Familiar Strangers by Neil Burns
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Neil Burns

Tatsunoko Productions. The Ninjas meet their BOTP counterparts in this amusing
tale. The title refers to the Jefferson Starship song "Familiar Stranger".

AUTHOR'S NOTE--This is a cleaned-up revision with the swearing and
unauthorized references to other people's stories taken out. I also went back to the
original title FAMILIAR STRANGERS because there is already a story at GATCHFANFIC

"There is nothing, Hakase," Joe smiled tightly. "There is no Galactor."
"There still might be remenants," Nambu replied.
"We'll continue to patrol and report," Ken put in crisply.
"Suck up," Joe hissed to himself.
"Do that," Nambu signed off.

Joe fired off a few Sicilian oaths at the black screen, accented by an
"Italian salute", to the others' dismay. They had left their comrade dying at Kross
Karakorum, his battered body riddled with bullet holes. Yet, an alien race had
returned him to Coral Crescent and healed him by placing tiny dime-shaped
implants in his quadriceps and biceps, giving him cyborg-like speed, strength and
coordination and giving his skin armor-hardness. He still remained
human--scars, warts and all. Needless to say, the team was glad to have him back,
despite his many flaws. Jinpei sat crossed-legged on his chair, arms behind his

"Boorr-rrring," he groaned.
"Tell me about it," Ryu replied. "Why are we doing this? Katse did a Greg
Louganis into a lava pit and Sosai, as the Americans would say, 'got out of
Dodge'. What's the point?"
"The Lord Almighty Koz hath decreed it," Joe sneered acidly.
"Come on, Joe," Jun chided.

Suddenly, the Godphoenix shuddered and a silver light flashed before the crew
recovered. The Ninjas stumbled to their feet and looked out the window at a
clear blus sky. It was as if nothing had happened.

"What the hell happened?" Joe demanded.
"Let see," Ken put in dryly. "Flashing light. Turbulence. Nope, nothing out
of the ordinary."
"Does anyone know where we are?"
"I would think the Pacific. Ryu?"
"According to the calculations," the helmsman put in, that's exactly where we
"Why does it feel weird, though?" Jinpei mused.
"What do you mean?" Jun queried.
"Simple. Something doesn't feel right. I get the feeling we aren't where
we're supposed to be."
"An 'alternate universe'?" Joe smirked. "You been watching too much STAR
TREK, runt."

"Anything, Keyop?" Mark asked.
"Broot. Doop. Nothing, Mark." the youngest G-Forcer replied.
"Got squat here too, Chief," Jason put in.
"Maybe Zoltar decided to be nice and give us a break for once," Princess
mused dryly.
"Yeah. Thanks, O Purple Putz."
"I'm bored," Tiny groused. "And hungry too."
"You just ate lunch two hours ago, tubbo."
"Gotta keep my girlish figure, Jase."

It had been six months since Zoltar and Spectra were handed their lastest and
most devastating defeat so far. In fact, according to Rigan sources on the
Crab Nebula world, there were reports that the entity Great Spirit was growing
disilliusioned with Zoltar and the two were supposedly on the outs. The people
of Earth decided to take the "gift" for what it was, a chance to recover and
get on with life. However, Chief David Anderson was not buying it. He and
Colonel Matthew Cronus, among others, felt that this was merely allowing Spectra to
plan a new and more dangerous threat. Therefore, Anderson had sent G-Force to
patrol the skies and to report any suspicious activity. Suddenly, Keyop began
convulsing and brooping with merriment while pointing to the screen. The rest
of G-Force turned and saw a giant red-white-and-blue ship built to resemble a
bird, a fierce face on the front to complete the visual. Dumbfoundment turned
into laughter as the team collapsed to the floor howling and in danger of
urinating themselves. Tiny struggled to keep the ship afloat in the sky.
Meanwhile, Gatchaman was looking in shock at their Godphoenix. How could it be in one
piece, after Nambu ordered it "retired" after the war with Galactor?

"Ken?" Jun interrupted the reverie.
"What is it?" Ken replied, his eyes still on the familiar ship on the screen.
"I'm getting voices coming from the other Godphoenix."
"What kind?"
"They're speaking English. I also hear laughing."
"Let's hear it."

Jun turned on the intercom and voices and laughter could indeed be heard
over the speakers. The voices were speaking English, but the laughing slurred the
occassional word or two.

"What is THAT?!"
"The world's UGLIEST ship."
"A giant chicken. How cute."
"Broot. Doop. Big Bird."
"What were the designers smoking?"
"I don't know, but I want some."
"Maybe we can fly it to Spectra."
"Sure thing, Prin. Spooks wouldn't be able to do squat cuz they'd be laughing
too freakin' hard."
"I sure hate to be the poor schmuck who has to fly that thing."

"The Poor Schmuck" and the other Ninjas glared at the intercom. How dare
those people mock their situation. Yes, Gatchaman was not happy receiving, as Joe
put it, "Super Chicken" and even "wanted words" with the designer. Yet, to
make comments and laugh at their predicament was unforgivable.

"Jun," Ken smiled grimly.
"Yes, Ken?" Jun replied.
"Please get them on the horn."
"My pleasure."

The videoscreen came on and Gatchaman found themselves staring
at---THEMSELVES! The other "Godphoenix" had five exact clones dressing in identical
Birdstyles rolling on the floor, almost crying from laughing so hard. Suddenly, "Ken"
stopped and stared at the screen. The other clones stopped and stared as well.
A silenced hung over both ships for a moment. One could almost hear "Twilight
Zone" theme in the background. Ken smiled as he cleared his throat.

"Ohayo," he greeted in a pleasant tenor. "I am Ken Washio, G-1 and leader of
the Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman. To whom am I speaking with."
"Hi," Mark smiled. "I am Mark Washington, leader of G-Force. Nice to meet
"The pleasure is mine."
"I apologize if we laughed at your ship."
"Don't," Joe smiled acidly. "It's hideous as sin and should be scrapped. Joe
Asukura. Nice to meet you as well."

The other Ninjas and G-Forcers introduced themselves as well as their
conuterparts, noticing the differences between the groups. There were the voices.
Both Eagles were tenors while the Owls had pleasant baritones. Jun had a
pleasant, musical soprano voice while Princess' voice was a little lower. The most
noticeable difference was the Condors. Jason was a pleasant, albeit reedy
baritone, while Joe was a full rich bass. On the other hand, Gatchaman found Keyop's
"vocalizations" a bit disconcerting. G-Force also noticed Gatchaman spoke
English with varying degrees of fluency. Ken and Joe were near fluent with just a
trace of their native accents. Jun and Jinpei's accents were a little more
noticeable, while Ryu's Sendai dialect marred the occassional word.

"We're heading back to Center Neptune," Mark stated. "You're welcome to join

The "Swan's Nest". Nightclub. Bar. Diner. The Ninjas and G-Force bonded over
lunch and swapped stories. Both Swans painted their finger and toenails while
kibbitzing about reprogramming mechas and "Eagle problems" while the Owls
enjoyed seafood and swapped whoppers over who caught the biggest fish. The
Swallows exchanged notes about torturing teammates, especially "older sisters" and
enemy soldiers while the Eagles' conversation was more somber, discussing
estranged fathers and mothers who died from leukemia. Ken smiled as Mark mentioned
making up with Cronus. At least, one of us reconciled with his father. Jason
and Joe swapped stories in Sicilian about racing cars, misadventures, girls and
tormenting their "father figures". Chief David Anderson watched this "bonding"
while drinking coffee. He and 7-Zark-7 had the Ninjas confined while they
made sure that G-Force's counterparts were not cyborgs or human bombs, tactics
favored by Spectra. Jason was reminiscing about the NASCAR-sponsored
SIRIUS-ONKYO 500 in California where he shocked the field by winning the race.

"So the party went til 3 in the morning," he grinned. "Chicks were all over
me and my groove was going full throttle. Of course, Davey had to be the wet
blanket and kill the party."
"Anderson," Joe chided. "How dare you. After such an important victory."
"Some of us," "Davey" replied, "were trying to sleep."
"You can understand them?" Tiny put in, lost.
"I speak Sicilian along with nine or ten other languages."
"I haven't spoke it in ages," Jason mused apologetically. "I must sound
"It ain't bad," Joe smiled. "Just practice more and it will come back."

Anderson observed the Ninjas closely and noticed that they seemed world-weary
and cynical. Even Jinpei seemed hardened underneath his mischievious
cuteness. Joe almost scared him. The coiled, tense body language. The hardened
features. Those dead ice-blue eyes. The almost psychotic aura. Anderson wondered if
his counterpart ever considered therapy for the Sicilian or even locking him up
outright. The jukebox began playing "Cat's In The Cradle", Harry Chapin's
bittersweet song about a father who missed out on his son's growing up because of
other commitments.

"I really hate that song."

The group turned at the voice and saw a trim, athletically-built man of fifty
or so, dressed in a white suit and tie. His bare head revealed military-cut
brown hair and ice-blue eyes were set in a handsome, craggy features. A
brown-and-gray trimmed mustache sat above a firm almost, cruel mouth. It was Kenneth
Washington, aka Colonel Murdoch Cronos of the Red Rangers. Kami-sama! It's
Otosan! Ken could not believe how much alike Cronos and Kentaro Washio were.
Cronos started slightly as seeing the Ninjas staring at him.

"You been doing cloning, Anderson?" he asked.
"No," Anderson replied. "These are the Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman."
"So what are they doing here?"
"If we knew that," Joe intoned, "we'd be outta here right now."
"Wow," Jinpei mused. "Rat Bastard's alive."
"Well, hello to you too, young man," Cronos smiled dryly.

G-Force arched their eyebrows at Jinpei's rudeness, wondering how often he
had to be disciplined. Jinpei smiled cockily as he challenged the older
Washington to basketball with the wager being whoever lost would buy dinner. After
accepting the bet, Cronos turned to Anderson to explain why he was there in the
first place. Mark smiled dryly as he handed "his father" a beer.

"Sorry about the music," he mused, "but it was your choice, 'dad'. Not mine."
"Why are you here, Ken?" Anderson asked.
"Zark wants you to return to base. Another one of Zoltar's mecha is
"Great," Jason groused as he missed his pool shot. "You freakin' suck!"
"Why?" Ryu queried. "What kind of mecha is it?"
"Just come," Cronos smiled bemused. "It's kind of hard to describe."

The Ninjas and G-Force entered the war room where an enormous videoscreen
took up most of a wall. The picture showed a burning city with an unusual sight
in the middle. The mecha was built to look like a man dressed in a child's
schoolboy outfit and a baseball cap. In its hands was an electric guitar, which
fired missiles and sonic waves when it "played". The mecha itself began to stomp
up and down, bobbing its head ferociously as if in an epileptic fit. Horror
stomped itself behind on Gatchaman and G-Force's faces, as "For Those About To
Rock" blared as the city disintergrated into nothing.

"Angus Young!" Joe gasped. "Those bastards!"
"Man!" Jason groaned. "That is so wrong!"
"How dare they!" Jinpei growled. "I oughta castrate them!"
"Zoltar would probably get off on it."
"Gotta give him credit for being creative," Princess smiled dryly.
"Creative!" Jun moaned. "That isn't creative, Prin. That is insulting."
"Well, Cronos smiled. "Here's some good news. We have a prisoner."
"Swell," Mark mused. "Did we get Zoltar?"
"No. His sister Mala."
"Wow!" Tiny whistled. "That is HUGE!"
"I wouldn't get too excited," Princess put in. "I don't see her talking."
"She just needs a little 'Sicilian persuasion'," Joe smiled.

The interrogation room was empty except for the tall, elegant woman sitting
in on of the chairs, a cigarette hanging from her lips in lazy arrogance. Her
ice blue eyes seemed to stare through the mirrored glass at Chief Anderson and
the Ninja and G-Force teams. Mala had been interrogated for several hours,
bribed, cajoled and other means of persuasion, but she refused to talk. However,
the conversation at the moment was not about the interrogation.

"Has Zark been able to find a way for us to get back, Hakase?" Ken addressed
"Not yet," Anderson replied. "We are not sure what happened."
"Useless piece of garbage," Jinpei sneered, only to be whacked by Jun.
"We were patrolling for Galactor," Jun put in, "when we expected turbulence.
There was a bright silver light and here we are."
"Hey, Chief," Tiny intoned. "Why the heck is Ken calling you Hakase?" the
pilot pronounced it as Ha-KAH-see.
"It's Japanese for doctor or professor," Anderson explained. "Which is what I
"Hey," Jason smirked. "Check this out."

The group turned and saw Joe standing in the doorway of the outer room,
dressed in a black shirt and white polyester suit with gold around his neck and
hanging from his left lobe. A bottle of expensive wine and a rose sat in his left
hand and two glasses rested in his right. As the others tried to keep from
laughing, Joe entered the interrogation room and greeted Mala with an elegant
bow, planting a kiss on the back of her hand while he held it. He gave her a
Sicilian greeting while giving her the rose in the process. Zoltar's sister
looked out the window, her lips curved in a cruel smile, unaware that Joe had
slipped a pill in her wineglass in the process.

"Very novel approach, Anderson," Mala purred while mockingly clapping her
hands. "You still will get nothing from me."

Suddenly, the soft dulcet sounds of Barry White's "What Am I Gonna Do?"
crooned through the speakers as the Condor began to dance. Barry White. The Walrus
of Love. That chocolate-rich raspy bass that melted many a woman's heart and
made her weak in the knees. The sweet warm sounds caressed Joe and Mala's ears
as Anderson arched his eyebrows, wondering whether to be impressed with the
Condor's creativity or simply laugh at the ludicrousness of the scenario.

"I am never listening to Barry ever again," Princess groused.
"Why not?" Ken queried.
"How could he waste such a good singer on that witch?"
"I agree," her counterpart concurred. "I don't know whether to vomit or cry."
"Well," Ryu smirked. "Gotta give him points for creativity."
"Besides," Jason put in. "He's a fellow Sicilian. We all know about love."
"Sure," Tiny smirked. "If the women were cyborgs or human bombs."
"You're just jealous because we at least get some, bub."

After "My First, My Last, My Everything" was finished, Mala was suddenly very
drunk and cooperative. Joe did not even have to prod when Zoltar's
sister/second-in-command spilled everything about Spectra's latest plan. The Galaxy
Girls were to pretend to be Girl Scout leaders whose troops would sell cookies,
containing a drug that would make whoever bought and consumed them, brainwashed
subserviants. The "Angus Young" mecha would punish those who would defy
Spectra. The Ninjas watched this, still not believing that this Mala was actually a
seperate person from Zoltar. Berg Katse was a mutant born from fraternal twins
that were merged at birth into a gender-shifting being. As 7-Zark-7 was
explaining the mechanics of "Angus", Joe and Jinpei were leaning against each
other, snoring loudly, to the dismay of their apologetic teammates. However, Jason
and Keyop looked at them as wicked grins spread across their faces.

"You thinking what I'm thinking?" Jason purred.
"Broot. Doop. Let's do it," Keyop chirped.

An hour later, both the Phoenix and "Super Chicken", aka the Godphoenix, flew
to Alica where Spectra was attacking. The mecha could be seen in the distance
creating havoc on the capital city. Suddenly, the Ninja's ship began to shake
and convulse. It almost seemed to be dancing and convulsing as chickens
clucking Glenn Miller song "In The Mood" could be heard. Jason and Keyop were on
the floor howling with laughter as the others struggled not to laugh themselves.
Mark could picture Gatchaman's reaction, especially a certain Condor that
must have been swearing a blue streak.

"You two do know that you are dead," he smirked, patting Keyop's head.
"Oorp. Doot. Doop. So what?" Keyop scoffed.
"Exactly," Jason sneered. "Too easy a joke not to do it."
"All right," Mark shrugged. "Your funeral."

"Lord Zoltar?"

Zoltar struggled not to strangle the soldier who had entered while "Passion
Nights" was on. The scene showing was of Trista and Steve about to indulge in
severe passionate intimacy. To make matters worse, the Spectran leader was
unmasked yet the soldier wisely looked straight ahead, very aware of the penalty
of seeing his liege unmasked.

"Yes, Rolk?" the Purple Leader smiled tightly
"Forgive me for interrupting your entertainment, sire. I thought you should
know that G-Force is approaching the city."
"Excellent. You know what to do."
"Yes, sir. There is another ship approaching as well."
"So? Deal with that one as well."
"Well, sire. I think you should take a look at it." Was Rolk trying not to
"Just please come with me, sir. One of the Galaxy Girls is a fan of this
program and records all the episodes. I am certain she can make a copy for you."

As the soldier left and waited outside, Zoltar sighed while wondering what
was so important that Trista and Steve had to wait. Turning off the television
and downing the last remenants of his eclair, Zoltar followed Rolk up to the
control room and entered to see the crew rolling on the floor, helpless with
laughter. He started to question what was going on when the answer appeared on
the screen in the form of the Phoenix accompanied by a ship painted to resemble
a giant red-white-and-blue bird. The "bird" was shaking and convulsing and
generally appeared to be doing a travesty of dancing while "In The Mood" played
from the speakers. Zoltar stared in shock before bursting out laughing, tears
soaking his mask while his jackal-like braying mingled with his men's laughter.
Unbeknownst to "Angus"' occupants, both ships flew up to the rear and dropped
off four figures each.

"Well," Mark mused dryly. "That was fun."
"OK," Joe smiled acidly. "What smartass joker snuk "In The Mood" onto the
Godphoenix? That was so not funny."
"Tell me about it," Jun grumbled. "My stomach is still doing cartwheels."
"That would be Jason and Keyop," Princess intoned neutrally while Jason
"Very amusing," Ken smirked, coiling an arm around Keyop. "However the
distraction proved to be very successful."
"Broot. Doop. Hands off, murderer!" Keyop slapped the arm away in disgust.

G-Force and Gatchaman had entered the "Angus Young" mecha and destroyed it,
the highlight being both teams performing duelling Whirlwind Pyramids, or as
Gatchaman called it, "Whirlwind Ninja Fighters". Yet, G-Force was shocked and
rather turned off at the sight of broken spines and limbs, necks snapped or
impaled by shiruken or ripped open by a birdrang and other bloodthirsty
spectacles. Joe especially seemed to take an inhuman delight in killing as many
Spectrans as possible, his icy-blue eyes taking on a psychotic gleam, frightening the
G-Forcers. More disturbing was Jinpei's joy in the slaughter. How a seemingly
innocent child could callously take another life without a thought bother Mark
to no end. For their part, the Ninjas were wondering why their "twins" were
taking it easy on the enemy. Did they not know the only good foe was a dead
one? And they let "Berg Katse" get away. Chief Anderson read the report, ignoring
the tension, and cleared his throat.

"Interesting," he mused. "It would seem that both groups have the same
agenda, but very different approaches."
"Meaning what, sir?" Jun asked.
"Spectra wants to invade Earth and steal our resources, conquering us.
G-Force fights them but does not kill or seriously injure them."
"It's a war. Why not?"
"Because they have families back home most likely," Princess put in quietly.
"Zoltar also allows people to seek shelter before attacking," Tiny mused.
"He does?" Ken's eyebrows arched. "Why?"
"Perhaps he feels that killing them would be a waste of slaves."

G-Force did not kill Spectrans because they had families? What about the
families that died? When did this Zoltar care about enslaving them? And when did
he allow them to survive? And why did G-Force consistently let him escape? This
was a very strange universe. One they had no desire to stay in. The sooner
they returned to where they were supposed to be, the sooner they could resume
their lives. To make matters worse, they were currently taking orders from an
obnoxious R2D2 reject suffering from the worst case of delusions of granduer and
rose-colored-glasses syndrome on the planet. Yet, the Ninjas liked their
counterparts. Joe especially found a kindred spirit in his fellow Condor Jason
with his liking of cars, women and pissing off authority figures.

"You know, Dave," Joe's bass purred wickedly. "You remind me a lot of Koz."
"Really," "Dave" queried. "Why is that?"
"You're both tight-assed jerks who like keeping us on a short leash."
"Is that so?" Anderson replied frostily.

The silence was deafening as G-Force gasped, except for Jason who hid a
smile, while the Ninjas glowered at the Condor and looked apologetically at
Anderson, who fixed Joe with a withering glare. Jason was always irreverent with a
bit of an attitude, but he was never really rude. Joe though was bordering on
downright insubordination. Anderson wondered how often the Condor was
disciplined and did he and Ken come to blows and how often. The next mission had both
teams invade Spectra's base and destroy their supply of Thoeoraxin-14 toxin, a
powerful drug that served to impose complete control over the victim, yet leave
them a brain-damaged zombie as a result. The teams again gelled together and
Gatchaman even toned down their attacks to "minor maiming", with the highlight
again being the twin "Whirlwind Pyramids/Ninja Fighters". Later, after a long
reconciliation, the two groups were back at the Nest telling more tales about
their respective misadventures.

"Mark, can I ask you something?" Ryu queried.
"Sure, Ryu," Mark replied. "What is it?"
"How long have you worked for Zark?"
"We don't work 'for' him. He scans the cosmos for Spectra and we act on his
findings. As to how long, since the beginning I guess."
"Don't you find him even the tiniest bit annoying?" Jinpei put in.
"All the time," Jason grinned, "but he still has his uses."
"I could use some spare parts," Joe mused. "Think he could let me use him."
"I got first dibs, but I'll be happy to share with a fellow Sicilian."

Jason grinned as he related how he got even with the Galaxy Girl who killed
his parents when he was only eight. He hunted her down and found her at a diner
in the middle of nowhere. Pretending to be a tourist, he asked for directions
and, as she gave them to him on the map, he slipped Ex-Lax in her coffee. As
she was "answering Nature's Call", he poured strychnine in his coffe and
exchanged it with hers. When she came back, she drank it and died horribly as the
onlookers gasped in horror and shock. By then, Jason had slipped out the back
door unseen. Jinpei smirked about how clueless Ken was with women and how he
would never pay his tab for the Snack J even though it was about the size of
Hontwhorl and Japan's deficits combined. Three days later, Gatchaman was able to
return to their universe and resume their patrol. Nambu found their report
rather interesting amd actually looked forward to meeting his counterpart
sometime in the future to compare notes on their respective "Condors". For now, the
team was back, Galactor had been disbanded, Berg Katse was dead, Sosai Z left
the solar system and all was peaceful.


Ta da. Hope this (hopefully final) version is more acceptable for everyone.
Like I said, I pretty much eliminated any blue language (maybe one or two left)
and made sure I wasn't borrowing from someone who wasn't asked. Enjoy and ALL
COMMENTS and FLAMES/CRITICISMS welcome. Let's hear you.

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