by Neil Burns
GATCHAMAN/BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, etc. are owned and copyrighted by their respective companies. In this companion piece to A FATHER'S PERSPECTIVE, Ken reflects after the earth is saved from the Van Allen Belt. Post Episode #53(The Sky Is Falling/Farewell Red Impulse)(Note-some language)
Father. I am watching the sky where the V-2 rocket flew into the Van Allen Belt and forced it back into the stratosphere, but all I can think of is that the man who flew that rocket was my father. MY FATHER! I remeber when I was four years old and my father brought me to Nambu Hakase. "Take care of my boy, Nambu. Be a good boy, Ken. Daddy will try to be home as soon as he can." And that was it. He then disappeared. I would wait everyday and pray for the day when my father would return. Then came that fateful day when I was eight years old. My father died in a plane crash (or so I thought). Three years later, my mother Sayuri died of lukemia and I saw a man dressed in a white suit, fedora and dark sunglasses at the funeral. I didn't know it was my father at the time nor did I know that he wasn't really dead.
I don't remember that much about my father as I was very young. We would walk in the park and he would often carry me on his shoulders. We would go to the amusement park and on picnics. He taught me how to swim although the method was rather unorthodox, to say the least. He first threw me in the lake and told me to start swimming. I did, after swallowing a few hundred gallons or so. Another time, he encouraged me to jump in. I hesitated, but them jumped in and dog-paddled over to him, only to have him hold me down in the water while laughing. However, he was away all the time because of his mission. Bless my mother. She understood this and would pray everynight, asking God to bring him home so we could be a family. The rare times he was home, he wouldn't talk much. Just mention something about "his mission" and "Galactor" and that would be it. Even the night he "died", I would pray that he would return.
The first time I met Red Impulse, or as Joe liked to call him, Rat Bastard(and that was the kindest description), we were fighting a "ghost fleet" that turned out to be an entire bloody Galactor armada. Joe had just used up all our Bird Missiles destroying ships, but there were too many of them. Suddenly, three red ships appeared out of nowhere and just decimated the Galactor ships like it was child's play. I had never seen such flying. Then I heard laughing and this voice saying "Hey, Gatchaman! Be grateful your pathetic asses were saved by Red Impulse! You gotta sharpen your skills if you want to survive out here." We actually met Rat Bastard in person while flying the new Z-3 plane to Riga and he was, to qoute Joe, "a first class prick". Arrogant. Vainglorious. Self-centered. Abusive. And the biggest asshole(pardon my French) we ever had the misfortune of meeting. Where did Nambu find this guy and did he have a sick sense of humor or what? Rat Bastard always talked down to us and had absolutely little to no respect for us whatsoever. You wanted to choke him to death. Castrate him. Ram his balls through the roof of his mouth. Something to make him suffer as much as he made us(and I bet Hakase was laughing all the way as well). And Rat was an ally. God forbid he was the enemy.
The strange thing is that he actually was a helpful ally and could at times behave like a normal human being. Then came that fateful day. We were on vacation in Hontwhorl as a reward, or so we thought, for all that we had done. Suddenly, I see the police chase this man who turned out to be Red Impulse and help him fight them off. He shows his gratitude(that's a first. Red Impulse actually showing gratitude) by asking me to help him break into the Interior Minister's home to find evidence there. It turned out that certain higher-ups in the government were Galactor toadies or were promised positions in their New World Order. The president was to be assassinated during his birthday party so Galactor could take over, but we put a stop to that. Not long after, we heard about the V-2 plan. Galactor had the technology to lower the Van Allen Belt to the earth until the heat killed everyone so Galactor could take over. The logical plan was to take the V-2 rocket and fly it into the Belt and drive it back toward the stratosphere. Of course, this meant that the pilot would be killed(as there was no escape hatch)or, as Mr. Spock on STAR TREK often said, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one". Of course Red Impulse, being the selfish, spotlight-stealing glory hog he was, argued that he was the logical choice to fly the rocket and we got into it. Then Jun showed up and dropped a bombshell: "Ken! Red Impulse is your FATHER!" Shock hit me like a sledgehammer in the stomach. MY FATHER! He was with me the whole time in Hontwhorl and tormenting us every chance he had and I had no idea it was him. He told me he was sorry for everything and that he wanted to tell me, but the mission wouldn't allow it. He then held my shoulders as if to hug me, but instead threw me aside and climbed aboard the ramp. "Goodbye, Ken." he said as the door closed. "I love you." The ship then took off and launched into the Van Allen Belt and exploded. I ran to the exit and collapsed to the ground, bitter tears burning my cheeks. I prayed my father was alive and had searched for him for fourteen years only to meet him five minutes before he sacrificed himself.
I stand on the shore looking at the sky, my heart filled with rage. Icy, black rage for two men.(though they don't deserve the dignity of that term)My father and Professor Kozaboru Nambu. Nambu, you heartless manipulative sonofabitch. "As soon as this mission and war is over, I will take you to meet your father." By the way, did I forget to mention that Rat Bastard IS your father? You knew all along. Didn't you, Koz? You couldn't trust me? You Jack Nicholson telling me "You can't handle the truth"? Who are you to decide what I can and can't know? I'm only Kentaro Washio's SON! I had a right to know if he was alive or not, mission or no mission. As soon as this war with Galactor is over, I'm going to walk into Nambu's office, drop the bracelet on his desk, tell him where to go and ram my fist down the bastard's throat. Then I will drown the bitter taste with a few brews at Snack J. Then there's "Daddy Dearest". I'm sure he will be hailed as a hero with mountains of accolades. Well,"Dad". You may be a hero to the millions here on earth, but to me, you're nothing but a spineless miserable coward. You fake your death and pretend to be a corpse for fourteen years. You pretend to be Rat Bastard and treat us like crud. Yet, you didn't have the testicular fortitude to say "It's me, son. I'm alive." No problem. Nevermind I cried three nights after you "died". Nevermind Mother of lukemia when I was eleven. We were only your family. So the mission came first. No biggie. Drink up, Earth. Raise a toast to my Dear Old Dad. Kentaro Washio aka Red Impulse. Good job and may you rot in hell, you lousy miserable bastard.
However, the strangest thing is happening. I hate my father for lying to me all these years and not allowing us to be a family, but I find that I'm grieving for him. Grieving that we could not be a normal family. Grieving that Galactor could not allow this. Grieving that my father must have felt that he had to give up his life to fight Galactor. I think I understand my father's actions now. He was afraid that, because of his association to the ISO, Galactor would come after Mother and I. So if he faked his death, they would leave us alone. He did this to save us. Even when he was Rat Bastard making my and my teammates' lives hell, he was actually protecting me from Galactor because if they ever got wind that he was still alive, they would come after him and then come after me. So I guess that, in a really twisted, perverse unorthodox way, he really did love me and that I should be really grateful. In a really twisted perverse unorthodox way.
Enjoy and let's hear comments. If it's good, say so. If it sucks, don't be shy. Shout it out. You know my e-mail, so let's fill