No one was quite sure where the breakdown in communication had occured. Had it been the new helmets the Science Ninjas wore? Could they have been too tight? Or had it been Nambu, who had spent the last few days fighting a terrible cold? Whichever the case, it had left Eagle Ken and Condor Joe in an extremely puzzled state as they left their mentor's office.
Are you *absolutely* sure that's what he said, Ken??" Joe asked as they headed to their quarters.
"Absolutely." Ken replied. "You heard him as clearly as I did."
"But it seems so un-Ninja!!"
"Joe, don't start that again..."
"But it sounds so stupid!!"
"Will you put a *sock* in it!!"
Joe grunted. The two walked the rest of the way to Ken's quarters in silence. Joe stayed out in the hallway as Ken entered his room and began rooting around in the bathroom.
Forty-five minutes ago Ken and Joe had entered Nambu's office at his summons. They were greeted by the sounds of his coughing and sniffling. Nambu had been sick for the last three days and it still looked like he wasn't getting any better... at least his voice wasn't at any rate. Nambu motioned to them to have a seat on the sofa.
"Is there something wrong, Hakase?" Ken asked furtively.
"I have had it!!" Nambu stated furiously -- at least that's what it would have sounded like had his voice not become sore and hoarse recently.
"Maybe you should put your frustrations down in writing, Hakase." Joe quipped. "That can't be good for your throat." Ken and Nambu shot Joe a withering look, but he ignored them as usual.
"As I was saying," Nambu began, whispering to conserve his voice. "I've had it up to here with Berg Katze. First he tries to steal all our sugar, there there was that mecha that fired marshmellow goop, and now... Joe, what are you lauging at?"
"And then.." Nambu continued, whispering no longer, "Then there were the chihuahuas, and now; *NOW* the walking, talking, exploding Nambu dolls! JOE!!"
Joe continued snickering. He was rewarded by an elbow to the ribs by Ken. It only quieted him for about two minutes.
"Those dolls were the last straw!! I have had it!! So I'm ordering the two of you to take the offensive. I want you to go after Berg Katze!"
Joe nearly choked in shock. Ken looked dumbfounded. "Hakase? Are you sure??"
Nambu nodded. "I have the coordinates to Katze's location right here. This is what I want you to do..."
Joe snapped to attention as Ken returned to the hallway carrying a small container. "I hope we have enough. Maybe I should ask Jun if we can borrow hers too."
Joe grabbed Ken's faceshield and began leading him to the God Phoenix. Ken popped him and he let go.
"Ken," Joe whined, "Are you sure this is waht Nambu wants us to do?"
Ken sighed in exasperation. "Joe, you've never questioned Nambu's orders in the past. Why start now? We're Ninja, Joe. We have our duty to fullfill to him, the ISO, and the world. Now let's get going."
"But this is SO STUPID!!"
"Joe! SHUT UP!!" ****
Meanwhile, Berg Katze was in his private quarters looking over the latest reports from the last mission. S/he was not in a good mood. As s/he had expected, the Ninja's had easily tapped the control frequency to the "Nambots" and lured the miniture toys out to the desert to be destroyed by a bird missile. Sosai X hadn't been pleased with the results either.
Hir thoughts were interupted by a knock at the door. "It's Brace, Kat-sama. I have your tea."
"You may enter, Brace."
The burly, seven-foot tall chief of Katze's personal security force entered the room and set a large tray of tea and biscuits on the table beside hir bed. Katze nodded appreciatively, then went back to hir report.
"I take it Sosai X was not at all happy about the loss of the 'Nambots' "
Katze shook hir head. "Not happy is putting it mildly, Brace. They were after all, *his* idea." Katze paused in thought, then cracked a grin. "I must admit the look on Nambu's face when he saw them was actually worth all the trouble we went through to build them." Both of them began to laugh for several minutes.
"Brace?" Katze asked in a serious tone. "Why do I ever listen to Sosai X?"
"Because," Brace answered as he walked to the door, a smart- ass grin on his face, "He'll paste you to the nearest wall with his lasers if you don't"
Katze flung a biscuit at his head as he dashed out of hir room. ****
A few hours later Katze had put the finishing touches to the final mission report and was heading down the corridor to type it into the archive computer. As s/he entered the doorway, the corridor behind hir exploded. Katze was sent sprawling into the control room.
"Katze-sama!! We're being attacked!!" shouted a goon from the main monitor.
"Thanks for sharing the obvious," Katze huffed, getting to hir feet. "Now.. would it be too much to ask if you tell me who is responsible, and how they got here??" Another explosion rocked the area to the left of them.
"It's two of the Kagaku Ninjatai, and it looks like they arrived in the God Phoenix, sir."
Katze pulled out his gun and shot the gaurd. [Smart-ass. Why me.. why does Sosai saddle these goons to me..] S/he didn't have long to dwell on the thought as the control room began disintegrating before hir eyes. Katze lept over the dead goon and ran into a service corridor behind several of hir fleeing guards. S/he rounded the corner and made hir way to the launch pad. A familar voice stopped hir cold.
"Berg Katze.. you can run... but you cannot hide from the shadows of justice; the defenders of the defenseless; the light which casts away the darkness; the bringers of freedom, truth.."
"And good recycling habits!!" Joe shouted as he leaped over the rail and dropped on Katze like a bomb. Ken followed shortly after and the two wasted no time in pinning the struggling mutant to the floor. Joe sat on hir legs, while Ken pinned hir arms and chest.
"You didn't let me finish my speech!"
"It was taking too long. Next time say something shorter."
Ken shot Joe a quick glare, then reached into a pouch to pull out the small container he had carried with him.
"You think you can defeat me with a small container Gatchaman??" Katze cried. "My guards will be here in moments and when they do you will find yourself overmatched and overpowered!"
"Not hardly." Joe snorted, sitting on Katze's legs with a bored look.
Ken began unscrewing the top to the container and fished around inside for a moment. He pulled out a small, white, circular pad; dripping liquid..
"Wh... what is that? What are you going to do to me??"
"Just hold still Katze," said Ken as he reached for Katze's mask, "This'll be over in a few minutes."
"AUUUUUUGGGGHHH!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! SOSAI!! HELP!!" *Epilogue*
"The mission was a success, Hakase."
"That's wonderful team," Nambu said hoarsely. "Now.. what did you do with his body?" "His body, Hakase?" "Yes Joe, his body. I did ask you to execute him for me."
"Execute.." Ken began. "Him?" Joe finished. Nambu now looked surprise. "You mean he got away?? But I thought you said you.."
Ken looked down at the small container he clutched in his hands. Nambu took it and read the label. "Oxy-10 acne pads??"
"Isn't that what you wanted us to do Hakase?"
"NO!! I SAID EXECUTE HIM, NOT OXYCUTE HIM!!"
"BERG KATZE, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU? YOU HAVE LITTLE LUMPS ALL OVER YOUR FACE AND YOUR SKIN IS RED."
"They're called hives, Soosai X-sama."
"THAT LOOKS FAR TOO OBVIOUS. YOU'RE SWELLING. IS YOUR ENTIRE FACE LIKE THAT? TAKE OFF YOUR MASK."
"I think I'm allergic to benzoyl peroxide.."
"OHHH DEAR. THAT'S NO GOOD, YOU CAN SEE WHERE YOUR MASK WAS. FUNNY, I NEVER REALIZED HOW OBVIOUS YOUR TAN LINES WERE - NO WONDER YOU WEAR ALL THAT MAKEUP."
"I don't think makeup is going to cover this, Soosai."
"FOR ONCE WE AGREE -- YOU SHALL HAVE TO WEAR A FULL- FACE MASK."
"But... I don't *have* a full-face mask..."
"YES YOU DO."
"No.. NO! NO, I will NOT wear that thing again!"
"I'LL EVEN HAVE THE ANTENNAE REMOVED.."
"NO! Forget it! I'll die first!"
"BERG KATZE, I ORDER YOU TO.."
"You do and I'll sell out all our plans to the Kagaku Ninja Tai!"
"NOW SEE HERE, BERG KATZE...!"