Final Invasion, Chapter Eleven
POWER RANGERS:- Demon Wars
Dawn watched as the two Slayers and one remaining solder were beamed back to the Apollo. Tapping her watch she called Faith. "You did it, the others are back on the ship!"
"Cool, now what?" she asked.
Dawn honestly hadn't thought that far ahead. Last time they'd destroyed a Dark Crystal the Castle around it had disappeared. This one was still here, along with most of the demons. She said as much to her team.
"It must be A'Zores." Cassie suggested. "When he changed, he must have become the anchor that's keeping the Castles here."
Dawn thought about that for a moment, if last time it was the Crystal that was the anchor last time that would make sense. "Then we find him and finish this." Connor growled, sounding all too happy about killing him.
Dawn gave him a hard look. "Chances are he's still in the city, with the Crystals gone we should be able to beam there."
"Don't forget my Sword Faith." Connor reminded her before beaming out. Dawn watched, he really was too eager. She wanted this over and done with too, but he was after vengeance first. From what she knew that could lead to mistakes. Sighing she followed the red streak across the sky. She landed outside the coffee shop, the others landing just after her.
"Damn, someone redecorated." Faith muttered as they looked around. The city was a wreck; broken pavements, fallen lampposts and trailing telephone cables were all over the place. It looked like a World War Two documentary, or a zombie apocalypse had blown through town.
"You think this is all from that that whole A'Zores thing?" Sari asked in a small voice
"Oh yes." Dawn was more glad that most of the people seemed to have left. It was shear luck there weren't more dead bodies amongst the wreckage. She could see from how the others were looking at each other they were thinking the same thing.
"How are we going to fight this guy? I mean last time he pretty much cleaned our clocks and that was before…" Cassie whispered.
Faith took a step forward and spun on them. "We do what we always do. We fight with everything we've got and then some. If we lose we can say we gave it our all."
"Then that's what we do." Dawn agreed. "Let's find this son of a bitch and show him how Rangers fight." Her team mates took a second before nodding.
A'Zores strode into the wreckage of Sormeghe's ship. Shattered wooden boards jutted out at all angles, half burred cannons and bent brackets of metal occasionally poked out just to relive the monotony. In amongst all the destruction he found Sormeghe, crushed under the weight of a cannon. "There you are, sleeping on the job?" A'Zores asked sarcastically.
The demon pirate was obviously dead, or very close to it. Not even he could survive the destruction of the whole ship. "Its a good thing I can still use you, even without your ship. By the Powers of Darkness! Grow!"
At his command the Pirate was infused with dark magic and grew to giant size. A huge target for the Ranger's and their machines. "My ship, my crew? What, what happened?" The giant asked in a booming voice.
"The Ranger's allies destroyed it." A'Zores told his confused minion, pointing to the spaceship. "There they are. Go thank them!"
With a roar Sormeghe drew one of his many pistols and began firing wildly at the ship in a blind rage. That ship was his life, his home and his escape plan. A'Zores knew he planned to run one day and now he needed to build up his forces again, right under A'Zores nose.
It couldn't have gone better if he planned it that way. With a wave he summoned Armistice and Nukeasle, another two of his zombiefied generals. The walking artillery and overtrained pugilist respectively. He'd resurrected the pair of them for one reason, to deal with the Ranger's Titans.
Besides, fate had given him one extra card to play.
Jack swore. "What do you mean missing?" he snapped.
"We can't get a lock on her." Dr Lee told him, "The beacon we gave her isn't registering, she could have turned it off..."
"Or it could be damaged and she could be down there all alone." Rupert Giles finished. Somehow the british civilian had heard that Buffy Summers hadn't been beamed up to the ship. Jack had hoped to keep it secret, at least long enough to find out what had happened. Instead he had a seriously worried former school librarian asking difficult questions. "How are we going to find her?" he asked.
The scientist looked between the two hard faced men and swallowed nervously. "I… Er… well…" He stammered for a second. "Can't say. There's still a lot of interference down there. We've scanned the area she was last seen in but it's empty."
"Dr Lee, Summers is one of our people." Jack said between clenched teeth. "We do not leave our people behind. Now think of something, how do we find her?"
Dr Lee looked at him helplessly before rubbing his head. "Give me a second. I've just gotta think."
The General shared a look with the limy. There was a way and Giles was enough of a solder to have thought of it too. Search teams. The problem was the Apollo's infirmary was full. Almost no one had escaped without injury and there simply wasn't enough able bodied personnel to effectively search a closet, let alone the battlefield still swarming with hostiles.
They could have called the Rangers, but Jack knew instantly that would be a mistake. They were the only forces out there and were too busy taking out the target to be distracted.
"I've got about four Slayers still capable." Giles told him. "I can go down with them…"
"For crying out loud, you're injured, I'm not going to send four tired girls and a wounded retired librarian into that hell down there."
"And I'm not leaving Buffy.'"
There wasn't much he could say to that. Luckily the third person in the room coughed. "Dr Lee?"
"If we got closer, to the city I mean, we could push the sensors to their maximum threshold." He explained. "It wouldn't be perfect, the filter I devised to cancel out the jamming might not hold and we'd only be able to focus on a small portion at a time but we could find her. If she's still alive."
"She has to be." Giles said. Jack knew that tone, he'd lost people before and desperately hoped they'd somehow be fine. It was then that everything went badly wrong
The floor of the ship leapt up and to the side as the Apollo shook violently. The Asguard console at the back of the room exploded in a shower of sparks blinding him and sudden scream of the master systems alarm was almost deafening.
"What the hell was that?" He asked, looking up he saw Dr Lee slumped over a console. Eyes open but unseeing in looking in slightly different directions. Giles was closest and took his pulse, "He's alive, concussion I think." Rolling the scientist into a chair he held on as the ship started banking, hard.
Clawing himself from the deck Jack got to the intercom. "Walter, report!"
"Massive damage, sir. The shield's all but gone, we lost twenty percent manoeuvrability and hyperdrive's inoperable. There's a hull breach on the starboard flight bay and multiple fires. The infirmary is beyond capacity."
The General's mind raced; "What happened?"
"We're under attack. A giant creature just appeared from the city and began firing at us." Jack's stomach plummeted and for a second he thought he was just imagining it. "We're trying to evade but it's weapons fire is pushing us closer to the ground. If we don't get clear we could crash."
There was another explosion, this one wasn't as bad but it did cause the lights that hadn't exploded to flicker dangerously. "That was a close one." Walter said desperately. "Sir we have to retreat."
"General, he's right. We have to get out of range." Giles told him gravely. "I want to help Buffy and the Rangers as much as you, but not at the cost of the people onboard."
He'd been left behind before. No support and behind enemy lines. Jack knew how it felt to be abandoned like that and it was one thing he never wanted to put someone else through. Giles couldn't, if he did he would know just how much it hurt. "Walter, go to full military thrust. Get us out of here!" It was an order he knew he was going to regret for the rest of his life.
Cassie watched as the giant Pirate Demon fired wildly into the sky, trying to shoot down the Starship. He'd already hit once and done massive damage, the ship was wobbling in the air like a wounded duck. "We've got to do something!" She shouted.
"The Zords, they're the only thing powerful enough to stop Sormeghe now." Sari said.
"Go. I'll keep looking for A'Zores." Dawn snapped. "We might be able to use this as a distraction."
"Don't do anything stupid." Cassie warned and the rest of the Rangers looked at her. "Who am I kidding, just don't do anything too stupid."
The Blue Ranger could almost see the smirk on Dawn's face. "I'll try."
Connor threw a hand in the air and so did the others "We need Dino-Zord power. Now!"
In the distance she heard the roar of her Triceratops join in with that of the other Zords as they marched into view. Nodding to Dawn, trying to wish her best friend some luck, Cassie jumped. Landing on the front most horn on her Zord she pulled off a quick flip into the open cockpit.
The hatch closed behind her and Cassie rammed her power crystal into the controls. "Triceratops rolling!"
"Sabretooth growling!" Sari said quickly.
Next was Faith. "Mastodon stomping and the Pterodactyl's soaring!"
"Tyrannosaurus, ready to end this." Connor finished. "Let's bring them together." Quickly the five Zords connected, Cassie held on tightly as her seat zoomed along the MegaZord's leg and up it's body.
"MegaZord, battle mode activated!" The onboard computer spoke and the MegaZord stood up to it's full hight. Before they could call on the Power Sword though two more demons grew to giant size in front of them.
They were familiar, too familiar. One was the walking machine-gun factory Ordinance and the other was Nukeasle, the boxer that A'Zores had beheaded when they first met. The pair of them were standing between them and the still raging Sormeghe.
"We're going to need the White-tiger Dragon MegaZord!" Sari called out.
"No, we can do this." Cassie disagreed. "We have to hit that pirate before he destroys the Apollo and we don't have time for Dawn's Zord to get here!"
"Cassie's right." Connor agreed. "We need the Power Sword, now." The Red Ranger summoned the enormous blade, calling it from the sky.
The Sword buried itself between the two new demons, but from his pilot seat Connor knew how to bully his way through. "Power to main laser." he called out, aiming for the boxing demon.
"Fire." Faith, at weapons control, told them. From the forward swooping horn above them a blast of laser energy blasted out and sent Nukeasle spinning. Connor was still moving, where he shot Nukeasle Connor punched Ordnance with a pair of back handed blows that sent him flying just far enough for them to push the MegaZord through.
After having the MegaZord pick up the Power Sword Connor pulled his controls in a complicated manoeuvre. The Zord swung high and brought the blade down with an epic strike. Slicing through the barrel of Sormeghe's up raised gun. The explosion shattered the weapon. Cursing as only a pirate could Sormeghe shook his burnt hand
Cassie quickly brought up the peripheral sensors, The MegaZord didn't exactly have eyes on the back of it's head, but it did have an impressive array of sensors at it's disposal. The Apollo was climbing, badly and still leaking smoke, but still climbing.
"The Apollo's going to make it." Sari told them. "Hull breaches are bad, and shields non-existent but as long as they stay in the atmosphere they'll be fine!"
"Then let's finish off Sormeghe." Connor told them, "As soon as we get this done with we can get back down there and deal with A'Zores."
"Diverting all power to main weapon." Cassie agreed.
Connor began the familiar sequence for the final strike when everything exploded. Cassie was thrown about in her seat as the MegaZord flew through the air, smashing into a building and crushing it like cardboard. "What was that?" Faith asked.
Cassie hit the scanners again. It was Nukeasle, he'd recovered from the shot they'd given him and come back swinging. Literally. The demonic boxer, their face blank pulled back and was about to punch the MegaZord all the way through the planet. Before they could a long sword came up and trapped their trailing arm.
It was Dawn in her White Tiger Dragon Megazord. "This a private dance?" She asked before using her leverage to throw Nukeasle off his feet.
"Nope, just didn't think you'd be interested in these rejects." Cassie called back as Connor righted their MegaZord.
Dawn's MegaZord stood next to them. "Well I think I can bring myself to be interested. But I've got a date soon so let's not take too long." Ordinance was also on back in the fight. It was three against two now. "I've got these two, finish off that pirate."
That was easier said than done, by now he'd finished cursing and was swinging his cutlass. As good as the MegaZord was it was hardly acrobatic. Fortunately neither was the Pirate. He swung wide and Connor reacted, parrying with the Power Sword. Their opponent was anything but a master swordsman. Each swing was wide, starting from the shoulder. Cassie didn't know much, but she'd spent enough time around the guys to know more sword skills came from the wrist.
Each swing was powerful but Connor easily moved fast enough to block, but it was a stalemate. They couldn't attack along as they were on the defensive. "We need the Mastodon shield." Cassie told the others as soon as the idea came to her.
"She's right." The Black Ranger agreed. "Mastodon Shield!" In the MegaZord's left hand the head of Faith's Zord appeared. Again the Pirate swung and this time they used the shield. Using the gap in his defences to swing low. The blow sent a shower of sparks over the abandoned city.
Again swearing up a storm the pirate backed off swinging his sword wildly in an effort to force them back. "Ice blast." Faith snapped. The trunk of her shield whipped out and fired a column of freezing air. The blast pushed him further back and covered the pirate in a strong layer of ice.
"Didn't know you could do that." Connor laughed.
"It won't hold for long, Cassie divert all power to the Sword."
"Power diverted." The Blue Ranger told them
And together the Rangers called out. "Final Strike!"
Sari watched as the energy blade carved through the air, heading in a straight line for the frozen Pirate. It hit with all the force expected, shattering the ice and then the pirate. Sending the cutlass flying through the air, it exploded in a flash of light when the magic or whatever broke.
"What about Dawn?" Connor asked as he pulled the MegaZord around. Her Combined Zords were holding their own against the two undead, but only just. Right now she was taking the boxer's punches and occasional kicks on her own shield. As good or powerful as her White-Tiger Dragon Zord was it wasn't strong enough to keep taking hits like that. Each impact sent her Zord back a step. All the while Ordinance was aiming his gun, but held off firing.
"Why doesn't it just shoot through that boxer and end it?" she asked
"He's waiting for the right moment. If he tries that he'll just waste the shot and give Dawn the opening she needs to take him out." Connor explained.
Faith picked up, "We need to take him out. Then Dawn can give my old play mate the ending he needs."
"Power level's still recovering from the last strike, we'll need a few minutes." Cassie told them
"Dawn doesn't have that long." Faith told them. She was right, the boxer was far too powerful for the Green Ranger to keep fighting defensively. Already her great shield was beginning to crack under the relentless pounding.
Connor nodded and sent the MegaZord straight for Ordinance. Knocking the oversized cannon to one side before punching with the Mastodon Shield. Showering sparks. Ordinance wasn't even phased, dropping the cannon it drew a pair of tarnished pistols and began blasting away.
Sari's hands flew over the controls, not for the first time she wished her Ranger costume came with a direct interface. It was a lot faster for one. "Power to deflectors!"
"No! We need to charge the main strike! Any diversion, any at all, could set us back!"
Bullets started to bounce off the MegaZord's skin each round shaking the cockpit just that little bit more "No choice, without the deflectors those bullets would blast us apart." Sari warned sending more power to protecting the giant.
"Damn it, there's not enough left for the weapon's system." Faith swore. "We're helpless!"
"He'll run out of bullets, he has to run out of bullets." Sari told them, hoping she was right.
Unable to fight back the Yellow Ranger looked to see how Dawn was doing. The White-Tiger Dragon MegaZord was slashing at the boxing demon who was on the defensive. Taking each cut on its arms. Sari remembered the boxer having massive arms, overly muscular and almost too well developed. Now they were nothing more than lose skin hanging off the bone, but still somehow enough to protect the rest of him.
"He's reloading, All power to Sword!" Connor shouted, returning her attention to their fight.
"Diverting." Sari agreed. There wasn't enough left for the laser, or the final strike, but they shouldn't need it.
"We hope." Cassie added when she told them that. Before the demon could reload they were on them with a powerful slash across it's stomach. Even in Sari's relatively limited experience it should have folded up around the blade, or been hurt just a little. Instead Ordinance just grunted and dropped it's pistols. Now pulling out a long rifle from a strap slung over it's shoulder and using it like a short staff.
Blocking the Zord's next strike, Ordinance pushed them aside and then smacked the butt of the rifle into the Cockpit, knocking them clean off their feet. Spinning the rifle in it's hands the Demon aimed at them, point blank.
Sari looked up and at the emergency control just above her head. "Let's rock." She growled, smashing the safety glass and pressing the button with a single head-butt
Each part of the MegaZord had their own emergency controls. One to eject and one for fighting. She'd gone for the latter. A powerful kick straight for the demons crotch. Even that didn't stop it, just threw off it's aim. Enough to save the MegaZord.
"God damn it, he didn't even feel that!" Faith shouted. "What the hell is going on?"
"All we've got left is emergency power. Just enough to get out of here!" Cassie told them.
"Fight." Connor punched the air before wrestling the MegaZord back to it's feet.
It was Faith of all people that disagreed. "What fight you watching? We need to back off, find a weakness."
"Faith's right," Cassie agreed, flipping the external speaker on. "Green, we're in trouble here!"
"I know." She called back. "Same here. It's hopeless, their zombies."
"What?" Sari gasped, "Zombies? How we kill zombies? Cut off the head?"
"These are magic Zombies." Dawn warned. "That wouldn't work! We need to abandon the Zords and find A'Zores. He has to have been the one to cast this spell, slaying him is the only way to break it!"
"Then what are we doing up here?" Faith asked. "Activating Zord emergency retrieval."
Sari looked at the Slayer, "What about…?" She was interrupted mid question when Ordinance swung for the Zord's gut with the rifle again. This blow sent them backwards a step and caused warning lights to flash across Sari's controls.
"We have to go now." Cassie snapped.
"And leave theses guys to stomp on us?"
It was Dawn that answered. "No choice, we can't even hurt them like this. See-yah." She'd left the Zord.
Sari cursed under her breath, there was no other option.
Marcus watched as the giant fighting machines wavered and vanished. At first he didn't know what to make of it. They hadn't been winning the fight, but would they just run away. No matter what Dawn wouldn't, even if she was going lose everything she wouldn't, couldn't just run away. It must have been part of a plan, but what plan meant getting out of there?
"Could you hear what they were saying?" Jenny asked.
Marcus shook his head. "Wish I did. How are you feeling." They'd stopped running after Jenny had trouble keeping up.
"This extra weight isn't helping." She grinned, cradling her swollen stomach. "But we have to get out of here, fast."
Marcus nodded. "Michael, how we looking?"
The other boy glanced out of the alley. "Wait, there's like a two dozen of them. But their going the other way." He turned and went instantly white as a sheet "Behind you!"
Marcus didn't think, he just jumped. The crude sword clanged as it missed by a hairs breadth and clanged dully off the wall. Marcus had seen lots of sword fights on TV, but had never been in one himself. Still he'd seen enough to know what to do. Rolling on one shoulder Marcus slapped the ground and looked up from his half crouch. There were three of them, three rotting patch work demon warriors staring back at him
Behind him Jenny screamed in fear, panicking helplessly but Marcus's mind had never been clearer. He knew what had to be done and with dreadful certainty he was sure of the price. Marcus leapt at the demons.
End Chapter Eleven
Sweet dear lord. I can't apologise enough. This should have been done MONTHS ago. This thing has been rewritten more than a dozen times from every perspective I could think of. The biggest problem has been the Zords. I knew I had to include them somehow but they just didn't fit. Eventually I came up with this cameo role. I would have loved to use them more, but they never quite fitted where I wanted them to.
They took a great deal of work and even now they don't feel like I used them enough.
Anyway, with luck I should have the next chapter a lot sooner. Thanks for your patience everyone All I can say is that the ending should be worth the wait.
AKA Mountain King