Rain after the Storm by gatchamarie
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This is my very first Gatch related fic that I have written!  English not being my first language, and usually being used to write in my own language and in Italian, this had been a challenge in itself for me, but it also had been a very enjoyable and satisfying thing to do at the same time!  I've always wished for a sequel to the Gatch F series so this is what I have dealt with in this story!  I wish to say a big thank you to Transmute Jun for her excellent beta-ing and patience ... I wouldn't have managed to do this without her!  All the usual disclaimers apply.

A confused, shattered Owl swung open his eyes to the shocking environment that surrounded him. He had not woken up after a good night's sleep ... far from that! He had actually been awakened by the unbearable and piercing pain that a broken rib might have caused!

The air was dense and red hot. It was a more than familiar sensation ... one that he had not felt for some time until then.

"The Gatchaspartan!" he uttered in a low voice, "I cannot believe it! We're in the Gatchaspartan!"

His awe increased as his eyes swept along the deck's floor, his sight encountering the motionless figures of his Teammates resting here and there.

He tried to figure out what had happened from his last memory onwards ... his last memory of his body being tossed ruthlessly by Sosai Z's brainwaves' power and, afterwards, succumbing helplessly to it. But his mind was blank and all he could do was try to focus on what was happening at the moment, though he did not really understand the situation he was in.

The energy around him was immense and it was more difficult for him to react against such force. Working his way painfully against gravity and heat, he dragged his aching body to the control panel which was not so far from where he was lying. He instantly figured out that they were in the Firebird mode, although how and why he could not sum up as he was sure that the Gatchaspartan was not able to transmute into, or support, such a mode, as far as he knew. Finally making it to his target he struggled to pull himself up by holding against it. He took a quick view at the controls and monitors that were functioning autonomously and immediately became aware with astonishment that the autopilot of the Gatchaspartan had somehow also been activated.

The already tired out Owl tried to strain his brain in the sole attempt of associating and trying to picture the events that could have brought him and his Teammates to this point in time. This was too much for poor Ryu and his weary mind and body were giving in again to the stress level and to the powerful forcefield that surrounded him. He started to feel faint and his sight became blurred. But this did not prevent him from gaining a moment of alertness at the scene captured in front of him that dragged him back to reality. Watching his beloved planet Earth coming closer and closer he realized with horror that they were approaching its atmosphere at a huge speed. A sheer sense of panic played havoc on Ryu's emotions.

"Ken ... guys!" he shouted with a hoarse voice as his eyes widened with sudden realization.

No one answered. The huge man started pushing all the buttons and pulling at all the levers in order to take control of the aircraft, but all of his effort was in vain. The Gatchaspartan ... the aircraft that he had once controlled as a part of his own body, was now turning its back to him! They were heading straight into the Earth's atmosphere at an astoundingly high speed and nothing could save them from the impact! With this thought in mind, Ryu's useless attempts to take command of the situation came to a halt and he could do nothing more but stare out into space and wait for their approaching doom. In some way they had escaped from Sosai Z's Tower only to disintegrate on their way back home! Ryu felt helpless and began to surrender to another state of unconsciousness. Before collapsing, his last vision was of some kind of sphere that opened straight ahead in front of his eyes with lots of stars concentrated in it. Surely, it was an illusion, and with this thought he let his heavy body fall back to the ground with a huge thud as he lost his senses.

***

Back at the ISO Space Centre, Chief Engineer Kamo was urgently requested to go back in from the rooftop where he had stood for some moments with a UN liaison after Sosai Z's defeat while scanning the sky as if he were expecting to see the Science Ninja Team return to him and to safety. The operators had been overjoyed to belatedly capture an object on their radars escaping from the huge explosion of Sosai Z's Tower and heading towards the Earth. They were sure that the Science Ninja Team had once again won their battle and managed to escape just in time. But their joy withered away as soon as the object disappeared from their monitors as it hit the Earth's atmosphere. Not another signal was captured on the radars and all the efforts to communicate with the Team were being unsuccessful.

Kamo's face whitened again and his chest tightened to the idea of having lost those five, young heroes whom he loved as his own kids.

"No! There must be one way or another to know what happened to them! Keep on trying to gain contact and keep a narrow eye on any signal that you can capture!" ordered Kamo, shouting these words out as his hands closed into tight fists. "They cannot be dead, I'm sure!" .

Then, as if he wanted to reassure himself and remain calm he said to himself, "They cannot be dead ... God no!"

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