The Story of Joe, the Condor
By Hisayuki Toriumi

Chapter 1

Cross Karakorum, deep in a part of the Himalayas untouched by human hand - A dense fog billows up from the ground. Joe, the Condor walks through the middle of the fog, as if swimming through it.

"Where is the God Phoenix? Where is Ken?"

On a wide plain, surrounded by the snowy top of the world, mysterious stone statues stand close to each other. Below that plain is the sought after Galactor head quarter.

At all costs, he has to give the location of the secret entrance to Ken... no, to his comrades from the Science Ninja Team. This may be Joe, the Condor's final task.

"That's fine. That's my reason to firmly breathe today on this Earth."

He has often given up his life. He has stood several times on the verge of death.

He is attacked by Galactor members and abducted to said underground central. The Galactor members are burning with hate, and Joe's whole body has been pierced with their bullets. Then Joe is also mistreated by Berg Katse, who is even more filled with hate and impatience. It's already over. How long has Joe been thinking that, the way things are going, he may be lucky to enter eternal sleep? Joe still clings to life, even in the midst of such desperation.

"It's the God Phoenix! The Science Ninja Team has arrived!" says the anguished voice of a Galactor trooper to Katse.

"I can't die yet! I want to live! I want to meet those guys alive!"

Covered everywhere with wounds, Joe, the Condor fights his fading consciousness, escapes from the guards and exits on the Earth's surface crawling like a caterpillar.

Through the heavy fog, cries are heard in the distance. Foosteps stomping on the earth resound.

"Are all the Galactor searching for me, now that I escaped from the underground base? Or is it..."

Or has, in the middle of that fog, the grand battle for life and death between the Science Ninja Team and Galactor already started?

Unconsciously, Joe's right hand holds his left wrist. But the bracelet, which is supposed to be there, has gone.

Through Katse's hand, it has been smashed. He searches at his side. The airgun is gone as well. He puts the hand in his pocket.

One piece.

Only one feather shuriken remains. Can he fight with this? If the first figures appearing in the dense fog are his teammates from the Science Ninja Team, everything will be fine. But it turns out to be Galactor members. Joe knows that he doesn't have the force anymore to throw a feather shuriken. If he still had, Katse wouldn't have been able to so easily evade the feather shuriken Joe threw with everything he had in that subterranean chamber.

"I have to survive nevertheless. Until I meet Ken. Even if my heart is torn open by the lead bullets of those guys, I have to live."

Joe sits down at the bottom of the stone statue with the feather shuriken in his mouth. He can only wait now. Wait... who will come?

The Science Ninja Team? Or Galactor?

The shouts disappear. There are footsteps far away. It gets quiet again. In the middle of this quietness, Joe hears another sound. In the beginning, it's soft and slow, then it becomes louder, approaches, and shatters. It's the sound of waves.

"Where can this place be? Me, my father, my mother... The shore of a summer health resort, at the end of the Summer, with only the three of us there. The sea is beautiful. I am piling up the moist sand, building a castle."

Chapter 2

The sound of a gun shot, then another one, mess up young George Asakura's life.

Until just a moment ago, his mother and father have been chatting joyously, now they they are dead, lying as if embracing each other. At their sides stands a masked, female assassin. The sound of waves. The light of the sun.

The wind blows as if stroking the beach. George Asakura takes the gun his father had grasped and takes a stand with both hands on the gun, approaching the assassin. The gun is much heavier than he thought. He wants to point the gun, but the more he hurries, the more the muzzle of the gun starts shaking.

The woman laughs under her mask. Slowly, she moves her hand and throws a rose. The rose remains stuck in the sand before George Asakura's eyes, and a faint lilac smoke emanates.

When he understands that this is a bomb, the beach is blown away with a flash and a bang. The little body is thrown violently to the ground. Nevertheless, George wants to get up. In his ear, he hears the voice of the assassin. He hears it while his consciousness is fading. These are words of damnation that he neither wants to hear nor wants to know.

How much time has passed? When George opens his eyes, he is carried in the arms of a gentleman, who looks like a scientist, with his thin glasses and moustache. Their eyes meet. The gentleman smiles.

It is Dr. Kozaburo Nambu from the International Science Organization, who hurried, together with other inhabitants from the island, to the scene of crime, immediately after the Galactor assassin had shot Giuseppe Asakura's family on the beach.

Mr. and Mrs. Asakura have died, but through a miracle, the child is alive. Nambu knows that leaving the child like this on the island is dangerous. Under the pretext that he is a doctor who just passed by, Nambu issues the declaration of death of George and takes him secretly off the island.

"There's nothing to worry about. Forget it all! You have been reborn. There's nothing on this island. Nothing has happened."

The scientists talks as if he were preaching. This is the meeting between Dr. Nambu from the ISO and George Asakura, no, Joe, the Condor.

Neither Nambu nor Joe can imagine now that, when the adult Joe visits this island again, the second act of the tragedy will be waiting.

Joe is taken to the house of Dr. Nambu. There, he meets another boy of the same age, who has applied to become a testpilot. It's Ken, the Eagle.

Ken is a cheerful child. He says that his father has gone missing while being a testpilot in the south. And that his mother has just died because of an illness. Nevertheless, Ken lives without worrying. Seeing Ken like this makes Joe think of him with envy. It's because Ken is still hoping that he can meet his missing father again sometime.

In Nambu's house, Ken and Joe are soon joined by Jun, Jinpei and Ryu. The five of them start receiving special education and training.

"Sometime, an evil organization named Galactor will challenge the world very much. For that day, you are.."

The Science Ninja Team is born.

In order to push the mantle plan ahead, a task of the ISO, Dr. Nambu visits every spot on Earth. He notices that everywhere, in all countries, an organisation introducing itself as Galactor has started to make its moves.

And, the place with the biggest organisation, is BC Island.

But not even Nambu knows that Joe's parents were Galactor, and that their blood is flowing in Joe's body. Moreover, Joe unconsciously shuts off the sickening memory of what he heard from the masked assassin in a curtain of light and forgets it.

Joe has only burned the strong hatred, that it was Galactor who killed his parents, into his brain.

"This is my fight for revenge."

The appearance of the mecha Turtle King, emerging from the bottom of the sea in a stormy night, is the beginning of the battle between the Science Ninja Team and Galactor. The God Phoenix flies through the sky, dives into the sea, destroys one mecha Berg Katse snuck in after the other and destroys Galactor's advanced bases.

But the fights always leave Joe unsatisfied.

The Science Ninja Team, as well as Nambu's orders, are always geared towards defense. They oppose the enemy because they attack. After finishing off a mecha, they return.

"That's no game. That's just an up and down. What's the purpose of the Science Ninja Team. What's the purpose of fighting. If we don't destroy the headquarters of the evil, if we don't pursue, and pursue, and corner their evil leader Berg Katse and stop his breath at the roots, those Galactor guys will always do the same things over and over. Every time, a child with a destiny like mine is thrown out."

Joe's patience is wearing thinner and thinner every day. Because of his impatience, he runs off by himself under certain circumstances, thus creating a gap between him and Ken, between him and the other comrades. In Joe's eyes, Ken is way too friendly.

"The guy doesn't hate. He only lives for his duty towards peace."

However, Joe thinks that this is the fight in which he can let all his hate burn.

He thinks that he's the person to play in this war which borrowed the name of justice, and to vanquish Galactor.

"If they want to call me a crazy fighter, so be it. It should be okay that there's a scoundrel who wants to destroy evil through his own personal hate, in the middle of these warriors fighting evil and crying 'justice'."

Joe envies Ken on one side for his uncomplicated character, on the other side he loathes it. Because he is the leader, he always wants to analyse everything calmly.

Sometimes he throws away his personal feelings and even wants to obey the orders issued by Dr. Nambu, which seem to be insensible.

Even when Jun was abducted by the Jigokiller plant, Ken has burned the flowers with his own hands, even though they were thinking that Jun might be inside on of those plants clogging the reservoir.

At that time, Joe strikes Ken for the first time. Joe knows that Jun is a bit attracted to Ken and Ken must feel this too.

Despite this, Ken disregards himself because of the lives of ten million citizens. He disregards Jun.

Indeed, later on, Ken runs away in dispair and doesn't even accept Doctor Nambu's call.

But when the incident is over and Jun has also been saved, Ken becomes the former obedient pupil again.

Why is it that Ken wants to throw away his own personal feelings? Why does he always take an unemotional view? It's okay to say no if it's no. It's okay to say that you like something if you like it. Is it not okay to act the way you think?

Is that a personality? And despite this, he's the leader of the Science Ninja Team?

But soon Joe will get to see Ken's true face. But at the same time, these events will create the feeling of seeing his own character in a mirror.

Galactor controls Hontwahl and lets a huge rocket explode outside the atmosphere. This causes the Van Allen Belt to descend towards Earth. Just when Earth is facing this crisis, Ken goes looking for his father and disobeys Nambu's orders for the first time.

Does the heart of a child longing for its parents let you forget that much? Together with the Van Allen Belt falling down, unnatural phenomena in nature are happening everywhere in the world. Finally, the ISO is driven close to surrendering to Galactor.

Despite this, Ken wanders alone through Hontwahl, searching for his father like crazy.

The commander of Red Impulse has appeared out of nowhere so far, everytime the Science Ninja Team was facing some danger and has saved them. When Ken learns that he is his father, it's also the day father and child are separated.

In order to blow the Van Allen Belt back outside the atmosphere, Ken's father, the commander of Red Impulse, gets into a huge manned rocket left behind by Galactor and dies there, in the wide sky, a glorious death.

Despite the the fact that this may have been the result of his own rash actions, no, much more because of this, what is going on in Ken's heart? Ken, who had to say goodbye to his father, whom he wanted to meet so much, in just a moment - for eternity.

It can be said that this is very similar to what happened to Joe, whose parents got killed before his eyes.

Because of all this, Ken changes. He pursues Galactor, showing his hate openly.

Even if the adversary is just a subordinate, like a Galactor errand-boy, he applies a iron fist, full of rage.

For Joe, seeing Ken in this state, is like seeing himself.

The rough deeds, driven by Ken's feelings, are nothing else but Joe's ugly side.

But the point in which Ken is different from Joe, is that Ken returns to his own self. No, he even shows a better leading style than before. Ken is Ken after all.

Even Joe, who treated Ken cooly because of his uncomplicated character, regards him now on the first and second look as leader.

That Joe thinks that Ken is his best friend in the world is probably a result of that incident with Marine Saturn.

At that time, Joe had led a life in which he was afraid of bright light. He had a feeling of refusal, as if he didn't want to see what was inside the light. That feeling became an incessant nausea.

Together with Ken, they dive into the deep sea. When they are abducted to a Galactor mother ship at the bottom of the sea, Joe's body fails in the warship's lighting and is completely paralysed. Ken leaves the motionless Joe behind and fights alone. The flames spread inside the warship. The mother ship activates the self destruct mechanism.

Inside the burning warship, Ken supports Joe and lets him face the flames.

"Remember, Joe! In the middle of those flames is the cause of your illness. Your memory is hidden. Until you remember, I will be waiting here."

If the mother ship on the bottom of the sea explodes before Joe recovers his memory, the two men will be turned into seaweed.

Joe remembers. That he is a child of Galactor.

They escape in the Marine Saturn by a hair's breadth from the mother ship. Inside the Marine Saturn, Joe is worried.

What will Dr. Nambu say when he learns that he is a child of Galactor? And Jun, Jinpei, Ryu, who fight against Galactor...

"Don't think of such stupid things. You are G-2 of the Science Ninja Team, Joe, the Condor."

How happy Joe must have been by Ken's words.

As promised, Ken doesn't say anything to Dr. Nambu and the others. But, Joe's feelings don't stop.

Also when Joe returns to BC Island, it's probably to ensure himself of his own past as well as to forget this past.

Father Allan... He's a companion from the time when Joe's name was George Asakura and when his mother and father were still well. They had formed a group of bad children in the city on the interior of the island, running around playing. Allan has grown up, become a priest and has dedicated his life to the education of the children. Joe has gone the opposite road.

Joe didn't come back because of revenge. But the situation forces him to commit bloody deeds.

Joe's hand, his bullets, they throw down one Galactor, then two. Allan wants to rebuke Joe by sacrificing his own life. Joe complains to the Science Ninja Team, who has come to his help, whether violence committed in the name of justice can be forgiven.

Because of this, Joe contemplates himself for a while. He considers trying to become like Ken or like Allan.

However, it looks like destiny absolutely wants to turn Joe into a blood thirsting wolf. Joe's body starts to suffer from illness. Joe becomes impatient. "While I am still alive..." He has once thought about living like Ken, like Allan, but in the end, he is a different person than they are. Just as Allan has shown Allan's way of living, Joe has Joe's way of living.

Joe is afraid of fearing death and runs off again, as if to chase away the shadow of death.

He preaches to himself "What is the matter with me, what is the matter with me.."

Ken notices first Joe's unusal behaviour. Then Jun, Jinpei and Ryu start worrying as well.

"It's nothing. Just normal tiredness."

Joe is afraid that, should they learn about the unusual happenings with his body, he will certainly be expulsed from the team.

He doesn't think of remaining a member of the Science Ninja Team to fight Galactor. He has the strong wish not to be separated from Ken, Jun, Jinpei and Ryu. When you go out onto a battle field, you never know when you're going to die. While he would be treated in hospital, Ken or Jun might get wounded. Maybe the God Phoenix would be blown up. They all live in a world where they don't know tomorrow. Isn't it the way of cowards to remain behind alone under the pretext of illness. They live together and they die together. Joe doesn't want to leave his friends and comrades.

But finally the day arrives on which Nambu and the Science Ninja Team learns about Joe's illness.

A doctor has accidentally saved Joe and reports to Nambu. Nambu then tells Ken and the others.

Galactor starts it last big operation, the Black Hole Operation. It is a plan like none before. It consists of throwing molecular bombs into the magma in the Earth, causing the neutrons contained in the magma to explode. Because the flow of the magma is intensified, the gravity in the Earth increases and the crust of the Earth is drawn towards the core, getting denser. Finally, the Earth disappears from space.

The Ninja Team departs, leaving Joe behind. Joe watches them leave. What he has left behind is the revelation that he has one week to ten days left to live.

"Rather than sitting and waiting for death, I want to use my remaining life for the battle against Galactor, for friendship towards Ken and the others."

Joe intrudes alone into the headquarters of Galactor, into Cross Karakorum.

Chapter 3

In an unmoving cloud, strange stone statues are vagely discernible. At the base of one of them, Joe is waiting, leaned against the statue, one feather shuriken in his mouth. Various events flow like a movie.

Things that had made him sad, things that had made him happy, things that had made him feel uneasy.

"I have faced death many times. Each time, I got ready for the end. But this time, it really does seem to be "The End". I am not good at talking and those around me have simply misunderstood me. Somestimes I was not liked, sometimes I was feared... there was only one guy who understood somebody like me. The leader of the Science Ninja Team, Ken, the Eagle. I want to meet him. I want to meet them and talk to him. Ken, nice Jun, sweet Jinpei, the Owl Ryu who would be happy about a meeting only..."

The wind makes noises. The fog moves. Steps can be heard and somebody comes running.

"Who is it?"

A white shadow runs past. Afterwards, a Galactor member! Levelling their guns, they aim at the white shadow running away. Without hesitation, Joe's feather shuriken flies. Groaning, the Galactor member collapses.

Through those noises, the white shadow turns around.

"Joe!"

Joe hears the sharp voice, similar to a astonished outcry, distantly in his consciousness. It's Jun, the Swan.

"Everything is okay. I'm not going to die" Joe wants to say.

But his voice fails him and his body falls down with a "Ohhhh". His mouth turns into a smile.

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