The Wider World Part III:-Nightmares Chapter Three
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
The Wider World Part III:- Nightmares
Jack rubbed his temple, he really was getting too old for this. "You didn't even ask first?" he ground out, having difficulty not shouting. Ever since Hammond had retired Jack had been bumped up into the pentagon and he hated it. It was one thing to be stuck behind a desk, like he was at the SGC. But the pentagon was different. He had to sit back and watch and good men and women got killed if there was so much as a bureaucratic mix up. Responsibly he could handle, it was the remoteness that got to him.
"Ask first?" Daniel gaped, "This coming from you?"
"Daniel!" He'd called them up, still stuck behind his desk, on a video call to the Apollo. He wanted to know how things were going, the answer appeared to be badly, with a side of awful.
"No Jack, we didn't. If we had they wouldn't have told us anyway, they thought we'd kidnapped them. They had no reason to trust us. We had to be open with them, otherwise they never would."
Jack looked helplessly at his friend. "Damn it." He was right, they were wandering around in the dark. They didn't even know who the Rangers were at war with. All they did know was that it was a war. "What do we do then Daniel? Sit and wait for them to call?"
Daniel winced, "Pretty much. Look; if they've got anything like Asguard beams, which is the only way they could have gotten out, they can beam back."
"Okay I see where you're going. Don't call them, they'll call us. How can we be sure, they might just keep their heads down."
"I do not believe so, O'Neill." Teal'c pointed out. "These Power Rangers are not subtle. I do not think they will be able to 'keep their heads down'."
"Plus they're kids."
Jack's attention snapped to the alien thief; "Where you get that idea?"
"I could tell." Vala shrugged, "They were good, even tried conning Daniel. But he saw through them."
"Too much time with you I expect."
"Thing is they should have been better. The kind of better that only comes from from practice."
Jack frowned, "So you're saying because they don't have enough practice lying they're just kids. In case you haven't noticed kids lie all the time."
"Sure, but they don't lie like we do. They were trying to lie like us."
Daniel frowned and then nodded. "I hate to agree, but I think Vala's right. There was something off about the whole thing and she's just put her finger on it."
"But kids?" Jack shook his head.
"Teenagers, at best." Mitchell agreed.
Jack tried to gauge just how much faith to put into her opinion. It wasn't easy over a video call. Not that he'd ever admit it but times like this he'd like Teal'c or Danny's nod. When your face was presented in high definition all over the wall you couldn't give them that little glance needed. Luckily T knew what to do, with just the right amount of smug he lent back from the group and nodded. "Right, this just got a whole lot messier. Teenagers with ancient weapons technology, we need to find them and fast."
"So you're sure its Ancient technology ?"
He decided to come clean, they were out there after all. "Yep. Carter called, she and McKay found the research schematics in the Atlantis Database. It was supposed to be the Ancient version of special forces. An elite team that was supposed to be armed to the teeth." He let that settle.
"Kids running around with the best Ancient weapons technology you can get? This is going to end well." Mitchell sighed.
"It gets better, they never finished the research." Jack announced. "We're guessing someone brought the research back here with them and finished things up in this galaxy."
"That would be the original Rangers then, wouldn't it?" Mitchell pointed out.
"Which leaves the question, why are they using teenage girls as warriors?" Daniel asked.
"I've not finished." Jack winced. "Those giant robots they've got were never part of the program. Carter thinks that whoever finished off the technology made a few improvements." Sitting up Jack looked down at the pile of paperwork he had on his desk and said to hell with it. "Right, I'm coming up there."
"Coming up there, don't do anything until I get onboard." It was all he could do not to run out of the office. It was five minuets later he remembered to turn off the conference.
Faith came too, feeling like she had gone ten rounds with Ali. "Ouch." she whispered. "That lightning thing really packs a punch."
"What the hell were you thinking!" Dawn screeched. "Both of them? At once? I thought you'd gotten over your death wish." It was obvious that the littlest Summers had picked up her mothers ability with the guilt trip as well as her sisters temper.
"You said you were just going to watch." Sari whispered. If anything the girl sounded younger and more hurt than angry. As if this was the first time anyone had really disappointed her.
"Sorry." Faith muttered. "Really I am, I was only going to watch. Then you guys didn't turn up and I caught sight of that boxer…"
"Ah, no you don't." Dawn shook her head. "You weren't even going to pretend to wait. You went out there to get even. I know Slayers."
"I'm not your sister Dee." Faith tried to sit up but felt something mash her back down.
"Stay down." It was Cassie, using her freaky powers to both heal and pin her in place. She sounded just as ticked as Dee, only not half as restrained. "You'll be fine, if you just stay down and give me a moment."
"Hey, you guys weren't answering…"
"At half three in the morning?" Dawn snapped
"… And someone had to do something about it. Look I found out that they've only got two more of those things to put up and the last one's going to take all their strength." Faith told them what she heard.
Dawn's gaze flickered, "Makes sense I guess. If this is all part of a larger ceremony it would take something epic to complete it…"
"Ceremony?" Sari asked. "What do you think it's for?"
"You're the one who's seen these things before." Cassie said, but Sari shrugged back and said;
"Yeah, but I can't know every little thing. So much had changed when I got back, it was like a nightmare. For all I know they could just be the monsters idea of graffiti."
"No." Dawn shook her head. "It's bigger than that, much bigger. We can't let them complete it."
"The best time to strike would be just before they finish. They'll be too busy and weakened." Faith told them.
"Hit them at the last minute?" Cassie asked. "It sounds risky."
"Not as risky as going against them after, with who knows what supporting them." Dawn disagreed. "For all we know they could be summoning an Old One."
Faith shuddered, that was a terrible thought. "What's an Old One?" Sari asked
"Ever read Lovecraft?" Dawn asked. "Well think of A'Zores and Tretrax as minnows, piranhas at best. Old Ones are sharks and crocodiles." Sari and Cassie mirrored Faith's reaction. "You see every demon we've gone up against are part human, maybe a little maybe a lot but they're all tainted."
"Old Ones are like the big daddies.' Faith picked up, remembering what Wilkins had told her years before. "They are bigger, badder and the sort of thing nightmares are made of. You really think that's what they're summoning?"
"I don't know." Dawn shrugged. "All I do know is whatever takes this much effort to raise is big, end of the world big."
"How big?" Sari asked
Faith shrugged. "Depending on what it is they're trying to raise anything from army of gophers to Godzilla."
"If we get to chose I say the gophers."
"Rabid, man eating, gophers."
"That… That would be bad." Cassie muttered as she let Faith get up.
"Exactly why we've got to stop them." Faith struggled to her feet. She still felt like leftovers, but at least they weren't a week old anymore. "How far are they?" she asked.
Dawn quickly typed something into one of the controls and the Viewing Globe shifted, showing an arial view of the area. "They got one more up and running while you were out." Four glowing red dots, just outside of the city and opposite the college, pulsed menacingly. "There." The one time brat jabbed a finger at the Globe. "That's where they'll be."
"How can you be sure?"
"Five totems, five corners. That means pentagon, that's the last corner right there." Oh she sounded sure alright. Faith looked at Dawn again, for all that talk back on the ship about not being the leader she sure did take charge. Not that Faith was going to complain. She'd had her fill of leadership back in Sunnydale
Sari turned to Cassie. "Why didn't we see that?"
"Too busy I guess."
Dawn pulled out her Morpher. "Shall we?"
Faith nodded. "It's Morphing time!"
Landing after a teleport was becoming second nature to Dawn by now. Another all to familiar sight was A'Zores and his boxing friend. She'd only seen him once before, but that was already too much for her liking.
It took her a moment to realise that the boxer looked different, his face was half swollen and he had a rather impressive black eye. Faith might have lost, but she'd made him pay. That much was certain.
Another thing Dawn was certain of was that Faith's playmate wanted to rip her apart. "Not now!" Shouted A'Zores "You've already started, you can't finish now!"
"But General!" His minion shouted, chomping at the bit to kill the Black Ranger.
"I said no." Then, with what looked like great reluctance, A'Zores stood between them. "Looks like I'll have to get my hands dirty. I'll hold them back, finish the ritual!" He ordered and took a few steps forward, a long shadow cast by the rising sun.
"Don't let us inconvenience you." Cassie quipped, but Sari pushed in front
"I'll take him." she insisted. "You three stop Nukeasle!"
"No, don't!" Dawn shouted, but Sari had already jumped in. A'Zores had been just that little bit too eager to throw himself in the firing line. Sari's Power Dagger was quickly in the Yellow Ranger's hand and she took a swing. Bringing his stick around the Demon General blocked her and then hit with the flat of his hand just below her helmet.
Coughing Sari stumbled back, giving him the space needed. With a twist of his wrist the top part of his cane came free, almost impossibly fast he unsheathed a thin rapier. A single back handed blow caught Sari, leaving a tremendous explosion that threw Sari away in a flash of yellow.
Watching her Dawn bit back a gasp, she'd been blasted out of her Ranger form and back to normal. "Oh crap." Faith hissed. "Dawn, stop the chanting. We'll hold him off."
Both Cassie and Faith, Power Weapons in hand, charged. Any doubt that A'Zores was a master swordsman vanished at that moment. Cassie came first, trying to draw his attack. Problem was if Dawn could see that so could the General.
Deftly deflecting her Lance he ducked under and batted Faith's Axe away with the sword's sheath. He then slid past the Black Ranger like she wasn't even there. The Slayer lashed out with a side kick that caught nothing but air. Cassie swung her Lance down with all her strength and again he parried, sending it to one side.
Then it was his turn, this time, just like before he hit them both with a single blow. Blasting them out of their Ranger costumes. Dawn couldn't help but admire the way he moved.
But there wasn't time for that, both Faith and Cassie were out of uniform and spread eagle on the ground. Sari was still gasping. That left Dawn, and she wasn't at all confident. It was another trap and they'd blundered straight into it, again. Cursing under her breath Dawn did the most stupid thing she could think of. Charging in like a bull in a china shop.
It was like trying to catch mercury, A'Zores didn't stop moving. Just kept slipping around her clumsy swings like she was a four year old playing with a butter knife. He was even laughing, laughing as Dawn became more and more desperate.
In the end it was the dawn sun that got her, she didn't even have time to admire the irony. As she desperately tried to follow A'Zores he stepped into the low sunlight. Almost instantly Dawn's helmet polarised, the visor going pitch black and almost blinding her.
It was all he needed, as her visor cleared she felt something on her armoured shield. Looking down she saw the sheath, point pressed against her chest. It took Dawn all of a second to realise it was the same hand as the lightning firing gauntlet. She'd been blasted by it before and thought she knew what to expect. Either he'd been holding back or splitting it three ways really weakened the blast.
She'd never felt anything like it, Dawn was held fast as what felt like the entire eastern seaboard was pumped through her. She couldn't even scream as ever nerve was shocked. Mercifully, finally, her suit gave way and she could black out.
The last thing she was aware of the clinging smell of burnt hair.
Dawn hit the ground, with what Faith could have sworn was smoke still curling off her.
As a Slayer she'd taken her own fair share of beatings. Some, like The Beast back in LA, had really kicked the crap out of her on occasion, but she'd never had the wind taken out of her like this. Whatever strength boost she'd gotten from her Ranger powers had gone and taken a hell of a lot more besides.
Cassie was just as drained, struggling to raise her head. "You… you alright?" She groaned.
"Freight train. You?' Faith admitted as the demon General strode past them. Desperately she reached out to stop him, but didn't have enough strength to hold on as he just kicked her off.
"It's not working." Nuke shouted at his leader. "Why isn't it working?"
Faith sat back gasping, feeling some of her strength slowly return. "What isn't working?" A'Zores asked.
"The ceremony, there's no totem!" The minion shouted waving at thin air.
"Oh, of course." the General snapped his fingers extravagantly as he got closer to the grunt. "I forget you were a moron. The final totem, it can't be raised by the chanting of some nonsense words and a few gestures."
"Well, basically…" A'Zores, mid-sentence, ran Nukeasle through the heart with his sabre. "It needs the life of a demon. Specifically, yours." With a cruel flourish he pulled the sword out and beheaded his own man.
"Damn that was cold." Faith hissed, finding enough strength to at least pull herself up and on to her knees.
"He just… I thought they were friends?" Cassie sounded about as bad as Faith felt, but at least she was still alive. The headless body slumped to it's knees and began to change like water boiling under a thick layer of mud. Horrible bubbles began appearing and disappearing as the corpse shimmered. Mutating into the grotesque statue Faith had tried to stop.
As she tried again to stand the ground beneath her began to shake, trowing her back down. It didn't just stop there, somewhere in the distance the quake shook lose a rock face as she kept her head down.
A'Zores began to laugh
If she wasn't so busy holding onto the ground Faith would have noticed it immediately. It was like someone tripping a dimmer switch, or a particularly dark cloud passing over the sun, but it wasn't either of these. It was a full on eclipse, like something dark and evil had reached out and blackened the rising sun.
Faith felt her blood run cold as her shadow disappeared and A'Zores laughed like a child at christmas.
End Chapter Three