" Ryu. Come here." Nambu whispered.
Truth be told, Nambu could have yelled and no Galactor would have noticed. Ryu turned around because he heard something. Nambu was waving him over. Ryu crawled back along the wall to Nambu who was hiding behind some storage crates.
" This is useless. It is probably in a control room getting flooded with water now."
" Hakase. Don't get frustrated."
Nambu wanted to believe that they could open the doors. There were five of them trained to look for such things. After five minutes, nothing. Nambu started tapping his bracelet. Around the hanger, three birds pulled their wings about them and watched a tiny light blink.
Go to ship. Wasting time looking for switch. Ten minute boom. Ram door and then go. Copy?
Nambu had to keep it simple. It was Morse Code. Nambu watched as first the Swallow, then the Eagle and the Swan acknowledged. Nambu and Ryu started for the ship and were interrupted by Sosai.
Katse's jump into Sosai's arms was really a slide into the back of the escape craft. It was not dignified but Katse would survive. Sosai could pilot the ship back to Galactor headquarters. With Katse safe, he could turn his attention back to the base. Sosai's enraged voice filled the base's communication system.
" Attention you poor excuse for troops. You have all failed me again. Worst, Katse has been wounded. Since Katse is coming to me, I have no more use for this base."
Everyone had gone silent and still. The only sound was that of the fire alarms. Then the smarter of the troops started to run for the Mole Mecha.
" Thank you for your servitude. You have ten minutes to live." Sosai's laugh was harsh and belittling.
The team all bolted for the ship. Jinpei was there first. He stood on the left wing looking around for everyone. He spotted Jun and Ken. They joined him on the wing. Jinpei was shaking, badly.
" Was that Leader Sos.." Jinpei was fighting tears.
" Jinpei. What is wrong? Why are you so freaked out?" Jun wrapped him in her wings.
Ken got into the group hug. He was concerned. Jinpei never freaked out like this.
Jinpei pulled himself together enough to talk.
" Remember when we were taught that you could feel, see things when someone talked."
Ken and Jun reached back into their body language classes. Jinpei seemed to be super tuned to what people were feeling when they spoke.
" Yes, Jinpei. Go on." Jun prodded him.
" Well he..it isn't here so I shouldn't be able to see and I saw pure black. There is nothing good, no light. I can see light in Katse! And he is evil.If Katse is evil..."
Jinpei broke into sobs. Nambu and Ryu were listening from a meter or so away.
" Jinpei. I'm sorry you had to experience that." Nambu said quietly.
Ryu walked behind Jun. Jun backed into Ryu's strong arms. Ryu's hug was just what Jun needed to calm herself. Ken moved so that Hakase could see Jinpei. Jinpei let out a sob and leapt into Hakase's arms.
" Jinpei you were born with a gift to see what most can't. What you heard was pure evil. I know I said no one is all one thing or another. That is why you can see light in Katse."
Jinpei raised his head from Nambu's chest.
" Then Sosai is alien?" Jinpei asked.
" We would have to consider it. It would explain the technology." Nambu said pondering the implications.
They were interrupted by hollering. There was a commander on a small ledge shooting at his own troops. He was protecting something.
" The switch to open the hanger door." Ken whispered.
The team focused on him. He was dodging bullets and making moose antlers at his troops.
" What is he saying?" Ryu signed.
They all focused their hearing.
" We pledged to Zero. What is wrong with all of you?! Die with dignity." the commander was screaming.
The commander had had enough. He pushed a few buttons and a shield went up around him. The bullets just bounced off of him. He fell to his knees and started chanting as he kept making the antlers.
Nambu's eyes saw the letter sent by the Asakura's pleading for escape for their son. He was now seeing what was told in the letter. Nambu was suddenly on the beach cradling George. Then in the hospital, a week later, trying to explain why to a half dead eight year old. Flashes of nine years of fragile fatherhood for a flock of five. His lips on a blue tinted beak. Thanks Dad. Nambu came back to screaming Galactor troops and a Swallow trying to put himself back together. Nambu locked eyes with Jinpei. Nambu saw strength behind those tear glazed eyes. Similar to what he saw in George's eyes ten years ago. Jinpei nodded as Nambu put him down.
" Team get in the ship and pick me up at that platform."
He was greeted with stares of horror.
" Now!" Nambu ordered.
" Hai! Hakase."
The team got in the ship as Nambu flew to the floor. Nambu ran for the platform that was about sixty meters away.
" Let's get ready to launch, Ryu." Ken stated.
" Can we put Hakase up on the screen, please?" Jinpei was very calm.
Nambu was running in bursts. He hid behind anything he could along the wall. Nambu did not want any troops impeding his progress. He had no idea how he could get through the shield. He would figure it out when he got there. It was obvious that the commander had lost his grip on reality. If this is what Galactor did to it's command staff what would they do to the Earth? Nambu went cold thinking of the possibilities.
" You ok there, Jinpei?" Ryu asked.
" I'm fine. Everyone. That voice just scared me. "
Jun looked into Jinpei's eyes.
" Say that looking into my eyes."
Jinpei couldn't do it. He went to Ken.
" I'm sorry. Ani. I'm scared." Jinpei started getting faster. "I know I'm not supposed to be scarred. Ninjas don't get scared. If that is the guy we are really fighting I don't know if we can win." Jinpei started to cry again.
Jun gathered him up in her wings.
" Silly boy. Who ever said ninjas don't get scared?" Jun said with a smile.
" What?" Jinpei looked confused.
" Should we tell him? It might help." Ryu asked Jun and Ken. " I think Joe might even agree."
Ryu, Jun and Ken all nodded at each other.
" You just had your, it got real for me moment." Ken said.
Nambu was about ten yards from the platform. The Galactor troops had scattered. Probably looking for an override switch. What if that was the override switch. Now it made total sense. The commander was guarding the only switch that would open the doors quickly. Sure someone could reroute the wiring but not in seven and a half minutes.
Nambu got a good look at the shield. It covered three sides of the platform but was open on the top. He could drop in from above. The walls were smooth all around the platform. Nothing to help there. The closest object that Nambu could launch off of was five meters away. Also the platform was about seven meters straight up. How did the commander get up there?
" When we get out of here I promise that we will all sit and talk. None of our moments were pretty either." Ken said through a smile.
"Really?" Jinpei asked.
" Yes, really." Jun said.
Jinpei bear hugged his sis and turned to the viewer.
" Where is Hakase?"
" Don't ruffle your feathers Jinpei. He is right behind that forklift. I've been keeping my eye on him for you." Ryu answered.
Nambu would have to launch himself in the air seven meters. Actually, closer to nine meters. To get over the shield. The birdstyles could let them glide but they needed a series of launch points. He would have to do it straight from the ground. Nambu sighed knowing he was really going to feel this in the morning. Nambu centered himself and ran out in front of the platform. Nambu looked up to judge the distance and readied himself to jump.
The Galactor goon had no idea where the big bird had come from but he knew what to do with it. Kill it. This might make his death at the hands of an ungrateful leader feel a bit better. His gun was empty but he still had his dagger.
Nambu heard the goon approach. He pulled his blades and started spinning. Nambu sliced the goon open on his first spin. The body fell away from Nambu so he wouldn't have to realign himself with the platform. The next two spins built up some serious speed. The fourth spin Nambu put all his energy into his ankles, crouched and launched. Nambu cleared the shield. Nambu put the commander out of his misery before he landed. Nambu flipped up the switch and the hanger rumbled. The God Phoenix was right next to the platform in ten seconds.
Nambu lowered into the ship to shocked looks.
" Later. Ryu, Go!" Nambu ordered.
They all strapped in. Ryu flew through the tunnel that they had come in by. It was slowly collapsing. Ryu did not appreciate the falling rocks. Ken was hoping to not have to go to Firebird mode. He was unsure about how Hakase would handle it. They all put their faith in Ryu. His piloting was superb. The ship was dinged but flew out into the moonlight. Ryu circled around to see the hole they just emerged from.
" Ryu?" Ken asked.
" Any second now." Ryu stated happily.
The team watched as the soybean field rippled then fell still and silent. Two seconds later fire and smoke emerged from the hole the Mole mecha had dug. Then half the field collapsed into a sink hole.
" Yes, Ken."
" Can you make sure that the ISO compensates the farmer?"
" I will."
" Yes, Jinpei."
" How long have you had a birdstyle? How did you make that jump? How do those swords come out of your wings?"
Nambu walked over to Jinpei and put a hand over his mouth before a thousand more questions could emerge. Ken, Jun and Ryu all focused on Hakase.
" Ok team. First don't you think Joe should hear all these answers also?"
" Of course I do." Jinpei said defensively. " Joe.."
Jinpei disappeared under Hakase's wings before Nambu could stop him.
" Hakase! You still have it!" Jinpei shouted as he emerged from under Nambu's left arm holding part of Katse's headdress.
" I am very glad I did not drop it." Nambu stated.
Nambu watched as the rest of the team gingerly passed it around. Ryu was looking very closely at it when he almost dropped it.
" Hakase! You scalped him!" Ryu was in shock.
"Let me see." Jinpei pushed in-between Ken and Ryu. " Ewww! Gross! That is skin!"
In typical young boy fashion Jinpei grabbed the headdress and ran over to Jun.
" Look, Sis." Jinpei was pointing into the depths of the piece. " See what all that blond hair is attached to."
Jun took the piece and stared at it a moment. She wanted to touch it but did not want to mess up the genetics inside. Katse was hurt, badly. If Hakase's blade cut any closer, Katse would have a shattered skull. Jun looked up with a beaming smile.
" Nice shot Hakase." Jun handed the piece to Ken and gave Hakase a quick hug.
Nambu folded his wings around her and said " Thanks."
Ken, Jinpei and Ryu all nodded at Hakase indicating that they seconded the gesture.
Ken smiled as he dropped into his seat and said:
" Ryu take us home."
" Yes, sir."
Nambu settled into a seat because he needed to focus. His emotions were bubbling. He had spent all his rage on Katse and his troops. With the rage gone nothing was there to hold down the rest. He closed his eyes and focused. He calmed himself, for the moment. Nambu felt eyes on himself. He opened his eyes to Jinpei smiling at him.
" Yes, Jinpei."
Nambu looked at his face and could see what he wanted. Nambu stood up and let Jinpei examine his wings. Jinpei carefully went over every inch.
" Oh this is sooo cool Hakase. Look guys." Hakase allowed himself to be dragged over between Ken and Ryu. Jun shot Hakase a " is he annoying you look?" . Hakase mouthed " I'm fine." and flashed her a smile. Jun smiled back.
Nambu was quite impressed with how well Jinpei was figuring out how the blades worked just by looking at them.
" Am I correct so far, Hakase?"
" Yes you are Jinpei. Very impressive."
Jinpei continued up to his shoulder pointing out parts. Nambu was so impressed with the explanation that he almost didn't stop Jinpei before he reached the trigger mechanism. It was located just on the back of his underarm. All it took was a muscle flex to trigger the blades.
Ken and Ryu watched as Hakase got a smile on his face and curl Jinpei into his wings. The blades safely popped out behind Ken and Ryu's chairs. Hakase was unsuccessfully trying not to laugh. Nambu wasn't mad. This was a beautiful distraction from thinking at the moment.
" Oh, that's the trigger mechanism." Jinpei's voice floated out from Hakase's wings.
" Yes, Jinpei." Hakase retracted the blades and looked into his wings. " Remember I'm under this."
Ryu, Jun and Ken had gotten a case of the giggles at this point. So they missed Jinpei's " Why should that matter?"
The team watched as Hakase laid Jinpei across the top between Ryu's and Ken's chair. Jinpei was being supported by Hakase's left arm as he squirmed trying to get away from Hakase's right arm that was dancing all over his midsection.
Jun was looking on from her seat. Jun looked on this very family type scene and knew whatever happens from this day forward they all had a father. Jun didn't want to ruin the moment by getting all mushy towards Nambu. She could do that later. So she just watched her brother scream with laughter and pleas for her to help.
" Nope. Can't save you. I'm sure you deserve it." Jun said through a smile.
Nambu turned and looked at Jun. Everything she wanted to say to him was in her eyes. Nambu almost melted. He caught himself and released Jinpei.
" We are home everyone." Ryu announced as they pulled into the docking bay.
It was nine pm. What a day.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Time to wrap this battle up. Enjoy!