by A21 Reporter Andy Clems
Following the dramatic rescue of the crew of Artemis Base, International Rescue were preparing to leave the scene when the power core under the facility began to show signs of going critical.
Wasting no time, the Tracy brothers contacted Brains by intra-solar video phone and gave him the full rundown on the disturbing readings. The brilliant scientist calculated that if the power core exploded, the devastation would be enough to threaten hundreds of lives in nearby lunar installations.
With the primary core control systems in Artemis Base inoperative, Scott and Virgil had no choice but to make the perilous descent to the core itself in an attempt to stabilise the reaction using the secondary override.
Alan kept Thunderbird 3 clear, poised and ready to fly to his brothers’ aid at a moments notice. Quad-circuit contact was maintained between Scott, Virgil, Alan and HQ at all times. However, as Scott and Virgil neared the core, their transmissions began to break up.
Virgil reported that the core temperature was rapidly approaching critical and estimated a deadly explosion in less than ten minutes. The vast chamber housing the core was situated deep under the lunar surface, but not deep enough to prevent massive collateral damage when it detonated. International Rescue quickly reviewed their potential options as precious seconds ticked by.
Time was a commodity they were fast running out of and every potential practical solution would take too long to implement. With less than five minutes to go, Brains stumbled on the answer in the schematics provided by the World Space Patrol. Artemis had a self-destruct system – a last resort safeguard built-in that was was designed to prevent the base falling into enemy hands, while minimizing the potential for damage to the surrounding civilian colonies.
Relaying the information to Scott and Virgil, Brains explained that the majority of the explosive charges for the self destruct system were positioned in such a way that they would bury the power core under countless tons of rock, while the surface buildings were blown apart by conventional explosive blasts.
Rushing to the manual override controls, Virgil keyed in the code sequence relayed by Brains and set the detonation timer for 2 minutes, barely enough time to get back to Thunderbird 3, but with luck it would be just enough to bury the core before the main explosion.
Scrambling back up the service shaft, Scott and Virgil burst out onto the lunar surface as Alan touched down and opened the hatch of the mighty spaceship. The final seconds of the auto-destruct timer ticked by and in a wave of blinding light flashes, the charges ringing Artemis Base blew themselves apart. As the huge rocket surged upwards to safety, a colossal ripple shattered the surface around the base into fragments as the power core exploded.
However, thanks to Brains’ quick thinking and the courageous actions of the Tracy brothers, the damage was contained to the area surrounding the World Space Patrol base. Reports from nearby lunar colonies indicate they experienced minor tremors like “mini-earthquakes”, but no serious damage has been reported and thankfully there have been no injuries.
Once again through these pages, we thank International Rescue and congratulate them on a job well done!