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Final Exam by Daniel Rush
Final Exam by Daniel Rush
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Birth of the Swallow III:

Final Exam

By Jimp and Dad




SEPTEMBER 12, 2000 0545am U.S. NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE CENTER, CORRONADO CALIFORNIA

From:  The President of the United States

To:   Commander, U.S. Special Naval

Warfare Command

Via:   Secretary of the Navy

 Subj: AUTHORIZATION ORDER 72-TANGO

1) In response to an official request made by the Secretary General of the United Nations, United States Special Operations Sea Com is tasked with providing Oposing Forces for the express purpose of training Special Unit of the UN Intelligence Security Command prior to it's activation as an operational unit.

2) Commander, Special Warfare is tasked with providing 200 US NAVY SEALS for this express purpose. The details of this operation shall be explained when CUSNSW meets with Doctor Kozaburou Nambu and Chief of Security John Anderson at ISO Headquarters in Utoland City at the enclosed time and date.

3) Be aware that this operation must be held in strict confidence. All personel will be briefed on security matters prior to commencing exercise.

4) The President places full trust and fidellity in the performance of the U.S. Navy SEALs that they will provide the utmost training possible. Good luck.




For the President

A.J. Varden  


SECNAV

"Two hundred." The Navy Captain said as he tapped his pen on the message and looked about his office, his face betraying no thoughts as chains of logic ran through his trained mind.

"Must be a large force to require such a response, but I won't know that till I meet this "Doctor Nambu." fellow at ISO." The Captain took the order in his hand and with a lighter from his pocket, he torched it and let it fall into an empty waste can, where it rapidly vanished into soot and smoke.

He emerged out of his office and signaled his orderly to follow him to his car. As usual, he wore the standard uniform which was no uniform at all, no betraying signals to show his station in life, those best left to fakes, movie stars and wanna bees who didn't deserve to wear the honored "Trident" which the man rubbed with his hand as it sat in a coat pocket.

"Utoland City, Petty Officer Ransopher. Don't spare the gas once we're out... you got that son?" The captain said with a smile as the young sailor grinned with pleasure. The Captain enjoyed a fast life indeed.

*****

Sept 12, 2000 0800am Utoland City Buisness District.

Jun must have bought this killer alarm  clock just to make Jinpei howl. The 8 year old tossed and turned with the last "beep" to ever come out of the cursed timesake...... He promptly sent it to hell in true ninja fasion by choping it off the nightstand and into a pile of wreckage near the far wall. That done, he quickly went back to sleep.

Since leaving training, far from the ever  watchfull eyes of the old teacher, Jinpei had reverberated to a somewhat comfortable form of primal childhood existance. His room was the typical mess that kids his age loved to artfully create from nothing. Clothing was scattered about on every furnature piece and lamp fixture Jinpei could possibly cover, he slept with most of it on his bed.

He'd become an overnight pack rat expert ,bringing home things like road signs, posters, cans, the occasional frog or other local wildlife that might fit under his bed.

Jun minded some of her brother's little quirks, not all of course, but she didn't push him too far or made him feel like he was in some military bootcamp. But she did mind the fact that he tried to dodge the morning chores downstairs in the Snack through some quickly devised "ailment"

The Snack J would be Jun's once she turned 18. For now, it was Jillian Thorne's nightclub. She was an ISO operative who held the place both as a second job and persana cover for Jun and Jinpei, an alternate lifestyle to cover their real life mission. Jun loved it, especialy the clients, mostly college seniors and dapper buisnessmen who rented the place for private social functions.  She liked the college students the best of all because they knew what fun was all about.

Jinpei, on the other hand, hated it. Reason? the dishes, the mopping, the "ball and chain" mentality of the two girls. He felt like the poor kid between two wicked step mothers, but he didn't ever think of Jun as "wicked".

She woke him up with the usual trick, a wet willie to the ear that sent him rolling off the bed, sheets and all, and crashing to the floor.

"Morning sleepy." She said as she stroke his hair and he pushed her off.

"I don't feel good sis." He said with his eyes slightly cracked. He rose to his feet and walked to the bathroom with her on his heels to make sure he stayed up.

"I see you killed the clock again, nice shot!" She said as he cursed her from behind the door.

"The little bugle cat was the worst one. Your sadistic at times Onechan." The boy said as Jun could hear the shower running.

"Jinpei?" She said with a smile. " I love you."

"Yeah, I know......Shit! The waters freezing!" Came his reply. Jun laughed at him untill her wrist com began to go off.

"Hurry up in there! We just got another scramble alert!"


*****

Jun was simply in love with this new bike of hers, motorcycle that is. The Harley was mean enough to thrash the pavement, yet sweet enough fall for. As she entered the on ramp of the Utoland express way she kicked the bike into a quick wheelie that made her brother sqeeze for dear life!

"Sis! I hate it when you do that! One of these days your gonna spill us all over the street!" Jinpei said as he rubbed his head on her back.

"Well Mr. expert, if you hadn't thrashed the tracker last week by driving it into too deep a river, I wouldn't have to carry you!" She said back as they weaved through the morning traffic.

"How was I supposed to know it was too deep! The map I had said it was only two feet!"

"Sure." She said as she opened the throttle "What do you want for a ten year old map!"

"Hey! Keep your eyes on the road!" Came a voice next to the bike. Jun looked over to see Joe in his Shelbey with Ryu in the passenger's seat munching on a bag of skittle's candy.

"Hey Ryu!" Jinpei screamed from behind Jun, "Throw me a bag!"

"No!" Jun torted, "Not till we get too H.Q. and certainly not in the morning wiseguy, I'm not putting up with you and Ryu's sugar powered antics this early in the morning!"

"Aw sis!" Jinpei said, rubbing his chin into her back as an annoyance. " Would you rather have me all cranky and grumpy?"

She just shook her head and turned back towards Joe. "So is this another false running drill Joe?"

Joe took off his driving glasses and rubbed his long hair. "Heck if I know, Ken's there as usual, the epitome of punctuality and leadership as allways...... you know." Joe was being sarcastic as always when it came to Ken. Jun found them alike and not alike, the alike being off duty and the difference being when they were in training. Joe tended to be more dirrect and wanting quick results while Ken prefered a more logcial aproach to a situation. It sometimes caused them to argue and Jun wasn't sure if it was over ego or jelousy.

One thing was for sure, no body wanted to be stuck in the middle of a bad situation when those two went at it, it could make for quite a disaster....for the team as well as the enemy.

*****

SO HQ UTOLAND CITY

"This is a SEAL?" Dirrector Anderson sat in thought as he looked apon the unasuming personage before him. You would think that ,since he was in the military, he'd be wearing a uniform. Insted he was dressed in a very casual, clean cut manor. The only thing that would tell anyone who he was, was the pin he displayed before Anderson and Nambu when he came in.

Nambu on the other hand was allready impressed. This man followed the true ninja art to the fullest, "Never show your identity or your knowledge even to your friends." Nambu thought as he also reguarded the tall Captain and his orderly.

"Pleasure to meet you Captain Raider." Nambu said as he shook the officer's hand. " I think at first we were surprised by your cloak and dagger apearance, but I fully see the reason for it."

"In my buisness Doctor, it's unwise to go running about telling God and everyone that you blow people up for a living. Of course, the movies and fakers who like to say they know us help to preserve the "shroud", as we like to call our privacy. Your message this morning.....left me in a quite a ponder though. You need two hundred of my people to train your unit?"

Anderson leaned forwards in his seat. "We prefer to see it as an exercise to test their readiness Captain. They've been in training since 1991 and have yet to face a true "stress test" of their abilities."

"How many are we talking about?" Asked the Captain as he made motion for Ransopher to take notes.

"Well." Nambu said crosing his arms.  "Five."

The Captain frowned. "Five?" He said as he thought for a moment and changed his facial look. " These five must be very good to require two hundred SEALs as an Offensive Force?"

Anderson took a sip of his coffee and  gestured towards Reider. "You sound as if your not disapointed? I'd assume after you'd meet these people that you would be more than upset by the prospect?"

Raider clasped his hands. "Don't get me wrong Sir, the reaction was to be expected but only briefly. One thing you learn in the Special Warfare community is not to doubt validity. I trust the combined reputations of both you gentlemen atest to the viability of what ever unit your building? Raider once again gestured to Ransopher.

"Now...there are two questions to be answered. Where will we hold this exercise and how tough do you wish me to make it for your people?" The Captain said with a smirk, a light show of confidence as he looked at the two men with half closed eyes.

Anderson took out a folder from a carry bag on Nambu's desk and handed to the Seal. "Neptune Island, South of the Santa Barberas Islands. It will be the teams new home once this exercise is over but for now, it's your personal play pen, do with it as you like....except blowing it up of course."

"How tough should it be?" Nambu said as he sat atop his desk close to Raider. "You may indulge yourself, knock yourself out. I want them to work, realy work their bodies and minds to the bone. I beleave you can do that mission well Captain?"

Raider almost let his smile grow wider. " I can make up nightmares that make most green troops run home to their mother's in fear. I'd like to meet these people in person if I could...just to gauge what I'm up against."

Nambu agreed, "They should be here anytime now. I just posted an emergency recall to test their response time, and their patience."


*****


"Not again!" Joe said as he paced like an angry tiger in a cage. "This is the seventh time in three days Ken, three friken days! I'm sick of these false drills!"

Ken leaned against the Conference room view screen and huffed. "Your not making it any easier by growling up a storm Joe. Nambu has his reasons, you just have to trust him."

"Son of a bitch!" Joe said in reply as he thumped his chest. "Why the hell were we trained for this team? Looks to me like all that high moral bull he threw on us was a big all for nothing Ken."

Jun had been sitting quietly to the side watching Jinpei and Ryu as they talked about trading Japanese baseball cards more than fighting. She turned about and took Joe by the arm as he flopped in a chair.

"Joe....I know what's running through your mind, we all do. No one wants to see you punish yourself any further by what happened..."

Joe stopped her. "Jun..when I want your comfort where my parents are concerned..... I'll ask you for it."

"Hey Joe." Jinpei said from farther down the table. " She's only thinking about you, we all do, give her a break!"

Joe rose from the chair with a real mean look on his face, one Jinpei had never ever seen. Ryu jumped up to stop him just short of where Jinpei was sitting.

"You have no idea of what I've realy been through kid and I certainly don't need your little mouth to tell me that!"

"JOE!" Ken yelled. "SIT DOWN!" Joe turned away and took a seat on the other side of the table. Jinpei just looked away from him.

"Science Ninja Team...this is Nambu. I'm on my way down to the conference room right now and you'll need to be in your uniforms of this briefing." The doctor's voice sounded over the speeker.

Captain Raider had no idea what to expect when he walked into the Conference room and saw for the first time, the five people Doctor Nambu spoke of. The uniforms were a shock, certainly unorthodox by all measures but that didn't compare to their ages, especialy the small one at the end who looked about nine or ten. Rader stood in a corner while Nambu took a chair at the head of the table.

"I see your all well." He said with a slight smile.

"Sure...if being board to death is any version of well." Joe said back as he took another stare at Jinpei.

"Joe." Ken cautioned him as Nambu opened his briefcase.

"Don't worry Joe, your day of being board is over. We have a mission, rather a test, for all of you that the ISO is putting together. It should present quite a challange for your skills."

Ken remarked. "What kind of test?" He then looked at the stranger in the corner. The man was well built and his face showed a serious intent with it's rock solid lines and cold looking eyes.

"Next week, you will invade your new operations Center off the coast of California and plant a bomb in the reactor power core. You will face two hundred men in this attempt."

Joe smirked. "Hmph.....not like we haven't faced stuff like that before."

"You haven't.......the men you'll face off against are the United States Navy SEALs.

Joe and Ken's faces droped allmost instantly. " Great...." Ken said. " Just the kind of odds we like."

"Seals!" Jinpei suddenly said. " What's wrong with Seals? Thier cool!" Joe turned around knowing fully well that Jinpei missed the ball all together.

"SEALs Jinpei, not sea lions, SEALs. Sea Air Land Special Forces....people who eat kids for breakfast."

Jinpei suddenly cringed. "Oh." He watched as the stranger walked up to him and pulled a pin from his shirt pocket. The "Trident" shined with the light reflections as the wearer smiled down at Jinpei's smiling face.

Captain Raider team, is the Commander of the Navy SEALs. I thought you should know the man who'll face you next week on Neptune Island. He's promised me you'll be properly tested before your declared operational.

Raider didn't say a word, he didn't have too since the legendary elan of the SEALs had allready done so. To him, sillence was as best a weapon to mess up a mind as a bullet was. He walked out leaving the team to their sudden morass.

As he walked with Ransopher to the car he scanned over the various notes the young petty officer had written. "I want a draft message sent in encode Zulu to teams one thru four, advise immediate action orders for deployment, assembly Coronado...don't include a reason."

"Aye aye sir." The sailor returned as they drove away from the ISO building.  

"This is going to be real interesting....... real interesting." Raider said as he closed his eyes in thought.


*****


September 13,2000 0300AM USNSWC Quanaco, Virginia

From:  CUSNSOC Coronado

To:  STS-1 Coronado

STS-2 Quanaco

STS-3 Little Creek

STS-4 Treasure Island

SUBJ: Immediate Action Order///CONFID

1) Immediate deployment order to USNSWC Coronado of the above listed units for action to be explained in detail apon arrival.



 COMUSNSWC

Commander Alex Lydell waisted no time in sending the message out with a touch of the button on his phone that paged every member of his team and sent them into action. The same would be going down all across the country, once again there was work to be done. He rose from his bed and began to throw uniforms in haste into a bag he kept handy for just such a call.

A knock on the front door stopped him in his tracks and he opened it to allow the unit Master Chief inside. Langen watched his Commander run around gathering the needed items while he made note of the roster of personel he had in his hands.

"So what is it this time skipper? Another one of our fake readiness drills?"

"Your guess is as good as mine Lang.  Maybe it's a safe and sane vacation in Ocean Beach? We'll find out soon enough." Both men hurried out the door and into the night.

0900am Jun's apartment

"Knock...knock...." The sound of the door stopped Jun as she brewed the morning's hot coffee and sent her scrambling to fix her hair before she dared open it. "Wouldn't want Ken to see me looking like an old maid at this time of day.

She opened the door not to Ken but to Joe, who immediatly held out a stuffed bear before him. "Can I come in?"

"Joe? Realy, such a dirrect aproach." Jun smirked as she took the bear and let Joe in.

'That's not why I'm here. I owe you and Jinpei an apology for the way I blasted you both out yesterday, I was wrong."

Jun shook her head. " You know...it takes more than that to make me upset. I told you we know what your going through, you don't need to say sorry."

Joe smiled back. "Your too kind Jun, the best. Is Jinpei home?"

"He's up stairs. At this time of day when he doesn't have to work, he's either sleeping or plotting something devious to do. Watch your step."

Joe knoded and walked carefully past Jun in a bit of comic relief, pausing to glare up the staircase at Jinpei's room.

As usual, Jinpei was up amusing himself with his models. He was building a truck this time out, trying not to get more glue on his fingers than the model itself. When Joe walked in he stopped and showed him how far he'd gotten.

"Looks good." Joe said as he showed Jinpei the video tape he carried with him. " This is for you Jinpei, It's about the Navy SEALs. I thought you'd like to see it."

Jinpei took the tape and knoded, " Uh... about yesterday Joe, I'm sorry I made you upset."

"Hey kid, uh.....Jinpei, that's my line. I shouldn't have snapped at you like that. My parents are just something very dear to me, you know." Joe said as he turned to leave.

"Joe......Can I go with you to the race track sometime?" Jinpei asked.

"Can't see why not. I'd enjoy the company. Just ask me anytime........Jinpei."

As Joe left, Jinpei took a long look at the cover of the tape. The picture was imposing to say the least. A camoflaged and face painted SEAL with a huge assault rifle resting on his shoulder. The most striking and scary feature of all.....the eyes. Cold, dark, sinister, and focused......like those of a true ninja. Jinpei's stomach cringed.


*****


September 13,2000 8:00pm USNSWC Coronado CA. Operations Center Briefing Room.

They were the cream of the U.S. Navy's Special Warfare Group, four men who had cut their bone and blood with each other time and time again across many lands and seas.........

CDR Steven Brown Commander SEAL Team one Coronado, CA

CDR Alex Lydell Commander SEAL Team two Quanaco, VA

CDR Britt Garrett Commander SEAL Team three Little Creek VA

and CDR Lewis Gillford Commander SEAL Team four Treasure Is. CA

Each man commanded 50 commandos a piece, from deadly snipers to computer hackers capable of inflicting massive damage apon large armies or whole cities........but at the moment they seemed to be laughing at the thought of five "kids" trying to invade "their" space.

Garrett sat at the end of the briefing table chewing on a toothpick to relax a nagging toothache that made his face contort like a cud chewing cow......which made his comrades laugh even more than the previous thought.

Reider tapped the meeting of his top commanders to order with the butt of his Kbar knife, then threw it into the message board behind him and leaned forward.

"Now.....you can all stop with the stupid jokes and foolery about these "kids", you all know better than to think they can't be something worth our whiles."

Gillford leaned back in his chair and rolled his pen in his hand. "You don't underestimate a little kid with an AK-47, I sure as hell would never second guess an eight year old ninja dressed in some crazy outfit.....oh no heaven forbid that!"

Brown interupted Gillford's taunting. As I remember Gill.....you had a run in with a rocket packing 8 year old Serbian in the Balkens War....your certainly the last person who should be making jokes!"

Lydell raised his hand to silence the others. 'What I want to know boss is what your expecting out of this little exercise.?"

"Humilliation." Reider said in return. " I want them to get "properly" trained and their benefactor, Doctor Nambu , told me to drive them crazy and also not to be afraid of throwing them around a little. I want them to go through hell to get to that power cell, I want them to fail, as most of you share the same vision."

All the Commander's agreed, there was more at stake here than just a simple game to prepair a group of ninjas, the SEALs had been tasked to put their legendary prowise on the line. There was no further time for laughing about kids, things had changed from having fun to conducting buisness.

"From now on.....these people are to be taken with deadly intent. Though this is an exercise, you must view it as if it were real. It is also highly classified so brief your people as standard policy permits." Reider said as he removed his Kbar from the note board and passed out several red folders loaded with paperwork.

Remember their faces, their looks, the clothes they wear. Your people must not underestimate them for a second, they do that in real life, and they will die in half a second. These people are ninja so treat them like such, expect the unexpected, the foolhardly, and the audacious..... plan carefully...let's work to out think and outfight these people so they know who it was that screwed them up."

The Commanders didn't need to be told such things. Inside their heads, the wheels of deviousness were allready working.

Gillford whipped out his wallet and threw a twenty dollar bill on the table. " A case of beer to who ever can capture the little kid and run him up the flagpole."

Garrett threw fourty dollars into the pile. "Double that.....two cases for their Commander to be run up the flag pole.

Brown tripled it......Five cases, The girl, the kid, and the Commander up the flag poll and the Jolly Rodger flag hanging on the bridge of their ship!"

Captain Reider threw in over 500 dollars! Twenty cases if you can tie them all to the flag pole, steal their ship, kidnapp their boss, and make him pay for everyone's beer!"

The Commanders shouted "Here here matie!" in unison as threy answered their Captain's call.......the bet had been cast.... the war was about to begin.


*****

Sept 14,2000 0200am Jun's Apartment

Jun rolled in her bed to the faint sounds of gunfire and noise coming from outside her room. Slowly she glanced at her alarm clock in dismay as she heard her brother's soft footsteps, "Two o'clock in the morning?" she grumbled as she walked into the living room where Jinpei sat reclined on the couch.

"Hi sis....I couldn't sleep." He said as he stretched out and yawned widely.

"Of course." She said as she joined him on the couch. "What do you expect when your watching stuff like this." She said as she pointed to the television.

Jinpei seemed to be thinking deeply again, Jun couldn't miss the look on his face. "What is it....your thinking again. Bet you don't even want to tell me about it." She needled him as he took a sip of milk.

"Doctor Nambu says this is a test. Says the next time would be the real thing. These guys scare me sis. What if Gallactor's the same way?"

"You won't know till we actually meet them, like the SEALs. These guys are not Superman Jinpei, they're no different from us. We just have to take them on one by one untill we finish what we're sent to do."

Jinpei frowned for a moment. " Teacher told me before we left that I need to think like an adult insted of a kid, it's hard Onechan.... sometimes I feel like you guys would be better off with someone older than me."

Jun was shocked! "What? are you crazy! After all you and I have been through, after all the training and how good you've been, you doubt yourself? Jinpei, that hurts me.... it realy hurts."

Jinpei sat up and leaned forwards with his hands on Jun's side. " I'm sorry....but I look at the rest of you and see just how small I am and I just don't feel right."

"Right or not, are you or are you not a ninja? Yes or no Jinpei." She said looking into his young eyes.

"I guess so." He answered back. She didn't accept that answer. Insted...Jun got up and left him alone. she turned just before she went into her room.

"I guess so? That doesn't cut it Jinpei. Tommorow morning...you'd better tell me what you want, your either ready or your not. If you want to quit the team, your more than happy too but I think it's time you saw just how big you are despite your looks.... Think about it."

Jun closed her door as Jinpei went back to watching the video. There was that SEAL again...the same assault gun...the same deep eyes...the same feeling once again running through Jinpei's heart.....a feeling of being close to death that frightened him.

It stuck in his mind even as the warm and peacefull embrace of sleep soon caught up with him. It came to him in his dreams, reaching out of the floor, camoflaged and dangerous. It grabbed him by the head and the last flash of light and steel made the boy cringe and curl tightly into the corner of the couch. He cried softly as it made quick work of the others, the last being Jun.......where the face suddenly turned from sadness, to horror, to anger before the dawn of day.

*****


September 18, 2000 1:00pm ISO Maximum Security Command Complex Neptune Island, South of the Santa Barberas.

The time had been sufficent. Reider watched as the last members of the Special Weapons Security Force from Naval Base Bangor landed at the airstrip below his post on the light house tower that overlooked all of Neptune Island.

He watched as two high speed, low noise attack boats passed in tandom along the edge of the beach to his left, deploying swimmers as they passed. Overhead, two helocopter gunships were practicing quick deployment tactics of SEAL four's rapid response team along the runway's lenth.

The SEALs had been working almost non-stop for four days to turn this impressive floating station into a hunted house of horrors and though there would be no live amunition on this exercise, there were more than enough blood letting potential traps below his feet to make an entire army pay for any invasion attempt.

The island's construction pleased Reider, wishing the ISO would give him the plans to build his own moble facility to house and keep his men better equipped, but that was vain speeking. The SEAL, the cousin to the ninja, prided himself on his ability to create from nothing and to gather what was needed, even if some of their equipment came from the local Target stores in Coronado.

Ransopher was back from talking to the Special Weapons Force Commander with his list of materials and men provided for Reider's review.

"You asked him about Andy? How's our favorite swimmer doing these days?" The captain said as he pointed his cup at the airfield.

"Good sir, Commander Harris said Andy brought a few others with him, five in all. It'll take some time for them to mark their claims and start patroling. He says Andy's the best he's ever had."

Andy's been trained right? No lethal force on this one. I don't want him going bottle happy on us and breaking legs and arms."

"He's ready sir...Mr. Harris is sure of that."

The Captain turned his field glasses over to the Petty Officer and proceeded to walk down the tower stairs and out onto the grass where he heard the loud beeping of several small devices around his feet.

"Nice little rocks there Sir?" a SEAL said as he picked one up. "Hidden motion temblers, we dropped them all over the place. Not even a rat could run by without us finding it."

The Captain was pleased. " The snipers were briefed this morning right? Absolute disopline at all times, use of codes?"

The man returned...." As per order. God's ready for the hunt, though he wishes to use live amo insted of paint balls."

"These are our friends, I prefer not to use such "extreme" training measures. I'd better not hear that any of my snipers resorted to increase their gun power so they could draw a little blood for their efforts......is that clear Leutenant?"

The officer saluted as the Captain passed him by and stepped over a well hidden 50 cal sniper rifle, with it's equaly hidden owner. He walked onto the tarmack and into the terminal building where he awaited the service lift to the lower floors of the complex.

 CENTRAL CONTROL ROOM sub level 8 Neptune Underwater Complex

Reider emerged from the turbo lift to a sea of activity as sailors and officers were setting up the last sets of equipment in the Command and Control center. They were as ready as they could be for this match of skills. Every factor possible had been looked at and practiced over and over. Now as he stood at the map table with his commanders he thought to read a line from Tsung Tsu's "Arts of War" as a bit of poetic precident before the operation was officialy begun.........

"All warfare is based apon deception. A skilled general must be master of the arts of simulation and dissimulation; while creating shapes to confuse and delude the enemy he conceals his true dispositions and ultimate intent. When capable he feigns incapacity; when near he makes it appear that he is far away; when far away, that he is near. Moving as intangibly as a ghost in the starlight, he is obscure, inaudible. His primary target is the mind of the opposing commander."

"Mr. Davis!.....send flash message code NEPTUNE REX, tell them they can come knocking any time they damm well please. ......we will send them right back to the nursery school where they belong!"   

"Sound General Quarters! Commence Operation Neptune Final!.................."

Center Neptune came alive with the shrill sounds of it's battle station horns.....the war of ninja vs ninja was about to begin.


*****


September 20th 2000 01:00am


"Look at you. Standing there all dopey looking and scared. Why? You didn't need to be here, by all truth you shouldn't be here. But you are here dam it all! Jun wouldn't have loved you so much if she didn't think you can't do this. Mau Lee thought the same thing too."

"So why are you acting like this? It's time to stop being a kid and start being a man, you can sit down and shutup or go and do what you've been trained for.........."

"What will you do.........."

"Jinpei! Hurry it up! The alarms going of the hook! It's time to go at last!......." Jun screamed from the front door.

"For her, if no one else, I'll do it all for her...and myself......" Jinpei turned from the mirror on the dresser and charged down the stairs, hitting Jun hard on the shoulder.

"Let's go sis! We got some ass to kick!" Jinpei said as he ran to jump into his tracker. Jun followed close behind as they raced up the freeway ramp and towards the rendezvous point just north of Utoland City near San Onefre. With a wave of the arms both the tracker and harley changed from civilian vehicles to the Bird Battlemechs.

Jun suddenly got the sound of rock and roll from her comlink, Jinpei was at it again. "Hey buster! If your going to play that stuff, keep the channels clear so we can at least hear everyone else!" Jun opened the turbo controls on her jet bike and came up next to the clear glass canopy of the tracker. Her brother was bathed in red from the interior lights but you could tell he had the portable CD blasting through the speekers.

"Well.....you threatened him Jun, you encouraged him, now can you keep him from getting to insane?"

"Hey! Someone tell Mr. Top Ten down there to turn his music off!" Ken said through the link as Jun looked up at the God Pheonix as it came over both her and the tracker.

Jun came as close to the canopy as she could and wrapped the glass to get Jinpei's attention. "Cut it out Jinpei! That's an order!" She said as she pointed out the Pheonix.

"Let's see if you can dock this thing! Go on up!" Jun said as she throttled out of the way allowing Jinpei to transit the Tracker from rolling to flying mode.

The two huge jet engines on the rear pylon stations worked hard to lift the machine into the air and to a safe hover below it's storage pod on the starboard wing. "I'm coming in Ryu! You got a bag of Skittles for me?" Jinpei said as Ryu smiled from his seat.

"I don't know kid. I think I left them back at my house on the dock." Ryu quipped as he could see Joe coming up fast on a rear view screen in his Battle car. "Here comes Joe, Ken. The last man up as allways."

Jinpei waisted no time in getting out of the tracker and tearing through the tunnel in the right wing. He met Jun coming through the other side.

"Look Jinpei.." She said as she tapped him on the head. " Keep that head of yours screwed on right and there won't be any problems....you got that?"

"Sure." Jinpei said with a smile. 'Did I ever tell you how beautifull you look in that uniform? I bet Ken just disolves when ever he sees you?"

Jun pretended to grab Jinpei by the neck and choke him. "You little terror....don't get smart or I'll make you swim home from Santa Barbra!" She smirked as she pushed Jinpei through the turbo lift door.

The insanity had started.........


*****


SEPT 20....0150am God Pheonix Command ship 40 miles from Neptune Island.

"Two hundred Navy SEALs holding the complex on Neptune Island...mission....plant a simullated explosive on the power reactor containment vessel.

SEALs are armed with high power paint guns and have wired the complex with traps and explosives. All you have to do is tell them their dead when engaged in hand to hand  combat or fire your weapons by them and  they will cease any attacks.

This mission is to test your skills and your thinking, you will be given limited intelligence information to work from. Good Luck Science Ninja team!"

Doctor Nambu



Ken studied the two pictures on Jun's large computer console carefully. The Island was of course a fake. It's construction hid the complex like the bulk of a huge iceberg with only the tip sitting atop the water. The addition of a normal looking lighthouse at the end was a nice touch.

Joe was also looking carefully at the pictures, stopping every so often to chide Jinpei for his overly obsessive chewing of the Skittles candy Ryu fed him from a huge plastic bag.

Ken made a tapping motion on the computer screen glass as he turned to Joe. " Any ideas Joe?" He asked.

"If we were allowed to use Bird Missles on this Ken, I'd blow the living shit out of it. Get this test over with real quick!"

Ken smiled, "That's the Sicillian way I would assume?"

"Wrong answer." Joe remarked. "The true Sicillian way would be to "Gang land" the hell out of them. Land the Pheonix on the runway in cloak, find the proper moment, then tear them a new hole.....of course you don't advocate such things a'm I right?"

"Not in this case...I'm sure the SEALs are more than ready for that. Even with our speed we couldn't hope to outdo all of them....then there's the snipers...the SEALs possess the best professional snipers in the world."

Jun was sitting at her station while the two commanders hashed out their differences. She was cleaning up and enlarging segments of the island's side on view when one image cought her eyes.

"Ken! Come look at this!" She said as she waved to him. She pointed out what looked like a hole just above the crest of the water where it met the artificial shore line.

"What's that?" Ken remarked as he looked closer.

"I'm thinking it might be some overflow drain or a free flow line to a desalting plant for fresh water use. I count five or six such holes on this side of the island alone. They also apear to be lacking any screens or  protective covers."

Joe came up behind Ken and peared at the image. "A possible way in ,or a deffinate trap set by the SEALs to trap us. I'd be very leary of a sea cock drain with no protective screen."

Ken stood back from the computer screen and thought. " A trap it could be, but I can't see the SEALs being able to cover every possible entry into the island with only 200 men."

Ryu threw another helping of Skittles into his mouth before dumping an equal load into Jinpei's awaiting hands. " Ken...these guys are expecting five of us to come thrashing in all at once. I say send one of us in first, to scope them out."

Joe turned about with wide eyes. "Dam if your not as wise as your namesake bird Ryu. One of us drifts through one of the sea cocks and if we're lucky, you'll land in a salt water holding pit on the inside!"

Ken agreed. "A diversion. Cause alot of heck and anoiance to throw the SEALs off guard which allows the rest of us to get in some where else and plant the bomb. I'll agree with that."

Ken looked about the ship and picked the one who'd go.........."Jinpei! Get ready. Your going sky diving!"

Jinpei almost swallowed his mouthfull of candy in response. "You want me to go? alone?"

"No one else could be better suited for it. Your the right size, your quick, and your a cunning little brat when your mind gets set to it.....just like the time you stole our things, snared my leg, painted Joe's nose, drove us crazy trying to find you, and....when Ryu threw you over that laser force field?"

Joe walked over and slapped Jinpei hard on the back. "You want to be a hero manio? now you got the chance to show a bunch of crazy SEALs just how deviously crazier you are.....or.....you could go back to..."

"Shut it anikie Joe! Don't even say that word preschool." Jinpei barked as he stood chest out before Joe and poked him in the chest. " I bet I can get more SEALs than you. In fact, if I do....you owe me two big bags of Skittles."

Joe laughed.."Deal....and if you loose.... I get to watch you eat squash for a whole week!" Jinpei's reaction looked as if he might throw up. Of all the food he wouldn't touch, squash was the equal to Superman's weakness to Cryptonite!"

Jinpei cringed, then stood strait again. "Your on Anikie!! I want those bags wrapped nice with a big blue bow on them so you'd better start paying up!"

Ken laughed as he took hold of Jinpei and turned towards Ryu. " Take us up to 40,000 feet, shut the engines down, and glide us as close as you can to Neptune Ryu. I'll tell you when Jinpei's away."

Jun couldn't help but grab her brother before he left. "Remember the helm, the silent com, the Hud........"

"Sis!....I can do it myself!" Jinpei said with an air of pride as he thumped his chest, then relaxed with a sort of teary eyed look on his face.

"Stop it...." Jun said as she grabbed his hands. You'll be just fine, I know it. Now go and "Kick some ass!"

The boy gave his sister a quick hug and a big smile. "I'll bring back one of those SEAL tridents for your civie jacket Onechan. I promise."

Jun watched as Jinpei followed Ken to the turbo lift and vanish below to the lower decks.

0217am

"Going dark! Alltitude 40,000 feet, engines secure, starting silent penetration run!" Ryu's voice boomed out over the comms as the God Pheonix's colors changed to a deep jet black and it sillently began to fall in a flat coasting dive towards Neptune Island.

Ken and Jinpei watched as the lower entry hatch near the TBX missle bays opened to reveal the darkness of the Pacific Ocean below. Ken had his worries about sharks around Neptune Island, thinking for a moment that sending Jinpei might not be a good idea after all, then came the matter of trust. What if he said no now? Would he say it another time when the risks might be greater, the price heavier? He had to have faith in all of them or all the training and leadership he was supposed to possess would come to nothing......no, his mind was made up. Jinpei was going.

"We'll get you as close to the side as we can. From there, you have to find one of the open sea cocks and float inside. If you can find a way out before you reach a holding pit, do it. From then on...your on your own. Cause as much heck for them as you can but watch yourself."

Jinpei was all concentration. His face looking through the black opening with a gaze of both anger and thought.....he was psyking himself up for the jump.

Ken handed him a set swim fins and shook him as Jinpei began to bob back and forth. "I can do this!" He shouted as Ken wished him luck.

"Ten miles out! 35,000 feet, Get ready to jump on my mark kid!" Ryu's voice sounded.

"If I am in good order........

"Eight miles out!!"

"The enemy in disarray........

"Seven miles out!"

"If I am energetic and he careless...........

"six miles!"

"Then, even if he is numerically stronger!!.....

"Five miles!"

"I can give battle!!.............

"Four miles!"

"And I can win!...........

"Three........two...........one..........JUMP!"

Jinpei was gone! through the hatch and out into the night as the God Pheonix silently turned about and glided under the Islands radar........

Time: 0230, T+0:00:00


*****


September 20, 2000 0245am T+00:15:00 100 yards from Neptune Island

The glide down went off without a hitch, the first gulp of sea water left him gagging, and the current was a pain in the neck to swim in but Jinpei could clearly see the side of the island in the green glow of his visor.

A sudden tug on his cape made him panic! "Shark!" he kicked madly the rest of the way and stopped aside the nearest opening to check himself out. The feeling was still there, something brushing against his legs!

All at once, he got a face full of fur that made him all but jump out of the water! It's lupine but very soft eyes met his and for once, Jinpei sighed with relief. " it's only a seal. A real one!" Jinpei reached out to give it a soft pat on the head before it dove away below the water.

Jinpei turned from the encounter and looked down the long tunnel. " Well.....here it goes." he said as he quietly floated on his back and allowed the current to carry him in.

0250am T+00:20:00 SEAL Command Action Center Deck 8

The sailor monitoring the battle board on a lighted table shouted to those about him.

"LURKER!!LURKER!!.....WE HAVE AN INTRUDER IN DESALTING TUBE FOUR!"

Reider rose from a cot he had set up in a far corner and made his way to the table where several other officers gathered to watch the red dot ,from the tracking device planted on the intruder's body by a seemingly harmless Sea lion, make it's way along the channel towards one of the three water desalting plants in the island's main hull.

"Well, well Jessie." Reider said as he turned to Lt. Jessie Thorn who trained the Sea lions as a kind of sea watch dog against terrorist on nuclear sub bases like Bangor,Wa.. "Andy did it again for us....this poor saps in for a big surprize."

Reider looked at the schematical layout of the upper hull and pondered.

"I want all the cameras off, don't want him to think we know he's here. Also, I want him to have a free ride as far as deck three, no one engages this guy. He's just a diversion for the rest. Back off and let him get comfortable. We can take him at our own time."

0254am T+00:24:00 EVAPS ROOM ONE at the end of Desalting tube four

"Chief Stein, this is Cdr. Barrett. Pull your team out of the evaps right now and retreat to Generator room one. We have a lurker coming your way......let him have a free ride, no engagement."

Stein tapped each man of his four man squad, him being the last to leave. They quickly ran down the passage to the generator room and secured the door as Jinpei came through the tube and into the water pit.

"Hey sis, can you hear me...I mean see me.....what ever you call this tellepathic stuff. I'm inside that place Joe talked about."

0259am T+00:29:00 God Pheonix Command ship South of Cattalina Island

"Yes, your coming in fine." Jun thought as she turned her own helm on and patched the feed into the main computer screen.

"Ask him if he's seem anything yet Jun." Ken said as he began to recieve maping data from Jinpei's helm.

"Seen anything? Just a California Sea Lion looking for a handout. I think he bit me on the leg when I didn't give him anything!"

Joe smirked, "SEALs Jinpei....Did you see any SEAL's?"

"Nope.......I'm looking at the hallway outside the door here....nothing....a big nothing!"

Ken thought for a moment......"Keep going Jinpei, but watch your back. Their around there somewhere."

0310am T+00:40:00 SEAL Command Center

"Lurker's moving towards the main complex turbo shaft." Said the sailor at the schematics board as he continued to track Jinpei's movements.

"Lock the shaft up." Reider said in return. "Let's see how smart he is...keep telling the others to leave this guy alone, let's see if we can shake him up a little."

0317am T+00:47:00 1st Deck entry to the turbo lift

Jinpei looked about as he tried to find the right combination to unlock the turbo lift. " Where are they? I should be bumping into some of these guys by now Ken! There's no one even close to me on this floor!"

"What are you doing looking for a fight in the first place? I told you to watch your step Jinpei. Don't go hunting these guys down if they don't want to fight. And don't waste time on that turbo lift, find another way around it." Ken returned as Jinpei typed the last combination of numbers as sighed as he failed yet again.

"Let's see......" He thought. " The shaft? or an air vent? Air vent sounds better." Jinpei thought as he began to search for an access screen.

0330am T+01:00:00 God Pheonix

"It's been an hour Ken, what are we doing just sitting here like a bunch of bricks!" Joe said with a noticed scowl. " Let's give them a few more players to deal with."

Ken turned in his seat. "This is Jinpei's show right now Joe...let him do it."

"Ken...He hasn't found a single SEAL yet. This whole thing's way too easy, they should be jumping all over him by now." Joe returned.

Joe was right, Ken thought, The SEALs knew Jinpei was inside but should he be told or should he find out the hard way. 'I've got to see how the SEALs are running their operation Joe, Jinpei's just the poor lab mouse that got picked. He'll deal with them  in his own way, you'll see."


*****

September 20  0340am T+01:10:00 SEAL command center

"Where's the lurker now sailor?" Reider asked as he reviewed his options once again with one of his scene commanders.

"He's in the air filltration vents. Trying to get down past level three. I've taken the liberty of shutting the fire horizontal traps to slow him down."

"Good work....." Reider said rather pleased. Things were going quite well.

0343am T+01:13:00 Air vent above level 3

"Shoot!" Jinpei said as he slapped the trap door with a scowl. "Ken, they deffinatly know I'm here. The vents are blocked off and I can't get any farther."

Ken sent a message back, "Improvise.... your not going to sit there and play cards all day are you?"

"Hmph....Improvise. Real funny Ken." Jinpei sad as he crawled through the vents looking for a way out.

0400am T+01:31:00 SEAL Command center

"Sir....looks like lurkers out of the vents and into the open. Now he's stopped cold."

"Where?" Reider sat back in a chair and crossed his arms.

The sailor quickly brought up a more detailed schematic on his screen. "An electrical junction box. I think he's going to try and cut the power."

"Oh no he won't.....he's about to get a big surprize when he opens that panel up!"

0403am T+01:34:00 Electrical junction box....Level two.

Jinpei stopped short of reaching for the handle on the fuse box. "Hmm...." he sounded as he smiled. Reaching into a utility pouch on his belt, Jinpei pulled a balled up wad of string and tied it to the handle.

He moved back, allowing the string to play out untill he was safely away. "Let's see if I'm right!"

As he pulled the string, a twelve gauge shot gun shell exploded from behind the panel, sure enough, the SEALs had boobytrapped the box........

And unfortunatly.....the passage way as well. The fire doors fell from the ceiling, trapping Jinpei between them!

0408am T+01:39:00 SEAL Command

"Yes! What I tell you!" Commander Garrett said with a shout. "Allways have a back up trap handy! I think that's nine cases of Bud you owe me Captain?"

Reider didn't smile, insted he shook his head. "Turn on a camera and let's look at our lurker."

Jinpei's picture came up on the overhead screen. " Well, well? They sent the little kid against us, doom on them......turn on the  speeker.

Jinpei was searching for a way to over ride the doors when Reider's voice sounded from above...

"Hello kid. I hope you enjoy our little play pen?"

"Why don't you send a few of your men to join me?" Jinpei said back with a mean face. "What's the matter? You so called SEALs a bunch of chickens?"

Reider shook his head. "No....just carefull. You look tired boy so I'm going to help you find a nice place to sleep on the floor. Have a nice nap..compliments of the Navy SEALs!"

The sudden sound of rushing air filled the space! "Sleeping gas!" Jinpei said as he looked about the small space." Gotta stay awake! shoot!" The boy ninja looked about franticlly, no way out! Starting to get sleepy......"

The last image...a fire alarm! Jinpei broke the glass and set off the sprinklers just as he crashed to the floor!

0413am T+01:44:00 God Pheonix

"Dam it!" Ken cursed loudly. "The SEALs got Jinpei!"

"There's no choice now." Joe talked from his station. "We can't let the time go this long Ken! We have to move!"

Ken thought for a moment. "Joe...You and Jun will come up from below, I'll come down from the top. Ryu, your our backup from here in case we can't get any closer."

"We go in fifteen minutes. Good luck to all of us."

*****

September 20 0420am T+01:51:00 Gas Trap...level 2 passageway

The doors opened to reveal the black clad tactical suits of three heavily armed SEALs. Captain Reider watched with mute interest as they came close, but not too close to the unconscious Jinpei.

"Sir, this is Simms. The kid's out like a light." the lead SEAL said as he knelt down and jabbed the barrel of his assault rifle into Jinpei's back.

"Be carefull when you pick him up!" One of the SEALs behind Simms cautioned as he pulled the boy up by his armpits and began to sling him over a shoulder.

Jinpei's head rolled back, then shot forwards as he let loose a well placed ball of spit into the SEAL's eyes!

"Son of a....!" The man said as he let go. The Gatchaman Ninja performed a sumersault over the man's shoulder, ripping the HK-5 assault rifle from his hand and firing it faster than his comrades could react! His shots struck their marks, splattering the men with paint.

Jinpei then fired two rounds behind the ear of the remaining, very surprized SEAL.....

"Bang, bang....your dead!"

"Nice move you little shit." The angry SEAL said as Jinpei let him go. "Spitting in my face, I'll remember that little trick."

0425am T+01:56:00 God Pheonix

"Hi everybody! Just thought I'd tell you all I'm still alive!" Came the silent words over the main computer screen. "Oh yeah.....Jinpei 3 Joe 0...I want my Skittles delivered on a pillow Anikie."

Ken laughed...." What were you doing? I was about ready to come in after you."

"Oh......Just taking a little nap. Beating up Navy SEALs makes Jinpei a tired ninja!"

SEAL Command Center

"Um......Commander Garrett, who owes who nine cases of beer now?" Reider said as he ordered the camera turned off. 'Has he found our tracking device yet?"

"Nope. We still have him locked. But he will remove the access card from one of the SEALs sir?" The sailor said as the Captain reached for his cup of coffee.

"No problem, change the lock from the pass card to a combination. Make the little brat work for his money."

The sailor walked over to a computer and quickly ran through the turbo lift program to change the vallits.

0435am T+02:06:00 Turbo shaft door, 2nd level

"Let's see......one HK-5 machine gun, three noise maker grenades, five clips of amo, and an access card. Fun, fun, fun....." Jinpei said as he tried the card and found it wouldn't work. Once again, the SEALs were leaving him alone, which made him angry. Any minute now, Joe was going to come along and mow a whole crop of kills before Jinpei would ever get a chance too. "I'm not eating suash!" He said to himself.

He stood back and thought for a moment, brushing his finger along his left temple. "Hmph, there was a floor map back down the hall. If this place is as good as Doctor Nambu said, there should be a computer around here some place."

Jinpei began to check the surrounding rooms on level two and one caught his interest almost immediatly.....DATA ANALISIS was the name stenciled on the door.

0448am T+02:19:00  SEAL Command

"Lurker's in Data Analisis on the second level Captain. Looks like he may try to use a computer to hack the turbo program."

"Fine.....Notify Chief Wlliams on that level. Send our friend another present to munch on."

God Pheonix

"Ken?" Joe began to needle like a nervous guard dog.

"We're giving Jinpei a few more minutes Joe! Stop nagging my back or you can sit back here and start thinking about a pillow of skittles insted of a pile of SEALs."

"Shit." Joe cursed under his breath as he sulked into his chair.

0510am T+02:41:00 Data Analysis...level 2

"Da, da, da....da....." Jinpei sang to himself as he tapped away on a computer terminal and smiled as he broke through the "back door" of the terminal program.

He was happy untill he reached the tubro shaft validation program and saw the numeric code changing before his eyes!......." Jerks!" He uttered as he tried to counter block the orriginator's access files.

SEAL Command

"Oh no kid, I don't think so." Said one of Commander Lew Gillford's men as he battled one on one with the young hacker on the other end.

The Captain keyed his radio. "Chief.....you may test our young lad at your leasure. Watch him....he's a sneekly little bastard!"


*****

September 20 0514am T+02:45:00 Data Analysis.....level 2

"CRASH!"......Jinpei had just enough time to roll out of the way as a SEAL jumped through the overhead ceiling panels and sprayed the computer terminal with paint balls!

A quick throw of a pair of clackers deprived the SEAL of his weapon but not his will to fight. Jinpei tried to tackle the man as he reached for a knife but was thrown into a wall for his efforts! He landed on the floor holding his head as the SEAL took a fighting stance.

"Comeon Ninja boy! Let's see if your good enough!" The SEAL yelled as Jinpei jumped to his feet and sized the man up.

"You first....." He said as the SEAL pressed his attack with a slash of the knife but blocked a attempted kick, rolling Jinpei on the foor!

"Not bad kid! But not good enough!" The man threw his knife within inches of Jinpei's head! A diversion!

The SEAL threw a fake then kicked between Jinpei's legs for a leg sweep but insted he lifted the boy off his feet and sent him sprawling and screaming to the floor!

The man watched as Jinpei wadded up into a crying, cringing ball, screaming his head off , "You son of a bitch!" Jinpei screamed in between short breaths...." That hurt!"  His face was contorted in agony.

"Get up you little jerk!" The SEAL said. "I know your faking it!" After a few minutes however, the SEAL began to wonder if he realy didn't kick too hard.

"You've screwed me up for life you creep! When I tell my brothers, you'd better be runing for your life!" Jinpei screamed as the SEAL knelt to see if he'd realy kicked the kid too hard.


"Surprize!" Jinpei yelled as the SEAL came too close and the Boy's legs wraped and locked around the man's neck and rolled him on the floor!

"Say your dead you stupid idiot! Say it or I'll snap your neck for real!" Jinpei said as he tightened his hold.

"Allright!....I'm dead!" The SEAL said as Jinpei released him.

Just then, more trouble came crashing through the door behind the "dead" sailor, forcing Jinpei to go in only one dirrection, he jumped and crashed through the ceiling tiles as the new arrivals blasted the overhead full of holes!

0540am T+03:11:00 SEAL Command

"Commander Lydell! Davis here! That little ninja bastard just took out another one of my men! We got him running around in the crawl space atop the ceiling!"

Lydell turned to Reider with a frown on his face. "Your lurker's rapidly becoming a problem sir!"

"Just as long as he stays confined to the 2nd deck and the tracking device stays with him, I'm not worried!" Reider boomed back. "Find the rest of his friends! They have to be around the Island by now!"


God Pheonix

"Hey Jun? Are you coming in or what! I'm having way too much fun by myself! Tell Joe it's five now and I like my Skittles extra crunchy!"

"Hey Jinpei! It's me Ryu....your two seconds too late! They're allready off the ship and on their way!" Ryu said over the Tellepathic net.

0556am T+03:27:00 200 Feet under Neptune Island Pheonix Launch/docking complex

Joe and Jun made their way in their close loop SCUBA gear along the lower surface of the docking bay, searching for a way in when Jun got the surprize of her life. A grown Sea Lion swam right below her, nuzzling her mask with it's dog like snout and playfully chewing on her exposed hair before vanishing into the depths of the Pacific.

Joe was equaly amused, but not welcome to the Seal's playfull antics. Joe batted the animal away with a flick of his hand as he held onto the wheel lock of an access hatch near the end of the docking bay.

SEAL Command

"I have a new Lurker signal coming from the number one docking bay! We have one confirmed target! I say again, one confirmed target!

*****

0600am T+03:31:00 Backup Electrical supply station 3 2nd Level

Jinpei came crashing through the ceiling with a set of clackers wrapped around his wrist. The SEALs were giving him a run for his money and he still couldn't figure out how they found him so fast! But at least the locked door and a hastfully improvised door jam would slow their progress.

He also ran into another patch of good luck as he saw the computer access terminal on the rear wall, fully operational. "Now! Let's see if those computer study courses at ISO realy work." Jinpei said as he quickly typed a program into the computer's internal drive.

"ok.....if this works, those SEALs won't notice that I cracked the lift combo and left them a loop that makes them think I did! The Great Swallow hacker Jinpei.......strikes!" Jinpei tapped the return button, allowing his home made virus to download through the main frame's back door vallets.

"Yes! The boy said with joy as he jumped and clicked his heals and draped his cape in Draculla like fasion across his face. "You are in my power!.........huh?"

Jinpei looked at his cape, at the small clip fastened by what apeared to be a tooth mark in the center!.....

"A tooth?........That seal! They got seals swimming around with tracking.......shit!"

"Sis!" Jinpei said over his silent link... but no reply came back.

"Sis! Dam it!" Jinpei turned his wrist com on . "Jun! Are you inside yet?"

Dive entry hatch 4....Pheonix docking bay Level 14A

"Jinpei!" Jun wispered as Joe came up behind her. They hadn't changed into bird suits as of yet. "Keep off the bracelet!"

"But Jun! There's something you need to know!"

"Jinpei! Joe said as he removed his tanks. "She told you to shut up!"

"Fine!.....don't say I didn't try!........"

"FREEZE!"

The room lights came on and more than a dozen SEALs stood surrounding Joe and Jun! Guns pressed against their heads!

"Well, well......looks like we caught two of them insted of one! Said one SEAL as he made a motion with his hand. "Neal down, and don't even think of being stupid."

Joe smirked. "Say Jun....I see you still got your toy yoyo, I thought I told you to put that thing away!"

The SEAL thrusted his weapon into Joe's face, "Don't talk boy! Keep your yap shut!"

Jun dropped the inocent looking toy on the floor in front of her, it's razor thin steel line  played out un-noticed against the steel deck.

"I couldn't leave it behind Joe. Hey, have you guys ever seen the around the world...."

"I told you to shut up!" The SEAL bellowed again as he flipped his weapon and prepaired to deliver a butt stroke.

Joe and Jun reacted with immediate and rapid motions true of the Samuri art of ken! Joe cut loose with six lightly thrown feather darts that stuck into the kevilar armor of SEAL's tactical vest while Jun delivered equaly fast and painfull touches to the chins of the other six! The motions were so quick that the SEALs stood still poised to fire as both ninja leaped up and over them!

The leader threw his weapon to the deck in frustration. "Son of a bitch! I've never seen anything go that fast!"

Joe stood blowing the quill of his last remaining dart. "Your problem is that you spent more time talking than acting...next time, don't give your enemy an extra second to act....kill the bastard and you won't end up dead! And one more thing..........YOU SHUT THE &%$@ UP!"

As the SEALs departed the room, Joe spoke into his bracelet. " Now, you were trying to tell us something manio?"

Jinpei's voice came back. "Yeah, before you got pissed off at me, I found out why the SEALs were able to chase me down. They use those sea lions I ran into as spys. They placed a transmitter on my uniform! I think you'd better check your clothes Anikie........ by the way, I'm up tooooooo eight kills now."

"So." Joe growled back, "I'm right on your tail with six. Better go find more SEALs to kill....amature!"

"BOOM!" Came an explosion over the Com.

"Jinpei! What the hell was that!" Jun said as she transformed to bird style.

"Booby trapped door. Make that....bye bye nice SEALs.......twelve kills now. Joe anikie... I want you to wear a tux with that pillow."

Joe smirked as he pulled his magnum from it's holster...next he'll want me to deliver it in.....

  "Hey sis?.....tell Joe that's fifteen now. Have him drive a stretch limo with that tux?"   " Crazy little shit!" Joe said as he removed the lone transmitter from Jun's hair and dropped it down the entry hatch.

0615am T+03:46:00 SEAL Command

"Sir, Lurker one is holding steady. Lurker two is holding as well." The sailor said as Gillford took over for his sleeping Captain. " Give them five minutes...if they don't move by then. Well asume they found the tracking devices. Act accordingly."    Turbo shaft door....Level 2 entry

"Look out SEALs! Here comes the Great Swallow!" Jinpei said confidently as he tapped in his hacked combination and waited for the door to open. Insted of meeting a gang of awaiting SEALs, Jinpei suddenly got a face full of sharp, saliva dripping teeth!


*****


0616am T+03:47:00 Turbo shaft entry.....2nd level

Jinpei scrambled and kicked himself away from the maddened bull mastiff as it chewed away at his boots with bone crushing furry!

"Kami da!" The boy said as he tried to catch his breath before the chained animal as it jumped and strained to get at him.

"These guys are freeking sadistic!" Jinpei yelled as he collected his jangled nerves. He chose to sit on the floor and give the dog a pissed off look for it's barking and growling.

Passageway......Level 14

"Joe?" Jun said as they moved carefully along the passageway. "Why are we going up? The power station's the other way?"

"The Command center. I want to find where they control these roving teams from and take it out. Without it, the rest of the SEALs will be blind as bats!

Joe and Jun came in contact with a pair of SEALs as they followed the circular passage outside the main turbo shaft. Jun nailed one with her yoyo while Joe swpt the feet out from his partner!

"Hi there stronzo! You got a choice...You show me the Command Center and I won't beat your ass to a pulp!" Joe threatened the sailor with a twist of his arm.

Suddenly, The passage fire doors slammed them all in! From the center of the floor a smooth steel collum rose up and began to beep loudly.

"Hello ninjas!" Came Commander Garett's voice over the speekers. " That collum before you is a real......I say again....real bomb! You have ten seconds to deactivate it before you all die!"

"What!" Joe said as he let his captive go. "This is supposed to be a fricken exercise you sick son of a bitch!"

"I've decided to change the rules.....goodbye ninja!"

A panel dropped to reveal a small screen and a red button......the screen began a slow painfull count...10...9......8....

75 Feet under water.......outside complex level 3

Ken roamed his way around the upper half of the Neptune Complex after foregoing Jinpei's earlier penetration rout. Being in a scuba suit wasn't making matters easier since he lacked the ability to contact the rest of the group, a deffinate oversight that needed correction.

Ken also wondered what was making him so attractive to the local wildlife. A California Sea lion had been swimming with him most of the way, playing around, poking him, and at one point nipping him on the rubber neck of his suit. Soon the animal found other things worth it's while and skimmed away to leave Ken alone.

He thought he'd found a good way in when to his shock, a steel harpoon slammed into the steel structure next to his head!

They were real SEALs this time, in their two man Submersed Delivery Vehicles! And they wern't playing a wargame like they were supposed to!

 Passageway......level 14

"I can't find a way to deactivate it!" Jun yelled as Joe scrambled to find a way out!

"Dam it! Push the freekin button!" Joe shouted back!

"click" ..10........9......8.....7....... "click".10......9.........8 "click"....10 "click"....1010101010101010101010........

"What the frack!" Joe shouted in frustration as Jun continued to hold the button and look for a way to disarm the collum.

0620am T+03:52:00 Turbo shaft access........Level 2

Jinpei was laying on deck, head cradled in his hands, smiling at the still angry guard dog. He rolled on his back and removed a big bag of Skittles from his cape then rolled into a sitting possition just inches from the dog's head.

Jinpei took a big helping of candy and threw it in his mouth, chewing it and slowly blowing the sweet aroma of the sugar into the animal's nose.

He did it a few more times watching as the dog began to pant, then cock it's head in a craving sort of fasion with slight whining coming from it's vocal cords.

"Oh." Jinpei said as he reached for another helping. "You hungry Mr. dog?" Jinpei said as he threw the handfull before the dog's paws.

"Good isn't it?" He said as he watched the dog eat it's full and beg for more.

"You want more?" Jinpei once again threw another handfull. And now the dog barked a different tone with his paws reaching out for Jinpei's closed hand.

"I'll give you some more, but you'd better not bite me." He said as he placed his hand under the mastiff's snout and the dog took another helping without taking Jinpei's hand off.

"Good dog!" Jinpei said as he patted the animal and walked into the turbo shaft.

"Comeon Fido.......let's go play SEAL fetch!"


*****


0628am T+04:00:00

"What were these bastards doing!" Ken thought as he now swam for his life against a swarm of flashing harpoons as the SEAL SDV's closed on him from behind!

A harpoon sliced into his wet suit at the elbow, ripping his skin and drawing blood! That was it, this wasn't a game anymore! Quickly Ken removed his scuba tank and wrapped the straps around his left hand. " One last breath of air! This will either kill me or they will!" He thought as he pulled his birdrang from his leg pouch and cut the brass air manifold with one smooth stroke!

He became a blur to the persuing divers as 2300 psi of escaping oxygen carried him along the underside of the island and right into a sea suction pipe!

Level six.....turbo shaft access.

Two SEALS stood ready as ordered at the door of the turbo lift. A SEAL from a level above them warned that one of the Gatchaman Ninja was on his way down and that he could get off at any point along the way.

They watched as the warning bell and light sounded above the door and took aim. Insted of  a ninja, however,They were greeted by a growling Mastiff who's new owner stood off to the side, protected by the lift's unseen wall.

Jinpei looked at the dog and smiled. "Fido? sick em!"

The dog took off like a bullet, chasing the SEALs from their post! " Hey SEALs! Next time feed him the right food!" Jinpei said as he walked and whistled into a nearby room...

 "Joe! Better make that........"

"Shut your trap manio! We're in a world of merda down here!"

Level 14 Passageway

Jun couldn't find the answer to the collum bomb! Not even removing the anoying screen would help!

Joe grabbed one of the SEALs and threw him into a wall with his magnum shoved into the man's mouth!

"Tell us how to disarm this thing you sick freek or I'll blast a tunnel through your friken head!"

The SEAL smiled....." Why don't you just let go of the button?"

Joe punched the man's lights out and threw him to the floor. "Do it Jun!"

10...9.....8.....7....6......5.....4......3.....2......1.....

"CLICK!" With a sudden air of relief...the blast doors on both sides opened. But Joe wasn't finished, in fact, he was enraged! He grabbed the other SEAL and spun him around, holding an arm behind him.....   "Now bastardo stronzo, Tell me where the Command Center is! This fricked up, bullshat test of your is over!"

The SEAL replied rather foolishly. "Look  man! We're well within the parameters........"

"SNAP!" Joe broke the man's arm with one swift downward pull! " I asked you a freeking question! Where the fuck is your Command Center!"

"Level 8!!, you broke my arm you son of a....."

Joe whipped the man around and knocked him cold against the steel wall.

"Ken?......Ken!......." He yelled into his comlink. "Where the hell is Washio!"

0632am T+04:04:00 Salt water surge intake line, level 16

Ken was sure he was going to die! He was trapped, pulled along by the shear force of the suction in the pipe! Would he end up like this? Trapped, his air running out, drowning was a horrific method of dying!

He tumbled downwards faster and faster till the sudden welcome of space and rushing air filled his ears, joined by an equaly welcomed splash of water.......a tank!

He struggled to the surface and gasped with all he could as he broke free of the surface and swam to the edge. His gamble was frightfull, his hands trembled, his body ached, but he lived.

"Ken!......" Jun's voice was coming in loud and clear.

"......Jun!......you don't know what I just went through....This test is insane, these guys arn't playing anymore." Ken said as he pulled himself out of the tank and collapsed to the deck.


*****


0635am T+04:08:00 Level 7.........

"Ken!..........." Joe called to Washio with no return on his com link. Jun was back by the turbo lift door when it's sudden, silent opening took her by surprize! She turned so fast that she didn't realize she had Jinpei in her hands till he landed with a hard thump on the steel deck below her feet!

"Onechan!" Jinpei yelled as Jun shook her head....."Next time, tell us when your coming so we don't kill you by accident!"

Joe turned with a look of puzzlement on his face...where were the SEAL's? If this was their idea of testing, it wasn't very funny. They seemed to do more running than fighting, more hit and run than dirrect combat actions?....... of course....after all, they were commandos not combat troops. But that didn't mean much to Joe...one way or another, he was bent on making them hurt twice as hard as he would.

"Their H.Q. is on level eight. I say we pay them a quick social call." Joe said as Jinpei and Jun agreed. They entered the turbo lift and prepaired to strike as the Lift came to a stop.

But once again, they met nothing! No guards, nothing! The level was empty except noise and voices coming from a door to their left as they all took positions outside the lift.

"Joe, I don't like this!" Jinpei said as he listened to the commotion behind the door.

"Open it manio. They won't like it when we tear their heads off!" Joe told Jinpei as the boy put his hands up. "Anikie, this isn't right! This has to be another crazy trap!"

"Jinpei, Get out of my way! We won't know that till we open this door!" Joe pushed Jinpei aside and reached for the door, The knob gave off a sudden loud click!

"NO!" Jinpei yelled as he tried to tackle Joe. The door disapeared with a thundering blast that drove Jun back into the lift and reduced the passageway to a flaming wreck of twisted metal. The door of the lift slammed shut with her unconcious body sprawled on the floor.

 0645 T:04:18:00 Neptune Energy plant Level 16

Ken awoke lashed and chained to a steel post suspended above the reactor containment vessel in Neptune's main power room. He could makeout the black clad SEALs who stood aiming their weapons from the surrounding catwalks. Captain Reider was standing with several officers admiring his two prize catches with a grin of steel.

Jun was behind Washio, still out from the concusion of the blast on Level 8. Ken didn't know what had happened. He collapsed out of the water tank after that narrow escape and never got to put on his bird suit. The SEALs had taken his bracelet while he was out.

"Welcome Commander....I must say you have some extreame bravery, all but foolish and worthless in your current condition."

Ken struggled against his bonds. "You son of a bitch! This was supposed to be a exercise! A simullation! What in hell do you think your doing!"

Reider smiled evilly........."Quite simple Commander....I'm surprized you could be so easily trapped. I was led to think this so called Sciance Ninja Team myth was more dangerous."

"Myth!......" Ken said with a sudden note of shock in his face.

"I'll be blunt, Commander......Captain Reider died three days ago, as did his men.....quite well I might add , I killed him myself.You will join them very soon."


*****


0652 T:04:25:00 Level 8

"Sire....it looks at though our surprize made short work of the other two." The lead soldger said as he led his squad through the twisted remains of the blasted passageway.

One of his men spied a gloved hand flexing below a pile of debris. " Sir, I think this one's alive!" He said as he pulled the metal away from Jinpei's head. The boy's face was covered in blood, the face in shock.....it soon fell limp.. The soldger checked for a pulse, none could be found.

"This one's dead!" The man shouted as the others soon found Joe a few feet away. In what must have been a futile, last gesture to fight back, he was tightly clutching a fire ax in his hand.

The leader cocked the slide on his sidearm and pointed it at Joe's head. "Better make sure they stay dead, put a bullet in the other..........."

A fatal mistake! A brief turn of the head gave Joe enough time to grab the man's neck and cleave his skull with the ax!

"Son of a bitch!" Another soldger said as he quickly let loose a burst of fire into the dead carcus of his leader. Joe was up now and in an uncontroled rage! He threw the blooded ax across the passage and into his target's chest.

Jinpei rolled out of the line of fire as another soldger prepaired to kill him. A swift kick to the nose and a bone crushing twist of the head ended his chances.

Joe meanwhile was off after the other two who had escaped into the turbo lift and he barely made it past the door as it closed. The first man's attempt to use a knife was rapidly ended by a feather dart to the forehead.

Joe caught the kick of the second and slammed his fist into the genitles, snapped the leg in two like a twig and stopped the lift just short of level 14.

Joe wasn't done with the soldger at all. In his rage he pulled the man's side arm off the deck and fired a bullet into the man's left knee!

"Bastardio! Who the %@#$ are you! Your not a Navy SEAL are you? Answer me!"

Another round went into the right knee! " Go to hell Gatchaman Ninja!........you will all go to hell!.........we will send you there! .......we the Great Gallactor will send you all to hell!........"

"BOOM!" Joe sent one last round into the man's head.

"Jinpei! You allright? How's that head of yours?"

"Ringing and spining, but at least I'm alive. These guys arn't too good Anikie, they left the whole Command center intact, Including the schematic boards! The power stations on level 16 and there's a vent shaft that will get us there easy."

"The bastards have Jun and Ken, Manio..I'm calling Ryu to bring the God Pheonix in close.."

"Wait Joe, They still have swimmers out  there don't they?" Jinpei asked as he typed away on the computer keyboard.

"Your right, And they may think we're still dead. Jinpei...find one of those dead bastards and strip him. It's time for you to play a Navy SEAL."

0700 T:04:33:00 Main power Reactor station  level 16

"Ken!" Jun's voice called out from the other side of the suspended steel post. " Jun, say nothing. These people arn't Navy SEALs. I wouldn't suppose you filth have the guts or the honor to tell me who you realy are?" Ken said as he looked into the fake Captain Reider's eyes.

"Such audacity and bravery from one so young, you interest me Kagaku Ninja which is why I'll give you a choice. Join us and enjoy pleasures beyond your wildest dreams, or perish and see eternity....a simple choice."

"Yes..." Said Ken. " Simple...but there can only be one choice. The men you killed made that choice with their lives, to do any less would dishonor their memories and I won't do it. You and your scum will be the one's to go to hell..... Gallactor!"

The leader snarled as he raised his hand to signal his men to fire. " Goodbye Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman, enjoy your trip to eternity!"

Suddenly....The leader's head snapped back! Ken watched as a black clad soldger who only minutes before had been standing by his Commander, now had him garotted with a set of clackers and a 45 calabre pistol shoved under his chin!

"Jinpei!" Jun screamed as the surrounding soldgers pointed their weapons at their leader and the small boy who held him.


*****


0702 T+04:32:00 Power Center.....level 16

The clacking and cocking of rifles filled the air as Jinpei pulled the leader off ballance and closer to his head.....

"Your going to die little boy." The man said as Jinpei tightened his grip.

"Let's test that idea jerk!" Jinpei yelled as he reached around the man's jacket and riped the SEAL trident pin off his chest.

"If anyone hits me! These bola will explode and scatter his guts all over the place!"

The soldgers were wise.....Jinpei had the right man in his hands.

"You can stop them from hitting me boy, but not your friends! Watch now as they die right before your very eyes!"

"I don't think so!" Jinpei returned as he rifled through the pockets and found Ken's wrist com! " I think this is where you learn the meaning of the word...FEAR!"

Jinpei threw the comlink out into the open air above the reactor vessel where Ken's rapidly falling form caught it as he fell from above!

"TORNADO FIGHTER FORM!" Was all the leader could hear from below as Joe, Ken, and Jun took on a new screaming form of energy. A human vortex of blurred colors and light so fast, so rapid, and so powerfull that it tore weapons from hands, breath from bodies.

Jinpei vaulted over the leader, carrying him over the railing and letting him go just as he too vanished into the vortex.

Up it soared as soldgers tried to gather their fallen weapons or grabbed at the empty sockets where eyes had been moments before. Suddenly, the vortex exploded! Down came death, cold, creul, vicious in intent!

Joe was in his element, landing on a catwalk to smash a soldger in the chest and throw him to his death. Two more recieved their justice as feather darts killed them were they stood.

Ken saw a group of them trying to rally a stand on the ground floor and came at them with his birdrang swinging like a knife, they died in sea of blood and broken bones.

Jun and Jinpei stood back to back against a gang of them. She whipped around like a Chinese balerina, her yoyo cutting men down in swaths......

There was no honor, no mercy, no grace to Gatchaman's style of fighting. Only brutal, unforgiving vengence taken on those who had taken the guise, but not the skills, of the brave men they had slaughtered.

Ken broke from the fight to chase those that survived down the long entry way that led to the Reactor room, Joe followed in pursuit for he too had vengence to expend of his own accord with the unknown leader who had caused all this carnage.

There he was! Cowardly hidding behind a line of his men! They fired their weapons but not fast enough to hit the diving ninja as he released his birdrang amoung them, cutting their throats!

Ken dove at the figure, the feature of an honored man disgraced by the filth that had taken his place. The sudden realization that he was protected by a thick sheet of heavy glass made Ken roll quickly to spring off of it with his feet and land to pound apon the invisible barrier with clenched teeth.

"So....Ninja. We have seen much of you as we wished too. Soon we shall begin our attack on your cursed race....the outcome is inevitable. You may fight a year, five years, ten, it will not matter.....we shall defeat you in our own good time."

Ken could hear the rest of the team coming up behind him. They could all see the slow warping visage before them.....the Captain morphed his shape into something more sinister, more true to the essence that it bore.....the image of a demon dressed in deep blue...

The sinister vision looked apon the Gatchaman team and singled out Jinpei amoung them. ' It would have been better for you little bird to have killed me..."

Jinpei jumped at the glass, the Trident clutched tightly in his hand. " Bastard! coward! Come back here and do it yourself!" Jun held her little brother back as the strange adversary turned away and vanished into the darkness of the corridor's end.

*****

FANFIC Birth of the Swallow III: Final Exam epiloge

September 21, 2000 Morning on Neptune Island

The sea lion seemed to sense what Jinpei was feeling. It made low howling noises as if in berievemnt for it's dead trainer.

Jinpei removed the SEAL trident pin from a utillity pouch and looked at it. At first, he wanted to give it to Jun but he thought again about those 200 men who had died against this new enemy and it hurt him. Slowly he pinned the trident to the sea lion's worn leather collar and gave the animal a warm tearfull hug. "It belongs with you now....take good care of it."

Jinpei coaxed the animal into the water and watched as it slowly vanished benieth the waters of the Pacific.

Joe came up next to the boy and watched also. " You fought well little manio. I think our Teacher would be pleased. You also saved my life. A debt which I'll never be able to realy pay in full..."

Jinpei turned to face this man who had been his most troublesome adversary and took his hand. "It's nothing Anikie Joe. I guess I know now why your so driven to destroy these so called Gallactor. It's going to be a long war isn't it?"

"Who knows manio, who knows. But I'd rather have you by my side than all the SEALs in the world, your a tough and brave little swallow."

As they turned to leave, Jinpei looked back once more for the sea lion in thought. "If my brothers and sisters will do it for their parents, I'll do it for you. For the SEALs who died here. Gallactor won't have a moments rest from this time on, I swear it."

Jinpei turned to Joe as the sun began to come up over the morning sea. "Now...about those Skittles Joe?.........

THE END

" OW!! That's the hundreth time I forgot to duck while twirling these things!......

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