Prelude to Invasion Chapter Two
POWER RANGERS:- Demon Wars
Prelude to Invasion
Jack tapped his pen on the desk, watching the news program. It was one of those special investigations CNN put on every so often. Pulling together all the reports on a subject together and trying to summarise it all. Some of the time they got things wrong, taking a mess and making it worse as only journalists could.
Other times they got it just right. "… Even after all this it's impossible not to feel the atmosphere here. Buried deep within a mountain range in the heart land of America this once quiet and peaceful city teeters on a knife edge." The reporter summed up the article. "Just what new strange and otherworldly threat will they face? Will the legendary Power Rangers succeed yet again? Or are the skeptics right, is this coming battle one even they cannot win?" The screen showed the grainy, shaking image of Dawn after she had blasted the Warlord. It only showed her hand, badly, but every time they wanted to remind people that there really was a problem they showed it.
"With our military already proving to be hopelessly outmatched is there any hope for any of us?" He said earnestly as they, yet again, showed the FUBAR mission when he was forced to send regular forces. All of them easily turned into mindless zombies by black goo.
He had to admit in any other job that would have been strange. Here and now it was just a bad day.
"This reporter would like to think yes, there is hope. Maybe it is just the atmosphere in this place, but there is hope here. I want to join my voice with all those around the world that thank the Rangers for what they've done and continue to do…"
Jabbing the remote with his pen Jack killed the TV set. Back when he was first pulled in to special ops he'd had an instructor that drilled one piece of information into him. Good will and luck might be nice, but they don't give you more bullets. The question was did Cassie and her friends have enough ammo left.
Watching the program had brought home just how much they had expended already, if there was more to come he didn't know if they had anything left. "Oh for crying out loud." He cursed, knowing what he had to do.
Dropping the pen he hit the intercom. "Walter, if anyone calls I'm still not in."
"Understood sir." The technician said promptly.
"Good, now call the Apollo. Have Ellis beam me up there, I'm going to a meeting."
"Yes sir, where shall I say you are?"
"Tell them that the Tok'ra turned up and I'm hiding, or that I popped over to Atlantis to get some sea air. I don't care."
"Understood." Taking his finger off the button Jack stood up and straightened his BDU's in time for the F304 in orbit to pluck him from his office.
Cassie rubbed her eyes as she looked at her medical text books. Another half hour and the words would just blur together. She wasn't really reading them anyway. She'd been on the same page for an hour already and wasn't even half way down it.
Reaching out with her mind she flicked the pages randomly stopping with a flick of her wrist she looked down and tried again. After a few moments she found herself looking at her watch. "Come on, come on. Beep." She whispered to herself.
It was impossible, working like this the tension was killing her. There were no exams left to take up her time. The collage was mostly empty and the only thing to do was wait. Wait for the inevitable and whatever A'Zores was preparing.
Part of her just wanted to attack, track down the Demon and take him out before he had a chance to put whatever plan he had in motion. Problem was they still couldn't find where he was. They'd moved from where they had been, back when Connor had rushed off on his own, but that still left who knew how many blind spots in the sensors.
That and an attack would be suicide, no one knew just what he had planned or how far along it was. Push him and A'Zores might trigger whatever the spell was early. Cassie shuddered at the thought, Dawn was worried what would happen if they tried to interfere, their best bet was to let him pull it off and rip the ground out from under him.
Willow was supposed to be looking for counter spells, whatever they were, to help with that. So all that Cassie and the other Rangers could do was wait and try to relax
Again she flicked through the book and stopped at a random page. She'd read it before. She was about to pull through another text book when her phone rang. "Uncle Jack?" She answered.
"Cassie, you alone?" her uncle asked, he sounded serious.
She looked around the room. "Sure. What's up?" The next thing she knew there was a blinding flash and she was sitting at a conference table. Blinking spots from her eyes it took her a moment to realise she was looking at a star-scape through a large window. "Oh." Cassie sighed as she turned off her phone. It wasn't getting a signal anymore anyway.
A door opened to her right and out stepped Jack, he looked tired and worried. "Cassie, we need to talk."
"You use love just beaming people up, don't you. At least you called first."
He didn't smile, just sat down looking very grumpy. "This is serious Cassie, I'm not liking the reports coming out of that place. I've even heard there was an attack on the College."
Cassie sat back. "Alright, there was. A'Zores came out to play."
Jack banged his fist on the desk, "This isn't a game! No one's playing here Cassandra. people have already died…"
"More than you know." She growled, thinking of Sari's home and how many thousand others had fallen. "But there's nothing we can do. Not yet."
"What do you mean not yet?" The two star general frowned and Cassie pinched her nose.
"We know A'Zores's got some plan. He's covered the City in some sort of network of mystical symbols…"
"Really?" he asked, his eyebrow doing it's best Teal'c impression. "Mystical symbols?"
"Oh they work, trust me and if we try to pull anything without knowing exactly what he's doing it's world without shrimp time."
"It's what now?"
Cassie realised what she had said and grinned. "Sorry, something Dawn said once. See these spell things are really touchy. Like impossibly delicate, wrong thing at the wrong time anything can happen. We could end up in a world without shrimp, or as an outer suburb of hell where bunny's have a ten foot vertical leap and can rip your throat out."
"So what is he doing?" He asked. "And what are you doing about it?"
"We don't know what he's got planned. Only that it's big, dangerous and probably going to be bad."
"So what are you doing about it?"
Cassie shrugged. "We're waiting. It's all we can do."
"That sucks." Jack told her. "A plan has goals, you know like stop the bad guy. Not just wait."
"Well what would you do? Oh mighty General?" She asked sarcastically
He didn't like that. "Full evacuation of the town and surrounding area, then I'm going to nuke it. From orbit. I'd like to see some magic scribble survive that."
Cassie sat there with her jaw open, "Nuke, You're just going to blast a whole city off the face of the earth and hope that stops A'Zores?" She'd heard stupid ideas as a Ranger, but this had her gaping at her uncle. "He might not even be in this dimension, what if he just packs up and tries another city elsewhere. Nuke that one too?" She blurted out.
"It's better than doing nothing."
"Waiting isn't nothing." Cassie told him. "We're ready, as soon as A'Zores makes his move we pounce. Hit him hard and fast with everything we've got." It was Dawn's plan of course, but it made sense.
"Sounds too simple. How do you know that's going to work? You don't know what they've got planned, just what forces they have available, or what these symbols are going to do!" He shouted. "What if he blows up the city himself or worse?"
"That's not what he wants." She told him. "He wants a fight. A slaughter, not a big bang."
"How can you be sure?"
"How many Goa'uld did you fight before you knew how they worked?" Cassie shot back, "Really though, that's who he is. When he ambushed me and Dawn he made a big show, nearly killed one of the Slayers and summoned a few minions, but that's it."
"So if he wanted us dead he could have sneaked up and stabbed us in the back. Or just blasted us. He didn't, he wants a fight."
Jack stood up and walked around the table. "Hang on." He suddenly stopped. "Slayer? What's a Slayer?"
"Sort of a mystical warrior, Dawn's sister's one. There's supposed to be this whole legendary thing about the war between good and evil."
"So there are solders in this war. with demons on one side and these Slayers on the other."
"And witches, and watchers."
"So you do have help, at least that's something." He took a deep breath. "Cassie I need to know you'll be alright."
"I can't tell you that." She admitted and then jumped when he slammed the desk.
"I'm about one second from throwing you through the gate, feet first, into Atlantis. Now you promise me, promise me you won't get hurt otherwise I'll make sure you'll be so far away from all of this that it would make you're head spin."
Cassie jumped to her feet. "I can't! Don't you get it this is it. It all comes down to this and if we like it or not we're the planet's only hope."
"But these slayers…"
"Are great yes, but no match for what's coming. I am."
Jack looked at her his face almost grey. "I don't want to see you get hurt." he told her, a crack in his voice.
"And I don't want to see you hurt either. All those missions you, Sam, Daniel and Teal'c went on for years, I didn't know if any of you would come back, Mom didn't, but you had to do it. Every time it was because there was no one else, because it had to be done. Now it's my turn. Could you live with yourself knowing there was something you could have done but didn't?"
"It's wrong." He protested
"Of course it's wrong, you haven't answered. Could you, if you knew you could stop it, stand aside because you were scared?"
Jack looked sharply at her again. "Are you scared?"
Cassie smirked. "More than you can imagine." She admitted. "More than you can possibly imagine."
Buffy hung up her cell. "She said she'd be over as soon as she could."
Giles had been in full research mode as soon as he'd gotten back from Dawn's freaky castle in the desert. a couple minutes earlier he'd finally come out of the room they'd rented for him, desperate to talk to Dawn. "How quickly is that?"
Buffy shrugged. "She didn't say." As she finished a column of green light dropped from nowhere, leaving Dawn behind as it faded. "Gah, a little warning next time!" Buffy jumped back.
"You said it was an emergency." Dawn shrugged, "So what is it?"
Buffy looked, but her watcher was speechless at her sisters arrival. "Giles, you're up." she reminded him.
"Ah yes, sorry." He took off his glasses and began polishing them. "What do you know about your enemy Dawn his goals and ah, abilities?"
Dawn frowned for a moment then nodded. "Alright, cliff notes. A'Zores is a master swords man…"
"No not this A'Zores, I'm talking about the one behind him. This creature that calls himself the Warlord." Giles explained.
"Oh him." Dawn shrugged. "He's dead."
Giles gave her a hard look. "Are you sure, I mean absolutely sure?"
"Yep, we weakened him in a couple of battles and A'Zores killed him." Dawn said simply and Giles looked very relived.
Buffy on the other hand was sure she missed something. "A'Zores killed him, I thought he worked for this Warlord guy."
"He did, but that walking smoke stack wanted to run way. A'Zores disagreed and did him in."
"So, not big on the loyalty front."
"You could say that." Dawn laughed. "First time we met him he killed his friend just to complete a spell. The only thing A'Zores ares about is fighting and winning, and he'll do that across every universe unless someone stops him."
Giles shook his head. "It's far, far worse than that. Dawn, I don't think you understand the scale of just what will happen if this A'Zores succeeds. He'll destroy everything."
"Like the world?" Buffy asked. "Not that big a deal, we've saved it before we'll do it again." But Giles didn't look convinced.
"This world is just a small, small part of a much greater problem." The Watcher said urgently. "If A'Zores and his forces keep conquering different dimensions all of existence itself will collapse. Not just into hell but unmade. It would be as if nothing ever existed, anywhere. Not just here in our reality but in every single last one."
Dawn gasped while all Buffy could do was mutter; "Well that sucks."
End Chapter Two
I know this took a while and isn't exactly as long as any of us would like the truth is Life has, in spectacular manner, sucked recently. The last moth or more has been so busy I haven't known which way is up. The next chapter should be a little quicker but don't bet on it. September promises to be hectic as well so I can't be sure when I'll be able to get into the last arc of the story.
Oh and special thanks to Joehundredaire, who was willing to cast a look at my rough notes and gave me his opinion on what was coming.