The field was enveloped in complete blackness. As instructed, the five ninjas adjusted the knobs on their helmets, in order to locate their adversary.
He immediately noticed that a bright, greenish haze lit up the room. Now, he could easily make out the enemies' forms charging at him in the distance. Boldly, he pulled out his sonic boomerang and hurled it at three goons who had approached. They fell instantly as he caught his weapon and returned it to its pouch.
Mark, the commander of G-Force, watched as his teammates took on the other goons. Each one reveling in the advantage their enhanced vision gave them.
Jason, his second in command, threw handfuls of feather shuriken, causing goons to drop by the dozens.
Princess had wrapped a group of goons in her yo-yo cord and had sent a pulsating electric charge through their bodies.
Keyop, the youngest, danced around his enemies, baffling them thoroughly before he knocked them unconscious with his bolos.
And Tiny, the pilot of the Phoenix, had finally abandoned his post on the ship to join them for this occasion. The brawny Owl used brute force to knock down entire troupes of minions at one time. He seemed to enjoy getting a piece of the action.
The Commander wore a confident smirk as he joined his comrades in their goon-bashing. A few kicks here, a few punches there, and it was all over. The team returned to his side and stood confidently in their victory poses.
As the room was illuminated once again, a voice echoed over the loud speaker.
"Well done, G-Force. Taking your performance into consideration, it appears that the night vision cameras are working perfectly. Any comments?"
"Yeah, Chief...this is great! We should've had this months ago!" Jason replied.
Chief Anderson looked down at the team through the observation window. He placed a hand on the shoulder of the young man standing next to him. "Well, if it wasn't for Dr. Moss, here, you might not have it now. We all owe him a debt of gratitude."
Chief Anderson motioned for the team to enter the observation room. "Come and join us...Dr. Moss and I have some other things to discuss with you."
The team left the training room as the cleaning robots entered and swept away the android goon parts they had left behind. They transmuted back into their civilian clothes, walked into the observation area and stood in front of the doctor.
Anderson continued, "Team, this is Dr. Derrick Moss. He has been working for the Federation for about ten months now, and has just received his doctorate. We have given him special security clearance due to the nature of his work for the Federation. He is the brain behind your latest weapon. I'll let him discuss the plans he has for updating your bird styles. Doctor Moss?"
Anderson motioned for the young, sandy-haired doctor to continue.
"I was hoping that I could aid you in vision and communications, thus allowing you to gain more stealth and an advantage over the Spectrans." Moss began, "Would you be interested in adding an IR spectrum camera to your visors as well? What about heat detection?"
"All great ideas, Dr. Moss." Mark said.
Jason grimaced. "How soon can we have it?"
"It will take some time, "Moss stated. "After all, it took me several months to figure out a way to make night vision work in your visors."
"Dr. Moss, we really can't thank you enough. This new night vision mode will give us the edge over Zoltar and his goons! And by adding IR and heat detection, we'll really have the upper-hand!" Princess gushed, still energized from the latest training session.
"Please, call me Derrick." Dr. Moss chuckled. "It feels funny to hear you calling me ‘doctor' when I'm not that much older than you."
"Okay, Derrick..." Princess replied, blushing slightly.
Mark's eyes narrowed a bit as he noticed that Princess seemed a little too interested in Dr. Moss. He hoped that it was just his imagination.
Chief Anderson interrupted Mark's thoughts. "Dr. Moss will be requiring you all to be working closely with him as he tests out his latest projects. Be ready to come to Center Neptune at a moment's notice. We'll be counting on you to help us upgrade your bird styles as quickly as possible. If there are no further questions, you are dismissed."
The team stood in unison and saluted Anderson.
As they were about to leave, Dr. Moss called out to the only female member of the group. "Princess..."
Princess stayed behind and turned to look at the doctor. "Yes, Derrick?"
"I was hoping that maybe you'd remain behind for a moment. Do you mind transmuting back into your G-Force uniform?"
"Not at all." Princess smiled warmly. She raised her communicator and uttered the word that completed the transformation.
Chief Anderson excused himself while Moss escorted the Swan down the corridor. "I hope it's not any trouble," he stammered a bit, it was clear that he enjoyed Princess' company a bit more than the other members of G-Force. "I just need to ask you a few questions. Please, come into my office."
The blond doctor closed the door behind Princess and motioned for her to sit down in a chair next to his desk.
"Would you like something to drink?"
Princess looked around the office and found herself feeling strangely ill at ease now that she was alone with the doctor. She allowed her gaze to travel around the room and began to read the various plaques, certificates and awards that covered the walls, but tried not to let on. "Hmmm?"
"Coffee, Tea, a soft drink?"
"Oh, sorry," A soft blush was visible behind her yellow visor. She felt so awkward. Was she attracted to this man? Or was it something else? She had seen him around Center Neptune, but had no idea that he was the doctor who had been working on their helmets. He seemed so young.
"Yes, I'd like some tea, if you don't mind."
Her eyes shifted to the doctor as he poured her drink. He was moderately handsome, fair skin and hair, light brown eyes...a bit taller than Mark with a slightly heavier build.
"Sugar?" He turned to her, smiling.
She nodded. "Yes, please."
Dr. Moss offered her a cup with a spoon, and she began stirring her tea, more out of nervousness than the actual need to dissolve the sugar.
Derrick sat down opposite her and sipped at his own tea. "So, according to Chief Anderson, you seem to be a pretty smart girl...an expert in intelligence gathering, electronics and explosives?"
Princess' eyes widened as she pulled her cup away from her lips. "That's how the Chief described me?"
"Yes..." The blonde man answered, placing his cup on his desk. "I thought that you might have some more ideas for additions to the bird styles. I want to help you with more than just your helmets. Are there any parts of the uniform that need improving?"
"Well, since you mentioned it, the bird styles *are* bullet proof, but they aren't totally impenetrable. The Spectrans are using new laser weapons that have come pretty close to singeing us. I'm afraid that they'll be able to really do some damage if they keep tweaking their weapons." The Swan carefully placed her teacup on the desk in front of her.
Derrick stood up and walked around to the front of his desk. He lifted his hand to her shoulder and fingered the edge of her feathered cape. "Do you mind if I take a look?"
The Swan didn't answer, but shook her head and smiled in consent as the doctor examined her wings.
"I see..." Derrick remarked to himself. "Very unusual."
He looked back at Princess and softly patted her wings back in place. "I'll definitely add your request to my list. Someone as smart and beautiful as you are should have the best protection."
"What about the others?"
Derrick looked surprised. "Oh, yeah...they deserve protection, too...but they're not as pretty as you are..."
Princess giggled in embarrassment, "Thanks...Derrick...but I really have to get going. I'll be late for my shift at Jill's."
The Swan stood up and headed for the door. "Yeah...it's a local hangout. You should stop by sometime."
Derrick stood and held the door for the Swan as she left his office. "Thanks, Princess...I'll see you around." He replied, smiling to himself as he shut the door behind her.