Author's notes: This marks several firsts: 1) This is my first Episode Rewrite in almost 3½ years (!!); 2) This is the first episode from Gatchaman Fighter (Ep. 34: "Egobossler's Plot"); and, 3) this is my first post in the Crescent Coral Base's Fic Library!
Also, this was written before Sentai released Gatch II and Gatch F with English subtitles. I relied on a transcript that was an English translation of an Italian translation of a Korean translation of the original Japanese. (Yes, it was quite painful at times. Thanks for asking.)
Keepin' It Rio
The International Science Organization had been working day and night to discover the secret of the Space Pulse mystery. Even now, scientists skittered about a large room lined with enormous computers with spools of magnetic tape zipping back and forth from reel to reel....not that the ISO actually still used such archaic technology -- the reel-to-reel computers looked more impressive than the current models stuffed in a broom closet down the hall. And while the spools spun, scientists jotted down notes in small note pads, marked numbers on a nearby chalkboard or dry erase board, or just rushed from one end of the room to the other as if they were mice afraid the bit of floor they were on would be electrified if they stood still too long.
And in the precise middle of all this stood Doctor Kozaburo Nambu. If the research is successful, he thought, I'm sure we'll discover Sosai Z's secret Space Pulse mystery. He turned slightly only to bump into a young scientist and send him sprawling onto the floor.
"What are you doing?!" Dr. Nambu barked, "Don't you realize we're working to discover the secret of Sosai Z's Space Pulse?"
"Sorry." the young man muttered while scrambling back onto his feet.
Nambu took a step back and ended up directly in the path of another scientist. "Focus!" he shouted, "We're working on discovering -- "
Dr. Nambu's assistant came up to him and handed him a report. He had opened his mouth but promptly forgot what he was going to say as he saw the first few lines of the report.
"Impressive." He sounded awestruck. "The first part is very interesting...the research is more advanced than ours...this guy's got brilliant intuitions!"
"I was sure you'd appreciate Doctor Shubal's studies." the assistant replied. Without looking, Dr. Nambu reached out, snagged a scientist zipping by, and pulled her over. He pointed to a spot on the page of the report, pointed to a nearby chalkboard, and then shoved the report into her hands.
The scientist darted over to the chalkboard and started writing:
10 PRINT "EGOBOSSLER BONKS SMURFS!"
20 GOTO 10
"If you like," Nambu's assistant acted as though nothing had happened, "we can arrange a meeting. You two can talk about the phenomena happening in our planet."
"But it has to be a secret meeting," the assistant warned, "in case there are any Galactors around."
"Well, duh !" Nambu scoffed as he looked the younger man in the eye. Then he added, "Go make the arrangements, I want to meet this guy."
It was hard for Dr. Nambu to keep a straight face as he walked through the airport in a disguise that he had put together himself. Nobody gave him a second look. He headed to the ticket counter and stood in line.
Finally, he stood in front of the counter. The clerk never looked up as she pecked at her computer keyboard. He cleared his throat.
"Good morning." Nambu said as soon as she looked up, "I'm Dr. -- uh, Mr. -- Ubman. I have a reservation for Flight 720."
The clerk looked up and saw a man in a lab coat wearing a pair of Groucho Marx glasses without arms to hold them on his face. She wasn't absolutely positive, but he seemed to have a moustache under the Groucho one.
"One moment, please, sir." While the clerk tapped at a few keys, a bright flash followed by a click and a whir came from her left hand. "There's a reservation for Los Angeles on March 19..." There was another flash, click, and whir.
"Uh, no." Nambu said as he tried to blink away the spots he now saw, "I need to go to Rio de Janeiro." He was blinded by another flash.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Ubman." the clerk said, "I just got engaged, and the diamond just catches the light..." Yet another flash. "See?" she asked as she raised her hand until it was in front of her face. She acted as though she was looking through a viewfinder as she twisted the gem on her ring. Flash, click, whirr.
"Oh, that's alright." Tears ran down his face as he blinked the spots from his eyes. "Congratulations." Nambu said as the clerk handed him a ticket. Flash, click, whirr.
Somewhere under an ocean, in a room within the labyrinth that is known as G-Town, stood five young people wearing numbered t-shirts and an older man in coveralls and a ball cap.
"Why did he go to Rio by himself?" Joe said, "He should have told us!"
"That guy should have stopped him or warned us!" Jun chimed in, "What in the heck's his name, anyway?"
The older man in the coveralls, Chief Engineer Kamo, responded. "Nambu's assistant."
"Yeah," Jun said, "What's his name?"
"It's Nambu's Assistant." Kamo replied, "Nambu's Assistant, Junior."
"Anyway, " Kamo said, "Dr. Nambu was probably afraid of Galactor spies. That might be why he didn't say anything."
"That research must have been very important." Joe said, "Still, he's put himself in serious danger."
"Instead of hilarious danger?" Jinpei snickered. Jun promptly smacked the boy upside the head.
"So what are you going to do?" Kamo asked Ken.
"I don't know." Ken replied, "If I were Hakase, I might have done the same thing."
"So we're just gonna sit here and do nothing ?!?" Joe was incredulous.
"Of course not!"
The room fell silent.
"Well?!?" Jinpei finally broke the silence.
"We've gotta go to Rio!" Jun cried.
"Wha --?" Ken sounded as if he'd been daydreaming. "Oh, yeah, It's our duty to be at his side."
In a desolate land rose a castle the same hue as the lifeless soil around it. And inside the throne room of this castle sat a man with sky blue skin and cloud white hair -- Count Egobossler.
"You say Nambu's gone to Rio de Janeiro." Egobossler said to his devoted underling Kempler, "How do you know this?"
"I've had my men keep an eye on airports and train stations all around the world. Nambu finally showed up. See, look at this." Kempler held up a screen with a red border. On this screen was a black-and-white image of "Mr. Ubman".
The count gave him a dubious look. Kempler held up a finger as if to say "Wait". He then turned the screen toward him and shook it vigorously. After a couple of moments of turning a couple of dials on the bottom of the frame, he turned the screen toward Egobossler, showing him a black-and-white image of Dr. Nambu.
The count's jaw dropped. "Oh my god!" he cried, "Everything I've ever done with an Etch-A-Sketch looked like a bad road map. I'm impressed. So why is Nambu going to Rio?"
Kempler's face turned as white as Egobossler's hair. "Uh....well....uh...." Then it came to him. "The important thing is that you have a good chance to get rid of him!"
"You're right. But Nambu is an authority in space physics, so I want to pick his brain a bit before killing him." The count rose to his feet. "I'm coming with you, Kempler!" He rubbed his hands together and let out an almost giddy laugh. Finally, he thought, I'll be able to understand some of those "Uranus" jokes Sosai Z keeps telling!
As soon as he set foot within the Galeão International Airport, the still-disguised Dr. Nambu went straight toward the nearest bank of public telephones. He balked at what he saw -- how could such a modern facility still be using rotary dial telephones?!
He shook it off and picked up the nearest phone's receiver. He dialed, waited for a moment, and then hung up. He dialed again, waited a couple of moments, and hung up. As he did this a few more times, he became aware how weak his fingers were -- he needed both hands to move the rotary when he dialed the final time.
Meanwhile, a man wearing a striped poncho and a sombrero wider than his shoulders stood just behind Dr. Nambu and looked over his left shoulder to see the number being dialed. He leaned forward, but then the rim of his sombrero brushed Nambu's ear. He hopped back, expecting Nambu to turn. But that didn't happen -- Nambu seemed to be too focused on dialing. The man leaned in again to get the best view of the number being dialed.
Before the man realized it, the doctor hung up and stepped back.
"¡Ay, perdón!" the man cried.
"Excuse me!" Nambu said at the same time. He then noticed what the man was wearing. "Are you visiting here from Mexico?"
"Oh. So I take it you just visited Mexico..."
"No. Why do you ask that?"
"Well, you are dressed like a bad Mexican stereotype."
"I am a lifelong resident of Rio de Janeiro! It's common for people to dress like this here!"
"I'm sorry. It's just that, on television -- "
"That's typical of the lamestream media! Always giving Mexico the credit that belongs to Brazil!" With that, the man turned and stormed away. Nambu could just hear the man grumble, "¡Es más cerrado que un huevo de gallina!"
In a tunnel deep in the earth, a private train rocketed toward an unseen destination. One car acted as Count Egobossler's throne room....though some might say it reminded them of a different sort of throne room -- namely, its layout hinted at many "alien toilet" gags from some science fiction comedies from the 1970s and '80s.
Off to one side of the car was what looked like a standard Galactor control panel with the basic, green-uniformed henchman seated before it. What his duties were exactly...well, more people seemed to know Colonel Sanders' secret fried chicken recipe was. At the end of the car closer to the engine was the throne (the chair variety, not the toilet), and Count Egobossler was sitting on it. As was his habit when he left his castle, he wore a mask that was a stylized version of the comic mask of ancient Greek theater.
Kempler stood at the foot of the throne. His stance was a blend of a well-trained soldier and a slightly relaxed attitude of someone who had the confidence of the estate lord.
"Our informant says that, as soon as he set foot in Galeão International Airport, Nambu called somebody named Shubal." Kempler said.
"And who's that?"
"We're trying to find out."
"Hmm. And what did they talk about?"
"Well, they didn't have any conversation over the phone. Nambu dialed the number several times and hung up."
"Our spy's cover must've been blown!" Egobossler snapped.
"No, I don't think so. Our agent is always meticulous about blending in perfectly. He certainly didn't draw Nambu's attention."
"Then why no talking?"
"I think it was some sort of code. The first time Nambu called, he waited for seven rings. The second time, four rings."
"What kind of code is that?" The count's patience was wearing thin.
"We're studying that. All I can say for sure is that our agent hit the Powerball jackpot with those numbers."
At that moment the generic Galactor goon leaned back in his chair and said to Kempler, "I've just received information from Rio -- that Shubal schmuck is a space psychic, and Nambu's going to meet him."
"What the hell's a space psychic?!" Kempler shouted at the henchman.
"Hmm...." Egobossler thought for a moment. "Maybe Nambu's afraid the Space Pulse might interfere with his chakras or biorhythms or some other hippie-dippy garbage....well, the good doctor will get a nice surprise!"
Doctor Nambu, still in his "Ubman" disguise, stepped out of the Galeão International Airport's main building, suitcase in hand. Across the street was a Volkswagen Beetle convertible completely covered in brightly-colored hippie graffiti. Behind the VW was an unusually large tractor-trailer -- so large that it might not have been street-legal. The trailer of the mechanical mammoth had a mural of a double rainbow arcing from one cloud bank to another. Five young people in numbered T-shirts and Groucho Marx glasses stood beside the truck, each one giving Nambu a hard stare. The doctor paid them no heed as he climbed into the back of a car that pulled up in front of him.
"Ryu," Ken said without taking his eyes off Nambu's car, "follow him and don't get spotted."
On top of a mountain overlooking downtown Rio was a house next to a giant statue. Inside the house was a young man wearing a lab coat with "Hello! I'm Daniel Shubal" embroidered on the left lapel. He sat at a desk, happily pounding the keys of a manual typewriter. Maybe one day he'll actually type something....
The doorbell rang. "That must be Doctor Nambu!" Shubal chirped as he hopped up and dashed to the front door. He flung open the door and...
...found Kempler standing on the doorstep.
"Dr. Nambu, I presume?"
"No." Kempler replied, pulling a gun on the young scientist.
"Oh, I'm sorry." Shubal said as he backed away from Kempler, "I already bought Girl Scout cookies from my niece." Within moments he felt his desk behind him. He reached back until he felt a large stack of papers, and grabbed a few sheets.
"That must be your Space Pulse data!" Kempler proclaimed as he closed in on Shubal, "Give it to me!"
"Never!" the younger man bellowed, "The data and my heart belong to Dr. Nambu!"
"Wha --?!" the Galactor stumbled back as Shubal lunged forward. Kempler pulled the trigger, and Shubal instantly dropped to the floor.
"Some psychic you are." Kempler spat.
"Not psychic." the younger man said with a gurgling, fading voice, "Space physicist!" With that, he died.
Kempler stared down at the body for a moment. "Well, shit."
Ken drove the VW while the rest of the team were crammed into the back seat. Ryu followed in the incredibly large truck. As they made their way up the empty, winding, six-lane highway, Joe stared off in the distance, keeping his eye on the Christ the Redeemer statue at the top of the mountain. Something seemed odd....maybe it was because they weren't on Corcovado Mountain overlooking Botafogo's cove, where Christ the Redeemer was located....maybe it was that the statue seemed about a third of its normal size....or that this statue was pale yellow instead of pale gray....or -- and this might have been a bit of a stretch -- maybe it was because this Redeemer looked like a Cabbage Patch Kid.
A short time later, Nambu's car pulled into a driveway that went past the Christ the Redeemer -- or, rather, the Cabbage Patch Redeemer -- statue. As the car drew closer to the front porch, Nambu could just make out a figure in the doorway. He pulled out a photograph and, once the car was close enough, compared it to the person in the door. With a satisfied grin, he stuffed the picture in a lab coat pocket.
As soon as the car stopped, Nambu opened the door and got out. "Doctor Shubal?" he called to the man in the doorway.
"Yes, Dr. Nambu! I'm honored."
Meanwhile, the VW and tractor-trailer pulled into the driveway. They continued on until they were a little more than 10 feet away from Nambu's car. They veered to the left and drove through the front yard until they came to some topiary. As soon as the vehicles were parked, the team hopped out and hid behind some of the sculpted shrubbery.
"He's getting too reckless." Joe pushed his Groucho glasses up on his nose as he watched Nambu enter the house. "He could be walking straight into a Galactor trap."
"He's so eager to know the Space Pulse secret..." Jun added.
"Check out the grounds, don't overlook any detail. It's up to us to protect Hakase!" Ken ordered.
"Roger!" the rest of the team replied before they scampered off in different directions.
Doctor Nambu sat on a sofa in Doctor Shubal's living room. As he looked at his surroundings, he was struck at how modestly furnished and decorated this room was, especially compared to how palatial the outside of the house was.
Shubal entered the room carrying a tray with a bottle and two brandy snifters. "Would you like some cognac, Doctor?"
"No thanks, I never drink."
"I don't even drink water. That way, I can devote more time to research."
"You never cease to amaze me, Doctor Nambu." The eager-looking man sat down in a chair across a coffee table. "If you don't mind, I'll help myself." He poured himself a glass and downed it in one swig.
"In a letter you said that you were close to discovering the Space Pulse secret." Nambu said, "And, after reading your data, I believe you're right."
The other man took a long sip from a tiki cup and set it down.
"That's why I'm here." Nambu continued, "I'd like to know more about it."
"I'll gladly share my discoveries with a science icon like you. But, before that happens, I'd like to know why you're interested in my studies."
"Since you know of the Space Pulse, it's also safe to assume you also know of Galactor's leader, Sosai Z, right?"
"Yes, that's right."
"Z has been trying to destroy ISO research centers throughout the world. Thankfully, he hasn't succeeded."
"But why?" He picked up a coconut with a straw and paper umbrella sticking out of it and took a sip.
"I believe we might find a weak spot if we discover the secret behind the Space Pulse. Your research might hold the key to defeating Galactor."
"Whoa." he breathed. He set the coconut down. "So, the Space Pulse might be used to defeat Sosai Z?"
A beam of sunlight came through a window. It was reflected off a mirror and bounced around the room. Unbeknownst to the two men, the sunbeam revealed the location of Dr. Shubal's wall safe. It then went to a framed antique atlas and marked the location of Atlantis. Then it bounced over to a globe and pointed to the Ark of the Covenant before going to a Persian rug concealing an entrance to a tunnel once used by El Chapo.
The sun shifted a bit, causing the beam to hit the younger man's face. He grimaced a bit but then began laughing. "Thank you, Doctor Nambu! You've done me a great service."
The laughing one stood, reached up, and pulled off his face to reveal a stylized comic mask.
"You really are a clever man, Doctor." the count said as he pulled off the last of his disguise, "but, I'm sorry to say, the time has come to -- "
"What have you done with Daniel Shubal!?" Nambu shouted.
"It's time to -- "
"Where's Dr. Shubal!?"
Egobossler clicked his teeth. "Fine, since you're going to be so rude..." He pulled out a squirt gun and sent a stream of fluid to the center of Nambu's forehead. The doctor paused a moment, stunned. He then started coughing and sputtering until he dropped to the floor.
"You'll sleep for a bit while I look at the Space Pulse data."
Ken and Joe had made their way to a clump of shrubbery across the driveway from the VW and truck. They were on their knees as they peered through the leaves and branches at the house.
"I've got a bad feeling." Joe whispered to Ken, "He's been in there too long."
An electronic chirp sounded from their wrist communicators. "Ken," came Jun's voice, "come behind the house -- there's a dead body!"
Ken, Joe, and Ryu bolted from their hiding places and ran through the widest, most open areas of the yard until they spotted Jun and Jinpei standing under a tree. And, hanging from the tree, was a man's body.
It was a difficult time to get the body down -- somehow the killer managed to attach a small plastic hook to the man's back and hung him up as though he was a carnival prize. But, once the team had eased the body down onto the ground, Ken looked for some identification. The Eagle noticed the man was wearing a lab coat with "Hello! I'm Daniel Shubal" embroidered on the left lapel.
"I think this is Doctor Shubal." he said.
"What?!" the rest of the team said in unison.
"Galactor got here ahead of us!" Joe growled.
"Hakase's in danger!" Ken cried. With that, the Science Ninja Team sprinted over to the nearest open space, faced toward the house, and brought their left arms down in front of their faces....
Within a couple of moments, five young people in BirdStyle darted into the house.
"Hakase!" Jinpei called.
"Doctor Nambu, where are you?" Jun cried out.
"Scooby Doo, where are you?" came from a nearby room. Jun cautiously stepped inside.
"Somebody left a TV on!" she called to the others.
"Doctor!" Ken and Joe shouted at the same time.
"Doctor, doctor, give me the news," Ryu sang, "I've got a bad case of lovin' you/ No pill's gonna cure my ills/ I've got a bad case of lovin' you..."
Four pairs of eyes glared at him.
"Sorry." he sheepishly said, "I couldn't help myself."
Meanwhile, the would-be Cristo Redentor statue turned toward the house. The camera embedded in its left eye zoomed in on the Science Ninja Team as they dashed of the house.
"Where could he be?" Jun asked as they ran down the steps of the front porch.
"We have to hurry!" Ken cried, "He's in great danger!"
The statue wobbled on its pedestal and then stepped off. The Cabbage Patch Redeemer started walking toward the Science Ninja Team. It lifted its right foot and brought it down as if to squash the team like five ants.
"Holy -- !" Joe cried as the team noticed the statue at the last possible nanosecond and jumped out of the way.
"Oh hell, the statue's moving!" Jinpei repeatedly shouted as the statue continued its efforts to step on the team, smash them with its hand, or simply grab them as if they had climbed a beanstalk and were now trying to run off with its golden egg-laying goose.
"No shit, Einstein!" Joe finally yelled, "Why don't you tell us something new?"
An enormous hole opened in the Cabbage Patch Redeemer's chest and something that resembled an energy beam cannon emerged. It fired. The Science Ninja Team easily dodged the beam as it carved deep gashes within the earth.
"Fine." Jinpei replied as he dodged a couple of large dirt clods, "You haven't been behind the wheel once during this whole episode!"
"Okay, that hurt." Joe confessed.
The demented doll-statue smashed the southeast corner of the house and then proceeded to flatten Doctor Shubal's observatory. As they continued dodging, Ken and Joe came together and paused a moment by the remains of a fountain.
"What are we gonna do, Ken?" Joe asked, "This is getting to be too much!"
"Destroy the statue." Ken replied, "We can do it!"
"Were you Rosie the Riveter in a past life?"
Ken darted toward the VW and tractor-trailer. Upon seeing him, the rest of the team followed.
Even though the surrounding area had been carved out by the Cabbage Patch Redeemer's energy weapon, the vehicles themselves were completely untouched -- they looked as though they had just been washed and waxed.
Ryu ran to the left side door of the truck and pulled a previously unnoticed lever the length and width of his leg. The trailer folded open to reveal the five mecha that join to form the Gatchaspartan.
As if it was acting out of courtesy, the giant statue stayed back, allowing the Science Ninja Team to get into their vehicles, launch, and assemble the Gatchaspartan. And in a heartbeat Ken had braced himself, ready to fully utilize the Hypershoot.
The Cabbage Patch Redeemer was suddenly covered in cracks -- it looked like a hard cooked egg about to be peeled. Bit by bit, the stone started falling away. But then, it all collapsed to the ground, revealing another machine beneath. A familiar looking machine....
A giant version of Robby the Robot, seen in Forbidden Planet and many other science fiction B-movies and television shows from the 1950s through the '70s emerged from the crumbling façade of the Cabbage Patch Redeemer.
Ken drew closer, ready to attack. But then, inside the clear dome of the robot's head, he saw six people: Kempler, Mechandol (who had finally recovered from eating sushi burritos for breakfast the day before), Count Egobossler, and two henchmen who had forced Doctor Nambu to his knees.
"Attack us, Gatchaman, and we'll kill Nambu!" Egobossler's threatening voice boomed from the robot.
"Don't think of me!" the doctor cried, "You must defeat them!"
Egobossler let out a derisive snort. "They won't do anything as long as you're here! Just watch."
"May I, Count?" Kempler asked before Egobossler could say anything else."
Kempler turned toward Ken's mecha. "Gatchaman, I'd never say you're a man with brass balls. Chicken nuggets, maybe..."
As Joe watched from the Gatchaspartan, he quietly kept saying, "Stay put, Ken. Don't attack!"
Jun leaned in close to the Condor. "We can hear you." she whispered, "You know what they say about people who talk to themselves."
"You don't have to worry about me...unless I get into a fistfight with myself...."
Meanwhile, on the Galactor robot, Nambu softly chanted, "Fight, Ken, fight!" He did this a few times until he pulled himself up onto his feet and started belting out the Notre Dame University Fight Song. The goons struggled to get the doctor to shut up and get back on his knees, but Nambu would have none of that. Finally, the henchman on his right punched him in the gut. Nambu doubled over and dropped to his knees.
But Gatchaman's mecha stayed in one place, hovering in front of the robot.
"Maybe I should try a different tactic." Egobossler said smugly. With that, a flurry of flaming orbs were launched from the robot.
"I wondered what happened to all the world's Hi-Bouncing Super Balls!" Jinpei cried as he watched from the Gatchaspartan.
Ryu gave no reaction -- his focus was strictly on the robot. "Now!" he cried as he sent the Gatchaspartan straight toward the Galactor mecha. At the last moment, Ryu pulled away, creating a sonic boom that smacked the robot upside the head, shattering the front of the clear dome and causing the mecha to rock back and forth. The Galactors were knocked down by the concussion -- Count Egobossler fell on top of Mechandol, but he was quickly back on his feet, thanks to Mechandol's big, fluffy beard acting like a springboard.
Nambu was knocked onto his back and slid to the rear of the room. Still reeling from the punch to the gut, he made no effort to get to his feet. In fact, he was still a bit woozy from the knockout spray Egobossler used on him earlier.
Ken seized the opportunity. He jumped from his mecha and soared through the shattered part of the robot. To some, he might have resembled Michael the Archangel, raising his sword to smite demonic hordes....or one really pissed off Science Ninja.
From somewhere beneath his coat, Count Egobossler pulled a sword and charged the Eagle. And they went at it -- Ken using moves from every swashbuckler movie he'd ever seen, and Egobossler demonstrating a lifetime of failed fencing lessons. In other words, it was a grand mess.
Meanwhile, the other Galactors had formed a circle around the fighters and quietly watched them as if the whole thing was a classroom demonstration. Also, Doctor Nambu was still down; the residual effects of the knockout spray had pulled him into unconsciousness.
Suddenly, the giant robot was hit by another sonic boom. Egobossler staggered into a couple of henchmen, but not before Ken was able to strike his mask, cracking it.
"Shoot!" the count cried once he'd pulled himself off of them.
"Oh, don't feel bad, Boss." one goon said in a comforting tone.
"Yeah," the other added, "This could happen to anyone."
"Shoot him, you idiots!" Egobossler bellowed as he made his way past them.
"Yessir!" the soldiers cried in unison and were promptly knocked to the floor.
Mechandol reached into his beard and, after a moment of struggle, pulled out a sword. He charged toward Ken. The Eagle barely swung the Gatchafencer, shattering Mechandol's sword as if it had been made from spun sugar. Kempler pulled his gun and fired, but Ken used his blade to block the bullet. Once again Ken was reminded that he should be grateful for the fact that the Gatchafencer's blade was made from the same material as Wonder Woman's bracelets.
Mechandol and Kempler exchanged panicked looks. What in the hell do we do now? They decided to act as though they were footballers. Kempler let out a cry, dropped to the floor, grabbed his knee, and waited for a referee to issue a red card.
Mechandol, at the exact same moment, launched himself toward Kempler like a fullback. Kempler, however, dropped to the floor an instant before Mechandol could tackle him. So Mechandol tumbled a bit and slid toward the wall.
Ken stood there, dumbfounded at what he just saw. He shook his head to regain focus. Then he noticed Count Egobossler tiptoeing away with Doctor Nambu under one arm and a fistful of papers in hand.
"Duck, Doc!" Ken yelled as he hurled the Gatchafencer toward Egobossler.
Egobossler let out a startled cry as the blade of Ken's weapon embedded itself in the wall by the count's head. The count dropped everything and spun around to face Ken.
"ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!?!" he bellowed, "You could put somebody's eye out!"
Ken started charging toward him. Egobossler snatched up as many of the dropped papers he could before slipping through a door Ken hadn't noticed until then. Kempler and Mechandol bolted past the Eagle to be with their leader.
"Are you okay, Hakase?" Ken asked as soon as he reached Nambu.
"Yes, I'm fine."
Ken went over to the wall and retrieved the Gatchafencer. As soon as the blade was free, he found any hint of a doorway was gone. "How the hell --?" he breathed.
The robot swayed from side to side. Sounds of explosions came from somewhere below.
Ken put away his blade and returned to Nambu, who had snatched up the only sheet of paper left behind by Egobossler.
"Can you walk?"
Nambu nodded. Ken put a helpful arm around the doctor and hurried toward the front of the robot. They jumped, and Ken guided them as they glided toward Gatchaman's mecha.
Back on the Gatchaspartan, Doctor Nambu stared at the final page of Shubal's Space Pulse Data:
10 PRINT "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"
20 PRINT "Apple in the morning - Doctor's warning"
30 PRINT "Roast apple at night - starves the doctor outright"
40 Print "Eat an apple going to bed - knock the doctor on the head"
50 Print "Three each day, seven days a week - ruddy apple, ruddy cheek"
"What in the heck does that mean, Hakase?" Jinpei asked as he peered over the doctor's shoulder.
"I have no idea whatsoever."
Count Egobossler sat alone in his private throne room, chuckling to himself. Just then, the image of Sosai Z appeared before him.
"Egobossler, why are you laughing?" Sosai demanded.
"Oh, I was just thinking about something from the other day."
"Disgraceful!" Z scoffed, "You should be ashamed of that pointless trip to Brazil!" With that, the image of Sosai Z vanished.
Egobossler chuckled. I might not have come back with Nambu, he thought, but I have the data on the Space Pulse -- you'll never be able to tell a joke that's over my head again!
He flushed and, a few minutes later, returned to his other throne room.
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