DATELINE: YESTERDAY. SPECTRUM INTELLIGENCE HAS UNCOVERED A PLOT TO DESTROY LONDON. SPECTRUM AGENTS CAPTAIN SCARLET AND CAPTAIN BLACK SENT TO INVESTIGATE.
The newly formed Spectrum organisation has proven its effectiveness with a lightning-fast response against a fiendish plot that would have had devastating consequences for the city of London.
Spectrum Intelligence pieced together the nature of the threat from shreds of evidence gathered over the last month. A series of thefts targeting advanced electronics and experimental research equipment had taken place across three continents and when taken on their own, they didn’t amount to much. However, the subsequent disappearance of Professor Kristopher Markoff, a leading seismologist, caught Lieutenant Green’s attention.
The Professor had publicly left a major research project under a cloud and Spectrum’s controller of operations wasted no time cross-checking the Professor’s latest research with the list of stolen components. The results of the analysis were alarming. A person with the Professor’s knowledge and access to the stolen components could theoretically construct a device capable of creating artificial earth tremors. Using the latest in facial recognition technology, Lieutenant Green was able to track Markoff to the London Heliport, where he had arrived that morning. Once he left the heliport perimeter, he had vanished again.
Colonel White called Captains Black and Scarlet to the conference room and briefed them on their assignment. They were to locate Professor Markoff and put a stop to any destructive plans he may have. The two agents left Skybase on board a Spectrum Swift, bound for London.
During the flight, the pair reviewed the data files on Markoff’s departure from the research project. Questions had been raised about the ethics of his work and there were concerns that dangerous shortcuts were being taken in order to make progress. If the Professor was looking for revenge, the project he had been forced to leave would appear to be a logical target.
By the time the Swift reached London, Lieutenant Green had picked up Markoff’s trail. A CCTV camera detected him close to the rear entrance of the research establishment. Black requisitioned a Spectrum Rhino and the two men set off.
By the time they made it to the large building in the centre of the sprawling city, it was getting dark. Black parked the Rhino out of site of the rear entrance and engaged the security lockout before joining Scarlet outside a security door beside the loading dock. Scarlet flipped open his Spectra-Tech device and used the electronic hack to override the security key code. The door swung open with a click and the pair crept inside.
A series of automatic lights flicked on as they made their way along a corridor. The building was obviously empty for the night, empty that is except for the Professor. Swiftly they checked out the laboratories, but apart from computer banks and various equipment, there was no sign of the missing seismologist.
A noise from somewhere below them made both men freeze. Scarlet nodded towards a doorway further along the corridor. Black opened it cautiously and they followed a set of metal stairs down to a large basement room.
Most of the lights in the huge chamber were switched off, except for a set of spotlights illuminating a strange looking device in the centre of the room. Scarlet felt his pulse quicken and saw Black’s face was tense as he too recognized the device from the digital probability model they’d been shown on the Skybase computer screen.
Professor Markoff emerged from the shadows carrying a heavy duty power cable. He snapped it into the connection at the base of the device and then began tapping furiously at the computer terminal on the side. He was facing away from both of the Spectrum agents and he appeared to be quite unaware of their presence.
Black motioned to Scarlet. Scarlet nodded and they split up, keeping to the shadows and taking up better vantage points. They had been briefed on the sort of damage a device like the one in front of them could do. Provoking the Professor at the wrong moment could have devastating consequences.
But suddenly, as if warned by some sixth sense, the Professor stabbed at a button on the control pad. Scarlet and Black were thrown off their feet as the ground trembled beneath them. Markoff’s face was flushed with anger. He couldn’t believe that Spectrum were interfering with his plan for revenge. A small show of force had been enough to knock his opponents to the ground, but he knew that the device was capable of more, much more.
As Scarlet and Black sprang to their feet, the Professor barked an order for them to remain still. His hand hovered over the activation switch as he taunted them with the threat of skyscrapers crumbling like matchsticks, subway tunnels being flooded and damage that would make the Great Fire look pitiful by comparison.
Scarlet looked at Black. He made an almost imperceptible movement, a signal that both men knew well; you go left, I go right. Something about the look of recognition on Black’s face made Markoff wary and as his hand swept towards the activation switch, blue stun charges blazed from the barrels of the Spectrum weapons, catching him on either side of his body.
The Professor’s unconscious form was hurled a few feet across the room and crashed against the wooden crate the device had been concealed in. He slid to the floor, alive, but quite harmless. Black grinned at Scarlet, and moved to the control panel on the side of the device to make it safe. Scarlet secured the Professor and contacted the local authorities to pick him up.
As the two friends were en route back to Skybase, they received a call from Colonel White. Mysterious signals had been detected originating from Mars. Scarlet and Black had been chosen to investigate and report. As the Swift touched down on the flight deck of Skybase, neither man could have known that in just six short weeks, their lives and the fate of the world would be changed forever…
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