Ninja Storm: Quest for Each Other
Chapter Fifteen: According to Plan
Other Shane, in his Other black uniform and Other red boots, thundered through the Others' fortress. Hunter followed him obediently, and copied his bow when they entered a wide throne room. The floor was made of stone, every wall was covered with green vines and black flags, and black candles cast a gloomy light on two sitting figures. Other Riley Bradley's face was not as Hunter remembered. His black skin had permanent wrinkles just as Hunter's father had, but they had been carved by a constant frown rather than a smile. His eyes were sharp and piercing and from his grip on a staff Hunter could tell that he was a fierce ninja warrior. Other Esther Bradley's ebony skin was not modestly covered. Bright, multi-colored tattoos covered her body from her bare feet to the crown of her black hair. Hunter had never witnessed anything but gentle kindness in his adopted mother's face…but this, this woman…Such evil. Hunter felt cold fear pool in his stomach. He longed to press his cheek to his mother's stomach and spar with his father. He longed to hear their voices speak his name with love.
For half a moment he was almost tempted to transform his ruse into truth.
"Shane. Hunter. You disturb us. Explain."
Other Shane performed a second bow to Riley, and kept his head down as he spoke. "King Bradley, this man is not your—"
"I know, Commander," the King growled. "You think I wouldn't recognize my own son? I know he is not my warrior Hunter, and I know you've failed in your plan with their Lothor. Explain."
"Lieutenant Cam told him about you, your highness, after he infiltrated their Ops. Apparently his parents are dead in his dimension. He turned over his brother and his morpher and asked to meet you. At the moment he is your prisoner, until he proves—"
"There will be no need to prove anything, Shane." Riley's gaze flickered to his son's twin, and Hunter winced from the power behind the look. He gulped, and wished Blake were with him. "All we need to prove will soon be shown."
The Queen suddenly descended from her throne, her posture and mannerisms similar to Other Tori's when she ran her long fingernails through Hunter's hair. But she was searching for something, not just examining him. Hunter realized it a moment too late. A flash of pain whipped down his spine, and with a grunt Hunter collapsed to his knees. He tried to shake her palm from his head, but her grip was strong. When the Queen spoke she spoke softly, yet her voice seemed to carry, vibrate, and echo. "Silly child," she whispered, her lips at his ear. "It was an impressive idea, and a noble effort, but I didn't have to read your thoughts to know that your loyalty to your brother and your team is far greater than your desire to reunite with your parents."
Hunter cursed. He'd been found out. "What ninja power is this?" he gasped.
His dead mother's double snorted a laugh. "In this dimension, child, we have powers you've never imagined."
"Then why the hell are you coming into our dimension?"
Other Esther Bradley lowered her voice and sent shivery spikes through Hunter's veins. "Because," she hissed, "to access those powers, we need you…and your brother."
"Wh—" was all Hunter managed to get out before the world, and all of its dimensions, disintegrated into darkness.
Cam didn't have a chance. The moment Other Shane came back into Ninja Ops from the throne room, dragging an unconscious Hunter, he pointed at Cam and shouted "Grab him!" Other Dustin and Other Blake surrounded him instantly, and Cam was thrown into a cell right behind Hunter. Their Blake, having revived from Cam's original blows, managed to catch them both.
When Hunter awoke, the first question he expected to have to answer was how their cover had been blown. But it wasn't the first one asked.
"So…what are mom and dad like in this dimension?"
Hunter, after rubbing his aching head, smiled at his brother. "Oh, pretty much the opposite of our mom and dad."
"Wow." Blake whistled. "That bad, huh?"
"I'm afraid so, dude."
"Don't worry," Cam said after Hunter updated them on what had happened. "I messed up their computer pretty badly. That's something, right?" Cam started adjusting the fake scar he'd used to mimic Other Cam, but then just took it off and threw it on the cell's floor. "So. I guess it's time to send the rest of the team a message, huh?"
"Have they tried our morphers yet?" asked Hunter.
"No, they're still arguing over who gets to claim them," Blake chuckled. "Not enough morphers in this dimension to go around."
"Ok. Then we still have time before they, well…"
"Kill us," Blake finished for Hunter. "This hasn't exactly gone according to plan."
"Could be worse, I guess." Hunter turned to Cam. "So update Shane and the others on the schematics of this compound, on how many people the Other have, what the King and Queen are like and, oh! Cyber Cam? Make sure they don't forget to bring the real Thunder morphers."
Cyber Cam winked. "Will do, dude!" Immediately he activated his own morpher and disappeared, transforming into a data stream that soared out of the cell, heading out of Ninja Ops and out of the Gold Dust dimension. The Bradley brothers watched Cyber Cam leave to bring the Wind Rangers, and then sat back to wait.