LAP 11
The Boy From Planet Heru

Ryu is taking a beating during his latest race, The Skull's Sonic Phantom repeatedly ramming him into the walls. Jody Summer, monitoring this back at HQ, tells him to quash his hopes of making first place; his booster is heavily damaged and Jack Levin is already in first place, they can leave it up to him. Ryu is devastated - what's the point of racing if not to win?

Just before he shuts off the communicator, Jody reminds him of their mission and that The Skull is under Dark Million's employment; well, that sounds like a good reason to beat him, doesn't it? Ryu boosts at the last second, leaving the Sonic Phantom to grind to a halt against the barriers. A sweet move, for sure, but the Platoon are doubtful he'll make it to the finish line.

Jack makes it to the final lap and is enjoying the solitude of first place, until the Dragon Bird comes roaring up behind him. The Astro Robin boosts to increase the gap between them, and Ryu does the same... only for his booster to fail, causing his machine to conk out. The Dragon Bird drifts limply to one side, slowing to a creaky halt as the rest of the racers pass him by. What a time to lose.

The race isn't over yet - Jack is still far ahead of the pack, but one racer is quickly creeping up on him. If Ryu's already wiped out, then it can only mean... Captain Falcon! He slowly catches up on the boy racer, the two fighting for first place, but in the end the Blue Falcon snatches victory by a nosecone. The crowd gets hype, and in an unknown location, a figure in green applauds Falcon's success.

Jody gives Ryu an earful once he returns to the station - their job is to ensure Zoda doesn't get the prize money, you dingus. He was certain his engine was fine, but all machines have their limits; he should think twice before pulling a stunt like that again.
Ryu meets up with the rest of the Platoon and tells Jack that Jody's scheduling a meeting with him: he hopes it's her finally confessing her love to him, but Ryu retorts she'll probably be putting him through driving school again. The two get violent, but EAD is there to break it up.

Lucy assures them there's always next week's grand prix, though Clash comments that Captain Falcon has beaten the two of them everytime he's shown up. Face facts, that guy's a better driver. Ryu asks who he is, and nobody gives a solid answer: his identity is a mystery, and his spending habits an enigma. Clash even goes so far as to say anyone who sees his true face will keel over and die. That said, maybe the man's techniques could teach them a thing or two!

At his battle station, Zoda clobbers The Skull for his incompetence, but is interrupted by a surprise transmission from Black Shadow. Zoda vows to defeat Captain Falcon next time, but that's not who Black Shadow's concerned about; it's the runt, Ryu Suzaku, he wants rid of. Zoda is sure he can think of something for the next race.

While reflecting in the police station's observation deck, Ryu is visited by Dr. Stewart, making sure he's keeping all right. Still curious, he asks the doctor if he knows anything about Captain Falcon. All he knows is a story that supposedly happened five years ago:
A transport ship docked on planet Heru was suddenly attacked, but before the police could arrive...

... it had been left a smoking ruin. The investigation revealed it was a smuggler ship, possibly under Black Shadow's command, and the only surviving crew member's final words spoke of a blue F-Zero machine.
Ryu is pretty hyped up: Captain Falcon destroyed such a huge ship singlehandedly? Dude, why haven't they recruited him yet! Stewart is quick to remind him this is only hearsay; they don't know the true story behind the attack, and whether or not Falcon is friend or foe.

The Galaxy Mobile Platoon make the long flight to planet Heru; the planet is too poor to afford a warp gate, but F-Zero means a lot to the populace. Once ravaged by civil war, it has since had the chance to rebuild, though there is still a large population of orphans. Ryu and Jack have been invited to a charity event at a local orphanage, so they'll have to bring their biggest smiles.

Hovering above Heru's forest, Zoda communicates with a freelance computer cracker who has devised a key that'll allow them to steal the Dragon Bird. They confirm the payment and sign off, but what Zoda doesn't know is the man on the other side of the transmission was a mere boy! Miss Killer snoops in on Zoda's plan: he aims to steal the Dragon Bird and discover its secrets... and failing that, they might just steal it so he can't take part in the race! Fiendish!

The boy, Clank Hughes, leaves to head for the race track, only to walk into a football game betweeen other orphans: they tease him that he'll never afford an F-Zero racer, especially when his father is a traitorous criminal. Clank is furious, cursing their lies and claiming his dad was a renowned Galaxy Police officer, but without any proof he gets mocked some more. He kicks their ball away and runs away in a huff... oblivious that Captain Falcon witnessed the whole thing.

Mr. Zero the announcer is present at the charity event to proclaim the arrival of Ryu Suzaku and Jack Levin, to the cheers of the children. They're quickly mobbed by adoring pint-sized fans, all clamouring for autographs, but in the excitement, no one notices Clank sneaking past them all...

... and into the cockpit of the Dragon Bird! His homemade key quickly cracks the machine's password, and he zips away before Ryu can catch him. He borrows the Astro Robin to chase after, the kids thrilled by this turn of events. What's even more exciting is the surprise appearance of the Blue Falcon, zipping past them in the same direction!

Ryu tries to keep up, struggling with how differently the Astro Robin handles. Just when he thinks he's caught up, the Dragon Bird flies straight off the track and into the foliage below!

He does the same and drives through the forest path, wondering where this kid thinks he's going. Captain Falcon appears out of nowhere behind him and quickly overtakes, boosting down the path. Now what's he doing here?
Clank is having a ball in his F-Zero machine, and exits the forest into an open field, only for the Blue Falcon to overtake and get in his path.

Shocked, Clank pulls the brakes on the Dragon Bird, spinning it wildly before coming to a safe if sudden stop. Captain Falcon opens the cockpit, finding the boy has fainted. Noticing the boy's pendant, he opens it up to see a photograph of the boy and his father. This triggers a memory within Falcon...

... back to when he assaulted that Dark Million smuggler ship. Ploughing his Blue Falcon through waves of robot sentries, he travelled to the ship's supply deck and exited his ship...

... only for a human guard to step out. The guard knew the Captain no more than anyone else, but Falcon knew the guard personally: Roy. Shocked, the guard believed he knew who the legendary racer truly was, only for Zoda to appear. He knew of Roy's treachery, and pointed a gun at him.

Roy leapt at Zoda to give Falcon a chance to escape, but only won himself a laser blast in the gut. With no one stopping him now, Zoda pointed his blaster at the Captain... only for Roy to trigger hidden explosives he had planted. Falcon had no option but to escape the detonating vessel on his lonesome...

Clank snatches back his pendant, and Falcon quizzes him on why he stole this machine, but gets no answer. Hearing the Astro Robin approaching, Captain Falcon grabs Clank by the waist; he's committed a crime. Does he really want to be arrested by the police? He stuffs him in the Blue Falcon and leaves before Ryu arrives, finding his machine abandoned in the field.

After being returned to town, Clank wishes to know why the Captain bailed him out. He tells him his father was a good and honest man, but refuses to acknowledge if he knew him. Falcon tells the boy there's nothing left for him on planet Heru; he should travel to Mute City, and there he will find his future. Clank still wants to know more, but the Blue Falcon speeds away, leaving him with his thoughts.

The Heru Grand Prix is underway, and the Dragon Bird, Astro Robin and Blue Falcon are battling for first place. Ryu believes he has an advantage - he was on this course just yesterday! - but Captain Falcon seals first place, though the two others were behind by only a hair. Clank is in the audience watching the incredible win, and thinking on what he was told yesterday, gets up and leaves.

Zoda is naturally upset - that cracker failed him! He was robbed! He was swindled! He... has an incoming message from Black Shadow. Oy.
While on the podium Ryu expresses thanks to Captain Falcon for helping to get his machine back, but he leaves without saying a word; He regales this to Lucy and Jack on the long flight home. Jack comments the Captain must be the silent hero type of guy, though Lucy remarks that's always better than the noisy ones.

While checking in on his Dragon Bird, Ryu finds an unexpected surprise: Clank has stowed away! The two visit Falcon House and learns the kid is a self-proclaimed computer expert, though Ryu lectures him on the criminality of hacking. Clank subsequently hacks the café's computer to tell Burt he could be getting better deals on his water, internet and electric, and he should work on a better sleeping schedule as well. That little sneak!

Burt is quick to praise the kid as a bright young spark, and Clank asks if he can get a job in the café. Burt is happy to offer one, and he'll give him room and board as well. Ryu is vexed; who'd want this brat around 24/7, but Burt clearly sees a bright future for the child.

Burt's Classroom: If you didn't know already, F-Zero racing is pretty popular and has race tracks on a wide range of planets.

4Kids broadcast: This episode was broadcast 12th as Flashback.

Planet Heru is dubbed "planet Forno", and Clank is renamed Tech.

The year on Clank's F-Zero poster is removed.

One of the Heru orphans flashes Clank the finger after he kicks their ball away; this is edited so he's only raising a fist.

Even though it's tiny and barely visible, they took the time to paint Zoda's gun red.

The dub really hammers in that Clank is too young to drive; it's the brunt of the teasing he gets from the orphans, and the only real scolding he gets from Captain Falcon. Falcon also makes his suggestion to move planet sound like it'd be what Roy would've wanted, which is actually a good move - otherwise it sounds like the Captain is pressuring a kid into living with a total stranger in a different country.