chapter Four of Sotto Voce
30-31 Aug 2018
Fandom: Thunderbirds Are Go 2015/ Thunderbirds TOS
Summary: Sometimes the voices are far too loud to ignore.
Word count: 1600
Spoilers & warnings: Spoilers for Season 2
Author’s note: This isn’t even a whole chapter, but half of one. I didn’t want you to wait much longer as work is taking pretty much everything at the moment. This chapter explains a lot and changes the playing field. I am so thankful for all the wonderful feedback, encouragement and painful howls I have received from you during the writing of this fic. Believe me, I have been howling alongside you. If you think reading this hurts, being submersed in the three dimensional world in my head as I write it is far more intense. So yeah, I’m hanging on the cliff with you all as work interrupts and takes me away…oh, and that annoying need to sleep. So here, have half a chapter and I really hope you enjoy it. Give Virgil some hugs from me 😀 He seriously needs them.
Disclaimer: Mine? You’ve got to be kidding. Money? Don’t have any, don’t bother.
“No! No, I won’t!” Virgil clutched his head and screamed. He crumpled in his seat, tears squeezed from the corners of his scrunched-up eyes.
Brains’ throat hurt, but he didn’t have time to acknowledge the pain. He took advantage of Virgil’s sudden impairment and hurriedly disabled Thunderbird Two to prevent the ill engineer from commandeering her again. He secured her with a sixteen-digit encrypted password and lowered the hatch to allow a panicked Scott on board.
The eldest Tracy leapt into the cockpit before the hatch could fully rise, just in time to catch his brother as his back arched in spasm and he fell sideways out of the pilot’s chair, his scream strangling to a gurgle as he seized.
Scott dragged him free of the dash, laying him out on the floor of TB2, giving him room as his body tensed even further, before curling in on itself. Virgil gasped, his eyes wide and darting back and forth before suddenly latching onto Scott. Voice whisper-hoarse. “I-I w-will NOT!”.
And he choked out another scream.
Virgil’s pain echoed off the bulkheads of his beloved Thunderbird.
Scott caught his head and shoulders in his arms, desperately attempting to support his brother as he struggled.
Brains ran to one of the first aid lockers, dragged out a heavy-duty supply kit and grabbed a sedative. Checking the preloaded hypodermic dose, he prepped the needle and moving back to the two brothers, he unzipped Virgil’s uniform, revealing his undershirt. Scott. realising what Brains was attempting to do, dragged the neck of his brother’s shirt down, exposing his shoulder. The injection was quick and ignored by Virgil.
Brains clambered back to the first aid kit and followed it up with an appropriate painkiller.
It took minutes, but it felt like hours. Ever so slowly Virgil’s torn and hoarse screams weakened, his body slowly relaxing against his brother. His struggle reduced to trembling and he shrank in on himself, his body shaking in shock and remnant pain.
He repeated the word ‘no’ over and over again, his voice barely audible, until a last shudder and his eyes rolled up in his head, his body falling limp.
“Virgil?” Scott’s voice cracked. He reached for his brother’s pulse, and apparently found it. A pained sob and Scott Tracy drew his unconscious brother close, and rocking in place, let the tears run down his face.
For some time, there was only darkness. Then there was grey, like just before dawn on an overcast day. Virgil became aware slowly. It crept up on him. He felt disconnected, foggy, as if part of his body had shut down, leaving the rest adrift. At some point he found he could see, but he didn’t remember opening his eyes.
He looked around. He needed to escape, get away. But there was only grey.
And out of that grey walked his younger brother.
John was dressed in his uniform, thin and lithe as ever, but there was something in his stance, something in his expression that screamed not-John.
“I won’t do what you ask.” Virgil’s voice lacked it usual strength and it trembled. Pull yourself together! And with that thought, clarity slid into place, his hands appearing out of the fog, his own uniform blue against the grey.
John looked down his nose at him. “There is no need any longer. This experiment has failed.”
A ghost of frown. “Experiment?”
The other man paused, his expression distant for a moment then calculating. “But then a failure doesn’t necessarily mean all is lost. You may have use yet.”
Something inside clenched. “I will not.”
John smiled. “You don’t get to choose.”
Scott stared at the holographic scan of his brother’s brain and was numb. He had nothing left. There was nothing. No strategy. No solution. Simply nothing.
A thin fibrous network of connections spiderwebbed across Virgil’s frontal lobe. Faintly silver in shining holographic light.
“What is it?” His voice was empty.
Brains didn’t answer, his eyes downcast. It took John, his voice bleak, quite some time to answer instead. “We’re not sure. It appears technological, but it also appears to have grown in place.”
“Why didn’t the scans at the hospital pick it up?” Virgil had had a CT scan after the hydrofoil incident to check for the cause of his headaches and had found nothing.
“We don’t know that either. Perhaps it was too small at the time.”
“What is it doing?”
“As far as we can tell, it is interfacing with Virgil’s brain.” John’s eyes dropped down to his unconscious and prone brother. “From what little we have observed, it appears to be trying to control him.”
John audibly swallowed and glanced at Brains. “We believe the Hood is responsible.” Scott visibly flinched. “It makes sense. We’ve tracked as much of Virgil’s recent activity as we possibly can. He had managed to upload several schematics to an unknown address, as well as attempting to kidnap Brains and steal Thunderbird Two.”
“The attack at the flooded river. The knife was a transport for nanotechnology.”
Scott looked up. “What?”
“It was a delivery system for an infection of nanities.” John’s eyelids lowered a little. “Think of them as nano-mechas.”
Scott stiffened. “The Mechanic?”
“P-possibly, but I d-don’t think so.” Brains brought up another hologram, a swarm of miniature mechanical bugs appeared to be building something. Something silver. “The t-technology is different. The underp-pinning design differs from his st-standard approach. If it is The H-hood, I suspect he has a-another player.” A pause. “And th-there is the device the Hood was us-using to attempt to control the M-mechanic.”
“Can we disable it?”
The following silence was far too telling.
Finally, John spoke quietly. “It is unlikely.”
Scott’s gut was as cold as ice. “Find a way.”
His not-brother had left shortly after his announcement, Virgil apparently of little interest now he had some new scheme up his sleeve.
For his part, Virgil still felt disconnected, as if something was happening above and beyond all the grey, something important, but he couldn’t quite focus.
And where the hell was he anyway?
At first, he was cautious, slipping through the fog simply looking to find a way out, but the longer there was nothing, the less he feared and the more he tired. Just grey on grey on grey.
He wanted to go home.
And suddenly he was standing beside the pool on Tracy Island.
The sky was that same fog grey, but a breeze blew off the ocean, rippled the water and stirred the palm fronds far above.
He felt his tension ebb somewhat. He took a step and his boot made contact with the decorative concrete. Another step and he was moving. He ran up the steps to the kitchen, dashing through the familiar rooms. Up the stairs to the comms room, his eyes tracking the familiar portraits, the lounge, his piano…
Up to the main house, past the bedrooms, his studio, the gym… the house was empty. Where was everyone?
Eventually he returned to the comms room and walked out onto the balcony. The sea breeze played with his hair.
And he knew. He knew it in his heart, this wasn’t home. He wasn’t sure what it was, but just like his not-brother, it wasn’t what it seemed.
He sat down on the very edge of the balcony, his feet dangling. Somewhere out there were his brothers, he could feel it.
He just didn’t know where.
Telling Alan, Gordon and his Grandmother about Virgil broke something in Scott. Explaining that their second eldest brother and grandson, their gentle artist and engineer, had something growing on his brain, likely put there by the Hood, and likely purely to steal their technology, hurt deep in his chest. The resulting expressions on their faces hurt even more.
They had questions and Scott had no answers. John came out of the infirmary and answered as much as he could, but the best he could do was wrap his arms around his grandmother and hold her. Scott ended up with his arms full of Alan while staring at the horrified expression on Gordon’s face – an expression that fast shifted to one of pure fury.
The fire that lit up the aquanaut’s eyes screamed retribution, and the fists clenched at his sides shook. “He can’t– He-…No more, Scott. This ends here!” Gordon spun around and left.
Scott made a futile attempt to grab his brother, but perhaps part of him really did want that same retribution, and he missed. He left his arm drop.
A calm, feminine voice echoed across the room. “John?”
“We have received a message. I believe it is from the person known as the Hood.”
Scott stiffened and Alan straightened up, a hand rubbing across his face.
John kept his arms around his grandmother. “Thank you, EOS, please relay.”
There was a moment of crackling static and then an all too familiar voice spoke over the comm. “No doubt you’ve discovered my little project by now. Since your brother refused to deliver, we will now have to do it the hard way. I want the schematics for all the Thunderbirds, your equipment, your core technologies and full access to Thunderbird Five. The alternative is to watch your brother die a thoroughly painful death. He is mine, to do with him what I will. I suggest you do not test me. You have until sundown.” A snort of derision. “Tracy Island time.” And the message cut off.