War Part I:- First Blows. Chapter Two
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
War, Part I:- First Blows
Faith had half a second to think. "Blade blasters!" She shouted as the Warriors dashed forward. It was strange, the dirty clouds curling off them like cigarette smoke left a trail. Almost blurring them before her eyes, making them hard to follow.
Cassie and Sari both drew and fired at the same time. Two pencil thin beams of light, one yellow one blue, sliced through the darkness. Carving into two of the charging demons, but while that would have blasted the others into smears of goo this time it only staggered them. Easily slowing them down, but they were still standing.
Grimacing Faith drew her bow and fired. Her Power Weapon was a bit better and could do the damage needed. The Power Bow came to life in the Black Ranger's hands, she hadn't thought it was possible to let lose arrows that fast. Each shaft she loosed caught and blasted her targets. As fast as she was the Slayer knew she couldn't get them all. There were too many, far too close.
Dawn didn't have a blade blaster, and had to rely on her Flute. Not that was a problem, she had another trick up her sleeve, literally. She held out her hand and what locked like green lightning danced between her fingers. Then, in her palm, a ball of dark green energy snapped into existence. She pulled back and threw it like a world class pitcher. The energy ball picked up the warrior it hit and spun it head over heels, splattering backwards.
Then they were on them. There were four apiece, Faith didn't have time to think, just fight. It was a whirlwind of teeth, claws and sharp, pointy, bits of metal everywhere she looked.
She went for the closest one, swinging the Bow into it's gut. Doubling it up, spinning she brought the other side of the weapon up across its head like it was a quarter-staff. Another Demon Warrior came closer and Faith had just enough time to catch it with a snap kick. Flipping the Bow over she got the string up and around the first one's neck. Using it as an oversized lever Faith threw the monster into a third. They weren't dead yet. Just out of the way, leaving the gut kicked one and another that was getting ready to swing coming at her.
Then Dawn was there, dancing from Warrior to Warrior. Leaving quick, deep cuts behind her. Distracting and keeping them of balance. Just what Faith needed to launch herself into a flying kick at the furthest, throwing all her strength through her leg.
Didn't matter what new powers those things had, there was no way they could survive that. She put her foot right between it's eyes, kicking it's nose into the back of it's head for an instant before it exploded. The inky clouds flowing together until they imploded. Rolling to one side with her landing the Black Ranger found herself ousted of the main brawl.
You couldn't call it a fight, it was too big for that. Too messed up. It was more like the sort of thing you got when two soccer teams turned up. War was one thing but this, it was all to close to the nightmare back in Sunnydale. This time they were better armoured, but this was only the start.
Things were rapidly spinning out of control. Still the rest of the Rangers were putting up a good fight. Cassie and Sari were a pair. The Lance split in two to keep up with the Yellow Ranger's twin Daggers. Between them they blocked, struck and covered each others backsides like professionals. They kept tight, not getting separated and not letting anything get too close, but still moving. Striking out at anything that got close enough. It was an amateur mistake to get fixed on any one demon, especially when you were this outnumbered.
Faith was still the heavy hitter, but the pair of them were doing a good job by themselves.
Dawn, on the other hand, was everywhere. That fast little blade come Flute of her's leaving a glowing trail behind. Carving strange patterns in the air, punctuated with bright flashes when she hit. With almost a blur of green and gold the nimble girl left a gash or a cut somewhere on every Warrior. Slowing them down, distracting and even killing one that was unlucky enough to get in her way more than once. Faith was astounded that this was the same whiny brat she remembered from her early days in Sunnydale.
But she didn't have time to reflect on that. The last of her four bad guys, blurring in it's own private cloud, was getting closer. With both Faith's Bow and Axe out of reach she only had her blade blaster, but that was more than enough. Flicking it out of her holster with two fingers she caught the weapon, in it's dagger mode thankfully, and then, with the demon no more than a pace or so away threw it.
The blade blaster caught the Warrior mid-stride, picking it off it's feet and sending it flying backwards about half a mile.
Dawn let out a low whistle. "Looks like you got that one."
"Last one?" Faith asked, looking around. There was only Rangers left.
"Yep." the Green Ranger nodded.
Dawn popped her neck and Alpha offered her an ice bag "Thanks." she smiled and held it against her shoulder. She'd pulled a muscle somewhere along the line and it ached like hell.
As soon as the fight was over the four of them beamed back to the Command Centre. De-morphing any number of minor aches and pains flared up into full on injuries. Dawn had never taken the little robot for granted but Alpha came through for them. Chairs, ice packs, he was even fluffing a pillow for Cassie. It was good that he was always at the Centre, there to help. She wondered just where they'd be without him
"Okay." Sari said, bringing them back to the problem, "What were those things."
"Demons." Faith said, sarcastically.
"But they weren't your regular flavour, were they? I think someone's been upgrading." Cassie said before sinking deeper into her chair.
Dawn had seen her roommate use her powers at least once or twice during the big brawl. Mostly to keep a few of them back far enough to focus on the others, but it must have taken more out of her than Dawn first thought. She'd never seen her this drained.
Faith smirked. "I don't think so. This is out of our regular guys league."
Sari shook her head. "Ah ah. No way. Cassie's right, I'm betting A'Zores."
"Too big." Dawn disagreed. "I got an Imperial Elite Guard vibe from those guys. As big a deal that trench coat wearing pain is he ain't the Emperor."
"You spent far to much time with Andrew..." Faith smiled.
"Shut up." Dawn snapped.
"…But you're not wrong. Those guys were hardcore fighters, there's probably more wherever they came from and whoever brought them meant business."
"You're talking about this Warlord guy." Sari whispered. "No way. I'm not even going to think about that."
"What have you heard?" Dawn asked. Their techno-organic teammate had been on the frontline in her home reality. If anyone knew something she would.
"You've heard them, he's like a god to the demons." Sari pointed out. "He's supposed to be big. Really big."
"Yeah? Well can some one tell them that office hours are over, at least for a week." Cassie threw her head back.
Dawn laughed at that, but she was worried. Faith was right and she didn't look forward to meeting the new big bad.
A'Zores raised his Crystal Ball high and cast the spell that let it hover there. Un-supported. As clichéd as it was the briefing was important, it was underestimating the four young women that had lead to so many defeats already. 'The Rangers are dangerous, incredibly powerful and skilful.' He told his audience. There was a time for fawning over the Warlord, but this wasn't it.
They were more than four girls in brightly coloured costumes, he had to impress that on him and the rest of his forces. Fortunately the little skirmish earlier had done most of the job for him. The Warlord wasn't going to make that mistake again. There were still others that A'Zores knew he'd make. Others that he was counting on much later.
"Each Ranger has their own strengths, that we know of. But they, like most humans, adapt to problems. They learn from combat, with every battle they get stronger. More experienced. Our only choice is to out-number, out-class and out-gun them. Expose their weaknesses and exploit them before they know what those weakness's are:-
"The Yellow Ranger is not as strong as the others but works well in the team." Images of her fighting came up on the Ball. "We know the least about her, that makes her the wild card. Her weapons appear to be twin daggers, fast and deadly. While inexperienced she is not to be underestimated."
At a gesture the images changed to those of the Blue Ranger. Showing them just what he was talking about. "The Blue Ranger is dangerous, even though she may appear to be the weakest. Her special ability seems to be tele-kinetics, but she can also heal injuries among her fellow Rangers and others. Her staff is extremely effective in battle. In battle she works especially well with the Yellow Ranger. Together they are an impressive match. Separating them is vital. However she only uses her abilities in desperate situations. A weakness that we can exploit. Shake her confidence and strike fast."
"The Black Ranger." He announced. "The physically strongest and most experienced. While the oldest and most volatile she could be considered the most dangerous. A Slayer and fighter, that she follows the team leader should be your first warning. I suspect she does not trust her own judgement and seems to rush into things. Trapping her will be easy, but killing will not." The Ball showed her throwing her dagger at one of the Warlords Warriors, demonstrating her strength.
Finally the Ball showed the Green Ranger. "Their leader and the most powerful. The Green Ranger is lethal, fast and immensely destructive. She has developed the ability to create energy orb. Her weapon can both create lightning and control her fighting machine remotely. She is unpredictable, violent and unimaginably powerful. We have to separate her from the others and over extend her powers. Weakening her to the point where she is vulnerable."
But he wasn't finished yet. "All four Rangers can summon immense fighting machines. Removing our advantage to become giant sized. These machines are, like the Rangers themselves, adaptive and should be treated the same way. Their titan is their ultimate weapon. Combined from all four of their fighting machines it has levelled a Dark Castle before today."
"And will not do again." The Warlord growled. "I assume your plan will deal with it?"
"Oh yes Warlord." A'Zores let himself grin. "That is it exactly."
It was her eyes, Marcus was sure of it. The way they sparkled when she laughed, the way they caught the light. That wicked little gleam when she told a joke. Dawn was beautiful, every part of her, but her eyes. He'd have done anything for her, just to keep that sparkle in them.
Then there were other times, times when he saw just how hurt. How lonely she felt, even with her friends and teammates. She wasn't going to tell him, Marcus knew there were some things you didn't want to admit to.. He wasn't going to do that to her.
"Looking at something?" she asked. That phantom smile on her lips and dangerous gleam all too real.
"Just thinking. You know we've only been on one date so far."
It was lunch and they were in college's cafeteria. "I thought we were counting those nights we spent watching Python?" she said with a shrug
"Well it's still about time we did something else." Marcus pointed out. "Dawn, I saw the news this morning. I'm worried."
She tensed up, she didn't want to but Marcus saw it never the less. "Me too." She admitted and he got the feeling she hadn't to the others.
That just made this all the more important. "I'm thinking picnic. Tomorrow afternoon, a late lunch or something."
She sighed, changing gears on him. "You, me. A park with people happily playing. I can't." Dawn started to shuffle her knife and fork on her tray. "I just can't."
Marcus grabbed her wrist and held on tightly. "I wasn't thinking that. That's not you and I'm not going pretend it is." Her glorious eyes welled up with tears. "I was thinking further. The hills, like Sari when said."
"You really think we'll have the time?" She almost choked. "Tomorrow… you saw the news, tomorrow we might be in a whole world of hurt."
Marcus knew what to do about that. It wasn't going to be tomorrow, it would have to be tonight. Surprise her on her doorstep, as it were, try something romantic. She needed it.
Shaking her head she sat back down. "Oh goddess, what's wrong with me?" she whispered. "I'm so… so on edge. Here we are having lunch and all I can think about is how I can mess this whole thing up."
"It's okay." He said soothingly to her. "I can see that this is hard, I can't imagine with everything else you've got going on. I'm not important, I know that much. The point is, Dawn I'm here for you and I know."
"You shouldn't be. Shouldn't have to be."
"Yes, yes I should." He told her, still holding her hand. "This is exactly what I should do."
"Thanks." She smiled tightly at him, just in time for her watch to bleep.
Cassie beamed into the Command Centre just ahead of Dawn and Faith. "What is it?"
"Guess." Sari said, pointing at the Viewing Globe. There was what looked like a giant black cloud, shaped sort of like a person, stomping it's way into Amethyst City.
"What is that, some sort of storm demon?" she asked.
Faith shook her head. "That black stuff looks like the same clouds that came out of those supped up Warriors. I'm guessing it's daddy."
"You really think its him, don't you." Sari half whispered.
"No one else it can be." Dawn growled.
"Ay ay ay! Sensors show it's evil energy is through the roof." Alpha announced.
Cassie tried not to show just how tired she was. She had only been half joking about a week long break. Throwing the Warriors round had been anything but relaxing, it pretty much all she could do to walk. "I don't know how much help I can be."
"Cassie." Dawn put a hand on her shoulder. "If you're that bad don't try. I don't want to lose you."
"You'll need me. Besides, I don't need my powers to fly a Zord."
"How about you?" Sari suddenly asked the Green Ranger.
"Me? What about me?" she blinked.
Sari looked uncomfortable. "Well I was just thinking, with you're powers not coming from the Morphing Grid…"
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Gees, look no they don't. But that doesn't mean they'll just give up on me. If anything they're getting stronger the more I use them." but Cassie wasn't that reassured.
She knew that Dr Oliver had lost his powers as Green Ranger once before and no one had figured out just how Dawn had recharged it. Not even Dr Oliver. It hadn't even occurred to her that Dawn's powers had a limit. That they might run out one day. She could tell it was something the others hadn't thought of either.
"Look, is this really the time. Giant ultimate evil is about to turn half the city into paste. We can discuss how that's never going to happen later." Dawn sounded ticked. She knew something, but before Cassie could think about it she already had her morpher out. "DragonZord!"
Faith gave her a quick look, before following with; "Mastodon!"
Cassie knew what to do. "Triceratops!"
The four of them landed on a rooftop, in front of the approaching darkness. In the distance the City's alarm blared and some people in the street ran, screaming.
There was something in the blackness, something big, dangerous. You could make out vague shapes in the cloud. Teeth, claws and horns. Ever shifting under that cloud.
This close to the giant Cassie felt her blood run cold. When she'd faced others that big she'd been scared, but not like this. This thing was immense, dark and chilling. Something told her this was worse than anything they'd faced before.
Faith put a hand on her shoulder, reassuringly before turning. "We need Dino-zord power, now!"
End Chapter Two
I originally wanted the Zord battle this chapter, with the next being a bit bigger. Still there wasn't room, and with what I've got coming rushing isn't the answer.