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by Jerry Attwooll

Chapter 1: Casing The Joint

           The serene calm of the Pacific Ocean was only momentarily disturbed by the air displacement originating from the helicopter's rotors as it flew low over the water.
           The sun reflected brightly on the shimmering ocean as the chopper continued westward on its flight. 
            The cool female, redheaded passenger of the three occupants had a question.
            "Why have you brought us out here Ray?" Asked Mandy Winger. 
            Ray Stryker continued looking towards the horizon and considered his answer. A muscular man, over six feet tall and with cold soulless eyes, Stryker often thought of himself as a criminal mastermind. His career had been at least in part successful in that he had never seen the inside of a penitentiary and had always managed to avoid arrest. Part of this was down to the fear he instilled in fellow conspirators and contacts. Ray Stryker was known throughout the underworld as a man you did not cross.
            Finally he turned to look at Mandy, but his answer fell short of what she had been expecting.
            "You'll see"

            Brains was hunched over Braiman's control box, with a screw driver. He was forever trying to improve on his robot's capabilities and this was one time when things had been very quiet. International Rescue had not received a distress call for several days now. Suddenly a signal alerted Brains to an approaching air vehicle and he looked up at the map of Tracy Island on the wall of his laboratory. A radar signal traced the path of the oncoming vehicle. Brains immediately flicked a switch on the console and directed the signal into the main lounge in the luxurious villa.
            Jeff Tracy looked at the signal, which had appeared on a video screen previously occupied by a portrait of his youngest son, Alan. It was not that the Tracy Family was antisocial or did not appreciate visitors, but with the island's real, secret use, the arrival of strangers always had the potential for causing problems. 
            "Hm, looks like we might have visitors again" Grunted Jeff at Virgil and Scott, who were each sitting reading different scientific journals.
            "Possibly more admirers of Tin-Tin's." Teased Scott in Alan's direction. 
            The youngest Tracy brother did not dignify the quip with an answer, but merely shot him a sarcastic glance.
            "Well I suppose we better launch operation cover-up." Said Jeff.
            International Rescue's commander flicked a switch on his desk and the five portraits of his sons in uniform were replaced by paintings of them dressed casually. Scott, Virgil and Alan followed by their father then walked onto the patio outside the lounge that overlooked the swimming pool. They were waiting to catch first site of the incoming visitors. Scott pointed upwards as he caught first site of the helicopter.
            "There it is"
            "Look down there" Ray Stryker ordered to Mandy and the pilot, Probert. "Just take a look at that"
            Probert and Mandy Winger gasped as the chopper flew over the unspoilt island with the beautiful villa and unusual roundhouse in view.
            "Who lives there?" Asked Probert.
            "Ever hear of Jeff Tracy?" Answered Stryker.
            "Tracy…Tracy…" Mandy Winger was trying to think. "The billionaire industrialist." She gasped.
            "The very same." Replied Stryker. "That's his place and gentleman and lady our next target. He has to have any number of valuable things stashed on that island" 
            Stryker, along with his cohorts was of course unaware of just what treasures were hidden on Tracy Island.
            "Take us round again Probert." Stryker ordered.
            The pilot swung the chopper around in a wide arc and overflew Tracy Island from the East.
            "There, down there" Stryker pointed at the runway leading off the island towards the jetty. "There's the place to land when we return."
            "Are you sure about this Ray? How many people are we gonna come up against?" Mandy asked, concerned.
            "Well as far as I can see Tracy has his mother and son's live with him. There's also a cook and a girl…" He checked his notepad, " A Miss Kyrano, who makes regular shopping trips to the mainland to collect supplies"
            "Are you sure that's all?" Asked Probert.
            "How many more can there be living there? I tell you it's a synch. We'll get the rest of the gang together and pay Mr Tracy and his family and friends a little visit. Just think miles from anywhere and no cops within hundreds of miles, it's a perfect set-up. I have a real fancy we're gonna get rich this time around"
            Probert and Mandy could only agree as the chopper flew away from the island and they gasped at its outward opulence.
            On the patio all three brothers and their father were puzzled.
            "Who were they, why didn't they land?" Scott voiced the questions they were all thinking.
            "It was as if they were checking us out, father you don't think whoever it is could suspect what's really here?" Asked Alan.
            Jeff did his best to re-assure his siblings, even if he was not completely re-assured himself.
            "No son, I doubt it. We've got too many security precautions in place and we're too well hidden. Probably just a group of sightseers" 
            Jeff turned and walked back into the lounge and across to his desk. Whatever his words, he was deeply concerned about the motives of the helicopter's occupants. 

On to Chapter 2