It's a well-known fact that in life, you only get one chance. Well, what if this fact was fiction? Would you try to correct all the mistakes you made or would you simply try another path? A world of possibilities is open before the one who gets a second chance at life.
A SECOND CHANCE
My name is or better yet I should say was Joe Asakura, otherwise known as G-2, the condor. It was cold, the day of my demise, I lay helpless surrounded only by the chill of the air and the ice of the ground. But yet, I felt none of these things, I was warm beyond belief as I held tightly to my last anchor to this earthly world, a single birdrang. A parting gift from (my family, my friends) the ones I valued most. This same family/friends had gone off to finish what I had started and so it was for them that I held on. I wanted to hear their good news about the final mission, but it wasn't meant to be as I heard the soft sounds of footsteps approaching.
So I, of course, tensed up and tried with what little strength I had to see if what was heading my way was friend or foe. It was then that the mystical bird appeared to me. Its wing span was such that it put my namesake the condor to shame as it landed gracefully beside me. The bird upon first glance was easily bigger than an eagle, but yet it looked more like a hawk. Its silent blue eyes crackled with a cold that no heat could warm and its beak look like it could easily rip me to shreds. Its body, wings, and even its tail feathers seem to be alive as they crackle and burn violently in the wind. Looking at its instantly reminded me of our ship the phoenix when it was in firebird mode. But its color was different from that of the ship during that stage and it was something about this that made me feel a sensation of doom, and then he appeared... Katse. Upon seeing him I muster all the strength I had left in me and in one desperate last attempt for revenge I threw the birdrang at my most hated enemy. The bird then left my side and in an instant flew between the deadly weapon and the even more deadly man. The blade hits home in the bird's chest as it screeches once and collapsed upon the snow.
"DAMN BIRD," I spat out as my vision dim and the world crumble away from me.
For me this single moment was the end and yet the beginning of my life.
After my death, I was drop into a world of darkness that I immediately figured out as being my own private hell for all the people I killed during my time as a member of The Science Ninja Team or just Gatchman for short. There was no sound, nothing to see, and I couldn't move at all. All I could do was think and remember all that I had done and all that I hadn't done. And soon I couldn't even do that, I was slowly forgetting. That was the one thing in the world that I or should I say Joe Asakura (so that I don't forget my own name) feared more than anything, forgetting. And being completely and utterly useless here wasn't helping any either as it beginning to destroy my mind and take away my sanity. But there was nothing I could do about it but wait and try to endure.
"Was it weeks, months, or years here?" I wonder out loud to myself. "Joe Asakura hopes Jun, Jinpei, Ryu, Nambu and Ken are doing alright!" I then decide to shout to some unknown thing, but like always there was nothing but silence. "Joe Asakura is the great condor, the killer of Galactors, and a causality of war," I shout again trying to keep up the senseless rambling that I had begun days or maybe that was just hours ago. It was then as I begin to speak again that I heard it... a sound. A sweet, lovely sound! I hope with all my might that it meant that my punishment was over. This sound that I heard would had normally had been very annoying to me as it beat in a slow yet steady rhythm, Boom... Boom... Boom.
Time past and I was still here. My miserable situation hadn't gone anywhere and soon the noise that I cherish as the end to my misery had begun to become my undoing as I screamed a noiseless scream again and again. I was trying to make any kind of noise that would drown out that sound for just a second, but nothing worked, the continuous booming was speeding up my insanity. But at least this sound had given me something to fight as I reach out with all my might to scatter the sound. It was then that the unexpected happen as I felt my head connect with something. Something very hard! So, I tried to repeat what I had done before and I found myself successful as I hit the invisible barrier again and again until I finally felt something break. I was free.
My body, oh my body, was hit by a rush of cold air as I landed upon a hard surface. I still had no sight, but I could feel my legs weakly try to hold my body up as I tried to get a sense of where I was. This was to no good as my legs suddenly buckled, and I fell to the ground. I tried to catch myself with my hands so I wouldn't fall on my face, but they didn't respond right as they flapped out straight and I crashed into the ground nose first. Anger and a bit embarrassed I tried to push off against the ground with my hands, which I felt barely touch the table, or I should have said that I didn't feel them touch the a table. Instead I felt little nubs with an fuzzy sensations touch the table, and of course after that I went totally bonkers.
"Good-morning, young one," a female voice called out to me as I nearly jumped up from the place that I had laid in shock. The voice danced around my mind and I instantly knew that the person whom had spoken had somehow gotten inside my head. This same person was also probably responsible for what had happen to me as well," I thought as I instantly got piss with the voice.
"Young one!" I thought out-loud trying to project my voice in mind-speak so she could hear me,"whom in the hell are you calling young one?"
"Young one, don't be rude." Her voice this time had a motherly tone as she softly scolded me for answering to her first call that way. "I don't know where you got such thoughts, your father and I never acted that way."
"Father and I," I repeated in disbelief, for some reason hearing her say that seemed wrong. I couldn't remember anything about my parents, but yet her claim to be my mother just didn't seem right. This was so confusing, so I chose to try and clarify some things. "Am I dead?"
"DEAD?" "Heavens no, you was just hatched a few seconds ago," she declared. Then her tone changed suddenly as her voice dropped in volume. "We were nearly dead a moment ago, but our great master and lord saved our lives by using the spirit of the one that nearly killed us to restore us. He said that there would be a few complications with you. He said that you might have a problem adjusting at first because of your lack of sight and motion skill. But he also said that your heighten intelligence will help you compensate until you gain your sight in a week and your ability to walk two days afterwards, but other than these few problems you should still be a health baby chick."
"Hatched a few seconds ago, a health baby chick," my mind quickly tossed these words around in my mind. Normally I wouldn't have believed her, but something about the way she had just said what she said made me instantly believe her. Plus, that would easily explain a lot of things like why I had no hands, why something was wrong with my feet, and why my legs had become so flexible that I could place then directly underneath myself. I was still alive, but what have I become? Oh, well, in a week all would be revealed, so I lay back down on my belly and rested.
The voice came to me more frequently after this point, and she always told me what day it was. Thanks to her constant reports a week quickly flew by and for the first time since my end, I open my eyes and I saw her. First off, she was nothing like I had imagined. I had image her as a beautiful young woman with beautiful skin and light brown eyes, instead I receive the shock of seeing a big blue bird.
"Yeah, you would've thought I would had figured that one out since she called me a chick and she claimed to be my mother," I scolded myself as I rolled my eyes at her.
It was then that I realized that she was the same blue bird that had gotten in the way of my birdrang in an dream, except for the fact that she now wore a silver necklace with a cross in the middle on her neck. I would had thought more about what this would have meant, but right then my second delusion about her was broken. She wasn't gentle like I expected from the sound of her voice. The second she realized that my eyes was open, she proceed to grab me by the skin of my neck and escort me to another room. Thirdly and finally, she didn't have a big beautiful house for me to awaken to, instead I found myself obviously in a Galactor base. But the significance of that last one seem to escape me as I tried to probe my shatter memories for the meaning of that word, Galactor.
It only took a few flaps of her wings to reach the main room as she dump me painfully on the floor at the feet of a huge man that stood before me like a mountain. The bird than circle once as I took in the massiveness of her size as her shadow totally covered me and continued across the room.
"Strange," the ground seemed to shake with the sound of that voice and my body quiver with a feeling I didn't understand. A feeling, that reacted only with that voice and made me wish that I had the ability to cover my ears. "He will not be blue like you."
"Yes, my lord," the bird suddenly landed behind me. "He's color is black and he will be very useful to your cause."
"Good." I tried to focus more on the voice as I caught the faint tingle of a woman's voice from the creature that I once thought was a man. I don't know why but it was then that I identify that feeling. I realized that it was a dark feeling that I felt, a feeling called hate that rose in me for that voice and that voice alone as the conversation continued. I knew that someday that bird would want me to called that creature master, and for a long as I live, I promise myself that day that such a thing would never happen.
A SECOND CHANCE
by Dragon Trainer
beta-read by Dei
PART 2 : THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM
Two days later after I met that man my frame of mind on things had changed. First off, I begin to call that blue bird, mother, since that was who she claimed to be. Besides, I couldn't remember any reason to deny it. As time had past I found myself having to rethink my position on a lot things that at one time I thought I knew, and that bad feeling I had earlier for that man in purple had also faded. Secondly, I discovered that that strange man wasn't the only man here. To be honest, there were thousands or more men here, and my mother and me seemed to be the only ones of our kind. These other men didn't give me that feeling of hate like the first one, and weren't so bad. The only drawback was that they weren't quite as intelligent either (I figured this because they listen to mysterious voices that comes from the ceiling), and they didn't seem to be able to understand a word that I was saying. Finally and the best change to my frame of mind was that I had begun to stumble and trip over my awkwardly long legs and feet, which meant that I have a whole new perspective on life. Now, I hadn't perfected it yet, so I was still slowly yet surely learning how to walk. But just like my mother had promised me, it didn't take me really anytime to completely figure out the whole process.
The day I finally got the hang of it, I was alone in my mom's and mine room. I never could understand why she didn't like the place and often referred to it as a stupid storage room. "Ok," I spoke to no one in particular," now that I can walk hiding will be a hell of a lot easier." It was about feeding-time and that means that my mother would come looking for me any moment, so I got up on my legs, pitching forward a little, and walked to the side of my nest-- table. It was a long way down from where I stood, but I had done it hundreds of times before. I then jumped off the side and hit the ground with a painful thud. "I might be able to walk now, but falling off that damn table still hurts like hell," I spoke to myself again. I then hid myself underneath the table.
"Dirk, it's time," My mother called out to me as if on cue. You see Dirk is the name that my mom had given me, which in our native tongue means troublemaker, and that is exactly what most of those men called me anyway. Especially after I blew up one of those huge mechanical animals that they hid in the room downstairs. Most creatures would have thought that not being able to walk would be enough to keep anyone out of trouble, but then those same creatures have never met me before either.
"Dirk Joe Blazer, where are you?"
"Damn, the whole name!" Oh well, at least I was able to win one battle about my name. Somehow, I was able to convince her to let me keep the name that I remembered during my time of no sight as my middle name, but other than that, the rest of my name is totally her idea.
"If I have to search this room to find you it's not going to be pretty, Dirk," my mom yelled again as I see her feet from my hiding place. <Joe not Dirk> I thought to myself as I puffed out my feathers in disgust. I had told her a thousand times to just call me Joe, but like always she refused. So, here I was trying to sneaking up on her, while trying my best to control the urge to give away my hiding spot by shouting at her to stop calling me that.
Finally the moment had arrived and she now had her back turned to me as she went to the opposite side of the room to look in one of my old hiding places. "BOO!" My mother half flew from the ground. I just love seeing her do that, since unlike the men she understand what I had just said and don't just continue walking like I wasn't even there.
"Dirk, I wish you wouldn't scare me like that," she cooed as she turned towards me. "My lord wishes to see you today."
"Mom call me Joe, and I'm not going," I backed away a little. Yesterday, when I had visited him he had some man in white stick me with something that hurts like hell. No way in this world I was going to let him do that to me again!
"And why not, he saved your life, Dirk," my mother said and then quickly pins me to the ground with her foot.
"Damn it, mother, let me go," I swore to her as she moved her talons under me and then lifted herself from the ground. "I will be damn if I'm going to let him stick me again." Within seconds we were heading towards the staircase that leads to the upper-level. I guess she must have really been in a hurry today, because she didn't stop and scold me for cursing (Something that I pick up from the men when they talked about the Gatchaman). She never has told me what those words meant, but I definitely know how to use them.
"My lord," it doesn't take too long for us to reach the sky-roof where that man is located.
"Good evening, Starblazer." That man spoke without turning to face us. "And how is your young Dirk this morning?"
"FUCK YOU!" I shouted at him as my mother took her position on one of the chairs furthest from him. The room was as it always had been a place with one long table and many rows of chair. That man, like normal, was wearing that long purple cloak with that funny-looking mask on his face. It was the same old, same old, nothing new or original in this meeting.
"My son has grown strong and pig-headed, I believe that now the time is right to advance him to the next level." My mother than placed me on the ground as she bowed her head with her wings spread outward and her tail plume arched in a rainbow position.
<Man, it looks so stunning. I can't wait for my plume and feathers to come in.> I thought to myself as I watched her.
"Good, then its time for you to leave, so that I can begin with his advancements."
"Yes, my lord," my mother than did something that I never would had expected her to do. She lowers her head until it touched the ground and allowed the long silver chain that always rested on her chest to fall off. "This is something that I believe will bring you good luck my son." "For you see, the man that once wore this chain seem to be impossible to kill for as long as he wore this." "I know that you will face great pain ahead, and I hope that this will help you get through it." She then placed the chain around my body, since I was way too small for it to just fit around my neck, and then left me to wonder about what she meant.
"Alone at last," I said sarcastically and just like the other soldiers before him he didn't answer back. He couldn't understand me.
"Come here little Dirk, its time for you to become useful," he started toward me as I backed away. "Oh no, not again!" "Leave me the fuck alone," I shouted as he reached his hand down and grabbed me in an none too soft way. He then turned and headed towards the wall, which opened up when he spoke. "Time to meet your destiny," he chuckled as he escorted me out of the room and into an elevator.
My sense of danger totally went nuts when this happen and I proceed to struggle and kick at him whenever I got the chance. This only accomplished one thing, as he held me away from himself like a stinking sock, which was to tire myself out. Then the elevator moved giving me a feeling of my stomach being in my head. It wasn't pleasant, and neither was the gift I left on that man's shoes. We both were glad when that thing came to a stop.
"Kso," I swore at him continuously as he exit the elevator and enter a room that I had never seen before. The place was full of little red spheres that seemed to house a few small children that look like they had just hatched.
"Well, this one is yours," the man said as he stopped at a blue sphere and dropped me in as the hatch to the thing opens and closes behind me. "Luminous one, he is all yours to do with as you wish," he uttered before a pink substance begins to pour into the sphere. I was trapped, and the pink substance was quickly filling up the little sphere. Soon, I was completely submerged, and like any other creature afraid to drown, I was forced to hold my breath when the air pockets ran out.
<He is going to open this thing and fish me out of here any minute now. > I thought to myself. I figured this had to be some sort of test or something. Surely my own mother didn't just give me up to die. I hoped.
It didn't dawn on me, until I find my lungs burning after five minutes of being under, that he was not going to open this thing. It was over now and I knew it. I was going to drown, but I refused to give up, being stubborn and pig-headed, and started to kick and thrash. It wasn't much, and it did help to make the burning in my lungs worse, but I managed to put some long scratches down the side of the sphere. It was a small victory, but it was the best I could do. Soon, I began to get light headed, and I started to wonder why my mother would let that insane man do this to me. It was then that I heard the voice, the one that was filled with evil intention.
"Dirk, one so small, but one so important." "I will not let you drown and you will become one of my minions."
"WHO ARE YOU?" I shouted out as loud as I could. That was a big mistake I quickly realized as the pink substance poured into my mouth.
"That is not for you to wonder, you're just to simply do as I tell you."
To my surprise I find that I could breathe in that mess, but it tasted awful.
"Fuck you, I'm not your slave." I yelled into the glop.
"YOU LIVE BECAUSE OF ME, AND YOU WILL DIE BECAUSE OF ME IF YOU DON'T OBEY."
<Whoever this creature was, he definitely didn't know anything about me, or he would've known that I refuse to be commanded by any one I don't respect. Hell, even my own mother couldn't get me to do what she wanted me to do half of the time, and I only learned how to walk today> I thought proudly to myself as I tried to decide what would be the most insulting responds.
"If that's a threat you'll have to do better than that," I laughed at the voice. <O-kay, that was lame> I signed to myself after I realized what I had just said.
"I GUESS KATSE WAS RIGHT, I WILL HAVE TO DO THIS THE HARD WAY."
A terrible pain suddenly filled me as the fluid around me began to crackle and burn. A red, hot slice of pain raced up and down my spine as that voice laughed at my screeches of agony. It was then at that moment in my life as I force myself to stop screaming that I pledged to myself to never show weakness in front of anyone or anything again. So for the remainder of that thing's punishment I held my screams and tried my best to look defiant.
"HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH BIRD?" "I DO NOT WISH TO DESTROY YOU, BUT YOU WILL OBEY ME!"
"MY NAME IS JOE, ASSHOLE," I replied and he complied to my response with even more pain. This time it was enough to make me pass out as the pain covered me like a blanket, in which, I found comfort in my own unconsciousness.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, onboard the God Phoenix the remaining members of Gatchaman rode in silence. It had only been a week after Joe's funeral, and their morale was low as they went to destroy the last Galactor base remaining on Earth.
As always the seating arrangements aboard the phoenix remain the same with Ken and Ryu in the front seats and Jun and Jinpei in the two back seats. Everything was as it had always been, except for the fact, that the one in the middle remained empty. Something that they all had noticed the minute they got aboard the ship for the first time in two weeks since the Black Hole Project.
<It's almost over, Joe> Ken thought to himself as he scans the empty seat. He soon found himself staring at it as he started to see his gunner sitting there. Joe was checking his equipment, like he would sometimes do, before they approached a base. He then looked up from what he was doing to signal Ken that everything was okay. The image than faded and Ken had to turn away quickly before anyone noticed he was staring at it. It had all changed so much, since the last time he had seen Joe do that, the war was now over. Joe's revenge had been fulfilled as the one he hated with all his being, Katse Berg, had committed suicide, and the mysterious being behind him called Sosai X had fled. The only thing left for the Science Ninja Team to do was to gather all the information they could from this final base and then blowing it up. Life would then go on for everyone but Joe.
"Since this is our last mission let's make this one something that Joe would be proud of." Jinpei spoke up breaking the silences. He had enough of the sad and faraway looks of the others and was trying his best to start a conversation.
"Yeah, let's just use the bird missiles." "He would have like for us to blow the whole place up wouldn't he?" Ryu smile a little at the thought of Joe cheering this idea on.
Jinpei eyes started to glisten at Ryu reply and he quickly followed it up with another statement before everything went back to doom and gloom. "Nah, let's set up charges inside instead, and then hit the place with bird missiles after it blows up." "Joe always believed in over-kill, but Ken didn't like the idea so we never did it." Jinpei then chuckled a little at the thought.
"Shut-up," Ken growled as his two younger charges immediately went back to what they was doing before the conversation had started. They both knew that Ken had been affected the worse by Joe's death, and did not want to have to confront him as he was now.
"They was only trying to lighten the moment," Jun spoke out harshly, like Ken, Joe's death had shatter her entire world as well. If it weren't for the fact that she had to hold it together for Jinepi's sake, she probably would have gone down the same path as Ken. Then that wouldn't have left anyone reasonable in charge if she and Ken went off the deep end. "This might be our last mission together Ken, and I hate to think that we chose to spend it wallowing in self-pity."
"Oh-no," Ryu whisper to Jinpei," War World 4."
"Here we go, again," Jinpei added as Ryu snicker and the verbal battle begins.