Final Invasion, Chapter Six
POWER RANGERS:- Demon Wars
Sormeghe slid down the rope from his ship and with a flick swung out towards the new Warlord. There was nothing like a grand show and a world shaking spell to make it official.
The self-styled pirate lord sketched a bow before A'Zores. His great coat hung in thick rags over his now over developed shoulders. Where once there was flesh and skin he now seemed to be made out of the same stuff as a Dark Crystal, brief flashes of light danced beneath his shell, like shadows cast by the moon on racing clouds. "My Lord?"
A'Zores grinned at the title, his mouth moving to the sound of glass sliding over itself. "Flattery my friend?" He laughed, sounding much the same as ever, but now with the sound of grinding glass underneath his words. "Don't bother, I'm not interested in titles."
"Just the fight." He growled, clenching his gauntlet. Black lightning sparked and danced in rage. "It won't be long now, the Rangers will launch their counter attack. When they do I'll be needing your ship."
Sormeghe tried to keep his face straight. He'd seen what the Rangers could do. "They'll send their titans." He said needlessly.
"So you want me to sacrifice my ship?" There was no point in dancing around it.
A'Zores frowned, or at least it was close to a frown on what features could be made of his face. "Of course not you fool. I need your ship's artillery. My new generals are powerful, but lack the range of your ship. Now get a man on that crows nest and have him signal us as soon as you see them."
"Aye aye, skipper." Sormeghe offered a salute half mockingly before heading off to follow orders.
Grabbing one of his sailors the Pirate Lord told him to find three others and brave the climb to the nest. He didn't think his minions were capable of showing fear, but everyone knew how dangerous it was up there. If there was a battle the crows nest was at the very top of the ship. Any hard turns and they'd be thrown clear, all the way to the ground. However high that was.
Grinning to himself Sormeghe watched the minion scurry away back to the landing ropes. Then he noticed someone else. Standing to one side, trying to blend in with the scenery, was the Rogue, looking like she'd lost her last fight. Walking over to her he twirled his moustache with his hook.
"So what happened? That Blonde Slayer too much for you?"
She just gave him a black look, before nervously glancing at A'Zores. The Rogue was never nervous.
"She was, wasn't she. For all your posing and gloating she beat you." He followed her glance. "And he saved you. But why. He doesn't…" Sormeghe froze, then laughed as he realised what had happened. "Bate. you were bate!" He gloated.
"Go away." She hissed.
"Now what? Look at you, nothing more than the worm on the hook, but now he's caught his prize fish hasn't he? What good are you to him now?" Laughing Sormeghe strode away.
The Rogue watched the demon pirate leave and tried to hide the nervous tick she had suddenly developed. He was right, until that morning she was sure that she was somewhat safe. Even if all he wanted from her was to unwind.
Now he had ascended beyond that, beyond whatever thin strands of humanity were left. Even before that, she had been bait for Buffy and to pull the Rangers to him. He'd deliberately scattered them so that they would all rush to Buffy's aid and fire their huge weapon.
Now that was done what use was she now? Surely not against Buffy, somehow here she was much stronger and a lot more confidant. Worse still were A'Zores new Generals. Three of them were zombie versions of his so called Dark Rangers. Tretrax and his half sister Dydtrax were also there. The massive and overly powerful Theodore, now whole, made six. Mindless shadows of who they were, but utterly loyal. She was still hurt and no match for one Slayer, let lone an army.
The Rogue was worthless to the new warlord. She had to find a way to prove herself or… "Rogue, my dear. I need a favour." He called out.
Swallowing her fear she tried to hide her limp. "Yes, my love?" The Rogue tried to joke but she knew it hadn't worked.
"Take some warriors and search the city. Rangers, Slayers or some humans left behind. I don't care what you find but find them and get word back to me."
She smirked, "And if they are human?"
"Why should I care?" He shrugged, waving her off. "Take them to the nearest Dark Castle and have them converted." he wasn't bothered with her, instead watching the floating ship for the first sign of attack.
Knowing that was the best she was going to get the Rogue nodded and left.
Buffy stood in the hallway of the Apollo, A honest to god spaceship. They were at a junction and just down the way was a circle in the ground. It was supposed to be part of the ships transport system. It didn't look anything like Star Trek and she was happy about that. The last thing she needed was someone making a bad joke. She was only glad Andrew wasn't anywhere nearby, she didn't think she could take that on top of everything else.
Alright, they had a plan, one that might even work. Everyone had a job to do and they were just getting ready to go. The three different groups were all getting ready in their own way. The Airmen were pulling bits off their guns before snapping them back into place while the Rangers were snapping their helmets in place and wiggling their fingers in their gloves.
As for the dozen or so Slayers they'd beamed up they were all still a little wide eyed. Knowing what had to be done Buffy briefly juggled the troll hammer in her hands, getting used to it's weight again. She'd left the Scythe down in the city and Dawn wasn't letting her borrow Saba again. With A'Zores around and stronger than ever Dawnie thought she'd need all the help she could get.
After the beating Buffy took she couldn't blame her. "This really a spaceship?" Kennedy asked for the hundredth time as she looked around. Before bringing her and the others up Buffy made sure Kennedy picked up the hammer and a couple of other things they might need. Including a new top
The one she had before had been kinda ruined by blood and not just a little scorched by lightning. The O'Neill guy offered her a spare uniform along with some guns, but she turned them down. Buffy had always hated guns, great big loud things that never did any good. She cast a glance at the team that would be coming with her group. Six airmen all wearing the same dull blue pattern camouflage and carrying backpacks. They were supposed to help, but Buffy couldn't shake the feeling they'd just be getting in the way. "Buffy?"
"Sorry, yep. Spaceship." She nodded.
"Full of cute boys in uniform?" The other Slayer teased in a quiet voice.
Buffy's attention snapped to Kennedy. "That's not what I'm thinking."
"Then what are you thinking?" Willow asked, curious.
"That this plan is crazy." Buffy admitted. She'd heard Dawn's plans where a bit risky, you might call suicidal, but this made the stories look tame.
Kennedy looked at her. "So there is a plan, other than blow up the city or throw it down another sink hole?"
"I wouldn't call it a plan, as much." Giles joined in.
"…but it's the best we've got." Interrupted O'Neill.
"Kennedy, General Jack O'Neill. General, Kennedy. One of our more experienced Slayers." Giles introduced her. "She'll be leading the Slayers accompanying Colonel Mitchell."
"I will… Wait what?"
"We need to balance the teams going in." Giles explained smoothly. Buffy had other words to describe it. The Air Force had the explosives but when it came down to it her Slayers would be doing the work. Honestly Buffy thought they should just give a few of the Girls C-4 for dummies and stay out of the way. Luckily her Watcher was a little more diplomatic. "Your forces are, I'm sorry to say, inexperienced in this sort of battle. The Slayers on the other hand are, quite literally, born into this. They are more than ready. That's not to say your men aren't necessary, I'm sure that without your involvement this will never work."
"It won't work anyway." The General told him. "This whole plan is going to blow up in our collective faces."
"They why did you agree to it?"
That brought him up short. "Because… because… Damn it, I've got nothing better. Look, it's basic tactics to use all the resources you have available to you to the best of their ability. Dawn's got that down alright, if the intelligence Sari gave us is right our friend down there has us backed into a corner. The only option is to think outside of the box."
"Where is Dawn anyway, and just what is the plan supposed to be." Kennedy asked looking around
"Dawn's briefing his boss." Buffy told her. "Some guy called Henry, or something."
"Henry?" Giles blinked in shock. "Surely you don't mean…" He trailed off.
"I wasn't paying attention." Buffy shrugged. "Why?"
Her Watcher pulled off his glasses and began polishing them. "Never mind."
Buffy shared a shrug with Willow and Kennedy as the two star General tried to hide a grin. "So what is the plan?" Kennedy asked again
Tommy looked up as one of the Slayers shouted; "You gotta be kidding me!" It sounded like she'd just found out what was going on.
"You know we really could use the help." Cassie told him.
"Like I said, I'll see what I can do. I'll Contact Zedd and anyone else I think might have enough power to help after the first half is done."
"That's not what I mean. We could use you." The Blue Ranger insisted. "You might not have your old Ranger powers, but you can still fight."
"Cassie's right. We could really do with you down there." Faith added.
Tommy looked at them and felt the familiar urge to join in. To strap a sword to his belt and get back to work saving the planet. "No, I can't." He admitted after a moment.
The Rangers nodded, understanding. Or at least as best they could. Faith had some idea, but she didn't see things the same way as him. To her taking a life could be a necessary evil, to him it was unacceptable. "I'll see what I can do about the Command Centre and try to get in touch with Zedd." He told them. "He might not fight but he could still help in other ways."
"He's the most powerful wizard I know of. He's got more tricks up his sleeve than any of us can imagine and I'm sure he knows more about magic than even the Watchers Council." Tommy told them.
"I thought he was sitting this out with you?" Sari asked and Tommy winced. It wasn't quite as simple as that but she was right. Zedd had told him it was the search for knowledge and power that had corrupted him in the first place. The more he used that power the more twisted and evil he had become until any trace of the man Tommy was getting to know had been all but erased.
Tommy was worried about just what he could become if killing became a part of him. Zedd was one example he didn't want to follow. "You're right. He won't help directly, but that doesn't mean he can't."
The was a long moment while everyone gathered their thoughts. Tommy took a moment to look at the Rangers. One way or another today was the last time he'd be able to call them that. Win or lose things were about to change drastically for the young team. "Something wrong?" Cassie asked.
"No, not really." Tommy shook his head. "I just wish Zordon was here, the four of you, and Dawn when she gets back, are about to risk your lives as never before I know I should say something inspiring, but I don't have the words."
"I get it, but we're not going to die." Faith clapped him on the shoulder. "We're the good guys remember; we kick ass and look pretty doing it."
Tommy gave them a grin. "Not what I was thinking of, but alright. I'll see you all in the Coffee Shop when this is all over." Connor was the last to finish putting on his helmet, they were ready. Whatever fears, concerns or doubts they had there was nothing he could do about them now.
Dawn sighed, mostly to herself. If there was one thing she would never understand and that was politics. How a bunch of greedy, selfish, ignorant and totally stupid people could actually be voted in to positions of power had her stumped. Henry was one of the good ones, even if he did kind of remind her of a used car salesman.
He'd still dropped her in the deep end. The idea was to give him a quick call to keep him up to date and get back to the others. Instead her bad timing meant she'd interrupted a conference call between him and a lot of people demanding answers.
The French were trying to blame someone, the Germans constantly asking for more details, the Chinese wanted to know how best they could save their own skin and the British were more interested in being pompous than making any actual decisions. Dawn might have been tempted to say it was stereotypical if she wasn't so irritated by the whole thing
Finally she suggested that they all just buy some popcorn, watch the show and let them deal with it. With that she'd hung up and headed straight back to the others. As she got closer Dawn tried to hide the little roll of her shoulders she did to get her shield to settle a bit better, but she knew Cassie had seen it, probably Faith did too. "Alright we're ready." She called out, straightening her helmet.
Buffy, Kennedy and Willow were the closest to her, with Jack and Giles on the other side of them. "Yay, operation suicide is a go." The brunette Slayer cheered sarcastically as she fist pumped the air.
"Kennedy, shut up." Buffy snapped. "We're ready too. How about the fly boys?"
"As we'll ever be." Mitchell announced as he came closer, handing Buffy a bag and pulling a block of what looked like modelling clay. "Some spare C4, detonators and a remote." He drew a coin like thing with prongs coming out of the bottom and a small box with a light on top. "Jam the detonator in each block and stick them to whatever you want to go boom. When you get a good distance away flick the cover and hit the switch."
Buffy took the remote and played about with it. "Shiny, it's like high school allover again." She grinned.
"You had C4 charges in high school?" Jack asked.
"Some C4, a little dynamite and a whole load of fertiliser." Xander shrugged as he joined the conversation.
"Buffy's blown up or burnt down a building in every school she's ever set foot in." Willow explained to the two men.
"So domestic terrorism is just one of your skills." Jack gritted his teeth. "At least you have experience, but experience or not they're only incase you need them. The marines from SG-16 will handle the charges." He gestured to four big guys with matching short haircuts, uniforms and weapons. To Dawn they looked like they had come straight from a factory where they made mindless clones. "Walker, meet Buffy Summers. You're acting support for her forces during this mission."
One of the carbon copies nodded. "Good to meet you Miss Summers." He didn't sound too confident.
Dawn decided to step in. "Major right?" She asked seeing the symbols on his shoulders and he nodded. "You're going to follow Miss Summers's orders as if they were straight from General Jack."
"Sir?" he turned to the General
"You heard the lady Major. Same goes for her."
"Yes sir." Walker stood to attention for a second before nodding to both Dawn and Buffy and still looking very uncomfortable.
"I suppose there was a reason for that?" Mitchell asked.
"Last time your boys didn't listen to us it was that fat zombie making slime monster." Faith told them. "Killed them all."
Mitchell winced. "I'd heard about that, thought it was an accident."
Cassie shook her head, "We told them to run but they didn't listen."
"Still you will be in charge of you're own team Colonel." Jack told him, before casting a look at Buffy "And I don't expect you to endanger my men either."
"Trust me General, as long as they don't rush head long in and do something stupid we're going to be cool." Buffy nodded. "I've worked with the army before."
"Yeah, but they kicked you out and then tried to kill you." Dawn pointed out.
Buffy rolled her eyes, "Yes, but that was because Walsh was busy building her own Frankenstein and didn't want me in the way."
The General and Colonel blinked and then looked to her. "Do we want to know?" Asked the Colonel.
"Probably not." Buffy shrugged, "Last I heard the whole thing was buried in the deepest hole they could find. It was a disaster." Dawn watched her sister shake off the memories of that fight. Painfully the Green Ranger could remember the way she looked when Buffy and the guys had come home that night. At the same time she knew she was never there and she remembering things that had never happened to her.
"Are we going to stand around jawing all day or are we going to do this thing?" Faith asked irritably.
"Black's right. We're all nervous, but it's now or never." Dawn agreed
Buffy took a deep breath. "I guess it's now then. Kennedy, pick three other Slayers to go with the Colonel here. You're his back up."
"Hang on, why do I have to go with Army boy?"
"I'm in the Air Force, Ma'am. Not the Army." Mitchell hefted his weapon and grinned. It was bigger than most of the others, Dawn guessed it either had more or bigger bullets.
"Big guns, uniforms. What's the difference?" Kennedy shrugged.
"Doesn't take us ten minutes to tie our shoelaces." He told her dead pan before offering the Slayer his hand.
Jack turned to Dawn "So are you going to take some marines too?"
"And some Slayers?" Buffy added
The Green Ranger looked at the two of them, she knew their argument all too well and part of her agreed with it. "Okay, two of both." She agreed before telling them point blank:- "And we're going at one speed. Ours. They get transponders, if they can't keep up they beam straight back here."
General Jack and Buffy looked at each other and nodded. "Deal."
Swallowing her nervousness Dawn turned back to see Faith tilt her head at her. "You sure this is a good idea Dee?"
"Teamwork Faith, we're a team so we work on it."
Dawn could almost see Faith's expression through her helmet."'You ready for this Dee. It is the end you know."
"Yeah, seen it enough times myself. It's kinda like Sunnydale all over again."
"Didn't you guys crater that whole town?" Cassie asked.
"Ahh good times."
Buffy pointed two girls to them. One blonde the other a red head, neither Dawn recognised. "Urm, Miss Ranger, excuse me?" The blonde Slayer asked.
"Is this going to be like how we got up here? You see I kinda get car sick and on the the way up here…"
Dawn smiled, "Don't worry, you'll be fine. What's your name?"
"Jane, and this is Kay."
"Green, Black, Blue, Yellow, Red." Dawn waved a hand at each of the Rangers. "Stick close to us and keep hold of those swords. You see something we don't deal with it, don't bother shouting." The two of them nodded.
As she finished Mitchell introduced two airmen, Forts and Anderson. Both had the lighter machine guns and looked kinda cocky but Dawn could hardly tell them apart from each other, let alone the rest. "What do you want us to do?"
Dawn hadn't a clue, lucky Cassie was there. "Stick close, and keep you're eyes open."
"Yes Ma'am." They stood to attention and Dawn was glad that her helmet hid her blush.
"Alright, stick close." Sari said. "We'll pull the four of you with us."
"You sure this won't be like the way we got up here?" Jane asked again.
The Rangers looked at each other as they surrounded the Slayers and Marines. "Sure. Our way is more like a fast lift." Jane swallowed as she paled.
"Rangers." Tommy said as they were finally ready. "May the Power protect you."
"See, I knew you'd come up with something." Faith laughed.
"Good luck everyone." Dawn nodded before touching the morpher on her belt. "Back to action." In a flash the five Rangers and four others were heading back to Amethyst, to finish it once and for all.
End Chapter Six