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Multiverse by Margo Ryor
Multiverse by Margo Ryor
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MULTIVERSE

Everybody here belongs to Tatsunoko, I'm just borrowing them for a bit.

Chapter One: Lost
Part One: Washio Airfield, 0530 hrs.

Ken woke to his bracelet's insistent beep. Groping, he knocked it off the nightstand and had to roll out of bed and crawl around the floor to find it.

"G1!" he snapped at last, fully awake and pissed off.

"Pandora here," came the tense answer, "We need you at G-Town, Gatchaman, it's an emergency!"

"Roger." he acknowledged, "What's happened?" but Pandora had already signed off.

"What's the big emergency, Doctor?" Ken demanded some thirty minutes later aboard the G-Town.

The usually pretty scientist looked terrible; grey faced with fine lines barring her forehead and black circles under her eyes. Whatever it was, it was bad.

Turning on her heel Pandora led five worried Science Ninjas from the big conference room, through Dr. Nambu's office, and opened the door to his private quarters.

The austere, spartan little room was a wreck, books and ornaments swept from shelves and dresser top to litter the floor, easy chair overturned, the bed knocked awry with pillows and bedclothes strewn about the room.

Ken swallowed hard, managed, "Where is he?"

"We don't know." was the bald answer.

Gatchaman started to shout, took a deep breath instead and said evenly, "What happened?"

"I left Dr. Nambu just before twelve last night, here in his office." Dr. Pandora answered, "Apparently I was the last to see him. He usually signals me at eight for the morning briefing, when the call didn't come this morning I assumed he was sleeping in for once, you know how he pushes himself."

The Team nodded in unison. Indeed they did, few better.

Pandora continued, holding her voice steady with visible effort. "A message came in early this afternoon I thought he should see. I came to his office and found it empty. I was suprised of course, it's out of character, but if anybody deserves a day off--" her voice wavered dangerously. "I decided not to disturb him.

"Late this evening the chief steward contacted me, concerned that Dr. Nambu hadn't eaten all day. I decided I'd been mistaken, he wasn't taking a rest he'd just gotten involved in his research and lost track of time. He's done that before."

More nods. Yes he had.

"I came back here. Knocked, got no answer, opened the door and found - this." a stiff gesture ecompassed the mess. "I ordered an immediate search, had the daily logs checked. No vessel has docked or left G-Town since I last saw the Doctor. No reported hull breeches or alarms of any kind. He *has* to be here! but he's not, he's vanished into thin air." Pandora finally broke down, burying her face in her hands.

Joe pulled a chair away from the desk and Jun guided her into it, saying gently, "You mustn't blame yourself, Doctor, you couldn't have known." glared promptingly at Ken.

"Jun's right," he said quickly, "I'd have done the same in your place."

Joe, Ryu and Jinpei moved into the bedroom, gingerly inspecting the damage.

"Looks like he put up a hell of a fight." Joe observed bending to pick Nambu's glasses off the floor, one lense starred with cracks.

"Against who?" Ryu wondered.

"Galactor, who else." shrugged Joe.

"But how could Galactors get aboard G-Town without setting off every alarm in the place?" Ken demanded.

Pandora raised her head. "I've been thinking about that. There is evidence that Sosai X has limited teleport capability. It's the only explanation for some of Katse's escapes."

"Then we're finished." said Joe grimly. "They can snatch anybody they want, Director Anderson or the Secretary General, anytime they please."

"Then why haven't they?" Jun argued. "There must be limits, technical problems we don't know about."

Joe grimaced, "Maybe that's why they grabbed Doctor, to fix it for them."

"If they didn't just kill him." said a small voice. All turned to Jinpei, huddled on the foot of Nambu's bed, hugging a pillow. Jun started towards him but it was Joe who offered rough reassurance.

"If they'd killed him they'd have left his body here for us to find. Besides Gel Sadra wants him alive for questioning."

"For all the good it'll do her." Ryu muttered.

"He knows we'll come for him." Ken agreed. "He'll hold out as long as it takes."

"It's already taken over twenty-four hours." Joe said pointedly.
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