After-effects

Chapter 5

The debriefing went better than Alan could have hoped and there were no negative repercussions other than Jeff making him sit out of the next couple of rescues. The Tracy patriarch was worried that Alan's experience in the burning building would come back to him and cause problems at an inopportune moment but the youngest Tracy boy stayed completely stable for the next few weeks.

Jeff was conscious that his son was sticking closer to Tin-Tin than usual and became aware of the ring that appeared on her finger several days before Tin-Tin and Alan finally told him about it. Alan admitted that it had taken some time to pluck up the courage to talk to Jeff about the promise ring even though he and Tin-Tin had spoken to Kyrano before Tin-Tin had even put it on.

Jeff chuckled softly, told the pair that he was happy for them and reminded them that his door was always open to them if they felt the need to talk. He pulled his son into a tight embrace, ruffled his hair and told him he was proud that Alan was acting responsibly and planning for the future. He released Alan, gave Tin-Tin a gentle hug and then sent the pair on their way.

~#~

Alan went up to Five a couple of days after talking to Jeff and carried out his monthly rotation up on the space station. The world stayed relatively crisis-free so International Rescue were only called out a couple of times and a peaceful calm fell over the island. Gordon spent a lot of time in the pool; Scott, John and Virgil split their time between the beach, the shooting range and the games room and Alan spent an inordinate number of hours talking to Tin-Tin on the vid-phone.

~#~

Things were still quiet when Alan and John swapped places again until one morning when Gordon climbed the diving board in preparation for his early morning swim. A gentle breeze was blowing from the direction of Kyrano & Tin-Tin's home and on it Gordon could hear raised voices. He could make out two distinct voices and identified them as both Kyrano and Tin-Tin but as they were both shouting in Malay he couldn't understand what was being said.

The aquanaut was unnerved by the uncharacteristic behaviour from the normally quiet-mannered and unflappable Kyrano. He sat down atop the diving board and looked worriedly in the direction of the Kyranos' cabin.

He had been watching for less than five minutes when Kyrano burst out of his front door followed by a visibly distraught Tin-Tin who was dragging on his arm in an attempt to halt his flight up the slope to the Tracy villa. Kyrano paused, turned to his daughter and pried her fingers open. He leant down, folded her in a tight hug and kissed her head before gently turning her and urging her to go back inside.

Tin-Tin reluctantly went back into the cabin but paused in the doorway and Gordon could see her watching Kyrano's somewhat-slower progress up the slope until he turned the corner into the villa.

Nothing untoward immediately happened once Kyrano had disappeared so Gordon shrugged, stood up and launched himself off the diving board and into the cool water below him. He started swimming slow lengths of the pool to warm up his muscles but found himself musing over what he'd just seen rather than concentrating on what he was supposed to be doing. He soon realised that he was doing more musing than swimming and eventually gave up and climbed from the pool.

He wrapped a towel around his waist, slipped his shoes on and wandered into the house, only to be confronted with raised voices for the second time that day. He stood in the lounge, cocked his head to one side and realised that the voices were emanating from Jeff's office. Looking at his watch, Gordon could see that, barring Scott who could often be found wandering the house at all hours of the day or night, it was still far earlier than anyone would normally be out of bed. He crept across the room and pressed his ear to the office door just long enough to establish that the raised voices belonged to his father and Kyrano. Kyrano seemed to be in some distress and phrases of Malay peppered his speech. Jeff was obviously trying but failing to calm his oldest friend down so Gordon gingerly tapped on the door and pushed it open in the hope that he could offer some assistance.

"Hey," he murmured. "You two okay in here? Do you want me to get Scott or some drinks or…something?"

Kyrano was already seated on one of the desk chairs but as Gordon entered he visibly deflated and sunk into the chair with his hands over his face. Jeff slumped back from where he'd been standing in front of his friend and perched on the edge of his desk. "Gordon," he said softly. "Could you go and get dressed, as quickly and as quietly as you can and then meet us down in the hangar." He held up a hand to ward off the questions which Gordon was bound to ask. "Please, Gordon. As quick as you can and not a word to your brothers."

Gordon nodded silently and turned to leave the room. As an afterthought he turned back to Kyrano, laid a hand on the older man's shoulder and squeezed it gently. "I won't be long."

~#~

The warm air around the island had almost completely dried Gordon by the time he reached his room so it was simply a case of him stripping off his swimming trunks, rubbing a towel over his hair and nether regions and then throwing on a set of clothes. He slipped his feet back into his shoes and quietly crossed the room to slide the door open. He then peeked out into the corridor, checked that the coast was clear and stepped outside.

Scott's door slid open as Gordon drew level with it and a moment later Scott stepped into the corridor. "You didn't have much of a swim today," he commented. "Are you feeling alright?"

"I'm okay," Gordon replied with a shrug. "My mind just wasn't into the swimming this morning. I couldn't switch it off; you know how it gets sometimes."

Scott smiled tightly. "Maybe you can have another try later on. It's not like we're busy at the moment."

Gordon shrugged again as the pair crossed the lounge and entered the kitchen. His stomach grumbled loudly and he groaned as he realised that he wasn't going to have time for breakfast. "If Grandma's not up yet then you'll have to fix your own breakfast, Scott," he said quickly. "I've got an errand to run for Dad. I...I guess I'll see you later."

Scott looked around the kitchen and realised that the room hadn't been set up that morning. "You obviously know something, Gords. What's going on? Is Kyrano sick?"

Gordon shook his head. "I don't know," he replied truthfully. "…maybe but Dad asked me not to talk to anyone so I can't say anything. I've got to meet them downstairs. I'm guessing we're leaving but I don't know for certain. I don't know if we're going, how long we're going to be or when we'll be back."

"Well that clears absolutely nothing up. If Father doesn't want to fill me in on what's going on then that's his prerogative but someone's got to keep this island running. Starting, it seems, with breakfast." Scott began opening cupboards and then set about laying the table. "Go, Gords, if you're going. Get gone before the others arrive and start asking questions. Oh and take a couple of these to keep you going."

Scott leaned across the table, pulled the fruit bowl towards himself and launched an apple in Gordon's direction. Gordon caught it as well as the second apple that flew his way and then quickly left the room. He hurried through the house, down into the hangar and pulled up sharply as he rounded the corner and found Tracy 2 idling in front of the door. Jeff was nowhere to be seen but Tin-Tin was sitting on a suitcase with her head in her hands and Kyrano was pacing back and forth in front of her.

Jeff appeared at the door of the plane as Gordon drew level with Kyrano. He beckoned his son up the steps and spoke quietly to him. "Gordon, I'm sorry for springing this on you with no explanation but I need you to take Kyrano and Tin-Tin to the farm for me. Please don't ask why and don't question the Kyranos either. If they want to talk to you then they will, otherwise I just want you to fly them to Kansas, see that they're set up and secure and then leave them there. If you have anything in particular that you need to do while you're off the island then you may as well get it done while you're out. I won't give you a curfew or tell you what time to be back but I would like you back sometime before tomorrow morning. Okay?"

Gordon looked around the hangar and saw that Kyrano had stopped his pacing and was crouched in front of Tin-Tin who was sobbing loudly. It was all Gordon could do to stop himself running over and gathering her in his arms but he got the distinct impression that such a move wouldn't be welcome. "Well I…umm…I guess I'm ready to go when they are."

Kyrano rose from his crouch and gently coaxed Tin-Tin to her feet. He picked up the case that she had been sitting on, crossed the short distance to the steps and handed it to Jeff who took it and stowed it securely inside the plane.

Jeff left Gordon at the top of the steps and wandered over to where Tin-Tin was waiting. He spoke quietly to her for a moment and then pursed his lips as Kyrano took hold of her arm and directed her towards the plane. Jeff shook his head unhappily and walked over to the panel that controlled the door of the hangar. He leant heavily against the panel and Gordon saw his back heave as he let out a heavy sigh.

Gordon frowned and watched his father for a moment longer until Tin-Tin and Kyrano reached the stairs up to the plane. He stepped backwards to let them past and found himself becoming even more confused when Tin-Tin baulked at the door. It looked to Gordon as it she wanted to turn tail and run rather than getting in the plane and if it hadn't been for Kyrano following her, he thought she may well have done so.

Kyrano put his hand in the centre of his daughter's back and gently pushed her inside. He nodded respectfully to Gordon as he passed him and then fussed around getting Tin-Tin strapped in and settled into one of the luxurious, well-padded seats.

~#~

Gordon took one last glance out of the door as he reached out to swing it closed. Jeff met his concerned gaze, gently shook his head and turned to the control panel beside him. He punched the appropriate code into the panel, pressed a large red button on the front and leant back against the rock wall as the hangar door began to open.

Gordon swung the door shut and nodded to Kyrano and Tin-Tin who were seated in the cabin. "Almost ready," he murmured. "Just two minutes and we'll be on our way." Kyrano inclined his head in acknowledgement of Gordon's words but Tin-Tin remained mute and stared at her hands which were clasped together on her knee. Gordon sent a concerned look in Kyrano's direction and then clambered into the cockpit and strapped himself in. A light began flashing on the display in front of him which alerted him to the fact that the hangar door had opened completely and he gently eased the plane forwards onto the runway.

Once they were clear of the doors he quickly accelerated, very soon they were airborne and speeding away from the island.

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