After-effects

Chapter 12

Breakfast passed peacefully with Scott visibly relaxing once it became clear that Jeff had no intention of pressing him into speaking before he was ready. Gordon's tablets kicked in roughly half way through the meal and by the time the final coffees were served he was sitting comfortably beside Virgil.

Jeff drained the last of his coffee and sighed softly as he stretched his hands out in front of himself. Scott watched him as he finished his own drink and then stood up. "Can we take a walk?"

"Sure," Jeff replied. "Virgil, Gordon, would you mind checking on Brains for me? He seems to have gone to ground somewhere, which I admit is not unlike him, but it's unusual not to hear from him at all."

Virgil nodded and climbed to his feet. He held a hand out to help Gordon up and the two left the room. A moment later Jeff held a hand towards the door. "Shall we?"

~#~

Scott led Jeff in the opposite direction to where Gordon had left Tracy 2. Once they were out of sight of the villa he sat down on the sand and stared out into the ocean until Jeff sat beside him.

"What's the matter, Scott?" Jeff asked quietly. "You seem all out of sorts this morning."

Scott chuckled quietly and turned to look at him. "I'm okay, it's just...you're not going to like what I have to say and you seem in a much better mood than you were yesterday. I…I don't want to mess up that mood but I'm going to, no matter how carefully I word this."

Jeff pursed his lips and shrugged. "Well whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be better out in the open rather than…" He reached up and gently tapped Scott's temple, "…tucked away in here."

"Yeah, I suppose you're right." Scott sighed and scrubbed his fingers through his hair, "Alan…"

Jeff rolled his eyes. "I might have guessed. What's he done this time?"

"He…um…You know how you asked Virgil and myself to lock down the island yesterday?" Scott asked hesitantly. Jeff nodded silently so he continued. "Well we thought we'd done as you asked. I disabled the door to the aircraft hangars so Alan couldn't leave that way and Virg did the boathouse even though it seemed unlikely that he'd try to make his escape that way." Jeff nodded again and motioned for Scott to continue. "We locked down everything that we'd thought of but I…we…I missed a very, very obvious way off the island. A very large and very red way off the island."

Scott turned to look back at the ocean while his words percolated into Jeff's mind.

"He took Thunderbird 3?" Jeff guessed. "Is that what you're telling me, Scott? Alan took Thunderbird 3 and went…Please tell me he went up to John and didn't try to take her somewhere else. Tell me he's up on Thunderbird 5."

Scott exhaled loudly. "He is. John's got him trapped up there with no access to Three, just in case. That…that's not the worst of it though."

"There's more?" Jeff grumbled. "Taking a Thunderbird without permission isn't enough?"

Scott shook his head. "Not for Alan, it isn't, no. It's all part of the same issue though, to be fair. Just…worse."

Jeff closed his eyes. "Tell me, Scott. What did he do?"

"He didn't ask for clearance," Scott replied quietly. "He didn't ask for clearance and didn't…well it doesn't look like he even checked whether there was anything moving before he took off. If he'd looked then he'd have noticed Tracy 2 approaching but as it was…he was literally seconds away from wiping Gordy off the face of the planet. Gordon managed to put Tracy 2 down on the beach, relatively intact and by some miracle didn't hurt himself in the process. He hasn't said anything as such but I'd wager that's a big part of why he struggled to get going this morning."

Jeff buried his head in his hands and groaned loudly. "The boy goes from bad to worse. I can't say I entirely blame him for taking Three; I really didn't give him any other options and knowing him as we do, I suppose we should have expected something…unexpected. Not getting clearance though? That's inexcusable. Gordon notwithstanding, anyone could have been out there last night. Three's no shrinking violet and we try not to launch her at night due to the particularly spectacular light show she generates. You all know that and Alan more so than any of you."

Scott nodded. "I know. Father, he clearly wasn't thinking and John told me that he was in a right state when he got up to Five. I know he put himself to bed without telling Johnny what was going on and I know he'd got up this morning but more than that…" He shrugged. "More than that, I don't know. Look, you don't have to tell me what's going on but you obviously weren't yourself yesterday, right from first thing in the morning. You sent Gordon to Kansas, shouted at Alan, upset Grandma and said virtually nothing, to anyone, for the rest of the day; mealtimes included." Scott paused for a moment. "Oh, and you owe Johnny some sort of apology. He didn't speak to anyone, at all, yesterday and you went to bed without calling him. He hasn't asked for an apology but I think he needs one; especially seeing how he's going to be the one dealing with Alan for the immediate future. I'm not sure I'd want to be stuck on Five with the little twerp, especially once he finds out about Gordon."

Jeff groaned again. "It sounds like I owe apologies to half of the island. It was…I was…" Jeff let out a growl of frustration. "Yesterday morning was…upsetting…alarming…disturbing…pick whichever one you want, they all fit." Jeff looked at his son and sighed. "I was woken, early in the morning by a very distraught Kyrano. He had…news…of a distressing nature about Tin-Tin and needed to talk to me."

"Tin-Tin?" Scott interjected. "We…we'd assumed it was Kyrano himself was sick…that he'd had another one of his funny turns or something…"

Jeff shook his head. "No. It's nothing like that. Kyrano's condition seems to have stabilised, at least for now, and he hasn't had one of his attacks for some time. Hopefully we've seen the last of…whatever they were. This…this is different, Scott, in fact it couldn't really be more-so. It's Tin-Tin who's got us worried this time. She's pregnant, Scotty; pregnant with Alan's baby."

Scott's eyes opened wide and his eyebrows shot towards his hair. "Jeez," he breathed. "That's…No wonder you were upset." He shook his head and snorted lightly. "…and no wonder Kyrano was upset. Is Tin-Tin okay?"

"That's the main reason she's in Kansas," Jeff smiled sadly. "So she can be properly checked over. I don't know…I don't how far along things are but so far Tin-Tin's had no pre-natal care of any description. She needs scans and vitamins and…" Jeff shrugged, dropped his hands into his lap and fell quiet.

Scott rested a hand on his father's shoulder and gave him a gentle squeeze. "Don't go there," he murmured. "This is the first Tracy grandbaby and I'm sure that Mama's already watching over him…or her."

Jeff sniffed wetly and then snorted when Scott immediately fished a handkerchief out of his pocket and handed it to him. "Scotty the boy scout, always prepared for any eventuality."

"I try," Scott grinned. "…and besides, there are a million and one uses for a good, clean handkerchief. They can fix anything from cleaning up a distraught father to stopping irresponsible little brothers from bleeding out all over the beach." Jeff frowned as Scott blanched. "Er…forget I mentioned that. You really don't want to know, save to say that I still have four younger brothers so it obviously worked out okay in the end."

Jeff rolled his eyes and looked up towards the patch of sky where he knew Thunderbird 5 was located. "You know, I wouldn't put it past Alan to throw a girl. He's always done everything his own way and if anyone can overcome six generations of boys it'll be him."

Scott flopped backwards on the soft, warm sand and stared up at the sky. "What happens now?" he asked. "Tin-Tin and Kyrano…are they staying in Kansas for the duration or…what?"

Jeff copied Scott's move and lay down beside his son. "I don't know," he admitted. "I guess that'll be up to Kyrano…and the baby, to a point. If Tin-Tin's carrying well then I suppose there's no reason they couldn't come back for a while but we're a long way from the nearest hospital if anything were to go…wrong."

"Nothing's going to go wrong," Scott replied softly. "Have faith, Father. Have faith that Mama will look after the baby and that everything will work out fine."

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