"The Big Freeze" is a comic-strip story originally published in TV Century 21 Issues 99 to 104, 10th December 2066 to 14th January 2067. It was written by Alan Fennell and illustrated by Frank Bellamy.
At the North Pole, a joint weapons test is conducted by the World Navy carrier Greenland and the World Army base Camp 21st Century, which has unforeseen consequences that result in the destruction of the underground base's nuclear power plant. A standby generator will keep the staff alive for two weeks, but worsening weather conditions make it impossible to bring them a permanent replacement. It soon becomes clear that if the cold doesn't kill them, then the leaking radiation will. The rescue mission will need the combined might of three Thunderbird machines, working in a deadly sub-zero environment...
On top of the world, the World Army base called Camp 21st Century is fifty feet beneath the ice cap where a top level conference is taking place. A plan is afoot for a laser missile destructor test, which will take place the following day (Wednesday) at 14:00 hours. Also, they enforce a maximum security within Polar Regions 7, 8 and 9. John Tracy aboard Thunderbird 5 informs his father Jeff about this, which allows Scott to launch Thunderbird 1 to carry out the Arctic tests; Brains has installed special polar region navigation equipment aboard Thunderbird 1.
Eighteen hours later, Scott launches Thunderbird 1 bound for the Arctic Circle. Meanwhile in the freezing cold, the World Navy missile carrier Greenland launches a missile as part of the excerise, then, two laser rays from underneath the ice make contact with the missile, hitting it dead on target. However, the missile goes out of control, crashing into the nuclear power plant, destroying the reactor in the process.
Camp 21st Century switches over to the standby generator, however as it will only last a fortnight, a new reactor is required urgently and it can only come from Baffin Island. At Cape Adair on Baffin Island, Captain Terence is given his orders to deliver the new reactor to Camp 21st Century without fail. So, with the reactor safely loaded aboard the World Navy ice-breaker "Shackleton", Captain Terence sets off five hundred miles northwards. However, the ship soon finds itself stuck in very thick and strong ice.
Meanwhile, Jeff tells Scott to call off the tests as he must check out the Baffin Bay sea conditions, which have closed down the progress of the "Shackleton". Back at Camp 21st Century, army scientists realise that part of the reactor chamber shields is weakening due to leaking radiation. Then, once inside the command sector, one of the scientists collapses due to radiation sickness. To make matters worse, the raging blizzard sweeps up sparks from the reactor waste shafts, sending cinders into an air intake shaft - and then, sparks ignite the diesel generator fuel stores, wiping out their power supply.
On Tracy Island, Virgil, Alan and Gordon set off aboard Thunderbird 2, bound for the North Pole. Once in the polar region, Virgil fires a low yield missile to break the ice, so allowing Thunderbird 2 to unload Thunderbird 4. Once his submarine is under the ice, Gordon uses the laser beam to melt the ice, allowing the "Shackleton" to move on. Meanwhile, Thunderbird 2 meets up with Thunderbird 1 when Virgil realises a problem: Thunderbird 1's fuselage heating systems have failed, icing up the aircraft. Quickly, Virgil positions Thunderbird 2 over Thunderbird 1 to use the downward thrusts to melt the ice.
Once at Camp 21st Century, and after carrying out the repairs, Scott takes the sick scientist to Baffin Hospital whilst Alan and Virgil hook Thunderbird 2 up to the camp base to supply emergency power. Then, Alan takes the Firefly out of the pod to put out the reactor fire. Going deep inside the reactor tunnel, the Firefly reaches the raging inferno and Alan fires a nitro-glycerine shell into the flames; however, it blows back, forcing the Firefly backwards with tremendous force. Despite being bruised and the Firefly dented, Alan carries on until the fire is finally extinguished. Meanwhile, thanks to Thunderbird 4, the "Shackleton" arrives at Camp 21st Century.
Virgil picks Alan and the Firefly up aboard Thunderbird 2 and meet up with the "Shackleton" where Alan unloads the Transporters from the pod. Then, using Thunderbird 2, Virgil collects the new reactor, and then, the Transporters carry the new reactor to Camp 21st Century, and twenty-four hours later, the army base is back under full power; also, the camp base general thanks International Rescue for their help.
(In order of appearance)
- Jeff Tracy
- Base General (Camp 21st Century)
- John Tracy
- Radio Operator (Unnamed)
- Lieutenant (Camp 21st Century)
- Sergeant (Camp 21st Century)
- Scott Tracy
- World Navy Admiral
- Captain Terence
- Lieutenant (World Navy)
- Frank (Army Scientist)
- Unnamed Army Scientists
- Virgil Tracy
- Alan Tracy
- Gordon Tracy