Special thanks to Transmute Jun and Spacekitty for their great advice and support!
"Ken! That man is your father!" He heard Jun's voice echoing over and over again. The next thing he felt, was the sensation of being lifted off the ground. The colors in the room around him blurred together in a dizzying, kaleidoscopic whirl. Then, he heard a loud thump as his body hit the cold, hard cement floor. He could see a man in a red uniform waving as he climbed aboard a doomed rocket. Suddenly, a sensation of mind-numbing pain hit him as he heard himself screaming, "Father! NOOOOO!"
He woke to the sound of his own screaming. Opening his eyes, Ken looked around his dark, silent bedroom. He could hear a chorus of crickets chirping outside. His pillow was drenched with sweat, and his blanket was twisted up and lying on the floor. Eyeing the clock, his brain finally registered where he was. It was 4:00 am, he was in his bedroom, and his father had just died trying to save the world. The reality of his nightmare hit him like a ton of bricks. He suddenly felt sick to his stomach, and rushed to the bathroom for a series of dry heaves.
Afterward, Ken turned on the faucet and splashed cold water on his face, as if he was trying to wash the nightmare away. After drying off, he propped his hands on the sink and looked at himself in the mirror. I look like shit...he thought to himself, it wasn't a nightmare, and I really lost my Dad, just after I found him...
He padded to the Kitchen, hoping some coffee and toast might make his stomach feel better. But nothing would fix the dull ache that pounded his insides. I had so many questions...now I'll never really know the answers. Why did he do it? How could he? Did he ever love me?
Ken pulled a chair out on his porch and sat down. Sipping his coffee, he watched the sun rise over the air field. The dark silhouette of his plane stood prominently against the muted morning sky. It was hard to look at his beloved plane without thinking of his Dad. Red Impulse, my Dad, the man I went on missions with, the man I flew beside, the man who trained me, and beat me senseless when I acted out. Looking back, I can't help but think how different things would have been had I known you were my father. How could Dr. Nambu keep it a secret?
Ken was infuriated at both his father and at Dr. Nambu. The secret they had kept caused him so much unnecessary pain. A Memorial service had been planned, and a small crowd would be gathering at Nambu's house to remember Red Impulse, the man of mystery, and to comfort Ken, his only son. Ken intended to confront Nambu before the Memorial service that afternoon.
A few hours later, Ken lifted his arm to call Dr. Nambu. "Hakase, are you awake?"
"Yes, Ken, did you need to talk?" Nambu replied hesitantly, he knew that Ken would be confronting him sooner or later about the secret he had kept.
Ken squinted in the morning sunlight. "Yes, I'd like to meet with you this morning, before the Memorial service."