Final Invasion, Chapter Eight
POWER RANGERS:- Demon Wars
A'Zores rubbed at his chin, wondering if in this new body he could grow a beard. Cocking an eye at the floating pirate ship. The Rangers should have attacked by now. He didn't know where or how, but they would attack.
Pulling a Crystal Ball from the ruins of his coat A'Zores muttered a quick spell and scowled at the images. At first there was nothing but stone work and battlements, then he saw what looked like damage. At last he saw what was actually happening.
A group made up of military officers and Slayers were battling some of his warriors. Their weapons made short work of the demons, but there was enough of them to make a difference. 'They're using their allies as shock troops.' he snarled. A'Zores gestured over the ball and quickly found another group in the other Castle. This one included Buffy and had more Slayers than military.
"Rogue!" He shouted for the former Slayer and she came running. Another spell showed him which of the Castle's Buffy Summers was in.
"Yes. my love." The Rogue said as she came closer.
A'Zores snarled as the ball showed the Slayer, walking through a wave of warriors inside the castle. "Your failure's returned." He told her darkly, showing the Rogue what was happening. "Take Tretrax and Dydtrax, deal with that Slayer and her kin." he snapped.
She paled and then nodded. Knowing better than to speak she dashed off, pausing only to grab the two mindless slaves. It didn't help A'Zores mood.
He'd been so certain that the Rangers would attack with their titans as they had before. They had never used stealth or their allies before, always willing to rush head long into things. Now that they changed tactics they were even more dangerous and completely unpredictable.
"Sormeghe! Sormeghe!" He shouted for his other lieutenant. After a moment the Pirate came ambling over, polishing his hook against one of his many belts.
"Get you're arse back on that ship of yours and head to the east! Take…" he trailed off, "Divide and conquer. They are trying to divide us!"
Sormeghe didn't seem to understand. "What's happening?"
"The Rangers have attacked the Castles with their allies…"
The pirate burst out laughing, "Are they insane? There's more than a thousand demons in each one! They'd need an army!"
"They have it, an army of Slayers, but it's a distraction." A'Zores actually found himself admiring them. Their plan was simple, but effective. That was as long as he didn't see right through it. "They want us to rush out and try to fight the Slayers, pulling you and my undead Generals apart. It is then that they'll attack me, when they think I am the most vulnerable!"
"Don't you think you're over thinking it?" Sormeghe asked carefully. "I mean why would they attack you directly? With your new strength they're no match for you."
A'Zores didn't even consider it. "I will not underestimate them, not again. Not this time. Let the Rogue go and fight, let them think they have tricked me. The Rangers are already in the city, I know they are. I'll find them."
He stopped as a shadow fell over him. In an instant he dropped the Crystal Ball and was ready to draw his sword. But it wasn't a Ranger, or one of their titans. It was their spaceship, large and grey passing the sun and heading straight to the Pirate Galleon. A pale blue burst of energy lanced out from the ship, missing the Galleon and destroying the top three floors. It fired again, missing clear above the rigging.
"We're under attack!" Sormeghe shouted drawing, his many barrelled pistol.
"No!" A'Zores knocked it down before he could cock it. "Don't you see they want me to attack. To show where I am! Then they can ambush me while that pile of scrap distracts us. Quick, to your ship! You deal with them." A'Zores threw a portal at the Pirate Captain, warping him to the deck of his ship instantly. "They want to find me, I'll be the one to find them!" He growled to himself before summoning his Crystal Ball back into his hand. "I'll find them first!"
Xander watched from the back of the ships bridge as the laser beam, or whatever it was, scream past the sail of the pirate ship to vanish into the cloudy sky beyond.
The two star Air Force General spin his chair half around and looked at the guy sitting next to him. "Walter what happened?"
"Unknown sir." He answered pressing all sorts of buttons that Xander wouldn't know where to begin looking for. "The targeting system can't get a lock."
"Sir" Jennifer spoke up. "The Asguard sensors were never designed to recognise wood as a target." Xander blinked, that sounded like a unique problem. Then again they were in a sort of unique situation.
"Oh, for crying out loud!" the General swore.
"Incoming!" The technical sergeant shouted. Xander looked out the view screen. The ship had turned it's side to them and opened fire broadside to them. There were at least a dozen plums of sooty grey smoke coming at them.
"Shields?" The general asked.
"Won't be of any use." Jennifer told them moments before the whole ship shook. Xander swore as just like Star Trek a panel above them exploded, as a hose inside broke free spraying some sort of smoke over the back of the bridge. Jennifer had been thrown off her feet and that left him. Jumping onto the table he wrestled with the hose, jamming it back into it's socket before hopping back down.
"What happened? Why didn't the shields work?"
"They're not designed to repel something that size, moving that slowly!" Jennifer reported climbing to her feet.
"Let me guess, too primitive?" The General hissed.
Xander looked up, "Guess there's something to say about a good axe after all." He quipped.
"Yeah, we'll get right on mounting an axe on the side of the ship but right now we've got bigger problems." The general hissed. "They're probably reloading right now, suggestions?"
"Missiles?" Giles suggested
"Now we're talking." Xander grinned, but the Air Force officers around him shook their heads. "What's wrong?"
"We removed all the missiles when the Asguard beams were installed." The technical sergeant told him and Giles. "Replaced them with additional life-support and storage."
"The only conventional weapons we have are half a dozen rail guns. Those will tear through that thing like it wasn't there."
"What's the problem then. Open up with those!"
"Xander." Giles began, polishing his glasses. "We are still trying to minimise collateral damage. Opening up, as you put it, would simply mean a lot of holes in their boat and anything that happens to be on the other side just as badly damaged. There is still the chance Buffy and the others could be hit."
"Same goes for the beams." Jennifer admitted. "Without a precise fix on range…"
"Incoming." The sergeant shouted.
Xander looked urgently at the floating pile of wood again. Another wave of hard iron was coming straight for them. "Lieutenant! Sergeant!" The general shouted.
"There's nothing I can do." Jennifer hissed
"We're too close, sir!" This time one of the cannonballs hit the forward view screen. Everyone on the bridge were thrown about as the lump of metal shattered against the not-glass. For a second it looked like whatever it was made off could give way.
A second lasted forever as they all looked at the chipped glass in terror, finally they could be sure nothing more had happened. "Walter, get a repair team up here." The general pushed himself back into his seat. "We were lucky, alright people; solutions?"
"We make like pirates and take the fight to them!" Xander jumped up. "There's still four Slayers back at the College."
"Xander's right." Giles supported him. "If we can't shoot them we have to board them."
The General was on his feet in an instant. "Four girls are no match for that." He pointed out the window. "I don't care how strong they are and we've already sent down everyone we can spare." He stopped. "Oh for crying out loud, Walter."
"Take charge, get a safe distance and wait for my signal." He tapped a button on the sergeant's desk "O'Neill to all hands. I'm going to need some volunteers."
Buffy's arm was getting tired. It wasn't surprising, but it was annoying. She'd been swinging the Troll Hammer for what felt like forever and it was beginning to show. "Summers, you alright?" One of the marines asked as he slapped another one of those ammo-things into the top of his gun.
"I'm so out of shape." She sighed, blowing a lock of hair from her face. "You know, before all this I was retired. Living the good life in Rome, no annoying little sister to look after. Just me and my ex." Buffy tossed the hammer to her other hand and spun it between her fingers. "I forgot how much fun this was!"
With that she pushed on down another corridor, hoping this one lead to the outside. Behind her she heard another Marine chuckle. "Is it wrong I find that incredibly hot?"
"Eye's front sailor." His boss ordered. "And cover our backsides."
Cam swore as his gun made the horribly familiar sound of a firing pin slapping against dull metal. He was out of bullets, this time for good. In the handful of seconds it took him to curse one of the demons came too close with an axe. Blocking its blow with the empty gun Cam wrestled with the demon.
It was stronger than him, a lot stronger, but he wasn't fighting by strength alone. Dropping his shoulder Cam used the demons own momentum against him, pushing him off to one side before bringing the butt of the heavy weapon down on the demons head. With a terrible crunch it collapsed into a puddle of now all too familiar soup.
Cam looked around, the firing had stopped. In fact for the first time since they'd beamed in all was quiet. "The hell? We didn't get all of them did we?"
The Slayer's team leader, Kennedy, was supporting Mathews, one of his Marines. He'd been cut badly earlier and she'd volunteered to help, holding him up with one hand and swinging her sword with the other. 'No chance.' she told him, pointing with her weapon out the slit of a window.
Cam edged his way over and looked out. They were at ground level and close to what looked like the exit into the courtyard. Right where they needed to be, the problem was someone somewhere had grown a brain. That or attrition had set in, in the worst way. It looked like every one of the damned things that didn't have a sword had found a crossbow and was waiting for them.
"Crap." Cam spun back to his forces. Tired, low on ammo and few like Mathews, to badly hurt to fight. They'd also lost two, one a Slayer and the other a marine, already. Walking into that kill zone would mean mission failure, and Death. A lot of death. Taking a moment, the first break he'd had since this whole mission had started, he caught his breath. Tapping his radio Cam tried to report in.
"Mitchell here, any teams read me?" Faith winced and picked up the radio, it was slick with blood.
"Black Ranger, Five by five." She looked around. Cassie was tending to the Sayer they had with them. It was just the three of them now. Dawn and the others had gone left when a rush from one bland corridor pushed them and two Marines right. She was standing over what was left of one of them. The other had fallen in the rush.
"We're pinned down and have taken casualties. Any chance of some help?"
Faith shook her head before remembering the air-boy couldn't see her. "We're split from the others and two men down over here. From the sounds of it they lost us but… we're kinda lost too."
"Same here." Buffy's voice joined in. "Feel's like we've been lost for hours." There was a nasty sound of something messy going squish in the background. "Not so many casualties though."
"Some good news."
"Anyone heard from Daw… I mean Green?" Buffy asked.
It was Sari that answered, "You know those demons that lost Black? They found us in spades! Green's up to her elbows in demons right now!"
"So we're all pinned down, except for Buffy, who's lost." What sounded like Kennedy jumped in.
Somewhere below her Faith heard a loud thump followed by a scream and the sound of falling masonry. Some dust fell from above as the walls shook. "As much as I love gossip can we please get this done already?" It was Dawn. Faith knew the tone in her voice and tried not to wince. She was pissed and a pissed dawn was almost worse than a pissed Buffy. "Black, you still got you're cannon?"
"Then start making holes, this isn't a field trip! Blow stuff up!" She ordered. "Same goes for you Mitchell and Buffy… just keep hitting things until you find the way out."
"And here I am without a bulldozer." Buffy quipped. "Oh wait, I do have this!" An almighty crash came over the radio. "That works."
Faith clipped the Radio to the back of her glove and called on her Power Axe. "Power Cannon! Fire!" Her shot blew down the wall. This part of the plan she could get behind.
Dawn ran her hand down the blade of her Flute, charging it before slashing at the air in a cross sending two wide arcs of green energy down the corridor. The first one cleared away the couple of warriors that were charging at her and left a nice mark at far end. The second hit without anything getting in the way. Just like the last one it didn't stand a chance. It collapsed and let the daylight from outside stream in.
The Green Ranger was angry and honest enough with herself to admit it. People had died. Their blood… It was her idea, her plan. This was… she was responsible. She wasn't some Slayer or some Air Force General she was just some girl that had a magic coin, a fake history and a titanic sized load of family issues. She didn't have the right to send people to die and that was exactly what she'd done.
"Dawn, you alright?" Connor asked as they moved down the corridor carefully.
"I don't know, think the guys I've got dead are alright?" She snapped back.
Connor stopped and pulled her back. "You haven't got anyone killed."
"Were you there during the whole radio thing?" She asked yanking her arm free. "People are dead. I put them there, that's why they're dead. Therefore my fault, therefore I'm not alright." Dawn hissed. Setting her shoulders she headed into the daylight. The sooner they got this done the less chance other people had to get hurt.
Kennedy was aggressively against this idea. "Look Buffy might have said you're the boss but she didn't think you'd do something this stupid!"
"You heard Green…"
"…And she doesn't know any better! She's still a kid!" Kennedy exploded. Dawn was still younger than her, even if she had this whole Ranger thing.
Mitchell pulled something else out of his pack and flicked it open. It was the detonator. "Everyone clear on what we're doing?" He asked. In his other hand he had another gun. He was ignoring her, after all she'd done.
"Hey, are you even listening to me?"
"I heard you, but as long as we're pinned down here we are targets. You've not come up with anything better." The air force guy set his face and nodded to the others. Kennedy watched as even the guy she'd been helping out agreed.
"Alright, but if we all die I want you to remember I was against this."
Marcus pulled himself off the floor and tried to dust himself off. "How's it look out there?"' Jenny asked.
"I, I don't know. Somethings defiantly going on, but I don't know what." He told her. "Michael, how's it looking on your side?"
His friend half ran half jogged from the other end of the alley they were crouched in. His eyes were wide, like he'd seen a ghost. "You're never going to believe this, that floating ship? It's being shot at by a spaceship!"
"A… A what?" Jenny stammered.
"A spaceship! I thought I was seeing things." Michael nodded. "I don't know whats going on, but I really don't think we should go out there."
Jenny was nodding, but Marcus frowned. He didn't like the idea of staying still. They needed to keep moving, to get away as far and as fast as they could. He said as much.
"No way!" "Not a chance" The pair of them said. "I'm not going out in that!" Jenny added. "We're safe here. Whatever's going on doesn't include us. We keep our heads down and we'll be fine."
Marcus looked at her. She was wrong, very wrong, but he couldn't tell why.
A'Zores glared into his crystal ball as it flickered between views of the city. It showed nothing but empty streets and abandoned shops. Then, finally, life. Three people huddled in a blind alley.
They weren't Rangers, and two of them were men so that meant they couldn't be Slayers. Twisting his wrist he got a better view of one of them. "What have we here?"
End Chapter Eight