Dates and Revelations, Chapter One
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
Dates and Revelations
A'Zores turned to face his latest tool. "Now do you understand what it is I need you for?" he asked as he stopped pacing.
Nondescript was the only way do describe the creature before him. It's features, through deliberate means, were so bland that they could almost be called non-existent. Despite being one of the most vicious and cunning demons he had ever met A'Zores would have trouble picking him out of a crowd.
Even the pro-noun him was stretching a point. No one, least of all Pagedron themselves, knew what their true form was. Male, female, tall or short? Man or snake? Wide and thin at the same time. The spy was all these and worse. "You want me to find these humans for you. Learn what I can and then report back." They responded, bored with the whole situation.
"Do not underestimate them." A'Zores warned them. "When the opportunity presents itself we'll know."
"And you'll help me kill a few girls?" Pagedron couldn't keep the contempt from their voice.
"No. I'm going to need your help, but if you think you can take them alone." In a flash A'Zores had his sword tip against Pagedron's heart . "Then by all means try me first."
The phantom flicker of an expression almost came to their face. "You're serious about this aren't you?"
Pagedron's whole attitude shifted, their skin taking on a dull brown sheen. "Show me them again."
Sheathing his sword back into his stick A'Zores pulled out his glass ball, conjuring images of the Rangers without their costumes. "Hunt them down, learn all you can. When the time is right we will strike."
Pagedron studied the crystal ball with hooded eyes. Their fork tongue flickering out for a moment. Then they nodded and slinked off to join the heaving mass of humanity in the City.
Sighing with impatience A'Zores called one of his warriors over. "Any word on who hired Ordinance?" he asked, only half expecting a useful answer. The Demonic General had already obliterated two Warriors that hadn't.
Nervously the Warrior he'd singled out stood between the scorch marks and began to chatter. There was only one word that made any sense and the Warrior was terrified to admit it; "Tretrax."
"So how'd it go with Jenny?" Dawn asked. For the first time in months she had the time to just kick back and watch TV. She actually had all her work done and the Demons were still lying low.
Cassie shrugged. "Not great. They think you've been trying to keep me to yourself."
"Well you can't blame them." Dawn pointed out. "You haven't seen them for a while."
"Yeah, well I have been saving the world." Cassie suddenly stopped. "I can't believe I just said that."
"Give it a few weeks, it'll sound normal."
"Really?" Cassie said, she didn't sound convinced, then looked to the TV screen. "Well if they're right we won't have to." It was the news, Dawn had channel surfed her way to it without really noticing. The text crawling along the bottom read; No new attacks, has the latest group of Rangers already won? 79% say yes.
Dawn managed a smile. "This is just the calm before the storm. Sari's right A'Zores is going to hit us and hit us hard. Training with your friends has helped though."
"Nothing like a pair of hundred year old Jaffa warriors to kick you into shape." Cassie agreed. "We'd better get to the Command Centre." She nodded to the clock.
"Tommy wants to see us about something." she shrugged. "I thought he told you." Dawn frowned, trying to remember.
"No, didn't tell me a thing. Come on." Pressing the button on her watch Dawn and Cassie teleported.
Landing in the Command Centre Dawn wasn't surprised the Dr Oliver's old friend and former Ranger Jason was still there. Whatever he wanted to talk to them about was probably to do with him.
"Dawn, what are you doing here?" Her Archaeology professor asked when he saw her.
"Cassie said you wanted to see us?"
He shook his head. "Just her, sorry." he admitted as he pulled a CD from a slot in the console. "But it's good you're here, best to hear it from me. We've got a lead on what's going on with your Power Coin."
"Remember, about how it recharged itself." Dr Oliver explained. "I've done my best with Zordon's logs and gotten nowhere. I called Cassie here to see if she could get Dr Jackson to help."
"What?" Dawn and Cassie asked at the same time.
"Zordon wrote his logs in his own language. Try as I might I don't know if I've got the translations right. If Cassie is right and it's close to a language Jackson knows…"
"…Then he might have better look while Jason and I track down this lead."
Dawn stopped them with a raised hand. "Why are we bothering with this? I mean is it an issue?"
"Dawn your powers could fade at any time, we don't know what charged them in the first place. What if you're in the middle of battle and suddenly you de-morph, or worse." Dr Oliver insisted.
"This is about the Key to Destruction thing?" Cassie asked.
"The what?" Dawn almost screeched. Her mind raced, did they know, how, who told them, and since when was it the Key to Destruction?
Tommy smiled. "It's nothing to worry about Dawn. If it ever existed whatever it was is long lost. Zordon spent ten thousand years searching the Earth for it with no luck." Dawn couldn't speak, her mouth was dry and heart racing. It took all of her self-control not to show any panic. It was only blind luck that he wasn't looking at her. "Whatever Dr Jackson can get out of it will be a bonus. I've been doing some checking up on him, from what I can tell he was top of his field until he tried to investigate the truth behind the pyramids. From what he published I'm surprised the rest of his work wasn't totally dismissed, I take it he was right."
"Sort of, I'm not supposed to talk about it."
Dr Oliver nodded, "I understand. Anyway see what he says, if he can translate it we might be of some help to each other."
"Where are you going?" Dawn asked carefully. If they were looking for anything to do with her and the Key she needed to know.
"Briarwood. I've heard some rumours that a powerful Sorceress lives near there. She might know about this Key, but more impotently she knows more about the Green Coin than anyone else on the planet."
Jack rubbed his forehead. "They're really that good?" he asked, half afraid of the answer.
"They are competent warriors O'Neill." Teal'c rumbled.
Master Bra'Tac nodded in agreement. "Each have strengths and weaknesses that counter act each other. Together, as a team, they can be quite formidable."
"But teenage girls?" Jack protested. "You were supposed to scare them off, not train them."
"Destiny has chosen them to fight this war, it is not our place to comment." Bra'Tac said. "Although she may be young in years their leader Dawn Summers has seen much and is quite competent."
"She's a kid." Jack half shouted. "From what Mitchell tells me she doesn't even want to be their leader!"
"Quite true, yet it was her instinct that has kept their base hidden." Bra'Tac said slyly. "You wished to know it's location, did you not?"
Jack growled. "How the hell do we just lose track of giant fighting robots? At least we now know they have a base. In a desert, somewhere on Earth."
"Is that a problem O'Neill?"
"Yes! We need to know damn it. Cassie's mixed up in all this." the General exploded. "If we knew where they were we could do something!"
"Cassandra Fraser is a capable warrior and has great skill and cunning." Bra'Tac said carefully before throwing caution to the wind. "Tell me O'Neill is it her age you have a difficulty accepting or her gender?"
The Jaffa Master had backed Jack into a corner. He didn't have an argument against gender and he just knew there was some razor sharp Jaffa point to be made about age. He gave Teal'c a look, waiting to see if the other Jaffa had anything to add.
"I understand O'Neill's problem. We have both known Cassandra Fraser since she was a child. Ever since her adopted mother died it has been our duty to protect her. However she is now of age to chose her own path."
"That doesn't mean we can't still be there, that she should be alone in… whatever this is." Jack struggled to explain.
"She is not alone O'Neill." Bra'Tac explained patiently. "She is a member of a team and she is well aware that you are wanting to help her."
"We will continue to train them." Teal'c announced rolling up his sleeve. There was a metal wristwatch without a face on his arm. 'This communicator also operates their beaming technology. They have instructed both Master Bra'Tac and myself in their function."
For some reason Jack didn't feel better.
Cassie watched Dawn carefully. She was freaked, not just freaked but something had terrified her. She hadn't said much since the Command Centre, there was something about this Key thing that worried her.
Cassie decided to talk to Faith about it when they met up at the Coffee Shop. She told the Slayer come Ranger about Dr Oliver's mysterious mission with his friend and the Key as she made two cups of hot chocolate.
"The Key to Destruction, you've heard about it?" Cassie blinked.
Faith frowned, like she was thinking about it. Trying to conjure a distant memory. "I think I heard something to do with keys. Somewhere and making a bed for little miss muffet, counting down from seven-three-oh."
"What?" Cassie blinked.
She pointed at her head "Hey, I just live here. Sometimes I don't know what I'm thinking."
Cassie didn't know what to make about that admission. She knew Faith could be a little gung-ho on occasion and that had got her in some sort of trouble in the past. Now Cassie was a little worried at just what she'd been through. She'd heard Dawn's horror stories and wondered how she was sane. Now she realised Faith could be as bad, if not worse off.
There were a few other people in the Shop, but as usual they kept their voices down. "We'll see you when you get a moment."
"Sure." Faith grinned.
Dawn was busy talking to Sari, the half robot was getting more comfortable around them and a lot more animated. Cassie wasn't sure how that robot thing worked and as she got closer she realised that was just what the were taking about. "I don't know. No one does. One morning my dad went into his lab and found me. That's what he said, says."
"What I don't get is how he found you?" Dawn asked.
"We don't know either." Sari admitted. "When dad touched my protoform he got a shock. next thing baby me."
"Protoform?" Cassie asked, giving Dawn her drink.
"It's sort of like a… well what it sounds like. What are those things babies are supposed to be before their babies?"
"Embryo." Cassie supplied. "That makes a sort of sense. Even baby robots have to come from somewhere and if these friends of yours grew they'd have to come from something smaller."
"Then you gotta ask where they came from." Dawn pointed out.
"Primus." Sari said sagely. "Well I guess."
"And Primus is?"
Sari shrugged, "God, the creator. No one's sure."
"Okay, that's enough philosophy." Dawn stopped right there. She didn't like talking about Gods, neither did Cassie.
The Blue Ranger decided to change the subject. "So you going on another date with Marcus?"
"Nice segue-way." Dawn tried to scowl, but couldn't keep the smile from her face. "Got a whole spontaneous 'Hey lets catch a movie' think planned."
"Ask tonight, plan for tomorrow." Dawn shrugged.
"Well it might be good for you to have a date outside of his dorm room." Cassie prodded.
"I guess I joined at the interesting part." Faith jibed as she sat down. "Trust me Dee, there's a lot more fun to be had in a dorm room than just watching videos."
Cassie almost choked on her Chocolate, Sari laughed out loud and Dawn blushed bright red. Faith squinted at Cassie's roommate. "Don't tell me you haven't thought about it?"
"No!" Dawn protested. "No! Okay, yes. But kissing only."
"You fantasise about kissing him?"
Dawn blushed again.
"Oh come on Dee!" Faith jokingly punched her in the arm. "You haven't even gotten to first base? I thought Bee was stuck up tight!"
"It's not like that!" Dawn protested. "I can't just jump in like you. I don't want to ruin this, you know. It's normal. Marcus is normal, I don't want to do something stupid. I saw the mess Buffy made of things. I don't want that."
"True enough." Faith agreed. "Bee could write the book on bad break ups, but didn't she lose Captain Cardboard because she didn't treat him right?"
"It took a lot of late nights, crying over ice cream, for her to get over him." Dawn said grimly. Cassie wasn't sure what they were talking about but it sounded like Dawn's sister had made a few bad choices along the way
"That and a certain blond vampire with great cheek bones." Faith smirked.
"Err, what?" Sari asked, a fraction ahead of Cassie.
"Long story, I'll tell you later." Dawn quickly waved them off. "You know what I am going to ask him out, to the movies, tomorrow."
"Ask today." Cassie prodded. "You never know what's going to happen tomorrow."
Like most spur of the moment ideas Dawn regretted her choice almost as soon as she made it. On the shuttle bus back to college and then on the walk to Marcus's dorm she dreamt up a thousand and one excuses for him to say no. Each one more crazy than the last, up to the point where she didn't know what to say when she got there.
"Dawn! Hi!" Marcus jumped as he opened the door. "What brings you here?"
"My feet, mostly." She answered without thinking. As she tried not to blush he grinned.
"You want to come in?"
"Urm, Yes, yes I do." This was going to be embarrassing enough, no reason not to do it in private. Once inside she still had no idea what to say or do. After a moment her frantic eyes hit on a picture. It was of Marcus and a three others.
"It's a photo of me and my family." He picked it up from his bedside. "That's my little sister, Ariel and that's my mom and dad." They looked happy, a lot happier than Dawn and Buffy had ever been when their parents were together. "We were on holiday in Azores, it's this little group of islands in the Atlantic."
Dawn completely missed the alarm bells as she charged straight on. "Do you want to go to movies with me? I mean on like a date?" She blurted.
Marcus looked at her for a moment then nodded. "Sure. I mean, if you mean it?"
"I do." Dawn burst out in a grin.
End Chapter One