Blackbird Blues by UnpublishedWriter
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Story Notes:
Written for the Gatchamania summer gift exchange
Excerpts from the remains of the personal diary of the general in charge of Galactor’s Blackbirds. Like the Devil Stars, they were elite Galactor soldiers, specially trained for sabotage, assassination, intelligence gathering, and assorted dirty deeds. It was found in the remains of a Galactor base, after Katse’s death. The sections reproduced here are self-contained and comprehensible. Lacunae in these excerpts are marked with ellipses (…). The rest are still under analysis for their relation to suspected Blackbird and Galactor activity.

When we’re left to our own devices, we’re successful.

When Lord Katse gets involved and gets creative, our missions go right to hell. Or they end with people dying unnecessarily.

Why, why use that neon giant mecha to kill ISO scientists in the middle of Amegapolis? I’m still surprised people didn’t notice it stomping the streets between the amusement park and its targets before it lit up. There were Blackbirds in the city, and all Katse used them for was stealing one set of plans and…his personal security…. Simple alternate plan: I send all the assassins out during one night, not a giant that has to recharge after every stroll. Everyone on the list dead. Even if some targets survived, or the assassins were interrupted by police, message sent: When Galactor wants you dead, you’re dead.

But no: we had to have that oversized glow-stick.

Oh, yeah, and after that, I made damn certain that the Blackbirds remembered not to run directly to the nearest base when pursued.

(Note to self: remind Blackbirds to lie low…. What’s the point in hiding if we give ourselves away at every opportunity?)
***** ***** *****

I didn’t want Koji Yamane as one of our captains, but Katse wanted him. People who come to us with chips on their shoulders or with something to prove are usually liabilities.

And it wasn’t as if he was given a difficult mission. The traitors had already opened up the base to us. Set a bomb, get out. Missiles explode, embarrassing President Dabara and his supporters. President is forced to resign, leaving the PM to take over and establish a government more cooperative towards Galactor.

Still don’t know what happened. I never had a chance to find out from him, and he certainly didn’t tell anybody else why he scuttled the mission. Rumor blamed a girl, but that’s so common. When people don’t know why, they invent reasons, and romance is one of the reasons they pull out of nowhere.

Don’t know why Katse gave him the second chance, or ordered him to personally assassinate Dabara.

This time, can’t blame our lord’s love of drama for failure. Yamane decided to stay in the race, rather than find a sniper nest. For some reason, the Science Ninja Team was there. Everyone watching the race got to watch him fail and the ninjas chase the Blackbird squad.

And damned if the idiots didn’t run right to the base again. I made it a point to refresh the memories of the other Blackbirds about not doing that. Too bad I didn’t have any of the guilty ones to demonstrate with.

But I can blame Lord Katse for the loss of a Blackbird squad. There was no reason to send them against the GodPhoenix. Just execute Yamane and get out. Leave the Science Ninja Team for later.
***** ***** *****

Dokoaru was a success, even if the Science Ninja Team did show up. Galactor got what it wanted, and the new President’s so afraid of being accused of Galactor ties that he just agrees with whoever yells the loudest that day. The country’s completely paralyzed and its economy’s in the toilet. Should destabilize the entire area.

And it was simple: kill the President and then impersonate him long enough to loot the Treasury and working mines. No giant mecha, no combining vehicles, just us and the necessary personnel and equipment to pull it off. That mind-warping beam was a back-up plan.

We did make one big mistake: we shouldn’t have threatened him before impersonating him. That strong-arm stuff only works for so long—and that’s on people who can be coerced. Should have known that the President wasn’t one of those; that he would ask for assistance. If we’d simply assassinated and impersonated him, we would have gotten double or three times what we did get out of that nation. At least. Then packed up and left the moment the SNT showed up.

Too bad Katse allowed the squad to die. I wanted to find out just what happened, and not from him. His view of the world is—not mine.
***** ***** *****

If I could, I’d put a moratorium on Blackbirds using combining vehicles. Overall, that tactic doesn’t increase our effectiveness. Individually, we can ride rings around our opponents (literally or metaphorically), scatter and regroup as necessary, and often win against superior firepower and numbers. When we combine, we lose all that advantage, whether we’re authorized to use the Whisker alloy or not.

I watched the training video for the latest combining mecha.

As if the pilot of the GodPhoenix will just sit while a tricked-out chess-piece races towards it. I don’t care how much plating forms the base: it’s still a fucking two-wheeled motorcycle down there. Not enough stability or weight. Those flailing tentacles out of the top don’t help. A good whack from any of the ninja’s vehicles will probably tip it right over; same with a well-placed blast from the Swan or Swallow. Hell, I bet the Owl could just give it a punch as it passed.

And the supersharp blade that cut the fake GodPhoenix down the middle? Lost enough of the edge that it had to be replaced. Yeah: the Whisker alloy. It’s tough, not invulnerable, and shouldn’t be wasted on stunts like that.

It’s Katse’s backup plan for this latest mission. Somehow.

One of our agents is to infiltrate Utoland City’s youth scene. The SNT is tough, but our best information is that they’re all older teens or young adults. They’ve been spotted around a place called Jun’s Joint, and a kid hangs there who’s either the Swallow or knows him. Could be that Washio’s kid is Gatchaman, and he’s also been around the place.

We’re not sending one of our young, ripped and stripped team members. The ones young enough to blend in tend to be cocky little shits. I figured a ‘cool uncle’ or ‘friendly older guy’ would work better. Agent V is overweight and has old acne scars on his face. Just the right in-between age: young enough to have residual ‘cool’ while old enough to appeal to the ones looking for a mentor (or good stories). Doesn’t look threatening—unless you’re a donut. He’s done good work in the past, getting information when others have failed.

I’ve told the backup team to behave themselves. Incidents are the last thing we need. Let V do his work.

The remainder of the diary entries are too damaged to reproduce. Complete ISO and SNT reports on these missions are available.
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