TAKEN

Due to his ninja training, Kamakura didn't open his eyes and groan as soon as consciousness returned. All around him, people were doing just that, but he had been taught in a harder school. Instead, he lay there, motionless, trying to regain some sense of where he was and what was going on.

First things first: touch. He was lying on a cold, hard metal surface, with ridges in it. It was jolting and shuddering and he had a sense of movement.

Truck.

His hands were tied behind his back – no, not rope, plastic tie. Harder to slip out of. His ankles had been bound with the same. From the weight of his uniform, they'd removed all of his weaponry.

Next, smell. Diesel, confirming the truck theory. Sweat, blood: others with him, some of them wounded. Kamakura shifted as the truck went over a bump, rolled slightly, and felt someone's breath on his face. His insides twisted as he smelt a familiar sugary strawberry scent – oh God, not Breaker, we're dead if they have Breaker – then relaxed as he remembered watching, from the corner of his eye that morning, as a pretty dark-haired greenshirt had sidled up to Breaker and asked for a piece of gum, her lashes batting like mad even while she kept a wary eye peeled for Beach Head's return. Breaker had given her his last piece, looking totally stunned as he did so.

Hearing: engine noises, soft sighs, the clink of metal jolting against metal. Kamakura hadn't mastered the Ear that Sees yet, but even he could tell there were two types of people breathing: the unconscious soldiers around him and higher above, the harsher breathing of conscious people.

These observations had taken him all of two seconds to realise and process. Now he moved into the really high-risk area. With a quick, silent prayer for luck, he cracked an eyelid open.

He was surrounded by greenshirts, all lying tied as he was. On benches sat Cobra troops, staring straight ahead with stony faces. Kamakura quickly closed his eye again before any of them noticed.

He was in trouble alright.


The plastic ties were the main problem. He just couldn't slip them. Snake Eyes had taught him how to get out of handcuffs and rope, but the plastic was biting into his wrists, and wouldn't slip down. He had been searched so thoroughly that he had no knives to cut it with.

Had the soldiers around him been searched so carefully?

Kamakura waited until the next big bump came, then managed to roll so that his hands were resting against a greenshirt's boots. He knew that the Marine recruits to the Joe team this time around kept knives in their boots. Now, he winkled one out of its hiding place, and tucked it in his hands, his movements at snail's pace to avoid catching their notice.

At the next big pothole, he made his move. The plastic could have been cut before his body hit the floor again; instead, he left it intact, and slipped the knife into his sleeve instead. He had no idea how this situation would play out, but he thought it might be best not to reveal he was conscious yet.

What happened? To the battle? All of these people are greenshirts... where are the Joes?

He couldn't remember anything. Taking a deep breath, Kamakura determined not to panic. Play it cool. Don't let them know you're awake.

"Hey," he heard one Viper say to another, "ain't it time to give the ninja the next shot?"

To hell with playing it cool!

Kamakura leapt to his feet, slicing the plastic tie at the same time. Two Vipers were advancing on him, one holding a syringe; that syringe was buried in his own neck before he could blink. The knife was lodged in the second's throat almost as quickly.

The problem, Kamakura realised, as he felt something heavy slam against the back of his head, sending him into unconsciousness once again, was that he hadn't stopped to check if there had been anyone standing behind him.

What happened in the battle? Where is Snake Eyes? Why was Kamakura kidnapped? Tune in next week for these answers and more!