Where were we. The newly disbanded DN-5 have made an appearance at the grand opening of the Hosts' recreational centre, where all members of the Intergalactic Federation are welcome to mix and mingle, including highly intelligent ex-G-Force members and their mothers. One such ex-member, Don Wade, has made an unexpected acquaintance.
The Gatchaman chapter had to wait for a new update to finish at least one Masked Assassin skin. To compensate, it's a bit longer than usual.
I should add that younger Toguro and Puu are co-starring courtesy of Sky Hi, one of the few sites in the Sim links list that is still up at this moment.
Chapter 7: New life, new friends
It's a beautiful day in the Simiverse. Mrs Wade waters the flowers, her little boy is off to school and the sun shines.
"Bleah! School is boring. All they teach is stuff I already know." It seems Donny is about to play truant.
G-Force doesn't have to worry about school, they learn at home. Sometimes. Right now, they're playing "We're a famous rock band" using the fancy dress wardrobe. "How come we're all wearing the same? We've got to get some more outfits into this thing."
Meanwhile, the real rock band is into very different pursuits. "How's it coming on, drum-boy?" "Hmm, it's beginning to look like something."
The singin' chick, on the other hand, just stares at a blank canvas. "Inspiration... I need inspiration."
"Maybe painting just isn't my thing. Maybe I should try acting. 'Oh Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo...' Oh, I can't do this in front of a bathroom mirror. I need something more stylish."
"How's the self-expression going?" asks the guitar player who never takes off his shades. His companion is playing Chopin. Dropping his voice, he says: "Guess what. The drummer wants to write a novel."
As the keyboard guy boos the guitar guy for playing such prissy music, the singer considers. A novel, eh?
"A novel... I've never really been into literature... Maybe now is a good time to start."
At that moment, at a different address, someone is getting impatient. "Mala! Aren't you done yet?"
"Hang on, I'm fixing my hair. You can use the bath in a moment."
"I know you have a thing about hiding your face, but aren't you overdoing it a bit?"
"Ah well, just keep a low profile. My visitor will be here any moment now, and I don't need him to see - hey, the doorbell."
"Hi there, it's the rocket scientist! Come in! Pizza's on the table."
"You're early," Mala says. "I'm playing truant," Donald explains. "I snuck out during gym class."
"School's a waste of time. They won't let me attend science class because they're afraid I'm going to make another mecha."
"Good thing you came here, then! I'll fire up the chemistry set for you."
Another day, another joint... In their free time, the members of DN-5 tend to frequent the karaoke and jazz cafes. But they haven't been around lately.
"Nope, haven't seem them in ages," says the man watching yet another hopeful amateur. "Too bad, that chick could really sing. You're not into sixties music, are you? You look like you might be. Care to do one of their songs?"
"Don't mind if I do!"
"DN-5? No, never seen them here. Too bad, I'd love to do a print ad with them. Why, are there rumours that they're starting their own clothes line?"
"Come back any time," the photographers says as Mala leaves. "Anorexic models are all the rage. As long as they're not so light that they blow off the catwalk."
While the next model flexes and primps, Mala has a long deep think. Where would ex-rock stars on a quest for their inner selves hang out?
The singin' chick has decided to search for her inner self in a picturesque Old Town quarter.
"I feel all dried up... If only inspiration would well up inside me... like this fountain..."
"I think I'll just sit here, and watch what goes on around me. That's what novelists do, right? They sit and watch life go on around them, and then they write books about it."
After a bit of sitting on the hard iron chair, the would-be novelist decides that maybe it's more comfortable to sit on the soft plush chairs in the library. Als she goes inside, she sees a very familiar face, tucked deep into a book.
"Uhh.. I hope I'm not disturbing you, but... I think we've met?"
At first, it seems she's being ignored. Then, the person addressed half looks up from the book. "Sorry, were you talking to me? When I'm reading Faulkner, I don't always notice when someone calls me."
"Oh, wait - you're the famous rock star from the party! Great to see you. I didn't think you'd be a bookworm. Do you like Faulkner too?"
"Isn't it funny how we both have the same tastes?" the singin' but near-illiterate chick comments at the table where she's been invited to dinner. "I like sixties music, you like sixties music, I love to sing, you love to sing, we have the same kind of furniture and we both dig Jack FitzHemingway!"
"Maybe we should start a literary circle," her hostess says with a somewhat grim smile. "There's a lot of classics out there waiting to be discovered. And who knows, when you've read all the greatest works, you might have enough inspiration to write a great book yourself?"
Chapter 8: Outfits
In a grotty little home, the yard of which is overrun with weeds and strays, the older of the Toguro brothers is awakened from a beautiful dream by an unwelcome visitor...
"It's that stupid bird again. Now can I kill it?".
"Just get out of bed and clean this mess. And stop pigging out on junk food."
The younger Toguro being his usual dour self, his brother tries to make conversation about some heavy metal band called Megallica.
He doesn't speak until the older one has started washing up. "I won't be at work today. I'm going to a meeting about some job opportunity that might be our ticket out of here."
"I'm late. Gotta run."
Jinpei, who did go to work that day, asks if the children's uniforms are in yet. "Unfortunately, our manufacturer seems to have contracted Irritable Bowel Syndrome and is only working half-days. We do have a uniform in child sizes, if you don't mind wearing something more... girlish?"
Outside the office, Joe is berating Ryu while Jun hopes and prays that he won't recognize her.
"Uh-oh, bad timing," Jinpei thinks as he steps out of the office, but fortunately for him, Joe's eye is caught by something much more conspicuous - a very familiar purple rear.
As there are no fake doctors around to stamp on, he rushes in to give that person a long overdue double helping of knuckle sandwich.
"Oh hi, it's you!" says this person, revealing him(her?)self as none other than the owner of the Galactor-themed entertainment centre. "What do you think of my disguise? It fools everyone. I should have become an actor."
Downstairs, a phone rings. "Would you excuse me just a moment?" The owner slips on some normal clothes over the jumpsuit and runs to answer it.
"Thank you for calling back about my question. I think I have most of the Red Impulse civilian outfit right, but didn't it originally also include gloves?"
On re-entering the office, he grabs a different outfit from the wardrobe. "Since you don't like Galactor uniforms, here's something a bit less 'villainy'. It's my own invention, the new Gatchaman mystery member outfit for fans who don't want to be an existing member of the team, but just want to express their support."
In response to Joe's steadily dropping jaw, he continues: "The Gatchaman Ninja Team outfits are a bigger hit than Galactor uniforms. Don't believe me? Come Downtown and I'll show you." And indeed, at the first location they visit, Joe already spots two impostors.
One is the chick who showed up at his party, the other is... someone else, and that over there is - phew! - Ken.
While Joe looks this way and that, his companion is only interested in the fast food bar. "What's a man got to do to get a hamburger around here?"
As the caterer hands over the burgers, Nambu decides he's seen enough and leaves discreetly through the back door.
While his companion tucks into a hamburger, Joe has the feeling he's being watched.
Jun, on the other hand, hopes that no one will notice her, even though Nambu assures her they're blending in with the crowd.
Spotting them while about to relax in one of the recliners, Joe is struck by the bizarre nature of the situation. The doc in his suit sleeping in a chair by the pool, just a few yards away from a Katze lookalike in a Gatchaman ripoff T-shirt. You can't make this stuff up.
"You look edgy. how about a swim?"
Joe agrees, if only so he can keep an eye on the supposedly napping doctor.
He's glad when they leave the boardwalk and go to a bar for a much-needed drink.
He relaxes enough for some small-talk and says that his job is being a racer.
What he sees downstairs in the restaurant tightens his stomach. Not only Nambu and some green goon, but the Red Impulse squad are snooping around.
Kentaro sees his spying activities hampered by the woman he's invited for dinner, as she clearly wants more than dinner alone.
"Sorry, not on the job." Masaki is luckier, the woman sitting at his table is too nervous to say a word.
After Nambu passes him without seeming to notice him on a (much-needed, after all the drinks) visit to the gents, Joe has had enough, and decides to split.
"That's a... daring place, for a first date", the now slightly drunk party palace owner says, eyeing the park's swinging love seat. Joe doesn't care. This is one place where he won't be easily seen.
Jun is counting on the uniform to preserve her anonimity, while Ryu's dad chats to her about how they can afford nice clothes now due to his son's new job. Said son is at another table, trying his luck with someone who digs green uniforms and hoping Joe won't show up, shoot his mouth off and ruin everything.
While Nambu is already on his way - as is the Amano-loving art fiend - Joe sits there without saying anything, feeling extremely uncomfortable.
"Hey, look!" his companion says, breaking the silence. "Another Condor fan!"
And who would it be but the chick from the party. He's about to give her a piece of his mind when Masaki steps in.
"You're tailing me, right?" Masaki nods. "We're trying to find out the real identity of this millionaire Gatchaman freak. Any help you can give would be welcome. Don't let him out of your sight."
Said freak looks around to see where his date went.
Not at the cabin - wait, there he is, near the public toilets.
Joe remarks on the big plastic blue mirror, that he saw in the restaurant earlier and, before that, at the party palace itself.
"That's part of my business plan: a Katze mirror in every public place. There's replicas in both toilets at every high-class restaurant and snackbar."
"In parks like this, we just hang one out in the open."
"And if there's no toilets, we hang one directly in the bar."
Joe's horror and amazement is nothing compared to that of the younger Toguro at his brother's new working clothes. "I don't know what you think you're wearing, but Christmas is long over."
"And STOP PLAYING WITH YOURSELF!!"
The part of tiny Toguro that isn't his hand puppet, huffs: "Guess who got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning!"
Remembering that morning's comment about junk food, he quickly grabs the bag of crisps lying around and stuffs it in the trash compactor. His brother doesn't notice, but grabs the plate that's waiting for him and wolfs down dinner.
"This is the only uniform they've got in my size, so deal with it. How'd the meeting go?"
Younger Toguro doesn't reply until he's finished eating. As his brother collects the plates, he says: "We're moving to Vacation Island. I have orders to replace the shark - whatever that means."
"Good. I can't wait to get out of this place and do some real work - washing dishes is all I do lately. I hope they'll let me kill someone soon."
To be continued...