Jade rushed over of another set of controls. The comm system was frying, likely part of Shifter’s sabotage. But Jade knew how to fix it. Gingerly, she worked around the sparking electricity. She grabbed some electrical tape and wrapped it around the wires. She pressed the button of the comm, attempting to spring back to life. It worked. “Yes!” She hissed. Then, she pulled out a small device from her pocket and plugged it into a socket.
“Ninja! Sabrina and Shifter are attempting to revive Harden!” She exclaimed.
“You. Didn’t think we. Noticed!?” Cole exclaimed in between punches.
“I’m attempting to override the lockdown protocol. But you’ll need to be quick. Even if they do revive Harden, if he’s stuck in there with the blade shields down, he’s useless!”
“Why are you raising them in the first place!?” Kai exclaimed.
“Because Kamara will kill me if I didn’t at least try to get you out safe.” She released her finger from the button, ran to the other side of the controls to continue to override the lockdown.”
Just then, she heard a hiss of steam. She whirled around. A container had been thrown, releasing some kind of green gas.
She immediately attempted to hold her breath. A figure walked confidently into the room.
“You think you’re the only one with brains, Agent Silvernight?”
Jade attempted to shoot the figure with her pistol, but the figure jumped out of the way. Then, Sabrina jumped from the shadows and grabbed Jade’s throat. Jade hacked as she was lifted into the air.
“So come and unfeeling” Sardinia commented, “and yet, you seem to have affection towards the ninja. I wonder why?”
Jade grunted. Then, she lifted her feet into the air and kicked Sabrina in the stomach. Safrina released her grip on Jade and she fell to the ground. She coughed and spat, trying to catch her breath, but in doing so Jade had inhaled the sleeping gas and was fading out. Safrina regained composure, growled at Jade, and then went back over to the controls. Jade attempted one last time to pull herself up and throw a punch. But Safrina was ready for her. Safrina grabbed her arm, twisted it, then slammed her head into Jade’s. Jade was completely unconscious.
“I’m sorry Kamara. I tried.”
A loud hissing noise was heard. Everyone froze to watch in horror as the capsule opened. There was a rush of white smoke that filled the room. The ninja were blinded and averted their eyes. They heard someone breath in deeply, then footsteps of someone who landed on the ground.
“Yes…!” said a new voice, “Yes!! Freedom at last! After all these years, the Kurai Kodomo is finally born!”
“Not if we have anything to say about it!” Cole snapped.
The smoke finally cleared. There was a scream, a feminine scream. There was Harden, and he was choking Kamara!
“Kam!” Kai shouted and was about to charge at him, but Zane held him back.
“No, you don’t have anything to say about it” Harden said, cooly.
“How did she get in here!?” Jay cried.
They could hear Kamara’s windpipes collapsing.
“Let her go you freak!” Kai barked.
Harden chuckled manically. A sound of whirring echoed through the room. The blast shields were being lifted.
“Now’s our chance! We gotta go!” Jay exclaimed.
“But what about Kamara???” Kai growled.
Then, the choking sound stopped. Harden released Kamara. She slowly turned around, and grinned. Then laughed disturbingly.
“That’s not Kamara” Cole announced.
Kamara morphed form to reveal Shifter. Shifter and Harden now laughed even louder. Then, from being them, a bomb was thrown and exploded. Smoke stung the ninja’s eyes and they were completely blind.
“Come on!” Cole shouted.
They moved their way towards where they thought was the exit.
“And where do you think you’re going?”
Kamara anxiously paced around the room.
“I’m sure they’re fine, Kamara” Nya assured, “You know how this goes. It’s probably a matter of them taking longer to wrap up business.”
“I wish I could believe that” Kamara replied, looking up at her sword-sister with anxiety-filled eyes, “I really do.”
She looked back up st the map. The radar spun around, continually scanning for signals of any kind. She held her breath. Kamara was waiting for when four colored signals would pop up and the comm link would be re-establish. Suddenly, there was a quiet beeping sound. Kamara let out her breath, a huge wave of relief washing over her. The communication links were rebooting, as well as the tracking devices. As soon as it was finished, without consulting Nya, she opened the microphone and cried.
“Guys, is everything alright??”
There was static. They waited in silence for around ten seconds.
“Maybe the tech didn’t boot up correctly?” Nya wondered.
Something was wrong. Kamara could feel it. Just then, amongst the loud feedback, Kamara could hear something.
“Listen…!” she hissed.
Kamara and Nya listened intently. There was something else in the audio. There was a muffled, roaring sound.
“It sounds like an engine” Nya observed.
Then she had an idea.
“I’m going to run this audio through a filter or two and see if I can isolate the noise” she announced.
Her fingers raced across the buttons. Nya flipped two switches and slowly turned a knob. Kamara could hear the static lowering into the background, and the sound of the muffled engine became more prominent.
“That engine sounds barely functional” Nya commented.
“You’re the mechanic here, Nya. Does that sound like one of ours?” Kamara asked.
Nya upped the volume slightly and listened in closer.
“I’m not sure” said Nya, “the question is, if it is them, then why aren’t they responding to us? I checked the equipment before they left. Even if their radios were damaged, it’s extremely difficult to break those comm links…”
Kamara attempted one last time:
“Guys, this isn’t funny. You need to respond!” There was a grunting noise, then the signal cut off.
“I’m going after them.” Nya announced.
She marched to the other side of the room and grabbed a jacket she had on a hook beside it.
“In your Samurai X suit?” Kamara asked.
“Keep monitoring the tracking signals, and stay out of the range of the tracking beacons. If nothing is wrong, then no harm done. I’ll let you know what’s going on with them once I’ve found them.”
Kamara nodded back.
“I’m coming with you.” Sensei Wu suddenly appeared in the room.
“Kamara, stay with Lloyd.”
Kamara sighed, and reluctantly nodded.
“I’m sorry I’m so useless…” she apologized.
“You’re not being useless Kamara. You’re the helm. That’s the most important job!” Nya objected.
Kamara looked at her for a moment, then smiled.
“Okay, thanks Nya. I’ll do my best.”
Nya smiled, then turned to Sensei.
The beacons were steadily moving across the badlands for a solid hour. Because Nya thought it would be best, the Destiny’s Bounty was three hours away, therefore meant a longer trip for Samurai X and Sensei Wu. Lloyd had decided to hang out with Kamara on the upper deck to keep her company. She explained the situation to him. She was horrible at keeping her worry a secret.
“I’m sure they’re okay” Lloyd tried to reassure, “It’s really hard to keep a ninja down!”
Kamara couldn’t help but smile at the little blonde boy.
Finally, Kamara and Lloyd could see the beacons of the Samurai X converge with the ninjas’. Kamara pressed a button on the control board that zoomed into their location.
“Ereganto City?” Kamara asked, surprised.
“We’re at the coordinates Kam. I’m looking at the town square. But we don’t see them.”
Kamara’s heart sank.
“You sure they’re not hiding?”
“I’m literally on top of where they should be! But I don’t see them!”
Kamara thought for a moment. Then, Lloyd had an idea.
“Hey, serpentine dig tunnels right?”
“You should know that better than anyone” she added.
Lloyd got a little red with embarrassment before continuing:
“Anyway, they leave those tunnels everywhere! And they’ve invaded Ereganto City before. So maybe the ninja are underground!”
“Lloyd, you’re a genius! Of course!” Nya exclaimed, “Kamara, scan 50 feet below surface.”
Kamara obeyed, rapidly clicking buttons until the map turned into 3D diagram of Ereganto City. Her heart lept.
“Yes! That’s where the signals are!” she announced.
“The question is, how do we get to them?”
“Does your EXO suit have a drilling tool?” Kamara asked, wishfully.
“Hold on! Every town has a sewer system! You should find out where the entrance to it is and go through!”
“Scanning…Found it! Heading their right away!”
It was a long twenty minute anticipation after Nya announced she found the sewer tunnels. Sure enough, there were Constrictai tunnels everywhere. A worker explained that they were trying to fill them up so they wouldn’t cause structural damage. Thankfully, the tunnel where the ninjas’ signals were had been untouched. Kamara held her breath again, eagerly watching Nya’s beacon move closer, and closer to the lost warriors’ location. “Please be okay, please be okay” Kamara muttered under her breath. Her heart began to race. Lloyd put his hand on her arm. She looked over and smiled, nervously, and gently took his hand.
“What did you find!? Are they okay!?” Kamara cried.
“They’re not here…Their beacons are here. It looks like someone ripped them out of their suits and placed them here to throw off our scent.”
Kamara’s soul filled with anguish.
Suddenly, a call came through. It was Jade.
“Jade’s calling! Patching you through” Kamara noted.
She answered the call and added the EXO suit to the conference call.
“Jade? What happened to the ninja?” Kamara hastily asked.
“Kam…” Jade’s voice sounded like she had a massive migraine, “I’m sorry. The Dark Children…They freed Harden. I think they took the ninja too.”
“No…!” Kamara gasped.
“Are you alright Jade? You sound awful!” Nya inquired.
“Yeah, getting stabbed and kicked in the face will do that to ya.”
Kamara took a step back from the control board.
“No…No, no!” she mumbled.
She gripped her head with her hands with widened eyes.
“It’s my fault. It’s all my fault! I did this! I did this!”
She wasn’t going to cry. No. Especially not in front of Lloyd. Just then, there was a rustling sound coming on Nya’s end. She could hear the EXO suit turn around.
“Aww man! You didn’t bring our sister with you!”
“Who’s that?” Lloyd asked. Kamara instantly recognized that voice. Masuka. It was an ambush!
“Well, we can’t exactly allow these two to get away” Glacia’s voice spoke, “I know you’re listening imouto.”
A chill went down Kamara’s spine.
Glacia continued, “We discovered early on your tracking devices. That’s why we removed them.”
“Enough! Tell us where the ninja are!” Nya demanded.
Then, there was a crash, and Nya’s signal cut off. Jade got booted out of the call. The room was silent.
Kamara slammed her fists on the board in fury.
“I’ve got to help them! I’m done with cowering!”
She turned to Lloyd.
“I’m going to set the Bounty over water so they can’t get to it.”
She tapped on the controls until the course was set.
“But-! I’m ten!” Lloyd objected.
“You’ll be fine, Lloyd. Just let the computer do its job, and set off the emergency switch is the Bounty’s attacked.”
She started out of the room, when they heard beeping again. Kamara froze. Slowly she turned around. There was another call. This time, it was a face ID she hadn’t quite seen before. It was Kai, but in his casual red hoodie. It was his cellphone. Kamara eagerly ran to the control board and answered.
“Kai!? Kai talk to me, what’s going on!?” She pleaded.
There was static.
“ANSWER ME DANGIT!” Kamara shouted.
The Destiny’s Bounty trembled a little.
“Listen closely…Kaze no ninja.”
It wasn’t Kai. It was something foreign, something she hadn’t heard.
“If you want answers, you must come alone, and weaponless. Fail to do this, and your… ‘associates’…will be harmed.”
“Where…are they!?” Kamara growled.
The Bounty trembled again, this time rocking more intensely.
“Kamara…?” Lloyd asked nervously.
“Come to Shuushi village. We will discuss terms there.”
Then, the call ended.