A continuation of the previous two chapters. The Gatcha-characters have now been migrated to their own Gatchahood, which means that Jun will have to rely on Townies and the like for customers. Unless she really wants the Demon-5 crew around, since there is now a separate Demon-5 house for the Gatchahood and the BOTP-hood house has been renamed to DN-5, as they were called in the hacked/translated version - we don't want to shock any parents!
To mark the partial skinning of DN/Demon-5 (the family I said I'd never skin), the re-hatting of Captain Cronos/Red Impulse and the reuniting of the Red Impulse members on one single plot, these families will be the main players in the chapters below.
Chapter 3: At the house of the stars
DN-5, the hippie rock group that made their biggest hit playing Spectran Murder Music - although not by choice - own a glamorous villa in Simsville, with plenty of room for parties and guests.
That is to say, the ground floor is glamorous. The first floor is a bit drab, with pastel carpet, recreational spaces that seem too large and empty to really relax in, and a boring practice room with spare beds for studio musicians hired for recording sessions; a room that hasn't really changed much since the group tried to make it big working as wedding singers.
"It just doesn't fit our star status any more," the lead singer sighs one morning in her luxury bedroom.
And when the lead singer wants something to happen, it happens. "Goodbye, celery carpet. Goodbye, tasteful but boring floorboards. Prepare to be ripped up!"
For starters, let's liven up that boring practice room with a Hawaiian theme.
And let's get some colour into the other rooms, too!
Now this is a bedroom you'd want to wake up in.
And these walls are just too groovy - the right thing when you're trying to find some inspiration.
A room used as a lounge should have a loungy atmosphere.
"That's way better! Let's test the bar."
And what about the patio? Wouldn't it make a great dance floor?
It was a lot of work, but the results are worth it.
Let's see what the mail brought in. Ooh, fan mail! A letter from a girl called... Princess? Wasn't she involved in the rescue mission? Let's invite her over! Right after I call the cleaners to tidy the place up a little.
Hardly able to believe the invitation, Princess nervously walks up to the villa with the two sculptures in front. There's an unopened package before the entrance - are they even in?
To pass the time and calm her nerves a bit, she admires one of the sculptures. The door opens. "Hello, there you are! So happy to meet you!"
"Do come in. You're a bit early, the cleaners haven't finished yet. In fact, they haven't even started yet."
"In the meantime, would you like to play arcade games?"
"I know, let's go outside! We've had a great new dance floor installed. I'll put some music on." Hardly believing this is happening, Princess has a wild time in one of the dancing cages.
"Whew, that was fun! Do you want to hear our guitarists play some of that music live? The animators didn't bother to give them names, so I always call them Guitar Guy 1 & 2."
"Huh? The drummer plays guitar too?"
"Sure! In this band, we all know how to play every instrument. It's the secret of our success! Don't believe me? Listen to this!"
Embarrassingly enough, the skillfully played sonata is interrupted by a rumbling noise. "Feeling peckish? How about some fruitcake while I fix lunch?" Princess happily accepts.
"Lunch is served!" The band members lose no time in grabbing a plate, and Princess finds herself seated between some Very Big Names in Music (if the animators had bothered to give them names).
"I think the cleaners have finished upstairs. Come on up, there's lots I want to show you. How do you like the model railway set?" Princess claps her hands with delight.
"Oh, and this you have to see. The very first transporter to come out on the consumer market! Built with Center Neptune technology!" Princess gives it a try. It tingles.
"What next? You like VR helmets? Wait, I've got something better. Charades!"
Princess takes place on the couch and watches the miming.
Keyboard Guy does likewise, but gets it completely wrong.
"What were you thinking?" Guitar Guy 1 says. "Highways look like this!" Princess stands up to watch more closely. "Is it a chicken?" she ventures.
"You guessed right. Your turn! Hmm, something with fuzzy ears... A teddy bear?"
"It is? It's a teddy bear? Wow, we are so totally on the same wavelength!"
"I still haven't shown you the pool yet. Would you care for a swim?"
So would the others.
It's getting too dark outside, so the party is continued upstairs in the tiki room - and what a warm, cosy room it is in the evening.
Guitar Guy 2 does some highly antique disco moves.
"Hey, this lamp isn't on yet. I'll fix that."
Princess changes before coming in, then dances with the lead singer, who compliments her: "I really dig your style!"
Hang on a sec while I change, too - no wait, here's something better - the costume trunk!"
Both Princess and the lead singer dress tastefully and tropically in purple.
Unfortunately, for the guys, there's less options...
To end a wonderful evening, Guitar Guy 2 strums some Hawaiian tunes. Awed, Princess reflects that she must be the only outsider ever to have seen him without sunglasses.
Meanwhile, on planet Spectra, Zoltar is reading The Intergalactic Gazette. "Well, well. DN-5 to break up? Band members want to pursue solo careers due to artistic differences?"
"I wonder if they'd care to do any solo albums for Spectra... Bwahahahahaa!"
Chapter 4: It's never over
Meanwhile, in a very different universe...
The Red Impulse team have built a temporary base near a suspected centre of Galactor activity, their individual units reflecting their different personalities. Masaki's house is the most colourful.
More muted: Oniishi's house.
And, of course, cheerless and bare of all luxuries, the house of Kentaro Washio, captain of Red Impulse: expressing clearly that life is for fighting Evil, not for hanging around or having fun or bringing up a family, or something.
And here the man himself who in his study sits... Though sitting is for wussy wimps, so he's torturing himself on the workout machine.
Resting after a hard day's work of training, he has a curious dream. He's on a mission in the Himalayas, trying to find Galactor HQ.
His old friend Nambu and Nambu's financer, president Anderson, visit their home base. Oniishi, who has stayed behind, receives the visitors and cooks up a hamburger meal.
Nambu asks where he is, but Anderson interrupts: "Red Impulse is finished. He's dead."
Just at that moment, he walks onto the lot. Nambu doesn't seem to see him.
Anderson doesn't seem to see him, either. Maybe he really is dead.
At this thought, the table goes up in flames, hamburgers and all, burning Oniishi, although he stays unharmed himself. Seeing the grim reaper coming to collect his old teammate, he begs to be taken instead.
Death doesn't want him; but for his self-sacrifice, Oniishi is returned to him - as a ghost.
Waking up in a sweat, he rapidly puts on his trademark outfit and goes outside to pick up the paper.
He sits down in a quiet spot to read it. What's this then: strange ships sighted near beach resort, odd goings-on in Old Town, and oh yes, a millionaire from Ameris bought what's supposed to be a deserted Galactor base to turn it into a party palace. Some people don't know what to do with their life.
When he goes back into the house, his teammates are already having breakfast, and talking about the new local hotspot. Or rather Masaki is commenting that it's the place to meet chicks, while Oniishi nods and chews.
Washio quickly outlines his plan for today: they will each investigate suspicious parts of the neighbourhood - in disguise, of course - and meet again in the evening to discuss their findings. He assigns Oniishi to the so-called party palace, afraid that Masaki would spend too much time chatting with chicks to notice anything else. They wait outside Masaki's bedroom while he changes.
And off they go: men with a mission!
Oniishi has doubts about his mission the moment he arrives at the open-all-day party house where the locals are gathering. It's still very rough, a bunch of inflatable seats and some dance tiles thrown on the bare floor, like a rave party held in a bunker. The visitors are in keeping with the decor.
Like that chick with the Condor outfit. Is this a new fashion?
Noticing him, another woman screams at her friend: "Eeeee! It's Red Impulse!" There goes his cover. "Don't be silly," the friend says, "he doesn't look anything like Red Impulse. He doesn't even have a mustache!" Phew. "Then why is he dressed like Red Impulse?" "He must be very fashionable. It's all the rage to dress like celebrities these days, you know."
At the buffet stands the host of the party, looking surprisingly young, wild-haired and dressed-down for a millionaire. He has a free and easy manner, encouraging the guests to have fun and try out whatever they like. "And if you want to take a look around upstairs, go ahead. Just don't break anything."
Oniishi tries to blend in, in a way that will discourage people from starting a conversation with him.
Totally unrecognized - clearly, he is no celebrity - Nambu questions a partygoer. "So, this used to be a Galactor base?" "Who cares," the other one replies. "Entrance is cheap and the first week it was totally free. Man, the neighbour hood needs a hangout like this. I'm sick of getting ripped off by Downtown taxi drivers."
At the buffet, Oniishi spots both Nambu and - surprise surprise - Ken. "I was bored," Ken says apologetically to Nambu. "So Joe dragged me over here. It looks like a dump now, but it's going to be built up bit by bit. And the owner's into charity, too - half the revenue goes to the Lost Puppy Foundation."
Joe is eyeing the mechanical bull when he sees an even stranger guest: president Anderson. "Uh, I didn't figure you'd come to a place like this. Is it safe to go out without bodyguards?" "Young man, the worst that could happen to me here is having someone spill beer over me."
"Drew Carey? Oh yes, he drops in all the time," the popular and charitable millionaire assures his guests. "In fact, I'm expecting him around now."
Perfect timing. Even Oniishi can't help feeling a bit impressed.
"You don't know who Drew Carey is? You must be living in a cave." Nambu looks pained; calling his mansion a cave falls a little short of the truth.
He shrugs and looks around for the host, who is setting a good example amusing himself with the arcade games. "Want to have a try? Here you go." Nambu sighs and obliges. "We try to be a fun place for all ages - something the whole family can enjoy. We're thinking about adding a cinema. You like films?"
Anderson has made use of the commotion around Drew Carey's visit to snoop around upstairs. A runway for flying craft - yes, looks like an old Galactor base. There's no trace of any Galactor activity right now, however.
Other guests, including the art freak, have also taken up the host's invitation to look around upstairs. "Wow, an authentic Galactor relic - Berg Katze's famous plastic blue mirror with ears. That must've cost a fortune."
Joe - who, as has been said before, is not really a party type - is likewise satisfying his curiosity. "You've got a pretty cushy place upstairs, mister... uh... say, what's your name?" His host seems a bit agitated. "Oops, gotta go. Later!"
To be continued...