Condor Joe is dead.
For the moment, with no one watching, there is no need to keep the mask of leadership up, so I take advantage of the first privacy I'd had since returning from the mission and sink down into my swivel chair. My "bird-style", the skintight winged armour that makes me the Eagle, vanishes, leaving just me, alone with my feelings.
In some ways Joe Asakura had been a major pain. Insubordinate, insanely reckless, a revenge crazed thug looking for a way to get himself killed, and take as many of the opposition with him as he could in the process. And that was exactly what he did. His medical condition might have been treated successfully with brain surgery if he'd reported the first symptoms immediately. With luck, he would have been out of action for a few months. But oh no, he had to hide it, keep going even when his headaches and vision problems endangered himself and the rest of the team. By the time he let himself be properly examined, he had a week to live. He wasn't even Japanese, but he went kamikaze anyway, led us to Cross Karakorum. And...he saved the world.
Oh well. I suppose he went out the way he wanted to. Damn him. How could he do this to us? To me? He was MY pain in the ass! He couldn't follow orders worth a damn, was always trying to rewrite the mission, kept going off solo so we'd have to rescue him... That bastard. God I'll miss him. Nobody could fight better than him. Nobody could...could...
I have to pull myself together. Father already has a replacement in the wings. His sister, of all people. If she's anything like Joe, I can't show any weakness or she'll eat me alive. She's got at least as much of a revenge motive as he did. But there's no way she can be as bad as Joe was. Nobody was like Joe. With her addition, the girls in the Ninja Team now outnumber the boys and that might even make my leadership role easier. Still, I wipe the tears out of my eyes, and start fixing my makeup. Put on my game face. The team depends on me. Morale's too fragile to continue to indulge myself.
I finish pulling myself together just in time. As I put my compact back in my purse, Father comes in with our newest recruit. She probably won't be that bad. After all, how much trouble can a girl named Priscilla be?
"Sylia?" he says. "I'd like you to meet the team's newest member, Priscilla Asakura. Priscilla, I'd like you to meet G-1, Sylia Nambu."
She looks at me with no sign of being impressed. "So...are you any good, or are you in charge because you're Daddy's Little Girl?"
I have a sinking sensation that I'm going to be hearing that expression way to often... ________________________________________________________________________
Characters and situations in this piece belong to Tatsunoko and Artmic.
Explanatory note: Priss Asagiri of Bubblegum Crisis is headstrong, insolent, vengeful, foulmouthed and tough as all get out. Remind you of anyone?