Godgame: Gatchaman IV story #1-- Prequel
As Godgame itself is under major revision and is mostly unavailable for reprinting, and as it is one of the cornerstones of the Gatchaman IV universe, I here include a detailed synopsis of the important events.
The end of Gatchaman F... Ken destroys Z, and the resulting backwash fries out everybody's brains. Ken sees Dr. Nambu, telling him to get up and live. Then the mysterious pendant Nambu willed to the team begins to glow, pulls the Gatchaspartan together-- and a Phoenix flies free of Z's exploding body.
Ken has the sensation of being bodiless, united with his friends in the Phoenix-- but then something pulls them apart. Ken awakes in a hospital-type environment. A young man who bears a physical resemblence to Dr. Nambu informs Ken that his name is David Kymel, and this is his mother's space station, Ayalat k'Mina or Dawn Star. His mother, Dr. Teriani Kymel of the Asapei, brought Ken and his friends back to life.
Ken is reunited with his team, except for Joe, who is being rebuilt, and David explains how they come to be alive. Essentially, their souls were united by the pendant into the Phoenix Effect, which is what the Phoenix was all along, a spirit created by uniting all their souls. Dr. Kymel possesses technology sufficient that she captured the Phoenix, broke the five souls apart from each other, and recreated their bodies as they were at the moment of death. She then healed the bodies and put the souls back inside them. The team are somewhat stunned by this revelation.
Ken and Jun are established as lovers, and their somewhat checkered history is given in a brief flashback. Basically, they became lovers after G-I ended, but Ken broke off the relationship just before G-II, saying that now that Galactor was back, they could no longer afford it. He realized just how much he was still in love with Jun when he began to develop a jealous paranoia that Joe and Jun had become lovers. Joe reassured him, toward the end of G-II, that Jun was not his lover and would never be so long as Ken was alive-- "She's yours, Ken, she belongs to you." In GF, due to the changes the Hypersuit wrought in his personality and the fact that he was so close to death, Ken felt able to resume his relationship with Jun, and she took him back. Now, Ken has finally decided that he's not going to let anything stand between the two of them anymore.
Joe wakes up in Teriani Kymel's laboratory. She tells him what the others have been told, and reveals that she and Dr. Rafael worked together, years ago. She has vastly improved on his original cyborg body.
Joe and the team are reunited, and Kymel finally tells them who she is and what all this is about. She is an alien from the planet Keirai, in the Andromeda galaxy. Her clan, the Asapei, were murdered, and she was exiled from her world. There is a hyperspatial "tunnel" directly from Earth to Keirai-- it's why the world was of such importance to Sosai X, whose homeworld of Selectro has always been Keirai's ancestral enemy. Teriani came here, using that gateway, and crashlanded in Japanese waters. Kozaburo Nambu, then of the Japanese version of NASA and an Air Force colonel, taught her Japanese and became her lover. He left the Air Force for ISO, and became involved with the fight against Galactor. She gave him Keiraine technology-- the bird suits, the Phoenix effect-- to give the Science Ninja Team. Then, for security reasons-- she is vague on this point-- she was forced to leave Nambu. She hypnotized David to forget his father so he wouldn't be unhappy. Now she tells the team that there's a device on her homeworld that can bring the dead back to life by pulling them out of time at the moment of their death. The device is called the Eternity Matrix, and was built by the godlike founders of Keirai, the scientist/lovers Lareem and Keylen. There is a warrant out for her death if she ever sets foot on Keirain again, but if someone protects her long enough for her to get to the Eternity Matrix, she can bring Dr. Nambu back to life. She asks them if they're willing to help, and they say yes.
They board her spaceship, the Minapai, and learn how to fly it through hyperspace. In the course of their training, Ken learns just how upset David is by all this. He hadn't known, until his mother told all of them, that Keirai was an alien world-- he had always assumed it to be a country, and had never questioned, an attitude his mother had reinforced with post-hypnotic suggestions. He is angry with his mother for denying him the memory of his father and for not confiding anything in him. Ken and David talk about the demands parental figures put on one, secrecy and guilt. In the course of the conversation, Ken learns that David also has a bird style, and has been training to use it since he was about thirteen. He has occasionally worn it into combat when Galactors were threatening his mother's interests, but thinks of himself primarily as a scientist/student, not a fighter.
The team master the art of traveling through hyperspatial tunnels, and travel to Keirai. They are forced to make a crash-landing and abandon ship, pursued by Teriani's enemies. Then they reach the abandoned Citadel of the Asapei, where a young woman, Diani Kelgari, Teriani's student, has been continuing Teriani's researches. She welcomes Teriani and the team with open arms. Strictly speaking, she is not an Asapei, but then strictly speaking she has no clan, and should not have been allowed to become a scientist. Teriani broke the rules for her, as apparently she had a habit of doing.
Diani reveals that Selectro has been destroyed, which the team knew already but Teriani couldn't quite believe. The Keiraines did it with the assistance of the people of Fuyuress, a planet in the Proxima system, practically next door to Earth. As a result of Selectro's destruction, the Keiraine government has been experiencing instability-- the threat of Selectro kept everybody working together for the common good before, and now that it's gone, various factions are beginning to splinter off. One such faction, the clan Reldai, were in charge of studying the Otherworld, a dimension that Lareem and Keylen created and left many records in. The Reldai have all been executed but for two, Ite and Joni Dara of the Reldai, a brother and sister. Teriani says she needs the information the Reldai can give to break the codes on the Eternity Matrix, and asks the team to rescue the two for her.
She gives all of them new weapons and new Bird Styles. Except for Jun's, these Bird Styles are pretty much the same as what they had before, with some slight modifications to the color scheme on Jinpei's and Ryu's. Jun's is now designed like the men's, without a skirt. Jun is annoyed by this. Dave comes along on this mission. They successfully rescue Ite Dara, and Joe discovers that his Bird Style is modeled after the Keiraine god of death, Deathwing. But when Ryu attempts to rescue Joni Dara, a beautiful teenage girl, they are cornered. She teleports them to the Otherworld, and then confesses that she can't get them back.
Ite has the power to go into the Otherworld and retrieve them, but time flows differently between the Otherworld and Keirai, not always in the same direction either. Teriani insists she needs Ite here to help her with the codes, and that there's no real point to going in after Joni and Ryu. The team, and Dave, consider this a callous attitude and demand that she let them have Ite. They compromise-- Ite is to help Teriani for one night, and then take the team to the Otherworld.
Meanwhile, a long time has passed in the Otherworld. Fleeing Keiraine government officials, Ryu and Joni find a hidden cove. Ryu is the first person to treat Joni as an adult and a worthy human being, and so the two of them fall in love. By the time the team and Ite show up to rescue them, Ryu and Joni consider themselves husband and wife. Joni is also pregnant, although she doesn't know it yet-- Keiraine women incubate their children in artificial wombs, and so Joni knows nothing about pregnancy.
They return to Keirai. It has been a year there, and Teriani has succumbed to despondency and boredom. At some point in the year, she built a spaceship for the team, modeled after the Minapai, called Phoenix Reborn, and put vehicles for everybody, including Dave, into it. Now that the team are back, she snaps herself out of her funk, and goes with them to reach the Eternity Matrix.
There is a fierce battle on the way in. Ryu and Dave are both injured. But Teriani reaches the device and activates it. She uses it to bring Dr. Nambu to life, as Jun and Joe debate the morality of what's happening here-- Joe is not sure it's right to bring anyone back from the dead, while Jun feels that if God wasn't willing to let it happen, it wouldn't happen-- and Teriani's motives. Joe has been somewhat suspicious of her all along.
When Dr. Nambu is revived, at the physiological age of 30 with his vision repaired, it is evident from the way he and Teriani talk to each other that they are indeed very much in love. Nambu has an emotional reunion with the team, and then goes to talk with Teriani. At this point she reveals her true plans-- the Eternity Matrix has the power to warp reality, and she intends to use it to make herself and Nambu like gods, and to eradicate all the evil in the universe. She had intended to do this when the Asapei were wiped out, and that was why she was exiled. She puts up a forcefield to prevent the desperate Ninja Team from interfering, and explains her plans to Nambu. According to her, she and he are the most moral people she knows. Acting as checks on each other, they will not abuse the power. They will only use it for good.
Nambu takes her off guard, opens the forcefield for a moment, sets the Matrix to blow up, and throws her through, following himself. The Matrix explodes behind the forcefield. Everyone but Teriani shields their eyes. Blinded, Teriani begins to sob. Her existence is now meaningless. She reveals that David is a clone of the original David-- her son, and her little daughter Mitsuko, whom David doesn't remember, were killed by Galactor, and she herself nearly died. She never revealed to Nambu that she was alive because she was terrified Galactor would track her down and finish the job, and when he died, she felt that her cowardice had killed him. If she had been helping him, he wouldn't have died. David, anguished, wonders-- if he is a clone, programmed with the memories of his former self, he is not the person he thinks he is, because he cannot have the soul of the original David.
At this point, government agents-- laserpolice-- come in with a warrant to kill Teriani. Demoralized, injured, anguished, the team nevertheless prepare to fight, but Teriani gives herself up to the police in exchange for their freedom, and is vaporized by lasers. Not even ashes remain. The team are permitted to go free.
For the team themselves, Teriani's death cannot completely spoil their joy at having Nambu alive. But David is devastated, as is Diani Kelgari, and Nambu himself would almost rather still be dead than that Teriani should have sacrificed her life for his.
Diani tells David that as last of the Asapei, he now inherits his mother's Citadel, and he's welcome to stay. But he wants to return to Earth with his father and his new friends. Joni, whose life on Keirai has been profoundly unhappy, also wants to leave Keirai and go to her new husband's world. Her brother doesn't wish to go with her, and so they part. Kelgari vows, someday, to find a way to bring Teriani back, and Nambu advises her not to think about it-- believing she could cheat death was what drove Teriani insane. They leave for Earth, leaving Kelgari and Ite Dara bahind them.