by A21 Reporter Andy Clems
Captain Scarlet, Spectrum’s indestructible hero has once again foiled the fiendish machinations of the Mysterons from Mars. The victory was won during an intense dogfight with a squadron of Mysteronised aircraft on Thursday afternoon.
Captain Scarlet recalls, “Well, let’s see. I took off from the Spectrum Condor Training Base in North America in one of the newly designed Star Striker interceptors. My mission was to evaluate the craft’s performance under test conditions before final certification and delivery to other Spectrum bases around the world. The Angels will remain Cloudbase’s primary air defence team and their aircraft will not be replaced.
About 20 minutes into the test schedule, I received a radio call from Lieutenant Green, reporting that a squadron of Rapier fast attack fighters was on course to my position and had failed to make radio contact with air traffic control at Condor, or any prior station on their flight path.
With grim certainty I sensed the power of the Mysterons at work and requested Spectrum air support. Colonel White advised that Cloudbase’s position made it a virtual impossibility that the Angels would arrive before the Rapier fighters reached me. However, knowing the danger the enemy fighters posed should they continue to another objective unchecked, the Colonel ordered an immediate launch.
I swung the Star Striker around and engaged the afterburners, determined to intercept the Rapiers as early as possible to buy time for the Angels to arrive. Within minutes they were on the horizon, speeding towards me like four brilliant bolts of blazing blue light. Any lingering doubts that the other planes could be friendly were dispelled as they flew by and I could see the cockpits were empty.
As they turned around to get behind me, I dived steeply, using the Star Striker’s enhanced maneuverability to my advantage. The surface of the ocean rushed up to meet me and I pulled out of the dive at the last possible second. One of the pursuing craft wasn’t as fast to react and smashed into the waves in a ball of flame. The next second, my aircraft rocked as it was struck by a hail of cannon fire from the lead Mysteron craft.
I took evasive action, pulling the Star Striker into a tight loop, forcing the first Mysteron fighter to pass under me. One of the others proceeded to follow me in the loop and although not as maneuverable as my craft, it stuck close behind like a limpet. I seized my chance and fired a burst of shells from the rear-facing guns, shooting the pursuer’s port wing to pieces. That did the trick. As I leveled out once more, I saw it fall away helplessly.
Another Rapier was closing at me dead on and fired a heat seeking missile. I pulled up sharply and performed a rapid aileron roll, releasing Window decoy to give the missile something else to seek and destroy. The gambit worked, the missile burst well clear of my craft and the distraction allowed me to get a lock on one of the remaining Rapiers. With a jolt of acceleration, I felt my missile release and home in on its target. The enemy tried to get away, but couldn’t escape the missile’s lock. In a flash of blinding light, the Mysteron craft was almost totally vaporized. That left one enemy, but I couldn’t see it or locate it on radar. One of the strikes on my aircraft had damaged the system and I was forced to rely on my eyes and instincts.
Very nearly too late I saw the final Rapier diving at me from port and there was no time to get out of the way. I reached down and pulled the ejection lever. With a whoosh of rockets I was catapulted clear of the Star Striker just as the Rapier smashed into it in a spectacular explosion. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite far enough from the scene and I was struck by a hail of debris. The last thing I recall was blacking out from the pain of my injuries.
Fortunately it turned out that the Angels weren’t far off and witnessed the explosion. Searching the surface of the ocean, they found me and were able to direct a Spectrum helicopter to retrieve me from the sea. It took a week in sickbay to get back on my feet, but I’m feeling fitter than ever and ready to return to duty.”
Captain Scarlet has once again demonstrated his remarkable powers of recovery and it is a certainty that he will continue the fight against the Mysterons.