1. Chapter 1 by Springie
"So all of the evidence is pointing us here..." Ken placed an index finger on the map.
The Condor chimed in with a clenched fist. "That's got to be Galactor's Headquarters! We'll get them this time!"
Dr. Nambu sat on the edge of his desk and crossed his arms over his chest. "I have to admit, it seems likely that you will find something that is very valuable to Katse in that location. Just be careful, you never know what tricks he has up his sleeve."
He then stood up and pointed to the office door. "Ok, Science Ninja Team, it's time to investigate the Namib Desert. Board the God Phoenix and move out!"
"Roger!" the team replied.
The team landed near the suspicious location and spread out, searching high and low for any sign of their enemy.
As the sun began to sink in the west, they all gathered together to share their experiences.
"Man, this is the stupidest mission yet! All I found was a stupid lizard!" Jinpei complained.
Ryu added, "Yeah, I have sand in places I can't even mention...and I'm totally baked."
"It *is* strange, Ken...all we've found is miles and miles of...nothing," Jun said as she brushed some sand off of her shoulder. "Maybe we were wrong about this place..."
As she finished speaking, the ground below them began to tremble and quake, shaking the team off of their feet. They remained in their compromised positions as the earth shook violently, and then, as soon as it had started, it stopped.
Flashing lights blinded them and they heard strange, repeating clicking noises.
When it was all over, they stood up and investigated the ground beneath their feet.
"It's just a big, square panel under the sand," Joe grumbled. "Ryu come help me lift it up."
The two ninjas were soon joined by Ken. They were able to lift and tilt the plank long enough for Jun and Jinpei to check out what was hidden underneath.
"This is crazy!" Jinpei grumbled. "There's nothing here but some gears and springs to make it move."
Jun was still on her hands and knees, as she removed a spring and showed it to her comrades. "Jinpei's right, Ken, it reminds me of one of those fun house floors."
Their teammates began to moan and groan under the weight of the plank.
Ryu grunted in exasperation. "Okay, can you...please...get...out...from under there...so...we...can..."
Jun and Jinpei got the message and immediately scampered out from under the false floor.
BOOM! Their teammates dropped the heavy object back in place. Sand flew up around the panel.
"Whew! I'm gonna be feeling this tomorrow!" Ryu gingerly rubbed his biceps. Ken and Joe were stretching and massaging their own arms quietly.
"Something about this isn't right...it screams ‘Galactor Trap', yet nothing happened to us..." Ken scanned the area as he spoke.
"What about those weird flashes we saw?" Joe began walking around the rugged terrain and looking for the source of the mysterious lights.
"Look around, team. We need to get to the bottom of this." The Eagle ordered.
The team searched the area, finding nothing until they heard Jinpei call out, "I found it!"
Nearby, in a small hillside, Jinpei found several small panels.
"I don't get it...Galactor just wanted to take our picture?" Jinpei shrugged. "It's not like we were out of birdstyle or anything..."
Ken pulled out his boomerang and pried one of the panels open. Inside was a small camera. Jun quickly disabled the camera and pulled it out from its hiding place. The rest of the team did the same thing to the other cameras.
Evidence in hand, they decided to head back to the Crescent Coral Base and continue their search the following day. In the meantime, Dr. Nambu could look at the cameras and help them to figure out what had just happened to them.
The following week, the team combed through the desert for clues and found nothing else. They were completely perplexed as to why Galactor would lead them out into the middle of the desert for no apparent reason.
About a week and a half after the original incident, another clue emerged as Jinpei came running into the Snack J with something in his hand.
"I've done it! I've solved the mystery!" He waved a plastic bag in the air excitedly.
"What have you done, squirt?" Ryu chuckled. He could tell that this was going to be good...
Jinpei paused and hid the bag behind his back. "You might not like it, Sis..."
"What are you talking about, Jinpei?" Jun walked out from behind the bar and approached her little brother. Ken, Ryu and Joe gathered around him, too.
Jinpei wore a smug expression as he pulled out his prize. "Okay, Sis, don't say I didn't warn you..."
They all gasped as an issue of "Pantsu Magazine" was displayed before them. The latest cover model was the Swan of the Science Ninja Team, sprawled across the sand in all her glory.
"Give me that, Jinpei!" She shrieked.
The rest of the team laughed heartily.
Ryu reached for the magazine, "So that's how they get their models..."
"I guess ‘Pantsu Magazine' is a Galactor publication," Jinpei surmised. "It must be one of the ways they make their money."
"Don't worry about it, Jun...we see those panties all of the time..." Joe teased as he pointed to the cover.
He then passed the magazine to Ken.
"You know, Jun, you're pretty photogenic..." the Eagle commented, and then he ducked quickly to avoid a flying yo-yo."