Disclaimer: Battle of the Planets is owned by the Sandy Frank Corporation & Gatchaman by Tatsunoko. I make no profit from my use of characters and situations
1. Chapter 1 by Madilayn
2. Chapter 2 by Madilayn
3. Chapter 3 by Madilayn
This has been the hardest mission of my life – emotionally that is. I hadn’t been particularly happy about Princess being used as a Judas goat in the first place. To be honest – I hate it when one of my team has to go in alone. It’s something that I rarely allow; preferring that if anybody has to go alone it’s me.
This time, though, it was Princess. And I’ve never let her go alone anywhere. Not because she can’t do her job – she does it damn well. Most of the time, better than I could.
It’s because I love her. There. I’ve said it now. I love Princess. I love her so much that I’m constantly engineering situations where we’re together. I can’t help myself but to touch her constantly. I know that every time we’re together, my arm goes around her but I can’t help it.
Anderson’s never actually forbidden us to have intra-team relationships. It absolutely kills me to know that Jason and Princess have been to the movies a few times. When he mentioned that he’s kissed her, I wanted to kill him!
I know she thinks of me the same way I do her. For some reason, though, we just can’t move beyond the flirting.
These flowers came. They’re taking women – and that alone would make my blood boil. Jason and I have known for a long time why Zoltar keeps trying to kidnap Earth-born women and we’ve been waging our own little war quietly since we found out. It made me even more determined not to let Princess go on missions by herself.
Equally, since I found out that Jason had kissed her, I’m dammed if I let them go off on their own. Yeah. I know exactly who my competition is!
I can understand that the skinsuit works best on women. I dig that completely. And if these flowers target women, then it makes sense that Princess be bait.
What I cannot understand was Anderson’s insistence that she go alone. Jason and I both exchanged glances on that one and our unspoken commitment was the same. No way were we going to let our Swan go this one without the full team backing her up.
I would have been able to persuade Anderson no problems. What I hadn’t counted on was Princess herself.
As I helped her into the suit (and no – I’m not some sort of weird pervert. Princess and I have had to strip down to underwear together to put on Spectran disguises on a number of occasions – when you’ve got only a couple of minutes to get changed, you don’t really care who helps you!) I tried to persuade her to let us go with her – discretely behind – to back her up.
Not a chance.
“I have to do this, Mark. Need to. I know as well as you what Spectra’s been doing and why.”
“I know you do,” I said to her. “But I don’t like that you’ll have no backup. It’s not because you’re female. You know I’d be the same if it was one of the others as well.
“But not yourself,” she said a little bitterly and I wince. She’s suffered too much stress when I’ve been pinned and only managed to get out through sheer dumb luck.
“That’s different. I’m only putting myself in danger.”
“And I’m only putting myself. It’s exactly the same. Please. Let me do this. I can do this.”
“I know you can. That’s the one thing I have no worries about. I do worry that something will go wrong.”
She smiled at me and touched her arm. The suit has given her skin a sparkling tone to it and is opaque enough that I can’t really see her bra and panties through it. She looks naked and I can feel my body’s reaction to this.
“This works best on women, Mark. I trust the Chief. And I trust the intel from Zark that his sensors can keep a track of me. Mark, I have a feeling that these women are targeted. They’ve all been taken from specific places around the city. I suspect that Spectra may have observers and some way to target the women. Otherwise, why are some taken and some not? If it’s the case, then I really need to be truly alone.”
I can’t fault her logic – I rarely can. The only other person on the team who can pick up on enemy tactics faster is Jason – who usually then hands the ball to Princess who can pick apart the logic of it all.
I still don’t like it. And I don’t have the trust in Zark that she does. I do, however, trust her judgement.
It’s something I can’t resist, and I hold out my arms to her, catching her hands and drawing her close. I revel in the times I can do this. I’m always looking for reasons for it. I’ve never, however, held her when she’s wearing so little, and I can feel my body’s reaction – and she can feel it too.
It only makes her press closer and I tighten my arms. “Just be careful. I don’t know what I’d do if you didn’t come back to me, Princess,” I whisper into her hair as we hold each other close.
We separate and she swiftly puts the rest of her clothes on, giving me one of her flirtatious looks as I sigh wistfully as her beautiful body is covered up in the loose t-shirt and trousers.
Jason gives me a sharp glance as we re-enter. He knows who his competition is too.
“Took your time,” he said softly.
I’m irritated because his implication is clear – and he’s also partially correct in that implication. I’ll never admit it though. “I was trying to persuade her to let the team come as backup.”
“Trying?” As usual, Jason’s picked up on the crux.
“No luck. She’s got it all worked out and will abort if we try.”
“She’s got guts.” His look is admiring.
It’s all gone to hell in a hand basket.
Princess has been taken and despite Zark maintaining that he could track her, he’s not been able to trace her at all. Even more alarming, we’ve had no signal from her bracelet. None. Zip. Nada. And the one thing she had agreed to was that as soon as she was taken, she’d send out a scramble.
This means that for some reason, she can’t activate her bracelet.
I’ve arrived at the peninsula and I can’t believe how many of the flowers are there and as I land, at first I don’t notice how down the rest of G-Force is.
I am furious and completely blame myself – which is why I’ve been avoiding the team the last few days. I can’t even sleep – every time I close my eyes, I can hear them accusing me of neglect by letting her go alone.
Just like they did when we realised she was missing and incommunicado.
When I’m not hearing that, I’m seeing her.
And now, Anderson’s making me make the hardest choice I’ve ever had to. He’s asking me to destroy this field of flowers – possibly killing the person I love most – in order to save the world.
Save the world. Again. Today, I don’t want to save the world. I want to save Princess. I want to hold her in my arms again. I want to kiss her, to tell her I love her.
But I’m the Eagle. And it’s my job to save the world.
Even when my team is mutinying and my heart is breaking, I have to save the fucking world.
I don’t blame the team, though. It’s a tough order – I have to empty my fuel tanks and then we fire a missile to ignite the field.
Well, this is my decision. Anderson has said that this is our only choice of action and when he makes statements like that he’s usually right.
I can also see that this is hurting him as much as it does the rest of us. After all, Princess is his daughter.
It’s not something that’s well known. In fact, only Anderson and I know it. Hell, until her mother died he hadn’t even realised he had a daughter.
I’ve never understood why he never told her, but that, I realise, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her.
He’s blaming himself for this, just as I’m blaming myself. For a moment we’re united in our love for our beautiful Princess and as I look at him, I can see the tears in his eyes and a look of anguish on his face.
I don’t bother to hide my own tears or anguish as I make my decision.
“We have no choice,” I say and start to draw on my gloves and walk towards my plane. In my mind, I know exactly what I’ll do, but I keep my face blank.
The remains of G-Force stand and despondently make their way towards Phoenix. I feel Jason’s hand on my shoulder briefly and am once again grateful for his backup. He argues and complains, but when it’s really important, he just says nothing and backs me up totally.
All of our hearts are breaking today.
The climb into my plane has never been as hard. I’ve never had to use my implant to jump up, but today I do. I have no energy. I’m completely focussed on what I have to do.
I fly over the area, emptying my fuel tanks. As I do so, all I can see is her. I can hear her as if she was next to me, feel her warmth. I close my eyes briefly and see her running towards me.
As the last of the fuel empty’s I whisper one word. “Princess.”
It’s time. “Fuel tanks empty. I’m going down. Impact will ignite.” If I’m going to kill her, then I’ll die with her. It’s not like my life has anything without her. Even G-Force is nothing unless she’s there, fighting by my side.
She is the centre of my life.
I had no way of knowing as I spoke those words that a protocol on the Phoenix that was automatically run when the missiles are moved from storage to rack was going to change everything.
“Mark, we’ll pick you up. Come in.” It’s Jason’s voice – and it’s as agitated as I’ve ever heard him. Urgent enough that it penetrates my death wish. Not urgent enough for me to pull out of my dive, and Tiny is forced to forcibly take the plane aboard Phoenix.
I slump in my seat. I’m not even allowed to do this for her. I’m making her die alone.
I transmute and jump out of the plane. She won’t die alone. Some way, I’ll join her.
In hindsight, it’s a good thing Jason anticipated my actions and is waiting for me. He had already fired the missile.
We land and watch the flowers burning, and I cry out her name again. In spite of the readings showing she’s not there, we can’t track exactly where she is, and I can’t help but be terrified that she was there. I can hear the same scream from all our throats and I seem to hear Phoenix scream as well.
Mourning our lost Swan.
I know I’m depressed. Anderson can’t give us any news other than what we already know – he can’t work out a way to stop the flowers and Zark can’t get a fix on Princess.
It’s been three day since then. None of us has seen the others – we can’t bear to. I go through the motions but haven’t even shaved.
I spend my days wandering aimlessly around, watching for her, hoping to see her riding up the road towards me.
If she’s still alive, it will be different. I won’t be apart from her.
But we still haven’t heard. I’ve killed her. The woman I love. I’ve killed her.
I have no doubt about that – if Zoltar had her he’d have been boasting about it before now.
I take a long walk – I can’t even find the comfort in flight any more. I haven’t worn my bracelet for two days and sitting on my desk is my resignation from G-Force. Anderson keeps calling, but I’ve been ignoring him.
My walk took me to the Snack, but I couldn’t stay and I head home.
I don’t even turn on the lights. I can’t straighten, I can’t stop crying.
Because I’ve killed her.
A small sound at the corner of my hearing, a flash in the corner of my eyes grabs my attention. It’s my bracelet and I prepare to ignore yet another message from Anderson when something else breaks through my depression.
The flashing is a Bird Scramble. The beeping is in the private code Princess and I use.
I move faster than I have for days and snatch up my bracelet, screaming at it, telling her to give me more information; even though I know that she can’t hear me.
It helps though.
I called the rest of the team together and we confronted Anderson to let us go in. I’d managed to find her location from her scramble and I had to use all my persuasive skills to persuade him. In the end, I broke and told him we were going in anyway.
In the end, we had to avoid not only Spectra’s goons but our own Federation troops to get into the Spectran base.
On board Phoenix, I keep turning to her for information – but she’s not there.
Knowing that she’s alive though – that’s lifted all our spirits. Even if the Federation is doing incredibly stupid things to try to destroy the flowers.
It’s taken us twelve hours of waiting before we can actually get anywhere, holed up in a ruined building. It’s raining and we’ve been waiting for the military to pull out.
I can feel her. She’s somewhere close. I just know it.
As we search the city, I start to get despondent again. We rest only because we have to. I haven’t heard from Princess again but I’m sure she’s alive and waiting for us somewhere close. As I lean back against the wall, I wrap my wings around myself, only half listening to the answers I give Tiny and Jason. My whole being is focussed on my beautiful Princess.
Then it comes – another Scramble. This one though, is on the full channel. On the Phoenix we manage to find a location and Tiny takes us in.
Of course, it’s full of goons, and I’d love to get her myself, but I can see that it will need Tiny’s strength to rescue her.
Suddenly, my beautiful Swan is there beside us, doing her best to take out as many goons as possible.
I’m so thankful to get her back that I let the base commander go. She’s there. Vibrant at my side and I can’t help myself after mouthing a stupid platitude about her being back, I pull her close and hold her tight, determined more than ever that she’s not going to be anywhere else.
Then... we wait for the rain to stop. She’s here now, tucked under my wing, her head resting on my shoulder, her arms around me.
Once we get home, get out of uniform, I’m going to kiss her. And never again will I let her go on a mission without me by her side.
From the way she’s snuggled herself against me, I don’t think she’ll mind either the kiss or me by her side.