This article is about the Mysterons, the alien race at war against the people of Earth in the original Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. For the instalment titled "The Mysterons," see "The Mysterons" (instalment).
The Mysterons is the self-reference of an alien race of presumably discorporate beings, believed originally to be from beyond our solar system, who are described as "sworn enemies of Earth" in the original 1960s series. They possess the power of reversing matter, named "retro-metabolism" by Doctor Fawn, giving them the ability to re-create an exact likeness of any person they have just killed or any object that they have just destroyed, and use those likenesses to achieve their objectives.
The Mysteron grievance
The Mysterons were originally peaceful beings who had no intention of destroying Earth and, indeed, were willing to welcome anyone who came to visit the planet where they had settled.
But one day, Spectrum Officer Captain Black and his team, consisting of his second-in-command Lieutenant Dean and his navigator Conway, were sent to Mars on "The Zero-X Mission" to investigate the strange signals that were coming from the planet. Captain Black had been chosen to command this mission because, as Conrad Turner, he had been a colonel in the World Space Patrol. After much searching in their Martian Exploration Vehicle, or MEV, they finally found the Mysteron complex. The Mysterons were pleased to have visitors who shared their curiosity about the Universe and were ready to welcome them. They decided to have a closer look and trained their surveillance camera on the MEV.
Unfortunately, when Captain Black and his team saw the camera facing them, they mistook it for a weapon. In a panic, and in violation of the orders of his superiors, who had given him orders to make peaceful contact and not take any hostile action, Captain Black ordered Dean to fire the MEV's missiles at the complex and completely obliterate it. When the complex seemed totally destroyed, Captain Black decided to go with Dean and examine the wreckage, where they would collect some samples and return them to Earth.
Meanwhile, however, the Mysterons were furious at this supposed "act of aggression," and to the surprise and horror of the Zero-X crew, they activated a projector which fired an eerie blue light that bathed the wreckage of the complex, reconstructing it with less effort than had been needed to destroy it.
As they were doing this, the Mysterons spoke for the first time:
- "Earthmen...we are peaceful beings. And you have tried to destroy us. But you cannot succeed. You and your people will pay for this act of aggression. This is the voice of the Mysterons. We know that you can hear us, Earthmen. Our retaliation will be slow, but nonetheless effective. It will mean the ultimate destruction of life on Earth. It will be useless for you to resist, for we have discovered the secret of reversing matter, as you have just witnessed."
- —The Mysterons
They then took over Captain Black's mind as a punishment and made him their primary agent and instrument in their plan for vengeance. (What happened to the other two Zero-X crew members was never revealed, but as Captain Black was the only person to return to Earth, two possibilities have been assumed; either that they were killed or that they were imprisoned in the Mysteron complex, in states of suspended animation, with their minds being probed for details of Earth defences.) Thus their war of nerves against Earth began.
The Spectrum Organisation, of which Captain Black was then an agent, now fought against this terrible threat; upon learning that Captain Black was still alive (in "Manhunt") and active on Earth, it issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of "war-monging," starting a war, and counts of murder in the first degree, owing to the normal Earth people he had killed to set up their takeovers at Mysteron hands. Leading the fight against the Mysterons was Captain Scarlet, who had originally been a Mysteron agent himself, but whom they had released from their control (because, fanon maintains, they had taken him over before his life functions were irreversibly terminated, then failed to await him being killed again) and had become virtually indestructible.
The Mysterons always sent a warning of their latest threat to the Earth and would then carry it out. When the Mysterons sent a threat, it was not something to be taken lightly, especially if it meant taking out an important leader or a whole city, and they never made idle or empty threats. Because the Mysterons have powers beyond the understanding of man, they are formidable enemies, but Spectrum keeps bravely fighting on, hoping to save the lives of everyone on Earth and even make peace with the Mysterons to end the war.
The Mysteron threats
Through both programmes, as well as the destruction of Earth, the Mysterons have made several other deadly threats including the lives of important people, the destruction of countries, cities, locations, equipment, and even the undoing of the Spectrum Organisation itself:
Threats in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
- Assassination of the World President ("The Mysterons")
- Assassination of the Director General of the Asian Republic ("Winged Assassin")
- Destruction of the city of London ("Big Ben Strikes Again!")
- Destruction of the Frost Line Outer Space Defence System ("Avalanche")
- Assassination of Colonel White ("White as Snow")
- Assassination of the ten top air chiefs of the World Air Force ("The Trap")
- Assassination of General J.F Tiempo ("Operation Time")
- Foiling the Spectrum Organisation's attempts to discover their secrets ("Spectrum Strikes Back"), ("Crater 101"), ("Shadow of Fear")
- Destruction of Nuclear City ("Special Assignment")
- Destruction of the Heart of New York ("The Heart of New York")
- Assassination of the Supreme Commander of Earth Forces ("Point 783")
- Destruction of the House of Verdain ("Model Spy")
- Assassination of one of the Spectrum Angels ("Seek and Destroy")
- Tearing apart the Spectrum Organisation from within ("Traitor!")
- Launch of a nuclear rocket at an unknown target ("Renegade Rocket")
- Destruction of Cloudbase ("Dangerous Rendezvous"), ("Attack on Cloudbase")
- Immobilisation of the entire Spectrum Organisation ("Fire at Rig 15")
- Destruction of Futura City ("Treble Cross")
- Sabotaging the conference at Lake Toma ("Flight 104")
- Destruction of the city of Los Angeles ("Place of Angels")
- The Failure of Earth's Space Project ("Noose of Ice")
- Destruction of Atlantic seaboard of North America ("Expo 2068")
- Destruction of the President Roberts, an atomic ocean liner ("The Launching")
- Assassination of the Triumvirate of Europe ("Codename Europa")
- Destruction of the Najama Desalination Complex ("Inferno")
- Destruction of Atlantica Base ("Flight to Atlantica")
- Betrayal in the Spectrum Organisation ("The Inquisition")
The Spectrum Organisation did its best to foil their threats, though there were times when the Mysterons had a partial success or even won. However, the Mysterons have made a series of mistakes; two such times were in "Manhunt" when Captain Black tried to break into the Culver Atomic Centre and carelessly made his presence known to Spectrum and in "Treble Cross," when, after killing and re-creating their likeness of Major Gravener, the original Gravener was found and recovered in hospital. Spectrum was then able to deceive the Mysterons by putting the original Major Gravener in the place of his likeness, as the Mysterons did not have the equivalent of Spectrum's Mysteron Detector, and thus could not tell the difference.
Threats in New Captain Scarlet
(These threats are to be added.)
Behind the scenes
Gerry Anderson made the Mysterons discorporate because he did not want to upset people who insisted that there was no life on Mars--not, at least, life as humans knew it. As the stand-alone feature film Thunderbirds Are Go, produced before Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons premiered, made clear in the course of a previous Zero-X Mission, Earth explorers of the planet should have been prepared to encounter life as humans DIDN'T know it!