By Neil Burns
GATCHAMAN is owned and copyrighted by Tatsunoko Productions. This is an Alternate Universe story based on Gatchaman episode #105.
"Sosai!" Berg Katse cried as the golden pencil-like entity rose toward the sky. The gendermorph began to alternately sob and laugh hysterically. From the moment, s/he was merged into a single being out of fraternal twins, Katse was in essence Sosai X's "child". Now the child was being abandoned. "Why did you make me a mutant then? I would have been better off human!"
"Ken! Quick!" Jun cried. "We have to find a way to stop the machine before the earth is destroyed!"
"It's useless, Gatchaman!" Katse laughed maniacally, tears streaming down hir cheeks. "I trusted Sosai X so I did not build a stop mechanism!"
The four remaining Gatchaman members just stared at the pathetic purple-clad figure crying and laughing at the same time, almost feeling pity. The pyschopathic butcher of millions of innocent lives now a mere victim hirself. The mutant laughed maniaclly as s/he ran to the lava pit to jump in.
"DIE! ALL OF YOU! DIE! DIE! DIEEE!!!!" s/he screeched as s/he fell toward the molten lava.
"Katse," Ken whispered pityingly.
Katse felt the heat burn hir as the molten lava came upon hir closer and closer when, suddenly, a bluish field of energy surrounded and both vanished. Gatchaman was finally able to stop the machine from destroying the earth. At 0002. Joe's number. The Ninjas flew back to Crescent Coral, their hearts heavy and eyes moist with tears. They had stopped Galactor and defeated Berg Katse. But at what cost? The Condor Joe Asakura? Red Impulse aka Kentaro Washio, the father Ken only knew for barely ten minutes? Countless lives? The four were unaware that they were being watched. The next day, Doctor Kozaboru Nambu was holding a press conference to announce the defeat of Galactor and to publicly praise Gatchaman and everyone involved when the door opened and a dozen figures dressed in gray-green uniforms and berets entered, followed by a tall elegant woman dressed similarly, her only accessory a long navy-blue cape. The light shone off her flowing red mane and gray-green eyes.
"May I help you?" Nambu queried.
"Greetings, Doctor," the woman spoke in a pleasant low voice. "Greetings, people of Earth. I am Jalzora Trjin. Leader of the Galactor Democratic Republic."
"Galactor!" Nambu exclaimed. Other voices murmured the same feelings.
"I do not blame you for your hostility, but we are a new government."
"What about Sosai X?"
"That thing was destroyed as it left your solar system, thus it will no longer be any threat to you. On behalf of the people of Galactor, I wish to express our deepest and sincerest apologies for all the suffering we have inflicted upon you."
"How nice," another scientist thought sarcastically.
"To show our intentions are good, we wish to help you rebuild and share our technology. In return, perhaps you could share some of your resources as ours are in very short supply."
"Which is why Galactor attacked us," Nambu put in.
"Yes. I feel we should ask for help instead of just taking. Thus, we can hopefully have a mutually beneficial alliance."
"How do we know this is not a smoke-and-mirrors job?"
"Given our, or rather, Berg Katse's actions, I do not blame you if you do not trust us. I offer you a token of our good intentions."
Trjin nodded to the head of the small group of soliders who led them out of the room, only to return a few minutes later with a figure in chains. The purple bodysuit and navy-blue cape were torn as if in a scuffle. Waist-length almost platinum-blonde hair partially hid an elegant feminine-featured face twisted into an almost pyschotic sneer. It was Berg Katse!
"I believe this belongs to you," the new Galactor leader smiled acidly.
"Berg Katse!" Nambu gasped. "Gatchaman said you threw yourself down a volcano shaft at Cross Kakorum."
"Well," the gendermorph smiled. "As one of your writers would say, 'reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated'. How does it feel having a mutant in captivity?"
"What happened to Sosai X?"
"The bastard abandoned me! He created me out of fraternal twins and promised me Earth to rule if I served him! For years I served him loyally and without question and how does he repay me? He wanted to destroy the very Earth he promised me!"
The press and the other visitors gathered felt little sympathy for the ex-Galactor head given s/he was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people. Nambu knew there would be a major jurisdiction flap over who would get custody of the mutant and try hir for crimes against humanity. The new Galactor leader leaned toward Nambu and whispered in his ear.
"I have two other tokens of our good intentions," she purred, "but I would rather not reveal them here. Is there someplace private?"
"I know a place not too far from here," Nambu replied.
The four remaining members of Gatchaman finished patrolling and headed toward the Snack J after showering and changing clothes. It was mid-afternoon and lunch sounded like a good idea. Ryu and Ken headed toward the bar as Jinpei walked toward the kitchen to start cooking when--
"It's about fucking time you got back. What's a guy gotta do to get some service?"
That voice! It couldn't be! The four members turned toward the source and saw a familiar figure leaning against one of the booths, arm folded in a familiar stance. The lips were curled in a cruel smile as ice-blue eyes seemed to glitter pyschotically. It was JOE! Jun began sobbing as she flew into the Sicilian's arms to embrace him.
"ANIKI!" Jinpei also flew into Joe's arms, sobbing with joy.
"Good to see you too, squirt," the Sicilian smiled.
"But you're DEAD!" Ken gasped as Ryu embraced Joe in a bearhug. Ken himself hugged his sometimes insubordinate second-in-command.
"That's what I thought, but then the unlikliest of Angels of Mercy rescued me and nursed me back to health."
At that moment, Nambu had entered with the new Galactor leader who smiled a greeting to the Condor. The Sicilian nodded in return as he waltzed into the kitchen to prepare a celebratory Sicilian meal. The other four Ninjas were a little uneasy at having to owe their friend's life to a people that just recently were trying to wipe them out of existence, but Nambu assured them that a physical revealed that Joe was Joe and not a cyborg replacement. They were cheered up at hearing that Berg Katse's suicide failed and that he was captured with almost every nation in the civilized world fighting for jurisdiction. The gnocchi and briglioe Joe brought out melted in everyone's mouth and the salad cleaned everyone's palate. The Galactor turned to Ken who was on his fourth briglioe and smiled softly.
"You must be Kentaro Washio."
"I'm Ken Washio," the Gatchaman leader replied. "Kentaro was my father's name."
"I have someone who would very much like to see you."
"Really. Who is it?"
The door opened and in walked a tall athletic figure dressed in a white suit and fedora, his eyes covered by sunglasses. He removed them to reveal familiar ice-blue eyes moist with tears as a smile creased his stern face. RED IMPULSE!
"Hello, Ken. Been a long time."
"Dad?" Ken's eyes welled and overflowed. "DAD! YOU'RE ALIVE!!"
Father and embraced each other tightly and held on as tears streamed down their cheeks, fourteen years of pent-up joy and emotion finally being allowed to be released. Nambu smiled that his childhood friend was allowed to see his son as a father, but felt guilty at having to hide his knowledge of the older Washio faking his death from Ken for so long. Finishing his meal, he stepped outside for a cigar. He normally did not smoke, but this occassion almost seemed appropiate. He lit up and puffed contemplatively.
"You knew he was alive the whole time, didn't you?" It was Ken.
"I did," Nambu replied, not bothering to turn around. "Your father and I planned it."
"He would fake his death and continue to gather information on Galactor."
"Yes. Despite his rough treatment of you as Red Impulse, Rat Bastard as Joe affectionately calls him, he is proud of you, Ken."
"He told me. He also told me I have a stepmother and stepbrother in Riga."
"If it's any consolation," the older Washio interjected, walking up, "they think I'm dead as well."
"They'll be happy to see you." Ken smiled dryly.
"If you want to know the truth, I'm a lousy father."
"Don't need to tell me that. Disappear. Show up at mom's funereal and disappear again. Make me think you're dead for fourteen years then our 'reunion' lasts all of ten minutes or so before you sacrifice yourself to stop the Van Allen Belt."
"Thing is that Trjin pulled my ass out just as the ship hit the Belt. I was hospitalized and had been in intensive care, almost comatose until just an hour or so ago."
"So, why did you leave?" There was no hostility in Ken's voice. Just curiosity.
Kentaro took out a cigar, bit off the end and lit up. For a few moments, he puffed silently, the smoke almost making a halo around his face. Then he looked his son dead in the eye.
"The truth is being a parent scared the shit out of me. On paper, it sounded like a good idea. But in practice, I had no clue what I was getting myself into and the responsibility scared me."
"So, you fake your death and leave me with Hakase to look after."
"He did," Nambu puffed. "Just before he left for Hontwohl."
"So you have been my stepdad since then."
"In a matter of speaking, yes."
Ken smiled as he was finally given a full explanation as to why Kentaro Washio abandoned his family fourteen years prior and faked his death. He also forgave his father being the asshole Red Impulse "toughening up" Gatchaman for the war against Galactor. He even forgave Nambu for knowing all along that the older Washio was still alive and participating in the deception. The war with Galactor was over. Berg Katse would be tried as a war criminal and be either executed, sentenced to life or be examined like a lab animal by scientists curious about hir mutant abilities. Most importantly, Ken's "brother" Giorgio Ignacio Asakura, aka Condor Joe, was back and Gatchaman was a full team again.
Hope we like it and that it will be posted on at least one site. Enjoy and look forward to more. Peace out.