GE 999 Ultimate Journey Stop 5-1 ~ 5-4
The Fifth Stop is called “Jet-Black Phantasma”.
The 999 conductor announces that they are entering the Ultimate Star System, where the planet Eternal is located. Tetsuro is tempted to ask Maetel what the heck they are supposed to do once they’re there anyway, but he ends up telling her he understands if she doesn’t want to talk about it. He further tells her not to worry and that he will share her burden 50/50.
Maetel explains that she was told by Photon (the goddess of light that lives on Eternal) that they needed to go there, and she was told why, but that she forgot what it was right after she stopped speaking with Photon. [This is a Wagnerian touch, I think, where the hero/heroine is made to forget something crucial, something they will remember perhaps at a crucial moment.] So the deal is Maetel hasn’t been hiding the mission details to Tetsuro, she herself doesn’t know. That said, she does reveal to the boy that upon this mission hinges the fate of the universe, and that Photon told her about it before Earth was destroyed. This is basically the same thing Harlock was telling the Leaguers on Heavy Melder: reversing Earth’s destruction is but part of the 999’s mission.
Maetel now says she wants to thank Tetsuro for his kind words of support. He says there’s no need for it but she insists. I’ll quote what happens next [my translation]:
“Maetel moved softly from her seat and gently put her hands on Tetsuro’s shoulders. And then, just as she was going to join her glossy lips with Tetsuro’s, “Maetel! Tetsuro!”
It’s the Conductor that calls them because of an emergency. Remember what just almost happened, though!
So, ahead of the 999 and blocking the way to Eternal is some mysterious huge celestial body.
The 999’s humanoid computer Canon explains to her passengers that the body is not from this universe, as it seems to be several different sizes at the same time (some quantumy deal of some sort?). Anyway, Maetel knows what it is: a Phantasma. Phantasmas are dimensional fortresses, flying behemoths belonging to the Darqueen and handed down to her Metanoid minions. According to Maetel, this is a small one (Darqueen’s own Phantasma is supposed to be light-years wide or something~).
The Conductor is confident they can take a round-about course, avoid the fortress ship and still reach Eternal. When Canon tries to reroute the 999, she finds the Phantasma has overriden all controls. A voice announcing himself as Loge, the owner of the Phantasma 4225, tells Maetel and Tetsuro he will welcome them to his place. Which means that the 999 gets pulled into the Phantasma.
Once the 999 is inside the Phantasma, a bunch of robotic arms grab a hold of it and lock it in place. Loge’s voice is heard again, telling Maetel and Tetsuro to come meet him..or else. A group of egg-shaped armed robots, called Guardnoids, “escort” the duo to Loge’s place.
Loge is dressed in black, and his hair is all ablaze. Tetsuro is his sassy self, asking: “What do you want with us, Metanoid?” and Loge immediately says he’s not a Metanoid. He is a god.
Tetsuro is all confused, so Maetel gives him a primer: Loge is the god of fire, a god and not a god, the one who betrayed Valhalla, the man who summoned the end of the world (a.k.a. Ragnarok), which will arrive along with the Darqueen. [Many readers will know him by his Norse name, Loki, rather than the Wagnerian version Loge which Leiji employs here.]
Loge is pretty impressed at Maetel’s knowledge. He tells his captives why they’ve been captured: yes, Loge wants the end of the world to come, but he senses that there’s a chance that this might not come about. He’s figured out through his powers that the world’s last hope rests on Maetel and Tetsuro reaching Eternal and doing something with Photon’s help (what exactly he can’t see), so he’s basically decided to kidnap the heroes and keep them in his Phantasma until the Metanoid fleet arrives, destroys the Galactic League and then the entire universe. Oh, and he’ll let them watch all the action. And the only reason he doesn’t outright kill them is because as a deity he thinks it’s beneath him. [Oh my, but villains always make this mistake, huh!]
There’s a nice scene here. Loge says he’ll leave them now, he turns around, but then turns back to them, heads straight for Tetsuro and stares at his face. Tetsuro is angry, but Loge says: “Ah, Tetsuro Hoshino. I guess I do see the resemblance.” And then he leaves for good. What’s the meaning of this??
The Guardnoids escort Tetsuro and Maetel to a cell. Maetel now tells Tetsuro a bit more about Loge. The god is technically only a half-god (the other half is giant). Gods and giants have fought for eons, and even though Loge has managed to gain the confidence of Wotan and the friendship of Thor [interesting that Leiji opts not to use Donner, the Wagnerian version of the thunder god’s name], the reason he’s betrayed them is because of this complex of being a half-giant. The god side of him has won, clearly, since he’s not that large and he’s very clever, but he resents the pure gods and so he’s seized on Ragnarok to destroy them. He foresaw the end of the gods long ago, and he’s done everything in his power to bring it about ever since. If anyone ever brought up Ragnarok, he’d dismiss them as being silly, to lure the gods into a false sense of security. And if he ever saw a possible tool of destruction (the Darqueen, say) he did everything in his power to aid this.
Tetsuro starts to think up an escape plan, but Maetel stops him. There’s no way to escape this Loge-designed cell. They have to be patient and wait to be rescued. Patience, says Maetel, is the hardest thing in the world and perhaps even Tetsuro’s final test. The boy is upset at first but he decides to be patient.
Tetsuro sits down on the floor (I think) and starts thinking of the places he’s been to, then of the people who have helped him, and then those who have sought to harm him: Queen Promethium, Count Mecha, the Black Knight Faust…
Time for me to start quoting/translating again, this juicy bit is too hard to resist:
“Suddenly Tetsuro noticed that Maetel had snuggled up to him where he sat. He wondered what she must have been thinking about all of the time that they traveled down this road. But the thought only crossed his mind for an instant. Even though he was aware of the warmth of Maetel’s body, and her hair brushing his skin, these things did not move him at all. He simply focused on waiting.”
Now, on the one hand, we see Tetsuro clearly taking Maetel’s lesson of patience very seriously. But we wonder if the fact that Maetel’s immediate physical presence does not move him (does not touch him emotionally) doesn’t mean much more. Tetsuro wonders about Maetel’s thoughts, but only for a moment. And Maetel, what is she up to?? Reread what happened back in Section One. I’m starting to think that maybe what Maetel and Tetsuro have to do in Eternal is, well, have you seen Ghostbusters?
If so, it’s gonna be tough~
Darn it, I should have finished this post right here and it’d have been perfect, but the section isn’t even ended so I’ll keep going.
The waiting lasts about half a day. Suddenly the Guardnoids outside the cell burst into flames and Maetel’s earring flickers. Maetel is actually communicating with Canon, who’s telling her the Conductor and Claire are on the way. When the Conductor arrives, he’s got a mini-projection of Canon on his shoulder. Claire hands Tetsuro his warrior gun.
What happens next is the gang of four (five if you count Canon) make the trek back to the 999, beating lots of Guardnoids along the way. Canon has hacked the Phantasma’s computer system, so at first defenses are light, but as the system gets restored the number of Guardnoids increases more and more. Canon’s image hops on Tetsuro’s shoulder guides him in his shooting (“Two on your left, now one to the right!” etc.). Then, suddenly, Canon says she has to leave them and disappear. The Conductor falls to the ground after that (it turns out he’s exhausted, not actually injured LOL).
So..it looks like it’s lights out for the heroes when suddenly a ship rams into the corridor they’re in. And in fact it’s not a ship exactly, it’s Big One. The reason Canon left earlier is because she needed to guide Sirius Platoon to the 999ers’ current location. Bulge tells Tetsuro and co. that his platoon will contain the Guardnoids while they head over to the 999. I was at first surprised (silly me) that the 999ers didn’t just hop on Big One and leave.. I guess it’d be a crime to leave the 999 behind, huh. Not to mention it would mean leaving Canon behind too.
Tetsuro and co. run on, nearing the place where the robot arms have contained the train…and here ends section four.