THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
Disclaimer: Thunderbirds are Go! Is trademarked by ITV Studios
A CHILDHOOD AGO
Jeff Tracy kept a beady eye on the clock as the young Kayo continued to recite a famous quote word-for-word to him.
“If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us, it will not delay the program.”
“Well done Kayo, and do you know who said that?” a proud Jeff asked of her.
“Gus Grissom” she replied
“Good…now what year did this quote originate? Alan?”
He waited for an answer from his youngest son. No reply was forthcoming.
“Alan?” he asked
There he was, hanging upside down, his legs hanging over the sofa of the lounge area, holding aloft in his hands a die-cast replica of the space shuttle Columbia, making audible whooshing noises.
“Alan, careful where you’re pointing that thing” a concerned Kayo reacted as Alan continued to muck about with the shuttle.
Jeff took off his reading glasses and gently rubbed his weary eyes before getting up, looked at Alan, then turned around and walked over to where an illustration of a rocket launch stood. He looked on intently at it.
Kayo knew what that look entailed.
“He’s mad at you, you know” Kayo said.
Alan ignored her.
She walked over to Jeff to join him in his admiration of the illustration, and to offer some advice
“I’m sorry, that jerk doesn’t pay any attention” she said.
“I don’t mind it Kayo, the boy is young, has years ahead of him…besides, I can always rely on you to remind him of where to land”
“Oh no, I already said I’m through babysitting” Kayo responded, folding her arms and looking away from Alan.
“I didn’t mean in that way” Jeff replied.
Kayo looked back at him, “Which way then?”
“Kayo, you have an ambition about you, you’re the kind of person who reckons she has a course in life already laid out for you. It’s on your own terms and it’s all going well, but eventually the student has to become a teacher. Kids like you come up once every few generations, and your heart doesn’t always synch in with what goes on in your head”
“There’s nothing wrong with my head” Kayo said, permitting herself a stomp or two.
“There’s nothing wrong with it, but then there’s something wrong with thinking the right way is always the best way also” Jeff continued
Kayo glanced over at Alan once again as he played with the Columbia model, she noticed his grip had been substantially loosened and he was letting it dangle dangerously over his forehead. She took a few steps away from Jeff as he continued talking, his eyes too transfixed on the painting to notice her absence.
“Kayo…I made you recite that quote because I agreed with a substantial amount of it and wanted to teach you the importance of it also, but do you know which part I didn’t agree with?”
“Was it something to do with conquest?” Kayo asked, nudging Alan as he continued to play with the model.
“Knock it off, that’s going to fall and split you open” she whispered. Alan stuck her tongue out at her. Kayo rolled her eyes.
“Your Uncle had a lot to say about that bit” Jeff continued, again not turning around, “He liked the remainder of that quote, but he twisted it to his own meaning…that conquest, in the original context, that of space, but in his eyes conquest of any sort, was worth the risk of life. That’s not how I’ve grown to see things over the years… the conquest of greater obstacles, and of your fears, should never come at the expense of life; it should always be to the betterment of lives”
“My Uncle has a funny view of the world” Kayo replied, when she suddenly saw Alan’s grip on the shuttle loosen. Panicking, she knelt down and grabbed it just before it could smack Alan square in the forehead with the tip of its nosecone.
“Thanks for the save” Alan replied, giving her thumbs up.
“Oh cut it out” Kayo whispered.
“A funny view…If only I were laughing” Jeff continued, and turned around to see Kayo approaching him once again. Alan finally slouched off the couch and picked himself up. Jeff looked over at Alan as he wandered back to his room.
“Alan lad, you’re not going anywhere until you answer the question” Jeff said.
“Fine. 1965” Alan replied.
“Wow. He was attentive” Kayo remarked.
Jeff looked at Kayo and smiled.
“You can go to bed Alan, just change into your if you do”
“I’m not wearing that onsie dad”
“This will be the sixth month you’ve slept in your clothes lad…surely you can’t keep this up forever” Jeff continued
“You’re keeping count now? Swell, I’ll keep it up then…it ought to keep you busy the rest of your life” Alan remarked before entering the room and sealing it shut.
Jeff walked back over to his desk.
“You were quite attentive yourself there Kayo…”
“I was?” Kayo asked, puzzled.
“Neither of you whisper very well” Jeff continued, “Still, I admire your little course correction there, keeping your heart and head in perfect synch and sparing Alan a headache”
“That klutz could never keep a real ship steady let alone a model one” Kayo said
“He’s capable of it, so long as someone has faith in him” Jeff continued, “Someone who is there for him and has his back, no matter what”
“So it is like babysitting all over again then? Gross” Kayo replied, folding her arms and pouting.
“In the adult world, it’s something more than that” Jeff responded.
“I’m a long way from that world” Kayo said.
Jeff smiled at her.
“True, but you’re never a long way from what your heart can’t hide” he concluded.
Kayo couldn’t comprehend that bit.
Parts of her did’nt want to.
Not for a few more years anyway.
She wondered if she’d be grossed out in any way when that later date came.
AN ADULTHOOD LATER
“Alan, Kayo wants to see you” Virgil said as he knocked on his little brother’s bedroom door. When Alan didn’t respond, Virgil entered it to find him lying face down on the floor, again in his civvies.
Virgil walked over to the slumbering heap and gently kicked him in the side to disrupt his naptime.
Alan stirred, stretched his arms outright and asked Virgil what was up. Virgil repeated himself.
A loud crack of thunder and the sound of howling winds unnerved Alan as he got up and headed over to the doors leading to the pool area.
There she was.
He slid open the doors so he could yell
“Hey K, what are you doing out here?” Alan yelled as the rain poured down around the deck chairs of the swimming pool. Kayo was seated there, safeguarded by a large umbrella stationed on the edge of the seat.
“Come and join me, this shower doesn’t have long to go, I’ve been reading up on the weather updates” she said, holding aloft an I-tablet.
Alan opened the glass doors that led to the pool, pulling his shirt up over his head to avoid getting his hair soaked. He walked over to one chair and pulled it over close until both chairs were perched under the umbrella.
“Mind letting me knows what type of crazy compelled you to do some thinking while all this was going on?” Alan replied.
Kayo took something out of her pocket. Alan’s eyes widened as he recognized what she was pulling out.
The old die-cast model of Columbia he had played with as a child.
She put down the tablet and leaned back on her chair, lifting the shuttle high above her forehead and dangling it in the same position Alan had all those years ago.
“What’s this about Kayo?” he asked
“I was just thinking about something your dad told me that day” she said, “I’m sure you remember”
“I do” he said.
“And how?” she asked
Alan felt raw emotion overtake him, his hand shook a little with apprehension, Kayo placed one hand firmly on his own to settle him down.
“Because…I’ve never stopped counting the days I’ve never stopped sleeping in my own clothes. I like to think…I like to think the same thing is going on with Dad, wherever he is…alive or in the hereafter…he’s making note of how many times too”
Alan decided to let the tears stream down as he realized why Kayo had lured him out of the house, so the rain could mask something his heart had been hiding, so he wouldn’t upset her.
So he wouldn’t strip her of that precious and assuring smile she was giving him.
A loud crack of thunder made both of them jolt, the shuttle loosened from Kayo’s grip, Alan caught it just before it could hit her forehead.
“I was counting on that, I had faith” she said.
“Just a little course correction” Alan replied.
“A course correction…that only happens when you’re not that far from what you can do…from your mind…or from your heart and that enables you to make adjustments”
“Do you mind coming out of your current dose of crazy, and this storm, and back to where the fire is?” Alan replied.
“I feel things are only just now heating up” Kayo responded, “But I think we’re better off cooling it for now. Lead the way”
“You’re impossible” Alan responded, giving her a kiss on the forehead.
He took the umbrella off of the seat’s edge, and, holding it high above their heads, they walked back towards the house.
Kayo thought back to how she was all those years back.
How she felt now.
She was a long way from that part of her world now.
She wasn’t grossed out.
And she certainly wasn’t a babysitter.
She was something more than that.
She just couldn’t let Alan on to it just yet. He was still only one step out of the world she’d left behind.
She knew she couldn’t keep this bit a secret for long.
But if there was anything her experience with her ‘funny old uncle’ had taught her, it was her family was all too readily accepting of the risks she had taken to preserve her secrets.
So she would test him emotionally, challenge him mentally, bring out the best in him. So that when he took that other step out, when he made his definitive course correction, she would be there to help him stick the landing.
She was out to prove something to Jeff, or his memory, that these types of conquests were worth the risk.
Time would tell if she was right.