We have received a report that International Rescue and the World Aquanaut Security Patrol joined forces to battle a terrifying ocean inferno threatening major shipping routes in the North Pacific.
The disaster unfolded when the bulk fuel carrier MT Superior suffered a critical hull breach after a collision with an unidentified submerged vessel.
The Superior’s cargo of highly volatile superon fuel began gushing from the main hold moments after the collision. Security hatches were deployed, but the damage to the hull rendered them ineffective. The ship’s Captain sent out a general distress call and activated the emergency beacon to warn nearby shipping to keep their distance and was preparing to send repair crews to inspect the damage when there was an explosion off the port bow and the surface of the ocean ignited in a sea of fire.
Without a moment’s hesitation, the Captain ordered her crew into the emergency escape pods and they blasted clear of the ship with seconds to spare. The flames leapt across the tanker’s hull and a huge fireball engulfed the vessel. If it had not been for the Captain’s timely actions, the crew would certainly have perished in the blast.
But they were not yet out of danger. The fuel spillage had spread and their small escape pods were drifting towards the raging inferno. As the flames drew nearer, it seemed like all hope was lost. Suddenly, in a whoosh of engine jets, Thunderbird 2 appeared through the dense smoke in the sky above them.
The mighty green craft hovered lower until the stricken crew could make out an open hatch on the underside. In moments, a rescue capsule was dropping towards them and the Captain and her crew boarded it and were pulled to safety. Thunderbird 2 pulled away from the fire and when it reached a safe distance, dropped Pod 4 onto the water. The giant flap lowered, the ramp slid forward, and Thunderbird 4 raced down into the waves.
Gordon Tracy was at the controls and radioed an assessment to Virgil and Brains in Thunderbird 2. The fire appeared to have spread further than anticipated and it looked like it was going to be tricky to contain. A blip on the sonar scope caught Gordon’s attention and almost at the same time he received a hail from Captain Troy Tempest announcing Stingray’s imminent arrival.
The sleek WASP craft pulled alongside the smaller International Rescue vessel and they were soon engaged in tri-circuit communication with Thunderbird 2, discussing the best course of action to tackle the blaze. Brains postulated that a precisely calculated spread of missiles carrying carefully prepared charges could be enough to snuff the fire out. The calculations took time, but not so long as they would have taken anyone without Brains’ genius.
Setting the destructive yield of their missiles as instructed, Thunderbird 4 and Stingray moved into firing positions, spaced a few hundred yards apart, roughly parallel to each other. The attack computers were programmed with targeting information and on Virgil’s command, Gordon and Troy pressed the firing buttons.
A barrage of missiles streaked from both craft, each one racing through the water on its own trajectory to a pre-determined point of detonation. Brains glanced at his watch, making a mental countdown to himself. As he reached zero, he looked out of Thunderbird 2’s window in time to see a series of dazzling explosions erupt across the surface of the sea. A great column of water was blasted clear of the ocean and fell with the force of a tidal wave, knocking out any smaller areas of the blaze that hadn’t been extinguished by the force of the explosions.
There were cheers all around as Virgil confirmed they’d done it and Gordon was just about to head for the Pod when another sonar echo flickered onto his screen. It was followed by a second and they were closing fast. Troy’s voice crackled over the radio, confirming that Phones had detected two Mechanical Fish on an intercept course. With his face drawn in a grim smile, Gordon realized that the enemy craft must have caused the fuel tanker’s hull breach.
Virgil ordered Gordon back to the Pod, knowing that Thunderbird 4’s compliment of missiles had been exhausted and in any case it wasn’t equipped for full combat. Troy agreed, moving Stingray into a defensive position between Gordon’s craft and the approaching Mechanical Fish.
Reluctantly, Gordon retreated and had barely returned Thunderbird 4 to the Pod when the sound of the first explosion reached him. Virgil lowered Thunderbird 2 to the surface of the water and narrowly retrieved the central section from the path of another enemy projectile. As the freighter aircraft took to the sky, Gordon burst onto the flight deck and saw Stingray submerge at speed, pursued by the two monstrous submersibles from Titan’s fearsome armada.
He knew Troy was right and that Thunderbird 4 would have been a sitting duck in such an onslaught, particularly with its missiles spent, but he felt powerless to help in Thunderbird 2’s control cabin. Then an idea hit him and and he raced to the forward equipment bay on the lower deck.
Taking up his position behind the high-powered demolition cannon, he looped Virgil and Troy into his frequency. Rapidly, he informed them of his plan and smiled when he heard the knowing grin through the tension in Troy’s voice. Virgil lowered the craft closer to the water, sitting about a hundred feet from the surface.
Gordon’s finger rested steadily on the trigger of the demolition cannon as he saw the silver, blue and yellow shape of Stingray through the water, but he was focused on the two dark shapes closing behind it. Then, in an incredible piece of piloting, Stingray broke the surface and performed a flawless dolphin breach, arching up into the air and angling downward for the graceful plunge back into the sea.
Just as Gordon had hoped, one of the Mechanical Fish tried to follow the stunt and as its ugly bow emerged, Gordon took his shot. The explosive charge, usually reserved for clearing rockfalls, struck the enemy vessel like a bolt of lightning. The Mechanical Fish smashed onto its side on the surface and began to sink quickly. Gordon saw two Aquaphibians retreating from their damaged vessel. It would be a long swim back to Titanica, he thought sourly.
Meanwhile, Stingray had managed to gain the upper hand in the battle against the remaining Mechanical Fish. Pushing the throttle to maximum, Troy closed in for the kill. At the last possible moment, he fired the sting missile and the rear section of the enemy craft disintegrated in a blinding flash of fire.
After the exciting events of the day, Stingray returned to Marineville to report an increased likelihood of attacks on shipping in the area and International Rescue delivered the crew of the Superior back home, where they are reported to be none the worse for wear after their explosive adventure.