This is an amateur, non-commercial story, which is not produced, approved of, or in any way sponsored by the holders of the trademarks/copyrights from which this work is derived, nor is it intended to infringe on the rights of these holders. And so it goes.


an Ultraman tale by Jeff Morris

Captain Toshio Muramatsu didn’t look up to acknowledge the firm rapping at his office door. He kept his gaze locked on the contents of a manila folder, choosing instead to absently wave the visitor in. He continued to study the paperwork intently even as the newcomer pulled up a chair directly opposite him and sat down. Another two minutes passed before he deigned to look up. “Ah. Hayata-san. Thank you for coming in.”

Shin Hayata nodded nervously and tried to smile. “You did ask to see me, sir.”

“Yes, yes, so I did.” Muramatsu leaned back in his considerably more comfortable chair and fiddled with his pipe. “It’s that time of year again.”

Hayata nodded again. “Performance evaluations. The others had mentioned they’d seen you already.”

The aromatic scent of burning pipe tobacco drifted through the room. “The Paris office wants me to get these in as soon as possible. We’ve been so busy of late that I’d neglected to finish them according to schedule.” Muramatsu retrieved the folder he’d been looking at and opened it once more. “I saved you for last, Hayata. We have a lot to discuss, you and I.” To his credit, Hayata showed no apprehension save for a slight tremor in his jaw. “Well, now. To start with, you’ve been a tremendous asset to the Science Patrol. I’m very pleased with your willingness to take the lead on assignments and in time I have every confidence that you’ll make an excellent captain.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Muramatsu sucked on his pipe. “You display outstanding teamwork qualities as well. You can work with all the members of the team equally well. You demonstrate a talent for fast thinking and great courage on dangerous assignments. Yes, these are definitely the sort of things one looks for in a prospective captain.”

Hayata was smiling now, visibly relaxing. “I appreciate your kind words, Captain, and I am very proud and honored to serve under you…”

Muramatsu raised his hand. “There are, however, several items that need to be addressed at this time.”


Well, firstly, we’ve had to make massive outlays this year in order to replace our aircraft. Paris is none too happy about those figures, and they’re concerned about the fact that your name features so prominently on the incident reports.” Hayata squirmed in his chair but said nothing. Muramatsu continued: “They’ve asked me to put you in some refresher courses and have you recertified as a precautionary measure.”

Hayata jumped to his feet. “Sir, don’t you think that’s unfair? Yes, I’ve had some bad luck, I won’t deny it, but the others have been involved in crashes as well!”

“Yes, that’s true,” Muramatsu nodded, motioning for his subordinate to sit down. “But again, your name does top the ‘responsible party’ list.” He took a long draw from his pipe and stared into space for a moment. “I had given some thought, of course, to sending Fuji with you on flight assignments…” Hayata smiled slightly. “…but then I recalled last week’s incident, where I discovered her ‘fixing your pants zipper’ in the utility closet, and realized that she might only distract you further. So we’ll have to work out an action plan that Paris can live with.”

Hayata’s jaw was ever so slightly clenched. “My relationship with Fuji is professional, sir, and I resent you implying that it might be anything but.”

“Of course, of course,” Muramatsu noted. “You have an excellent rapport with Akiko. And don’t think I haven’t noticed how well the two of you get along. Why, I think it’s excellent that you’ve taken to driving over to her apartment most mornings to bring her to work. That’s quite a distance to drive, Hayata, and yet you’re never late.” That got a slight blush to erupt on the man’s cheeks, which was a triumph in itself. “At any rate, let’s continue. I have some issues with your performance on field assignments.”

Sir?” Hayata rose to his feet again. “How could you possibly…”

Muramatsu raised a hand again. “I’m concerned that several times in the past year you’ve vanished at critical junctures. When we’re confronted with an aggressive kaiju, it’s important that I know where each member of my team is and even more critical to know that I can trust him to do his part in stopping the menace.” He puffed on his pipe thoughtfully. “Why, to be honest, I think Ultraman himself has been more visible than you on these occasions!”

Hayata choked on something unseen.

“At any rate,” Muramatsu continued placidly as he shut the manila folder, “these concerns, while important, do nothing to diminish your status on this team. I have every confidence that you’ll work hard to resolve these matters, Hayata. You have a very bright future ahead of you. See that you achieve it.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.” Hayata could not possibly have bowed and exited any faster. Muramatsu chuckled quietly and flipped the folder open once more. A grainy black and white photo of Hayata standing in some quarry, his right arm stretched to the heavens, sat atop the sheaf of papers.

There were some days, Muramatsu mused as he studied the picture, that his job was almost fun.