Introduction: The Disturbediverse Primer by Katharine
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Story Notes:
I know folks hate reading disclaimers like this, but it really is a good idea to read the Introduction first before diving in.

Greetings!  You're probably wondering why you've been asked to read this first, or groaning out loud because it means only one thing: Oh, no---it’s an AU and if it has to be explained what’s so different about it, then it’s gonna suck--! 

Well, I hope not, but I’ll be frank—it is an alternative universe.  The fics I’ve composed over the years blends elements of both Tatsunoko Production’s 1972 Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman and its Americanized (insanely edited) version Battle of the Planets into a singular universe that is heavy on gritty realism, combat pragmatism, all sorts of very adult themes and tropes, and in general dabbles in facets and situations not wholly divulged in the series’ themselves.  For instance, in BotP, it was mentioned that the lead character’s father hailed from the planet Riga.  What exactly did that mean for our hero?  Was he an alien himself?  Who was his mother?  Where was she from?

Truth be told, the whole endeavor was inspired by my initial attraction to BotP when I first saw it at twelve years of age, then much later by Gatchaman episodes I found when I dug deep to find BotP’s source material during my college years.  The stories are not so much a totally out-there alternate universe as a mixture of the two series. Where the background is as dark and violent as Gatchaman in its originality, but with the intergalactic atmosphere and many of the story elements only known in BotP, such as the “cerebonic” technology that gave our heroes their superhuman abilities, and the unique histories behind a few of the characters (like BotP’s Mark, Commander of G-Force—is he from Riga too, or not?  Y’know, there might be a story in that!)

Because of those ideas—questions left unanswered by either series, really—I put together everything that I thought was awesome, could be awesome, and should be awesome about both series into an alternative universe that I started around 1995.  I posted them in the Bird Scramble APA and then as the internet blossomed with fansites and fanfic depositories, I posted them online.  The catalog, what my friend Diinzumo calls the Disturbediverse, can be found here at www.gatchfanfic.com (username: Katharine).

I have a little explaining to do.  Otherwise, you might find yourself wondering as you read, why are there so many references of people and places from both series? What’s from Gatchaman and what’s from BotP?  Why do some of the characters have funny names? Who the hell are these people? 

Let’s begin:

Universe Antagonists:

The Gallactor Syndicate, portrayed here as they are depicted in the Gatchaman series, with very serious turns.  (Spectra in BotP, led by Zoltar) They are a multi-national terrorist syndicate led by the warlord Berg Katse, who in turn is directed by the alien force Sosai.  In a nod towards the BotP background of multiple planets, I allude that the alien first invaded Riga before turning its attention to Earth.  Subsets of Gallactor include:

·     Devil Star assassins: an elite arm of Gallactor, they are female assassins who figure prominently in the backgrounds of many characters, in particular that of G-2 below.

·      Blackbird assassins: like the Devil Stars, they are elite combat specialists primarily engaged in espionage and assassinations.

·      Various Gallactor soldiers, commanders, miscreants, and monsters: pretty self-explanatory, but not depicted as being inept or prone to goofy animalistic uniforms as in the original series.  They are a deadly, proficient army capable of destruction on a global scale.

Universe Protagonists:

G-Force: The cardinal gang of five. Watching BotP and Gatchaman, I thought it odd that the team was so young, even though I understood that it was meant to be an action-scifi cartoon marketed towards the ages 8-12 demographic. But to have teenagers waging war against that massive an enemy? Even as a twelve-year-old viewer myself, I thought that was damned impractical.  I wondered, what if the team was actually much older? Old enough to have had advanced military training throughout their late teens and early twenties like actual soldiers, old enough to have had a chance to gain the maturity and experience needed to handle the kind of situations they were being tossed into in the original episodes. So in my universe, the team are in their mid to late twenties, with a full history of specialized training behind them, and cerebonic enhancement to give them the heightened physical abilities seen in action. As a team, they are as indomitable as the opening of the BotP series says they are. Individually, they are...

Mareccu Dumeneau:  My guy in the Commander's seat, G-1, codenamed the Eagle.  The commander of G-Force is all of Gatchaman’s Ken Washio from those big blue eyes to the famous hellraiser mentality. In BotP the character was renamed Mark, and I was intrigued by his relationship to the character Colonel Cronus, a soldier presumably from the planet Riga who was later revealed to be Mark's father. It was never totally clear in the BotP storyline if Colonel Cronus was an alien from Riga or not, but I thought it would be interesting if he were- would that mean BotP’s Mark was either wholly or in part a Rigan as well?

I decided to run with that idea and write him as Rigan by half: his mother a French-born dignitary named Sabine Dumeneau, sent to Riga as a part of an envoy after meeting his father Kentaro Washio by chance when he arrived on Earth to warn the United Nations about the threat of Sosai and Gallactor. Born on Riga, he accompanies his mother back to Earth after his father’s apparent death, and was mentored along through the rest of his adolescence by Dr. David Anderson (see below). Timeline-wise, figure he’s in his mid-twenties and has seen some serious shit in his lifetime. I don't remember exactly how I came up with the name Mareccu, maybe it was a J. Michael Straczynski or Harlan Ellison influence that off-world aliens have names that might seem perfectly normal to their own linguistics, but are exotic to humans. After a time it became an in-universe trope that because his Rigan name is so hard to pronounce, all the other characters call him Marc. 

Jay Randall: G-Force’s second in command, G-2, codenamed the Peregrine.  Joe Asakura (Joe the Condor) in Gatchaman; Jason in BotP.  I discovered that in character planning sheets from Tatsunoko Productions, Asakura’s character was inspired in part by American actor Steve McQueen.  I thought that was interesting—it explained the facial features, the racer background.  McQueen in real life was of Scottish descent, and in his early acting years he played the bounty hunter “Josh Randall” in the 1950’s television western Wanted Dead or Alive. I absolutely had to play with that—so, imagine if you will—our guy at the weapons console as half Sicilian (as his father in Gatchaman was) and half Scot descent on his maternal side.  Witness to the assassination of his parents by a Devil Star for their involvement in and betrayal of Gallactor while he was in his early teens, he's running on hatred toward the Gallactor Syndicate and Devil Star assassins in particular. In Gatchaman, Joe's real name was George, but was changed to Joe to avoid notice by Gallactor. Here I’ve done the same, alluding that he’s using his maternal grandmother's maiden name of Randall as his surname, as an ode to McQueen and his run as Josh Randall.  As another nod to the actor’s famous role in the movie Bullitt, the civilian form of the G2 is an ink-black Mustang GT-500.  Like Marc, he’s also in his mid-twenties and has seen some serious shit.  I envision his avatar to be a Peregrine falcon—one of the fastest and most precise hunters among all raptor species.

Jun Himuro: My Shiratori no Jun, G-3, codenamed the Swan. Jun in Gatchaman; Princess in BotP.  I've left her character for the most part alone, but with mid-twenties maturity, vicious fighting skills and a sharp strong-willed determination that was evident in the BotP version of the character.  Japanese-American (as was disclosed in Gatchaman character sheets) she has a long list of skills that includes cyberwarfare, intelligence and demolition. 

Key Akihiro: This is Jinpei, G-4, codenamed the Swift. Unlike Keyop, the BotP version of the character, his speech is just fine, no weird stutters, rattles, oddball vocalizations that was inserted by the scriptwriters of BotP to conceal the original character’s smartassed barbs.  This honestly bugged the heck out of me—the BotP scriptwriters couldn’t come up with legible dialog for the poor kid?  The excuse given was that Keyop was “manufactured” and ended up with the idiosyncratic speech as a result—which reduced him to a lab experiment gone wrong?  Worst. Dub. Ever.  Rather, I imagine Key as being Japanese and every bit the wiseass of Gatchaman’s Jinpei but older by fourteen years, with a compact hard-muscled build and long black ponytailed hair.  His purpose is the team’s corpsman (medic) and given their inability to dodge bullets some of the time, that's a needed thing.  In Gatchaman he was referred to as Tsubakurou no Jinpei, (Jinpei the Swallow).  I suggest that his avatar is the Swift, a highly aerial and acrobatic bird of similar shape.

Robert Harper: My guy at the helm of the warship Phoenix, G-5, codenamed the Owl. Named Tiny in BotP, he's another instance where I've taken some liberties: he’s Gatchaman’s Ryu Nakanishi, but American and built much taller, far more muscular, with close-cropped hair and a penchant for hellraising with his fellow G-Forcer pilot Marc. In this universe he’s in his mid to late twenties and has found love in a divorced physicist named Alyson Glenn (a reference to BotP’s “Alice” who appeared with him in one episode), mother to six-year-old daughter Sara.

Dr. David Anderson: Chief Anderson in BotP, Kozaburo Nambu in Gatchaman.  Anderson is the director of the International Science Organization, and mentor to G-Force from their formative years to their current wartime function. He's also a security chief in the military organization Earth Defense Command (which G-Force is a part of), the global offspring of the United Nations and NATO built to fight against the Gallactor Syndicate, and an advisor to the UN's Secretary General Benjamin Kane.

Kentaro Washio and The Red Impulse: Kentaro Washio in Gatchaman, Colonel Cronus in BotP.  I’m maintaining the original name of Kentaro for the character and portraying him as Mareccu's Rigan father. And just as Kentaro Washio was in the original Gatchaman storyline, so is he here in the memory of my characters- the man who had to abandon his family, faking his death to infiltrate Gallactor and stop it from the inside, to a massively disastrous end. Only difference here is that he's Rigan, as are all of the Red Impulse fighters both on and off Earth.

Technology:

For the most part I try to keep the tech current to the times and future-forward, but of particular interest to me was the concept of cerebonic implants, used in the BotP version to explain the team’s super-powered abilities.  I imagine the cerebonics as being a series of five implants imbedded in their vertebrae to the major nervous system branches of their bodies, enhancing everything from speed and stamina to their senses of hearing, smell and sight. The implants have a discernable but often ignored side-effect in their bodies often referred to as “cerebonic flow” which under moments of stress can accelerate.

Vehicles used by the team: Marc flies a Cessna Javelin, a fictional light jet that’s of the size and capability of a typical six-seater executive jet; it’s combat conversal is the fictional-futuristic F/A-38 Eagle Sharp fighter. Jay’s Mustang under transmutation is, well—nothing really like the open-wheeled Formula-1 looking vehicle seen in the series, but don’t think of it as a batmobile either.  If I had to guess at a style, I’d say it’d look like an armored variant of a McLaren Senna, with micromissiles and 7.62-mm miniguns.  Jun’s motorcycle is in civilian form a Ducati, like a Panigale or a Superlegerra; under transmutation, imagine it looks like it’s been stretched out and armored and loaded to the teeth with a battery of micromissiles and a microgun.  Key’s civilian vehicle is a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon type, and I imagine that under transmutation it’s a bulkier version of the tracker seen in the 1994 Gatchaman OAV series, not the comical-looking space-buggy seen in the original series.

Some things you won’t see in this blended universe:

·      Flashy screaming, arm-waving “BIRD GO/TRANSMUTE!!” transformation sequences.  Initiation of transmutation is done as a matter-of-fact action, no fanfare about it, but within two seconds they’re deep in battle gear and weaponry.

·      The Tatsumaki Fighter/Whirlwind Pyramid maneuver.  Honestly, anime physics can and will make appearances in these fics, but I could not figure out how to make that one look plausible.

·      Numbered t-shirts.  In this fun little world, the team has normal clothes.

·      Goofy animalistic Gallactor officer uniforms.  Nope, not here.

·      7-Zark-7, 1-Rover-1 and Susan on Pluto.  Nope, not here either.  Added in as filler animation by the BotP production team to censor and gloss over all the death, destruction and mayhem in the original Gatchaman series, the tin can and associates will never appear in any way or form in these fics.

·      The Ready Room.  Also added in as filler animation for BotP.  Instead, the team has a place put together by Jun in an upper floor of her nightclub (a riff on Jun’s Snack J in Gatchaman).

·      Jason constantly griping about not being in command.  Boy, that annoyed me in BotP.  Rather, as Joe Asakura’s attitude was in Gatchaman, he doesn’t want the command, but he for damned sure expects the commander to lead effectively.

·      Jun/Princess’s pink miniskirt.  The team’s “birstyles” are more practical combat gear; think the kind of tech upgrades presented by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Deadpool, or DCs’ Man of Steel. Jun’s gear, for instance, consists of modified breeches, boots and jacket in the manner of motorcycle racers, in deep crimson, white and black.

Stories in (Some Semblance of) Order:

·         Regrets: My first posted fic.  Written mainly as an experiment: what would it look like inside Gallactor?

·         Testimony: Intended to be a character study for Robert Harper, G-5.

·         Affirmation: Written as a response to early fandom debates about why Gatchaman’s Ken didn’t pull the trigger with Jun, so to speak.  I figured the Commander of G-Force had a damned good reason why.

·         Fuel: Only the first half is done, written in response to a crossover challenge.  I’m reworking it towards the conclusion I’ve intended since I started it.

·         Testimony II: A character study of Key Akihiro, G-4.

·         Reaffirmation: Written as a Drabble challenge.  Four drabbles, to be precise; a case study of Jun, G-3.

·         Sniper: Written in response to a challenge to create the perfect Mary Sue.

·         Altitude: Written when someone ribbed me that I couldn’t do “plot-what-plot?” fics.  Of course I can! Oh, wait—it evolved a plot.  Darn it.

·         Birthday: [Coming Soon] Fourteen years in the making, a study inspired by Diinzumo’s back-cover art of the Bird Scramble APA February 2000 Romance Issue.

·         Monsters: What would happen if the team’s loved ones were under threat of death?

·         Invader: What would happen if the alien Sosai took a more “hands-on” approach to fighting G-Force?

·         Defiance: What would happen if one’s cerebonic implants began to fail?

·         Dispatches from the Respite: Sequel fics to Defiance, written as responses to the “Bradbury’s Jar” writing challenges on www.gatchamania.net.

·         Random Scraps from Bradbury’s Jar: Same challenges as above, but not necessarily tied to the sequential events of the fics as they evolved.

Questions, just ask! It's not like I'm writing total canon here...

Katharine (KFM), Disturbed in NorCal
madkatharine@gmail.com
August 2023

 

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