War Part I:- First Blows. Chapter One
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
War, Part I:- First Blows
Dawn and Marcus didn't exactly creep into the Coffee Shop, they didn't have to. Her friends and teammates were busy talking to each other over a table off to one side. They were talking to each other about a lot of things, the two of them, mostly.
"So she took him back?" Sari asked, obviously not getting it. "Why, I thought after the way she talked to him back in the hills…"
"Love isn't all about making sense Sari." Faith laughed. "Take her sister B, the two guy's I'd have lay good money on killing her ended up the loves of her life. Two vampires."
"You're kidding, I thought you guys were supposed to kill those?" Cassie asked, looking up from her chocolate.
"It's a long, long story. Has to do with souls, curses and a lot of back story." Faith shrugged. "Thing is this isn't a fairy tale, sometimes things like that ain't black and white."
"So you think it's the real deal?" Cassie asked, "Because the way I caught those two, well they were leaving PG-thirteen way behind."
Sari coughed and quickly swallowed a mouthful of her own chocolate before smiling. Faith just snickered. "Little D getting her naughty on. Didn't see that coming, wonder if she wants some pointers."
"Ah no." Dawn announced, she didn't want Faith giving her any ideas. Her own thoughts were naughty enough. Faith's idea of pointers probably involved nurses uniforms, whips and all sorts of things she wasn't going to even think about.
"Dee! didn't see you there." Faith lied. She had to have, she was the only one at the table that could have seen them and of the three was the least likely to miss something.
"Dawn, Marcus. Hi, you're both here!" Cassie jumped up, blushing. She wasn't the only one. Dawn and Marcus couldn't even look at each other.
Sari on the other hand didn't stop. "I still don't get it, why is it you two are back together. Not two days ago you wouldn't even be in the same room as each other."
Dawn shook her head. "You won't get it. I'm not sure I do."
"Me nether." Marcus shrugged. "I…"
"You messed up." Faith finished. "Join the club, I guess everyone here is messed up one way or another. You fit in a lot better than I thought."
The pair of them sat down, "Like Faith said, things aren't as simple as black and white. The world is full of greys." Dawn told her techno-organic team mate. Closing her eyes she let a smile brake through. "For the last five years I've been trying to run away from this. All the things in my life, the monsters and the pain. When I came here it just got worse. I thought it was all following me. Took me the last few weeks but I finally get it. This is who I am. I can either cry about it or I can learn to live with it."
Faith sat back, Dawn knew she was thinking hard about whatever it was. "This isn't forever Dawn. Sooner or later this is all going to be over and we'll all go back to our normal lives."
Dawn shook her head, but it was Cassie that answered. "Faith, you're normal life isn't anything like ours. You go back to Slaying vampires sure. Me I don't' know what I'll do."
"Come on Cassie, after all you've been through?"
"Hey, knowing that there's a whole race of aliens that want to kill or enslave every human in the galaxy is one thing." She pointed out. "Having vampires, demons and whatever else is out there, that's different."
"Well we're working on it." Dawn said. "There's more slayers than ever before, that evil law firm's pretty much kaput these days. The whole demon under world is…"
"Evil law firm?" Cassie asked.
"Long story." Dawn waved it of.
"A bunch of demons got together some time before Christ and set up shop as lawyers." Faith shrugged. "Thought it would be a real cool idea to end the world. I take it that's how Angel bought it?"
"Alright, not that long." Dawn muttered. "That what I heard." she said a little louder.
"Err, aren't you a little worried?" Marcus asked looking around. "What if some one hears you talking?"
The Coffee Shop wasn't empty; there were a couple of other students on the other side of the hall and a guy reading a newspaper off in a corner. "Why would they? Sari asked, 'We're just a bunch of friends talking."
"Yeah I get that but still, it's all in the open."
Dawn laughed lightly, "Best place for it. No one looks for secrets out in the open."
"The trick is not to look like you've got something to hide and keep you're eyes open." Faith told him. "You can't afford surprises in a world like ours."
The Warlord sat in the encampment. The phantom shadow of a claw tapped on the rock pile. "This waiting, it irritates me." he announced uselessly
"Yes, I understand Warlord." A'Zores didn't like fawning over his guest, but there wasn't much choice. "But I would not advise attacking yet. The Rangers are powerful, skilled and above all crafty."
"So you have said." He growled, a singularly disgusting sound. All the worse in person.
It wasn't the first time A'Zores had met the Warlord. That had been an interesting day, it had chilled what was left of his soul. Same thing as now. The Warlord was ancient, it was said that he'd been around since the big bang. Eating his way out of the deepest darkest hell dimensions like a cancer, spreading out and devouring every layer of reality in his way. Until there was nothing left, no heaven, no hell. Just his conquest.
At first A'Zores was impressed, it was going to be magnificent. As the years went by he realised the problem. It was too short term. Conquer existence might sound big, but what then? Where do you go once you conquer it? What was there to do then.
A'Zores had grown past that. First of all he knew that it was impossible. Realities and dimensions were springing up all too fast. Like an avalanche you couldn't change that by knocking off a few pebbles. The Warlord's grand plan would never work. The lazy fool just sat, wallowing in his own power, and watched but he couldn't see that.
That was the problem with pure blood demons in general. They just couldn't have a new idea to save their lives.
That was why The Warlord would never see it coming.
The shadowy phantom of a Warlord stirred. "Enough waiting. I will see just how powerful these Rangers are."
"But Warlord, my plan…" A'Zores started, but wasn't given the chance to finish.
"Tactics, is that all a half blood coward like you thinks of? Fine, if only to quiet your bleating, I will not go in person." He flexed his claw, dark clouds of dirty black squeezed between the finger like tendrils. Flowing out and around separate, but tightly controlled. "Bring me two dozen Warriors. I have a mission for them."
The others had all gone back to College, or in Faith's case work, leaving Sari alone again, for a little while.
She didn't really mind. The guys spent enough time with her as it was, as great as they were her fellow Rangers weren't family. Finding a quiet corner to beam out from she headed back to the Command Centre.
Flying there was always a fun experience, not quite as cool as her jet-pack back home, but still something she could enjoy. She had always thought teleporting would be a flash, sort of like Trans-warp. It kinda made more sense to her this way.
For a second she caught glimpse of the Centre and then she was inside. "Sari, hello!" Alpha said as he saw her.
"Hi. How's things?"
"Busy!" The android said happily. "Tommy's… Tommy's got a plan. I'm not supposed to tell anyone yet…"
"This about the Megazord?" Sari guessed. Spending all her time up in the Centre meant she heard, and saw things. Things she maybe shouldn't have.
Alpha tilted his saucer shaped head. "Ay, ay, ay. You weren't supposed to know about that! It was going to be a surprise."
Sari shrugged. "Sorry."
"No it's good. I need your help."
"Really! What with?" she asked, Sari loved being helpful. It gave her a chance to play with some of the technology. It was so different to what she had back home.
Alpha shuffled over to one of the controls and hit a few switches. "With the Red Power Coin we can charge the Tyrannosaurus Zord."
"You've got him working!" Sari cried, she'd seen the magnificent machine in the underground hanger. He was beautiful, as big as Dawn's Dragon and just as proud.
Alpha shook his head. "Not yet, he will though. As soon as we have our substitute Red Ranger."
Alpha bought up an image on the viewing globe. "The system needs a living being to connect the Zord to the Morphing Grid. We can't power up the Tyrannosaurus without a Ranger, but because we don't have one." Alpha ended with shrug. "I'm trying to find a way around it."
"Why not give one of us another coin. Like Faith has?"
"The Pink Coin's still damaged." Alpha told her. "It can't charge anything on its own, so Faith's Black Coin is helping. The Red Coin is different, it's still got near enough full power. There is no way a human, or even a half human like you, could take two Coins."
"I get it, it'll be like a fuse taking twice the charge!" Sari saw what he was getting at. "It would burn you up and eventually kill you."
"Exactly, that's why I'm trying to come up with a substitute. I could use your help."
Sari was looking at the readings. It was amazing, the Ranger technology pulled down power from a whole spectrum across the universe and channeled it through whoever held a Coin. No wonder she was so much more powerful, even un-morphed. He was right, anymore and she'd overload. "How is Faith surviving?" she asked.
She could tell from the handy graph to the right that, even if depleted, it was still more than enough to hurt her. "I think it's to do with her Slayer strength. She's a lot tougher than most."
"Only just." Sari said. It could explain it, but she wouldn't like to risk anyone else taking that chance. Then she noticed something else. "Where's Dawn's readings? I don't see them here."
Alpha gave another shrug. "We don't know. Tommy and me can't figure it out, Dawn's Coin isn't drawing it's power from the grid."
"Then where is it coming from?"
"It's a mystery. Tommy thinks Dawn's been exposed to some massive magical spell. Whatever it was could have given her enough of a charge to power up her Coin."
"For how long?" Sari felt a chill. Dawn was their leader. Often crazy, scary when fighting, always with the unbelievable story. leader. Even if she insisted she wasn't.
The idea she could just one day run out of power, or even die if she pushed herself too far. She was just about to say something about it when the alarms went off.
The Viewing Globe shimmered to show more than twenty Demon Warriors. All looking bigger and nastier than she was used to. They were just outside of the City, and heading to the main shopping streets. Tapping her wrist communicator she called the others. "Everyone, we've got a really big problem!"
"Sari, what is it?" Faith asked
"We've got an army coming out of one of the quarries. They look like regular Warriors, but somethings different about them."
"Which way are they coming from." Dawn asked, it sounded like she was running someplace.
Alpha answered; "North east, they're heading for the shopping district. Ay ay ay, the people!"
"I'm on my way!" Cassie called out.
"It's Morphing time!" Dawn agreed. "DragonZord!"
"Sabretooth Tiger!" Sari finished. In a flash of yellow she was flying again, this time it was back to the City. As she got closer three other streaks of colour came in from different directions. All heading to the same point.
All four of them, morphed, landed at almost the same time. Between the City and the Warriors. "You weren't kidding about these guys looking bad ass." Faith said before letting out a low whistle. "Looks like they've been on an all steroid diet."
"I don't like it." Cassie muttered.
Dawn on the other hand just drew her Flute. "Doesn't matter, we do what we have to." With that she jumped into the fight.
"That girl is going to drive me to an early grave!" Faith grunted, summoning her Axe and following with a whoop.
"She's going to lead us to an early grave?" Cassie asked sarcastically, calling on her Lance. Sari pulled out her Daggers and the two of them charged behind the others.
As she got closer to the Warriors Sari saw something else that was different about them. It was like they were cloaked in their own dirty black smog. Wisps of grey floated out from them, like steam boiling off from cup.
She blocked the clumsy swing of the closest fighter, the jolt shocking up her arm like never before. She should have used her other, free, Dagger to take it out but she was so shocked the Yellow Ranger backed off, stumbling over her own feet.
For a moment she was helpless, this demon had her. Shocked, arm jarred numb and surrounded. Out of nowhere Cassie's Lance caught it on the side of the face, saving her life.
Any other Warrior would have exploded into goo after a blow like that. This time it took the demon off it's feet, nothing more. Sari shook herself back to her senses and threw one of her Daggers as it got back up. This time it did splatter, but not just spatter. As the goop flew everywhere the same black smoke billowed out from where it had stood and quickly faded away.
Neither of them had time to say anything about it. Three more jumped them all to quickly.
Faith swung her Axe wide, slicing through two of the rotting demons before the third blocked in time. A fourth and fifth tried to jump her and it was all the Slayer could do to hold them back.
Then Dawn was there, ducking under and around. Using her Flute's small size and sharp edge to her advantage. The demon closest to her tried to parry, but she reacted to it. Catching it with a foot to the gut before flipping the Flute into a reverse grip.
Faith saw one of them coming up behind her. Dawn couldn't handle both of them, but she had bought Faith the breathing time needed. 'Power Bow.' Faith shouted, dropping the Axe. Her new weapon in hand she pulled back the string, an arrow of light appearing in place as she did so.
Firing three arrows in the space of a second Faith killed the one sneaking up.
Dawn split her's up the middle with an uppercut for the ages and she stepped back. The Warriors were doing the same. Faith had some idea why, they weren't expecting the Rangers to be that vicious.
The Rangers weren't expecting these guys to so beefed up either. "Kind of reminds me of those Uber-Vamps."
"The Turok-Han." Dawn nodded, catching her breath.
Sari and Cassie came closer, the four of them facing off easily more than a dozen hyped-up super warriors. "Those things hit like a train wreck." Sari muttered, rolling her shoulder.
"You got that right." Faith agreed.
"Still think this was a good idea?" Cassie asked Dawn.
"It never was." the Green Ranger admitted. "Doesn't change anything."
They didn't have much time to agree. Their dance partners were ready again and came for them.
The Warlord lent forward in his chair, watching eagerly as the Rangers battled with his his chosen warriors. A'Zores watched as the four women struggled against them. It didn't look good, but he could see that they were strong enough to pull through.
The thing about the Rangers was that, even if surprised and outnumbered, they could still win given even half a chance. The Warlord growled as another went down. "As you see, Warlord, the Rangers are more of a threat than they appear."
"Yes, yes." he waved at his General, "So your plan. It will work I take it?"
"Your august majesty," A'Zores fawned. "I can guarantee it. With your presence this world is yours."
"Good, good." The Warlord sat back. The billowing cloud of darkness flowed around him and the seat. His claw like hand tapping again, for only a moment, before dismissing A'Zores. "Tell me if any of the Rangers are injured, otherwise leave me be."
End Chapter One