Keepin' It Rio Remix by ElectricWhite
[Reviews - 0] - Table of Contents - [Report This]

- Text Size +
Story Notes:
This marks another first for me: this is the first time I've created two rewrites from the same episode (Gatchaman Fighter episode #34 "Egobossler's Plot" or "Egobossler's Scheme", depending on the translation.)

My first rewrite was done before Sentai released Gatch II and Gatch F with English subtitles. I relied on a transcript that was an English translation of an Italian translation of a Korean translation of the original Japanese. (Yes, it's still quite painful. Thanks for asking.) This time I had Sentai's version, so I felt more confident to go off the rails, now that I was sure what the hell was going on! (Yes, this is much less painful. Thanks for asking.)

Thanks to Springie for the "Mr. Ubman" image and Rita Hays for the Hippiemobile.
Keepin\' It Rio Remix

The ISO pooled all of their resources to push forward with the Space Pulse research. Dr. Kozaboro Nambu stood before an enormous wall of huge computers with monitors that could make IMAX theater screens look like FitBits. Two technicians were at his right and three were at his left, all furiously entering data. The centermost monitor above their heads displayed the most complex programming BASIC would allow:

5 REM *** This is a program (duh!) ***
10 Print \"Egobossler is a cross between a Smurf and a troll!\"
20 Goto 10

A technician typed \"run\" and hit the \"Enter\" button. The screen on the far left displayed:

Egobossler is a cross between a Smurf and a troll!
Egobossler is a cross between a Smurf and a troll!
Egobossler is a cross between a Smurf and a troll!
Egobossler is a cross between a Smurf and a troll!

... and so on until the column went all the way down the screen. Another technician retyped Line 10, adding a semicolon to the end before typing \"run\" at the end of the program. Suddenly, the screen at the far right showed:

Egobossler is a cross between a Smurf and a troll! Egobossler is a cross between a Smurf and a troll! Egobossler is a cross between a Smurf and a troll! Egobossler is a cross between a Smurf and a troll!

... and on and on, completely filling the screen with lines that flashed by so quickly that it was nearly impossible for the human eye to discern individual words.

Soon, Nambu thought, this programming will unlock Leader Z\'s innermost secrets! The Science Ninja Team will be able to do more than leave flaming bags of dog poop on Count Egobossler\'s doorstep!

Across the gigantic room, a different, boxy machine spat out a tickertape. Another technician dashed over to it and examined the paper ribbon.

\"Damn,\" he muttered, \"my Facebook stock just tanked!\"

Nambu closed his eyes and took a slow deep breath. A slight smile formed on his lips as if he was relishing the scent of rare orchids. He reached into a pocket and pulled out what felt like a pen. Without opening his eyes, he began conducting an imaginary orchestra. Just a moment later he could hear an imaginary audience let out cries and shouts of joy.

\"Dr. Nambu, please !\"

His mind snapped back to reality as a young intern snatched a laser pointer from his hand.

\"Why do you still have this?\" the intern cried, \"This was recalled a year ago!\"

Nambu looked around. Scientists from across the room raced over with fire extinguishers to douse the flames of combusting computer banks, lab coats, and heads of hair.

\"You!\" Nambu pointed to a scurrying technician who suddenly came to a dead stop, \"Oversee damage control and resume work STAT!\" With that, he made a hasty exit from the room before he choked on the stench of scorched hair and burnt vintage polyester.

Somewhere on the other side of the planet sat a castle that once looked like it belonged in a little girl\'s Disney-fueled fairy tale fantasy kingdom where cotton candy clouds, marzipan rainbows, and glittering unicorns stretched to the horizon. But those days had long since died and rotted away. Sunbeams were more like daggers and the sky had the pinkish-red hue of an infected wound. The castle was the same shade as the sun-baked earth.

Deep within the castle was the War Room -- it had always been the War Room, even in the diabetic coma-inducing fantasy days. In the center of the room was a thin table that was easily 10 meters long with a map of the world on its surface. Past the table, against the far wall, was a dias with a throne. Sitting in the throne was a man with sky blue skin and sterile white hair. Balanced on his right knee was a helmet with a stylized \"comedy\" mask on its front. He closed his eyes as his mind drifted back...

He stood before a giant trash heap with enormous strands of Silly String whipping around it.

\"Your excrement -- er, I mean your Excellency,\" he said as he casually swatted away a couple of flies, \"why are you so bothered by the Space Pulse?\"

\"That is none of your concern, Egobossler!\" the trash heap growled. A small swarm of flies emerged from somewhere behind it and began circling overhead. It released more Silly String to shoo them. \"Do as you\'re instructed, that is all.\"

Egobossler opened his eyes. \"Why?\" he muttered to himself, \"Why do you obsess over the Space Pulse? And why do you have us do the Hokey Pokey every day at noon? Why?! \"

Chief Nambu had taken shelter -- er, rather, he was reading a report... yeah, that\'s it -- in his office while the repair work was being done. A younger man dressed in the same white outfit that John Travolta made famous in Saturday Night Fever stood before Nambu\'s desk, watching him read.

\"Well?\" the younger man said as Nambu finished the report.

\"Well, what?\"

\"What do you think of Schubert?\"

\"I\'m partial to orange flavor, myself. But what does that have to do with the Space Pulse?\"

\"What? Oh, no, not sherbert -- Schubert !\"

\"Oh, my mistake! I think Die sch”e M眉llerin was one of his best works.\"

\"Say what ?! ... no, I wasn\'t talking about Franz Schubert, the 19th century Austrian composer. I was referring to Daniel Schubert, the guy who wrote this report!\"

\"Oh, now I understand! I\'m sorry. I\'m really impressed with his skilled use of glitter.\"

\"He\'s interested in meeting you, Dr. Nambu. He\'s been making frequent trips to Earth recently -- \"

Nambu gave him a suspicious look. \"What do you mean, \'trips to Earth\'?\"

\"You know, Earth Village, about an hour\'s drive west of Utoland City?\"


\"Rumor has it that he\'s got some way, way cool ideas about the Space Pulse and wants to talk to you about them.\"


\"But if you do hang with the guy, it\'ll have to be on the down low, so Galactor won\'t know.\"

\"Okay, I\'ll go meet him at his place. Please let him know and make the arrangements.\"

\"Yes, sir!\" With that, the young man started dancing a modified version of the Hokey Pokey that allowed him to move toward the door.

\"Oh, and one more thing.\" Nambu said.

\"What\'s that, sir?\"

\"Next time, use slang and dance moves that match the outfit.\"

It was hard for Dr. Nambu to keep a straight face as he walked through the airport in a disguise that he had put together himself. Nobody gave him a second look. He headed to the ticket counter and stood in line.

And stood.

And stood.

Finally, he stood in front of the counter. The clerk never looked up as she pecked at her computer keyboard. He cleared his throat.

\"Good morning.\" Nambu said as soon as she looked up, \"I\'m Dr. -- uh, Mr. -- Ubman. I have a reservation for Flight 720.\"

The clerk looked up and saw a man in a lab coat wearing a pair of Groucho Marx glasses without arms to hold them on his face. She wasn\'t absolutely positive, but he seemed to have a moustache under the Groucho one.

\"One moment, please, sir.\" While the clerk tapped at a few keys, a bright flash followed by a click and a whir came from her left hand. \"There\'s a reservation for Los Angeles on March 19...\" There was another flash, click, and whir.

\"Uh, no.\" Nambu said as he tried to blink away the spots he now saw, \"I need to go to Rio de Janeiro.\" He was blinded by another flash.

\"I\'m sorry, Mr. Ubman.\" the clerk said, \"I just got engaged, and the diamond just catches the light...\" Yet another flash. \"See?\" she asked as she raised her hand until it was in front of her face. She acted as though she was looking through a viewfinder as she twisted the gem on her ring. Flash, click, whirr.

\"Oh, that\'s alright.\" Tears ran down his face as he blinked the spots from his eyes. \"Congratulations.\" Nambu said as the clerk handed him a ticket. Flash, click, whirr.

Somewhere under an ocean, in a room within the labyrinth that is known as G-Town, stood five young people wearing numbered t-shirts and an older man in coveralls and a ball cap. The five were, obviously, the Science Ninja Team. The older man was Chief Engineer Kamo. Even though Ken had full command of the Science Ninja Team from the moment Doctor Nambu received his promotion, Kamo seemed to have assumed the role of chaperone to the team. They all took turns gasping while the image of Nambu\'s aide wearing the most obnoxious orange and purple polyester leisure suit from the 1970\'s looked down at them from a giant monitor hanging on a nearby wall.

\"Okay,\" Joe said as he regained control of his breath, \"I don\'t see what good faking an asthma attack did -- it doesn\'t change the fact that going to Rio de Janeiro by himself like that is just plain reckless!\"

\"Why didn\'t you stop him?\" Jun cried as she slapped Ken\'s arm.

\"He was afraid Galactor might follow.\" the screen replied.

\"Makes sense,\" Joe said, \"now that everyone recognizes our faces...\" He shot a withering look at Jinpei.

\"Hey,\" the boy whined, \"how was I supposed to know Facebook would get hacked again?\"

\"And again and again and again.\" Ryu added.

\"Anyway,\" Joe continued, \"it must have been some really important information in that report.\"

\"By the way,\" Jun asked the man on the screen, \"who are you?\"

\"I\'m Dr. Nambu\'s assistant.\"

\"I know that ! I mean, what\'s your name?\"

\"That is my name -- Dr. Nambu\'s Assistant, Junior.\"


\"So what are you gonna do, Gatchaman?\" Kemo asked.

\"Well,\" Ken replied, \"if I were in the Chief\'s shoes --\"

\"He\'d be really pissed off \'cause you don\'t wear the same size!\" Jinpei cried. With that, Jun slapped him upside the head.

\"-- I\'d do the same thing.\" Gatchaman concluded as if nothing happened.

\"So we\'re just gonna sit here and twiddle our thumbs?!\" Joe sounded incredulous.

\"I didn\'t say that.\" Ken replied.

\"Sooooooooooo....?\" Jinpei dragged it out as long as his breath would allow.

\"We\'re goin\' to Rio!\" Jun proclaimed as she pulled a small wad of dental floss from her pocket. A smile spread across her face. Ken\'s jaw dropped when he realized the dental floss was actually a bikini.

\"What?!\" Egobossler nearly fell off the War Room throne. \"Nambu is going to Rio de Janeiro all by himself ?!?\"

Kempler stood between the throne and a large screen lowering from the ceiling. \"I thought something like this would happen. I cast a large net.\" He pulled a large, clear plastic bag full of water and 6 three-eyed goldfish. A green-uniformed soldier rushed over, took the bag and hurried off.

\"I placed my agents in every major airport and station in the world.\" Kempler continued, \"It looks like I\'ve caught the big guppy himself. Take a look at the screen.\"

A picture of \"Mr. Ubman\" appeared on the screen.

\"Are you sure that\'s Nambu, Kempler?\"

\"Take a look at some other shots.\"

Next came a couple of profile shots. Then came the back of the head. Finally, the image of Nambu stretched out on the ticket counter, wearing nothing but a Speedo and the Groucho glasses.

\"Here\'s what clenched it for me.\" Kempler said. With that, the picture was enlarged until just the chest was seen.

Dr. Nambu had several nipple rings.

On his left were several rings that had charms depicting Newton, Einstein, Sagan, Hawking, and deGrasse Tyson. On his right was a single ring with a charm of his initials, KN.

\"Huh.\" Egobossler said, \"He never struck me as that type of guy.\" He tried to shake the image out of his head before continuing. \"So why is he in Rio?\"

\"This is the perfect chance to off him once and for all! Oh, can I do it please? Pretty please with sugar and whipped cream and strawberries on top? Puh-leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese?\"

\"Stop hopping around like that, Kempler! You look like a little kid who has to pee! Anyway, I wanna pick his brain...\"

Kempler looked utterly dejected.

\"...then I might let you blow his brains out.\"

A manic grin appeared on Kempler\'s face.

\"But you must behave.\"

\"Oh I will, my Lord, I will! I\'ll even eat all my Brussels Sprouts and ask for more!\"

\"What did I just tell you about hopping around?\"


\"Now let\'s go to Rio!\"

In a short time a glistening steam locomotive with an enormous drill bit on front hissed and chugged to life in an underground station. Soon it was flying along its tracks, blowing past Platform 9戮 and throwing several children wearing flowing robes and striped scarves against the far wall. It didn\'t take long for it to reach a solid rock wall at the end of the tunnel. The drill bit bored into the wall. The train didn\'t slow down one bit in spite of the fact that it had technically derailed itself.

Even though Concorde hadn\'t flown since 2003, one of the iconic supersonic jets landed at Gale茫o-Ant么nio Carlos Jobim International Airport, carrying the disguised Dr. Nambu and 60 other passengers as though this service had never stopped. A few brief moments later, \"Mr. Ubman\" was in the concourse, making his way to a bank of blue and yellow public pay phones. He continued walking until he found one phone in particular: one with a rotary dial. He stepped up to it, lifted the receiver, dropped a couple of coins in the slot, and began dialing.

Meanwhile, a man in a bright yellow suit, a wide brimmed yellow hat, and tall brown boots walked up to the phone to the doctor\'s left. He fixed Nambu with a hard stare as the doctor strained to finish dialing the phone number.

Nambu waited a couple of minutes and hung up. He picked up the phone and redialed. He waited a few more moments and hung up again. His index finger throbbed in agony; he wasn\'t sure if his fingers had enough strength to keep turning the antiquated dial.

A small brown chimpanzee fist-walked over to the man in the yellow hat and clamored up onto his shoulder. The chimp also stared at Dr. Nambu.

After a couple more redials, the chimp hopped over to the doctor\'s shoulder and began dialing.

\"Oh, thank you!\" Nambu said, \"\'re dialing the correct number...\" After a few more redials, Nambu placed the receiver in its cradle. \"That\'s all I need. Thanks again.\"

The chimp gave the doctor a toothy grin, clamored to the floor and went back to the man.

\"Esse 茅 um macaco inteligente, senhor.\" Nambu said before walking away.

\"Venha, George.\" the man said to the ape as he started in the opposite direction.

Somewhere under the Earth\'s surface, a steam locomotive raced at bullet train speed while boring a tunnel as it went, and without riding on any type of railroad whatsoever. In a special car sat Count Egobossler on his throne. He wore his \"comedy\" mask/helmet as he enjoyed one of the smoothest rides -- it was as if the train stood still. To his left were a pair of Galactor henchmen sitting at a large control panel, flipping switches and pressing buttons.

Kempler approached the throne with a sheet of paper in his hand. \"Sir!\" he said, \"We just received information that Nambu called the phone number of a man named Schubert while at the airport.\"

\"Schubert? The name doesn\'t ring any bells. Are you sure it isn\'t Sherbert?\"

\"Positive. We\'re trying to find out who that is now.\"

\"So, what did they talk about?\"

\"Nothing. This man Schubert never picked up the phone.\"

\"Maybe our cover was blown.\"

\"No, our agents wouldn\'t make a blunder like that.\" Kempler added with a chuckle, \"Unless one of them was walking around in a bright yellow suit with a monkey in tow, and nobody\'s dumb enough to do that !\"

If Count Egobossler was amused by that comment, Kempler couldn\'t tell through the mask.

\"Anyway,\" Kempler continued after a small, awkward cough, \"it appears Nambu made several calls to the same number. First he let it ring seven times, then twice more, then five more times -- \"

\"What kind of code is that ?!\"

\"We don\'t know for sure. But it\'s certain the two men are going to meet. Also, several of our men used it to win both the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries, and they might enter the Spanish Christmas lottery called El Gordo. \"

\"Kempler, sir!\" one of the henchmen at the console cried, \"We\'ve just received word about Daniel Schubert! He\'s an astrophysicist.\"

\"Now it makes sense!\" Kempler proclaimed, \"Clearly they\'re Houston Astros fans and are getting together to trade memorabilia!\"

There was a moment of utter silence. Not even the steam engine could be heard.

\"Clearly,\" Egobossler finally said, \"they\'re getting together to discuss the Space Pulse. Just watch -- I\'m going to set a once-in-a-lifetime trap for our friend, Dr. Nambu.\"

Dr. Nambu, still in his Ubman disguise, finally stepped out of the concourse of the Gale茫o-Ant么nio Carlos Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. He had just experienced a deep disappointment at the airport\'s information desk: none of the people stationed there could give him any information on the Space Pulse or Leader Z.

He was so focused on his disappointment that he failed to notice the oversized 18-wheeler across the street, or the VW Beetle convertible with peace signs, daisies, rainbows, stars, and other hippie graffiti painted on it.

Nor did he notice the five young people standing by the Beetle, each of them wearing Groucho Marx glasses and white lab coats; the youngest one also wore an \"arrow through the head\" prop made famous by Steve Martin during his standup days. The fivesome fixed him with a hard stare as a brown, 1974 Ford Pinto pulled up and he got in.

\"All right!\" Ken cried as Nambu\'s car pulled away, \"Now we can follow him in secret!\" With that, all but Ryu clamored into the Beetle -- Ken in the driver\'s seat, Jun next to him, and Joe and Jinpei in the back.

Ryu started toward the tractor-trailer but came to a dead stop as he started to reach for the door. There was a slight whirr and then a strange TSCHE-CHU-CHU-CHE-TSCHE sound as the vehicle seemed to mutate before his eyes. The next thing Ryu knew, a very large robot stood before him. \"WHAT THE--?!?\"

\"I\'m afraid I can\'t play with you humans anymore,\" the robot said, \"I must go and join my fellow Autobots in battle!\" With that, the robot ran in the opposite direction the Science Ninja Team was heading.

\"Come on, Ryu!\" Ken called. The Owl trotted over to the car and squeezed himself into the back, squishing Jinpei in the middle. Joe responded with a grunt and a scowl.

The VW practically rode the bumper of the Pinto Dr. Nambu was in as they made their way through Rio de Janeiro, slowing down or stopping for the odd samba dance-off that occasionally broke out in the middle of the street. Joe\'s mood soured as three versions of \"The Girl from Ipanema\" and Barry Manilow singing \"Copacabana\" fought to be the song playing in his head for the next three days. The road started upward toward the more mountainous interior.

\"Ken, don\'t you think we should back off a bit?\" Jun asked as the warm, sea-scented wind refused to mess up her hair.

\"Why?\" The wind had no such scruples when it came to Ken\'s hair; his eyes stung and watered as the lensless Groucho Marx glasses gave no protection from his whipping hair.

\"Well,\" Jun replied, \"this is a really wide highway, and there\'s nobody else on it --\"

\" -- and if you rear-end Hakase\'s car, the damned thing\'ll probably explode!\" Joe added in an especially annoyed tone. It looked as though the wind was gently caressing his hair a bit.

Ken eased off the accelerator.

Jinpei tried to squirm but was pressed too tightly between Joe and Ryu. The wind took advantage of this -- the arrow and glasses were ripped off his head. For weeks to come, the Swallow swore a ghost had grabbed him and gave the most violent noogies a human being could possibly survive. And Ryu looked as if the wind simply didn\'t bother him.

Dr. Daniel Schubert had an especially gleeful grin as his fingers flew over the keyboard of his vintage typewriter. He finished the last few keystrokes and, with a flourish, removed the page from the carriage.

\"Eat your heart out, E.L. James!\" he cried as he placed the page at the bottom of a neatly stacked pile on the side of his desk. \"Here\'s to the next greatest thing in \'Soccer Mom Porn\'!\"

He opened a desk drawer and carefully placed the manuscript in it. He closed that drawer and opened one below it. He pulled out a manuscript with \"Space Pulse pt. 2: the Umpire Strikes Out\" neatly typed on the title page and set it on the desk.

Just then the doorbell rang.

\"That must be Dr. Nambu!\" he chirped as he jumped up and rushed across the room. He threw open the front door. \"Chief Nambu!\" he cried, \"So nice to finally meet --\"

Then he looked at the man before him. The man wore what looked like a kind of high-ranking military uniform from a 20th Century fascist regime.

\"Who are you?\" Schubert\'s voice was barely audible as he slowly backed away, \"Galactor?\"

The man raised a gun.

Joe decided to focus on what was ahead. A short distance ahead he saw the Christ the Redeemer statue, its eyes gazing toward the harbor and its arms outstretched. But something seemed a bit off...Could it have been because it was more of a yellowish-white color instead of concrete grey? Or maybe it looked a bit smaller than it should? Perhaps it was because it wasn\'t on Corcavado Mountain but farther inland, in front of a mansion and an observatory. Or could it have been because this Cristo Redentor looked like a giant stick figure wearing a flowing robe? It was hard to say.

\"Dammit! Dammit! DAMMIT!!\" Kempler screamed as he kicked Daniel Schubert\'s corpse. \"You weren\'t supposed to grab my gun, you idiot! Now you\'re dead and Count Egobossler\'s gonna be so pissed off!\" He looked around the room as his mind raced for a possible solution to this situation. \"And he\'s gonna kill me for this mess!\" He started picking up pages of the Space Pulse manuscript which were scattered all around the room. \"I dunno.\" he muttered, \"Maybe I could try some sort of Weekend At Bernie\'s sort of thing...\"

A brown, 1974 Ford Pinto pulled onto a long driveway with a small mansion and an observatory. Dr. Nambu took a quick glimpse at the smaller version of Christ the Redeemer on the left of the drive and just a few yards from the road. Overall, he liked what he saw, though he wasn\'t quite sure about some of the liberties the artist had taken. A couple of moments later, the car came to a stop at the front porch. Nambu clamored out of the cramped back seat and headed toward the front door where a young man in a brown suit was waiting for him.

The brightly colored cosmic VW convertible pulled onto the long driveway and then made a sharp turn into a small wooded area to the right of the driveway; it was almost as if that particular clump of trees had been planted there to be a convenient plot device. Ken shut off the motor before he and Jun hopped out. It took Joe, Jinpei, and Ryu a little bit longer to pry themselves out of the small back seat and then stretch out some leg cramps.

\"Chief Nambu has gotten a really reckless streak.\" Joe said as he limped over to Ken and Jun, \"If this guy\'s with Galactor, we\'re in deep coc么 !\"

\"The Space Pulse must be making him desperate.\" Jun replied.

\"Yeah,\" Jinpei added, \"I haven\'t seen Hakase this desperate since he\'d gone a whole year without a right-swipe on Tinder!\"

\"Keep your guard up.\" Ken said, \"Let\'s split up and investigate the outside of the house. Don\'t overlook anything !\"

\"Roger!\" the rest of the team cried in hushed tones. With that, they ran off in different directions.

Meanwhile, Chief Nambu sat on a sofa in the front room of the mansion. In front of him was a coffee table and another sofa facing him.

\"Sorry to keep you waiting,\" a young man who looked like a very alive Daniel Schubert said as he entered the room carrying a small tray with two glasses and a large bottle of cacha莽a. He placed the tray on the table and sat on the empty couch. He picked up the bottle and pulled out the cork. \"Would you like a drink?\"

\"No thanks.\"

\"Well, I think I\'ll help myself to some.\" he lifted the bottle to his lips and chugged half of the cacha莽a.

\"Dr. Schubert, let me get to the point -- you said in your report that you\'re close to unraveling the mystery of the Space Pulse.\"

\"And you want me to fill in the details.\"

\"Right. Preferably before this becomes an episode of Drunk History.\"

\"Gotcha. But the version here\'s called Drunk History Brasil: o Lado Embriagado da Hist贸ria. Anyway, before I tell you, why don\'t you tell me why you\'re so interested?\" The younger man drained the rest of the bottle.

\"Okay. You know Galactor\'s head, Leader Z?\"

\"Not personally, but I know the name.\"

\"Ah. Well, he\'s attacked the ISO many, many times. Our Space Pulse Research facilities seem to really scare the coc么 e xixi out of him.\"

\"So why do you think that is?\"


\"Well what ?\"

\"I\'m sure that, if we succeed in our research, Leader Z will be in some deep fertilizer.\"

\"Such as --?\"

\"I don\'t know yet. We need to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible, if not sooner.\"

\"So you want my help?\"


\"To solve the Space Pulse mystery?\"


\"And that might take down Leader Z?\"


\"Good, I was hoping you\'d say that! I think we can beat Leader Z if we join forces.\"

A sunbeam came through a window. It hit a decorative mirror hanging on a wall. It continued ricocheting around until the entire room was filled with an almost blinding light. And in the moment before the light completely faded away with the progression of the sun, Chief Nambu saw a ghost image of Egobossler\'s mask instead of Daniel Schubert\'s face.

\"Wha --?!\" Nambu jumped to his feet. \"Who are you? You\'re not Daniel Schubert, are you?\"

\"So like you, Nambu,\" the man said as he rose to his feet, \"to figure it out. I was going to invite you to join me in my lab to research the Space Pulse...\" With a flourish that Berg Katse would have appreciated, the disguise was whipped away to reveal Count Egobossler. \"...but I suspect you\'ll refuse my offer now.\"

\"Egobossler, what have you done with Daniel Schubert?\"

\"Sorry I have to do this, but...\" Egobossler pulled out what looked like a small can of pepper spray and sprayed it.

Nambu let out a cry as a thin stream of liquid hit his face. He fell to the floor, unconscious. The Groucho glasses offered no protection.

\"Now I\'ve got you and the Space Pulse data, all I have to deal with is Leader Z!\" the count said. He let out megalomaniacal laugh, as is the habit of any frontman for Galactor.

\"Great job of spreading out, Joe.\" Ken muttered as he and his second crouched in the wooded area where the car was parked, keeping their eyes on the mansion.

Joe grunted in response.

\"Anyway,\" Ken continued, \"they\'ve been in there a long time. I wonder --\"

\"Ken, come quick!\" Jun\'s voice rang out from his communications bracelet, \"We found a body at the back of the house!\"

Ken and Joe bolted from their spot and ran around the house -- in plain view the whole time -- until they met their teammates. They found Jun, Ryu, and Jinpei standing a little bit back from a body dangling from a rope. Their eyes followed the rope up...up...up the side of a cliff and a couple of floors of the house to a balcony some 40 or 50 feet above their position.

\"Some rope, huh?\" Ryu said.

\"Are you sure this isn\'t just a big pi帽ata?\" Ken asked.

\"We\'re in Brazil, not Mexico.\" Jun replied.

\"Yeah,\" Jinpei added, \"I don\'t wanna know what would come outta that if we hit it with a stick!\"

They went to the task of cutting the rope and easing the body to the ground. Ken started searching the body for identification. He opened the sports jacket and found a white lab coat beneath. And embroidered in red: D. SYUEAN.

\"Who in the hell\'s that?\" Jinpei asked, \"Is that the guy --\"

\"Nah,\" Ryu replied, \"Hakase came to see Daniel Schubert.\"

\"So this is probably somebody else.\" Jun added, \"Still, I don\'t like it that this poor guy was left hanging like this.\"

\"Galactor could be a step ahead of us.\" Joe chimed in.

\"Right!\" Ken cried, \"Hakase could be in danger!\"

The team positioned themselves so that anybody in the mansion above could get a clear view of them. In unison, they brought their left arms up and then down with a \"BIRD GO!\"

Within a few heartbeats, the team was on the balcony that the rope had been tied to. They rushed through the room and darted through the hallway, calling out as they went.


\"Where are you?\"

\"Are you here, Hakase?\"

\"Here, Hakase! Here boy!\"

\"Come out and I\'ll give you a Scooby Snack!\"

Meanwhile, the statue in the front of the estate vibrated for a few seconds and then rotated on its pedestal until it faced the house.

\"Did anybody find him?\" Ken asked as the Science Ninja Team burst through the front door and jumped off the porch.

\"No.\" Joe replied, \"He\'s not here.\"

\"What?!\" Ken cried as he came to a sudden stop, \"That\'s impossible! He\'s gotta be here somewhere!\"

Unable to stop their momentum, the rest of the team threw themselves to the side to avoid plowing into Ken. They quickly recovered and started following the driveway, calling for Dr. Nambu along the way.

There was a low rumble as the giant statue teetered a bit before stepping off its pedestal. Jinpei let out a startled cry and shouted, \"Hey, the statue\'s moving!\" But before anybody could respond with \"Really, Captain Obvious?\" the statue tried to stomp on them as though they were so many picnic ants. They flung themselves out of the way.

The statue continued to chase them around the estate, trying to step on them with an enormous stick figure-styled foot or slap them with its huge stick hands. Soon the observatory was completely demolished and the statue found itself stuck waist-deep in the exact center of the mansion. As if it was venting some frustration, the stick figure Cristo Redemptor started punching the parts of the mansion that were still standing.

\"So what do we do now, Ken?\" Joe said as the team took this moment to catch their breaths, \"At this rate --\"

\"What about Chief Nambu?\" Jun interrupted.

\"We\'ve gotta defeat this thing with the GatchaSpartan first!\" Ken proclaimed.

\"Small problem, Ken.\" Ryu said, \"The transport we were usin\' to haul the GatchaSpartan went Optimus Prime on us, remember?\"

\"Oh shit.\"

The mansion was smashed enough for the statue to step over the ruins and resume the chase. After several more long, agonizing minutes of lapping the estate grounds, the statue came to a dead stop. It stood perfectly straight. Its giant smiley face shimmered and became transparent. The team could just make out the forms of two Galactor henchmen holding Dr. Nambu up on his knees, Count Egobossler, Mechandol (nobody else in Galactor has a full, bushy brown beard that goes to his waist), and Kempler.

As they looked down on the Science Ninja Team, Kempler muttered to Mechandol, \"Glad you FINALLY decided to show up!\"

\"All right, all right!\" Mechandol whispered back, \"I should\'ve listened to you when you told me to stay away from the seafood breakfast burritos they served in the officers\' mess yesterday. Happy now?\"

Another rumble came from the statue as cracks formed in its flowing robes. The robes crumbled away to reveal a giant, anatomically correct, naked stick man.

The team let out a collective gasp at what they saw. Ken lunged at Jun as he tried to shield her eyes, knocking her onto her rear.

\"What the hell?\" Jun cried.

\"Uh, well,\" Ken stammered, \"I didn\'t want you to get upset by the sight of, well...\"

\"It\'s a stick dick, Ken! I think I can handle it.\"

\"I\'d rather you didn\'t.\" Joe replied.

\"Wha --? Oh, dammit, Joe, you know what I mean!\"

The air was filled by Count Egobossler\'s amplified laughter. \"Gatchaman! This time you\'re going to lose! We\'ve got Nambu! If you interfere with our plans, he\'s dead !\"

Nambu, still woozy, mumbled, \"Ken, don\'t worry about me...fight them!\"

\"Don\'t you get it?\" Egobossler replied, \"As long as you\'re here, they won\'t attack.\" He again looked at the fivesome on the earth below. \"Hmm...let\'s make things interesting for them!\"

\"Hey, something\'s happening!\" Jinpei cried, \"I think it\'s getting ready to take a stick dick pic!\"

\"No,\" Ryu replied, \"it doesn\'t have a camera.\"

\"RUN!\" Ken ordered. The team raced to the nearest ruined wall. They dove behind it just as an onslaught of roughly fist-sized orbs with streamers fluttering behind them was unleashed.

\"Who in the hell ever heard of a mecha that could jack off ?!?\" Joe shouted in frustration.

\"Joe, that\'s disgusting!\" Jun cried.

\"And this is coming from the girl who was talkin\' about stick dicks --\"

\"Cut it out you two!\" Ken barked, \"We need ideas now!\"

A moment passed. \"I\'ve got one!\" Ryu cried before dashing to another rubble pile, then another, and another, dodging orbs as he went. Soon the rest of the team lost track of him.

\"Jeez,\" Joe muttered, \"you\'d think that thing would\'ve run out of emotion lotion by now.\"

\"Joe --\"

\"Well, what else are you gonna call it, Jun? I\'m just saying it like I see it.\"

The orb onslaught slowed and then stopped. A low rumble came a few dozen yards away. A pile of rubble fell away as a dirigible slowly rose. There were four wooden propellers -- one forward, one aft, one starboard, and one port -- on the sides of the airbag, and a large wooden gondola was beneath.

The rest of the team gawked in wonder at the airship.

\"Magnificent!\" Jun gasped.

\"Who woulda thought that Schubert guy was into Steampunk?\" Jinpei breathed.

\"RUN!\" Ken ordered. They bolted just in time to avoid being stepped on by the mecha as it brought its foot down on the broken wall they had been sheltering behind. They hopped over several piles of rubble before soaring up to the dirigible\'s gondola as it rose from the shattered building.

Once inside, they found four bicycles in the center of the floor, each attached to a propeller outside. \"Hop on, gang!\" Ryu cried as he mounted the forward bike. Jun took the starboard, Jinpei hopped on the port side, and Joe was on the aft. Ken confidently strode to the front of the gondola and took hold of the large, steamboat-styled steering wheel.

From some unseen source, dramatic music began to swell to an epic intensity. \"Science Ninja Team,\" Ken proclaimed, \"let\'s use the GatchaSteampunk Fighter to blast that iron beast down Leader Z\'s gullet!\"

\"Roger!\" the rest of the team replied in unison. The airship turned toward the Galactor mecha.

\"What\'s wrong, Gatchaman?\" Egobossler\'s taunting blasted from the giant stick man, \"Couldn\'t you get your pitiful Voltron rip-off started?\"

\"Actually,\" Jinpei yelled in response, \"the GatchaSpartan was created two years before King GoLion -- which was the original version of Voltron -- and five years --\"

\"Jinpei,\" Joe interrupted, \"you\'re getting too nerdy.\"


\"Laugh all you want, Egobossler!\" Ken called to the mecha, \"Just keep in mind that the Science Ninja Team will defeat you and your evil schemes!\"

Egobossler let out a derisive snort. \"Do yourself a favor, Gatchaman -- drop a dime on a speechwriter. The drivel you\'re generating is so tired it\'s about to die from exhaustion.\"

Even though four members of the Science Ninja Team were pedaling with as much force they could muster, the airship slowly drifted toward the stickman mecha. Ken cast his eyes around the area of the steering wheel. He found a secret niche hidden in a column in front and to the right of the wheel. Stashed inside were a slingshot and a handful of ball bearings. An idea came to him. He seemed to roll it around in his mouth, analyzing its flavor. Finally, he shrugged.

\"What\'s going on Mechandol?\" Count Egobossler asked in a hushed tone.

\"It\'s hard to say...\" he replied as he squinted through a spyglass, \"It looks kind of like Gatchaman has a y-shaped stick...\" He let out a shriek as the mecha\'s face and the outer lens of the telescope shattered. A ball bearing was lodged within the glass, stopping just before it could hit the eyepiece. He stuffed the spyglass into his beard as the whole group quickly backed away from the gaping hole.

\"Gatchafencer!\" Ken bellowed as he glided over to the mecha with his sword drawn.

Egobossler drew his own sword. \"Come on, Gatchaman!\"

The rest of the group formed a semicircle to watch the fight. More ball bearings flew into the mecha\'s bridge, knocking the three Galactor soldiers onto their rears. One more ball bearing zipped in, hitting Dr. Nambu between the eyes, knocking him out cold.

Strains of \"Way to go, Joe!\", \"Nice shot!\", and \"Becoming a cyborg\'s really improved your aim!\" drifted over from the airship.

\"Just shut up!\" a cranky Condor snapped.

The Eagle and Count Egobossler went at it, but what they did really didn\'t look like a sword fight. Rather, it was a strange blend of the Electric Slide, the Harlem Shake, the Bump, Gangnam Style, the Hokey Pokey, the Funky Chicken, and a little clog dancing. Somehow -- nobody could say exactly how -- a large crack formed in the forehead of Count Egobossler\'s mask.

\"Sir, do you want some aspirin for your headache?\" a henchman called.

\"Don\'t just stand there, you idiots!\" the count bellowed, \"Get him!\"

The three soldiers moved forward but then dropped to the floor, unconscious. A smattering of sarcastically polite applause drifted over from the airship.

\"Shut up, already!\" an even crankier Condor snarled.

Mechandol reached into his beard and pulled out a sword. He took a step toward Ken before a ball bearing hit his blade, snapping it in half. A few more ball bearings hit Mechandol\'s beard, but the hairy monstrosity absorbed the metal orbs\' kinetic energy. The bearings fell harmlessly to the floor. The Galactor stepped forward again, but he stepped on a ball bearing and landed squarely on his rear end.

Meanwhile, Kempler drew his gun and pointed it at Ken. The ball bearing Mechandol slipped on flew across the room and knocked the gun to the floor. The gun misfired, creating a small, neat hole in his hat. Kempler let out several unintelligible curse words.

While that was happening, Dr. Nambu began to regain consciousness. Egobossler hauled his woozy prisoner to his feet and, with the Space Pulse report that had suddenly appeared in his hand, headed toward the exit at the back of the mecha.

The Eagle hurled the Gatchafencer at the count. The blade hit Egobossler\'s hand, causing him to drop the manuscript before embedding itself in the only piece of wood on the entire giant robot. This bit of wood had no real purpose -- it was just a piece leftover from an Ikea end table that a construction worker placed in the wall to the left of the doorway.

\"Dammit!\" Egobossler hissed as blood dripped to the floor. Mechandol raced over to him, pulling Band-Aids from his beard.

\"Here, my Lord,\" Mechandol said as he slapped bandages on the count\'s bleeding (but gloved) hand, \"let me take care of that!\"

Count Egobossler pushed his officer aside, let Nambu drop to his knees, and started scooping up loose pages. As Ken rushed over to pry the Gatchafencer from the block of wood, Egobossler, Mechandol, and Kempler rushed out of the mecha\'s control room. In almost no time an escape ship blasted away.

\"I couldn\'t snatch Nambu away from you,\" Egobossler\'s voice boomed throughout the mecha\'s interior, \" but I\'ve got Daniel\'s research notes!\" The count then threw a raspberry.

Nambu spotted a sheet of paper and picked it up. Ken rushed over, grabbed Nambu by the shoulders, saying, \"Can you walk, Chief?\" and hurried over to the gaping hole in the mecha\'s face.

I\'m fine. Thanks for asking and giving me a chance to respond! Nambu thought as Ken dragged him along as they both jumped from the mecha and glided over to the airship. The rest of the Science Ninja Team began furiously pedaling backwards as a series of explosions rocked the giant stick man. They just managed to get out of range as one final, enormous explosion sent the most offending part of the stick man sailing toward the airship. The group let out a collective sigh of relief.

Nambu looked at the sheet of paper in his hands -- the last page of Daniel Shubert\'s notes, the only page Count Egobossler didn\'t snatch up as he fled.

\"What\'s the matter, Hakase?\" Ken asked, \"Are you sad because the world will never know the young genius that is Daniel Schubert?\"

\"No,\" the doctor replied, \"these are the lyrics to Adele\'s latest hit.\" He wiped away a tear. \"Can\'t that woman ever sing a happy song?\"

Count Egobossler sniggered as he stood in the presence of Leader Z and fingered a Bic lighter in his coat pocket.

\"What\'s so funny?\" the talking trash heap glowered.

\"It\'s nothing.\"

\"You have no reason to laugh. Losing to Gatchaman in Brazil is pathetic, Egobossler.\"

The count continued to smirk as he imagined using the Bic to light the Silly String dancing around Leader Z. \"Come On Baby Light My Fire\" by the Doors started playing in his head.
~ Table of Contents ~
[Report This]
You must login (register) to review.