The first major international organisation to fall victim to the global recession was WASP, the World Aquanaut Security Patrol. Funding cuts saw it broken up into smaller national units, many of which were immediately disbanded. Marineville, that icon of postwar internationalism and sixties design, was auctioned off to International Leisure, a division of Tracy International. It now combines a high-tech gated community with an exclusive resort. Its successful hosting of G7, G8 and G10 meetings, far from the media and even further from protestors, only enhanced its reputation among business elites. A retirement village for the super-rich is currently under construction.
ASP-UK, advised to expand its range of activities while right-sizing its operations, diversified into pollution monitoring, landfill management and recycling facilities. Around this time, mute amphibian beauty Marina became a subject of interest to Immigration Services. Sans papier and facing internment, she quietly disappeared, apparently preferring to return to life beneath the seas as one of Titan’s slave-girls. Six months later, Captain Troy Tempest, fresh from rehab, married Lieutenant Atlanta Shore. Acrimonous divorce followed within the year.
Spectrum also suffered massive cuts as European governments shifted military funding away from international collaborations. Angel Interceptors were replaced with ill-suited Eurofighters, and the cost of retrofitting them to Cloudbase’s unique launch systems became just one more reason to scrap this ‘airborne monument to Keynesian folly and excess’. When irreconcilable differences in management styles saw attempts to share resources with SHIELD collapse, the fate of Spectrum was sealed. It slowly shrank to a clearing house for commissioning Private Military Contractors before formally disbanding.
Captain Scarlet, once the heroic face of this proud organisation, spent his final years as a Spectrum agent attending corporate events in a desperate bid to find alternative income streams. The extent of this desperation only became apparent when footage of a five-thousand-dollar-a-plate event was leaked onto youtube, showing Scarlet being shot and killed – over and over again – by drunken executives at ten thousand dollars a bullet. You can see in his eyes that he knows it will never be enough.
In later years, Scarlet became the repeated victim of Joe McClaine, a stalker suffering from multiple personality disorder. As a child, Joe was the subject of systematic abuse by his scientist father, apparently condoned – and certainly covered up – by his employers, the shadowy World Intelligence Network. During the course of his trial, Joe manifested as many as 90 different personalities. Ironically, Scarlet and his would-be killer are currently in separate wings of the same asylum.
One figure to ride out, and indeed profit from, the recession and era of austerity was billionairre Jeff Tracy. His reputation, however, took quite a beating. Media outlets controlled by Tracy International depict him as a very private man, withdrawn and introspective. Critics, however, insist that he no longer dare show his face in public after the scandals that rocked International Rescue. Did the CIA really subcontract extraordinary rendition abductions to International Rescue? Was Thunderbird 2 being used for human trafficking? What exactly happened to that refugee flotilla that sank without a survivor less than a mile from Tracy Island?
Jeff Tracy sporadically attempts to win back public support, philanthropically endangering the lives of his poorly-trained sons (and bystanders) by disregarding health and safety regulations in emergency situations. Courtesy of striking firefighters and ambulance crews, the once-lauded Tracy brothers are now commonly known as Scab Rescue.