The Plot Thickens, Chapter One
POWER RANGERS:- Demon Wars
The Plot Thickens
Buffy held her hands up and waved down the Slayers filling the room, The noise of almost two dozen teenage girls arguing amongst themselves was nearly deafening. "Okay, okay! I know it sucks but we can't rush into this!" She shouted over them.
Dawn had beamed them back to the apartment building Buffy had rented after a quick decision not to tell anyone else who the Rangers really were. When she and the others touched down everyone bombarded them with questions. Most of which they couldn't answer. Eventually Buffy had been forced to outline the plan.
It was fairly simple really, no one had at the first clue as to what the big bad was planning so they needed to find out. That meant helping the Rangers search the city for more symbols, or glyphs, whatever. Of course the rest of the Slayers didn't like the idea of being stuck in research mode while someone else did the fighting. "Come on!" Shouted Kennedy. "They're just a bunch of show off's in fancy spandex. Let us get out there and kick some demon butt. We could be done before the week end." She boasted and a lot of the Slayers agreed
After a moment though they stopped and looked at Buffy. The Blonde Slayer got the feeling they could tell something was up from the expression on her face. "Last time I thought like that Xander lost an eye." Buffy hissed at them and watched every one in the room glance at the self styled pirate.
"We also lost some potentials that night too." He reminded them, the grim look out of place on his face. "Buffy's right we don't want to rush in."
"Can we at least tell these Rangers to back off and let us do our jobs?" Someone else shouted, probably Rona.
"This is their job." Buffy pointed out. "Look, like they said, they're the ones with the giant robots here."
"And we've got the Scythe!"
Xander let out a sharp whistle to get their attention. "And each of them have a weapon too. The one in Black has a giant axe and D… Green has a flute, dagger thing. We're not the ones in charge here."
"Xander's right. We want to work with the Rangers, that means helping them figure out what's coming next and finding a way to stop it." Buffy drove the point home.
"I already know how to stop it. Break out the Troll hammer and the Scythe then we do what a Slayer does best." Kennedy called out.
"Not until we know more." Giles joined in. "Buffy's right, rushing in will only get ourselves, and more likely others, hurt. We still don't know exactly what is going on in this city, or just what might happen next. We don't even know where the enemy is based. All we do know is something very dangerous is coming, whatever this demon General A'Zores is doing with this spell of his is unimaginably huge. Only by pooling our resources can we work out what it is going to be and counter act it."
"Which means we look for these funky symbols wherever we find them." Buffy repeated for what felt like the hundredth time as she waved the paper the little robot had printed out for her. "You see this or anything that looks…"
"We get it." Half the Slayers interrupted, but one hand went up hesitantly.
Buffy blinked, feeling like a school teacher all of a sudden. "Vi? You want to ask something?"
"Urm, yeah." She looked around as everyone's attention was on her. "I'm down with the whole know your enemy thing, but how do we, you know, the Rangers. How do we call them. They got phone number or something?"
Buffy bit back a curse, she couldn't tell them Dawn or the others were just a phone call away. It was Giles that came to her rescue. "Apparently they do. They gave one to Buffy before we left."
"And Faith has a way of contacting them too." Xander added. "She works at a coffee shop in town."
"Hang on Faith's in town?" Rona asked "Why isn't she here?"
"Because she's working." Buffy pointed out, lying quickly. As she did the Slayer could almost hear an inner voice, it could have been her mother, Tara or even Anya, tell her this was all going to blow up in their face.
"Then why does she have a way of calling the Rangers?"
Faith set her shoulders, put her foot square in the gold armoured back and pulled. There was a terrible noise, somewhere between nails on a chalkboard and a ripping squelch as it came free. What came out of the dead monster sort of looked like a sword, if you squinted a lot. It had been battered and hammered so hard that it was more like a saw with missing teeth. "Wow. I usually go hard on my toys, but this is a whole new level." She handed it over to Tommy.
The former Ranger glanced at the blade, but didn't take it. After a second Faith gave him a sarcastic grin. "Hey I get it alright, best enemies and all that but come on. He was a killer." He'd called her just after their meeting with Bee and her gang. Just her, asking for her help with something.
He didn't mention the epic duel he must have had with Gold-boy, or the fact there was still a long samurai sword stuck up to the hilt in the guy's back. "So are you." He said quietly.
Faith took a deep breath. "I think the word is were, not are."
Tommy looked at her, the first time he took his eyes off the dead body. "That's the point. You reformed, what if…"
"I wanted to reform." Faith told him, but she could see she wasn't getting through to him. "Hey, what I did, when I did it. It's mad. I can't even begin to go over it and there's not a night that goes by I don't kick myself over why happened." Faith closed her eyes and tried to think of something else. She couldn't. "The first, the first guy was an accident, he must have been some kind of idiot sneaking up on us when me and Bee were out vamp hunting. I just reacted."
"And the others?" Tommy asked
"The others, I wanted to blot it all out. I thought if I killed or hurt enough people I'd forget each one. That they'd all just become the same, you know. Make the nightmares a little more blurry. I should have known it doesn't work that way." Faith shook herself. She'd never admitted that before, not to anyone. "Gold-boy here isn't like that. He didn't care about anything but getting you. That means he would have killed anything and anyone to do that. He. Didn't. Care. You know that better than me even."
"He was still a living, breathing person." Tommy snapped "There should have been another way."
Faith felt a sad little smile tug on the side of her mouth and fought to keep a poker face. "Doesn't work that way. That's why there are Slayers. There are somethings out there you can't lock up, you can't just shrug off and hope they turn over a new leaf. When the only way to save people is to take a life you have to do the wrong thing to do the right."
Tommy spun on her. "The wrong thing? Faith, that's never right. I thought you of all people knew that."
"What I know is that right and wrong, good and evil is never as simple as all that. Doing the right thing is usually easy, having to do the wrong thing for the right reasons is hard. You've got to know this. You've saved the world literally a hundred times or more, you're one of the greatest Power Rangers ever. You have to have killed something before now."
Tommy shook his head sadly. "Not really, Rita and Zedd used magical constructs. The Machine Empire built mindless robots programmed for destruction and nothing else. I've never had to take a life before. Not like this." He looked down at the body. "Never like this."
"Then you've had it easy." Faith told him point blank, "Oh the fights might have been hard, but you've had it easy."
Tommy kelt down and put a hand on the dead body's shoulder. She thought he'd have taken that badly, instead he was calm. "Maybe you're right Faith. This whole thing has left a sour taste in my mouth." He stood up, looking into the distance. "I don't know if Zordon could have done something like this but I can't. I just can't, not again."
Somehow Faith didn't believe that. "So what are we going to do with Gold-boy?" She asked after a moment.
"Bury him. Somewhere nice, where he can rest in peace. He didn't get it in life, he can have some now."
"Nice sentiment, I don't think he'd share it." Faith turned the sword over her hands again, "And this thing? I know a few people, they could have a look but if you ask me it's a dead loss."
"I'll keep it, as it is." Faith let her eyebrows raise at that. "No, not like that. I don't ever want to forget that I took a life today. I crossed a line, one I never want to have to cross again." Then suddenly he stood up straight. "But you're right Faith. We don't always get what we want and some times that line has to be crossed. That doesn't mean I have to like it."
"Nobody does." Faith told him with a sarcastic smile as he took the sword. "That's the problem."
Kennedy had finished unpacking her stuff in the room she was going to be sharing with Willow and was waiting for her lover to come back. Amethyst looked like a cool town, there were all sorts of jewellery shops and not a few places to eat. From what her big sister told her before this whole Ranger business it was the place to go to for wedding rings and all sorts of other things that shined.
The door opened and Willow came in "Hey." Kennedy grinned "What say, after we've taken care of this whole Ranger thing we find someplace to eat?"
Her lover grinned. "Sounds great, but why don't we do it now. This Ranger thing is going to take longer than that."
Kennedy waved her off, "No way." She laughed. "I know what Buffy said but there's twenty Slayers. I haven't seen anything that could take all of us on."
"I think you're right, its just Buffy…"
"She's worried someone might get hurt. I get that, me too." Kennedy shrugged. "That doesn't mean she's right about letting the Rangers call the shots. I mean we're the professionals." She really hated that they were reduced to chasing after some show offs in fancy costumes.
"Buffy's right though they've been doing it all year and the town is still standing." Willow tried to defend her friend.
"Sure, parts of it." Kennedy rolled her eyes. "I mean whats with the giant robot thing? Talk about showing off."
Willow laughed. "At least Dawn's a better driver than Buffy, can you imagine her behind one of those things?" She gave a mock shudder and then stopped. "Oops"
Kennedy didn't miss her slip. "Dawn? What's Dawn go to… Oh man, you're not telling me?"
Willow turned away, looking incredibly guilty. "I wasn't supposed to, it's meant to be a big secret."
"Does Buffy know?" Kennedy didn't know what to make of it. Dawn was a nice girl, but she wasn't a Slayer. Not that that should matter, but it did.
Willow nodded. "She knew first. It's just, just that I don't like it."
"What don't you like?" Kennedy asked, not sure what she was getting at. She didn't like it either but Willow might have a different reason.
"The whole Ranger thing. I mean where do they really get their power from? It's like this crazy mix of magic, science and… Dinosaurs."
"Dinosaurs?" Kennedy spluttered.
Willow nodded. "I don't know what it's all about, but there's defiantly dinosaurs involved. It's not just those giant tank things, all the time I was there I could feel this presence. Giant, powerful, cold blooded and very very old." This time it was a proper shudder.
Willow had fantastic mystical senses and could see a lot more than other people with them. Sometimes Kennedy wondered use what her lover saw. "Really? You think they were controlling them or something?"
"No, no." Willow shook her head. "Maybe, I don't know. It's possible."
"So the Rangers, that happen to include Dawn, are possessed by magic dinosaurs?" Kennedy thought about that for a second. "That's bad news. What if they're playing us?"
Willow didn't follow. "Playing?"
"Yeah, you know they might not be friends of the bad guys, but that doesn't make them good. Old and cold blooded sounds like demons to me. What if they're not really dinosaurs, but powerful demons that want the world for themselves?"
Willow's eyes opened wide. "And now they have Dawnie. Faith's on the team too and I don't trust her." The witch frowned. "What if you're right and whatever's possessing them doesn't want us poking around. They could have Buffy under some sort of spell or something. Giles is right about one thing though, we shouldn't do anything until we know what's going one around here."
"What about Buffy and this spell?" Kennedy asked. She didn't want to go up against the senior Slayer. She might be slowing down but that didn't make her any less dangerous.
"We get Dawn away from the others, try and break whoever hold they have over her and find out if they have gotten Buffy under some sort of spell." Willow told her.
"I can get a couple of the girls, let them in on this. We might need some help."
"And I'll get the ingredients for a location spell so we can find them."
Sormeghe pulled out his telescope and took a reading. Peering through dimensions like a lighthouse beam slicing through a morning fog. "So, close?" The Rogue asked as she sauntered up to him. The bitch would stab you in the back as soon as look at you. It wasn't as if trust was alien to her, she just had the loyalty of a starved shark.
Closing the telescope he turned on her, in a flash he had his flintlock cocked and aimed between her eyes.
"I thought we were all on the same side?" she smiled, showing the teeth she'd sharpened into points.
"After what A'Zores told you, I don't know. Using shards of a broken Crystal? Draining them? That's either and insane waste, or…"
"Or?" She asked.
"Or a bluff. I've done some investigating of my own." Sormeghe disarmed his pistol and holstered it. "For the last week he's been sending his minions into town, one at a time. I haven't been able to follow them, but I know they are up to something."
She smiled "I knew about them, I think he has them watching the Rangers. Looking for weakness." She then laughed. "I'm wondering where he is right now. If that Crystal shard is a bluff what is he doing, where's he going and where is he right now?"
On a bluff, over looking the city A'Zores juggled his sword stick as he smoked his pipe. Things were sliding into place. Now was the time he had to be careful, he'd moved the pieces slowly, while no one was looking. Put down false trails and even made sure the Rangers saw just enough to keep them guessing.
It wouldn't be long now, that's why he needed to keep a tight hold. His last plan failed because he wasn't in complete control. Outside factors interfered, not this time. There were no outside factors left, everything was accounted for in one way or another.
In a very short time the first part would fall into place, Sormeghe's ship was in position already. He just needed a few more symbols and it would be perfect. The Demon General chomped down on his pipe. Knowing the Rangers this was about the time they would usually pull some new weapon or trick. He couldn't rely on minions warriors or allies now.
It was time to take a personal hand in the plan. As careful and controlled the plan was it was still all or nothing. After this he had nothing left and he was already committed and things were on the verge of spinning out of control.
In truth, he was loving every minute of it.
End Chapter One