War, Part IV:- Old Friends, New Rangers
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
War, Part IV:- Old Friends, New Rangers
Marcus came in ahead of the others and went straight to Dawn's side. "I see you brought pizza." She tried to smile.
"Cassie said you looked, well, that you'd looked better." Marcus told her, putting the two cardboard boxes down. She had, his girlfriend was all skin and bones. Two great black bags were under her tired and bloodshot eyes. Even her hair looked strangely limp, flat and almost lifeless. It almost broke his heart to see her like this, so weak
"You mean I look awful. Like a super model, or one of those hollywood girls that only look good after a computers through with them?"
Marcus shook his head, she might look tired but she was still Dawn. "You look beautiful." he told her honestly. "You always do."
Dawn blushed, putting some much needed colour into her cheeks as the others in the room smirked. "What pizza did you get?" She asked, looking hungry at what he brought with him.
"Extra cheese and pepperoni." Marcus told her, picking up the two smaller boxes on top. "I brought some DVDs too. Hitchhikers Guide or Python again." His dad had shown him the first one after getting Marcus hooked on Python. It was a little geeky, but still fun.
"Wait, this is your sure fire way of getting her back on her feet?" General O'Neill asked, stunned. "A date?"
"You've got a problem with that?" Faith asked.
"Sure I do, Monty Python? What about the best show in the world."
Marcus looked at the others but only Cassie seemed to know what he was talking about, "He's a big Simpson's fan." She told them.
"A two star General in the Air Force, in charge of defending the whole planet from invasion by space aliens, is a Simpsons fan?" Faith asked
"Something wrong with that Lehane?"
"Sure." She nodded. "I prefer Futurama."
They watched as the people in the crowded room talked. A'Zores was right, the Green Ranger had survived. Obviously weakened, much like the Warlord had been, but she was still alive.
Their General had given them a crystal ball, to contact him if they needed to. Pulling it out they concentrated and from the ball's milky depths came an image of A'Zores. "You've found something?" He asked.
"She lives. Wounded, but alive." They reported
A'Zores visibly tensed. "Not unexpected." He let out an explosive breath. "Can she fight?"
"No General." They shook their head. "She is bed ridden and weak, but there are others there."
"The one you told me to use, several women and two older men."
A'Zores lent back, stroking the horns on his chin with his gauntlet. "How many women?"
"Three, General. I believe them to be the Rangers."
"Yes, yes they would be." He paused for a moment, eyes distant as a cruel smile blossomed on his face. "I want the Green Ranger captured. Kill the boy and the other two men then bring her to me."
They blinked; "What of the other Rangers?"
"They will be, occupied." A'Zores chuckled. "Corny I know, but more than effective. I will lead the other Dark Rangers on an attack throughout the city. Scattered and divided the Rangers won't be able to call on their titans. You're brethren and I will corral them while you secure her."
"Then we do what you suggested, we brake their spirits. After we brake the Green Ranger in two." His image faded and vanished from the ball. They put the ball back in their pouch and looked back into the room.
There was something wrong, something of the blackness that clouded their past. They knew there had to be something before, something behind that black well in their head. They found themselves looking at the oldest of the Rangers. They knew them from somewhere. She was very pretty, but that wasn't it. They knew her, she was a fighter, a warrior and a leader. They were a Slayer and that meant they fought for something.
Not The Warlords power, or A'Zores challenge, but something else. As they watched the Demon Ranger knew there was that other. They just couldn't tell what it was. Swallowed by that darkness in their past.
Dawn watched as everyone joked around, they seemed to be relaxed. A lot more relaxed than they were earlier. Either the gang had moved on and they weren't going to say anything about it or it was going to fester like a wound.
She had a very good idea which one it was going to end up being.
Before she could call them on it their watches bleeped a warning. Her's was muffled in her bedside draw. Dawn suddenly felt isolated as Faith answered. "Alpha, Faith here. What is it?"
"Ay ay ay Rangers! Four separate readings all over the City! Their trying to draw you out."
"Just like before." Dawn said, the others looked at her as she struggled to sit up straighter. "They want to ambush you, it's got to be a trap."
Faith nodded, "Trying the same trick again, but we whooped them that time we can do it again."
Dawn shook her head. "No. Last time they were, they were all together." She winced, her head was light and she felt a little dizzy. Marcus put a hand on her shoulder, she took hold of it. "They've split up, but without me they still out number you. They'll pick you off one at a time."
Sari didn't follow. "But what about Titanus. They would't dare attack with him around."
Dawn collapsed back into the bed. "We can't, can't do that."
"Dee, we know what we're doing. It's risky, but you know what's going to happen if we don't show up. Besides we'll be ready for them this time."
With Marcus's help Dawn sat up again, she could see the concern on her friends faces. "It's a trap, it has to be."
"Then we spring it." Cassie said, "We know what we are doing Dawn. Don't over exert yourself."
"They're right," Marcus gave her shoulder a squeeze. "Come on, they can handle themselves."
"He's right." Colonel O'Neill told her. "There are times when you have to trust your team. That's now."
She still wanted to argue, but he was right. They knew what they were doing, who they were fighting. They knew the risks. With a sarcastic smile she looked at the Rangers. "Alright General. Guys, good luck."
"Right, we go and you two stay here and play Doctor." Faith smirked and Dawn blushed right down to her toes. "Who knows, I've even got a nurses uniform you could borrow." she laughed, pulling out her morpher.
"Just go save the world already!"
"It's morphing time." Snapping he morpher open Faith struck a pose. "Mastodon."
"Sabre-tooth Tiger." Then they vanished in three columns of different coloured light.
Dawn tried to sit up straighter, it wasn't much use though. She threw the bed covers off but Marcus held her back. "I've got to do something." She said breathlessly.
"Not like this." he shook his head. "You can't fight, you can't stand."
"There has to be something…"
Dr Oliver offered her a soft smile. "Dawn I know exactly how you feel. The Green Ranger power never was that stable. I lost them twice myself, that's why Zordon and Alpha 5 created the White Ranger. Both times though I felt lost. Watching my friends struggle, fighting Zedd and Rita's monsters. It was almost more than I could bare, but I trusted them and had faith they would win in the end, and they did."
Dawn couldn't help but feel a little cheated, of all the Power Coins she could get she had to be connected to the defective one. Then another thought came to her. "Whatever happened to the White Ranger Coin?"
Dr Oliver shook his head. "When the original coins were damaged the others still held some measure of the original power. But the White Coin took the brunt of the attack when the White TigerZord was destroyed. While the others were combined he was on his own. Rito's attack was divided amongst them while The Tigerzord took the bunt of it."
"Damn." She said softly. As the former Ranger had told them repeatedly creating new Ranger powers was incredibly difficult if Zordon was around. Without him repairing them almost as hard. A shadow outside the window caught her attention. "Oh crap!" she hissed.
It was a trap, just not for the others. "Can't these guys think of something new?" Dr Oliver, General O'Neill and Marcus turned to look as the window exploded out over them.
Sari landed on a roof top in the City with the others. "Don't split up." Faith ordered "That's what they want."
Cassie, surprisingly, nodded. She agreed with Faith as Sari saw a cloud of dirt explode off in one direction. "Over there."
Faith pulled her Power Axe out of nowhere "I don't know about you guys, but I hope that's A'Zores." With that she jumped.
"I don't." Cassie said as the two of them followed. It wasn't. Instead it was the lizard guy.
"Him again." Faith muttered as the demon turned to face them. "Just perfect." The lizard had a hunched back and was very thin, almost snake like save for it's arms. A long forked tongue darted out of one side of it's mouth and at the other end it's tail slapped the ground.
"I've got him!" Cassie shouted. Spinning her staff she charged. The demon opened it's mouth so wide Sari thought it broke it's jaw. The tongue, far longer than it possibly could have been, flew out. The Blue Ranger tried to get her staff in the way, but the demon had probably guessed that was what she would do. The whip like tongue didn't wrap around the shaft of her staff. Instead it cracked around, catching her on the shoulder and leaving an explosion.
Faith burst in to action, her Slayer reactions better than Sari's by a fraction. Swinging her Power Axe high the Black Ranger looked like she was going to split the lizard demon like a log. Snapping it's head back it leaned onto it's tail, curving back before launching itself forward. Both feet catching Faith in the gut and sending her flying back into Sari.
The two of them collapsed in a tangle of arms and legs. Sari heard Faith swear darkly, fortunately she still had her Axe but Sari had dropped her Daggers. The demon made a noise, somewhere between a cackle and steam escaping a broken pipe and then Cassie was there, her staff in two parts. She lashed out with a foot into it's belly before bringing one of the two halves down over it's head.
She was fast, but not as quick as this thing. It rolled with the blow under Cassie's feet knocking her down and then pounced to it's feet. Tongue lashing out at her. It was then Sari realised that was exactly what she wanted catching the whip-like appendage with one part Cassie pulled back and wrapped it around the other. Still on her back the Blue Ranger strained against the skinny monster trapping it in place.
Before it could react Sari's hand grabbed one of her Power Daggers, in one move she threw it so it exploded against the lizards chest. The blast staggered the demon, giving Faith the chance she needed to get back up and get her Axe into position. This time she wasn't going for the demon, but his weapon.
A sapphire lightning bolt blasted Faith off her feet before she could finish. Looking around both Cassie and Sari both saw A'Zores, his coat battered, tore and wide open leading two of the other demons he'd brought with him. The red skinned woman with metal claws and the one with a silly amount of teeth.
They were in deep trouble.
Jack felt the door brake from it's hinges as he was thrown through it. Grunting he rolled with the impact, catching his bad knee by accident. For most of the last three years he'd been stuck behind a desk. Other than his excursion in Atlantis when it was taken over by Replicators he most exercise he'd gotten had been using the stairs.
There was no way he was a match for the blue skinned kung-fu expert that had just demolished a window and kicked him through an admittedly crappy door. "Get her out of here!" He shouted back into the room to the boy. Summers was in no condition to fight, even if she wanted to.
The only one of the four of them that could was Oliver. With a loud "see-yah!" the doctor of archeology jumped in the air and roundhouse kicked the demon in the face. Promising himself to never underestimate an archeologist again Jack got back on his feet. If Oliver could hold that thing off he could get Summers and the boy out of the danger zone. He had no idea how this guy knew where they were, but a college dorm was never the best hiding place.
The demon though recovered far faster than Jack thought he would. Taking another another kick from Oliver on it's upper arm it gave him a short jab to the chest and then a left cross. Staggering the former Ranger and giving it time for a sidekick. As Oliver flew backward, smashing Cassie's computer, Jack cursed.
Summers was on her feet and glaring daggers at the demon, he wasn't sure if the boy was holding her up or just holding her back. Either way he wasn't getting her out of there. "I gave you an order kid." Jack shouted before throwing himself in a tackle, trying to take the demon out of the window.
It didn't budge. "Oh for crying… whoa!" The demon picked him up from the waist and threw him on top of Oliver. The pair of them tried to get up, the only thing holding the Demon off was Summers and the boy throwing whatever was on her bedside table at him.
Cassie flipped from her shoulders back to her feet, the snake lizard guy broke away. It's forked tongue whipping back where it belonged four against three and they'd had a bad enough time with just the one of them.
"What happened to you?" Faith asked A'Zores. "Get stuck in a wood chipper?"
A'Zores smirked, it was sort of like watching a wolf being smug. "No, I just got bored following the orders of a coward."
"The Warlord?" Cassie asked, guessing at what he meant.
He nodded, that smug smirk becoming a grin. This wasn't good. Last two times they fought these guys they'd barely gotten out alive because the Warlord couldn't take the pounding they gave him. If A'Zores was not only powerful enough, but willing to take out his own boss to take a crack at them without him interrupting.
"Oh great." Sari muttered, getting into a fighting stance. Faith took a step back, lowering her Axe. Cassie stood next to Sari, hiding what she was doing.
"Things could be worse." Cassie said. "Not sure how at the moment, but they could be worse."
"They're about to get better." Faith growled as she pushed past them and pointed her Axe in cannon mode, the Black Ranger had combined it with the Power Bow. "Power Crossbow!" She shouted and fired.
The three so called Demon Rangers jumped away, but Faith wasn't aiming at them. She was after their leader. A ball of black energy surrounded in neon pink blasted out at A'Zores.
It wasn't a sure thing, but a blast like that should even things out. Faith must have gambled that it would be enough to disable him. Instead A'Zores proved to be more tricky than a bag full of weasels. Swinging his sword stick a round like it was a baseball bat he hit the energy ball for a home run.
Cassie had no clue as to how, but it worked. Faith cursed worse than her uncle Jack on a bad day as she was blind sided by the demoness with the metal claws. She was about to help her when a literal hail of broken yellow teeth smashed into her chest, the explosion from all the displaced energy throwing her backward. Rolling with the momentum she let go of her Lance and drew her Blade Blaster. Snapping it into gun mode she fired as hard and as fast as she could at the Demon that was coming after her.
Cassie wasn't aiming, just firing. Trying to hold it back until she or the others had some sort of plan. They were in serious trouble, Faith's little trick was the only ace in the hole they had and A'Zores wasn't even phased by it. She spared a glance to Sari who was wrestling with the lizard's tail.
Looking back a burst of lightning sent her Blade-Blaster spinning away. A'Zores had disarmed her with a well placed blast. Toothy, as Cassie named it in her head, used the chance to rush her. Picking her up from bended knee with a shoulder barge that knocked the wind out from her and carried her several feet.
Faith felt the demoness rake their claws over her helmet. Gasping for breath Faith had to brake the death grip they had around her neck. The crossbow was far to unwieldy to use this close up.
A'Zores threw a thunderbolt at Cassie, giving her dance partner a chance to take her out. This was going badly and things could only get worse, there was still the other Demon Ranger missing.
Grabbing a handful of hair Faith pulled the demoness's head back and, letting go of the hand around her neck, began punching. Faith's first punch was enough to stun the demoness, the second left it cross-eyed. Throwing the demoness off she reached for the Crossbow. Only to have a booted foot crush down on her arm.
"Nice weapon." A'Zores gloated, pushing harder down. He was strong but not as strong as her. Faith threw him off and pulled out her Blade-Blaster, leaving it in blade mode.
"I've got others." Faith told him. He was a master swordsman and while she was good with knives this was a whole new board game. They were longer for one thing, for cutting not stabbing. That meant a whole new way of dealing with things, she couldn't get close enough to wrestle her way out of this and her Blade-Blaster was shorter than his rapier. Keeping her weapon low she slowly circled A'Zores. Watching for some sign he was going to attack. She couldn't wait for very long, it was only a matter of time before Red got back their senses and then it would be two against one.
They both knew that, that was why he was grinning. 'Come on!' Faith waggled the Blade-Blaster. He moved like quicksilver, the thin sword bending like a reed before slapping against the back of her hand. Knocking the weapon out of her grip.
Before she could do anything about that Red came from behind. Twisting her arm behind her back the Demoness wrapped their legs around Faith's waist and got her in a bizarre half nelson. Wrestling Faith down to the ground Red kept her pinned with A'Zores sword hovering menacingly.
Struggling to look around Faith watched as Cassie was picked up by the back of her neck and thrown to the ground. She was gasping for air the white diamond on her chest scorched black from whatever they'd hit her with. The demon kicked the Blue Ranger over and stomped down on her.
Sari wasn't much better, wrapped up in the Lizards tongue and cast over it's shoulder. She was struggling, but couldn't get the leverage she needed to free herself. "Very good." A'Zores gloated. "But there is still something missing."
"General!" Someone shouted and Faith wriggled to see who it was. It was the blue skinned demon, the remaining Demon Ranger, carrying something over one shoulder. It put them down and kicked them across to A'Zores.
Faith realised it was Dawn as she rolled to a stop. "Oh god Dee, no!" Faith shouted, Cassie and Sari doing the same.
"Ahh I was wondering what kept you."
"The men were trained, but no match for me." Blue gloated as Faith tried to struggle again. Dawn wasn't moving, her face covered by an arm and hair Faith couldn't tell if she was even alive. The demon held up a morpher. "I found this, it is what they use to become Rangers."
A'Zores laughed, picking Dawn up by the collar of her jacket with his free hand. Almost despite herself she groaned. "And still alive. So, the Green Ranger makes the whole set. No last ditch attempt and I'm willing to bet none of you can call your titans like this either. Even if you could I have this handy hostage." He shook Dawn who squeaked in pain. "So what's next, let me see. Oh yes! Your deaths, I think I'll start with that one." He pointed at Cassie.
End Chapter Two