TB - Solar Danger

"Solar Danger" is a comic-strip story originally published in TV Century 21 Issues 83-90, 20th August to 3rd December 2066 (1966). It was written by Alan Fennell, and illustrated by Frank Bellamy and Don Harley.

A heatwave is welcome news for many; but as temperatures continue to rise, the effect on Earth is devastating - earthquakes, floods and droughts place countless lives in danger. International Rescue is stretched to the limit by the demand for its services, and Jeff tells Brains to discover the reason behind the freak weather. The source is the overheating Sun, which Brains deduces is about to expel a piece of debris so large that it will form a new planet. Only International Rescue can react fast enough to avert a global disaster. Thunderbird 3 is launched and Operation Sunburst begins...


Planet Earth is basking in a record heat wave, however it quickly has an impact all across the globe as droughts, floods and earthquakes occur, and as a result, International Rescue find themselves working overtime to keep up with the increasing volume of emergencies. On Tracy Island, Brains tells Jeff that the sun is clearly showing rather unique activity as there's clearly no break from the heat wave yet. Then, an very unusual occurrence takes place in Wales, Great Britain - a dead volcano erupts!

As Scott aboard Thunderbird 1 investigates the mysterious eruption, Alan and Brains take Thunderbird 3 to Thunderbird 5 so they can use the solar telescope; but not before making a diversion to the Moon to investigate strange space debris which have just landed there. Brains realises that the space debris is the very same specimen as the solar star, the Sun, which is clearly where they came from.

Upon arrival at Thunderbird 5, Brains observes the Sun from the telescope when he, John and Alan witness pieces of the Sun breaking away, which is why the Earth is reacting with quakes and volcanoes. Knowing how serious the situation is, Brains informs Jeff that a closer inspection of the Sun is required, so Jeff contacts the World President.

In Unity City, the World President is at a meeting with space scientists when his assistant, Clifford, tells him that he's needed in his private office straight away as the leader of International Rescue requires to talk to him via his videophone, despite the fact he refuses to be interrupted. Once in his private office, Clifford tells the World President that it's impossible to get a picture on his videophone due to an artificial barrier; therefore, maintaining International Rescue's secrecy.

Talking on his videophone, Jeff informs the World President that, due to the unusual super-activity of the Sun, the whole world is in danger, and he requests his permission for them to carry out an investigation of the solar star immediately; otherwise, it would take thirty-six hours for other space organisations. At first, the World President thinks that it's a ridiculous proposal; however, he eventually agrees and gives International Rescue permission to carry out the investigation.

Thunderbird 3 is ordered back to Earth, and Brains and Alan prepare themselves and the spaceship for the dangerous mission. Several days later after Thunderbird 3 is launched, Thunderbird 1 returns to base. Scott is informed by his father that it will be some days before Thunderbird 3 reaches the danger zone.

Several days later, when Thunderbird 3 reaches near the gravity field of the Sun, Alan and Brains don on protective clothing. Also, the radiation makes it impossible for contact with Tracy Island, so they are on their own. In case they black out, they switch the photographic camera onto auto. Then, just when a piece of debris breaks from the Sun, Alan realises a problem: they are within the gravity field and, despite firing the booster rockets, they're now on collision course with the Sun.

Almost blacking out, Brains orders Alan to fire the booster rockets again, and this time they respond, allowing Thunderbird 3 to escape from the Sun. After an inspection of their spaceship, Brains reports to Jeff, who's glad to hear his voice again. Once Thunderbird 3 returns to Tracy Island, Brains projects the film of the solar activity, and explains to Jeff that the Sun is throwing up waste matter, and if the solar debris continues, it go into orbit, forming into a new planet; however, it's side-effect would cause adjustments to the solar system.

Jeff contacts the World President again, and informs him that the entire Milky Way is in immediate danger. But, there's only one way to save it: destroy the solar debris before it escapes the Sun's gravity field, which means the world's most powerful bomb is required immediately.

Four hours later, Virgil and Gordon aboard Thunderbird 2 are ordered by Jeff to Space City to collect a planetomic bomb. Once at Space City, Thunderbird 2 unloads a cradle vehicle, and Gordon and Virgil carefully drive it through many check points to meet Commander Zero, who uses a sensitised panel to activate the controls which lifts the planetomic bomb out of its refrigerator lair. Once the bomb is carefully placed onto the cradle vehicle, Virgil and Gordon drive it carefully back to Thunderbird 2 with a security escort. Then, they set off back to base. Meanwhile, Alan and Brains are installing new isotope circuits to Thunderbird 3, to give them maximum speed.

Thunderbird 2 returns to base, and then, an hour later, the planetomic bomb is loaded aboard Thunderbird 3, and then, Alan and Brains set off for the Sun once again. A few days later, Brains is worried that they might be too late to save the solar system, so he tells Alan to fire the isotope circuits, which he does even it means risking their lives.

Once Thunderbird 3 is within the Sun's gravity field, a piece of solar debris breaks from the Sun, and re-enters it. When another solar debris escapes, Brains orders Alan to fire the missile, and then, the planetomic bomb is launched and destroys the solar debris. But, before they can escape, the blast from the almighty explosion sends Thunderbird 3 flinging into outer space, knocking Brains and Alan out in the process.

Having heard no contact from Thunderbird 3 for the past two days, Jeff is deeply concerned. Luckily, John picks up a faint reading on the deep space scanner, and realises that Thunderbird 3 is on collision course with Venus. In desperation, Jeff tries in vain to contact Thunderbird 3 as the spaceship enters Venus' atmosphere with its dense gas vapour reducing communications. Realising that they've totally lost base, Alan and Brains try in vain to steer Thunderbird 3, only to land in a splashdown into a sulphur lake; but not before, encountering an attack from a vicious monster from the depths of the lake.

Thunderbird 3 sinks down into the lake, which prompts Brains and Alan to activate the protective shields to seal up the cabin. However, the monster dives down towards the stricken spaceship; quickly, Alan discards some isotopes, which the monsters swallows, killing it instantly; but it smashes into Thunderbird 3 in the process, breaking the air lock, causing sulphur to leak into the spaceship.

Back on Tracy Island, knowing that they must save their spaceship as well as Alan and Brains, the Tracy brothers prepare Thunderbird 1 for space with installation of Grade 10 emergency boosters, and then, Scott launches Thunderbird 1 into space. Also, Thunderbirds 2 and 4 will be required, so Virgil and Gordon make preparations.

Meanwhile on Venus, Brains and Alan don anti-chemical suits, and go out into the depths of the lake to inspect the damage, which is nothing more than a hair-line crack. Using sealing compound, they make the repairs. However, their efforts doesn't go unnoticed by another monster; with long sharp teeth and tentacles, this one is much more vicious than the last one! Quickly, Brains and Alan hide within the depths, however, knowing that their suits won't protect them from the sulphur, they go up to the surface once the monster is out of the way.

Flying across space, Scott aboard Thunderbird 1 is a day away from Venus, whilst on Tracy Island, Virgil and Tin-Tin are installing nine booster reactors to Thunderbird 2; and Gordon is applying an anti-acid skin to Thunderbird 4.

As the day draws to a close on Venus, Brains and Alan are on the planet's surface, starting to make a bonfire as a signal for Thunderbird 1 as the dense atmosphere causes poor communication. However, Brains gets badly distracted by the Venusian vegetation, only for one particular monster plant to wrap its leaves around Brains, ready to eat him. Luckily, Alan hears Brains' call for help, and carefully firing his gun, he kills the monster plant, releasing Brains from its deadly grip. With their bonfire alight, Brains and Alan take in turns to keep watch and sleep, and luckily for them, the bonfire keeps the monsters at bay within the lake.

As Thunderbird 2 launches from Tracy Island, Scott aboard Thunderbird 1 finally arrives at Venus, to the relief of Alan and Brains. But, their relief is short-lived as the sharp-teethed tentacle monster leaps up from the lake, grasping Thunderbird 1. Quick thinking, Scott powers up his craft to full power, releasing it from the monster, and narrowly avoiding a dive into the lake. Then, Scott launches two missiles from Thunderbird 1, killing the monster which falls back into the lake. Once Thunderbird 1 lands, Scott joins Brains and Alan. With this part of Venus quite unfriendly, the sooner Thunderbird 2 arrives the better.

Many miles away across space, Thunderbird 2 receives a warning from Thunderbird 5 of a meteorite shower blocking its path. Virgil tries to adjust the controls, but with Thunderbird 2 being a slower craft, they just avoid it; but not before taking a pounding. Miles off course, Thunderbird 2 finally arrives at Venus.

With everyone together, they make a plan. Thunderbird 2 needs to lift Thunderbird 3 out of the lake with Thunderbird 4 securing the cables. However, when examining the winches, Virgil realises that the meteorite damaged the winch motors, which might cause a blow-back. Despite the risk to Thunderbird 2, they haven't got any other choice. So, Gordon launches Thunderbird 4 into the lake, but he has being warned about the presence of monsters.

In the lake, Gordon reports to Scott that he spots a tiny monster, however, a whole school of tiny monsters surround his submarine. With quick advice from Brains, Gordon discards the atomic waste into the lake, and after turning 180 degrees, Thunderbird 4 goes back into the atomic waste, causing the tiny monsters to die. Then, Thunderbird 4 proceeds to Thunderbird 3.

Up on the surface, Scott orders Virgil to release the cables, but Virgil is still worried about the damaged winch motors. Nevertheless, the cables are lowered and Gordon attaches them to Thunderbird 3. Then, Thunderbird 2's winch motors wind up to full power. However, Virgil's worst fears are realized! A blow-back! The strain is too much for them! Virgil reports to Scott about the danger, but Scott insists that he must keep going. With the winches screaming and glowing red-hot, Virgil must keep them going in order to save Thunderbird 3. Eventually, Thunderbird 3 is out of the lake.

Then, Virgil and Brains examine Thunderbird 2 carefully and bring Thunderbird 4 back on board. Meanwhile, Alan, Scott and Gordon replenish Thunderbird 3's isotope stocks. Then, two days later, Thunderbirds 1, 2 and 3 escape Venus' gravity, and set off across space back to Earth.


(in order of appearance)


  • This comic-strip story features Space City from "Fireball XL5".
  • References to Sun Probe are made in this story.