Overkill

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katblu42
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Overkill

Post by katblu42 » Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:26 am

Overkill
Song originally written by Colin Hay and performed by Men At Work.


Ken

I can’t get to sleep

Ken sits up in his bed at the shack, one arm resting across his raised knees while he rubs his eyes with his other hand. The cool night air threatens to bring out goose bumps on his bare upper body, while his lower half remains tangled in the bedsheets. How long had he been tossing and turning? It seems like hours. Despite feeling physically exhausted, the myriad thoughts cycling through his mind have caused sleep to remain out of reach.

I think about the implications
He’s been thinking about Jun again – her feelings for him, and his for her. It’s obvious she wants more than just a work relationship. She never goes so far as to say the words out loud, but he doesn’t need Jinpei or Joe to tell him she’s dropping hints. She wants something that’s more romantic partnership than commander and subordinate. If he’s honest with himself, so does he.

Of diving in too deep

He rakes his fingers through his unruly hair and utters a sigh. Nothing can happen between them right now. With Galactor’s ever present threat keeping the team active, the only way to separate the team dynamic from a personal relationship would be not to start one. If he even admits to her how he feels would they still be able to keep things professional when they needed to?

And possibly the complications
What if things between them got really serious? Would it change the way he made decisions about the team? Would he hesitate sending her into situations where her skills were needed? What if Galactor found out about their feelings for each other? Would it put her in even more danger? Would they target her to get to him?
And what if the relationship went sour? Could they still work together effectively if that happened? Would they be able to keep emotions and duty separate?

Especially at night
He can’t stop dreaming of them together, of the life they might enjoy if Galactor were out of the picture. When he sleeps his subconscious mind knows all too well how much he wants to be with her. He yearns to tell her how much he wants her, needs her – loves her. But only in his dreams can he reach out to her that way. And only in the happy dreams, the ones that don’t wake him in terror.

I worry over situations

His eyes are now fully accustomed to the darkness of the shack. Not ready to lie back under the sheets he instead pulls on his t-shirt to ward off a sudden shiver. Or was it a shudder of dread?
The constant pressure to lead the team, defeat Galactor, make the decisions that will bring them all home safe while protecting the world from terrifying dangers, it all adds up. In his nightmares every choice he makes is wrong. People die, cities are levelled, his team suffers.

I know will be alright

He knows his team. They are all dedicated, courageous, skilled, capable fighters. They all have their moments, but his teammates are not fools looking for a heroic way to throw their lives away. He trusts each of them to get the job done, whatever Galactor throws at them.
And as much as he knows Jun wants him to respond to her flirtations and hints, she must understand why he holds back. He pretends not to see. At least he hopes she can see he’s pretending to be oblivious.

Perhaps it’s just imagination

Sometimes he can almost convince himself that he’s seeing things that aren’t really there, that she’s not really flirting but just trying to ease the tension, lighten the mood. But he knows the truth, and he can’t hide from it forever. Can he?
He knows it’s his imagination that magnifies his worries into terrifying nightmares of what could go wrong in battle. And, in part, imagining a future where there is no Galactor and he and Jun live happily together keeps the sting out of the bad dreams. He holds on to the good dreams to remind him what they’re fighting for.

Day after day it reappears

It feels like every day is a battle. Another day another threat, another mission, another reason to put personal feelings aside and prioritise the job that needs to be done. Every day more innocent people are hurt by Galactor’s terrorism, more lives and resources are lost. And who will stop them if not him – him and his team? The responsibility sits squarely on his shoulders.

Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear

What if he lost her? It is possible in their line of work. Mistakes could be made, the unexpected could turn deadly. What if he lost any of them? He is their leader, they trust him, put their lives in his hands. What if his decisions cost one of them their life? He mustn’t let it happen. He knows it would break him if he let any of them down. It had been hard enough when he’d lost his father.

Ghosts appear and fade away

The memory of how badly he had fallen apart at that loss still stalks his nightmares. He’d let his emotions dictate his behaviour. His anger and frustration had clouded his thinking. The anguish he’d been through when they thought they had lost Jun to the Jigokillers had left its mark too. It was the first time he had truly wished he did not have to do his duty.
He has to push the memories aside, bury the nightmares down deep. Once again he resolves to be stronger, harder, more in control.



Jun

Alone between the sheets

Jun wakes from one of those dreams – one in which she and Ken were . . . intimate. One hand rests over her pounding heart, the other against her cheek feeling the heat of the flush at the details she is recalling. It was a nice dream, but waking brings her crashing down to the reality of sleeping alone.

Only brings exasperation

From the warmth and pleasure of the dream she returns to the cold frustration of the way things really are. She’s given him enough hints. He must know how she feels about him, and yet he still says nothing. She wants him – loves him – too much just to give up, but even if he were to officially tell her there could be nothing between them it would be better than him leaving her wondering. She would rather have him say he just didn’t feel that way toward her, but she is almost certain that isn’t true.

It’s time to walk the streets

She’s now too wide awake to return to sleep, so she rises and dresses. She leaves a note for Jinpei, in case he awakens and finds her gone, then leaves the apartment above the Snack J for a walk through the quiet city streets in the hour before dawn. The calm, still, coolness of the pre-dawn air as she walks is a perfect space to be alone with her thoughts.

Smell the desperation

At this early hour the deserted streets are not fouled by exhaust fumes or traffic noise, making way for less familiar, subtler sensations. Jun pays them little attention, her mind focussed on that same old question; should she just flat out ask him whether he has feelings for her? She’s fed up with guessing. She knows the others can see her flirtatious hints for what they are. It’s impossible for Ken to be that oblivious – isn’t it? He has to be ignoring her on purpose – doesn’t he? He’s Gatchaman first. Whatever Ken wants is secondary to that, and kept buried so deep she thinks sometimes even he doesn’t know what it is he truly desires.

At least there’s pretty lights

She can see the sky gradually lightening as sunrise approaches. Soon the sun will paint the clouds in pastel hues. How many sunrises and sunsets have they watched together? And every time she shuts out the rest of the world and imagines it is just the two of them, her and Ken, not a care in the world, just admiring the simple beauty of the sun’s light and warmth. She treasures the little things, like those precious few times Ken holds her hand for just a moment longer than strictly necessary, or stands so close to her she can feel his body heat. But then, maybe she’s seeing things that aren’t really there.

And though there’s little variation

She can still remember the first time those blue eyes combined with that winning smile to send her 12 year old heart all a flutter, and she’s been crushing on him ever since. At first it didn’t matter that he seemed not to feel the same for her, she was happy just to see him every day. Things changed after she met Koji – a boy who showed his interest in her, told her he enjoyed spending time with her and shared those moments of innocent, uncertain, youthful infatuated intimacy with her. She’d been happy with Koji, but even at the time she knew her heart still yearned for Ken.
After Koji left to pursue his racing career she found herself wanting more from Ken. That’s when this unceasing back and forth began – she flirts and hints and lets him know she wants him, and he refuses to give her a clear indication of how he feels. He never completely ignores her, never completely acknowledges the flirting, just keeps her guessing. The tug-o-war is at a stalemate, not unlike their fight against Galactor.

It nullifies the night from overkill

Is she crazy for repeating the same thing over and over, expecting a different result? Or at least hoping it can be different. There are moments Ken’s words or actions are enough to stir the embers, keeping the torch alight. Just like the moments of hope they find in each small victory against Galactor.
Ultimately dreaming of a future together with Ken is still better than letting her mind dwell on her work. Imagining their relationship and where it could take them stops her from reliving past battles or imagining the horrors that Galactor will unleash next. Better to focus on the new day the sunrise promises to bring than sit cowering in the darkness of the night’s bad dreams.

Day after day it reappears

Rubbing her arms against the early morning chill, Jun turns back towards the Snack J. The sun has raised its head above the horizon, but it will be a while before the warmth spreads across the waking world. This morning’s dream gave her a pleasant start to the day. Now it is time to see what the rest of the day holds in store. Will there be another patrol? Another attack somewhere? Another mecha to battle? Will the day ever come when she doesn’t have to face these questions? Will they ever get the chance to live like normal people? The cycle needs to be broken so she can make plans for the future instead of just dreaming about one.

Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear

What kind of world will the adult Jinpei get to live in? If they don’t find a way to defeat Galactor soon, there might not be much of a world left. And what if Galactor wins? Jun tries to banish that question from her mind. It brings with it thoughts of mortality, and she doesn’t want to think about who might or might not survive that eventuality. The fears of loss and defeat are becoming more difficult for her to push aside. There are far fewer nights without nightmares now. So many lives, so many communities have already been ruined. How many more?

Ghosts appear and fade away

Some nights her dreams are filled with visions of those they’ve lost. A parade of faces, some familiar others nameless strangers. Koji, Ken’s father, scientists and colleagues she’d worked or studied with, political figures, people the team had tried to help, only to see them fall victim to Galactor’s deadly evil. She tries not to dwell on those faces during the day, concentrating instead on more immediate activities to get her through each day.

Come back another day

Jun arrives at the front door to the Snack J and glances back towards the eastern horizon, now ablaze with orange clouds. She takes a deep breath and heads inside to begin a new day of what passes for normal – supplies to order, breakfast to make, Jinpei to fuss over, and hopefully, customers to serve.



Joe

I can’t get to sleep

Joe lies in bed, his hands behind his head, scowling at the shadows dappling the ceiling of the trailer. It’s no good closing his eyes – he’ll just wind up in the middle of that same nightmare again. Twice tonight he’s woken with heart pounding, breathing hard from the fear with which the dream has gripped him. He is calm now, but his mind is racing and he knows sleep is a long way off. Tonight, as with the past few nights the nightmares have not been about what could have happened on a mission, or what Galactor might try next. This time his demons are from the past.

I think about the implications

Memories from his childhood are haunting him. This nightmare, one he thought he’d left behind almost ten years ago, is the traumatic memory of the violent murder of his parents. Why is this memory surfacing now? Why are so many details from that day so vague and yet others so clear? Is the dream trying to force him to remember something his 8-year-old self has buried deep in his subconscious? Why can’t he shake this feeling that he’s forgotten something important?

of diving in too deep

He knows he needs to find the answers, but will revisiting this long buried past just re-open old wounds? Could unlocking these missing pieces of memory somehow change things for him, or for the Team? How much does Nambu Hakase know about back then that has never been discussed between them? Could he have the answers? If he does, why would he be keeping Joe in the dark? Maybe he can find a way to sneak a look at some ISO files and check what information there is on his parents. Or he could go back to BC Island and look for answers there.

and possibly the complications

He’d have to go alone and in secret. The last thing Joe wants is to explain all this to Ken, or have any of the others tag along. Somewhere in his memory is the certain knowledge that going back to BC would put his life in danger, but he can’t quite remember why. If the danger exists he can’t risk exposing the others to it too. But if he goes and the Team are called out on a mission he would be leaving them in danger anyway. And what if the answers aren’t there? Would the ghosts of the past keep haunting his dreams?

Especially at night

Joe groans and sits up on the bed. His head is aching. Trying to think this through rationally might be easier if he could just get some damned sleep! Fat chance of that happening. Mentally he is exhausted. Over the last few days there has not been a night of uninterrupted sleep, and the nightmares are becoming more frequent. Now he’s caught in an endless loop – the images of the dream are on his mind when he closes his eyes, if he manages to get back to sleep he has the nightmare, then he wakes up thinking about it all over again.

I worry over situations

How can he function effectively on a mission if he doesn’t get some decent sleep? If Ken hasn’t noticed the effects of sleep deprivation by now he soon will. It’s getting hard to stay focused during the day and that can fast become deadly in his line of work. Which option is worse, leaving to find answers and hoping his absence doesn’t drop the others in it, or staying and not being at his best? More than anything he wants to keep the others safe – they are his family now. Losing them is his greatest fear.

I know will be alright

Obviously, his teammates are more than capable of looking after themselves, and each other. He wouldn’t go into battle with them day after day otherwise, but even so Joe worries for all of them and does his best to keep a watchful eye on them. He worries most about Ken. The responsibility of being the Team’s leader often prompts him to put himself in danger to protect them. In response Joe realises he’s taken on the job of watching Ken’s back, calling him out on bad decisions and reminding him he’s only human. If he goes searching for information on his past the others will more than likely be okay. They’ll step up. They always do.

It’s just overkill.

Getting up off the bed, he takes a drink of water and opens the trailer door for some fresh, cool air. Daylight is approaching and the chance of getting any rest tonight is slipping away.
With all the day to day stress and Galactor’s usual bullshit to deal with, the last thing he needs is to be worrying about the past. It’s like the straw that could break this camel’s back.

Day after day it reappears

The murder of his parents set him on his quest for vengeance, but now it has become so much more. When Nambu Hakase promised to help him bring Galactor to justice all those years ago Joe never imagined it would drag on into a seemingly endless war. All the training, all the battles, all the destruction, all the lives lost – all this time and still no closer to stopping the bastards.

Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear.

And in all that time Joe has found he has more to lose. At eight years old he’d lost everything, his family, his home, his friends – even his name. He had nothing to fear, nothing anyone could take from him. He has a new family now. As the fight drags on he finds himself wondering how long it will be before Galactor get lucky and kill someone he loves. Has the fear of losing them had a hand in bringing back the memory of those he’s already lost?

Ghosts appear and fade away.

When he thinks about his parents he finds their images faded and vague, but the heart-stopping fear he felt when he heard the gunshots is still crystal clear. He decides he will have to face these ghosts, revisit his old home and find the missing pieces of his past. Maybe then he’ll be able to stop having this nightmare and return to normal. Who knows, maybe he’ll learn something that can help end this fight before too much more blood is shed.



Ghosts appear and fade away.

Ken hasn’t given up on trying to get back to sleep, but as he closes his eyes he sees an image shifting between the young father in the old photograph, and the man he knew as the leader of Red Impulse. The pain of loss accompanies the memory. He can’t go through that pain again. He’ll do whatever he can to keep his loved ones safe – to keep Jun safe. And the best way to do that is to defeat Galactor.


Ghosts appear and fade away.
The parade of faces in Jun’s mind plays on an almost endless loop. She just pushes it aside and ignores it whenever she can. Easy to do during the day when she can keep busy with work at the Snack J, chasing after Jinpei or completing a mission.
Or she can replace the ghostly images with a daydream of a happy, peaceful future.
If at first you don't succeed . . . hit it with a hammer.

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