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The Blast at the Bottom of the Sea (Gatch #2 The Evil Ghostly Aircraft Carrier) by Candi Gomez
The Blast at the Bottom of the Sea (Gatch #2 The Evil Ghostly Aircraft Carrier) by Candi Gomez
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Since this is the second episode of Guardians of Space, we start with a recap of what happened in the first ep, with Ace doing the narrator/voice over. (And being overly dramatic.) I do find interesting that when he’s talking about the possible consequences of Firebird mode, he also calls it ‘flaming energy’. I guess that’s one way to describe it! And the risk of ‘getting cooked in their seats’ is a good description of how the poor team must feel. Ouch.

Now we see a lovely picture of the sun emerging from behind the globe of the Earth, and a spaceship.

Yup, it’s the two astronauts.

Astronaut #1 (with an English accent) contacts Mission Control and mentions how they’re going to land in the ocean as they did in the ‘good ol’ days, remember’. (No comment.)

Mission Control replies, “Roger, roger,” they remember and are ready. MC mentions that helicopters are standing by to pick them up after splashdown. Astronaut #1 thanks them and begins reentry and landing procedures. (Roger, roger. No comment!)

MC confirms that the ship is on the trajectory for splashdown. Astronaut #2 (no discernible accent) thanks them, saying, “This should be a piece of cake.” He also address MC as ‘Houston’.

MC gives a verbal countdown to reentry burn, which is done successfully.

Astronaut #1 mentions things are a little bumpy, but not too bad, and mentions that the astronauts can now see their splashdown point. MC alerts the recovery units to proceed to the target splashdown point. The man on the radio reminds the units to be careful. (I don’t think he was thinking of Galactor’s mechs, though!)

Happy music!

Lots of copters and ships.

The capsule hits the water and lets loose with the infamous yellow spot. (Insert joke of choice here.)

Sinister music. Two ray-type submarines are sneaking up on the landing zone. They attach to the capsule, and haul it off.

There’s sparking and turbulence inside the capsule, and Astronaut #1 exclaims, “What’s going on!? We’re being pulled downward!”

Those must be some magnets on those mechs’ tails. And I sincerely hope the astronauts haven’t unsealed their capsule yet.

The ray mechs haul the capsule to a giant green submarine.

Commercial break. And I think the announcer took astronomy lessons from Zark.

We open to Ace sitting at his desk in his shack playing with his itty bitty turtle. He’s musing about how Galactor’s mech looked like a cross between a stegosaur and a turtle, and wonders what the next will look like. His wristcom beeping interrupts his musings and scares the turtle.

“Ace Goodheart, Doctor. What’s up?” I believe I ranted enough in “The Robot Stegosaur” about using real names over a radio channel used in combat.

Doctor tells ‘Agent 1’ to round up the other four and head for the open sea, because trouble’s happening out there. Ace asks, quite reasonably, what kind of trouble, and remembers to say, “Sir.” The doctor tells Ace it looks like more of Galactor’s work, that he’ll explain more later, and for Ace to get going. I agree; why should Dr. Brighthead repeat himself more than he has to when it’s not necessary?

Gatchaman music!

Ace launches his plane and transforms. “G-Force Transform!” And no, he doesn’t do any preflight checks, just like Mark and Ken. I do like the vehicle transformation sequence. Isn’t that a cute little jet?

Ace starts narrating again: “With the help of the amulet, I was once again G-Force, Agent 1!” Um, we can see that. And that wristband’s an ‘amulet’? Then again, there’s Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law…

Docking with the Phoenix. More unnecessary voice over from Ace: “Great. There’s the Phoenix; Hootie’s right on time. Now to maneuver her into her bay.” I mean, DUH!?

But we do get to see G-1’s cute little chair descending out of the plane and bay.

Dirk asks why Dr. Brighthead called upon the team so abruptly. (Get used to it, Condor.)

Ace replies he doesn’t know, except that it has to be an emergency caused by Galactor. (Why else would the team in Birdstyle be called out?) Pewee wonders what kind of ‘dumb ship’ Galactor’s using this time.

G-1, speaking into his bracelet, contacts Brighthead, saying that they’re all together and awaiting orders.

Brighthead tells them that the spaceship has been lost on the Pacific Ocean. (He says the ship’s name here but I can NOT make it out.) He tell the team how it was carrying the Earth Compact System (hereafter known as the ECS), developed after many years of research, and the theft is most likely the work of Galactor.

Reasonably, Ace asks what the ECS is. (Just because you have the clearance, doesn’t mean you know everything that’s going on.)

Brighthead explains, illustrating his briefing with a picture. (So that they’ll know what they’re looking for, I guess.) The ECS is mounted aboard a spacecraft and activated while in space, from where it can detect uranium deposits that lie underground.

Pewee says that when he heard ‘compact’, he thought of what Agatha June uses for makeup. Aggie tells him that’s silly, asking why’d they have something like that on a spaceship. She has a point; I think makeup’s not very good for the recycling systems.

Brighthead tells them to get moving, starting their search at the splashdown site.

Switch to the green submarine.

A goon gives the Evil Galactor Captain with the Silly Outfit from the last episode the tape from the ECS. (Nowadays that would be a disc. Possibly one of the little ones.) The goon addresses the guy as “Lieutenant.” This won’t be the last we see of the loose interpretation of rank in Galactor’s organization.

The EGCwtSO has the goon put the tape in the computer, and gets all happy as all the uranium sites light up on the world map. Which is on a screen in the middle of a table that looks about six to eight feet in diameter. Not the easiest viewing arrangement.  EGCwtSO refers to the little red dots as ‘energy hot spots lying under the earth’. Under the earth? But these shots were taken from space, so ‘under the earth’ would mean… nevermind.

For some reason, EGCwtSO has to use a hand-held microphone when he contacts Galactor on the telescreen. Later commanders don’t; R&D in Galactor’s organization? He tells Galactor that they have the captured ECS system, and the name of ship is finally clearly pronounced as ‘Mantel 8’. (Gee, I wonder where they got the name ‘Mantel’?) EGCwtSO forwards the data to (a poorly drawn) Galactor, who we see is in Computor’s audience chamber.

After viewing the hi-tech ticker tape, Galactor consults Computor.

Computor: “I have analyzed the data.” That was fast! You just got it! He/it comments on the small amount of uranium on Earth. “You need all the uranium there is to fuel your machines of destruction in order to conquer the Earth.” Just how energy-efficient (or not) are these machines? Does this apply to the bases? Computor tells Galactor to build a uranium plant on top of the largest vein of uranium in the world. Which, thanks to plot necessity, is under the sea. (Too bad it couldn’t be on top of a very inconvenient mountain or something.) Galactor bows and says he will. (Although we all know the goons will do the actual work.)

Cut to the Phoenix flying over the ocean. They come up on the splashdown site.

Hootie: “There’s the spot.” (Insert joke of choice here.)

Ace (still doing that unnecessarily deep voice from last ep): “Okay, Hootie. Dive beneath the yellow dye marker.”

A lovely underwater scene with the associated bubbly music. There’s the rocks, the coral, the fish, and the turtle.

Aggie: “Oh! Beautiful!”

Ace-party-pooper: “Aggie, we’re not here to see the sights. We’re here to see what happened to that missing spaceship.”

Aggie (mildly sarcastic): “Oh. Sorry.”

Ace: “Activate radar for submarine detection.” Um, isn’t sonar the detection method of choice underwater? Maybe it’s a futuristic thing. Aggie activates the radar.

Suddenly the whole ship shakes with an underwater explosion. A gauge goes bonkers, and there’s a beautifully animated smoke sequence.

Aggie: “Ace, I’m getting an extremely high reading off the Geiger counter!” Then the ship gets hit by the displaced water.

Hootie is tugging at a lever. “Hey, the rudder doesn’t work!”

Ace: “It’s a whirlpool! We’re getting caught in it!” Thank you, Mr. Obvious. Pewee has been sitting next to Hootie. Now G-1 asks G-4 to move for a moment so he can sit there. Ace remembers to say please.

We get to the plot point that the eye of a whirlpool is calmer than the water swirling around it. (Of course, Ace is the one to point this out.) Ace tells everyone to fasten their seatbelts extra tight, for they’re going for a very bumpy ride.

This some pretty impressive footage of the Phoenix following the motion of water in the whirlpool.

For some reason the light in the Phoenix turns red. Emergency lights, as power is shunted to the guidance controls?

Aggie: “Did you say ‘bumpy’?” The ride certainly seems a lot worse than ‘bumpy’.

After another few moments, Ace orders: “Hootie, Dirk, when I say, ‘Force your controls’ I want you to force them hard as you can, okay?!”

Hootie: “Roger!” His hand is on a lever.

Dirk: “Roger!” So’s his.

The ship’s almost at the center of the whirlpool…

Ace: “’Kay, here we come.” He counts down from five, then: “Force ‘em!” Hootie and Dirk pull the levers at their positions down hard and fast. The Phoenix’s rear jets kick into gear, the nose points straight up, and they speed to the surface.

Hootie: “That did it! We’re free and clear!” Boy, he looks happy.

Dirk surreptitiously tugs at his collar and breathes a sigh of relief.

Below the ship, we can see waves dispersing from the perimeter of the whirlpool. Ace, looking down, has a shocked look as he realizes just what they’ve escaped.

Commercial break!

Ace asks Aggie to show him the radioactivity record. After looking at it, he surmises that someone set off a nuclear bomb at the bottom of the sea.

Pause button. I have never been able to figure out exactly what Galactor’s people were thinking by setting off an underwater nuke at a site where they were planning to build an uranium mine and processing plant. Was it to clear the area of superfluous material? To break through the first layers of rock and expose the uranium? I don’t get it.

Back to the show…

Hootie asks, “A nuclear blast?” in a are-you-sure tone of voice.

Ace is sure. “Exactly. Underwater nuclear test are strictly prohibited by law, but somebody did it anyway.” What part of ‘Evil Terrorist Organization’ are you not getting, fella? “Back into the sea, Hootie.”

Pewee: “Wha? Ace, you’re not going back there?”

Ace (amused): “Don’t worry. You’ll find it more peaceful than last time.” I love these moments when they’re teasing each other. It shows just how strong the team is.

Underwater, they see the whirlpool again.

“Hey, what do you make of this?” Aggie asks. There’s a glitch in the film right here, so I can’t hear the full reply. As we come out of the glitch, Ace is finishing a sentence: “…filter up on the large screen.”

Hootie: “Infrared, coming up.” So it’s an infrared filter. Although the filter would be on the cameras, and the results would be shown on the large screen.

And there’s a really big sub sitting out there, with little ships zipping around.

Pewee comments on ‘the creepy look aircraft carrier’. An aircraft carrier that’s also a submarine. Is that even practical?

Ace surmises –using the word ‘probably’- that Mantel 8 is in the sub, and that the intense radioactivity means that there’s a large vein of uranium there that Galactor’s after.

I get the feeling there was a short clip-out here, because Ace is pushing Hootie’s hand down. Didn’t Ryu want to fire a missile at the sub in the Gatch ep?

G-1 orders G-5 to move the ship to a safe hiding place. G-1 than says that he is going into the aircraft carrier to rescue the ECS and the spacecraft. (Um, what about the astronauts?) Pewee volunteers to go along, but Ace says he’s going alone “so as not to attract attention” and G-4 is staying to await any further orders. Too bad Ace doesn’t specify who’s to give those orders…

Pewee (sulking): “Okay, then don’t take me. You’ll be sorry, Ace Goodheart.” (Yes, we know what the Great and Powerful Leader’s name is, okay? Sheesh!)

Dirk puts his hand on Pewee’s shoulder. “Now, Pewee…” When Pewee looks up at him, Dirk gives him a smile and a knowing expression.

Meanwhile, Ace is descending through a tube. (In later eps, we never see the tube, making it look like that opening in the floor leads straight from the outside into the cockpit.) He makes the arm movement and says, “Transform!”, which kicks him back into civvie gear.

Voice over (again) as he swims, Ace thinks, Now to see if that really is Galactor’s base! Well, it’s not exactly a base yet, but it is a center of operations.

Ace sees the Robot Stegosaur head, takes note of the size of the operation, slips past a goon in dive gear doing some underwater welding, then sneaks into the sub under a crab tank.

Big dramatic music effects.

A platform loaded with metal bars lowers, and once the crab tank is done eating them, Ace rides the platform as it goes back up. As it emerges from the water, he swings, jumps, and runs –in flippers- through a door. After dropping his scuba gear just anyhow in a corner, he –in his dry civvies- pokes around until he finds Mantel 8.

Ace enters Mantel 8, and finds it so wrecked that it’s pretty obvious that Galactor let their frat boys have a part in there after removing the ECS tape. “Gee, what a shame,” he says softly.

Now, someone outside Mantel 8 can only see Ace’s back –which turns out to be a very good thing.

Bright spotlights cut through the darkness of the vehicle bay. The EGCwtSO does the Patented Evil Captain Laugh and says, “Welcome, young man! Those plain clothes don’t fool me. You’re Agent 1 of G-Force and you’ve come here to be captured of your own free will.”

One: Well, duh, who else but G-Force would be called? Especially since they kicked your rear last time. Two: Came to be captured?  You saw the team fight last ep. You think that was a one-off?

Ace (softly): “I don’t want to reveal my secret identity. But I have no choice.” What’s revealed? EGCwtSO can only see your back, so the only new thing he knows is that you have brown hair –like a huge chunk of the other people on the planet.

Smart boy! Transform before turning around. (I doubt they heard the code phrase clearly at that range.)  We get a nice silhouette of an eagle, too. Time to kick Galactor goons into next week!

Gatchaman fight music!

Taking out a spotlight, Ace goes: “Boomerang! Do your stuff!” A few minutes later, a boomerang throw takes out a spotlight and the goon behind it! Beating up some more goons, he says, “Don’t mind me, fellas. I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d drop in!” G-1’s in the spotlight and they still can’t hit him! (And it’s time to hit the GoS scriptwriter with a bag of marshmallows. Because I don’t have a rubber chicken.)

EGCwtSO: “Think you’re so smart, don’t you? Let’s try a little drill!” (Where’s my bag of marshmallows?)

A goon in the control room sends a Very Big Drill after G-1. While dodging it, Ace thinks, Too bad I don’t have a giant toothache; that thing would be great! (Marshmallows…)

So several crab tanks are destroyed and the goons still haven’t nailed Ace. Surprise. Not.

Aagh!! Cardboard box backbeat!

Down comes the Giant Hook.

Up goes the Giant Hook. Ace starts it swinging and slams it into the control room. And he does do a short Tarzan Yell.

EGCwtSO: “Hey G-Force! You better knock it off and give yourself up! ‘Cause if you don’t-“

Pan to the astronauts being held (up) by goons. One goon has a gun to an astronaut’s head. EGCwtSO gives the spiel about G-Force surrendering or dead hostages. Ace coldly says he has no choice.

Get this: G-1 is standing next to two goons, who have guns pointed at him. As far as Ace knows, the astronauts are alive and any hostile move on his part could result in their deaths. Yet NO ONE disarms him or gives the order to do so! Of all the stupid-! With this kind of personnel, Galactor was at a disadvantage from the beginning! Sheesh!

EGCwtSO: “Now that’s a good boy. Or is it good bird?” To the goons: “Throw him in the hold or some place like that. Later he can tell us all about Dr. Brighthead and that G-Force organization.” (Yeah, right.)

Interesting inferences here. Galactor and his captains know about Dr. Brighthead and G-Force, but the way he says, ‘G-Force organization’ implies that it is, or the captain thinks it is, much bigger than just the five team members. Of course, if you count in support personnel devoted to keeping G-Force up and running, I guess technically it is.

The goons holding the astronauts let them go, and they fall to the floor. EGCwtSO natters on about how the astronauts will be all right once ‘the serum wears off’. (Zark-line!)

Ace: “Look, if you harmed those two…”

The EGCwtSO ignores him. EGCwtSO is smart enough to know that the rest of the team is around, and orders his soldiers to find them and pick them up. Sorry, EGCwtSO, but these aren’t some truants hanging out at the local park.

This scene is the last mention of the astronauts in this episode.

Ace is taken down what looks like a cargo elevator. As it reaches bottom and he starts to step off, a pair of red-and-yellow bolos choke a goon. G-1 takes out the other, than grabs the boloed one and orders the ‘masked man’ to take him to his leader right now. Why didn’t Ace just take the two goons out himself? I’ll be charitable and say he was just waiting for the right moment.

Green Goon: “Galactor won’t see you!” (He can’t, except over telescreen, since Galactor’s not even on board.) Ignorant of this little problem, Ace says, “He’s better –for your sake.”

As the elevator ascends, we’re treated to a nice long look of the other clobbered goon lying on the floor. Looking up, we see a little boy grinning smugly.

Ace: “Pewee! You certainly showed up at the right time!

Pewee: “Dirk told me to come over. He didn’t think you should be left alone here with no help. And now I think you see that nothing goes quite right without me.” Cute little rascal.

Ace: “You said a mouthful.” I like the amused-indulgent look on his face here.

I think Dirk was being very nice in letting Pewee be Ace’s backup. It’s also a good time for letting the kid get experience while the Galactor are still trying to figure out what the deal is with the bird people. Though I do wish I could have been a fly on the wall of the Phoenix when Aggie and Dirk had the discussion of letting Pewee go in the first place!

Pewee spots the computer that still has the ECS tape plugged in. (What, the EGCwtSO didn’t put that in a safe or strongbox? Idiot.) Pewee pulls it out, then pushes other buttons to erase any copies stored in the computer. I don’t think this erases Computor’s copy, though; indeed, several episodes have the team finding Galactor bases where the green goons or slaves are mining uranium.

We see the giant green submarine moving and smashing stuff. Inside, Pewee is randomly pushing buttons. “Button, button, who’s got the button?” he says, right before a panel explodes. The expression on his face is a riot.

Innards of the sub blowing up, and more stuff outside being smashed.

Ace and Pewee are swimming away from the sub.

A point that always bugged me: Ace just dropped his scuba gear anyhow when he removed, and somehow I don’t think Pewee put his stuff aside neatly when he followed Ace. (I have a son who’s almost ten, okay?) Yet they were able to find their gear that fast, even though it would at least have been tossed around some once the sub began to move. Or am I just being picky?

EGCwtSO has screwed up big time. Twice. Galactor orders him to take the Stegosaur head and ram the Phoenix, saying that Computor is most unhappy with the last couple rounds of events. (In-te-res-ting.)

Commercial break!

Ace and Pewee ride the little elevator back to the bridge of the Phoenix. Dirk informs Ace that ‘we’ have filed a full report with Dr. Brighthead. (What about Ace and Pewee’s parts?) Ace orders the Phoenix to the surface.

EGCwtSO prepares to crash into the Phoenix ‘because Galactor said to’.

Ace sees the Stegosaur head coming and kicks the Phoenix to Firebird mode. “Firebird mode! Quickly!”

One roasted and blown up Steggie-head. One dead Evil Galactor Captain.

On the Phoenix, everyone but Ace was out cold. (Why’s Hootie out? He was seated already.)

Aggie wakes up and give Ace a very flirty look.

Ace gets another monologue about how they made it this time, but Galactor’s still out there and how they’ll have to face them again.

Cue the Phoenix flying into the sunrise and the triumphant music.
Chapter End Notes:

Arthur C. Clarke: Clarke’s Three Laws

Arthur C. Clarke formulated the following three "laws" of prediction:
  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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