"Okay Mr Panda, let's get out of here" Virgil positioned himself behind the heavy cargo crate, ready to manoeuvre it out of the belly of the damaged aircraft.
Another powerful plasma strike sent shockwaves wracking through the structure causing Virgil to lose his footing, grasping the crate with his power-suit to steady himself.
"Virgil! We're losing the slide!" Gordon cried out, the stress from piloting Thunderbird Two through deadly plasma bolts evident in his voice.
"I'm on my way!"
Diving down the escape tube, his grapple arm leading the fall, Virgil attempted to locate the fault with the slide before-
Virgil was unaware of the strangled howl that he produced as he fell through the broken escape tube, grappling both sections with the power-suit.
Each muscle and tendon strained as they stretched, threatening to snap as they were wrenched between the two sections of shifting slide. Virgil scrunched his eyes shut and grunted breathlessly as his body was overcome with agonising pain.
Another wretched yelp came when he felt the top of his humerus bone finally surrender, no longer able to stay locked within the socket joint of his right shoulder, dislocating loudly.
The grapple arm was unable to maintain its hold on the escape tube attached to Thunderbird Two, ripping completely free from the rear of the power suit accompanied by a sickening snap from his left arm.
Overcome by the immense wave of pain as his arm fractured, the pilot cried out in pain, the sensation immediately followed by torturous agony when his dislocated shoulder became solely responsible for bearing the entire weight of his body and power-suit.
He felt his vision begin tunnelling into a black abyss.
"VIRGIL!" Gordon finally found his voice, tears stinging his eyes as he watched his older brother hanging limply from the remaining section of escape tube.
"Gordon? Virgil? What's happening? RESPOND!" Scott barked, pulling the nose of the aircraft up as to further slow the descent.
Scott registered various noises; traumatised passengers whimpering, one brother's pain and anguish, and another brother's terrified screams.
"Gordon, listen to me, you need to secure Thunderbird Two’s grapples to the aircraft," Scott ordered, his voice laced with an unsettling fear that Gordon had not heard before, "I'll use Thunderbird One to help knock the speed out of this descent."
"F.A.B." came Gordon's quiet response, "Just hang in there Virgil, stay with us big guy."
Searing pain threatening to overwhelm him, Virgil wrestled to stay conscious, vaguely aware of his brother's petrified pleas.
Gordon fired the grapples at the aircraft and hauled power through Thunderbird Two’s mighty VTOL thrusters, the stricken aircraft lurching to a halt to hang precariously between both Thunderbirds.
Scott was already dropping from Thunderbird One with his jet pack before he could fully process what was happening or what had become of his steadfast brother. The air cracked like raging fire around him as he sped towards Virgil desperate to get full visual on his brother and the extent of his injuries.
Scott's whole world fell from beneath him as his eyes lock onto his kind-natured comatose brother, hurtling towards the churning ocean below, having finally lost his courageous battle with consciousness.
The eldest Tracy powered full throttle towards the waves that were already swallowing the weight of the power-suit that had now taken his brother prisoner. Scott was forced to watch as Virgil's face sank and began to fade away beneath the waves.
Gordon set the autopilot to maintain height and reassured the passengers that he'd be right back. Lowering the platform beneath the green aircraft, he checked his breathing apparatus and prepared himself for the dive. Gordon watched Scott frantically pawing and splashing around in the waves beneath him.
Hysterical is not a word that either John or Gordon would have ever associated with their strong and stoic eldest brother. Yet as Scott's desperate screams and pleas filled the coms, John fought back his own panicked tears. He instead busied himself monitoring Virgil's vital signs, noting his breathing had become choked.
"He's drowning," John shrieked, composure lost as he pleaded, feeling utterly helpless as the vitals flashed before him, "Gordon please!"
Taking a final deep breath, Gordon jumped into a precipitous dive like a bullet into the swirling cold water beneath. Scott barely acknowledged the splash Gordon created as he entered the water nearby.
Searching through the murky waters, Gordon finally caught a glimpse of the black and yellow chevrons adorning Virgil's power-suit. He kicked powerfully to his descending brother, using every ounce of power until his legs and arms were burning from the effort.
Carefully slipping his arm around Virgil's chest, immediately beginning to remove the power-suit deadweight that was pulling them further to the depths, Gordon turned and swam as fast as he could manage towards Scott's thrashing body, pulling his injured brother with him. The air held within his lungs burning like acid as he dared to hold it in for the last molecule of oxygen he could use to propel them upward, the sunlight glistening into his eyes.
As they surfaced, Gordon removed Virgil's helmet and pressed his cheek to listen for any sings of breathing.
"Go, now!" Gordon shouted, pushing his unconscious brother into Scott's waiting arms.
Wide caramel eyes met with fearful steely blues.
"Thank you," the eldest offered as he turned and fired a grapple line at Thunderbird One, attaching the line to Virgil's belt and ascending together.
Scott dragged his lifeless brother’s body onto One's cold metal floor, the space cramped and bare in comparison to the spacious well-stocked medical bay in Thunderbird Two. Rolling Virgil onto his back, he begins the arduous task of removing the top half of his brother’s soaked flight suit.
"John," Scott gasped hoarsely, eyes flickering across Virgil’s unmoving chest, "you need to pilot One back for me, he's not breathing John, he's still not breathing!"
"I’ve slaved controls to my command... Focus, Scott," John's hologram swept into view as he began to manoeuvre Thunderbird One back towards the island, "begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation now, I'll count you through whilst I get you home, ready? One… Two… Three… Four…"
Scott placed the heel of his hand on the centre of Virgil's broad chest, then placed the other hand on top and began a steady rate of compressions in time with John's counting.
"One… Two… Three… Four… One… Two… Three… Four… One… Two… Three… Four… One… Two… Three… Four… One… Two… Three… Four… One… Two… Three… Four… One… Two…"
He tilted his brother's head gently and lifted his chin up, pinching Virgil's nose and sealing his own mouth over blue-tinted lips, breathing steadily and firmly into his younger brother's mouth. Checking his sibling’s chest rose with each breath, he repeated the process twice after every set of chest compressions.
"One… Two… Three… Four…"
Scott felt beads of sweat dripping like tears from his forehead, hoping the pops he was feeling within Virgil's chest were just the shift of intercostal muscles from the movement.
"One… Two… Three… Four… One… Two… Three… Four…"
"Come on Virg, don't you dare fucking leave us," Scott sobbed, never once stopping the compressions, "please, just breathe for me, come on."
Scott's own breathing was becoming erratic and strained. A sickening crunch under his palms signaled that one of Virgil's ribs had indeed fractured from the pressure being exerted on his sternum.
"Two… Three… Four… One… Two… Five minutes and you'll be home Scott, Two… Three… Four…"
Gordon feelt nothing but an aching numbness inside as he piloted his brother's beloved 'bird back to base, the young aquanaut having dropped off the disabled aircraft and its passengers to their destination, not even powering down Two's engines, before pushing the green behemoth to it's limits to get back to his older brothers.
He had been listening to John count Scott through CPR, finding the rhythmic counting had a bizarrely relaxing effect as he flew the short distance to base.
"One… Two… Three… Four… One… Two… Three…"
A quiet spluttering cough filled all communications.
Brains monitored Virgil's readings for several hours, administering painkillers when necessary. It had been almost impossible to do anything when Virgil arrived until Kayo had removed all the fussing and panicking brothers from the infirmary.
They had been allowed to return only once Kayo had assisted Brains setting the broken and dislocated bones. Virgil had stabilised quickly after the painkillers kicked in.
"Dislocated right shoulder, left radius and ulna fractured, fractured rib and extensive muscle damage," John reeled off, scanning the medical notes, "you really went for it this time didn't you Virg?"
A pleasant laughter filled the infirmary. It was rare that all five of the Tracy brothers were ever in the same room together. They huddled quietly around Virgil's bed.
"Sorry about the ribs, Virg," Scott sighed, glancing at his chestnut-eyed brother.
"I'm enjoying… each… and every… painful breath," Virgil smiled painfully, reaching for Scott's hand, "it means… I'm alive… to feel the pain."