Part Six of Il Mago
Sequel to Sotto Voce
28-30 Sep 2018
Fandom: Thunderbirds Are Go 2015/ Thunderbirds TOS
Summary: “How can we trust him, if we don’t even know he is Virgil?”
Word count: 3383
Spoilers & warnings: Spoilers for Season 2 and Sotto Voce
Author’s note: and here be the last chapter. I have started writing the epilogue, but I don’t think it will be big enough to fulfill all the feels, so there will be more Tales of Sotto Voce in the future, particularly regarding poor Scott. Thank you all for your wonderful support. I really do hope you enjoy this.
Disclaimer: Mine? You’ve got to be kidding. Money? Don’t have any, don’t bother.
Virgil disappeared. And
all his interfering holograms went with him leaving the circular room an empty
Scott dodged the
intruder’s thrust, swinging himself around to jab her firmly in the side as he
called out to his brother. “Virgil!”
Grabbing the struggling
woman’s arm, he attempted to bend it backwards and up to immobilise her, but
she either had an extremely high threshold for pain or didn’t feel it at all.
Kicking out she tripped him mid-air, flipping him bodily over her and almost
reversing their positions. Scott twisted enough to bring up a fist and slammed
it into the side of her helmet. She lost her balance and fell sideways into one
of the walls.
He grabbed the
opportunity. Never afraid to back down from a superior opponent, Scott slammed
open the inner airlock and pushed himself through, fighting against the brief
decompression of the connecting corridor. He struggled to turn as fast as
possible and shut it in her face.
He whipped out his laser
cutter, altered its setting, and melted the hatch shut.
It wouldn’t hold her for
long, but hopefully it would be long enough.
Slapping the atmosphere
regulator at the other end of the connecting corridor, he re-pressurised the
tube before opening the locks into the gravity ring.
He sealed those behind him
“Virgil? Are you there?”
Coasting along the ring,
he desperately tried to think of how to get the woman out of the comms module.
She couldn’t stay there. She would only break in again.
He had to kill the power
to the module.
“Virgil!” Still no answer.
Something in his stomach twisted. He hit his comms. “Gordon, status!”
The voice that came back
from far below was his professional but frantic younger brother. “Busy, Scott.
Brains, we are going to need the ventilator.” A voice said something he
couldn’t understand. “He is not responding! He needs life support.”
The something in his
stomach tore. “Gordon!”
Scott. I can’t talk. Will report asap. Tracy Island out.”
And his world fell silent
And he moved. No time.
Halfway to the controls he
was slammed to the glass floor as the gravity ring abruptly started spinning.
“What is it with you nut
jobs and your names?” Exasperation. “The Magician, really? And what’s with the
Italian? Is it cooler in a different language?”
The man didn’t react,
which in turn surprised Virgil. Usually megalomaniacs were easy to bait. The
Hood was useless if you told him his shoes didn’t match his handbag. He had
been easy to get going.
Maggot didn’t even blink.
Virgil took another
half-step backwards, suddenly lightheaded.
Whatever. “So, what do you
The man stared at him
calmly, his expression appraising Virgil. Eos said nothing, but her eyes bore
into her Uncle’s, her fear for him obvious. A moment later, Mago’s expression
shifted to one of decision. “You don’t need to know what I want.” He raised a
hand and the black writhed out from his fingertips, solidifying and slicing
through the white as if to cut Virgil in half.
He jumped up, his own
hands thrusting out, a sputtering of blue-white breaking through the black
protrusion and amputating its end.
Maggot gasped and snarled,
the black fast retreating back into his body.
Virgil straightened. He
could learn. That was one thing he was very, very good at.
And this wasn’t his first
exo-suit formed over his body, the claws extending out from his arms.
His eyes narrowed on his
But apparently Maggot
wasn’t particularly impressed, returning to his earlier half-ignored disdain.
“You are forgetting something, Virgil.” His name on the man’s lips sent a chill
down his spine. “I hold all the cards.”
The black shot out from his
hand again, but this time he wasn’t aiming at Virgil, but behind him. The white
parted and Thunderbird Five appeared below. Scott on the gravity ring.
It began to spin.
Virgil didn’t hesitate. He
flung himself back towards the space station, reaching for the computer code to
halt the spin.
“Virgil, no!” Eos.
Black wrapped around him
and he screamed. Dangling above the code Virgil struggled to reach, the black
began to squeeze. “You have no idea what is possible. I will get what I want
and you won’t. It is as simple as that.”
“Why?!” It was forced from
him. Why? Why? Why? Why did these assholes all want to hurt his family? Why?
All he and his brothers wanted to do was help people.
“Because I want to.”
It was a simple answer.
“Let him go!”
“Why, little byte. What is
he to you?”
Virgil struggled to reach
the controls. After this, that damn gravity ring was getting some manual safety
locks to prevent this stupid thing from ever happening again, no matter what
The controls were just out
of reach, his claws grabbing at nothing.
The black tightened around
him, its heat unbearable.
Scott was spread-eagled on
the glass, unable to move. Virgil couldn’t hear him, but he could see the pain
on his face.
No. No, you bastard.
Blue-white struck out from
the ends of his fingers and smashed into the gravity ring controls, corrupting
its functioning program. Sparks flew as the mechanism disengaged, failure
safeties cutting in.
The ring began to slow.
Black crawled across his
chest, curling up around his neck. “You are a fast learner.” It tightened,
searing into his skin.
“It is fine, little byte,
he won’t feel a thing.”
Eos. He breathed her name, closed his
eyes and concentrated.
The blue-white light
returned. It swelled out from him, blinding in its intensity. The black
disintegrated around him.
Virgil levitated back into
the pulsing white, hovering in front of the Magician like an avenging angel.
Mago took a step
backwards, his movement dragging the chain he had tied to Eos. He simply raised
an eyebrow. “A bit showy, don’t you think?”
“No, I still have some
unfinished business.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “And I still have some cards to
play.” A smirk. “How many brothers do you have to spare?”
Scott’s voice was urgent
over the comms. “Alan, evac to Thunderbird Three. Now!”
John was still not quite
conscious. Alan had him secured to a spinal board, helmet in place.
TB3 was hovering near the
station, stabilised from her earlier tumble. He accessed her remotely and moved
her just that bit closer, activating his sled and directing it over to the
elevator’s airlock. Dragging it in, he secured John’s board and hopped on. He
needed to make this transit as fast as possible.
Halfway across the empty
expanse between breathable atmospheres, his brother’s voice broke over his
“Yes, it is your beloved
It was mocking, it was
Virgil’s voice. It wasn’t Virgil.
Alan accelerated to
maximum. They were vulnerable out here.
“Where do you think you
are going?” And his sled died.
Shit! Fortunately, the
sled kept its momentum so he was still moving. Unfortunately, he now had no way
to stop. Thunderbird Three loomed red in his vision.
“Leave him alone!”
The yell was enough to
make his ears ring. But it was so Virgil, he could have cried.
The sled fired up,
sputtering, and their plummet towards collision slowed.
“You don’t think it is
that easy, do you?”
And the sled accelerated.
Alan swore again, reaching
down to physically grab John.
His path wobbled and he
had no doubt that there was a battle happening somewhere in virtual space with
John and himself as the prize. He desperately tried to think of something that
could break him out of the equation, but the z-band network was integral to all
their operations. Even if he could sever the connection fast enough, he would
then be helpless.
He had to rely on Virgil.
“So, Virgil, what are they
worth to you?”
“Everything, you bastard.”
And the line fell dead.
As did his sled.
“Everything, you bastard.”
His voice was cold, but as the space filled with the roar of VTOL, hot air, and
green flickered at the edge of his vision, he swelled, letting his anger and
fear power him. His claws extended and he flew at the man below.
The man below
disintegrated into black ink and met his charge.
There was burning and the
smell of charred soul. Virgil screamed.
“Not that easy, you fool.”
A gasp. “Never said it
would be.” He flipped in midair, wrapping blue-white around stinking black,
smothering and cutting. “You hurt Eos.” A claw grabbed a body and squeezed.
Virgil grunted as black scored across his face. He dug his other claw in. “You
hurt my brothers.” Black struggled, and somewhere deep inside, Virgil’s
artistic soul screamed retribution. “You hurt my FAMILY.” And all he saw was
rage. Black writhed beneath his fingertips, Thunderbird Two roared in his mind,
and VTOL burned the air.
He felt the other man’s
sudden fear, but for the first time in his life, Virgil was beyond sympathy.
This was the source of his fear, of Alan’s fear, of the fear in his brothers’
eyes when they looked at him. This was the man who had done this to him. He
knew that. The black screamed it at him. He was the source of all those months
of pain and terror. It was his fault.
Virgil gripped the black
in both claws.
And then he tore.
It was Mago’s turn to
Black whipped around him,
struggling to get free. His terror washed over Virgil. VTOL roared.
He looked up. Eos was
signalling him in the direction of Thunderbird Three, still visible through the
It only took that
millisecond of distraction and Mago wrenched from his grip. Virgil struck out
and caught him a glancing blow, attempting to regain his hold, but the black
slithered away. A flash of fear and he was gone.
The chain linking him to
Eos, tightened, dragging her with him.
“No!” Virgil dove,
reaching out. Sparks flew and the chain was severed by a beam of that same
Eos, didn’t hesitate,
scrambling back from where Mago had disappeared. She turned to him. “Alan!”
Virgil didn’t hesitate,
reaching out across the network to his brother’s sled, firing it up and
breaking its fatal plunge into the hull of TB3.
Taking a virtual breath,
he carefully manoeuvred the little craft into the open maw of Thunderbird Three’s
Linking to the comms
network, he contacted his youngest brother. “Alan, are you okay?”
There was a delay, but his
wait was rewarded by Alan’s laboured breathing a moment later. “Virgil?”
“Yeah, bro, it’s me. Are
you and John okay?”
“As best we can be.” A
pause. “Is it gone?”
It was Virgil’s turn to
pause. “I’ll get back to you on that.” The light-headedness was back. “See to
John, and then get ready to pick up Scott.”
A little hoarse. “FAB.”
He hailed his eldest
“Virgil?! Are you okay?” A
split-second pause as big brother was replaced by field commander. “Report.”
nullified for the moment.” He knelt down to untangle Eos from her bonds. A
frown as he discovered exactly how that bastard had managed to hold her so
securely. He looked up and found green eyes fixed on him. “I’m so sorry,
Damn, over an open comm.
“Eos is injured. Report momentarily. Virgil out.” He cut the connection.
Eos held up her arms. Thick
black stitches marched up the inside of her forearms, their base joining at her
wrists, stitching them together.
Virgil hesitated. “Can
“Uncle, please?” There
were tears in her eyes.
He swallowed. How? He
reached out a tentative hand, his fingertip brushing against the black of the
stitching. He concentrated, a spark of blue-white disintegrated the stitch.
Virgil felt like sweating.
He looked up at her again.
Another virtual breath.
Blue-white flared in his
Scott’s lips thinned
enough to disappear. He didn’t like waiting.
“Aboard Thunderbird Three.
John is stable and secured.” A pause. “You?”
Scott was standing in
front of a holoprojector watching their last intruder test the seal on the
inner airlock in the comms module. “Secure for the moment. We still have an
intruder in the command module.”
“Have you heard from
“Yes. Eos is injured. He
is attending to her.”
“Anything from Gordon?”
Scott hesitated. “Nothing
There was silence over the
line for a moment. Scott kept his eyes on the intruder. “Alan, keep sharp. I
don’t know what this intruder might do.”
And as if he had heard
her, she turned and made her way towards the broken doors to the outer airlock.
“She’s on the move. Stay sharp.” He tracked her as she coasted into the
airlock, turning abruptly to re-board her ship. “She’s boarding her ship. Any
way you can disable it? That thing has firepower.”
“Leave it to me.”
He could hear his
Alan was sick of being
scared. In fact, Alan was royally pissed.
His system was still
reeling from their near collision with his ship, adrenalin setting him on edge.
He would be quite happy to
punch something or someone.
Sitting in his pilot’s
seat he grabbed at his controls. So, it came down to TB3 versus stupid, black
and stealthy. He knew his ‘bird. She was subtle, but tough.
He spun her around,
positional thrusters firing as he brought her up an over her sister and into
view of the invader craft.
It was disconnecting from
TB5. Alan didn’t hesitate.
Three red arms.
He reached down and
grabbed the small craft.
It didn’t like it. If it
hadn’t been in vacuum, there would have been some horrible metal on metal
screeching. It fired its thrusters, fighting against Three’s grip.
Alan fired all three
grappling hooks point blank.
The little ship trembled
and a cloud of atmosphere escaped out of the sudden hull breaches. “That’s for
He checked for life signs.
One still existed inside the craft.
One last thing.
Untangling one of his
arms, he located the source of the energy bolt from earlier, flipping the ship
around to give him access and acting fast to prevent an attack should the life
sign still be conscious.
“This is for Thunderbird
Three.” And the arm came down on the weaponry outlets, the tough rescue craft
making scrap metal out of the scout’s external ports.
He returned the arm to its
former grip and with a grimace and not a little grunt, started pulling the
little craft apart.
“And that is for Virgil
Tracy, you waste of space.”
Thunderbird Five. You might want to call in the GDF to come pick up the
One life sign still
bleeped on his monitor. He tried not to feel disappointed.
Eos ended up in his arms
Virgil had his eyes closed,
the light-headedness making him almost dizzy.
The stitches were gone,
but it had hurt. Both of them.
He needed to get John to
check on her. He had no real idea what he was doing. He could program and he
could see code from this perspective and manipulate it, but he was not John.
Not her father.
And he had to go home.
He could feel himself
“Honey, you have to go.
I-I have to go.”
She looked up at him
sharply, her eyes red, her hand reaching up to cup his cheek. “Uncle?”
He reached out and touched
the pulsing white. It was more familiar to him now, the throb of transmission,
the balance of the network, his understanding continued to grow.
Maggot had no idea what a
gift he had managed to give in his attempt to kill him.
The white parted and Virgil
hooked into the network on Tracy Island, this time taking Eos with him. She
stumbled at first, disorientated and injured, but there was no way he was
leaving her on Thunderbird Five alone. John would be heading to Earth, he could
help her here.
Spreading himself across
the home network, he saw his home from a perspective he had never seen before.
The rooms were all empty, but he knew that. He knew where Gordon would be. That
was one room he didn’t look into.
He found the main server,
looking for enough space, grabbing a copy of the cradling software, executing
it and placing his wilting niece into its embrace.
He kissed her forehead. “I
have to go.”
She drew him in. “Thank
“I’ve sent John an alert.
He will help you as soon as he is able.”
She blinked, accessing
information. “He is onboard Thunderbird Three.” She smiled, finally able to
reach out across the network, reach her family. A frown. “He has a concussion.”
“He hit his head.”
A spark of anger flared up
“C’mon, Eos, rest. He will
be okay. You need to power down and keep calm.” A beat. “I need to go.”
She frowned at him. “Are
“I’m fine.” A small smile.
“Definitely better now you are safe.” Distract her. He suspected he wasn’t as
good as he felt.
The dizziness returned.
“I have to go.”
He stood up and reached
across the network.
A whisper. “Love you,
He closed his eyes.
The world spun.
He found the monitors for
the infirmary and stared down at himself.
Gordon was alone in the
room beside his bed.
Tears were running down
“Scott, he’s on full life
support. I can’t get any response out of him.”
“Gordon, I spoke to him
not even half an hour ago. He is still out there.”
“Well, he better damn well
get back here. I don’t know what happened. He was fine, but then everything
just crashed. He’s not breathing on his own. I’ve had to restart his heart
twice.” A sob. “What if he comes back and can’t get back in? What if he comes
back and the damage is too extensive? What if he can’t get back at all?”
The questions bounced off
the walls vibrated his soul. So many what ifs.
“Gordon, I don’t have the
answers. We just have to trust Virgil.”
“He has no idea what he is
“As far as I can tell, he
just kicked an intruder’s ass. Give him some credit.”
Virgil accessed the
comline, sending network-wide. “Hey, guys?”
The response was
immediate. “Virgil!!” From the infirmary and Thunderbird Three. “Are you okay?”
“Been better, it looks
like.” A virtual swallow. “Sorry, Gords.”
Gordon stared up at the
camera. “You better be. Get your ass back down here so I can kick it.” He
scrubbed his hands across his face.
Virgil didn’t have the
energy to reach for TB3. “Scott, how are Alan and John?”
“Alan is fine. He managed
to kick some intruder’s butt himself. John is awake. Splitting headache, but
getting there.” A pause. “Eos?”
“I’ve got her down here.
That bastard he…” A wave of dizziness. Damn. “John, you there?”
“I’m here.” A tired,
“She’s injured, John. I
had to…” A virtual breath. “You need to check her code. I had to hack him out
of her. The bastard- “ Emotion flared, blue-white light bloomed in his vision.
The lighting in the infirmary flickered. One globe sparked and fizzed out.
Virgil forced himself to
calm down. “Shit. Sorry.” Another breath. “John, she needs help. Help I can’t
give her.” His world doubled, blurred and wavered.
“I’ve got to go.”
Gordon jumped up. “Virgil,
you get back here now.” An alarm shrieked beside him. “Now, Virgil! Don’t you
dare do this to me!”
He had to go. “Do my
best.” And what is important. “Love you guys.”
And fumbling he reached
out for home. It was here somewhere. Here? Here? No.
The white pulsed.
It was here somewhere,
Like groping unseeing in
the dark, but the dark was white.
Oh, thank god.
He relaxed back into
And everything went dark.
End Part Six