Phoenix Resolution by Tammy Dasti
[Reviews - 2] - Table of Contents - [Report This]

Printer Chapter or Story
- Text Size +

Timeline: after episode 15 in Gatch I


Kozaburou Nambu finally pried his eyes open only after the incessant pounding in his head had dulled slightly. He managed to focus on the ceiling tiles, their outlines blurry in the dim light; only a small table lamp across the room was lit and it was laying on the floor, casting elongated shadows at menacing angles around the room.

Have I been drinking? he wondered, but no, even if he'd been totally smashed, there was no way that he would have collapsed on the cold floor behind his desk in the conference room at the Crescent Coral Base, as was his current situation. Besides, this does not feel like any hangover I've ever had. So why does my head feel like someone's trying to beat their way out of my skull with a sledgehammer? He managed to drag himself into a sitting position, one hand to his head in an attempt to ease the pounding. He took off his glasses and rubbed his face vigorously with both hands, then ran his fingers through his thick brown hair. He reached up and rested his right hand on the edge of the desk and used it's sturdy bulk to pull himself to his feet. The room instantly began to swim and he gritted his teeth as a wave of nausea gripped the pit of his stomach. Somehow he managed to find his chair and collapse into it.

Dr. Nambu closed his eyes against the dim light and the pounding in his head and willed his stomach to settle. What the hell happened? Have I been attacked? Surely security would have responded if there had been an invasion..... But the base itself seemed absolutely silent, just as it did on any other late night; the silence and the stillness all suggesting that everyone had long since gone to sleep. The only sound was the faint humming of computer hard drives that had been left on and occasional flicker of the florescent lights in the hall way beyond the open door. Situation normal.

So, why do I feel like I've been run down by a train? Eventually, his stomach stopped doing back flips and Nambu pried his eyes open again. Other than the overturned lamp, the room looked normal. The couches and chairs were still there; nothing appeared to have been moved at all, in fact. He glanced down at his desk and found that even his papers looked the same, that nothing appeared to have been moved or disturbed.

Nothing except for the legal size, bright blue envelope on his desk in front of him; the bright blue envelope that sat on its edge, propped up against the reading lamp. Even with the lamp off, he could see the words "Nambu Hakase" printed in large, dark letters on it. His head swam again as memories abruptly flooded back to him, memories that should not have been there.

Oh, God, they didn't! Please, please tell me they didn't.......

He reached out and snapped on the light, closing his eyes and turning his head away as he did so, bracing himself for the pain that the sudden brightness was bound to cause. His eyes watered against the light even under his lids. If I feel this horrible, what is the team going through right now? he wondered as he sat there. It was several long moments before he managed to open his eyes enough to see the envelope again. His hands were shaking as he picked it up. He went to slide his index finger under the flap to rip it open, only to find that it had never been sealed. He let it fall to the floor as he removed the pages inside, eyes fighting to focus on the familiar handwriting. He couldn't actually read it for another moment, his mind still not quite believing that it was there, that they had left this for him, this testament to their presence, to their now completed mission. There should have been nothing at all. Nevertheless, he finally managed to read:


Dear Nambu Hasakse:

We couldn't do it. We tried, honestly, but we just couldn't leave you with nothing. We do understand that we're disobeying Ken's orders by doing so, but we just couldn't follow those orders. Our weak hearts wouldn't let us. Please forgive us for that.

But, we feel that if there is some way to ease the pain that you and the entire team are fated to go through, then we're willing to take the risk. We have erased the memories of everyone else, even the Red Impulse, but we left yours intact. The electric shock should just knock you out for a time, without erasing anything.

All our lives, we have been told how clever you are; how good and strong you are; about how your judgment, while sometimes cautious, is always for the greater good. We're putting our faith in that judgment now.

We don't expect you to tell the team everything that's going to happen. We don't even expect that you alone can change fate; perhaps, like the Sybil, you wouldn't be believed even if you tried. All we wanted to do was to leave you with some sense of hope. Hope that, no matter how bad things do become, that this will work out in the end. Hope can be such a fragile thing and yet it is the greatest thing that we can cling to.

We leave it to your good judgment to decide how and when to use your foreknowledge. We also hope that we haven't placed too great a burden on you. Horace wrote that "it is not permitted to know all things", but you now know more than anyone in your time. (Sorry! We know the quote, but only Kai can remember how to say it in Latin!) Maybe nothing can change our past, your future, but maybe the knowledge that we've left with you will give all of you strength.

We're grateful for the chance to spend time with all of you . For a time, we were a team of friends and equals. We had fun. We loved it. We will miss it, and you. We're even happier that we had the chance to meet and spend time with you, Hakase. We will never forget the time we spent here. We love you. We love all of you. We love all of you so much, in fact, that we simply couldn't walk away and leave you with nothing.

Please take care of all of them and our father in particular. After all, he's both stronger than he knows and more in need of help and support than he'd like to believe.

Thank you for everything!!

With all our love,

Vivianna & Katarina


Ad astra per aspera! Nemo me impune lacessit!


He read the letter twice before letting it fall to the desk. How could they take that risk? They don't know what kind of effect this might have on the future! He thought about the words: "We're even happier that we had the chance to meet and spend time with you, Hakase." So, I'm not in their time, am I? I must be dead long before they make that trip; perhaps even before they're born, any of them. Ah, said another voice in his head, but you knew that already, didn't you? The way they wouldn't come out and say what you were doing, what role you played in the whole affair. The way they looked at you, as if looking at a stranger, because that's what you were to them: a stranger. Well, at least they didn't tell me the date... or the how. He was suddenly very grateful for that.

The familiar handwriting and the slightly formal style told him that, in spite of the "we" used throughout, the letter had, in fact, been written by Katarina. Vivianna's style was completely different, more compact and informal. He looked at the last line, the two Latin phrases that they had remembered. Dr. Nambu didn't have to look them up, he already knew them, could read them, in fact. The first meant "to the stars by hard ways" and the second was "no one attacks me with impunity". Katarina had said that the Kagaku Ninjatai had adopted the first as their unofficial motto, while the second....

No, he didn't want to think about that; the others. Rather, he thought about the ones that had left that note and was surprised to realize that he would miss them. They had certainly been an interesting group! Both similar to and entirely different from his own team. He suddenly thought of Kai again, remembering how Vivianna had pointed out the tattoo of the words "Delenda est Galactor" under the image of a horned owl on his shoulder. He's the one who keeps giving them all those Latin phrases. "Galactor must be destroyed" indeed! I wonder how long it will take Joe to run out and get the same tattoo.... But Joe wouldn't, because Joe wouldn't remember.

Dr. Nambu settled back into his chair and cast his mind back, nearly a year ago, when Miko had first appeared. But, he reminded himself, that wasn't really the start of it. That was just the prologue. It really started when they all showed up, ready to fight, ready to die if they had to. He smiled to himself, remembering that Vivianna had asked him to explain everything to the team. "No sense giving them all heart attacks for no reason!" she'd quipped, that big, wicked grin spreading across her face. He'd agreed with her, at the time. He really had meant to tell them, but he never seemed to find the right moment, the right words to explain what he had a hard time believing himself. So I said nothing. Perhaps it was better that way; after all, they probably wouldn't have believed me. No, he decided, seeing had been believing. Seeing them had prepared the team for all that followed. Nambu sighed and began to drift off into sleep, letting his mind drift back to that first meeting.



"Welcome, everyone," began Nambu's usual introduction as he finally walked into the room. "I'm sure you've seen the news reports of the crisis in Utoland City" They had been called to the Crescent Coral base over an hour ago; the five of them had gotten tired of waiting and sat on the numerous couches that were arranged around the doctor's desk. Ken and Jun got to their feet as Nambu entered, while the rest remained seated.

Joe snorted. "All I've heard is some nonsense about mud monsters roaming the streets." He didn't even bother to look up from the magazine he was reading.

"That's exactly the problem."

The entire Science Ninja Team looked at each other in shock. Joe looked up from his racing magazine to meet Ken's gaze.

"But, Hakase," began Ken, "surely they're not real monsters. They must be machines from Galactor."

"Of course," crowed Jinpei. "Everyone knows there's no such thing as monsters!"

"Perhaps not," mumbled Dr. Nambu, "but it appears that these creatures come very close." He turned away to click on the big monitor that was in the wall behind his desk. The images that appeared in rapid succession seemed to have been taken from the news broadcasts. The monsters looked like sculptures, human in form but much larger and with limbs that were slightly squared off, as if they had been hurriedly carved from a block of stone. The shoulders, too, were square and broad and the eyes starred blankly ahead as they smashed anything in their path. The team watched as the monsters turned over cars and busses without any apparent difficulty. Jun gasped at a series of images of one monster ripping a taxi cab in two with it's bare hands.

"The army was mobilized immediately, of course," Nambu continued as more images of people running from the destruction flashed across the screen. "However, the creatures seem to have the ability to reconstitute themselves. Observe." The picture changed again and the team watched as the army blew up several of the creatures with hand grenades. They shattered like glass, appearing to splinter and collapse with the force of the explosion. The camera zoomed in closer, to catch the fragments beginning to quiver and move like things possessed, pieces connecting one to another to another until the limbs of each creature reappeared only to scrabble sickeningly along the ground until they met with the newly formed torso and head. Slowly, every one of the destroyed creatures literally collected themselves and began to get to their feet. The soldiers began to retreat as the creatures came after them, only to be destroyed again by a second wave of hand grenades. Once again, the splinters reconstituted themselves and the creatures rose up again, fully formed.

"Thatr17;s horrible!" moaned Ryu. "How are we gonna fight those things, Doc?"

"Frankly, I'm not sure. But we can't let the army fight them alone and we can't allow these creatures to destroy the city. I'm not sure what to tell you. These things are unlike anything we've ever seen. However," the doctor added as he turned away to stare at the monitors, "I have some hope that you may receive help in the field. Some backup, if you will."

"What kind of help?" Ken demanded. He tried to keep the hopeful note out of his voice as he asked:

"Is it the Red Impulse?"

"We don't need any help!" Jinpei protested.

"No," said Nambu firmly. "It is not Red Impulse; I haven't called them in. No, I can't say, but it is possible that some people may appear to help you."

"Who, Hakase?" Jun asked, but the doctor was all ready shaking his head.

"No, I can't explain any further. They may not appear at all, although it's very possible. I'll try to come up with some way to defeat these things, but in the mean time all I can do is wish you the best of luck. Go." With the last word, Nambu had taken off his glasses and begun to pinch the bridge of his nose, a sure sign that he was tired, or worried, or both.

"What the hell do you think he was talking about?" demanded Joe as they raced towards the God Phoenix. "What help?"

"No idea," Ken admitted. "I'm sure we'll find out."

"He seemed kind of distracted," muttered Ryu, "like he's busy thinking about something else."

"I noticed that, too." said Jun.

"Maybe no one'll show," Jinpei suggested, "then we don't have to share the glory with anyone else. It's bad enough having to share with Red Impulse!"

"Jinpei! Red Impulse has helped us out lots of times!" Jun scolded. "Where's your gratitude?" They'd reached the ship by this time and we're heading down to the main deck in the elevator.

"Who ever it is," Ken said to no on in particular, "Hakase must think that they can help us, or he wouldn't have mentioned it." Joe grunted, thereby registering his skepticism about the whole matter. Ken ignored him and continued: "Since the creatures are spread out all over town, we'll have to go out on foot to attack them. Until we have some idea how to defeat these things, I think we should stick together. Ryu,...."

"I know, I know! 'Ryu, you stay with the ship'!"

"Actually, I was going to suggest that you'd better come along; but if you'd rather stay with the God Phoenix...."

"No! No! I'll go!"

"Good. We'll try to keep the monsters busy until our backup arrives...."

"If it arrives," muttered Joe to himself.


Ken had never seen the city so quiet. Normally the streets of the metropolis were packed with people at any time of day or night. Now, however, every street was completely devoid of life and the only sounds were the wind groaning among the buildings and the tapping of their boots on the asphalt as the team picked their way along. Jun paused to stare at a car that had been crumpled up like a piece of tin foil, her face suddenly going rather pale.

"There must be some way to defeat them," Ken said suddenly, by way of reassurance, "or Hakase wouldn't have sent us in."

"He didn't sound all that confident to me," grumbled Joe.

"I wish he'd told us how we're supposed to fight these things," added Ryu.

Ken abruptly spun around to face his team. "We won't be able to put up a fight at all if all of you give up before we even start!" he said angrily. "Where are your fighting spirits? Are you....." he trailed off as he looked past them. The rest of the team turned to see one of the monsters rounding the corner. Everyone immediately stiffened into a fighting stance as the monster shuffled towards them.

It was much larger than the news footage had lead them to believe, easily reaching seven feet in height, the square shoulders perhaps three feet wide. The entire body looked like it had been carved from one single block of stone, leaving the body and the limbs still squared off. The artificiality of the thing heightened by its bright terra cotta red colour, even the eyes were the same shade as the rest of the body. The creature looked up and apparently saw them with its seemingly blind eyes because it suddenly started to run towards them, arms outstretched. It moved much more quickly than they expected from its ungainly appearance. The team scattered as it reached them, spreading their winged capes and taking to the air. The thing flung its arms out after them and managed to grab Jinpei's ankle. The boy drew his arm back, the string of his bolos clutched in his fingers as he prepared to throw them at the thing's head. He never got the chance as the monster suddenly slammed the boy to the pavement, knocking the wind out of him. Jun let out a strangled cry as the team landed in front of the monster, each one deciding the next best course of action.

Before they could move, however, there was a loud war cry from behind the creature. It turned its head and there was a metallic ping as a dark blur shot past the thing over its shoulder. A figure in dark indigo wings landed just in front of the monster, the cape just touching Jinpei's still prone body. Ken could see the metal baseball bat that it wielded over the figure's left shoulder. The monster turned to face this new figure and as it did the new attacker leapt again, swinging the bat from the left to connect soundly with the monster's jaw. Ken saw the indigo boots land briefly against the monsters shoulders as the figure sprang away again and somersaulted backwards, landing just to the right of Jinpei, who had regained his breath and was sitting up.

"Back up," the stranger said, the voice deep and husky, but certainly female. Jinpei did it, backpedalling quickly while the woman crouched again. The monster swayed unsteadily, its head turning slowly towards the female; it shifted its weight uneasily from one leg to another. Ryu, who had been standing some six feet behind the woman and to her right, noticed how off balance the monster was as it turned. He suddenly rushed forward and flung himself at the creature, slamming his right shoulder into the monster's stomach with his full weight behind it. The monster flew backwards, landing flat against the pavement.

"Way to go, Ryu!" the stranger shouted as she rushed past the Owl, bat raised high over her head. She dropped to her knees on the monster's chest and began jabbing at its head with the thick end of the bat; swift stabbing motions that quickly reduced the head to rubble. She reached into the mess with her right hand, brushing the quivering dust and rocks aside while the creature's legs spasmed and the arms reached out for her.

"Watch it!" Ken heard himself yell as the thing's right hand missed grabbing her shoulder by inches.

"I've got it!" she yelled back as she gathered her legs beneath her to leap away. Not quite fast enough, for just as she went to move the right hand caught her left wrist. She pulled herself as far away from the thing as she could get, laying across the monster's chest as she kicked at the arm with her heal. Ryu came to the rescue again, snapping the monster's arm off about the elbow as the woman scrabbled away. Ryu also retreated as the monster swung what was left of it's right arm around after him. The remains of the shattered head were already starting to come together; pieces shivering and shifting of their own accord. The woman slammed her arm against an nearby streetlight pole to dislodge the creature's broken arm, the pieces of which began to scuttle towards the monster like autumn leaves caught in a wind.

"Reminds me of my sister's last boyfriend," said the strange woman as she tossed her bat away, "all hands." Ken found himself moving closer, eyes wide as he looked at her birdstyle uniform. The wings were not only the same style and colour as Joe's, but so was the entire uniform. The boots and gloves were indigo, the body suit dark crimson with the Kagaku Ninjatai symbol emblazoned in bright red on the front. Even the helmet was the same with the violet visor, although where Joe's uniform had crimson pants that met the high boots, she wore a skirt longer than Jun's. There was a braid of bright red hair that hung down her back almost to her elbows. She was looking at a small square of white paper that she was holding in the tips of her fingers of her right hand. Now less than two feet away from her, Ken could see writing on it, although he couldn't make out what it said. In two swift movements she tore it into pieces and let them flutter to the ground, her eyes on the monster.

"Look!" yelled Jun from her place across the street, Jinpei by her side. The monster's movements had stopped, the one good arm no longer waving and the legs no longer twitching. The fragments had also stopped moving, stopped their regeneration. The team watched as the monster's bright colour leeched away, leaving it a cold, dead shade of beige.

The strange woman dusted her hands against each other and Ken noticed that she wore her transformation bracelet on her right wrist, the way a left handed person would wear their watch. She looked up at him and smiled. As her eyes met Ken's he got another shock as he found himself looking at Joe's predatory eyes, with the same arch to the brows and Joe's wicked grin spreading across her face. She even looked about the same age. "I hate golems," she said with a grin. "Golems suck." Ken could sense Joe hovering just behind him, and Ryu had positioned himself on the woman's other side, thereby cutting off one avenue of escape.

Ken felt Joe moving closer to him, surely he could see the resemblance as well as Ken could. "Who the hell are you?" growled the Condor.

One of her eyebrows shot up in surprise. "What do you mean, r16;who the hell am Ir17;?" she shot back.

"Of all the greetings I thought I'd get, that wasn't one of them. You really are a bear, you know that?" She turned on her heel and headed back towards the now motionless monster, pausing long enough to pick up the remains of her bat, now battered almost beyond recognition. "Hm," she muttered as she looked at it, "it seems that the old saying 'they don't make it like they used to' is a blatant lie." She tossed it away again and began to look around her.

"You didn't answer me," Joe snapped. "I'll ask just once more: Who the hell are you?"

She glanced back over her shoulder and made a dismissive sound through her teeth. "Do you have a problem with your short term memory or something? Ooo, hardware store. Perfect." She bent down and picked up a chunk of the monster that was roughly the size of a football and set it against her left shoulder, preparing to throw it through the store's window.

"Hey!" protested Jun as she rushed towards the woman to stop her. "You can't break into a store like that, even if it's abandoned."

"Look, clearly the bats aren't going to work. So, either we break the window and get some crowbars and stuff, or the golems get you and we have to take you lot back to Nambu in sponges." She had started to grin once more and they could all see it again, that wicked smile that duplicated Joe's perfectly. "Personally," she continued as she hefted the stone through the window, shattering it completely, "I prefer the former, because I'd hate to have to explain the latter! 'Kay?" She strutted to the window and started to climb over the broken glass, pausing half way to glance back at the team, all of whom were still standing there, starring. "Hello? Guys? What, are you on vacation or something? Get the led out! Ooo, here we go, perfect!" She came back to the window, arms full of four or five big crowbars, which she unceremoniously dumped out the window. "I don't think there's enough of these," she mused as she headed back inside. "Hey, Ryu; how about a sledgehammer? You can handle that, right?"

Joe was heading towards her, fists clenched. "You smart-mouthed little...." Ken had to step in front of Joe to prevent him from throttling the woman. Unconsciously, they had all moved closer to the window and were now standing just a couple of feet away and had arranged themselves into a semicircle by instinct. If she tried to attack them, she would have to come through the window and her only escape would be through the store itself.

"I think," Ken began quickly, his shoulder pressed hard against Joe's chest as the Condor tried to push past him, "that you've made a mistake assuming that we know who you are."

"Because we don't have a clue," chimed in Jinpei.

"That's right," added Ryu. All eyes were on the woman as she appeared at the broken window again, lugging a big sledgehammer which she dropped out the window to land with a clang on the crowbars. She was frowning as she took a step back, broken glass crunching and popping loudly under her boots.

"What do you mean you don't know?" she finally demanded, eyes flicking from one face to another. "Didn't Nambu tell you?"

"No," snorted Joe.

"All he said was that we could expect backup," Jun explained.

The woman's jaw dropped. "Ex-squeeze me?" was her response, in English.

Jinpei snickered, while Ryu whispered "What'd she say?" to Jun, who shrugged.

" 'Backup'?" the woman repeated. "You mean that he didn't tell you anything? Not a word? No warning, nothing?" Everyone nodded. "Oh, pleeeease tell me you're joking!" She put her face in her left hand as she shook her head in disbelief. "I don't believe this. What is he thinking!?! OK, look, I could explain all this, but it would take ten or twelve hours or so and Mr. Trusting over here," she jabbed towards Joe with her right thumb, "would never believe me anyway. Let's just say that we're all on the same side and that we're here to help you guys out. OK?"

"Prove it," Joe shot back.

"Ask Nambu to prove it; he's got everything that he asked us for!" She shook her head again and

sighed. "I can't believe this. I can not do this right now! OK, look, the things you're fighting are called golems. They're not robots and they're not alive, which is why things like grenades and bird missiles," this, too, was aimed at Joe, who scowled, "don't work on them. You can't kill them and they have no moving parts."

"So, what makes them move?" Jun asked.

"Ah, that's the thing. A golem is basically a clay statue, kind of like a flower pot. Only, when it's being made, the maker writes an incantation, generally in Latin or Hebrew on a piece of paper and puts it inside the statue's mouth. It's the incantation that gives the statue the semblance of life, as well as enslaving it to the will of the maker. A golem has no will, no self-preservation instinct, so if you say to it, 'Walk off the edge of that cliff,' it'll do it. And, since it doesn't have any moving parts and isn't alive, you can't kill it."

"But you stopped that one," Ken said with a nod to the fallen golem. "So there must be a way to destroy them."

"Sure there is. Actually, there's a couple of ways, but the easiest one is to get the paper with the incantation. See, if you can smash the head open and get at that piece of paper, you can stop the golem. Rip up the paper and you destroy the incantation. No incantation, and the golem goes back to being a piece of lawn sculpture. Get it?"

Jun was scowling at the woman. "You're asking us to believe in magic, talking about incantations. There is no such thing."

A big smile spread across the woman's face. "So rational, scientific minds will tell you. Hence your need for 'backup'. Listen," she called to them as she disappeared back into the store to continue her hunt for more weapons, "I've fought against these things before. Geez, I got four broken ribs fighting them, and this really is the best way. Hey, tire irons! These'll work. I know you guys have no reason at all to trust me, but I'm asking you to, just for now, anyway. If you don't," she was back at the window again, arms full only to drop the tire irons onto the pavement with a clatter, "you're going to get your butts kicked."

Ryu was looking at the rather large pile she'd amassed. "Um, why do you need so much of this stuff?" he asked.

"Because besides us, there are five more pairs of hands that will need these." The team was shocked.

"What'd you do, bring your own army?" Ryu demanded.

"It's not my army. Geez, that reminds me.... This is G-8, come in anybody!" she said into the bracelet on her right wrist as she started to climb out through the broken window. Everyone exchanged glances and although Joe frowned, he said nothing. "Where the heck are you guys?"

A male voice that no one recognized came over the bracelet. "This is G-9! Kat, where the hell are you? We've got an army of golems here! And where's the old vanguard?"

"They're here with me, but they're a little lost in the fog, so to speak. Where are you guys, exactly?" A massive column of fire suddenly appeared above the buildings in response. It shot straight up from the ground into the sky before dissipating above the roof tops.

"It looks like it's coming from the center of town," said Ken.

"Gee, Miko" the woman said into her bracelet, "that was subtle." She scooped up an armful of tire irons and crowbars and took off towards the column at a run. "Come on, if we're going to back 'em up, let's go!"

Ken also grabbed two crowbars and took off after her, the others following suit. "You never told us your name!" he called after her.

She shot a grin back at him. "My family calls me Kat or Katty, but my name's really Katarina."

Several paces behind them, Joe felt himself go cold suddenly at the sound of her name, although he said nothing as he raced after the Ken and the stranger.


~ Table of Contents ~
[Report This]
You must login (register) to review.