LAP 28
Black Shadow's Invitation

Miss Killer enters the throne room of Black Shadow to find a surprise waiting for her: a human brain in a jar. Black Shadow requests she contact Dr. Stewart of the Galaxy Mobile Platoon; he may be their enemy, but his advanced medical skills will be just what they need to make the brain functional again. Miss Killer receives strange visions, as if the brain were trying to communicate with her.

A letter is sent to the Galaxy Police, requesting the doctor's assistance if he is to revive "Roy", and Jody, Tanaka and the chief discuss how to handle the matter: they clearly don't have a medic if they need to borrow theirs, but will they kidnap or kill Dr. Stewart? Roy was a valued member of the Galaxy Police, but they never learnt if he died or was merely missing in action; no matter what state he's in, they can't leave him in the hands of Dark Million. The three decide to keep the subject a secret until Jody talks with Stewart personally.

"Everyone knows I can keep a secret!"

Stewart and Clank are clacking away on their computers, the doctor restructing a DNA string while Clank is trying to research his father, but having little luck. Stewart knew him, and tells the boy he was a courageous and intelligent man who fought for justice to the bitter end. Jody summons the doctor away to tell him about the crisis personally...

... and he's made up his mind. He's going in. Jody is shocked, as are the rest of the Platoon; this is Dark Million he's talking about, it's risky as shit! Jody demands to know how they all knew about this (though we all know the answer), but Stewart is in no mood to argue. As a doctor, it's his duty to help people, and Roy Hughes was a valued member, a friend to Jody's brother and father to Clank. Even if the chance of reviving him is minute, he can't ignore an opportunity like this.

Jody reflects on the situation in the observation deck before Ryu enters, telling them the meet-up is scheduled tomorrow. The doctor is preparing hard for the upcoming operation, but the two agree that he can't go on this mission alone...
At Falcon House, Lucy asks Clank if he remembers his father; of course he does, he always carries the photo pendant of him everywhere. He asks her what she knows about him, but she shuts her mouth; she can't let the kid know about Roy's condition...!

It's the day of the arrangement, and Dr. Stewart drives his way to the meeting point, the Dragon Bird discretely following him from out of his line of sight. Stopping by a snow-capped mountain range, Stewart disembarks and awaits his transport.

High above, the Galaxy Runner monitors the area from the sky. Ryu hangs tight, but it doesn't look like anyone's coming... when suddenly, a massive shape bursts from beneath the snow...

... it's a Dark Million battle station! It docks on the edge of a cliff (about as well as a giant space-faring battle station can dock) and a passage opens, allowing Dr. Stewart to enter. Ryu races to board as well...

... but the station has already taken off by the time he gets close. Cannons are cocked and fired towards the Dragon Bird, but that doesn't mean the Galaxy Runner can't give chase! However, Dark Million clearly knew what they were up to, and a huge wave of smaller battle stations float in, zapping their spaceship.

Dr. Stewart is given a warm welcome aboard the battle station: first being kicked to the ground by two robots, then put under a sleeping spell by The Skull. During this time the battle station is flown to the very edge of the galaxy, and the doctor is awoken and escorted to Black Shadow's throne room.

He demands to know why Black Shadow would have Roy's remains, but Miss Killer and The Skull sass-mouth him for daring to question their leader. Black Shadow dances around the issue, but does promise him this: if he successfully revives Roy, he will return the two of them to Earth, no strings attached. With a single gesture the throne room disappears, and Stewart finds himself in the battle station's operating room.

The brain is presented to him, along with three medical aides, and they can finally prove to him this is Roy's brain. Hooking a communicator to it, they ask the brain what its body once looked like, and images of Roy and Clank flash into view.
Back at Platoon HQ, the team are begging Clank to help them pinpoint the doctor's whereabouts, but he's having little luck.

Stewart and his crew set to work on a new body for the brain, crafting a brand new mechanical hominid for it to control. The mind slowly awakens, and the doctor is with him in his first moments. He speaks to Roy, assuring him his child is in safe hands, but he has no choice but to erase his memory.

From now on, Roy will become a cyborg; a human brain in a robot body. He enters four command keys to activate his body, naming them after his allies in the Galaxy Mobile Platoon, and the cyborg stands on his own two feet, now known as Mighty Gazelle.

Gazelle and Stewart are brought before Black Shadow; the doctor explains why he gave him a new name, saying Roy is no longer alive and this body is not his own. He asks why he was given this task, though Black Shadow gives an overly flowery answer: "God created Adam and Eve from love. I believe in love too." All that's left is to return the two of them to Earth... if Black Shadow holds up his end of the bargain, that is.

The Platoon have been anxiously awaiting the doctor's return, staying up all night and sleeping in their chairs, but the time has finally come: two ships are jetting towards the meeting point! A message from Miss Killer confirms they are returning the doctor and Gazelle unharmed; Dark Million aren't always such bad guys, she claims. Clank is curious to know who Gazelle could be, but the Platoon squirm around the answer before departing for the warp gate.

Two F-Zero machines arrive at the warp gate, the Golden Fox carrying Dr. Stewart, and the Red Gazelle carrying the newcomer, Mighty Gazelle. Clank is excited at the sight of this sweet-lookin' cyborg, but everyone scampers to see why the doctor hasn't exited his machine...

He shouts at them to stay back - their machines are lined with explosives, and he's been handcuffed to the steering wheel! A message from Miss Killer briefs them all on their predicament; Gazelle's body has also been lined with bombs, and along with the four keys Dr. Stewart inputted during his creation, Black Shadow made his own set as well. They have five minutes to decode the passwords before... kaboom!

The Platoon are in no position to start guessing passwords, but Ryu and Clank rush forward to give it a shot, despite the doctor's severe warnings. He's their friend, and they would never leave him behind!

The group set apart removing the bombs from the machines while Clank tries to decode them, but there's so little time left - Stewart shouts at them to escape and save themselves.

Clank's not having it, and asks for the passwords. The doctor tells him the ones he entered, but when it comes to Black Shadow's, everyone throws whatever names come to mind. The timer is almost at zero...

... but the bomb is deactivated just in time. The passwords worked! The group break into cheer... meanwhile, a cog silently activates inside of Mighty Gazelle.

They all return to headquarters and Stewart is taken to the medical bay, satisfied with the hard work they made just for his safety. However, he doesn't want Clank to know of who Mighty Gazelle really is. Speaking of him, isn't it nifty to have a cyborg on the team? Tanaka rushes in to check on Stewart but is scared witless by the sight of Gazelle, who's merely inquisitive about his new environments.

Miss Killer reports in to Black Shadow to tell him the Platoon cracked the codes he made... just as he had hoped. With step one out of the way, he has something big waiting in store for his enemies!

Burt's F-Zero Classroom: Let's learn about the talented doctor, Dr. Robert Stewart. Born February 14th in Mute City, aged 42 and an AB blood type, he's the second-in-command of the Galaxy Mobile Platoon and respected by all. His machine was designed by his father, Kevin Stewart.