Gatchaman goes on vacation
Categories: Gatchaman Characters:
Berg Katse, Dr. Kozaburou Nambu, Goon, Joe Asakura, Ken Washio, Ryu Nakanishi, Sosai X
1. Chapter 1 by Kimyou na Gaijin
2. Chapter 2 by Kimyou na Gaijin
3. Chapter 3 by Kimyou na Gaijin
4. Chapter 4 by Kimyou na Gaijin
Chapter 1 by Kimyou na Gaijin
From: "Kimyou na Gaijin" email@example.com
Well, dagnabit, I'm going to take Gatch in my area of Canuckland however I can get it! :) This multi-part piece of insanity was inspired by a conversation on Center Neptune last night (sorry for those who missed it!), and I just had to post what I came up with before I went to bed and my brains achieved the equivalent consistency of yogurt. The rest will follow after I've had some sleep. :)
Standard disclaimer: Tatsunoko owns Gatchaman and any related figures/names. WEM is its own danged copyright. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gatchaman Does West Edmonton Mall (or: This Is All Julieann's Fault)
Part One: Ken
When Nambu told us in no uncertain terms that the team was being taken off duty, I could hardly believe my ears. After the initial shock, the expected storm of protests arose.
"But Hakase, we didn't trash the city *that* badly," shrilled Jinpei.
"Yeah, I only used one Bird Missile," Joe growled from the wall. "How was I supposed to know the damned mecha could move like that?"
"We still got the data on that Galactor base we were looking for," Jun added brightly.
"And the damage to the Phoenix was only minimal -- " came Ryu's slightly sullen voice from his corner.
Nambu Hakase looked about ready to tear out his hair. "No, no, NO!" he shouted, drowning them all out and glaring with fatigue-reddened eyes. "No protests! You're all off duty as of now!" He turned his glare on me, even though I hadn't said anything yet. "This includes you, Ken. No running off to tangle with Galactors at a whim, no sudden inspirations to blow up everything in sight, no excuses of 'But I saw Katse' or 'I thought it was a base' so you can go on an unabashed rampage through public property." He scrubbed at the bridge of his nose with the heel of his hand. "Do you have any idea how much of a political mess this is going to cause?"
"But, Hakase -- " I began.
"*No buts!*" he thundered at me, the expostulation catching me by surprise. "You're all on the next flight out of the country for the next two weeks!"
I gaped. "Two weeks? But Hakase -- " I stopped and sighed when I saw another impending explosion gathering in his face. "Where are we going?" I asked resignedly.
Nambu sat back in his chair, rubbing his temple. "To the last country on the planet that Galactor would think of looking for you, for the simple reason that it's so peaceful it'd be a waste of resources to invade." He paused to encompass us with another glare. "You leave at 0600 tomorrow. Get packed." His finger pointed us out the door, and out was where we quietly went.
I couldn't sleep well that night. The idea of being exiled for two weeks to another country while the ISO sorted out our screwup kept me awake a good four hours after I'd turned out the lights. When I finally did fall asleep, a mere two hours before we were to leave, it was wishing for a way to fix things somehow, all the while knowing there was just *nothing* I could do this time and feeling helplessness in full measure.
Chapter 2 by Kimyou na Gaijin
From: "Kimyou na Gaijin" firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, Julieann, I'm still blaming all this on you. :)
Standard disclaimer: Tatsunoko owns Gatchaman and any other associated names and whatnot. WEM owns itself. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 2: Joe
"We're going *where*?" I asked in disbelief.
"Canada," replied the ISO driver crisply, never taking his eyes off the road.
"That's what I thought you said," I muttered, leaning back against my seat and crossing my arms. "What city are we headed for, anyway?"
"Edmonton," was the answer.
"Where?" piped up Jinpei from the seat behind me. I had to agree.
"Seems to be fairly unnoticed for a major city, which is why it was chosen," said the driver -- Kozuke, that was his name. "Has a few things marketed as tourist attractions, and once in a blue moon an international sporting event is held there, but that's about it." He paused as he turned the corner into the airport parking lot. "Quiet enough that there won't be any trouble, but enough to do so you shouldn't be bored."
"I'll bet," I grunted. I was *not* looking forward to being away from a racetrack for any length of time, even if there was something else to do. Edmonton sounded insufferably dull; I would rather have my privates roasted on an open fire while being dipped naked in sheep turd than die of boredom in some wacko foreign city, and proceeded to say so.
"Oh, come on, Joe, maybe it won't be so bad," offered Jun beside me. "Who knows, we might actually have some fun there."
"In a city so peaceful people forget to mark it on the map?" I sneered. "Yeah, right." I heard Ryu's faint snore from somewhere behind me and couldn't help but agree with his involuntary assessment of the situation.
"Well, like it or not, we're stuck there for two weeks," came Ken's tired-sounding voice from the passenger seat next to Kozuke. "We'll just have to make the best of it somehow. Maybe we can ask for some help on finding places to go when we arrive at the airport there."
"You've got to be kidding," I said wryly, crossing my legs. "I'm willing to bet the airport sees more action than the rest of the city."
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jun shrug. "You never know, Joe. It might turn out well after all."
My sarcastic retort was forestalled by Kozuke's abrupt braking in front of the airport's 'outbound flights' door. Muttering beneath my breath -- but not within anyone's hearing -- about how I'd rather bone Katse than go to freaking Canada, I swung myself out the van's side door and plucked my suitcase from beneath my seat.
Chapter 3 by Kimyou na Gaijin
Julieann made me do it! I swear!
Standard disclaimer: Tatsunoko owns Gatchaman and anything else belonging to it. WEM is not one of them.
Part 3: Jun
Despite my attempts at optimism, I could tell from the outset that this was going to be anything but a pleasant trip. Ken looked as though he hadn't gotten a wink of sleep, Joe was grouchy, Jinpei was restless as only little boys could be, and Ryu seemed completely indifferent, preferring to sleep instead. I felt a twist of guilt in my stomach as we left Utoland behind us in the crowded 767; I'd seen the expression on Ken's face beneath his visor as the junebug mecha twisted out of the Phoenix's way just as the Bird Missile impacted in the middle of the city beneath it, and wanted desperately to say something to take his mind off the recollection. The bleary gaze he turned blankly out the window as the plane made its way across the ocean was less than conducive to conversation, so I decided not to try just yet.
However, the prospect of having a zombie as my flight companion for the next 22 hours was somewhat less than appealing, so perhaps some kind of effort on my part was in order. I leaned over and gently touched his arm. "Ken?"
He started and blinked at me. "Huh? What?"
I smiled gently. "To be frank, you look like hell. Maybe you should try to get some sleep. This is going to be a long flight, you know."
He looked away, the rising sun catching faint red highlights in his hair. "I can't just now."
"I understand, but you should try anyway. We're going to be in a completely different country soon, and who knows what we'll actually find there, despite everyone saying it's peaceful?" Seeing his slight frown, I continued. "Peaceful time or not, you're going to be in no shape to handle anything if you're too fried from lack of sleep."
Ken blinked again, then rubbed at his slightly bloodshot eyes. "I don't know -- I mean, you're right, but -- "
"Care for some breakfast?"
I looked over to see a pretty, well-coiffed flight attendant smiling pleasantly at us. I opened my mouth to refuse politely, at which point my stomach chose to make its discontent loudly known. Blushing and ducking my head, I murmured, "Yes, please. For two," I added, looking at Ken through my hair.
"But -- " he began protesting as the attendant smiled and moved away to the food cart making its way up the aisle by my elbow.
"If you don't eat, you'll be weak and sick when we get there, and combined with your lack of sleep, definitely in no shape to lead," I said firmly, pulling down his eating tray and mine. "Who knows, a full stomach might help you sleep some."
Luckily, Ken was too tired to protest any further as the attendant returned with two breakfast trays. "I suppose," he mumbled, looking at the steaming fish, rice and fruit in front of him. Behind us, Joe and Jinpei bickered over who was getting which tray. I could hear Ryu eating noisily over their arguing.
We ate in silence, Ken's movements seeming almost mechanical. He'd still said nothing when the trays were cleared away, keeping his eyes on the faintly sparkling carpet of cloud on the horizon. Less than 10 minutes after eating, however, he was sound asleep.
I leaned back in my chair and breathed a soft sigh of relief, just as Jinpei's foot connected solidly with my seat. "Oneechan, Aniki Joe stole my custard," he whined.
Fortunately for us, Ken didn't wake up through my attempts to shush Jinpei, Joe's increasingly loud noises of "Did not, you didn't want it," or the minor custard and tapioca food fight that took place in the aisles. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time cleaning and taking IOUs for dry-cleaning bills from irate passengers.
On the bright side, it seemed to help make the flight pass more quickly. Mostly.
Chapter 4 by Kimyou na Gaijin
From: "Kimyou na Gaijin" email@example.com
You and your evil influences, Julieann! Bah, I tell you! Bah!
Standard disclaimer: Tatsunoko owns Gatchaman and anything related to it. WEM is its own. Nobody sue me, I'm already broke.
Part 4: Ryu
I couldn't help thinking, all through the takeoff, flight and landing at Edmonton International Airport, about how the Phoenix would have made the trip much faster. The poor old girl had gotten a big dose of backwash from the junebug's sudden movement and the explosion the Bird Missile had caused; I would rather have stayed behind and fixed her myself, but I guess Hakase didn't want us anywhere near the ISO while they tried to smooth things over. I suppose I couldn't blame him, but it didn't keep me from worrying about everything.
Joe and Jinpei had been, from the very beginning, fairly cranky and restless -- Joe had missed the mecha, after all, and Jinpei wasn't the type to sit quietly for any length of time; Ken and Jun both looked tired, despite them having managed to get some sleep. How they'd slept through Joe's and Jinpei's roughhousing, I have no idea.
Joe had expressed his doubts about Edmonton, saying that it couldn't possibly be a major city if there weren't people to speak of, and once we'd disembarked from our plane, it looked for a moment like he was right. The airport wasn't very crowded, not like we were used to seeing; people stood quietly in lines with their baggage, either alone or with companions, and although the airport employees worked fairly efficiently as far as I could tell, the entire atmosphere was extremely laid back. It seemed like the only stress to be found, aside from us, was in the face of the occasional late passenger pulling his bags behind him. This was definitely no wartime country.
"See, what'd I tell you? Boring," Joe declared as we retrieved our luggage from the conveyor belts. "If the rest of the city is like this, I'll go nuts."
I saw Jinpei open his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by Jun's elbow jabbing him in the ribs.
"I don't know," I said. "I'm looking forward to some peace and quiet for a change." Joe favored me with a glare. "Should we rent a car?"
"Damned right we're renting a car," Joe snapped. "I am *not* going without wheels for two weeks!"
Ken rubbed at his face. "Let's just find an information booth and see what we're going to do here." He looked terrible. I looked over at Jun and saw she was thinking the same thing. Good old Ken, always worrying about civilians and consequences. I couldn't think of anyone who needed a vacation more.
I looked around. "Over there," I said, pointing to a dark-colored booth near the money exchange counter and parking lot doors.
"Excuse me," Jun said to the booth's attendant upon reaching it. "This is our first time here, and we were wondering where to go from the airport and what there is to do."
The blonde gave us a dazzling smile. "Oh, how nice! Welcome to Edmonton!" she said cheerfully. "Where're you from? Must have been a long flight for you all to look so tired." She reached beneath the counter and pulled out a map of the entire city. "Who's going to be driving here?"
Joe stepped forward, wearing his hey-babe smile. "I am, actually."
The attendant's smile warmed a trifle. "Oh, good. Okay, from here you can take a shuttle to downtown Edmonton -- there are lots of car rental places in that area. You can go pretty much anywhere in the city from there, and there are some decent hotels there, too."
"Anything interesting to see?" mumbled Jinpei, trying to stretch on his toes to see the map.
"Well, most visitors usually go to West Edmonton Mall," she replied.
"A mall? What's so special about a mall?" asked Joe, wrinkling his nose.
My eyebrows raised at the grin that came over her face. "Biggest mall in the world," she announced proudly. What she said next gave us all a severe case of dangling jaw syndrome. "Indoor amusement park; indoor waterpark with waterslides, wave pool and bungee tower; ice skating rink; about four or five different theater venues; at least eight hundred stores; hotel with regular and theme rooms; miniature golf course; dolphin shows -- "
"Dolphin shows!" exclaimed Jinpei. Uh-oh.
Ken was blinking. He definitely looked alert now. "You've got to be kidding." His unspoken plea of '*Please* tell me you're kidding' was obvious.
The attendant shook her head, making ringlets bounce. "No, sir, I'm most definitely not kidding. It's all there, and they keep adding more to it." She paused. "Would you like directions?"
Jinpei was bouncing up and down. "Yeah, yeah! Oh, pleeeeeeeease, Aniki Ken, let's go there! Pleeeeeeeease!"
I groaned to myself at the thought of chasing Jinpei around in that place. My stomach growled, distracting me from my dire thoughts. "Any place to eat in there?" I asked.
"Oh, yes, of course!" laughed the attendant. "There are a number of food courts in the mall. After all, doing all that walking sure whets the appetite."
Ken rubbed at his temple, trying to ignore Jinpei's tugging on his arm. The gesture reminded me of Hakase. "Any idea of the costs?"
She shrugged. "It varies, really. There's something for everyone there."
"Anikiiii! *Pleeeeeease!* I want to see the dolphins!" Jinpei was almost pulling Ken's arm out of the socket.
We exchanged glances. To judge from the others' expressions, Ken was already worrying about the team getting split up, Joe was thinking about how many girls he could meet, Jun was thinking about shopping, and Jinpei was thinking about, well, dolphins. If we didn't go, Jinpei would never let us hear the end of it, and I, for one, wasn't up to *that*. On the other hand, if we did go, finding him in the mall would keep us busy for at least two weeks. Damned if we did and damned if we didn't.
I saw Ken reach the same conclusion. "All right," he sighed to the attendant. Jinpei's cheering nearly deafened every bystander within a 50 foot radius. "Where do we go from downtown?"
The blonde smiled and beckoned Joe closer, pointing to the map. He leaned over the counter eagerly; I didn't think it was for the directions, though, but she didn't seem to notice, and if she did she was probably used to it. "Okay, there's a car rental place at this address -- " she scribbled it down on a small piece of paper and gave it to him " -- and from there, you follow Stony Plain Road, heading west . . . "
I had the sinking sensation this trip was going to feel a lot longer than two weeks.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.