Mission To Africa is a comic-book story, first published in TV Century 21 issues 59-65, 5th March-16th April 1966.
Dr Adams and his pilot Peters are flying to Madagascar to save the ailing statesman General N'Mobo when their atomic-powered jet develops a malfunction. The plane crash-lands in the Kenya savannah, and whilst Adams and Peters survive their ordeal, their canisters of the life-saving heart stimulant Rexsta Seven are damaged. The two men are taken prisoner by Masai tribesmen, while the Rexsta Seven leaks into the landscape. As General N'Mobo's condition worsens, Jeff Tracy orders a search-and-rescue operation for Adams and Peters. The Thunderbirds' mission is complicated by strange behavior of the local wildlife, now contaminated by Rexsta Seven...
At London International Airport, Jeff Tracy is about to board the Fireflash Flight 739 to Tokyo when an announcement comes that his flight will be delayed by half an hour; Heart specialist Doctor Adams and his pilot Peters are given priority aboard his private atomic-powered aircraft as he is only person in the world who can save African General N'Mobo who is a hospital in Madagascar, suffering from a heart defect with only three days left to live. Adams and Peters have canisters of Rexsta Seven, a life-saving heart stimulant aboard their aircraft.
Two hours later, as the plane crosses over the Kenyan game reserve, the portside reactor in the aircraft blows, closely followed by misfiring from the starboard-side reactor, forcing the plane into a crash-landing. Back in Kenya, Doctor Adams and Peters survived the crash-landing, but the canisters of Rexsta Seven have being damaged. However, their ordeal is far from over. Nomadic Masai tribesmen have found them, and decide to take both men to their village. Meanwhile, the wind blows the Rexsta Seven compound from the wreckage of the aircraft into the trees and water holes of the local wildlife.
Whilst two helijet crews find the wreckage of Doctor Adams' plane, the doctor and his pilot Peters are taken by the Masai tribesmen to their kraal, where the tribe's elder tells Doctor Adams that they want them to cure Nyeupe Emune, their sacred Albino rhino; it is very sick, close to dying. However, Doctor Adams knows that he can't cure it, as he's a heart specialist - not a vet. Unaware of this, the tribe's elder wants their rhino saved or the doctor will never leave.
Meanwhile, the Rexsta Seven has contamined the local area so badly that it causes some elephants to fight each other, and the following morning, many dead animals and so many fights are spotted by Jim Spencer the Game Warden. Spencer reports the message of the dead animals and the missing doctor to Kenya Rescue Control Centre, which gets picked up by John aboard Thunderbird 5.
Having returned from Britain, Jeff sends Scott aboard Thunderbird 1 to find Doctor Adams. Scott makes contact with Game Warden Spencer and they meet each other at the wreckage of the crashed plane. Spencer explains that they were clearly forced away from the wreckage from some reason, so Scott sets off to scan the area.
Back at the Masai camp, Peters has lost patience - with General N'Mobo's live slipping away, he must get out. So, he sneaks out of the camp, only to come face-to-face with a very aggressive lion. Luckily, Scott sees the situation and uses the jets on his craft to divert the lion. Then, after landing, Scott uses the first aid kit to heal Peters, who explains the whole situation to Scott. Narrowly avoiding a bite by a snake, Scott calls Game Warden Spencer to take Peters to hospital, whilst he checks out the Masai camp. Time is running out fast as General N'Mobo has thirty-six hours left to live.
Scott lands Thunderbird 1 about half a mile away from the camp, but he realises that getting Doctor Adams out of the camp is easier said than done, especially with tribesmen standing guard right by the hut where the doctor is. Despite being spotted, Scott manages to escape unharmed. Reporting to Tracy Island, Scott explains the complication that they are now in; the Masai won't give away the doctor until their rhino is cured.
However, Brains has the solution; they must replace the albino rhino without the tribesmen noticing; that way, they'll free the doctor. So, whilst Brains and Tin-Tin work on modifications to some equipment, Jeff orders Scott to locate a replacement albino rhino. However, there's more trouble afoot as some buffalos use Thunderbird 1's supports as back scratchers, causing the huge craft to tip over. Quick thinking, Scott launches Thunderbird 1, and sets off to find another albino rhino.
Back on Tracy Island, with the modified equipment aboard Pod 2, Thunderbird 2 sets off with Virgil and Brains aboard; Brains needs to work out an antidote to cure the animals. Back in Kenya, Scott locates the replacement albino rhino, and soon, Thunderbird 2 arrives on the scene. However, upon landing, some rhinos charge towards Thunderbird 2, forcing Scott to clear them away. Then, raising the pod, Virgil drives out a converted tracked vehicle with extendable hydraulic arms attached. Scott gets into the second vehicle as a remote control system wasn't fitted. Virgil uses his machine to grab the rhino, but it breaks free, and two rhinos damage the machine in their anger.
Virgil manages to scramble out of the machine, and jumps into Scott's vehicle just in time. Skillfully, Scott manages to get hold of the albino rhino, and places inside a remote controlled cage vehicle. With both vehicles back on board Thunderbird 2, Scott returns to Thunderbird 1 to lead the way to Masai camp.
However, upon arrival at the camp, there's no sign of the doctor, the sick rhino or the tribe. With General N'Mobo's life expiring within seven hours, they must find them. Brains has a clever idea to cause a diversion. Once Thunderbird 2 unloads the cage vehicle and hands remote control over to Scott, they use water (filled up aboard the giant transporter from a watering hole) to create rain, which is sacred for the Masai tribe. With the Masai tribe in excitement about the rain, Scott gets the caged vehicle into the camp. With the Masai's rhino now dead, he exchanges it for the healthy duplicate.
Then, Scott finds Doctor Adams in his hut without anyone guarding it. With time rapidly running out fast for General N'Mobo, Virgil takes Doctor Adams to Madagascar, whilst Scott sets off back to Britain to collect more Rexsta Seven. Once back in Madagascar, Scott delivers the medicine where Doctor Adams has just completed the heart operation on the General.
Back in Kenya, Virgil uses Thunderbird 2 to spray Brains' antidote all over the plains, and within a hour, Game Warden Spencer reports to Virgil that the antidote has worked. Scott checks out the Masai tribe, who are very happy as they think that their sick rhino was cured by Doctor Adams. Then, as Thunderbirds 1 and 2 set off for home, Doctor Adams informs International Rescue that General N'Mobo is recovering from his operation.
(In order of appearance)
- Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward
- Jeff Tracy
- Doctor Adams
- Pilot Peters
- General N'Mobo (mentioned)
- John Tracy
- Scott Tracy
- The Masai Tribe
- The Rescue Helijet Pilot
- Tin-Tin Kyrano
- Jim Spencer
- Virgil Tracy