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Gatchaman Episode 97 – Leona 3, the Spaceship With No Tomorrow

 

Here, at the UN Space Shuttle Launch Base, the third Leona Shuttle Project is underway. We see the shuttle waiting to launch into space, and two happy astronauts, ready for their journey.

 

The two-man shuttle, Leona 3, is just about to be launched on a mission to explore the mysteries of a galactic nebula. And as the astronauts move toward the shuttle (in their cool, futuristic Leona 3 car) there are some familiar spectators.

 

“Dig those shuttle pilots!” Ken says in an admiring fashion. “Man, I sure wish I could fly one of those babies.”

 

“Yeah, me too, Bro!” Jinpei agrees. “They shoot up to the stars and they’re in outer space! Those guys are outta sight!”

“And they’re all so young, like us!” Jun gushes. “I wish I could meet them just once and hear them talk about space flight.”

 

“Well, I’m sure you could ask Dr. Nambu to arrange it.” Ryu says.

 

“Yeah, sure.” Joe puts a damper on things. “If they get back to Earth safely.”

“What’s with that, Joe?” Ryu asks angrily. “Are you trying to jinx them, or something?”

“Naw, man.” Joe tries to explain. “I’m just saying, they have a real dangerous job ahead, that’s all.” No, no foreshadowing here. Nuh uh. Just ignore the title of the episode as well.

 

“Joe’s right!” Ken agrees. “On their mission, they can’t afford to be even a little bit off. It’s all about precision.”

 

Now we cut to a helicopter, turned on and ready to fly. It’s parked outside of a large mansion. A man with a pointy nose stands outside the mansion and checks his watch. Another man with a blonde beard comes out of the mansion. He looks like a Viking in an old-fashioned suit.

“You must hurry, Sir!” Pointy-Nose Man urges the Viking Suit.

 

“Right.” Viking Suit replies, moving toward the helicopter. Both men get in. But as the helicopter takes off, the wind its blades generate push away some leaves, and we can see that there are dead bodies concealed within them.

Cut from BOTP:

 

“Meanwhile, in the Space Shuttle Control Center located underneath the base, there are radar screens, simulators, television monitors, oscillographs, and a variety of other instruments.” the narrator informs us. “All controlled by thousands of state of the art computers.”

“Crew, you are clear to enter the elevator.” a man at the Control Center tells the astronauts. “T minus 7 to launch!” Assistants put helmets on the astronauts. Viking Suit man is watching this on a television screen. Dr. Nambu is with him.

“I pray for your success!” Viking Suit says, stealing Dr. Nambu’s line. I guess you can do that when you outrank somebody.

 

The astronauts salute and board the Space Shuttle.

“Pilots, so young…” Dr. Nambu thinks to himself. “No different from Ken or Joe. I want to ensure that their first launch is a success. No matter what.”

“T minus 10 seconds!” calls a voice over a loudspeaker. Everyone watches as he counts down to zero.

 

 

Inexplicably, the man who counted down starts counting up once the rocket launches. Eventually he announces that they have passed the thirty second mark. I guess these state of the art computers can’t keep track of time?

“It looks like we’re off to a promising start!” says Viking Suit.

“Shall I take you back to your home, Sir?” Pointy-Nose Man asks.

“Dr. Nambu, we will be passing the ISO Headquarters on the way back. I’d be happy to offer you a lift.” Viking Suit says casually.

“Thank you, Mr. President, but I’m afraid I have to remain here.” Nambu replies. Ooh, Viking Suit is the President! President of what?

“Oh, don’t worry.” the President assures Nambu. “You can just leave the rest to the computers and it will be fine. Actually, I was thinking of having a drink to celebrate, and I insist you join me.”

“Yes, if you insist, Mr. President.” Nambu doesn’t look too excited about this whole thing, though. Ah, inter-office politics! It seems even the ISO isn’t immune…

 

Outside, the ninjas are still present.

“I’m kind of let down now that the shuttle’s taken off.” Jinpei says.

 

“But I’m glad that there wasn’t any trouble.” Jun adds.

“Well, shall we all get a move-on, guys?” Ken asks. “Dr. Nambu probably still has some work to do here, so we can go on ahead and leave.”

“That’s fine with me, ‘cause I’m starving!” Jinpei cheers. “Let’s hit it!”

“10-4!” Ryu runs after him happily.

Even as they Science Ninja Team is leaving, Dr. Nambu gets into the helicopter with the President. As the helicopter takes off, Pointy-Nose Man smirks and lights a cigarette.

And at that very moment, a secretary walks into the President’s office. She screams as a body falls out from behind the curtain. It is the President!

Elsewhere, Jinpei is licking his plate clean. Yep, literally.

 

“Delicious!” he exclaims. “I don’t think I could eat another bite! I’m stuffed!”

“Speak for yourself, kid!” Ryu disagrees.

 

“Eat any more and you’ll probably explode.” Jun appears disgusted with the two of them.

 

“Doc Nambu sure is late.” Ken worries. “He should have gotten back by now. I wonder what’s up.”

“It’s already been over two hours since we got back from the launch.” Jun notes.

 

“He probably stopped for some ice cream or something on the way back!” Jinpei jokes.

“I can probably eat some myself!” Ryu laughs.

“Can it!” Joe snaps. “It’s no time for joking around!”

 

Ryu and Jinpei are so scared by this outburst that they throw their arms around each other in fear.

 

“Don’t hurt us!” Ryu whimpers.

“Man, I sure do hope nothing’s happened to him.” Ken says quietly.

 

“It’s just not like him not to contact us.” Joe says, sitting down.

 

Suddenly, the TV behind them turns on.

“Hey, it’s Director Anderson!” Ken says.

 

“Gatchaman, have you heard from Dr. Nambu since the launch?” Director Anderson asks. Wow, we sure have come a long way from the days where Anderson wasn’t even allowed to know who the Team were! Now he’s talking to Ken in civvies!

“No, not a word!” Ken replies.

 

“Then, I have a bad feeling that something terrible has happened to him.” Anderson admits.

 

“Like what?” Ken gasps.

 

“We have just discovered that three hours ago, before the shuttle launch, the President’s residence was broken into, and the President was assassinated. Everybody is devastated.” the Director explains.

“Wait, but the President was there at the shuttle launch!” Jun recalls. “We all saw him, Director!”

 

“I get it!” says the ever-intuitive Gatchaman. “Then that must have been a fake President!”

“Correct.” agrees Anderson. “Which leads us to believe that Dr. Nambu has been abducted by the imposter!” Everyone gasps at this revelation.

“What did you say?” Ken asks.

“Are you sure about that?” Jinpei adds.

“The fact that we’ve had no contact from him seems to confirm this.” Anderson says sadly.

“Right.” Ken agrees. “Okay, Team, let’s start a search!”

 

“Roger!”

And now the God Phoenix is flying through the sky, looking for Dr. Nambu. But… where? They begin their search at the launching site.

 

“I’m sure I saw him leave!” a man in a suit tells Ken. “I watched Dr. Nambu fly off with the President in his helicopter form that very spot! And before I knew it, they took off, headed in that direction!”

 

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“Well, Big Bro, gotta be Galactor!” Jinpei deduces.

 

“That’s right, Jinpei.” Ken agrees. “And obviously they set up a trap to abduct Dr. Nambu. The shuttle launch was their cover!”

“I guess we know who disguised himself as the President.” Jun huffs.

 

“Berg Katse, without a doubt.” Joe says, in case you hadn’t figured it out for yourself.

 

“This is an emergency!” the loudspeaker voice breaks into the conversation. “Shortly after separating from its first stage rocket, a malfunction of unknown origin has occurred! The Leona 3 is veering wildly off course! Officials in charge of all branches are to report to the Control Center immediately!” The man in the suit gasps in shock.

“I’m sorry.” he says to Gatchaman. “As you have just heard, there is an emergency situation. Excuse me.” He runs off.

And just then, Ken gets a call on his bracelet.

“This is Gatchaman. What’s up, Ryu?”

 

“I’ve got an emergency message from Director Anderson.” Ryu replies. The Team boards the God Phoenix.

“I guess it’s time for us to spring into action!” Jinpei says.

“Listen carefully. Something terrible has just happened.” Anderson informs the Team. “Shortly after the Leona 3 left the Earth’s atmosphere and separated from its first stage rocket, it suddenly veered wildly off course! Both the shuttle crew and the people down in the Control Center are doing everything they can! But nothing seems to be helping the situation.”

No one can believe it.

 

“All readings conclude that the orbital correction system isn’t working at all.” the Director says.

“But Director, if they’ve left the atmosphere, there’s nothing we could do to help either.” Joe points out.

 

“The people who made the shuttle’s control system belong to Dr. Nambu’s group.” Anderson replies. “If he were here, he might be able to find a way to fix this situation. But if we don’t do something, the Leona 3 is going to take a course that will bring it back to Earth, and crash in a ball of fire!”

Ken is horrified!

 

“According to the Space Station’s calculations, if the Leona 3 crashes to Earth, it will come down near the Shark Peninsula in the country of Sainan, approximately one hour from now.” the Director goes on. “Even with an emergency evac, we predict two million casualties, and heavy damage in a four kilometer area surrounding the crash site. Men, our only hope to avert disaster is to find Dr. Nambu.” I guess Jun gets to sit out of this mission. Doh2

“Where exactly are we supposed to look?” Ryu asks. “I mean, really! Do we have any clues to go on, or anything?”

 

“We couldn’t have asked for worse timing! Damn Galactor!” Joe shouts, punching his fist into his hand.

 

“Typical Katse!” Ken says angrily. “Always resorts to the lowest kinds of tricks!”

 

And sure enough, in some other location, we see the ‘President’ rip off his clothes, only to reveal a smirking Katse underneath.

“How do you like that, Captain?” Katse asks the CotW in front of him. “My plan went perfect this time, don’t you think?”

 

Oh, look, it’s the Fly!

 

“Sire, our guidance signal will be causing Leona 3 to crash back down to Earth exactly as we planned!” the Fly answers. He’s speaking in a very bad snooty French accent.

“Very well.” Katse likes this news. “By the way, Captain, where is Nambu?”

“Sire, he is locked up in the Generator Room!” the Fly replies, sounding a heck of a lot like Inspector Clouseau. “Voila!”

 

A monitor turns on, revealing that Nambu is tied to a chair in the middle of a room, on top of what looks like a large fan, or turbine. But unbeknownst to Galactor, the Doctor is fiddling with his watch…

 

But the goons watching him have noticed.

 

“That silly little watch signal trick isn’t going to do him any good!” Clouseau Fly smirks. “It looks like he doesn’t realize we’re sending out a jamming frequency!”

 

“Yeah, well, why don’t you just shut it off?” Katse suggests.

“What? What do you mean?” Clouseau Fly is astounded. “If we do that, won’t Gatchaman and the others find out where Dr. Nambu is?”

“Yeah. We’ll draw Gatchaman and the others here, and finish them off all at once.” Katse says. “It’ll be much easier that way.”

 

“I should have known you’d think of something clever like that!” Clouseau Fly is impressed. “Very sneaky! Hey, shut off the signal!”

“Sire!” a goon shuts it off.

So now Jun picks up Dr. Nambu’s distress call.

 

“Ken, I’ve got a signal from Dr. Nambu!” she announces.

“Huh?” everyone gasps.

“Really?” Ryu asks.

 

“Jun, see if you can triangulate the Doc’s location.” Ken orders.

“Just a minute.” Jun says.

 

“He’s not very far from here!” she reports. “Ryu, I need you to bring us about to ten o’clock!”

“All right!”

 

“Hey, isn’t this the Shark Peninsula?” Ryu asks.

“Yeah, it makes perfect sense now!” Ken says. “It has the world’s biggest nuclear power plant!”

 

“And the Doctor’s homing signal is coming from somewhere inside it, too!” Jun adds.

“This is strange. It’s the same area the Leona 3 is predicted to crash!” Ken reminds us, in case you have forgotten.

 

“Yeah, not a coincidence. It’s a trap.” Joe says.

 

“Even if it is a trap, we have to find the Doctor fast and get him to do something to help the Leona 3.” Ken says. “All right, Ryu, take us down!”

 

And so the God Phoenix lands at the nuclear power plant. Clearly Ken and Jun have lost part of their right legs due to the intense radiation in the area.

 

Everyone hops over the barbed wire fence easily… except Ryu, who gets stuck. Eventually, he falls off and joins the rest of the Team. Uh… shouldn’t he be staying with the God Phoenix?

“That’s right! Closer…” Katse laughs, as he watches them on his monitors. “Closer! Yes, you’re playing right into my hands!”

 

Commercial break! Solid Gold Ken looks like he’s melting from the radiation.

When we return, Ken is placing a strange device inside of his bracelet.

“We’ll split up and trace the signal the Doctor is transmitting.” he orders. “Everyone catch that?”

 

So everyone splits up. Jun decides to tag along after Ken.

 

They quickly hide when they hear something, and Ken gets out his boomerang… but it turns out to be Jinpei and Ryu.

 

“Quietly…” Ryu tells Jinpei.

“Oof!” Jinpei falls down.

“Get up! What are you doing?” Ryu hisses. “Quiet!” The two run off as Ken and Jun look on, amused.

 

But they’re so amused, they don’t see the security camera following them.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the building, Joe breaks through a door and comes in ready for action!

 

But he is surprised to see that the action has already taken place.

 

Cut from BOTP:

 

Joe doesn’t notice the cameras following him either. But Katse and Clouseau Fly are watching.

 

“Ugh, they make me sick!” Clouseau Fly declares. “Our entire force will crush those Bird People and destroy them!”

“Wait!” Katse says. “I understand how you feel, but if we’re going to kill them, let’s draw them in closer and kill them all in one shot! Is the Leona 3 still on course?”

“Yes it is!” reports a goon.

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“Another 45 minutes and the Science Ninja Team will be dead.” Katse says smugly.

 

But those Science Ninjas are so good! They have all found Dr. Nambu at the same time!

 

“You all right?” Ken asks.

 

“I’m so sorry, everyone.” Nambu says.

 

“We’re here to save you.” Jun tells him. Ken cuts the Doctor’s bonds with his boomerang,

“Come on, we’ve got to get out of here!” Ken says. But of course, it is at that moment that the doors shut.

 

“The doors!” Ken cries.

“I got it!” Ryu throws himself underneath a closing door.

 

“Ryu!” Ken calls. The Owl is clearly struggling.

“Go! Hurry up and get the Doctor out of here!” Ryu shouts.

 

“Hurry! Hurry!” Ryu urges, but just then the door snaps shut, throwing him backward.

 

“Couldn’t you have held it for another 5 seconds?” Joe berates him.

 

“Sorry… but even my strength has its limits.” Ryu admits.

“This is no time for excuses, you fat lout! Get it?” Joe rants.

“Stop it, Joe!” Ken orders. “Come on, it’s no use blaming him!”

 

“Exactly.” Nambu agrees. “Now, we have to think of another way to escape from this place.”

But before he can, everyone hears Katse’s voice above them.

“That’s impossible!” Katse laughs, standing at an opening waaaaay up at the top of the room. “Gatchaman, this is the end. You might as well consider yourself trapped in a coffin! In 30 more minutes, Leona 3 will turn into a ball of fire, and come crashing down, right here!”

 

“What? What about Leona 3?” Nambu apparently hasn’t been keeping up with the news during his incarceration.

“That’s right. The Leona 3 has gone off course, and is going to crash in this area.” Ken explains.

 

“But why?” Nambu asks.

“Because within this nuclear power plant there’s a uranium storage facility!” Jun says.

 

“Katse has orchestrated this chain of events to cause a nuclear explosion.” Joe adds.

 

“How could you do this?” Nambu asks Katse angrily. “You’ll not only kill us, but decimate all of Sainon in the blink of an eye!”

“It doesn’t matter what you have to say.” Katse smirks. “You’re still birds trapped in my little cage.”

 

“We haven’t given up yet, you stinking, dirty rat!” Ken shouts. “Bird run!”

 

But Ken’s boomerang falls far short of what it needs to hit Katse, who simply mocks this attempt.

 

Ken’s not happy to hear Katse’s laughter.

 

“Good, good, looks like they’re finally giving up their useless struggle.” Katse says. “You can do whatever you want to do to them, now.”

“With pleasure, Sire!” replies Clouseau Fly.

 

He pulls a lever, and the generator starts to turn, creating powerful winds.

 

“Now, I freeze them in place!” Clouseau Fly says, pulling the lever again. Electricity crackles around the generator. Ken finds it difficult to withstand.

 

Ryu’s not doing much better.

 

“Don’t deliberately touch them!” Clouseau Fly orders his men. “I’m going to have a good time killing them myself!”

 

He looks through his sights…

 

“I’ll start with Nambu.” he decides.

But something shakes, and he can’t shoot. Why, the top of the building is breaking open! Katse’s Devilstar pod emerges.

 

“Hey, what was that just now?” Clouseau Fly asks a nearby goon.

“It was Katse. He made his escape in the Devilstar.” the goon replies.

“He what? Why didn’t you tell me that sooner?” Clouseau Fly rants. “We’ve been left behind! That dirty bastard!” He breaks his gun in his rage.

The goons look on, stunned. Clearly Clouseau Fly didn’t read the ‘every man for himself’ part of the CotW contract.

 

“Don’t just stand there staring! Don’t you see what this means?” Clouseau Fly shouts. “In 20 minutes a space shuttle is going to fall on our heads! And when it does, the uranium storehouse will explode! Boom!”

 

The goons finally get it now, and they run off in a panic.

“Wait for me, you nincompoops!” Clouseau Fly calls.

And while all this has been going on, we can see that there has been a small explosion down at the bottom of the chamber. The turbine has stopped.

“Okay, good!” Ken says. “It’s Jun’s turn next!”

 

“Gotcha!” Jun says, throwing her yo-yo at the door.

 

She sends out the electric charge…

 

After the explosion, we can see that the door is damaged, but not broken through.

“No good. That door’s construction is too strong for our charges” Ken says. “We need something stronger!” Frankly, I think he’s being a bit of a pessimist. The door was damaged; Jun could try again.

 

No one has any suggestions to offer.

 

“I’m sorry, this all happened because I was careless!” Nambu sinks to his knees. “If only I had just been a little more cautious! I can’t believe I let this happen.”

No one can believe what they’re hearing.

 

But Joe doesn’t give up! He knocks on the walls, finding a hollow spot and turning on his blowtorch.

“Uh, that’s not where the lock is, Joe.” Ryu says.

 

“Quiet! Just shut up and watch!” Joe snaps. “Leave everything to me!”

“Jeez! What’s with the attitude? I was only trying to be nice and help out!” Ryu says.

 

Meanwhile, Joe’s blowtorch has made a small circle in the wall. Joe punches it.

 

He reaches inside.

 

He’s attempting to fiddle with the mechanism behind the wall.

“Damn it!” he shouts. “Just as I thought! They cut the power to the automatic doors.”

 

“What’s wrong?” Ken asks. “It’s not going to work?”

“I don’t know, but I’m going to give it a shot.” Joe says, moving his blowtorch and starting again.

“See, Joe? Even you can’t do anything.” Ryu says. Well, so much for trying to be helpful!

 

Joe opens up a panel in the floor and pulls at a thick cable.

“Ken, I need your boomerang!” he says.

“Be extra careful. That has high voltage running through it from the power generator.” Ken says.

 

“Bird Run!”

 

Joe now has two sparking cables in his hands.

 

He struggles and falls down.

“Come on, Joe!” Ken encourages him.

 

Joe manages to shove a cable inside to give power to the automatic door.

 

“Get down!” he shouts.

 

__________________
 

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There is a small explosion, and sure enough, the door has opened, just enough.

“Good work! The electric shock opened it!” Ken says. “Come on! Let’s go!”

 

“Roger!”

Only Joe is left behind, still exhausted from his fight with the electric cables.

“Shake it off, Joe.” Ken says. “Come on!”

 

And he does, Joe gets up and follows everyone out.

Even as the Science Ninja Team (and Dr. Nambu) are exiting the building, the goons and Clouseau Fly are desperately all trying to see how many of them can fit into a helicopter.

 

Why does this remind me of those frat stunts from the 60s and 70s where they tried to fit a bunch of guys in a phone booth?

Needless to say, the helicopter is overloaded, and it crashes after only a couple hundred feet. The resulting explosion makes it clear that no one has survived. You can bet your booty that this scene didn’t make it into BOTP, no matter how funny it is.

Naturally the God Phoenix is able to take off without a problem.

“Doctor, hurry and contact the Space Shuttle’s Mission Control.” Ken says. “Tell them how to change the Leona 3’s course! You’ve got to hurry!”

 

“It’s just no good, Ken.” Nambu says quietly. “There’s nothing we can possibly do now.”

Jinpei and Jun can’t believe what they’re hearing.

 

“Doctor, if we could destroy the signal device Galactor is using to guide the shuttle, then wouldn’t we be able to alter its trajectory?” Joe asks. Wow, Joe’s coming up with all of the answers today!

 

“We can’t.” Nambu says. “They must have destroyed the shuttle’s orbital correctional system, and then altered its trajectory. It will continue along its programmed course, with no chance of alteration.”

“So are we just going to sit here and watch those guys crash and burn?” Ken is astounded.

 

Nambu doesn’t have an answer.

 

Just then, Director Anderson appears on the communications monitor.

“Dr. Nambu, I’m glad you’re safe!” Anderson says. “But is it true that there’s no way for us to control the Space Shuttle?”

“I’m afraid so.” Nambu bows his head.

“Then the time has come for the ISO to make a final decision.” the Director says sadly.

“We’re all out of options.” Nambu agrees. “At this point, our only choice is to destroy the Leona 3 to save the people on the ground.”

“It’s in your hands.” Anderson says, before signing off.

 

“But Doctor, what about those two brave astronauts piloting the ship?” Ken wants to know. “Are we just going to sit here and watch those two young men die right in front of our eyes? “

 

“Ryu, bring our altitude to 6,000.” Nambu orders, ignoring Ken.

“Doctor!” Ken screams.

 

“Ryu, that’s an order!” Nambu shouts, and so Ryu obeys.

“Whatever you say, Doc.”

“Listen, Jun, now set our radio frequency to MXOZ.” Nambu tells her. “And put me in contact with Leona’s pilots!”

“Doctor, we’re at 6,000 meters!” Ryu announces.

Ken can’t believe what’s happening under his nose.

 

“Good, maintain course and standby!” Nambu says.

“Communications ready.” Jun reports.

“Right.” Nambu says, turning on a microphone. “God Phoenix to Leona 3. Leona 3, do you read me? Leona 3, please respond!”

 

And on the Leona 3, the astronauts are sitting there, looking like Pillsbury Dough Boys… with crucifixes.

 

“Leona 3, please respond! Come in, Leona 3!” The astronauts hear Dr. Nambu’s call, but do not answer it.

“This is the God Phoenix! Do you…” but Nambu’s transmission is cut off by the astronauts. They shake hands.

“The astronauts onboard the Leona 3 had tried everything they could to either correct their course, or escape.” the narrator tells us. “But realizing it was useless, now prepared themselves for death.”

“No answer.” Nambu says. “They may already be dead inside the Space Shuttle.”

 

Ken tears up at this thought.

 

“Look, Doctor!” Jun cries. “The Leona 3 has penetrated the atmosphere!”

 

“Only three minutes until they crash into the nuclear power plant!” Nambu exclaims. “Ken, destroy the Leona 3 with a Super Bird Missile!”

“I can’t do it!” Ken buries his head on his console. “I just can’t! No!”

“Listen, Ken, I understand perfectly how you feel about this.” Nambu says, “But there are many innocent lives at stake. If those astronauts have to die, let it be with honor!”

 

“I can’t do it!” Ken thinks. “Those astronauts!”

 

IMHO, this is a bit overdone on Ken’s part. I understand he doesn’t like this and all, but why is he so emotional? It’s not like innocent people haven’t died as a result of Galactor’s actions before. You could say that he feels more because these are pilots, and he wants to be like them, but I suspect this is more to highlight the difference between the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’. Katse will sacrifice his men without a second thought (and indeed, carelessly abandoned them in this very episode) but for Gatchaman, this is a heart-breaking course of action, that he only takes when no other option is available.

“They might still be alive!” Ken thinks. “What if they… what if they’re just pretending they’re dead? Just to make it easier for us on Earth?”

“Up ahead is a huge ball of fire!” Ryu shouts.

 

“That’s it! That’s the Leona 3!” Nambu cries.

“One more minute till impact!” Jun calls.

 

“Big Bro…” Jinpei moans.

“Do it!” Joe shouts. Frankly, I’m wondering why Joe doesn’t just ‘do it’ himself.

 

“Come on!” Ryu snaps.

 

“I just can’t do this to them…” Ken thinks to himself.

 

In his mind, he sees an image of Katse laughing, superimposed over the burning Leona 3.

 

“Ken, you have to do it now!” Nambu screams. But Joe is already out of his seat.

 

“I’ll do it! Damn you, Katse, for forcing me to push this button!” Joe shouts.

 

“If you’re going to blame someone, blame Galactor!” Joe says.

 

But just before he can push the button…

 

Ken slams his fists on the red button. The Super Bird Missile is fired, and the Leona 3 is destroyed in the air, above the Shark Peninsula. Nambu and Joe can’t believe what just happened.

 

Neither can Jun or Jinpei!

 

Ryu tears up.

 

Funereal organ music plays, and we see a rain of debris falling on the site of the nuclear plants. Amongst the debris, a crucifix falls to the ground.

“And so, the situation was resolved without millions of people dying in a nuclear explosion.” the narrator explains, as the happy shupa trumpet music takes over. “All thanks to the noble sacrifice of two brave astronauts.”

The Science Ninja Team remembers those astronauts, as they fly off into the sunset.

 

The grief that the Science Ninja Team felt was deep, but don’t lose heart, Gatchaman! Turn that grief against Galactor!

 

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BOTP Episode 47 – Rockets Out of Control

“Here at Center Neptune, deep beneath the ocean’s surface, we of G-Force are on constant guard against alien invaders from outer space.” Zark tells us. Since when did Zark become a member of G-Force? Did I miss an episode? Please tell me it isn’t true!!!!

As I am terrified by the potential of such a horrifying possibility, Zark arrives in his oil-changing room, via the usual elevation tube.

 

“But even a robot like me needs a breather now and then.” Zark says. “And today, I’ve been given time off to watch an historic space shot.”

Zark looks rather ‘egg-shaped’ today, as opposed to his usual ‘capsule shape’.

 

“We’re sending two astronauts to explore sub-planet Zora as a refueling and waystation in our space shuttle program.” Zark informs us. I listened to this line 5 or 6 times, and it still doesn’t make grammatical sense to me.

“So I’m just going to relax in front of my monitor and watch the blast off, and all the excitement!” Zark tells us.

 

1-Rover-1 suddenly appears (he was nowhere in sight before) and yaps so loudly that his tongue sticks out, and we see sound waves emanating from his mouth.

 

“Hi, 1-Rover-1! Do you want to watch the launching too?” Zark asks.

Rover yaps again.

“Oh, you’re hungry!” Zark understands now.

Rover yaps more urgently.

“Well, here’s a nice juicy wrench to gnaw on until dinnertime!” Zark says.

I’m hoping that Rover is going to bite off Zark’s hand.

 

But no such luck. Rover walks away with the wrench in his mouth, and Zark’s hand is still intact.

“I hope he doesn’t bite off more than he can chew!” Zark says.

One of Zark’s monitors starts making those bizarre, meaningless patterns that Zark pretends he can read.

“I think the big moment is almost here!” Zark exclaims happily. And now we see images of a shuttle launch.

“Yes, there’s the launching site!” Zark voices over. “Everything’s ready! The rocket ship is in position, and those are the two astronauts ready to board. The taxi will take them to the boarding area!”

Sure enough, we see the astronauts riding in the ‘taxi’, past some familiar spectators.

“The launch is about to begin!” Zark whispers, and a hush of anticipation falls over the audience. Well, not exactly. I’m just pausing from typing because I’m rolling my eyes.

“It’s kind of interesting watching someone in our own line of work.” Mark says.

“Field is getting… over-crowded!” Keyop burbles.

“I know just how they’re feeling.” Princess says. “All their years of training, leading up to this one big moment.”

“I guess they’ve got a pretty dangerous job.” Tiny says.

“It’s no tougher than the jobs they hand us.” Jason notes.

“Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean they’re gonna snap!” Tiny retorts.

“Don’t get so uptight!” Jason says. “They get all the glamour and glory.”

“The point is, Jason, we’re all on the same team.” Mark tries his best to smooth everything over. “We just have different assignments.”

Now we cut to a helicopter waiting outside a mansion. A pointy-nosed man is waiting outside and checking his watch. A man who looks like a Viking in an old fashioned suit exits the building.

“You’re a little late, Sir.” Pointy-Nose Man says. Both men get into the helicopter and take off. Nothing untoward happens, and nothing seems amiss, other than Viking Suit being ‘a little late’.

“This is the underground Spaceship Control Center.” Zark voices over to explain what we are now seeing. “Here are all the technicians and equipment for tracking the flight of the Loralei 3. You can see the radar screens, and all the rest of the computerized equipment, ready for action.”

“Clear the area!” calls a man, as he helps the astronauts put on their helmets.

And now we see a room where Viking Suit is watching the launch on a television, surrounded by other important-looking men, including Chief Anderson.

“Success, and a safe return!” Viking Suit wishes the astronauts. The astronauts salute to him.

“They’re so young.” Chief Anderson thinks. “They’re not even aware of the dangers before them. I wonder how I’d feel in their place.”

“Ten seconds to blastoff!” calls an announcer, who sounds like Zark plugging his nose. The announcer counts down to zero. Then he starts counting up.

“Thirty seconds after liftoff and the spaceship is on course!” announces nasal Zark.

“Well, it looks like a successful space launch.” says Viking Suit.

“We can all be proud of our team.” agrees Pointy-Nose Man.

“Anderson, my helicopter’s close by.” Viking Suit points out. “Why don’t you let me drop you off at your security base?”

“Thank you, Mr. Secretary, but I think I should stay here.” Anderson politely declines. So, Viking Suit is only a ‘Secretary’, yet he still seems to be the ‘big man’ in the room. Interesting… I guess in BOTP, we already know that Kane is the President.

“Oh, I’m sure you can be spared, Anderson.” the Secretary. “We see so little of each other! We ought to drink a toast.”

“Thank you, Mr. Secretary.” Anderson says, and then follows him out of the room. I guess the Chief agreed to go with him?

Outside, Keyop is… you guessed it… burbling.

“Another space shot… old news!” he appears to be as bored with his situation as I am of hearing his weird noises.

“Well, I’m happy there was no problem.” Princess says.

“It was a smooth operation.” Mark agrees. “Those astronauts are on their own now… and so are we. What shall we do?”

“Go to Ready Room!” burbles Keyop. “Make music!”

“And eat Spaceburgers!” Tiny adds. Everyone runs off.

We see Anderson and the Secretary get into the helicopter and fly off. Pointy-Nose Man smirks nastily and lights a cigarette.

“There’s something strange about Secretary Claiborne’s assistant.” Zark voices over. “I think I’ll check with the Secretary’s office and enquire about him.”

And in the Secretary’s office, a secretary (no, not Viking Suit, but a girl who is his administrative assistant) opens a curtain and… oh horror! A body falls out! Eek2 Oh, I’m traumatized by the horror!

“Secretary Claiborne has just been attacked and seriously injured by unknown assailants.” Zark is speaking calmly, but his antennae are popping.

 

And here I was worried that the Secretary was dead… oh, thank heavens he was just ‘seriously injured’!

“That was an imposter, pretending to be Claiborne, who got on the helicopter with Chief Anderson.” Zark explains. “The Chief is obviously in great danger! I must alert G-Force at once!”

Commercial break!

When we return, G-Force doesn’t look ‘on alert’. They look like they’re just hanging out in the Ready Room.

 

 

“That’s my fifth Spaceburger.” Tiny notes, as he reaches for another one. “When we’re between jobs like this, I get a nervous appetite!”

 

“It’s the music!” Jason explains, as he practices flopping his wrist around. “It’s got a fast beat! If Princess and Keyop played slower, you’d eat slower!”

 

“Well, the music hasn’t speeded up your game any, Jason.” a bent-over Mark notes. “I need some competition.” Ooh, limp-wristed Jason feels the burn from constipated Mark!

“Okay, dig this!” Keyop says, playing a drum solo.

 

Poor Mark doesn’t know what to do. Either that, or his constipation just became diarrhea.

 

And… you guessed it. He hits a wild shot and the ball flies over to Tiny, knocking the Spaceburger out of his hand.

 

Sorry… must take laughing break… this animation…. pound

Okay, I’ve recovered now. Whew!

“Who won?” Keyop burbles, as his solo comes to an end.

“I lost.” Tiny moans.

“Attention G-Force!” Zark breaks in. “I have a double red alert! I’m worried about Chief Anderson. He’s disappeared! And I suspect foul play. Three hours ago, a full hour before the blastoff, the real Secretary Claiborne was attacked in his office and left unconscious. An office assistant discovered him just a short while ago.”

Jason is so upset by this news that his entire face has leeched of color… and personality!

 

Sorry… another laughing break…. can’t… type…

Keyop doesn’t look too happy with his animation either.

 

“He’s been hospitalized, and will recover,” Zark assures anyone who’s still thinking about the Secretary and not the horrible animation, “but we’ve been unable to learn anything from him yet! Now Chief Anderson has disappeared!” Yeah, we got that, Zark. You already mentioned it before.

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“I don’t understand!” exclaims pointy-bra Princess. “Secretary Claiborne was present at the launching!”

“Obviously he was a phony. Right Zark?” Mark dumbs down his deduction by looking to the egg-shaped robot for confirmation.

 

“Right! And now the phony Claiborne has kidnapped Chief Anderson!” Zark says. What is this, the third time we’ve heard this news inside a minute?

“And I don’t need to tell you that whoever has the Chief can endanger our security!” Zark adds. “It’s up to you to find him, Team! Good luck!”

“Transmute!” Mark shouts. But instead of everyone transmuting, we see them drop through a hole in the floor instead.

 

And suddenly, everyone is flying through the trees in G-Force uniform. No, I’m not kidding.

 

 

Oh yeah, and they’re in a sniper’s targeting sights…

 

Don’t ask me what the heck they were doing here. Couldn’t they just have cut in footage of launching from Center Neptune?

And now, we see the entire Team…

Thanks to Sosai Tim for creating this great image!

 

I guess they’re ready for action… maybe they need a victory pose practice session first…

Well, finally we’re done with the badly selected insert footage, and instead we see the Phoenix flying over the ocean. Or it might be space. The background is so dark, it could be either.

“Let me summarize the gravity of our situation.” Yes, Zark wants to explain the plot one more time, and he appears on the Phoenix’s monitors, his head sparkling, so he can do so.

 

“Loralei 3 has been veered from its orbit.” Zark says. “This deviation occurred immediately after the first stage rocket was separated.” Wait… this is an entirely new situation! Why didn’t Zark say so?

“Crew members, as well as Control Center, are doing their best to bring the spaceship back into orbit!” Zark goes on. “But so far, Loralei 3 remains off course and we have been unable to rectify!”

“That’s rough, Zark.” Jason says. “But just what can we do to help those astronauts?”

“Naturally, we hope a proper correction can be made.” Zark replies. “But, in the event it can’t be, the spaceship will turn back toward Earth and transform itself into a fireball in the atmosphere as it re-enters. According to my computations, the spaceship will crash somewhere in the Eastern portion of the United States, approximately one hour from now!” So, in other words, so long New York?

“Even though we’re evacuating all persons immediately, the area within five miles of impact will be virtually destroyed!” Zark adds. “Chief Anderson created the Loralei program. Only he can help us now!”

“Where are we gonna look, Mark?” Tiny asks. “We don’t have a clue of his whereabouts. Nothing! He could be anywhere!”

“Why do we always get the impossible assignments?” Jason punches his hand angrily.

“Never mind the questions.” Mark says. “Right now, what we need are answers.” Oh, so pithy is our Commander.

Now we cut to Secretary Claiborne… who rips off his clothes to reveal Zoltar underneath (not naked Zoltar, he’s wearing his own familiar purple clothes).

“Well this time the Earthlings have a little surprise in store for them.” Zoltar smirks.

“Yes, Sir! It is your Guidance Interceptor that has turned Earth’s spaceship off its course!” replies the Fly CotW. He doesn’t sound like Inspector Clouseau, though, Instead, he sounds like Mark trying to be all pompous.

“By the way, where have you placed our illustrious prisoner?” Zoltar asks. Sheesh, you’d think he’d be on top of little details like this.

“Don’t worry, Zoltar!” answers Pompous Fly. “We have him tucked away where he can’t do any harm!” We see Anderson seated in the middle of a giant turbine. He’s playing with his watch…

“We’re getting radio signals from Chief Anderson!” Princess announces, to the astonishment of everyone else on the Phoenix.

“Beautiful!” Tiny exclaims.

“Try to pinpoint the location, Princess.” Mark tells her.

“Just a second.” Princess says, fiddling with some knobs on her console. “It’s not very far… 90 degrees left, on Grid 20.”

“Big 10!” Tiny changes the Phoenix’s course. “We’re headed for Coast Harbor.” Is that like Bar Harbor?

“I don’t like the sound of it.” Mark says. “The world’s largest atomic energy center is located there.”

“Chief Anderson’s signals are coming from that atomic energy center!” Princess says.

“And it’s the exact spot where that runaway spaceship is expected to crash!” Mark reveals. I’m not sure how he knows this, since Zark just said it was the ‘eastern portion of the United States’.

“I think Zoltar wants us to come there!” Jason muses. Now why is he bringing in Zoltar? They have no proof that Spectra is involved in any of this. Although given that they’re the villains in every single episode (save one, where we got Captain Doom instead) I’m willing to cut him some slack here.

“Maybe you’re right, Jason, but we’ve got to take that chance.” Mark agrees. “If we don’t find Anderson, that spaceship is doomed!”

“Go!” Tiny says, firing up the engines. And suddenly the ship is landing at the atomic energy center. Everyone jumps out of the Phoenix and goes to the door, after hopping over a fence (where Tiny gets temporarily stuck).

“How quickly the little birds have been caught in the net!” Zoltar smirks, watching this all on his security cameras. “Come closer little birds! Just a little closer…”

Commercial Break!

We return to… Zark pacing.

“I’ve lost contact with G-Force!” he moans. “That means they’re operating under radio silence now. By this time, they must be inside the grounds of Coast Harbor Atomic Energy Center.”

 

“That’s supposed to be our installation, but my remote sensor probes advise me that Zoltar and his men have taken the place over by force!” Ooh… I never would have guessed! Doh2

“Jason may be right.” Zark admits. Wait a minute… did I hear that correctly? This can’t be! Zark, agreeing with Jason? I must rewind!

“Jason may be right.” Zark admits (I heard it right the first time!) “G-Force could be bait for a trap!” Wait…. G-force is the bait? I thought G-Force was taking the bait? Oh, I’m so confused! Good thing I have Zark to help me figure this all out! Puke2

“I wish they’d re-establish contact with me, so I could help!” Zark moans.

We cut to Mark, who is placing some kind of chip inside of his communicator.

“We’re in the right ballpark.” the Commander says. “According to the radio signal, Anderson is nearby.” Everyone splits up and runs off. Mark and Princess run down a hallway, but hide when they hear something. Mark pulls out his boomerang… but it is only Tiny and Keyop.

“Don’t be clumsy!” Tiny admonishes, as Keyop falls down.

Mark and Princess laugh, but don’t see the security camera watching them. Now we see Jason running down a hall, also unaware of a security camera tracking his movements.

“What do you say, Zoltar?” asks Pompous Fly. “Shall we greet our friends with a volley?”

“Not so fast!” Zoltar has another idea. “If we draw them closer, we can finish them all off at once!”

And the members of G-Force all individually find Chief Anderson at once.

“Chief!” Mark exclaims.

“I’m sorry, Team.” Anderson apologizes.

“I’m glad we got here in time.” Princess says.

“Now let’s get out.” Mark says, cutting Anderson’s bonds. But the doors start closing!

“Locked in!” Mark shouts.

“There must be some escape route here.” Anderson says calmly. “If we can only find it.”

“I’m afraid you’re doomed to disappointment, Earthlings!” Zoltar calls. “There is no way out! You may as well face the fact, I’ve trapped you at last!” He’s at the top of the chamber (a loooong way up) and his voice echoes down. It’s a neat effect, actually.

“And I’ve devised a fitting end.” Zoltar adds, deciding to engage in a game of ‘Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond’. “Your own space rocket will destroy you!”

“Does he mean Loralei 3?” Anderson asks.

“Yes.” Mark confirms. “He turned it from his course, and it’s due to crash directly on this energy center.”

“No…” Anderson can’t believe it.

“A direct hit will cause tremendous explosions in the uranium storage tanks” Princess points out.

“You’re quite right, G-Force!” Zoltar interrupts; I guess he can hear them even though he’s quite far away. “I see you fully appreciate my cunning and ingenuity!”

“Commander,” Zoltar turns to Pompous Fly, “you may take over.”

“Yes, Sir!” Pompous Fly is thrilled. He walks to the wall and pulls a lever. The turbine starts spinning.

“Now I’ll just increase the voltage!” Pompous Fly says pompously. He pulls the lever again. Sure enough, electricity sparks across the turbine. The G-Force Team doesn’t like this very much.

Meanwhile, Zoltar’s Devilstar pod is escaping, crashing through the roof of the building.

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“Zoltar is flying away in the Devilstar!” Pompous Fly exclaims. “We’re being abandoned! Left here to be blown up!” Whoa… Zoltar abandoned his own men? Left them to die? Oh, the inhumanity! Wait… maybe he just went off to look for more escape pods for his men. Yeah, that’s gotta be it.

“Well he’s not getting away with it!” Pompous Fly says angrily, breaking his gun. The goons just stare at him blankly.

“You fools!” Pompous Fly lectures. “Why do you just stand there like that? Don’t you realize the rocket’s going to crash here in 20 minutes? You’ll all go up in a huge mushroom cloud!”

“Let’s go!”

“Come on!”

“He deserted us!”

“Scram!”

The goons all run away.

“Wait for me, you runts! I’m leaving too!” calls Pompous Fly, running behind.

Now we see the turbine flaming out. It has stopped.

“Princess, try one of your yo-yo bombs.” Mark orders.

“Okay!” Princess throws her yo-yo, but the explosion, while damaging the door, doesn’t break through it.

“No use. That door’s too strong.” Mark says. “We’re going to have to think of something a whole lot better.”

“Let me handle it.” says Jason. For some reason, Anderson kneels down on the floor. But then we see Jason using his blowtorch attachment to open a hole in the wall. He reaches inside and fiddles with the mechanism behind.

“The power unit for the door is shut off!” he says. “Looks like I’ll have to try a little trick.”

“Hope you try it before we get blown up!” Tiny moans.

“Cut this with your boomerang.” Jason pulls at a cable in the floor.

“Okay, but watch it. That’s a high voltage wire you’re holding.” Mark warns. Um, I suspect he already knew that, Mark.

Mark cuts the cable, and Jason struggles to hold into it. He falls down.

“Another second and I’ll have it.” he says, putting the sparking cables into the wall. “Everyone down!”

Everyone takes cover, and there’s a small explosion. The door opens… just enough.

“Beautiful! The door’s open. Let’s split!” Mark says. “To the Phoenix!”

But Jason is still kneeling on the ground.

“You all right?” Mark asks.

“Let’s go!” Jason says, standing up.

Everyone runs out of the building and the Phoenix takes off. There’s no sign of the goons or Pompous Fly.

“Chief, we’d better contact Space Control and have them get the Loralei 3 back in orbit fast.” Mark suggests.

“I’m afraid it’s too late, Mark.” Anderson says. “There’s nothing we can do about it.”

“Nothing?” Princess gasps.

“Broot… gotta be!”

“I don’t buy that.” Jason disagrees. “If Zoltar can throw the spaceship out of orbit, then I say we can put it back in orbit.” Um… I don’t think it was knocked out of orbit. Wasn’t it going to another planet? Or sub-planet. That would mean that it was knocked off its flight path, not its orbit.

“We can’t, because the rocket’s correction system was totally destroyed when it was knocked off its preset, scheduled course.” the Chief explains. “We’re all powerless to control it now.” I’m just wondering how the Chief knows that the correction system was destroyed, given that he only just heard about the fact that the ship was off course a couple of minutes ago.

“You mean, we can’t do anything to prevent that terrible explosion?” Mark asks.

“This is 7-Zark-7!” Yep, Zark has appeared on the monitor to save the day.

“I have an urgent communication from the two astronauts in the rocket which is diving out of control! They request that their ship be exploded before it crashes to Earth.”

“That’s a terrible request to grant.” Anderson bows his head.

“You must give the order to G-Force quickly.” Zark nags. Wow, he’s pushy! Zark is actually pushing Anderson to order G-Force to kill the astronauts! I feel faint…

“They are the only ones within proper range, who can be depended on for absolute accuracy.” Zark adds, as if G-Force weren’t sitting right there, listening in on the entire conversation.

“It’s the only solution.” Anderson agrees. “We must destroy Loralei 3 before it strikes Earth.”

“Oh no!” Mark exclaims.

“There’s a borderline chance they can eject safely during re-entry.” Anderson explains the ‘out’. “But we can’t know before we fire at them. Tiny, get your altitude up to 10,000 feet! Hurry, Tiny!”

“Big 10!”

“Princess, adjust your radio cycle to MXOZ.” Anderson instructs. Hey, that’s the same frequency they used in the Gatch episode! Cool!

“I want to make certain the astronauts have made their decision final.” Anderson adds.

“We’re at 10,000, Chief!” Tiny reports.

“Radio set, Chief!” Princess says.

“Come in Loralei 3, do you read me, Loralei?” Anderson calls on a microphone that has suddenly appeared in front of him. “All we can do to prevent a major tragedy is to explode your rocket before it reaches us, whether or not you have ejected. This is what you have volunteered to do.”

The astronauts hear the Chief, but they turn off the signal and shake hands.

“Well, there goes the spaceship.” Zark voices over. “Loralei 3 plunging to Earth, all because a madman named Zoltar altered its orbit.”

“We all have to do our duty.” Anderson says, as everyone on the team bows their heads. Mark tears up.

“Loralei 3 has just re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere!” Princess announces.

“It will crash in 3 minutes, Mark.” the Chief tells him. “Fire at Loralei 3 with a Phoenix Super Missile.”

“There’s got to be another way!” Mark is having doubts.

“There’s no other way, Mark.” Anderson says. “It’s the only thing we can do to save a terrible crash here on Earth.” Um… Anderson wants to ‘save the crash’? I thought he wanted to ‘save the citizens’?

“This isn’t the way I like to beat Zoltar.” Mark shudders.

“It’s turning into a fireball.” Tiny says calmly, but his face looks alarmed.

“Yes, that’s Loralei 3.” the Chief confirms.

“Only one minute until the crash!” Princess says.

“Mark!” Keyop gulps.

“Fire!” Jason urges.

“Now, Mark!” Tiny cries.

But Mark can’t do it. He pictures Zoltar laughing, super-imposed over the Loralei 3 burning up in the atmosphere.

“It’s our last chance, Commander! You must fire now!” Anderson orders. But Jason is already up and running to the front of the Bridge.

“All right, Zoltar, this is where we draw the line!” Jason says.

Mark pushes Jason out of the way and pounds his fists on the red button. The missile fires, and the Loralei 3 is destroyed.

No one can believe it! But the remains of the Loralei 3 are now falling to Earth.

“That was a tough decision.” Zark voices over. “But it was the right one, and the only one. The borderline chance worked! Although those brave astronauts volunteered to give their lives, if necessary, they manage to eject just in time to safety. And the world’s largest atomic energy center was spared destruction. G-Force has defeated Zoltar again!”

“It’s good to have Chief Anderson safely back here at Center Neptune.” Zark says to Rover. “But that Zoltar! Will his evil mind never stop inventing ways to conquer Earth?”

 

Zark flies across the room to his station. Uh… make that the middle of the room. For some reason, he stops there. Maybe he needs a rest?

1-Rover-1 flies after him.

 

“Robots aren’t supposed to have emotions, but something about Zoltar just overheat my Oscillator Reactors!” Zark says. I’m not sure why he had to fly to the center of the room to say that.

In any case, Zark is so mad at Zoltar that he shows off his fighting moves! Cue the strains of ‘Kung Fu Fighting’…

 

 

 

“Oh dear! I get so carried away!” Zark exclaims. “I’ve shorted out my controls and cut off all contact with the Planet Spectra, and Zoltar!” Well I don’t suppose you’re going to do a very good job as a ‘Guardian’, then, are you?

“Wap, wap, wap!

“You’re right, 1-Rover-1. Until the damage is repaired, not seeing or hearing from Zoltar will be the first vacation we’ve ever had.”

And Zark hugs Rover as we fade out.

 

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RE: Gatchaman Episode 97 – Leona 3, the Spaceship With No Tomorrow Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Post Report Post to a Moderator        IP Information Go to the top of this page

Thanks again for these great recaps, TJ! Needless to say that you always keep me ROFL 2 with your comments, especially those in the BotP recap!

quote:
Originally posted by Transmute Jun
“Dig those shuttle pilots!” Ken says in an admiring fashion. “Man, I sure wish I could fly one of those babies.”

“Yeah, me too, Bro!” Jinpei agrees. “They shoot up to the stars and they’re in outer space! Those guys are outta sight!”

“And they’re all so young, like us!” Jun gushes. “I wish I could meet them just once and hear them talk about space flight.”


I wish to tell them ... "Just wait ... you'll soon have enough of it, and you'll end up right there!" Sorry ... my mood is not that good, today!

In Ken's defense, his very emotional attitude towards the destruction of the Leona 3, and the consequent death of the astronauts, could be justified by saying that, yes ... many innocents had died during the war, but it was certainly hard for him to have innocents die directly under his hand.

It's also normal to feel for a single person, or two, whom one could have known before, even if not that personally, and not feeling the same intensity of sadness for the loss of hundreds of other people, finding it more easy to put oneself in one person's place, than in that of numerous ones. Take people, nowadays, as an example ... they discuss more about a single, famous person's death, than about that of those huge amounts of people who die from natural disasters, etc.

Did he feel the same way when killing goons ... maybe not, but, as you have said, TJ, there's got to be a distinction between the good and the bad. Sorry if I might not be making a lot of sense with my writing, but I'm a bit in a hurry!

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RE: Gatchaman Episode 97 – Leona 3, the Spaceship With No Tomorrow Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Post Report Post to a Moderator        IP Information Go to the top of this page

Great recap!

quote:
Originally posted by gatchamarie
quote:
Originally posted by Transmute Jun
“Dig those shuttle pilots!” Ken says in an admiring fashion. “Man, I sure wish I could fly one of those babies.”

“Yeah, me too, Bro!” Jinpei agrees. “They shoot up to the stars and they’re in outer space! Those guys are outta sight!”

“And they’re all so young, like us!” Jun gushes. “I wish I could meet them just once and hear them talk about space flight.”


I wish to tell them ... "Just wait ... you'll soon have enough of it, and you'll end up right there!"


That's what I was thinking too -it sounds just as if the Gatch characters are talking about G-Force!


quote:
Originally posted by Transmute Jun
“Gatchaman, have you heard from Dr. Nambu since the launch?” Director Anderson asks. Wow, we sure have come a long way from the days where Anderson wasn’t even allowed to know who the Team were! Now he’s talking to Ken in civvies!


And, he can beam himself right into people's television sets now too. Clearly he's been acquiring new perks and privileges.


quote:
Originally posted by Transmute Jun

Joe now has two sparking cables in his hands.

He struggles and falls down.

Only Joe is left behind, still exhausted from his fight with the electric cables.

“Shake it off, Joe.” Ken says. “Come on!”


I wonder if this is a sign of Joe's failing health. I wouldn't think that holding electric cables like that would affect him unless the current was passing through his body -and that would fry him for sure, not weaken him.


quote:
Originally posted by Transmute Jun
IMHO, this is a bit overdone on Ken’s part. I understand he doesn’t like this and all, but why is he so emotional? It’s not like innocent people haven’t died as a result of Galactor’s actions before. You could say that he feels more because these are pilots, and he wants to be like them, but I suspect this is more to highlight the difference between the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’. Katse will sacrifice his men without a second thought (and indeed, carelessly abandoned them in this very episode) but for Gatchaman, this is a heart-breaking course of action,that he only takes when no other option is available.


Possibly some foreshadowing as well of some (to paraphrase Spock) “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one” decisions Ken will have make at the series’ end?


quote:
Originally posted by Transmute Jun
Don’t ask me what the heck they were doing here. Couldn’t they just have cut in footage of launching from Center Neptune?


That's from the "Evil White Sea/Fastest Gun in the Galaxy" episode. I agree -it doesn't fit here at all! I wonder if someone discovered at the last minute that the episode was running short and someone (possibly a panchira fan) grabbed the first "filler" footage they could find?



quote:
Originally posted by Transmute Jun
Now we cut to Secretary Claiborne… who rips off his clothes to reveal Zoltar underneath (not naked Zoltar, he’s wearing his own familiar purple clothes).


Certainly not on Battle of the Planets! Oh, the mental image... Laugh1


quote:
Originally posted by Transmute Jun
“Jason may be right.” Zark admits. Wait a minute… did I hear that correctly? This can’t be! Zark, agreeing with Jason? I must rewind!
Yeah, seriously!



quote:
Originally posted by Transmute Jun

“That was a tough decision.” Zark voices over. “But it was the right one, and the only one. The borderline chance worked! Although those brave astronauts volunteered to give their lives, if necessary, they manage to eject just in time to safety. And the world’s largest atomic energy center was spared destruction. G-Force has defeated Zoltar again!”


Of course the astronauts survive in BOTP, but thinking about Gatchaman, I wonder if a whole generation of Japanese kids were deterred from ever becoming space travellers. In Gatch, it seems, "astronaut" = "doomed" !

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There was no way to save the astronauts once the shuttle was on its way back down. Hell, by the time the team arrived to rescue Nambu, it was too late. The best they could have done (maybe) was divert it so that it crashed elsewhere.

Underfloor cabling tends to be as long as it needs to be, and not much more. A little slack, but not so much that you can cut one and pull up what looks like about ten feet (total) to drag over to a wall. Looks like the current exceeded the safe specs for the door controls, which is why there was a boom and it only opened enough for everyone to squeeze out.

(A lot of people would want the team's gear. Jinpei has a drill on his buggy that can cut a tunnel through rock faster than any drill available, and Joe's cutting torch attachment can slice through a metal wall as if it were paper. Wow.)

Funny, but when I first saw the BotP episode, I just knew Chief Anderson was being kidnapped, although there was no reason to suspect it until they found the injured man. (In the case of the Gatchaman episode, one could suspect that the President and Dr. Nambu were kidnapped -- at least until the secretary found the dead President.)

Unlike some of the BotP edits, it's not impossible that the Secretary might be severely injured instead of murdered. Unconscious and shoved out of the way, where he would be undiscovered until it was too late.

I figured this was taking place in Ameris. ISO HQ is in Amegapolis (in Ameris), and depending on the location of the launch base, could conceivably be on the way to either the White House or another Presidential residence.

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I understand what you're saying, Marie, abut Ken feeling a more personal attachment to the astronauts. Maybe he's still thinking about the man from the previous episode, whose underwater farm was destroyed because of the Science Ninja Team's actions. I don't know. But we're still talking about people he's never met, whose deaths will save millions of other innocent lives. Frankly, I think Joe's attitude of doing it, but cursing Katse at every step, if more in character. JMHO...

LB, I think Anderson had a direct link through the TV because the Team was at Nambu's villa. Presumably this is the 'high security' manner in which Anderson and Nambu speak regularly? As an aside, I love the way this entire scene had to be cut from BOTP, simply because they wanted to go back to Center Neptune... and the windows at Nambu's Villa are clearly *not* part of an underwater complex!

I did wonder if the 'bright lights' of the sparking cables were something that could trigger more of Joe's brain damage. But I assumed that it took a lot of strength to hold the cables... maybe they wanted to thrash around? It was clear that he hadn't been struggling at all until the cables were cut, and then that this was a difficult task.

UW, I agree, it's weird that Joe's blowtorch attachment is so efficient... because his drill bit attachment isn't! In Episode 61 it took him forever just to drill through one bar! You wonder why he didn't use the blowtorch back then...

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I didnt think Kens reaction was too out of character, he seemed to admire the astronauts at the beginning.

I remember being really upset about the Challenger explosion, even though it was only a few people I didnt even know compared to other terrible events around that time. Dont know if I am making much sense...

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I can understand what you're saying about Challenger. I just haven't seen this degree of emotion from Ken about *anything*... except his father, and perhaps Jun in the Jigokillers episode. In that sense, I think he's too emotional over people he didn't even know.

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Yes I see what you mean. I guess I was seeing itmore in the light of his overall mental state over the course of the war. I was really seeing it from the point of him dealing with being forcedto kill 2 innocent people (something that the bad guys are supposed to do not the good guys) rather than his relationship to the people themselves.

I suppose that is really based on a few scenes like where he is at his fathers grave talking about the blood on his hands and some ofhis outbursts to Nambu. To me, I can sort of see an overall change in his mental/emotional state over the latter part of the series which is similar in many ways to what you see in many war accounts.

Im not explaining myself very well I know. Hmm, essentialy he was called on to execute these astronauts, and this after seeing Dr Nambu at a bit of a loss earlier on in the episode, could go someway to explaining his reaction.

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Great recap, TJ!

Perhaps the emotion with Ken is that rather than killing, directly or indirectly, Galactor goons or faceless people he's never met, he has somehow identified with these astronauts causing the angst. Plus it provides a good contrast to Joe who is as practical as ever with the idea.

However, personally, I didn't think that the astronauts looked as young as Ken or Joe. Especially when you consider that a young astronaut is one in his/her thirties.

Of course, I did have to wonder why they were calling a capsule a shuttle. Huge difference there in the way they look.

With the Challenger, I remember sitting in first year French in my sophomore year of high school. Ms. Davis was the teacher, she was married to Ainslie who was a great English teacher. Anyway, I was shocked, but not devastated. Mostly because we didn't watch it; it was French class and before most of the classrooms had cable and well before satellite or streaming. The office did see fit to break into the classes with an announcement for us though.

I wonder if it was the civilian teacher on board or the fact that it had been over 15 years since NASA had had an accident like that that caused so much grief for so many. I don't remember the reaction to the Columbia destruction being that devastating to so many.

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I definitely think Ken's emotional response was so the writers could emphasize the difference between Ken and Katse. Katse laughs at people dying and he abandons his own men. While innocent people have died because of the Science Ninja Team before (usually because they failed to act, or failed in their actions) it is something they actively seek to avoid at all costs. Ken has a moral center, Katse does not. Therefore Katse deserves what he gets. Plus it sets him up as a more demonic villain for the final episodes.

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quote:
Originally posted by amethyst

With the Challenger, I remember sitting in first year French in my sophomore year of high school. Ms. Davis was the teacher, she was married to Ainslie who was a great English teacher. Anyway, I was shocked, but not devastated. Mostly because we didn't watch it; it was French class and before most of the classrooms had cable and well before satellite or streaming. The office did see fit to break into the classes with an announcement for us though.

I wonder if it was the civilian teacher on board or the fact that it had been over 15 years since NASA had had an accident like that that caused so much grief for so many.


I recall not learning what had happened until I got home from from high school, in Nova Scotia, and turned on the TV to watch (Lord, help me) General Hospital -and it had been preempted for a special news broadcast...

I got the sense that it was so shocking, at least in part, because the Space Program was supposed to be cutting edge technology at its finest, our very best on display. I remember my grade 6 science teacher making us learn all about the shuttle program and emphasizing how great it was. I don't think anyone was expecting anything to go wrong. Now that I think about it, the space program just doesn't have the emphasis and glamour that it seemed to have when I was a kid, when we all thought that we'd have moon bases or people on Mars by now.



quote:
Originally posted by Transmute Jun
I definitely think Ken's emotional response was so the writers could emphasize the difference between Ken and Katse.


I think you're on to something, especially as Katse does seem to be particularly callous and cruel in this episode -even for him- which heightens the contrast that much more.

quote:
Originally posted by PalyNerd
I suppose that is really based on a few scenes like where he is at his fathers grave talking about the blood on his hands and some ofhis outbursts to Nambu. To me, I can sort of see an overall change in his mental/emotional state over the latter part of the series which is similar in many ways to what you see in many war accounts.


I think you're right; the long and seemingly endless war is taking a toll on Ken in particular which could also explain why he's the most upset by the astronaut situation. Even in the final episode he's yelling at goons, "What will spilling any more blood prove?" or words to that effect. The fact that, here, he has to killl innocent people in order to save more innocent people would be especially agonizing to someone already so weary of killing.

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When you consider that there haven't been that many tragedies in the space program, the Challenger explosion stands out more. There was the fire in that one space capsule, the almost-tragedy of Apollo 13, then the Challenger, and then the Columbia.

It's more than likely that the astronauts were already dead when Ken fired the missile. If they weren't, they were still going to die, whether he fired or not. That Ken had to do this at all is what makes him so angry.

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