Disclaimer: Battle of the Planets is the property of Sandy Frank. Gatchaman is the property of Tatsunko. No money is being made from the use of characters owned by Tatsunko or Sandy Frank.
The year Christopher Shaw turned four, he had a Wish - one that only he knew. One that he hugged tightly to his chest, hoping that it would come true.
Chris knew that he was part of a very unusual family. Grandpa had explained it all to him, how his Mama was also called the Swan, and how his Father was the Eagle of G-Force, and that Father was away doing something Very Important.
Mama had told him about that, too, and he never tired of looking through the photograph albums, and listening to the stories his Uncles told him.
It always made Mama sad when they looked through the pictures, especially when he wanted to look a pictures of her and Father. Chris always wanted to know more about Father. Afterwards, when he was tucked into bed, he could hear her crying, and it made him sad too. He didn't like Mama being sad.
Chris told Uncle Jason this one day, and he got very angry. Chris thought (but couldn't be sure) that he said some Naughty Words about Father. After that, he punched a hole in the wall. Chris had a great time when they fixed the hole so that Mama wouldn't notice.
But she did. Mama always noticed things, like when he didn't wash behind his ears, and she asked him what happened. She and Uncle Jason had a fight after that, and Chris heard Mama say Naughty Words to him.
Uncle Jason didn't come round for a few weeks after that, and Chris noticed that Mama was even sadder than she normally was.
Chris missed his Uncle, because Uncle Jason would take him driving in his racecar. He never breathed a word to Mama about that, but somehow she knew. Mama was, in Chris' opinion, entirely too observant. He knew that Uncle Jason agreed, and he had heard him say some Naughty Words about Mama being too observant. When Chris used those words, Mama had washed his mouth out with soap. When he asked her why she didn't to that to Uncle Jason, Mama just laughed.
He knew that Uncle Jason was his Godfather, and that made him extra special, because Godfathers were there for when Fathers weren't.
Uncle Jason also let Chris play with his feather darts, and let him help pull apart his cable gun to fix it - and even Mama didn't know about that!
But he never told Chris anything about Father, even though Chris knew that Uncle Jason and Father had been like brothers, and that he had been Father's Second-in-Command. Only Grandpa liked to talk to him about father. Mama did sometimes, but Chris found that it made her sadder than she normally was. But it was Mama who told him that Father's real name was Mark, and Chris liked that.
Whenever he mentioned Father to Uncles Jason, Tiny and Kye, they said, "We try not to talk about that". Uncle Kye, especially, got upset, and he would say it was all Father's fault, and then he was no fun any more. Uncle Tiny would hug him and tell him that they were his family, and that Father didn't matter.
But Chris knew that was a lie.
Uncle Jason just said,"Your Father is the bravest person I've ever met, but never forget that he abandoned his team. Never do that, Chris. Never abandon your family, or your team."
Chris knew that rule. He knew that the most important thing was to stick by your Team - and he did that. Even through Cathy Harper was only a girl, she was Uncle Tiny and Auntie Ann's daughter, and was part of his Team. So he stuck by her.
Mama said that it made her proud when he did that. He liked making Mama proud, because it was as good as making her happy, and he noticed that everybody tried to keep Mama happy. Chris used to wish that she was happy more often, because she was sad most of the time.
Sometimes, when Chris could hear Mama crying, he would hug his teddy bear - the one Grandpa said had been Father's - and whisper to it to bring Father back. But not always. Sometimes, when Mama was very sad, Chris would hit Teddy.
He remembered one day when Mama was very, very sad (Auntie Ann said it was because it was her and Father's wedding anniversary - whatever that was), he tried to destroy Teddy. Uncle Jason found him crying because he had pulled Teddy's arms and head off, and he found that Uncle Jason was almost as good as Mama at Making Things Better. Uncle had asked Auntie Ann to fix Teddy, and they all agreed not to tell Mama.
Then Chris noticed that Uncle Jason was around even more after that, and always gave Chris a big hug. Chris objected at first - he knew from his friends at kindergarten that boys didn't hug boys - it wasn't Manly (Chris wasn's quite sure what that meant, but felt that being Manly must be important if you were a boy).
Uncle Jason just laughed when he explained that, and said that if the Condor said it was OK to hug, then who was going to argue? Chris agreed, because everybody said that the Condor was a Warrior, and Warriors were always Manly (and anyway, Chris liked being hugged).
One thing Chris didn't understand, though, was why, when Uncle Jason said that, Mama laughed so hard she couldn't get up. He didn't care. He was happy about anything that made Mama laugh and not be sad.
Chris used to watch Uncle Jason and Mama. He saw that Uncle Jason was always trying to look after Mama. He knew that the house they lived in belonged to Uncle Jason, because Mama was too busy looking after Chris to have a house of their own. Mama was always reminding Chris to make sure he didn't damage anything - but Uncle Jason didn't care, and they once spent a glorious afternoon drawing on a wall. Mama was angry, but Uncle Jason said he wanted to re-paint the room anyway, and besides, wasn't he allowed to draw on his own wall?
That made Mama laugh and Chris was surprised when she started to draw on the wall as well. Neither Mama nor Uncle Jason could draw very well at all (Mama said that Uncle Jason's attempt to draw a Condor looked like a deformed chicken), but that was OK; because Mama had explained to him one day that everybody was different, and we could all do different things well.
Uncle Tiny could draw. Chris knew that, because he had watched Uncle Tiny draw, and Uncle Tiny had painted the mural on his bedroom walls. He always felt safe in his bedroom, because Uncle Tiny had drawn the Phoenix and G-Force. Chris was proud to think that they were his Family. He always said goodnight to them all - and it made Father seem like he was there to have his picture on the wall.
Chris used to tell the picture of Father all the things he did during the day, and tell him how sad Mama was, and that they both wanted him to come Home.
The picture of Father on his wall was another thing that made Mama sad, and sometimes she would just sit on his bed and look at it. Chris suspected that sometimes, when he wasn;t there, Mama would talk to Father too. One night after she said goodnight, he watched her through half-closed eyes. She touched the picture of Father and whispered "I wish you could be here for him, Mark. You'd be so proud of your son."
That made Chris happy, because it meant that Mama was proud of him, and that she thought Father would be too.
But Mama seemed sad about that, too. Sometimes, Chris thought, his Mama was the saddest person in the world. Then, one of his Uncles would say or do something, and Mama was laughing and happy.
But now, Chris had noticed Something Important. He thought it was Important enough to be Very Important. It was a secret, but he talked to Cathy Harper about it, and she agreed that it wasn't being disloyal to Father to have noticed this, and to make his Wish.
The first part of the Very Important thing that Chris had noticed was that Mama was almost always laughing and happy when she was with Uncle Jason. And the other part was that Uncle Jason seemed to like hugging Mama, and he hugged her even more than he hugged Chris. Mama was happy when Uncle Jason hugged her, even if she had started off being sad.
At Thanksgiving, Chris saw Uncle Jason kiss Mama. And she kissed him back. Chris was wriggling with excitement after that. Especially when they held hands all evening.
Chris hugged his Wish to himself, and decided that he would write to Santa and ask him to make his Wish come true.
Perhaps, if Santa helped, he could have a Dad.