- This article is about International Rescue as depicted in Thunderbirds are Go!. For the organisation's depiction in Thunderbirds, see International Rescue.
International Rescue (abbreviated and stylised as iR), founded by billionaire astro-industrialist Jeff Tracy and astronaut Captain Lee Taylor, is a secretive, non-profit, non-governmental agency dedicated to assisting any who find themselves in danger. It continues to be run by the Tracy family, following the disappearance and presumed death of Jeff, with his eldest son, Scott Tracy, taking his father's place as iR's leader.
Although small in terms of personnel, the services rendered by iR are available throughout the Solar System. Headquartered at Tracy Island, located somewhere in the South Pacific, Scott and his brothers tackle rescue situations impossible for anyone else as they pilot the organisation's unique signature crafts: the five from-sea-to-sky Thunderbird machines. Thanks to engineer Brains, one of the world's leading scientific minds, iR is among the most technologically advanced organisations in existence. This semi-secret technology makes it a subject of public interest, as well as an occasional target for criminals.
Despite the enormous budget required to develop, support, and power iR's global (and interplanetary) operations, rescue services are provided free of charge. The organisation works closely with the Global Defence Force (GDF), who recognize that iR provides better rescue services at lower cost than the bureaucratic GDF would be capable of developing (especially after their own attempts at rescue missions with the R.O.BOTS ended with disastrous results). Alternatively, Jeff's empire could afford to support the organisation (and the Tracy lifestyle). Despite the close working relationship between the two organisations, operating in concert on missions that require both rescue operations and law enforcement, International Rescue is an independent agency and answers to no higher authority.
Although not its primary mission, iR also has advanced capacities as an intelligence and reconnaissance agency. iR can monitor most global communications through Thunderbird 5 and infiltrate secure facilities using the stealth craft Thunderbird Shadow. These espionage functions help ensure the safety of iR agents while on mission and protect the technological secrets of the organization.
iR members can be identified over radio by their unique procedure word "F.A.B!", meaning an order or message was understood.
Members of the Organisation
- Scott Tracy: de-facto leader; pilot of Thunderbird 1, sometimes assistant astronaut of Thunderbird 3.
- John Tracy: space monitor of Thunderbird 5
- Virgil Tracy: pilot of Thunderbird 2
- Gordon Tracy: aquanaut of Thunderbird 4, sometimes co-pilot of Thunderbird 2
- Alan Tracy: astronaut of Thunderbird 3
- Brains: lead engineer and mechanic
- MAX: robot assistant
- Kayo: head of security; pilot of Thunderbird Shadow, sometimes assistant astronaut of Thunderbird 3
- Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward: London based iR agent
- Parker: manservant and chauffeur of Lady Penelope
- Unlike in the original series, iR doesn't have restrictions in aid of protecting its members' identities - although they still prefer to keep them somewhat of a secret! (There's still some degree of name-swapping and picture-snapping, though...)
- That notwithstanding, everyone seems to know that IR is run by the Tracy brothers.
- Each of the IR craft has a primary pilot/operative, based on that individual's particular strengths - Gordon, for instance, is better at aquatic-related issues; hence, it follows that his craft is Thunderbird 4.
- However, it may be assumed that all of the brothers, and Kayo, have had some measure of "cross-training," making them capable of operating any of the Thunderbirds. This is seen in a number of episodes:
- In Breakdown, Alan stated that he was going to test-fly Thunderbird 1.
- In The Man From TB5, Gordon asked Scott if he could borrow Thunderbird 1.
- In SOS Part 1, Gordon was seen boarding Thunderbird 1's pilot seat and then take-off, fly, and land the craft without assistance.
- In Chain Of Command, Skyhook, and Power Play, Scott, Gordon, and Alan have co-piloted Thunderbird 2.
- In Bolt From the Blue and Inferno, respectively, Gordon and Alan have both piloted Thunderbird 2.
- Over the course of several episodes, just about everybody (including Kayo) has had a go at co-piloting Thunderbird 3!
- In Heavy Metal, Alan suggests that Thunderbird 3 be bought to his location, presumably implying that somebody else would need to pilot the craft.
- In Deep Search, Scott states that Alan is International Rescue's best deep space pilot, which may imply that there are other deep space pilots in the organisation.
- In City Under the Sea, Kayo piloted Thunderbird 4 on her own, and is admitted by Gordon, the craft's designated pilot, to be better at it than even he was.
- In Signals Part 1, as Gordon was recovering from injuries, Scott operated Thunderbird 4 and did so without difficulty.
- In The Man From TB5, both Alan and Gordon took command of Thunderbird 5 to perform Space Monitor duty.
- Somewhat confusingly, each Tracy brother has their own personal uniform, rather than using a craft or mission specific one. Some examples: when Virgil and Alan attend to a rescue on Earth in Thunderbird 2, Alan will be wearing his spacesuit with "THUNDERBIRD 3" written on it; or, when in Thunderbird 3, the co-pilot's uniform will have their Thunderbird written and displayed on it (see Kayo's duties, above).
- This suggests that each of the uniforms (despite differing equipment) generally works in any environment (underwater, land, sea, air, space, or on other celestial bodies), but is tailored to each pilot's primary environment.
- Virgil is the only Tracy to be shown in a different uniform while on the job.
- TB1, TB2, TB3 and TBS all are capable of VTOL (vertical take off and landing), yet differ in their respective landing gear - Shadow sports grappling claws, while the other three utilise landing struts. None of the Thunderbird fleet uses conventional landing gears.
- However, Thunderbird 2 does have an undercarriage, which allows the craft to move along the runway on Tracy Island. This doesn't seem to be retractable, as it is shown in many shots when Thunderbird 2 is airborne. It was used for the first time other than on Tracy Island during Flame Out.