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Old September 30th, 2017, 01:12 PM #1
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NodrozCorp Presents: (PRB 04: From Outer Space .1)

I'm going to group my bits and pieces together, and if anything ever gets past 5 chapters, I'll branch them off into their own threads. Also going to use this as something of a master list.

Fell free to use this thread as a central place to ask questions or generally talk about any of my works!

Anything here should also be found on:
DeviantArt
FF.net
AO3
Wattpad
and the NodrozCorp. Website

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nodroz Origins
Mother of the Furture
1999
Rita Repulsa is trying to find her place in the Mystic realm as a good sorceress but her own husband and new enemies cause her to seek council from the Oracle. See how her choices begin a chain of events that effect very existence of our universe.

Lions and Tigers
2002 - A prequel to the Nodrozverse version of Wild Force
A fresh group of Cubs join the Pai Zhua school to learn to harness and unleash their animal spirits. Among them are a Lion and Tiger, which worries Master Mao, because it is said that a Lion and Tiger will tear asunder what was once wrought. AJ Scott and Damien Henderson tacitly agree to avoid each other despite the efforts of their new friends. That is until they save each other from a rampaging wild hog, unleashing their Lion and Tiger forging an unshakable friendship.


Sticks
2003
Lokelani Lyong becomes the first female Red Ranger and the Red Lord's right hand Lady. Join her on her first day at AG High, her first glimpse of her future love and as she makes some new friends.

Dumpster Dive
2004
Kane Watanabe sheds the shadow of being the Son of Lothor and becomes one of the greatest Samurai that's ever defended the world against evil. And he couldn't have done it without the two best friends a Space Ninja ever had; Taylor Hicks and Alex Roberts. See how this trio met and became fast friends.

Power Rangers FireStorm
2003
Taking place contemporaneously with PRNS, FireStorm takes place on a planet far away called Shogunatta. A sole Thunder Ninja, and three Fire Ninjas are transported to the home planet of the fabled Ninjor in order to help a young chieftain to free his people from the control of the Youkai of Skull Mountain.

Episode 1: The Sands of Shogunatta
Randi Scott, and three Fire Ninjas are transported to a planet called Shogunatta. There they encounter Dex Ro, the only student of Ninjor, and Chieftain of the peaceful Ninjetti Tribe. The Ninjetto have been enslaved by the Youkai Royal Family and the Youkaitto Tribe. The four strangers and Dex team-up to fight the Youkai and start a revolution for the future of Shogunatta.

Power Rangers Alpha
2005
The Power Coins are out there, broken, waiting for their other halves. When Roki and Zita Repulsa take residence in the Palace on the Moon in attempt to make up for their parents' defection to Good, six ordinary young people find themselves in the middle of a Z Putty attack. They become Power Rangers. It is then up to them to find complete the other halves of their coins and defend the world against Evil. With an Evil Ranger in the beginning, the original Mighty Morphin' Rangers as mentors, and an android girl built by Alpha 5, join the new Alpha Rangers as they prove themselves worthy of being Power Rangers.

Power Rangers Alpha Season Beta
2006
Roki Repulsa and his bride, Widow, return to the Palace on the Moon with new dark powers. Many things happened the previous year. The Power Rangers and the Repulsa sisters joined forces to defeat Riti and Rio Revile and repower the connections to the Morphing Grid. But they always knew Roki and Widow would return. They began making preparations as fast as they could. However, as diligent as they were, they were still ill-prepared for the show of force the self-proclaimed King and Queen of Evil unleashed upon them.

New Morphers, new Rangers, new weapons, and new allies await in this exciting second season of Power Rangers Alpha.

Chapter 1: The Grid Awakens
A peaceful summer day is rudely interrupted by the sudden return of the evil villains Widow and Roki Repulsa. They've come home from their trip stronger than ever before. Leaving the Rangers a present of new and improved Dark Putties, the Rangers, despite a summer of preparation for this day, find themselves ill prepared to against this threat. Can they somehow come together and gain victory over the stronger than ever self proclaimed King and Queen of Evil?

Chapter 2: Black and Yellow
An ordinary day in Angel Grove has two unexpected arrivals at the same time as Widow decides to test the capabilities of the Dark Putty. What does an actress from New Zealand and an Olympic Gold Medalist have to do with anything? Who will hold the second Smilodon and Mastodon coins and become Power Rangers?

Chapter 3: That's a Raptor
With their team fully assembled, the Power Rangers still can't rest. Zita makes a reappearance, crashing with Grandpa at Tai's house, and gives Tai a mysterious object as a sort of peace offering. Widow has another devious plan for the Rangers, and this time the Megazord is in her cross hairs. Making a personal appearance to confront Taran and the Legends to ensure they can't interfere, she takes a direct hit of his white magic. While pregnant! How will the Rangers get by with only Megazord when another monster attacks. Will the gift from Zita hold the answer. And what will Fox do when he returns from the jungle to learn that he's no longer a Power Ranger?

Chapter 4: From Outer Space .1
Tai gets ready for Rex to return and enlists the help of Nathan and Mason to help him pack and move Rex's wardrobe to his off-campus apartment. But things are stirring in outer space. Griff and Lammy sense something coming. Something from their past. Taran and Widow both sense it as well. As Widow sends a monster to Earth to combat the Power Rangers, Rex and Zhane's shuttle falls under attack from a mysterious enemy, but an enemy Griff and Lammy give a name to. Dr. Lee Keflen. What twists, turns, and surprises are in store for not only the Power Rangers, but the Palace on the Moon? Can they handle what's coming next?

Ninja Academy Power Rangers
2008
Five years after Ninja Storms comes a new story of the Ninja Academies as they tackle a new enemy that lurks in the shadows.


Book of Wind: Part 1: An Ill Wind Blows
Taylor Hicks is an all around average kid who just happens to be an all around average Wind Ninja cadet. Something strange is happening around Blue Bay Harbor and suddenly the cadets are undergoing spontaneous tests. Just as, for once, Taylor might actually ace the test, a fellow cadet is injured. Taylor and his best friends, Kane and Alex, must warn their teachers that something fishy is afoot. Will they be too late or will the wrong person end up becoming a Power Ranger?

Power Rangers Samurai Clash
2010
The 17th Shiba Lord has died leaving the world unprotected from a dimension of evl beings intent upon flooding the Earth with it's evil waters. A new Lord Shiba has been chosen and he assembles a team of Samurai Rangers to prevent the Earth from being consumed by the Sanzu River.
(I intend to start posting this as soon as it gets edited for continuity)


Dyanmic Power Rangers
2012
Taylor Hicks works for Astral Dynamics which has recently come upon a floating island in the sky with a cache of half finished Morph Tech. He soon finds himself embroiled with a secret project to test the technology and an alien plot to conquer the planet. He, along with the Dynamic Power Rangers, must now protect the Earth from this new threat.

Power Rangers Dino Charge
2015
Strange things keep happening around Scott Sterling lately. His new music teacher is like a ninja or something, and some weird, mysterious guy bought the bandoned airfeild where he and his friends liked to play paintball. As if that weren't strange enough, he finds a mysterious energy cell, a Zord shaped like a T-Rex tries to talk to him, and his music teacher really is a ninja! So is her finace, the guy who bought the airfeild. They're also former former Power Rangers and now so is he! Join Scott and his friends as they defend the world from a new, or very ancient, alien threat.


Chapter 1: It's Gonna Get Wild
Scott Sterling is an average high school kid. He's middle of the pack in terms of grades and popularity and he's fine with that and himself. But his average life starts getting strange at. First there was an encounter some weirdo who bought an abandoned airfield that for some reason he can't even get close to anymore. Then an S.P.D. officer shows up at his school to speak with his new music teacher, who is pretty odd as well. As if things weren't strange enough, he finds a battery and a dinosaur tries to communicate with him. What could all this possibly mean and how does he fit into it all?

Chapter 2: A Snapping Combination
The newest Power Rangers are coming together. Scott Sterling, Lydia Channing, Liam Connors, Crystal Bishop, and Dylan Stilinsky have become Power Rangers. Former Rangers Taylor Hicks and Rena Hart seem the ones in charge. And there's cute super computer keeping them updated with all the newest tech a kid could ask for. When the Discord Army attacks, will these new Rangers flop, or will they be a snapping combination?

Power Rangers Ninja Fury
2018
Power Rangers Ninja Fury starts off because of a girl kidnapped on a planet far from ours. When the culprits comes to Earth to use a mystical weapon of extreme power to summon a creature of equally extreme power. Dex Ro and his family comes to Earth to find their daughter and stop the plans of the Strange Clan to summon a great power. To do this, they utilize the power of the power of the Ninja Star Furies, which have been crafted into powerful objects. To do this, they recruit several teenagers to become Power Rangers.


Preview: Is Normal too Much to Ask?
Van Goldsmith quietly leaves home to see the world and find his place in it. When he runs across a fox demon, and finds a strange object, his place in the world may have just found him.

Chapter 01: Shinobi Start!
Five teenagers had no inkling what sort of day they were going to have. That somewhere in Ferrant Heights, a group of space-faring criminals had set-up a base of operations. That they were here to wake a great evil that was trapped below the city. That outside Ferrant Heights, a dimensional bubble was forming, bringing with it a house and a family looking for a missing child. They had no idea they were going to become Power Rangers.

Chapter 02: Natural Born Shinobi
Van Goldsmith just wanted to be a normal kid. As normal as an alien hybrid raised in a land of magical creatures could be, anyway. But his path took him in an unexpected direction and he became the Blue Shinobi Ranger. Since it's happened, he put his all into being the best shinobi he can be and being there for his teammates. Whether that means socializing with strangers and going to high school or mastering an Elemental Power Star.

Chapter 03: Shinobi in the Wind
Actress. High schooler. Shinobi. Power Ranger. Girlfriend? Bianca Florentine has a lot on her plate after moving to Ferrant Heights. The Rangers learn to use the Storm Star, Bianca goes on a date with Brenden, only to be rudely interrupted by a youkaiza called Spinferno and Bianca has to deal with him. Meanwhile, Ryzo Strange makes himself known to the Rangers and decides the Red Shinobi should be his rival.

Chapter 04: Calm Before the Shinobi
Dex Ro finally allows his pupils to try out Thunder Mode on the Storm Star with mixed results. Galen has a little trouble with getting the hang on it, which leads to performance anxiety in other aspects. Namely his tryout for the drama department play. After a bit of advice from Dex, the two are swallowed by a youkaiza and have to figure out how to free themselves. It's up to Galen to get over his stumbling block and save himself and his Sensei and defeat the youkaiza.


Project Omega: A Power Rangers Movie
2030
Sydney Drew has been B-Squad Pink for five years. Her promotion to he Omega Project, a fugitive retreival unit, is unexpected. When her first assignment is is contain escaped convicts including A-Squad Pink, her world opens up as revelations rock her to the very core.

Power Rangers Mystic Knights
2031
Schylar Stapleton just wanted to do a geneology tour in Ireland before she started college. She didn't expect to run into several other Legacies and end up embroiled in a plan to reopen Tir Na Nog to the Mystic Realm. Nor did she expect that the plan would be hijacked by an evil fairy. Though she always she knew she was the daughter of the Red Lord, being told she was a descended of the Kings of Kells was another shocker. Now stuck in the Mystic Realm, she must become a Power Ranger to defend it and all magic along with Niall Bly, the Gatekeeper, Enzi Teague, future Reaver, and Mena Morgan, a young druid.


Chapter 1: Welcome to Tir Na Nog
Schylar Stapleton just wanted to do a geneology tour in Ireland before she started college. She didn't expect to run into several other Legacies and end up embroiled in a plan to reopen Tir Na Nog to the Mystic Realm. Nor did she expect that the plan would be hijacked by an evil fairy. Though she always she knew she was the daughter of the Red Lord, being told she was a descended of the Kings of Kells was another shocker. Now stuck in the Mystic Realm, can these four young people come together to defend Tir Na Nog? What happens when the Red Lord finds out his daughter is missing?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1/17/19 - PRB 04
OMERGERD!! Okay, so full disclosure, what's about to happen is BRAND SPANKING NEW storytelling. Nothing even close to this happened in the RP. Well, that's not quite right because the backstory of Griff and Lammy and one of the characters that's intro'd did happen irp. But there was no context to it, I just wanted to make the character, so I did, he appeared and did basically nothing storywise. So, now he's story-relevant to a new story. That didn't make sense! XD but I think I got it explained. But yeah, our newest villain is brand-new, and the idea of the return of an iconic villain in this way is only a few months old, cuz I was like....I need to add all the new Rangers, but I need a reason, and hit on this one. This will be a two-parter cuz of my cliffhanger and same-day shenanigans. So, hopefully...enjoy!

Last edited by Ravie; January 17th, 2019 at 02:28 AM.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 01:17 PM #2
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Nodroz Origins

Nodroz Origins: Mother of the Future

In late 1997, Zordon, a powerful Eltarin trapped in an interdimensional tube was released. The energy that erupted, commonly referred in some elite community as the Z-Wave, was pure good, traveling for many million light years before dissipating. Any evil that it touched, it changed. A small boy in training on a desert planet with his morality still developing was cleansed of any propensity for evil he may have had. The self-proclaimed Queen of Evil, Divatox was purified and rejoined her family on Inquerian where she began to speak in questions once more. The Machine Empire was turned to dust.

Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd were purified.

Safe on the evil haven planet Onyx, their son Thrax was being trained by his uncle, Rito Revolto. The two decided it was best to leave it be. They tried for a time, to make it work out. They returned to Earth where Rita was drawn to Briarwood. She discovered the Mystic Realm still in tatters after a great war. Using her power magical abilities for good she began to help restore the realm. She and Zedd were blessed with four more children. Another son and a set of girl triplets.

For a time, things were well.

However, things began to change. In the Mystic Realm, Rita's powers overshadowed those of Zedd. He began to become jealous. He took to exploring the Mystic Realm as an archaeologist. He was secretly hoping to find a way to bulk up his own power to rule over the Mystic Realm.

Concerned about his secretive behavior and his refusal to talk with her, Rita decided to journey to the Oracle.

The Oracle was deep in the Mystic Realm. The journey was arduous. There was a mountain made of quartz and within that mountain where many corridors. All corridors led to the Oracle but each corridor had pitfalls along the way. Very few could find the direct path to the Oracle.

Rita was one such person.

Within a crystal room stood three pillars naturally formed, like many eons of stalagmite and stalactite meeting and growing together. In the center of the pillar was a small pool of water.

"Speak your question, worthy one," the voice was like three but only one. As it spoke, the pillars vibrated and glowed the pool rippled.

Now that was here, she was nervous. She had no idea how to ask her question or where to start. "Know you me, Oracle?" she asked finally.

"The Oracle knows. Your destiny is known. You are the Mystic Mother," came the answer.

"The what?" she asked, surprised.

"You are the Mother of the Future," the Oracle answered.

She rubbed her forehead. She was getting a headache. "Is there any way you can be more specific?" she asked.

"This is not why you have come. Speak your question," the Oracle prompted.

"It's about my husband. He is a powerful sorcerer on his own. He was given a chance for good but I fear the worst," she said.

"He has unearthed what should never have been unearthed. His part in destiny is done. Oracle can see no more," came the answer.

Rita felt dread in her heart. "So, he has squandered the chance he was given to atone?" she asked.

"He has."

She had to admit she was rather surprised by such a straightforward answer.

"Is there anything I can do to stop what's coming?"

"You cannot."

Rita gripped her hand over her heart. She should have known that atonement would not be simple. "Why do you call me the Mystic Mother? What does that mean?"

There was silence. "You are the Mother of Future. Without your part in destiny, there is no future. Darkness envelopes us all," the Oracle answered.

Rita frowned. Where was that straightforwardness now? She grumbled. "Thank you, Oracle," she said and turned to leave.

"We will meet again, Mystic Mother," the Oracle stated.

She had a bad feeling about that.

And so, it was done. She discovered Zedd had unearthed the Time Crystal in an attempt to undo what had been done to him. He was able to reclaim what he once was and began to play havoc with the timeline of the Power Rangers in an effort to eliminate them from history.

It took Rangers from the past present and future to defeat him. He attempted to flee back to Mystic Realm but in he dropped the Time Crystal and it caused it shatter. In doing so, he was trapped in a void outside of time. He may never be able to return.

Rita had her own trouble. She was not the only one who had recently sought the wisdom of the Oracle. A trio of magical beings kept the balance of magic. For many countless centuries the Tribunal of Magic had power over the Mystic Realm. They had become corrupted by their own egos. The arrival of Rita Repulsa, her power and the good she was doing was a cause of concern for them.

They sought council from the Oracle. They asked what her being there meant for them. "She is the Mystic Mother. She is the Mother of the Future. Your time nears an end as the children grow to adulthood. These sisters three will keep the balance you no longer do," the Oracle warned them. In the water they saw three small girls playing outside with their brother.

To their way of thinking, there could be no replacements if there were no longer three sisters. They hatched a plan. Using their combined magic, they merged the three sisters into one being. Though the small boy witnessed it all, they removed his memories. None of them remember that there had ever been three girls. Only one.

When Rita found out what happened, she was devastated. She sent her children to a trusted ally and sought the wisdom of the Oracle once more. As it had said, they would meet again.

"Welcome, Mystic Mother," the Oracle greeted when she entered the chamber.

Rita was too distraught to form words at first. The Oracle was patient. "You know what happened?" she asked.

"It was seen." the Oracle confirmed.

"What can I do? Can it be undone?" she demanded.

"It cannot be undone in the Mystic Realm," the Oracle answered.

"What do you mean?" she asked. "Is there no hope?" she demanded.

"There is hope. You wish to send her away for her safety. Though he is evil, Rito Revolto will safeguard her well," the Oracle answered.

Rita had indeed considered sending her remaining daughter to her brother. Even if she's influenced by evil, she would still be safe. "She'll be evil," she said.

"For a time," the Oracle agreed. "The curse can be undone. Love will undo what magic cannot."

Rita smiled sadly. "So you say," she murmured. "So, if I don't send her away, she'll never be separate again?"

"If you do not send them both, darkness will envelope us all," the Oracle answered.

Rita's heart seized. "Both? You mean for me to send away my son as well?" she asked, her voice pitching wildly.

"If you do not, darkness will envelope us all," the Oracle repeated.

"My son? Why?" she demanded. "I won't have all my children become evil," she almost sobbed.

"He will be evil. He will be happy."

"What do you mean?" she narrowed her eyes at the pillars.

The water showed an image of a woman with long black hair, wearing black clothes smiling wickedly as she glanced up at a man. The image backed away to reveal the young man smiling down at her. He touched her face and whispered something in her ear. There was an intimacy and even though it was evident they appeared to be plotting, there was an honest affection between the two. The pool cleared.

"Was that my son? He was happy," she murmured. She smiled. "That was Widow, wasn't it?" she asked.

"If you do not send them both, darkness will envelope us all," the Oracle repeated.

"My head aches," she grumbled and rubbed her forehead. "Is this what you meant by saying I was the Mother of the Future?" she asked.

"All starts now. You must send them to Rito Revolto. They will learn evil. Roki will remain evil. Your daughters will fulfill the destiny others sought to deny. It must be done or--"

"I get it, darkness will envelope us all," she said and threw up her hands. "Can you walk me through it?" she asked.

The chamber gave a small shudder. If she didn't know any better she'd have thought the Oracle just sighed in frustration at her. Join the club, bub.

"Many things will start now. The Oracle sees many paths. By sending your children away, they will attempt to conquer Earth in the name of the space witch you once were. In turn a team of Power Rangers will be formed to protect Earth. Among them are individuals with the power to change the course of destiny irrevocably."

The pool showed two boys practicing sword fighting. Both were dark haired, one Asian the other white. "Friendship as powerful as any magic. Destiny has special plans for these two. The Red Lord and the Dark Knight." The pool rippled to show another young boy with a mass of golden hair running through a cornfield with a dog at incredible speeds. "The White Wizard who will take the place of Zordon." The pool rippled once more. Another young boy walking along with a woman Rita recognized as Cassie Chan, the Pink Astro Ranger in a jungle. "The catalyst that begins the transformation for your daughters and the first Guardian."

The pool kept changing, revealing more children, going about their lives. Two blonds with glasses taking apart a computer. A tiny redhead helping a mechanic work on a Zord. More images.

Then came the last three images. A lovely statuesque blonde. "The Librarian." A large man with long hair and a slightly slimmer man similar looking enough to be brothers. "The Guardians. None of whom would even exist if you do not send away your children," the Oracle said. The pool emptied.

"What if I don't?" she asked.

"If you do not, Widow would not be drawn to the Sol System. The Sol Reavers would not lose their powers and Tarantules will never realize his magical potential. The Morphing Grid itself will expire and there will be no more Power Rangers. There will be no future. Tai Stapleton will never become the Red Lord and the Sanzu River will flood the Earth Dimension, which would already be tearing itself apart as factions of evil war for supremacy.

"Xavier Hart will never become the Phantom Ranger that engineers a team of Power Rangers powerful enough to defeat the end of existence itself. Evil will perish along with Good. The darkness will envelope us all." the Oracle repeated the last line in a deafening tone.

Rita held her head and moaned. "Ok, already. I understand. I'll send them both to Rito. Will I ever see them again?"

"You will," the Oracle answered in its normal tone.

"Thank you, Oracle," she said. She turned to leave. Her heart felt like stone, but she also had hope. Many good things would come of this. If this is how it is to happen, then so be it. At the very least her children will be happy. That's really all a mother could ask for.

She paused and turned back to the Oracle. "Those who sought to deny my girls' their Destiny. What will happen to them?" she asked.

"They will be expunged and stripped of all power and magic. They will be reborn as insects as they attempt to atone for their deeds this lifetime. The three girls will be powerful and their Guardians fierce," the Oracle answered.

Rita nodded and left without a word. She smirked. She was nothing of not patient. Until such a time as her daughters rejoined her, she would continue to do Good in the Mystic Realm. She was the Mystic Mother, Mother of the Future. It was time she embraced that.

This is the Beginning
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Old September 30th, 2017, 01:34 PM #3
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Nodroz Origins

Nodroz Origins: Lions and Tigers

Pai Zhua School, Summer 2002

In a secluded area hidden in the depths of the west coast, there was a place of learning. A temple dedicated to the teaching of Pai Zhua, the ability to summon and use one's animal spirit in martial combat. Master Mao, a regal man of advanced age and small lithe stature, oversaw the running of the Pai Zhua School were young men and women scouted by Pai Zhua masters sent out into world came to learn the basics. These youths were called Cubs by older students. More than half of them would either quit or be dismissed before the summer was over.

The group of twenty or so young men and women stood on the training ground surrounded by buildings of the temple. He gazed around noting them. He started visibly suddenly. The Cubs noticed this and a hushed murmur erupted. Mao smoothed out his features. "Good morning. I am Master Mao. I trust you slept well," he asked in a faintly accented voice.

The students arrived late last night and had been given a place to sleep. They were awakened at dawn, given rice and milk for breakfast and were made to assemble here. There was another murmur of consent. Mao cleared his throat and laced his hands behind his back. "Yes, Master Mao or No Master Mao are appropriate responses here," he said.

"Yes, Master Mao," the Cubs said together.

Mao nodded and gave a faint smile. "You were all recruited and invited here for one major reason. Those who can see animal spirits in others have seen yours clearly," he said. He narrowed his eyes at the Cubs, unsettled.

"Forgive me, Master Mao, but why do you keep eyeballing me and that guy over there?" one of them asked. A young man with dark hair and warm brown eyes asked. He had short hair and stood at a ready stance. He was gesturing to another young man of the same age. His brown hair was slightly too long, his eyes were a green-ish blue and his face bore witness to native American ancestry. He shifted slightly.

Master Mao gave a tight smile. "It's rare to have lions and tigers in the same group," he answered. "But that means I'll be taking particular interest in both of you," he added. "What's your name?" he asked the boy who'd spoken.

The young man scratched his squared jaw. "Austin John Scott. AJ," he answered.

Mao nodded and glanced at the other young man expectantly. "Damien Henderson, Master," he drawled with a distinct Texas twang. "You're interested in us because you’re the cat expert, right?" he asked.

"Are you a spirit seer?" Mao asked, intrigued.

"If that's what you call it," Damien answered.

Mao nodded again. He cleared his throat. "Beginning today you're training will begin. You're training will be strenuous. Some of you won't make it," he warned addressing the entire class. "In the mornings you will be responsible for cooking your breakfast I suggest making a schedule amongst yourselves. The mornings will be dedicated to the basics of Pai Zhua with the emphasis on learning to release and control your animal spirits. You will then be responsible for cooking your midday meal. The afternoon will be dedicated to learning from a specialized Master.

"As Damien so accurately stated, I am the cat expert. I will tutor those of you with feline animal spirits. You will all meet your masters' later today. Afterwards, you'll be responsible, once again, for feeding yourselves. The evening will be your free time," he explained.
"Spread out. We are beginning now," he stated. The startled Cubs scrambled to do as they were told. Mao began to teach them the basics of the discipline.

---

AJ Scott yawned and cracked his neck. He thought his brother was a slave driver when it came to teaching karate. He made a mental note to never introduce them. Ever. Raising a brow, he watched some of the other Cubs approach him. Among them was that Damien guy. Also amongst them were a couple of pretty girls. An Indian girl with wide almond shaped eyes and long straight black hair was chatting amicably with a willowy blond with bright green eyes. Damien was didn't seem too pleased to be swept up along the wake of the blue eyed blond guy who was making a beeline toward AJ.

AJ wasn't overly sociable. He blamed being a twin. His sister Randi and he were each other’s friend for a long time. Only when AJ and his family moved from Angel Grove to Stone Canyon did they really start stepping out their shells. AJ met and befriended a guy named Winter Baker and was all but enveloped into the Baker clan. Winter was older than AJ but he and his sister had skipped a grade before the move. So, he was slightly wary as the group approached.

The blond guy, the ring leader, offered a big friendly smile. "Hi. I'm Evan. Evan Chamberlain," he greeted. He was making it his mission to meet every Cub in his group. Especially the loners like AJ and Damien.

"AJ," he said slowly.

"I'm Zoe Myers," the blond girl said, running her fingers through her pixie cut hair.
"Divya Majumdar," the other girl greeted.

"And you know his name," Evan said, jerking a thumb at Damien. "Wanna do dinner? Some of the others ae breaking into groups so they don't have to cook as much. Lame if you ask me. We'll definitely have to work out some of kind schedule or else it'll get out of hand quickly. We barely survived lunch," he said good-naturedly.

"Sure," AJ said. There was no reason to refuse.

"Great," Evan said. He looked toward the kitchen when they heard a loud crash and muffled curses as two groups argued over who's turn it was to cook. He grimaced. "Yeah, definitely we'll need to make a schedule," he said.

Damien actually gave a crooked grin. "You believe in schedules, don'cha?" he drawled.
Divya looked at him astounded. "Wow. That smile coupled with that accent. I think I'm going to faint," she said dramatically and put the back of her hand to brow. She slouched back against Zoe for support.

Zoe snickered. "Get ahold of yourself," she said.

Damien's grin stretched wider. AJ snorted and Evan chuckled. He was going to like this group. He had a good feeling. "I do like schedules," he answered. "But just winging it for now, I vote we wait," he said.

"Agreed," Zoe answered.

"Definitely," Divya nodded. "Oh, hey. What do you guys think all that stuff about Lions and tigers was about?" she asked, looking back and forth between AJ and Damien. The two of them eyed each other warily.

The crunch of an apple interrupted the silence. They saw a young man sat on a barrel nearby. He was a little older than them, horrendously thin but strangely fit. His light brown hair was too long but his brown eyes were merry. "I can answer that," he said.

"Who are you? You aren't one of the Cubs," Zoe said curiously.

He shook his head. "I'm not a student here. Officially," he said and gave a wolfish grin. "Name's RJ." he said and took another bite of apple.

"You said you were going to tell us about the lions and tigers thing," Divya reminded him.
RJ nodded. "There's a prophecy of sorts that makes all the old Master's worry. Something about a Lion and Tiger tearing asunder what was wrought long ago. They get antsy any time a lion and tiger come around at the same time. Wouldn't worry about it too much," he said and gave a shrug. "Any of you working with Master Finn?" he asked.

"I am," Divya answered.

RJ pulled a small leather bag out of his tunic and tossed it at her. She caught it deftly and looked at it curiously. "Give him that for me. And when he gets ticked off, don't show fear," he said and hopped off the barrel. He gave them a wry wave. "See ya round," he said and wandered off, his loping gait covering ground until he was soon out of sight.

AJ watched him go. He glanced at Damien. The other guy raised a brow. They seemed to have a similar thought. They both turned and walked away from the group, leaving the other three watching them.

Divya scrunched her nose. "Well that sucks. I thought we were getting together a great group here. The three hottest guys in this place were almost all ours," she complained to Zoe.
Zoe laughed. "Don't give up yet. They're letting some silly nonsense get to them. Delivered, might I add, from a seriously fishy guy. No offense," she added.

Divya giggled at the joke.

Evan sighed. "Come on, we'll make enough for them, too," he prompted. The two girls agreed and the trio went to the kitchen to prepare dinner.

---

Damien Henderson had been born and raised in west Texas. His grandfather had been full-blooded Apache. He'd also been a medicine man. Damien never got to meet him so he had no idea if the ability to see animal spirits was inherited from him or not. He'd always known his animal spirit, a majestic lion. Starting from a young age, he often spirit walked with him. However, he'd never attempted to set it free of his body.

After four weeks of trying, he hadn't succeeded yet.

On a rare free day, he found himself in the lush jungle-like forest surrounding the Pai Zhua School. He had a lot to think about. He'd known he wasn't going back to Texas to stay after the summer. Just long enough to officially quit school so he could relocate and continue studying Pai Zhua and get his Master's Stripes.

His mother changed things up on him. She moved to California with her new husband.
Damien heard a slight sound. He cocked his head. Staying low to ground, on bare feet, he moved toward the sound. He could now make out voices. Moving closer, her peered through the foliage and was surprised to see that AJ guy talking to a stranger. Damien had been careful to take stock of everyone at the School, including RJ, who seemed to come and go at will while managing not to be caught.

The older guy talking to AJ was not someone he knew. About the same height as AJ, the guy was built like a brick house with wide shoulders and chest. He had the same dark hair and warm eyes as AJ. They also had the same jaw. A brother? What was he doing here? Damien frowned. Their voices weren't the sound he heard before.

He moved away. A wild feral smell hit him full on. It was a smell he was familiar with. His paternal grandfather was a hogger. Somewhere nearby was a wild hog. He uttered a curse under his breath and made his way back to where he'd seen AJ and the other guy. Looking annoyed and frustrated, AJ was now alone.

"Where did the other one go?" Damien demanded as he emerged from the brush, looking around.

AJ jumped slightly. "Geeze. Where did you come from?" he asked.

"Never mind that. It's dangerous. Where'd that other guy go? There's a--" Damien didn't get a chance to finish his sentence. A wild angry squeal and the crashing of underbrush heralded the arrival of a very large, very angry wild pig. He was heading straight for AJ and Damien.
Damien pushed AJ out the way and sprang backwards He landed awkwardly and fell on his butt. The pig wheeled around and came straight at him.

AJ got to his feet as the hog barreled toward Damien. First Jason and now a freakin' wild hog? Could this day get any worse? He put two fingers in his mouth and whistled shrilly.

The hog cried out again and turned around, heading toward the new annoyance.

Damien managed to scramble back to his feet. The two of them instinctively took stances.
"Grace and Power! Unleash the Tiger!"

"Majesty and Strength! Unleash the Lion!"

From each of them large animals leapt. Damien's lion was blush green while AJ's tiger was white and black. The two big cats came at the hog with roars. The hog squealed and made a U-turn and make a hasty retreat.

There was a tense moment when the two cats paced around each other as AJ and Damien watched. Then they touched noses, rubbed against each other and dissipated.

Damien fell back on his butt again. AJ collapsed to his knees. Damien suddenly grinned. "Well, I reckon we ain't gonna tear asunder what was wrought," he declared.

AJ laughed. "I reckon," he agreed, mimicking Damien's accent. The two of them fall back in fits of laughter. It was a nervous release of fear and relief.

---

Evan, Zoe and Divya were heading to the kitchen when AJ and Damien emerged from the forest, chatting good-naturedly and laughing about something. They were stunned. Forgetting the kitchen, they walked toward the two guys. "Are you guys friends now or something?" Zoe asked.

AJ and Damien looked at each other assessingly. "I reckon. You reckon?" Damien asked.
"I reckon," AJ agreed. They began laughing again, leaving their new friends staring at them curiously.

Divya beamed. "Great. Let's get something to eat!" she prompted.

"Yeah, we were just headed toward the kitchen," Evan said.

"I could eat," AJ said.

"Me, too," Damien agreed.

"Then you're heading the wrong way," a different voice interrupted. They turned to see RJ standing nearby. "Follow me and I'll introduce you to the food of the Gods," he said.

"And what would that be?" Zoe asked dryly.

"Pizza," RJ said and began walking off with every expectation that they would follow him. Tired of the bland fare available at the school, if RJ knew where to find pizza, they didn't hesitate to follow him.

-The End-
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Old September 30th, 2017, 01:38 PM #4
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Nodroz Origins

Nodroz Origins: Sticks

Angel Grove, 2003

Lokelani Lyong exited the principal’s office of Angel Grove High School with her two older brothers Noa and Keoni. They'd been getting their class schedules, locker numbers and lock combinations. Their parents had misestimated when school started, so they arrived a week in. Great. Though she felt a bit sorrier for her brothers. Noa was sophomore and Keoni was a senior, they had left behind friends, girlfriends and established high school connections. Lani, as she was preferred to be called, had finished junior high and even in her old town would have had to start fresh again in freshman year anyway.

With a grunt to her brothers, which could mean any number of things, she separated and sought out her locker. Lani was a not overly tall girl of Hawaiian and Korean descent. She had warm skin, long nearly black hair and dark brown eyes. She liked to think of herself as friendly and her style was eclectic, sort of skater-girl-rocker. She'd spent nearly all her life learning Tae Kwon Do, Judo and whatever other martial art struck her father's fancy, competing and winning trophies and medals. She rebelled a bit last year by taking up drumming. She still trained hard, but now she got to wind down by banging on her drums.

After drumming, she curled up with DVDs of various Korean action dramas a cousin near her age liked to send her. She never complained and even chatted online with said cousin to completely, embarrassingly, fan-girl over the various good-looking heroes. And, yep, sometimes the villains too. She even had a mini-poster her cousin sent of their current favorite, Lee Yoon Seung to stick up in her locker when she found it.

After wandering fruitless for an agonizingly embarrassing amount of time, she finally found her locker and checked her paper for her combination. She was unloading her book bag, which contained notebooks, folders and binders and her poster, when a flash of red caught her eye. Curious, she glanced over and nearly gaped. A tall Asian looking guy held a sword in his hand. Well, it didn't really look like one unless you were familiar with weapons. It was a flawless, red metallic sheathed katana. The guy was glancing around as he stuffed it in his locker.

She looked at him better and nearly gaped again. Despite the unruly bush on his head and string bean physique he was rather good looking with dark eyes and a square jawed face that bespoke more of a Caucasian influence than truly Asian. He wore a white tee-shirt with flame graphics all over it. Even though he was beanpole, it hugged at his chest and shoulders slightly and his arms appeared hard and toned, like someone who was no stranger to working out or physical labor.

She hastily dug out her mini-poster of Lee Yoon Seung and looked at it then back at guy. That was a little freaky. Other than the nose, slightly squarer jaw, and age they could be the same person. Even his unruly hair matched the current style.

"Tai!"

Lani jumped slightly and turned away, stuffing the poster back into her bag when he turned toward the voice that obviously called his name. Oh geeze, she hoped no one saw her gawking like an idiot. She also definitely was not going to be sticking up that poster after all. She peeked up and saw him close his locker and tote several books over to a boy with stylish black hair and a black hoodie who had his arm around some cute brunette's shoulders. Another girl, this one a cute blond, was with them. The four of them walked off down the hall and Lani sighed.

What was she doing ogling some guy anyway? As if between her dad and three overbearing brothers she'd get to date in peace. Though it was a guy who looked like a Korean idol and carried around a Japanese sword. She bit her lip and sighed.

"Hey, nice sticks."

Lani turned with a scowl. "Beg pardon?" she demanded. A lean white guy wearing tight pants, a baggy band shirt and a studded belt was grinning at her. His feet were incased in hi-top Reeboks with neon pink laces. He had black hair with bangs that fell over bright blue eyes. He was giving her an amused grin.

"Your sticks," he said again and pointed at the drum sticks she'd forgotten were in her baggy pants pocket.

She blushed and grabbed them. "Er...thanks," she murmured sheepishly. "For a moment there that was strangest come on I'd ever heard," she said with a grin of her own.

The guy laughed. "Don't worry. You're not my type," he said and gave her a wink with the eye she could see clearly.

Lani raised her brows. "Should I be offended?" she asked.

He chuckled. "Nah. You're cute and all just a bit too...female," he said, as if assuring himself that was the right word.

Lani nodded. "I see. I'm Lani. Lokelani Lyong," she said and held out a hand.

He took her hand. "Nathan Doyle. So, those sticks. Just for show or can you use them?" he asked seriously.

"I do a pretty decent job of annoying parents and older brothers," she declared, grinning again.

Nathan chuckled. "That's the best, huh? Here," he pulled a folded flier out of his pocket. "I'm trying to start a band. I already have a couple of people interested, but we need a drummer. Aside from Wood, my friends aren't really the musical types," he explained. He pulled a pink sharpie out of another pocket and scribbled his number on it. He handed her the flier.

She looked at it with a grin. "Awesome. I'll call you after school then to schedule a try out?" she asked.

Nathan nodded. "That'd be awesome. Check you later. If I don't get to class before the bell rings, Billie will have my head," he said and gave her wave. "Welcome to Angel Grove," he added and began to jog down the hall.

Lani watched him go with a laugh. She looked at the flier again. It was just a computer-generated flier proclaiming the search for band mates. Maybe this move wouldn't be too bad after all.

After she finished with her locker, she followed the map she was given to her first class. She found a seat just as the bell rang. A cute Latina grinned from beside her. "Hi!" she said in a whisper. "You're new here, too? I'm Manny," she said in a whisper, her voice faintly accented.

Lani grinned. "I'm Lani," she whispered back.

"Awesome! We're going to be friends," the girl declared with such surety Lani had to agree with her.

Her mood was so good that even the boring class couldn't squelch it. Yes, coming to Angel Grove was probably the best thing that ever happened to her.

~*End*~
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Old September 30th, 2017, 01:41 PM #5
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Nodroz Origins

Nodroz Origins: Dumpster Dive

Blue Bay Harbor 2005

Kane Watanabe was a skinny, rangy fourteen-year-old attending Blue Bay Harbor Middle School. He wasn't your average middle school kid. He lived with an uncle and cousin in a hidden Ninja Academy just outside the city. If that wasn't strange enough, he was also the son of an evil Space Ninja who had been bent on revenge and world domination who had been beaten by the Power Rangers. Twice.

For the most part, Kane hadn't really cared about his father's activities. Until recently, he'd been with his mother. Leatrix was also a Space Ninja, but her aims were less ambitious than world domination. She preferred stealing the priciest and prettiest baubles in the known galaxy. So, while Lothor was trying to conquer Earth, Kane was helping his mother.

After they learned from his cousins Marah and Kapri what happened, his mother became somewhat concerned about him. She took it upon herself to take him to meet his father's brother. Now he was stuck living on Earth, the most boring place he'd ever been. To make matters worse, he had to attend school. The only fun he got to have was pestering Cam.

He really didn't like going to school. He was much more comfortable with thieves, grifters and hitters than he was with kids his own age. That, Uncle Kanoi had said in the oh-so-sage way he had, was exactly why he should attend school. He'd been there a week, and was largely ignored. He didn't look too unusual, there were a few other kids scattered around that were Asian featured like him. He half suspected maybe it was his hair. He pulled his hat down lower. Something completely ordinary where he was from was definitely out of place here. He was mostly bald save for a bunch of hair that had often been pulled into a top knot. It was long, nearly to his shoulders.

He was opposed to as much change as possible, but he was a kid; part of him did want to fit in. At the same time, none of the people in this place were worth the effort as far as he could tell. As he made his way to his locker, ducking and dodging chattering groups of people preparing to go home for the day.

He opened his locker and switched books around. "Mr. Watanabe." Kane cringed inwardly. It was Mr. Howard, the vice principal. If he could master energy attacks, and was allowed to, he'd fry this sucker. "What have I told you about that hat?" Howard intoned in that dull grating voice of his.

Kane slid sideways. "I'm sorry Mr. Howard, it's so loud, I can't hear you," he said speaking loudly and slowly and continued to slide away. As a group of giggling girls passed by, Kane used the distraction to disappear. He was raised by Ninjas and learned how to slip away unseen from nosey vice principals.

He stepped outside and was immediately distracted by a girl surrounded by several other girls; small boned, cute and dark haired, Amy Chen. The one good thing about this school. Too bad she was always surrounded by a horde. Sighing, Kane pulled his hat down lower again. Maybe he'd see what could be done about his hair situation.

He walked on. He had to get back to the Academy, but he'd be cursed if he got in a hurry. He might even stop by Storm Chargers before going back. One fun thing he did discover was motocross. Sensei Dustin let him tag along to the track over the summer. He desperately wanted to try freestyle but again, that too was strictly forbidden. He did enjoy tinkering around with the bikes though.

He was turning to take a shortcut when he noticed a commotion up ahead. Two rather large older kids in letter jackets held a struggling kid between them. The kid was scrawny and dressed in baggy pants and red and black checkered shirt over a tee-shirt. That was all Kane could really make out.

A skinny girl with a short brown pony tail ran behind them. "Let him go!" she hollered at them.

The other kid struggled. "Yeah, lemme go, butt-munchers," he cried.

"Oh, we'll let you go, you little turd," the older boys sniggered and tossed him into the open dumpster. He landed with a shout and a clang. One of them broke a skate board over his knee and chucked it in as well. Laughing, they high fived each other and walked off.

The girl ran to the dumpster and peered over the edge. "Tay! Are you ok?"

Kane came out from where he'd instinctively tried to make himself smaller. Avoiding trouble wasn't something Uncle Kanoi had to admonish him against. He wasn't allowed to use his skills against the locals, but even so, avoiding trouble was best anyway. He wandered toward the dumpster. He jumped back when a head popped up over the side.

The kid in the dumpster had hazel eyes and sandy blond hair that stuck up at odd angles. "Look what they did to my board!" he complained and held up the two halves of what was a pretty old board to start with.

The girl rolled her eyes. "I tried to tell you not to mess with those guys," she pointed out.

Kane paused and eyed the kid from under the bill of his hat. "Can you get out of there?" he asked.

Taylor Hicks considered his predicament. "Let me see," he said, and pretty much ignored his friend Alex's scolding. He tossed the halves of boards over the side. He cracked his knuckles and gripped the ledge of the dumpster. He bounced a little then jumped, trying to use his arms to leverage himself up. He didn't make it. He hit his sternum and fell back. "Doesn't look like it," he declared and grimaced. It was really starting to stink in there.

Alex rolled her eyes. "One would think you'd be an expert at it by now," she declared dryly.

Kane grinned in amusement. "I guess I can help you out," he said. He couldn't get scolded for this, surely. He was doing a good deed. Wasn't Uncle always going on and on about good deeds? He jumped up and landed on the ledge. He balanced easily in a crouch. "Try that again," he said.

Tay looked at him dubiously. "You sure? If you fall in, I'll climb over you to get out," he warned but his grin was showing a missing tooth near the front. He also had a band aid on his chin.

Kane grinned back. "Not if I climb over you first," he shot back. "Now come on. Don't worry about me falling in," he prompted.

Tay nodded. He took another deep breath and gripped the ledge again. He bounced and jumped. This time when he jumped, Kane grabbed a hold of the back of his pants and pulled. This tactic seemed to work only too well. They both fell to the ground outside the dumpster with surprised and pained yelps.

Alex pursed her lips and stood over them with hands on her hips. She shook her head at Tay. "Are you, ok?" she asked Kane.

Kane nodded and got to his feet. He realized his hat was missing, but neither of them stared or laughed.

Tay bounced up. "That was awesome! I'm Taylor Hicks by the way. You're Kane, right? The new kid that lives out of the city, right? We're in the same gym class," he said and jerked a thumb at Alex. "That's Alex Roberts. We're in the same class," he explained.

Alex rolled her eyes again. "Since kindergarten," she added.

Kane nodded. He hated gym class so he'd been skipping since the first day of school. It was either skip or kill the coach. "Yeah, I'm Kane," he answered.

"We were on our way over to Storm Chargers; Alex's aunt runs the place and she lets us hang out sometimes. You wanna come?" he invited and picked up Kane's hat from where it'd rolled under the dumpster. "And dude, I dunno where you came from, but we gotta do something about that hair," he said finally.

Kane gaped as he took the hat back. He fit it on his head and pulled it down. "Yeah. Tell me about it," he muttered.

"That was nice, Tay," Alex said sarcastically. "Well, you gonna come hang or not?" she asked Kane impatiently.

Kane drew himself up. "Of course," he answered.

"Awesome," Tay said and clapped Kane on the back. "Welcome to Blue Bay Harbor. I got a good feeling about meeting you," he declared as the three of them began to shuffle off.

Kane self-consciously adjusted his hat again. Yeah, he had a pretty good feeling about it, too. Not that he'd ever admit it or anything. He wasn't the son of Lothor and Leatrix by admitting to gushy feelings or anything lame like that. But suddenly, the prospect of staying around didn't seem as dreary as it did a few minutes ago.

~*End*~
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Old September 30th, 2017, 02:12 PM #6
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Power Rangers Alpha Season Beta

Power Rangers Alpha Season Beta
Chapter 01 : The Grid Awakens

Angel Grove, 2006

The sun sparkled brightly off the sea in Angel Grove Bay. The beach was quiet because it was a private beach belonging to a beach house that had been rented for the weekend for the exclusive use of the renter and his guests. His guests had not arrived yet, but that was okay.

Tai Stapleton had had a busy summer. Instead of waiting to start his college classes at Angel Grove University in the fall, he'd taken a few classes that summer. Eight weeks later, he had a two week break before his fall classes officially started. He also had a competition coming up for a national Kendo title. It would be his first in the college-aged division.

He was also keeping on top of preparations for an impending alien invasion. Tai Stapleton wasn't just the run of the mill overachiever. He was also a Power Ranger, though at the moment not on active duty. He was the male half of the Red Tyrannosaurus-Rex Ranger team. His partner was currently playing tag with the waves splashing up on the beach and laughing.

Lokelani Lyong wore a red bikini with large white Hawaiian flower print, the bottom half covered by a semi-sheer sarong. She laughed as the water splashed her feet. Her long dark hair bounced around her shoulders. She glanced over at him with a little grin and noticed he was grinning at her. "Are you laughing at me?" she demanded playfully.

"I would never," he denied with a straight face. She put her hands on her hips and raised a brow, not believing him. Of Korean and Hawaiian descent, Lani was about average height, but lithe and graceful. A consummate martial artist thanks to her father, and a fondness for yoga tempered her with steel. With three overbearing older brothers, she was also tough as nails and spunky with patience enough to handle whatever was thrown at her. She was also the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen in his life.

"I don't believe you," she said. She dashed toward him, tackling him against the sand he'd been sitting on, watching her frolic. She pinned his shoulders and grinned down at him. "I'm going to make you confess," she declared.

"How do you plan to do that?" he asked her.

Her dark eyes danced and leaned down and whispered her strategy in his ear.

Tai cleared his throat. "If I keep denying, will you keep doing that?" he asked.

Lani laughed and pinched his side, making him grunt in pain. She kissed him. He reluctantly turned his head away and sat up with her pouting at him when he realized that the first of his guests were arriving. He kissed her temple and stood up. He was a good deal taller than she was, and long. Full of lean, wiry muscle with a chest and arms that had seen many years inside a forge making blades with his grandfather. His hair was dark and spikey, his face a pleasing mix of his Irish and Japanese ancestry. If she were the type to swoon over a boy, he'd be the one. He helped her to her feet. "What's up?" she asked.

He jutted his chin toward the beach house. A small group of people were heading toward them. A cute bi-racial girl was leading the charge. Warm skin, small and compact, with light aquamarine eyes, Victoria Williams had medium length dark hair that shimmered with red and gold highlights when the sun hit it. She wore a large brimmed summer hat and white rimmed movie-star shades. She had been the female half of the Pink Pterodactyl Ranger team.

Accompanying her, also looking like she just walked out of a teen magazine beach-edition, was her best friend, Chloe Kennedy. Chloe was lightly tanned with brown-gold hair pulled into cute short pigtails. Her black beach wear was chic and her brown eyes were also covered by shades. She was the tiny but mighty female half of the Black Mastodon Ranger team.

Escorting the two lovelies were two young black guys. Wood Johnson was slighter, with freckles, an easy smile, and an afro ruthlessly pulled into a stubby ponytail. He'd recently had a growth spurt and wasn't quite used to himself yet. Not only was he Tori's boyfriend, but also the male half of the Yellow Smilodon Ranger team.

Nyo Kotze was a couple of years older, darker than Wood. His hair was cut close to his head and he sported a short neat goatee. He was never a Power Ranger. He'd come to Angel Grove from Africa to visit his Johnson cousins. He'd ended up arriving in the middle of a battle with alien monsters. Since he was a practitioner of Pai Zhua, a Chameleon Master at that, he'd decided to help out. He'd been in Angel Grove since, lending whichever of his skills was needed at the time.

Nyo and Wood were toting coolers and beach bags. "My, what obedient pets you guys have," Lani said to the two younger girls.

"We're still trying to teach them not to piddle on the floor," Chloe remarked. She was a small spitfire that just oozed attitude and sarcasm. She and her brother were technically still visiting their father in New York, but she'd been allowed to teleport back to Angel Grove for a few hours. She and her brother Danny were champion martial artists, and their father was a professional fighter. Their parents were divorced, and they had a few weekends a year and most of the summer to spend with him.

"I should have stayed in the Lab with Danny," Nyo said in a clipped accent as he put his bundles down. "Now I see why he sent me ahead," he grumbled.

Tori giggled. She was cute and bubbly. Deceptively so. Tori had a lot going on. Not only was she a competitive cheerleader, but she'd started out as a competitive gymnast. Aside from that, she had a varied martial arts training regimen. Before becoming a Pink Ranger, she'd been on a team of space heroes who worked for the avatar of the Sun; the White Reaver. She'd practically been raised on the spaceship that orbited the sun. She'd lived in Angel Grove most of her life, however, when not on the ship. First with her parents then with her guardian, Dawn Feather, a former Reaver. "That's exactly why he sent you ahead," she told Nyo.

Wood gave a grin. "It's not so bad," he said. He didn't mind doing for Tori at all. Of course he got special rewards for good behavior. "I kind of missed being a lackey," he said. He and his friend Nathan had been gone for several weeks, attending a workshop at the California Performing Arts College. They'd been home only a little over a week. Wood had something of a pedigree when it came to Power Rangers. He was the younger brother of TJ Johnson, former Red Turbo and Blue Astro Ranger. Wood had been over the moon to become a Power Ranger himself.

The other teens began setting up beach towels and getting ready to enjoy the beach. Tai saw more activity near the house. A tall man with brown hair wearing green and his redheaded sister were setting up a barbeque pit. Winter Baker waved at them. He was the oldest of the Power Rangers at twenty-two. He and his grandmother owned the Youth Center. His sister Autumn helped him run. The two of them were the Green Stygimoloch Ranger team.

Coming down from the house carrying what looked like meat was a somewhat statuesque blond woman who in actuality was an alien, dimension-hopping bounty hunter. Or she had been before she became the Electrum Velociraptor Ranger. She and Winter were an item and she went by Lammy Goldsmith.

Trudging down to the beach carrying loads of what looked like firewood were two more friends. With gleaming blond hair, Taran Goldsmith was the oldest of the children of Goldar and Scorpina. Lammy was his younger sister. As a child, while training, he'd been caught in the Z-wave. His parents had sent him to Earth to live as a normal human. Instead, he'd eventually become the Red Reaver thanks to Tori, and later on, the Gold Stegosaurus Ranger. He was also a powerful sorcerer.

The other was Sora O'Keefe, a half Triforian man whose mother had been a human woman of Japanese ancestry. He had dark hair and eyes. He'd only recently learned that his father had been Triforian. His stepfather was a white Irishman. His family had gone on the first Terra Venture, later he found himself on KO-35 with his cousin Cassie Chan and learned the Kovarian style martial arts from Zhane Rahl. He'd returned to Earth to attend college, but he'd been put under a curse by Zita Repulsa. As the Skeleton Ranger, he'd faced his friends. Once he'd been freed of the curse by Rei Repulsa, he joined them as the Silver Ceratosaurus Ranger.

They found a good spot to put down the firewood. "What are you guys doing?" Tai asked.

"Can't have a beach party without a bonfire. Even I know that," Taran answered with a farm boy drawl that spoke his early years living on a farm in Kansas.

"Rei asked Moriko and Griff t'come. That all right?" Sora asked in an accent that veered toward that of his Irish step-father's.

"The more the merrier," Lani answered before Tai could. Not that Tai would have disagreed. Moriko and Griff weren't their enemies. At least he didn't think they were. Not really.

"Well, we need more firewood for the bonfire," Taran said and Sora agreed and they hurried off.

Lani grabbed Tai's hand and linked their fingers. "This was a good idea. Even if some of us are missing, the ones who can make it needed it. We've all been so busy not trying to worry, that it will be good to actually not worry for a change," she said.

Tai nodded. "Manny couldn't swing it?" he asked.

Emmanuelle Diaz was one of Lani's two best friends. She'd been the female Yellow Smilodon Ranger and Wood's partner. She'd moved to Paris to live with her mother. Lani shook her head. "The time difference was too much to be able to swing it," she said with a sigh. "What about Fox?" she asked.

Fox Oliver was the younger cousin of Winter and Autumn. He'd been Chloe's second partner, the male Black Ranger. "Autumn said he was unreachable. He and his parents are somewhere in the Congo and that's all anyone knows," he answered.

"And what about your boyfriend?" she asked teasingly.

Tai's best friend Xavier Hart had been the first male Black Ranger. He'd been in space for several months with Zhane Rahl looking for some lost Power Coins. He was supposed to be home before the semester started. Rex had managed to graduate early before the trip, but he had to show up to start attending Angel Grove University.

"He and Zhane are on the way," he said with a smile. Lani wrapped her arms around his waist. "Don't worry, I like you way more than I like Rex," he assured her.

Lani snorted. "I'm not sure I believe that, but thank you for saying it," she said, grinning up at him. He smiled back, lowered his head and kissed her to prove his point.

-x-

The Command Center

Within the Command Center, there was the Power Chamber, which was the central hub of activity. There were other rooms as well, such as the Blue Lab, the Medi-Lab, the Zord Lab, and other such rooms that were needed by the Power Rangers. The Command Center was overseen by an android called Beta Z. She was a supercomputer capable of artificial intelligence and multitasking. Aside from her physical body, she could interface through computer monitors and tactile holographic imagery. She had been built by Danny Kennedy, his partner Billie Davis and Billy Cranston.

She was overseeing the Power Chamber when Holly Fairweather came out of the Zord Lab, practically dragging a blond youth behind her. Holly was a spacey sort of girl with deep red hair straight from a bottle and light colored eyes. She hadn't been a Power Ranger, technically. Instead she worked on Zords. Despite her pretty appearance and often vapid expression, she was actually a mechanical engineer.

The young man was Danny Kennedy, Chloe's brother and male Blue Triceratops Ranger. He was also a mechanical mad genius, often designing useful weaponry for the Rangers. He was in the middle of a project when Holly had wrangled him. "We're going to be late. I'm sure everyone's already there," she told him.

"Billie ain't," Danny said immediately.

Holly pursed her lips together and sighed through her nose. "Nathan is handling Billie," she said.

"I just had a few more tweaks," he defended.

"So did I, but I also really want to go hang out with our friends," she said.

Danny scraped a hand through his short blond hair. He was tall and blue eyed and wore glasses. Few people would even know that he and Chloe were siblings at first blush. Unless started talking and if the New York in their voices didn't give it away, the sarcasm gene did. "You're right," he agreed. Holly nodded firmly.

"Have fun," Beta Z told them.

"Why don't you come, Beez? You haven't been out of the Center for a while," Holly suggested.

Beez gave a serene smile. "Thank you, but no. I have a few of my own projects. I also do not require the same mental break that the rest of you do," she assured them.

Danny stuffed his hands in the packets of his shorts. "You know you're always welcome," he told her. She merely nodded at his words. They gave her brief waves as they teleported.

In the Blue Lab that Danny usually shared with his partner, she was busily soldering something together. Wilhelmina Davis, better known as Billie, and Glitch to some, was a socially dysfunctional caffeine-addicted computer nerd. She was on the tall side, with blue eyes, long honey blond pigtails and slim glasses. She was also slightly klutzy. Her clumsiness was getting better. She'd been the female Blue Ranger. She wore a tee-shirt, shorts and flip-flops and goggles over her eyes.

Leaning against the counter she was working at was Nathan Doyle. Nathan was a gymnast with a sweet tooth and a love of music. He was male half of the Pink Pterodactyl Ranger team. He was fit and had black hair and blue eyes. Along with his friend Wood, he'd been away from Angel Grove attending a workshop at CPAC. "I'm not leaving, so you might as well stop sending me those grumpy glances, stop doing what you're doing and come with me," he said. He was dressed for the beach.

"I'm not going. There's no way I'm wearing this thing front of other people," she said. Billie had gone into space for a few weeks with the Phantom Ranger. She'd gone to the planet Eltar to learn more about Morphing Technology. Ever since she got back, she'd been putting what she learned to practical use but she always felt like time was running out. However, that wasn't exactly what her hang-up was at the moment.

Nathan chuckled. "It's okay. You can just wear your tee shirt and shorts," he said.

She blew out a breath and looked up at him. The goggles she wore distorted her eyes and made them look huge. She blinked and took them off. "Then why did you force me to buy a new swim suit?" she demanded.

He gave her a mischievous grin. "Well, the last time you bought one, you were twelve. I also just wanted to watch you try on swim suits," he told her.

Unable to respond to that, she just gave him a disgruntled look. She picked up what she was working one and put it with the others that were completed. Unfortunately, there were still too many that weren't ready yet.

Nathan sighed and went to her. "C'mon. I know you think you need to work yourself to death so you can finish, but you aren't going to do it today, so take a break. Come to party," he said.

Billie shrugged and blew out a breath. "Okay. let's go to the beach but I am absolutely not swimming," she warned him.

"That's okay. I don't think I want anyone else seeing you in the swimsuit I picked out anyway," he said and gave her another mischievous grin. While she was floundering around wondering what had gotten into him lately, he grabbed her around the waist and teleported with her.

-x-

Perhaps the worst thing they could done was try and relax and forget about their worries for a time. Not only the Power Rangers had arrived at the beach rental, but so had a few of their other friends and allies. Randi and AJ Scott, who were the younger siblings of Jason Scott, worked at his Dojo and had been helpful during their hardest battle yet. Damien Henderson was a good friend of AJ's and was working with him. The Scott siblings were good friends of the Baker siblings.

Melody Robinson was a girl who'd lived on Terra Venture until recently when she was sent back to earth to live with her batty cat-lady grandmother. Zara Rahl was a Kovarian girl, the younger sister of Zhane. She'd come to Earth while Zhane was space adventuring with Rex and because of civil unrest in the Kovarian community. The two younger girls had been instrumental in helping solve the crisis the Rangers had been facing.

Rei Repulsa and her sister Moriko were two of a set of three triplets. They had long ago been cursed to exist within the body of their sister Zita until the curse was somehow broken. While Zita and their brother Roki had been trying to conquer Earth, Rei had been working with the Rangers, Moriko had been trying to convince Zita that their greater destiny existed only if they came together. Eventually Zita had joined forces with them to defeat a greater power. Then she disappeared. Neither of her sisters knew what became of her.

Grifforzer, better known as Griff, was Lammy's twin brother. He was a stocky warrior of great skill. His tracking abilities combined with Lammy's abilities had made them a formidable team while they dimension hopped, trying to find home. When they finally did, Griff stayed somewhat neutral at first between the struggles of siblings, but when he met Moriko after she freed herself from the curse that combined her with Zita, his loyalty had been given to her over everyone else, except perhaps Lammy.

Though he didn't do it for any altruistic desire to help the Power Rangers, he lent a hand when it was needed and helped them win the day. He was only at this gathering at Moriko's behest and to antagonize Winter a little bit. Not because he disliked his sister's lover, but because it was fun.

He was one of the first to realize something was wrong. He was eating a rather large portion of cooked meat and drinking something pink and fizzy when he felt a prickle of unease. Goosebumps raised on his skin. He automatically sought out Lammy with his eyes. She was rubbing her arms and looked at him. They both turned to look at Taran.

Taran had, and Griff and Lammy to a lesser extent, had what the others termed "spidey senses" that usually alerted him to personal danger in time to take evasive action. Right now, he had a feeling like that, but more so. In order to repair the bridges between the physical universe and the Morphing Grid, he'd recently connected with Zordon's Staff and unlocked all sorts of mystical-magical things within himself. He was trying to get used to his new reality.

He'd stopped abruptly his conversation with Autumn and looked toward the sky. All he could see was blue sky, puffy white clouds and sunshine. "Taran?" Autumn asked. He was walking away from her now. Frowning, she watched him. She blinked and activated her genetic ability to read auras and energy. He was emitting a shiny white energy but that wasn't unusual.

Darkness was creeping through the edges of her vision. She gasped. Just a few moments behind her vision, the actual sky itself began to darken. The others were beginning to become alert now.

"Take cover!" Taran shouted. The sky lit up with what could almost be described as lightning. Arcs of power that only attacked their little beach, exploding sand and surf around them. Doing what they could, Taran, Lammy, Rei, and Moriko tried to protect those could by throwing up magical shields.

Danny had the genetic ability to generate force-fields from his hands. He threw up what he could to protect himself and those nearest to him, but he couldn't keep it up for long.

Just as suddenly as it started, the energy storm stopped. Two people were now standing on the beach facing them calmly. A man who was tall and dark eyed, his facial features resembles the somewhat Asian features that were also shared by Moriko and Rei. Dressed in red, silver and black silks that combined the aesthetics of several Asian cultures, his dark hair was pulled into a top-knot decorated in gold as if he were an ancient king. He held a staff topped in a crescent. A pulsing ball of darkness floated in the crescent.

Beside him was a woman. She had pale skin tinged with gold. Her eyes were black, and her inky black hair was elaborately wrapped around her head in swirls and braids. She wore black silks with lush slightly metallic patterns. The style was more ancient Korean rather than a mix. She had the same sort of features as Lammy, Griff, and Taran. She held a slightly shorter but nearly identical staff as the man.

She smirked at them. "Thank you Rangers, for throwing this lovely welcome home party. You made us feel special," Widow said.

The man smirked as well. "It was rather nice of you to gather all in one spot for us," Roki Repulsa added.

Tai and Lani stepped forward. "You weren't on the guest list. You should leave," Tai said in a strangely polite tone.

Lani scowled at Widow. "Are you making fun of me?"

"Yes," Widow answered. Her gaze landed on her older brother. She ignored Lani and walked toward him. He tensed up. "I warned you about staying on your farm, Tarantules. Now I hear you fancy yourself the next Zordon?" she scoffed. "Over my dead body," she snarled.

"Only if you make it come to that," he said.

She growled and lifted a hand where a dark swirl of energy began to appear. It was Roki who grabbed her arm and pulled her away. "Not now, my dear," he said. "There will be time to deal with traitors," he said and directed his gaze his sisters.

"Technically I was never on your side," Rei pointed out rationally.

Moriko held her hands up helplessly. "There's nothing to be done. We have our destiny and you have yours," she said.

Roki acknowledged this statement with a small nod. "Let's go home, my love," he told Widow.

"Watch out for Rio," Moriko said.

Roki scowled at the mention of their cousin. "She will be dealt with," he said.

Widow was still glaring death daggers at Taran. "We'll leave you with our welcome home gift. I sincerely hope you like it," she said pleasantly. With cracks of dark lightning, Widow and Roki disappeared. At the same a mass of strange creatures appeared on the beach.

They were Putty Patrollers, but not any that they had ever seen before. They were used to dealing with Z-Putties. These new Putties were black and rather than Zs on their chests, they had silver crescents on their foreheads.

"Nega-Moon Putties?" Nathan wondered out loud. Before they could voice any further speculations about the creatures, they attacked. He barely dodged and jumped into the sky. He hovered for a moment and dropped, falling on top of two of them. They threw him off.

Two of the Putties came toward Tori. She opened her mouth and shrieked at them. They were knocked off their feet and went tumbling. They got up, disoriented and knocked into each other. Unfortunately, more were coming toward her.

Wood sprang up high and flipped backward, kicking one Puttie in the chest and bouncing back, hissing with pain. "Tough. Tough," he complained. He sprang up, landing several yards away when the Puttie came after him with a few friends.

Autumn's aura reading power wasn't handy in a battle, but she was pretty good at karate and she made a great team with her brother. Win had the ability to become intangible. By doing so when a Puttie attacked, confusing it, it gave Autumn the opportunity to knock it back.

Sora was able to split himself into three beings for a time. That with his inhuman strength was the only thing that kept him on his feet as he duked it out with the Putties.

Lammy and Taran use using everything they had against them. They were tough, even against their magic attacks.

Chloe had the genetic ability to make herself dense, like rock or steel and still be able to move around. She struck out with her fists and feet, but it seems no matter how much damage they sustained, they kept coming for her.

Melody didn't have powers. She was just fast and agile and skilled. Her skill set was making it easy for her to get away, because she wasn't having any luck against the Putties otherwise. Zara on the other hand, was telekinetic. Aside from throwing things at them with her mind, she could also throw them against themselves, but that was taxing after a while.

Danny's force-fields and his martial arts skills were the only way he was staying a step ahead of these new and improved Putties.

Billie's strong suit wasn't martial arts. She was getting better with training. She could turn herself invisible and if they couldn't see her, they couldn't pummel her. But invisibility only lasted a few minutes at a time.

AJ, Damien, and Nyo were Pai Zhua masters. Aside from being a skillful martial artist, they could unleash their animal spirits. A lion belonging to Damien, a tiger belonging to AJ and a chameleon belonging to Nyo were as large as SUVs and were doing what they could to keep the Putties under control.

Randi went in a different direction. She was a master Thunder Ninja. Aside from martial skills, being able to control and direct electric flashes was actually quite useful for a while, until the clay the Putties were made of kept regenerating to heal the creatures.

Lani had the ability to bend, twist, and stretch herself beyond what should be humanly possible. When an attack proved to not be effective, then simply getting out of the way drew on all of her abilities. "Is it my imagination or are these guys extra tough?" she asked no one in particular.

Tai was going toe to toe with the Putties. He had genetically enhanced strength. He could only use it in short bursts. Aside from that, he was high trained in martial arts; karate, kendo, and even his own fusions incorporating other styles as he learned them. He was able to hold his own, but they kept coming after him. "It's not your imagination. Billie!" he shouted. "Go to the Command Center. Analyze and take some of the excess with you. If you aren't a Power Ranger, leave," he ordered.

A bit reluctantly Billie, Holly, Melody, Zara, AJ, Randi, Damien and Nyo retreated from the scene by teleport.

-x-

Palace on the Moon

Widow and Roki appeared in the throne room of the palace. It was their home. Usually, Putty Patrollers roamed the hallways. However, there were none to be found. Instead there were Bone Drones. "Who let these vermin in?" Widow asked.

"Go for a little trip and all sorts of things happen," Roki muttered. He held out a hand and all the Drones disintegrated with a flash of black light. Furious footsteps approached.

"How dare you!" demanded the woman stomping toward them. She was tall and strong looking. Curly purple hair fell around her shoulders and she wore a semblance of a black leather police-like uniform with tall boots. Yellow-lenses glasses framed her eyes. She held up a wicked looking laser pistol.

Roki's response was swift. Holding out a hand again, the laser blaster exploded in her hands, and she was suddenly jerked into the air. She hung there, struggling against an invisible force. "How dare I? This is my home!" Roki snarled. "You and your mother invaded and dared to violate the blood rites!" he reminded her. He began to close his fist.

Rio Revile wheezed. "And your sisters killed her," she snarled back as best she could.

Widow shook her head. "That's not how I heard it," she said. "You didn't harm Finster while you hiding out here did you?" she asked. "No, even you wouldn't have been that stupid to cross Moriko on that issue," she said. She leaned up and kissed Roki's cheek. "I'll leave her fate up to you. I'll start Finster on a new monster," she said.

"Have fun, love. Make it something interesting," he said. He and Rio were glaring daggers at each other.

Widow left them to it. She went to Finster's lab where the Monster-Matic was. The door was bolted from the inside with everything he could think of to keep Rio out. Widow waved a hand and all of it became undone. The door swung open and she found the ratty little alien man cowering in fright. "Mistress Widow!" he almost sobbed in relief.

Widow smiled and patted him on the head. "It's all right now. Roki and I are home. We brought you a present," she said.

"A present for me, Mistress?" he asked.

Widow waved her staff. A beam of black energy suffused his pile of clay and it turned black. "We already experimented with making new Putties out of it, but I'm sure you'll do a much better job," she said.

Finster approached the clay and put his hands on it. "Oh, yes Mistress. It's delightful. May I make a monster?" he asked.

Widow smiled. "Yes, you may. We're welcoming ourselves home," she said and left the lab, where Finster was already working on his newest masterpiece. He'd been making molds in anticipation of their return.

-x-

"Why did he send us away? Those things were tough. Will they really be okay?" AJ demanded of Billie as soon as they arrived in the Command Center.

"You'll have to take that up with him. Nyo, help Beez analyze the Putties for a weakness we can exploit," Billie instructed. She dashed off to the Blue Lab. She slid to a stop at her terminal. She opened up a command and typed something in, finishing a code she'd been working on when she could.

She gave a quick glance over at her work station and shook her head. "Almost half are still incomplete," she said. "What about your end, Beez?" she asked.

The visage of Beta Z appeared on one of the monitors in the Lab. "The process is delicate. It is almost complete but not before the inevitable escalation sure to follow this attack," she answered. "My analysis of the Dark Putties are nearly complete," she announced.

Billie nodded. She imputed the code and her communicator beeped. One of the first things she had done when she returned from Eltar was redesign them for the Rangers. They still looked like the ones other's used but there were a few extra bells and whistles now. Aside from communicating, teleporting and the panic button, they would now summon weapons without being Morphed. They will also summon the new Morphers she'd been building.

When Taran and the Repulsas had fixed the access to the Morphing Grid, the old ones had over powered and shorted out. Billie was building new ones that could handle the power of the Power Coins with unhindered access to the Morphing Grid. What Widow and Roki didn't realize is that while they might be stronger than ever before, so too would the Power Rangers.

Billie opened a communications channel. "We're still analyzing the Putties, but I have good news. You should now be able to access your weapons," she announced.

"Analysis complete! Go for the foreheads!" Nyo's voice said over the line.

Billie let out a slow breath. She closed the wide channel and connected with Tai privately. "Aside from you, Taran, Lammy, and Sora, half the teams won't Morphers yet," she said.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Tai answered. He cut communication. Billie rubbed her eyes under her glasses.

-x-

"Weapons and forehead. Check!" Nathan jumped into the air. "Power Bow!" he summoned. Appearing in a pink digital matrix, the classic weapon of the Pink Ranger appeared. He began firing, aiming for the foreheads of the nearest Putties.

"Power Fans!" Tori summoned two large white and pink bladed fans.

"Power Staff!"

"Stygian Blade!"

Autumn summoned a spear-like staff, and Winter summoned a dark triple-bladed sword.

"Power Daggers!"

"Power Lance!"

"Power Axe!"

Wood summoned a set of small silver daggers. Danny summoned a lance with three spikes on each end. Chloe summoned a large double-bladed axe.

"VelociRapier!"

"CeratoSword!"

"StegoMace!"

Lammy's rapier was a long flexible blade. Sora's sword was almost as tall and wide as he was. Taran's mace was a large spoked ball on the end of a club.

"Power Sword!"

"Tyranno Sword!"

Lani's Power Sword was a slightly smaller version used by the original Red Tyrannosaurus-Rex Ranger. It was more suited to her smaller stature. Tai's Tyranno Sword was a sleek katana with a slightly curved blade.

Finally, able to make headway with the Putties, they were getting close to a victory. That was until the monster showed up. Reminiscent of a googly eyed grasshopper in a top hat, tail-coat and spats, he cut a dashing figure as he hopped around slamming into the Rangers almost faster than they could see. "Here's Johnny!" he announced with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. "Actually my name is Hophazard, but I know how much you Rangers like old movie quotes," he said conversationally, bouncing on his powerful legs.

He clapped his hands together. "C'mon now, dazzle me!" he entreated.

The Rangers got to their feet. "This may not work for everyone. If It doesn't retreat to the Command Center," Tai told them. "It's Morphin' Time!" he passed his hand over his communicator. A device digitized on his upper left arm. Inside a slot sat his Tyrannosaurus-Rex Power Coin. In a single motion of passing over the communicator and the appearance of the Power Morpher, he spun the slot the coin sat in. "Tyrannosaurus-Rex!"

A ghost image of the Power Coin appeared and wrapped around, a digital matrix making a red power suit appear with white stripes and diamond shapes. White boots and gloves were both crowned by red diamonds. A side arm blaster appeared along with a gold belt. The las thing to appear was a T-Rex themed helmet.

Lani made her Power Morpher appeared and spun her Power Coin. Her power suit was nearly identical to her partner's, but the color skewed slightly lighter.

Danny spun his Power Coin. "Triceratops!" A blue power suit appeared with a blue triceratops themed helmet.

Chloe spun her Power Coin. "Mastodon!" A black power suit appeared with a black mastodon themed helmet.

Nathan spun his Power Coin. "Pterodactyl!" A deep pink power suit appeared with a pink and white pterodactyl themed helmet. Tori's morpher didn't appear and she teleported instead.

Wood spun his Power Coin. "Smilodon!" A yellow power suit appeared with a yellow saber-toothed tiger themed helmet.

Winter spun his Power Coin but Autumn's Power Morpher didn't appear. "Stygimoloch!" A green power suit appeared with a toothy dinosaur theme.


Taran spun his Power Coin. "Stegosaurus!" A shiny gold power suit formed with a gleaming stegosaurus themed helmet.

Lammy spun her Power Coin. "Velociraptor!" A shiny pale-pinkish gold power suit formed with a gleaming raptor themed helmet.

Sora spun his Power Coin. "Ceratosaurus!" A shiny silver power suit formed with a gleaming buck toothed and horned dino themed helmet appeared.

"Oooh-hoo. I'll admit it. I am dazzled!" Hophazard declared. He bounced on his powerful legs and sprung through them again, knocking them down. "But it's all showmanship, no substance," he said with a disappointed air.

"This guy is tough," Blue complained, rubbing his side where he was evidently kicked by such powerful legs.

"Taran, Lammy, Sora, Win, with me, the rest of you ready the Power Cannon," male Red said.

"Right!" They agreed.

The foursome ran at the monster and he began to hop away, but Gold and Electrum put on bursts of speed that outpaced him and got ahead of him. He tried to change directions, but his hop was abbreviated as Red and Green grabbed hold of his legs and pulled back. Silver gave him a resounding smack with his Sword.

Hophazard stumbled around dizzily. "That's not playing fair," he slurred.

"Power Cannon!" female Red, and the others combined the Power Sword, Power Lance, Power Axe, Power Daggers and Power Bow into one weapon and fired.

A powerful blast hit the monster. He sparked and smoked and stumbled even more, dramatically moaning and groaning and complaining about his fate until he realized he was still alive. "I'll give it an A for effort!" he said, giving them two thumbs up.

"Don't worry. I got this," male Blue said. "Brontosaurus!" he summoned, holding out his hand. Digitizing before them was a small Zord-like machine about the size of a large dog. It had a long neck and tail. It was a rusty sort of red and brown. "BrontoCannon Mode!" The dinosaur began to shift into a cannon with two barrels. It hovered on its own power so there wasn't a need to hold it up.

"Ohoh. What's that now?" Hophazard wandered.

Female Red stood behind the cannon and put her hands on it to aim. The others stood behind her. "Bronto Blast!" She fired and hit the monster once again, this time with a greater amount of energy than ever before. The monster exploded.

While Roki was dealing with Rio, Widow was keeping an eye on the monster. She threw her staff to the earth where it stuck in the ground. "Make my monster grow!" A ball of black energy was emitted from it and the monster grew to enormous proportions. "Haha! I'm the hoppin' hostest with the mostest. Angel Grove here I come," he declared and began to hop away.

"Oh, no you don't!" male Red said.

"TyrannoZord!" female Red summoned.

"TriceraZord!" male Blue summoned.

"MastoZord!" female Black summoned.

"PteroZord!" male Pink summoned.

"SmiloZord!" male Yellow summoned.

"StygiZord!" male Green summoned.

The large mechas began appearing from digital matrixes. Each of the Zords was a dinosaur in a corresponding color as its pilots. The pilots teleported into the cockpit of each Zord.

"Let's do this! Alpha Megazord!" The six Zord came together to form a humanoid robot.

"StegoZord!" Gold summoned.

"VelociZord!" Electrum summoned.

"CeratoZord!" Silver summoned.

These large mechs began appearing as well. The pilots teleported to their cockpits. "Legend Megazord!" They combined another humanoid robot.

The Megazords began to chase after the monster. Being smaller, lighter, and made from the Velociraptor Zord, the Legend Megazord was faster. They put on a burst of speed, jumped and grabbed the monster by his jutting thorax.

"Any bright ideas now, Danny? Didn’t you blow up the Alphamax Cannon?" Pink asked.

"I always got bright ideas. Sharp-tooth Bazooka," he told female Red.

"Sharp-tooth Bazooka!" she immediately summoned it. Digitizing propped on their shoulders was indeed what seemed to be a bazooka/grenade launcher. Its face was that of a tyrannosaurus-rex. "Aim!" She carefully aimed at the monster attempting to get away from the Legend Megazord. The T-Rex's mouth opened up. "Fire!" She fired. Six-multicolored projectiles hit the monster in a circular pattern, exploding through him.

"Hophazard, out!" The monster cried as he exploded into nothing but hunks of dark colored clay that vaporized itself.

The two Megazords face away from the explosion.

-x-

The beach had been ruined. "I have no idea how to explain this to the rental agent guy," Tai said, surveying the damage. "I am not getting my security deposit back," he lamented quietly.

"Don't worry. We've got this," Rei said. Moriko nodded. The two women joined hands, and used a bit of magic to repair the beach.

"Thank you," he said.

"No sweat," Moriko said. Rei beamed at him.

He nodded and turned to face his team. Billie was trying to hide behind Nathan, who was puffing his chest out to appear bigger. Tai snorted. "No one's mad at you," he said.

Billie made a face. "Yeah, but if it weren't for Danny, we'd have been toast," she said.

"'Ey, if it weren't for you, we wouldn't have been able to Morph at all," Danny said. "I certainly don't got no clue how to make a Morpher," he said. "Plus my stuff wouldn't have worked without your stuff," he added, tapping his communicator.

"That's right," Lani said. "Don't beat yourself up for not being a miracle worker," she added.

Tai nodded. "Get back to work first thing in the morning. Today, we aren't going to let Widow ruin my party," he said. "Sora, Taran, how about that bonfire?" he asked.

The Rangers and their friends cheered at those sentiments. Sure Widow and Roki had returned to the Moon and were tougher than ever, but they'd do what they always did. They'd face this new threat as team. Together there was nothing they couldn't face and eventually win over.

They were Power Rangers.

-x-The End-x-
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Old September 30th, 2017, 02:20 PM #7
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Ninja Academy Power Rangers

Ninja Academy Power Rangers

Book of Wind Part 1
An Ill Wind Blows



Somewhere in the mountains near Blue Bay Harbor, California

Cameron Watanabe stood in a secret room under the already secret Wind Ninja Academy. The room was called Ninja Ops and it was essentially the nerve center of the Academy, though most of the staff and students had no idea it was even there. Cam was the Deputy Headmaster of the Wind Academy and had many responsibilities despite not being a Ninja himself. His father, Kanoi Watanabe was the true Headmaster of the Academy, a title inherited from his father before him, Kenji Watanabe.

Several screens around him were lit up as Cam and his artificially intelligent duplicate, Cyber Cam, analyzed data that was slowly trickling in from over the past year or so. "But what does it mean?" Cam wondered aloud.

Kanoi joined Cam quietly. "It means signs are pointing to the other prophecy your grandfather brought from his homeland. The Shadow is devouring the land," he said thoughtfully.

"But what does that mean?" Cam asked in exasperation. "What does that have to do with these petty incidents?" he asked as he looked at the series of reports. An uptick of criminal activity in the county, mostly caused by tweens and teenagers. It shouldn't have even registered with them. They weren't police, except three weeks ago, there was a blood moon over the harbor.

Kanoi had quietly freaked out and ran to the scroll room under the Academy and rifled through a particular section of shelves until he found the scroll he was looking for. It was one of their oldest pieces, Kenji Watanabe had been entrusted with it in since his own days as a ninja cadet in Japan. It spoke of the blood moon and a shadow devouring the land, one child at a time. Since then, Cam had been tasked with monitoring the area for anything unusual. So far, this is all that had been picked up on.

Blue Bay Harbor and the surrounding area had been quiet for four years, since Lothor had escaped from the Abyss of Evil and tried to join up with an evil being known as Mesagog. He was defeated but that marked the end of the Ninja Storm Ranger Powers.

Cam refused to let that be the end. He and two other super genius nerds had been working for the past few years to either restore the powers or create new ones. They had succeeded.

"Nothing happens on accident, Cam," Kanoi said. "We'll need the Power Rangers more than ever now. Come. It's late. You need to sleep. The new term starts tomorrow," he said and smiled at the face his son made.

"Keep working on this," Cam told his own face inside one of the screens.

"Will do," Cyber Cam said and saluted.

Cam and Kanoi left Ninja Ops.

~~~

Taylor Hicks checked his watch and looked around. He sighed loudly and banged the back of his head on his locker. His friends were going to make him late. This did not surprise him from Kane, but Alex should really know better. In fact, it was usually Alex chewing them out for making her late.

Tay considered himself a rather ordinary guy. He was of average height, on the slim side and his sandy colored hair stuck up in odd angles sometimes. He had a fake tooth because of a treehouse accident when he was twelve. He had hazel eyes and he wore ordinary clothes. In Blue Bay Harbor, liking extreme sports wasn't unusual, but he was pretty much average at them as well.

He was even average at his top secret Ninja training. Which is where he had to be. If Kane and Alex would ever show up. He spotted them coming out of the science lab. Alexandra Roberts, though she swore she'd punch out anyone who called her Alexandra, was taller than Kane and almost as tall as Taylor. She was an outdoorsy girl with short brown hair and brown eyes. She had cute freckles and always seemed to be laughing, except for when she was chewing out Tay, Kane or anyone else who wasn't doing things in the way she deemed correct.

Kane Watanabe was seemingly an Asian kid whose features hinted at some mixed ethnicity. His dark hair was as mussed as the rest of him. Kane always seemed as though he just rolled out of bed after sleeping restlessly all night in his clothes.

"There you guys are. If we're late on the first day of term, your uncle is going to have our heads," he stated to Kane. "Not to mention what Sensei Shane will do to me," he remarked drily.

"Hey, it's all on Alex this time," Kane said and held up his hands.

Alex crossed her arms over her chest. "Mr. Henley overreacted to my suggestion that perhaps his thinking was so skewed and twisted up that he wouldn't know a hunk of pyrite from a lump of agate," she said and shrugged.

"Right. What's your excuse?" Tay asked Kane.

"Are you kidding? A chance to see Alex get chewed out by a teacher? Even Uncle and Cam can't fault me for wanting to see that," he declared.

"Yeah, they can," Tay said even though he'd have stayed to see that as well. "Let's go already. Aly left ages ago," he said.

"Well, let's not let Miss Priss show us up," Alex declared and quickly threw books into her locker. "Race you guys!" She said and began running as she soon as she passed the front doors of the school.

"Sneaky cheater!" Kane called after her and began running after her.

Tay sighed. "When did I become the mature responsible one?" he wondered aloud and began running behind them. They stayed pretty much neck and neck until they reached the outskirts of town. "You mud brains can eat my dust," he shouted at them. He gripped at his clothes and revealed a black leathery uniform with red piping all over it underneath. There was also an insignia at his breast for the Wind Ninja Academy. He pulled a black mask up to conceal his face.

"You wish, fairy boy!" Kane retorted. He and Alex pulled at their clothes and revealed uniforms similar to Taylor's only the piping was yellow and Alex's was more feminine.

They kicked it into high gear, each putting on a burst of speed as they jumped and bounced their way deeper into the forest. Red and yellow streaks stretched out behind them.

Taylor was a Wind Ninja and since it was his specialty, he was lighter on his feet and more agile than his two friends. He arrived at the secluded waterfall before the two Earth Ninjas did. He didn't hesitate as he crossed what appeared to be a pool of water and entered the grounds of the Wind Ninja Academy. It was a sprawling complex of Japanese style buildings and training grounds.

Cam stood dressed in his traditional Deputy Headmaster's robes. He had his arms crossed over his chest. Tay slid to a halt. Coming in behind him, Alex and Kane didn't compensate quickly enough and crashed into Tay, who in turn crashed into Cam. They all went down in a tangle of limbs.

"Seriously, you three," Cam complained as he got to his feet. He shook his head and picked up a clip board he'd dropped. "Late. All of you are late," he said as the trio scrambled to their feet and tried to make apologies.

"C'mon, Cam. Give it a break. It wasn't our fault. It was a teacher," Kane said and offered a winning grin.

Cam was less than moved. "All the new cadets have already arrived. You three coming in late and causing a scene on top of it doesn't look good. Join your instructors," he said.

"Yes, sensei," they murmured and gave him polite bows. He returned it and stalked away.

Tay sighed. He pulled down his mask and went to join the other Wind Ninja Cadets while Alex and Kane went to join the Earth Ninja Cadets. There were two other groups of Cadets. A group of Ninja in blue piped uniforms made up the Water Ninja Cadets and a fidgeting mass of Ninja in tan uniforms marked the newest arrivals.

"Nice going, Hicks," one of the other Wind Cadets muttered to him. Several others snickered.

"Be quiet," Shane Clarke told his students. The red clad ninja quieted down immediately. "We're going to jump straight into things. I want my senior cadets to group off to the side. The rest of you will be joining Kapri's intermediate techniques class for today," he said. There was a chorus of grumbling complaints. Shane raised an eyebrow at them. After teaching here at the academy for nearly five years now, he had his teacher look down. The group parted.

Taylor slid aside with the senior group. He noticed that the other classes were dividing up as well. Something was up. He looked across the yard at Kane who caught his look with a shrug. He didn't have any idea either.

"You sure you're in the right group, Hicks?"

Taylor held in a sigh. Daryl Brooks was a college aged guy. There wasn't an age limit on becoming a Ninja student. He'd progressed a lot in the two years he'd been studying. He was a pretty good Wind student and he let it go it his head often. Taylor, on the other hand, had been learning since freshman year and hadn't demonstrated any outstanding abilities.

"We're going to go through a battery of tests. Some of you showed up over the summer to train. Some of you," Shane gave a minute pause as his eyes flicked toward Taylor, "did not bother. Today we'll see where each of you stand," he said.

"Will that mean that some of us graduate?" a young woman asked.

"When the tests are over, we'll all know," Shane answered.

Taylor cocked his head. Something was definitely up. Shane led them away from the Academy's courtyard, and soon past the grounds themselves. Taylor briefly saw the other groups also being led off. Kane and Alex were both looking as confused as the rest of them. Of course, it was a no brainer who was going to be the top student of the Earth Ninjas. While Kane had been training nearly all his life, he didn't really put forth much effort to excel. Alex, however, was competitive and talented.

There was a sure winner in the Water group as well. Alice Whittaker went to school with them, but she was in a league of her own. Blonde, blue-eyed, popular, Aly was pretty much top girl of Blue Bay Harbor High. She was also a competitive swimmer and local surf prodigy. She was also a Water Ninja prodigy. She was every bit as competitive as Alex. Taylor thought that the reason the two girls didn't get along was less to do with school social politics and more to do with how much they were actually alike.

The Wind Ninjas, on the other hand, had Daryl and Sophia Cates. Sophia had broken her arm last winter, which set her back on her training. That's why she was eager to use this test to graduate. If she hadn't sustained such a serious injury, she'd have already graduated.

Taylor guessed that Sensei Shane probably but him somewhere in the middle-bottom of the line-up. He wasn't necessarily competitive. He pretty much took things as they came to him. He'd been getting into one scrape or another since he was a skid and that hadn't changed much. The only things that ever really pricked his temper is when people were being jerks to other people. That was usually the cause of his troubles. He had a habit of mouthing off when he shouldn't.

He took a moment to assess the newest students. Young people in tan uniforms without any other color indications of where they're talents lie. It would take a while of basic training before they began to show any aptitude. There were even some instances when they couldn't master using their Ki to channel nature at all.

Some people considered Taylor little better than one of these people. But today, today something was in the wind. So, he considered giving it his all on this test. He might even surprise himself.

Sensei Shane was on edge. More than usual. While Sensei was never a Cam-level stickler, he was still a pretty strict instructor. He was worse than usual. If anyone tried to have a whispered conversation on the trip, they were quickly silenced. They eventually stopped trying. As they continued along in the near silence, Taylor heard something out of place. He couldn't identify it. He paused, and made a few hand gestures to stir up the wind and bring the sound closer, but it had already ceased.

"Hicks!" Taylor started when Sensei shouted his name. He'd fallen behind the others. Sensei looked more peeved than usual.

Taylor pointed in the general vicinity the sound had come from. "No one else heard that?" he asked. Wind Ninjas usually had exceptional hearing. When you worked with the wind, you became attuned with the air around you. Sound vibrations were sharper and clearer. Taylor found it odd that no one else heard it.

Shane sighed. He gestured for Taylor to catch up. The rangy blond kid jogged forward. Shane was never sure what to think about Taylor Hicks. He was the friend of Sensei Kanoi's nephew, Kane, son of Lothor. Taylor had shown an early aptitude for Wind, but aside from that just stayed average. Sometimes, however, just sometimes, he thought there might be something more to the kid. Shane himself hadn't been the best student. He supposed he was wont to give underdogs the benefit of the doubt. When given a chance, however, Taylor never seemed to exceed expectations.

After a while, the group arrived at a rickety old rope bridge that spanned across a deep ravine in the middle of the woods. Shane gestured to a high point on the horizon. "I'll be waiting in a Ranger station up on that foothill. Make your way there," he said. A smile stretched his face. "Good luck," he said. He threw something on the ground and a cloud of red smoke erupted. A spiral of wind dispersed it quickly, obscuring vision and sound. By the time the students the cleared the smoke, Sensei Shane was gone.

Daryl smirked. "Not only are we racing, but we have to find him," he announced, as if this was something the rest of them couldn't figure out. No one actually paid him any attention as they began crossing the bridge, leaving streaks of red behind them.

Of course it wasn't as simple as finding a path through the woods and locating the Ranger station. That would have been far too easy for a test for Wind cadets. Each one quickly went their separate ways. Taylor moved along swiftly on a scraggly sort of trail. Every now and then, an obstacle came along. The woods were booby trapped. Thing came flying at him from the trees, or sprung up from the ground. Depending on the circumstance, it was dodge, deflect or attack.

When his trail led nowhere, he jumped into the trees, agilely hopping from tree to tree. This was the safest route, plus, when he came to a good sized redwood, he scaled to the top and scanned the distance. He could just see the Ranger station in the distance. He glanced around, wondering if there would be signs of the others' progress. Unfortunately, there were a few who make too much noise, or allowed themselves to be seen.

He was about to put on a burst of speed, now that he had a clearer destination in mind, when he heard a startled cry of pain somewhere behind of him. There was a flash of movement and crash. Trees rippled with wind energy. Something was wrong. He launched himself from the tree, kicking off with a burst of wind energy. He aimed himself like a skydiver for a time, then twisted his body mid-air and landed soundlessly beside Sophia Cates.

She was gripping her leg and trying not to whimper. So focused was she on her pain, that she didn't even notice that Taylor had arrived until he asked her what had happened. "Was it a booby trap?" he asked. From what he'd experienced thus far, a talent like Sophia shouldn't have had any trouble with the traps.

Sophia shook her head. "Just go, Taylor. You'll fall behind," she said, her voice cracking with pain. Taylor ignored that and checked her leg. He gave her a grin. "No one's expecting me to win this thing anyway," he said as he found some sticks to use as a splint. He took off his outer tunic and removed the red-shirt beneath, and used air blades to shred it up.

"That's because you're always doing dumb stuff like this," she told him as he wrapped her leg.

Taylor didn't respond to that. There had been disturbances in the air before she cried out and even afterwards. He could see on the ground that she'd been bounced with a Wind attack even after her leg had been injured. "How's that?" he asked as he tied the last of strips of cloth for her splint.

"Better," she said and attempted to get to her feet. Since she was small, compact, and spritely, he just scooped her up into his arms. She didn't hamper him much, when he took to the trees again. He made good time and managed to avoid most of the traps. They were still the last to arrive at the Ranger station.

Sensei looked vaguely disappointed and Daryl looked highly smug. Taylor set Sophia on her feet and they bowed to him. "Daryl was the first to arrive. Taylor and Sophia, the last. We'll return to the Academy now. I'll announce the final evaluations tomorrow," Sensei said. He took over helping Sophia. It was clear she needed to go to the hospital and have her leg looked at. Daryl strutted around, and Taylor watched him as a low burn of anger began to fill his belly. He ignored all the pithy "better luck next time" remarked from the other students as they return to the Academy.

~~~~

Kane was watching his best friend as they walked along the streets of Blue Bay Harbor. Kane hadn't done well on his test either. He hadn't really given it his all. Even though he wasn't allowed in on the big stuff, he wasn't exactly stupid. He knew Uncle and Cam had been worrying about something lately. Something bad. He also knew that these sudden tests had to do with that. Kane put things together and came up with one answer. Power Rangers. In which case, he had a plan of his own and that didn't include being the Yellow Ranger.

He hadn't said anything to either of his friends about his theory yet, though. He'd look like an idiot if he was wrong. One thing he knew, however, was that ex-evil Rangers were never core. And Kane Watanabe had pulled a very brief stint as an evil Power Ranger. He hadn't told his friends about that either. How could he? He was the son of Lothor. What kind of excuse could he give? Would it really matter that he'd been under the control of an evil clay sword at the time? That Widow Repulsa put a spell on him?

When he disappeared a couple years ago, he'd made the excuse, with Uncle and Cam's help, that he'd been visiting family in Angel Grove. Which was technically not a lie since he'd been evil-Ranger-fied in order to defeat his second cousin, Tai Stapleton. Tai Stapleton was Uncle's uncle's grandson. Lucky for Kane, Tai Stapleton wasn't easily defeated and he'd been returned to normal.

It's not like he would have beat Alex anyway. He was good. Better than he let on, usually. But Alex was amazing. She'd be a good champion for truth, justice and the American way. Taylor would, too. But no one else seemed to know that except him and Alex.

Finally, unable to take the brooding silence anymore, he let out a long exaggerated sigh. "What is eating you, dude?" he finally demanded.

Taylor glanced at him. "Let's go to the skate park," he said without answering the question.

"It's after six. The park is closed," Kane pointed out.

"Pee-Bo gave me a set of keys. Or would you rather go biking?" he asked.

Kane narrowed his eyes. "Neither. Come with me," he said. Taylor grunted when Kane dragged him off the street. Taylor eventually followed Kane to a deserted field.

"Why are we here?" Taylor asked.

Kane pulled at his clothes. "Because I'm not Shane, I'm not Cam or Uncle. I'm not Alex. I ain't going to throw my hands up and write you off. I ain't going roll my eyes and stomp off and let you stew. I just ain't going to hold back," he said and a wicked grin flashed across his face. He took a stance and a large plug of dirt floated from the ground. He struck out with a fist and the plug went flying through the air, right at the blond boy's head.

Taylor reacted immediately. He kicked out, a blade of air slicing apart the plug of dirt. He pulled at his clothes then went on the offensive. The two boys went at it for a while, neither holding back. It culminated in a barrage of rocks meeting a wall of air. The resulting explosion knocked them both off their feet and sent them flying through the air.

Kane landed hard on the ground. He lay there for a long moment, waiting for his breath to come back. When it did, he panted for long moment and sat up. He didn't see Taylor. He looked up. Taylor was sitting in a tree, panting. "You okay?" Kane asked.

Taylor gave him a thumbs up and scooted out of the tree. He landed on his feet lightly. He walked over and held a hand down to Kane and helped him to his feet. "I think Daryl used a wind technique on Sophia. Twice," he said. He pointed to a relatively large rock that was laying on the ground. A few hand movement wrapped a blanket of wind around it, and then began to compress until the rock began to crack under the pressure. When Taylor dissipated the energy, the rock fell apart.

Kane whistled. "If that's true, why wouldn't she say anything?" he asked.

"She wouldn't necessarily know it was him. I mean, I found it weird that she broke her arm to start with, but it's possible. But what happened today was no accident. Daryl doesn't know that I was out ahead and heard the attack. I didn't see him, but I know his type. He's like those apes that liked to throw me in dumpsters," he said.

Kane frowned. "Oh, this isn't good. If I'm right about these tests, this is very, very bad. You have to tell Shane," he said.

Taylor raised a brow at his friend. "What do you think the tests are about?" he asked.

"Just trust me. You have to say something. I'm gonna jet. I think I need a shower. And so do you. But seriously, tell Shane. Don't worry about being wrong," he said. "See ya," he said and streaked away, leaving Taylor to wallow in his moral quandary alone.

~~~~~

As a senior at Blue Bay Harbor High School, Taylor was allowed to leave campus for his lunch break. He'd finally decided to talk to Sensei Shane. Alex and Kane were tagging along with him. He was so deep in thought that he nearly barreled over Kane when the other guy stopped short. "Dude," he complained.

Alex raised her eyebrows and followed his line of sight. "Oh," she said. Taylor cocked his head and looked at what was so captivating. He almost laughed.

Sitting down at an outdoor table was a cute Asian girl with earbuds in her ears. She was rocking knee-high canvas sneakers over stonewashed jeans, and a froofy purple blouse. She was exactly Kane's type. For a long time, he'd had a crush on a girl named Amy Chen, until he suddenly couldn't look at her any more.

"You just now noticing the new girl?" Taylor asked. "You really do zone out when you step onto campus, don't you?" he said.

"It's school. It does something to my brain. Any details, Alex?" he asked.

Alice Whittaker stopped beside them before Alex could answer. She seemed to be on her way off campus as well. "Her name is Sesami Elliot. We have art together. She's cool, so you don't have a chance," she said with a smile.

"Actually, we have physics together, and she says to call her Sissy, and she's nice. She's also a new cadet you somehow failed to notice," Alex said. She and Aly shared a steely eyed glance.

"Awesome," Kane said. Taylor shook his head. He clapped his hands on Kane's shoulders and began pushing him. Kane allowed himself to be pushed. Alex fell into step behind them. She glanced at Aly, who also seemed to be joining them.

She waited until they were away from school and other people before speaking. "What's going on?" she asked.

"What do you mean?" Alex asked her.

"I mean the tests. Sensei Tori didn't say much afterwards, just that she'd tell us more today. I was hoping you three knew anything," she explained.

Kane grinned. "See, if you ever allowed yourself to be seen with us, you'd know by now," he said.

"So you do know something," she gloated.

Kane looked around and gestured for her to come closer. With a slight frown, she leaned in.

"This is something only Tay and Alex know, don't go spreading it around, okay?" he said. Aly gave an affirmative nod. Kane looked around again. "Okay, so it's like this," he gave a dramatic pause which earned him an annoyed look, "Uncle and Cam don't tell me anything important," he stated with a serious, deadpan expression. Taylor and Alex snickered.

Aly huffed and pushed him away. "I don't even know why I bothered with you people," she said. She tugged at her clothes as she began to run away, leaving a streak of blue behind her.

Alex was laughing so hard, she leaned against Taylor for support. "The look on her face was priceless. You really had her going, Kane," she declared.

"Yeah. I'm good like that. We'd better get going, too. Before Shane makes any important decisions," he said the last part somberly. Alex sobered as well and nodded. She was actually angry at Daryl herself. The three of them began running toward the Academy.

~~~~

The instructors were nowhere to be found. Neither was Cam. When questioned, Kane's cousins, Marah and Kapri, pretended not to know anything. The Amazonian blond Kapri pulled off the dense act rather well. It was harder to swallow from the shrewd, brunette Marah.

"They must be in Ninja Ops. I just wish I knew where it was," Kane said after a fruitless search.

"You've been living here for almost four years, and you still have no idea where it is? What kind of sneaky, evil space ninja are you?" Alex asked him.

"The kind that isn't. Okay, I'll give you the sneaky bit," Kane said.

Taylor shushed them. There was activity at the Academy this time of day, but he easily distinguished threads of conversation. He began pulling and pushing currents of air, listening briefly and discarding them just as quickly. He briefly heard Sensei Shane's voice, but where did it come from? He began following the sound.

Alex and Kane shared perplexed glances and followed him. They knew what he was doing. Taylor suddenly stopped. The conversation had ceased. He whipped around when the three instructors and Cam came out of the main building of the academy. That wasn't where they'd been.

"What are you three up to?" Cam asked them.

"We were looking for you," Kane answered.

"It'll have to wait. Alex, I need you to come with us. You, too, Alice," Cam said. "You two should just back to school," he said to Taylor and Kane.

"I'll find Daryl," Shane told Cam.

"That's what I need to talk about, Sensei," Taylor said.

"It'll have to wait. We're in the middle of something important. Please, just go back to school," Shane said impatiently.

"This is important," Taylor said, his temper starting to prick.

"Not now, Hicks. Just go back to school," Shane said a final time and dashed off to find Daryl.

"Cam!" Kane said.

"I don't know what you two are up to, but we don't have time," Cam said.

"Take the time. Before you make any important decisions, have all the facts. Watch the recordings," Taylor said. He'd finally realized what the sound was he'd heard before the test. It was cameras being remotely switched on. He stalked away, leaving Cam gaping after him.

"Yeah, watch the recordings," Kane told his cousin before jogging to catch up with Taylor, whose angry, long-legged stride had already carried him nearly out of the yard.

"How did Taylor know the tests had been recorded?" the blonde Water Instructor, Tori Hanson, asked Cam.

"Yeah. Did you accidentally tell Kane?" the dark featured Earth Instructor, Dustin Brooks, added.

"No. No I didn't," Cam said.

"You didn't need to. Taylor said he heard a weird sound before the test started," Alex said.

Cam didn't comment. "Come along," he said. The two girls followed Cam and their sensei’s into the bowels of the Academy.

~~~~

Taylor's head full of steam had him going nowhere in particular. Kane was nearly running to keep up with him. "Stop already!" he said, and grabbed his friend's arm. "Cam knows something's up, now. He won't make any mistakes. He's Cam, after all. It'll be okay," he said.

Taylor took in a deep breath and then let it out. "I know. I know," he said. He looked around. "Where are we?" he asked.

"We're near the junior high, I think," Kane said.

Sure enough, Taylor could hear voices from young teens enjoying recess. "Ah, the memories," he said.

"You mean the nightmares," Kane corrected with an exaggerated shudder. Taylor grinned and started heading toward the school. Kane groaned and followed his friend. "Isn't that Gray?" he asked.

Taylor saw the other kid, too. Tall and kind of scrawny, Grayson Collier was walking down the street with his hands stuffed in his hoodie pouch. He and Taylor had been friends in elementary school. After his parents died, he'd turned into an anti-social loner that eschewed any attempts Taylor made to reconnect with him. "Yo, Gray!" he called. He and Kane caught up with him.

"Oh, hey," Gray mumbled and continued walking. Taylor was used to this and didn't force an attempt at conversation on him.

Kane slowed to a stop as they were passing the middle school's recess area. "Something's...off," he said. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing up.

Taylor paused as well. "Huh?" he looked around but didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Suddenly, Gray gave a startled yelp and began running back the other way. Kane and Taylor dashed to see what had frightened the timid boy. Just around the corner several, gray-black, featureless ninja-like creatures were surrounding a young girl. In front of their eyes, one of the gray-black creatures began taking on her features.

"What the...hey!" Taylor shouted. The featureless faced turned toward them.

"Shouting at the scary gray things was such a good idea," Kane said, but he was grinning slightly.

"Let that girl go. The real one," Taylor demanded.

There was a bodiless laugh moments before something seemed to step out of the shadows. It appeared to be mostly a man, but like a man that had fused with a falcon. Part of his face was human, and another part was bird. He had one wing that sprouted from his back like a lopsided angel. He was dressed reminiscent of a Wind Master. "Who’s going to make, us, boys? You?" he asked in a surprisingly pleasant voice. "Shadelings. Let's add two more to the student body," he said.

More ninja creatures seemed to manifest from the shadows as they approached Taylor and Kane. The two boys tugged on their clothes to reveal their ninja attire. They stood back to back.

"Wind Cadets? Even better!" the bird-man declared with a smug laugh.

The Shadelings attacked. Taylor jumped and spun around, tossing blades of air that severed the creatures that melted into nothingness. Kane used plugs of earth and rocks like a floating shield. Occasionally he used a piece to block, or attack.

But there were a lot of the Shadelings. Suddenly, a stream of water tore through the Shadelings and crashed into the bird-man. Chunks of dirt freed the young girl who'd been in the process of being kidnapped. A ninja in yellow helped her make a run for it and a ninja in blue ran up behind the boys.

"More Wind Cadets," the birdman, Falcore, said.

"You two get back to academy," the yellow ninja, Alex, said.

"Cam's fit to be tied," the blue ninja, Aly said. "I wouldn't want to be either of you," she added smugly.

"We're not leaving you alone," Taylor denied.

"We're equipped to handle this. You aren't," Alex said.

"Just because your top students--" Kane cut off his own words. "Wait, like literally equipped?" he asked.

"Literally equipped," Alex agreed.

Before Taylor could figure out what they meant, the bird-man suddenly launched a powerful wind attack at them. He muttered an oath and stepped forward with an attack of his own. The two forces met and knocked them all off their feet.

"Pathetic how you can't even take care of a few kids," a woman's voice said. An Asian-featured shark woman stepped out of the shadows with a monster that was a mangled bird-like thing. "Luckily for you, I've perfected the Shades. Manglore! Attack!"

The bird creature spread its wings and zoomed toward them. He let out a screeching sound that exploded toward them like a sonic boom. The ninja's scattered.

"Alex! It's time!" Aly shouted as she got to her feet.

"Right!" Alex agreed. They stood side by side as Taylor and Kane watched. They now saw the devices they wore on their wrists. "Ninja Storm, Ranger Form, ha!" They spun power discs on the devices.

"Power of Water!" Blue watery energy engulfed Aly.

Power of Earth!" Yellow energy surrounded Alex.

Power suits formed around them. Silvery arms and legs, colored tunics and skirts, blue for Aly, yellow for Alex, white V-necks formed. Colored boots with black accents. White, black, and colored gloves. Finally, symbols appeared as their helmets formed. A dolphin tail for Aly, and a lion's head for Alex.

The two Rangers drew swords that had appeared on their backs. They tried to attack the monster, but, he kept taking to the air.

"Isn't there supposed to be a Red one?" Taylor asked.

"Yeah. Daryl," Kane said.

"Then where is he?" Taylor grumbled.

"Daryl won't be allowed to practice Wind Academy ninjutsu anymore," Cam said from behind the two boys. He pushed his glasses up his nose. "Since you didn't come to me, I was forced to come to you," he declared. He reached into his sleeve and pulled out a third device. "Upon reviewing the recordings, we concluded that disabling his Ki would be the best course of action. We also concluded that Taylor would have been first in the test if he hadn't gone back to help Sophia. Therefore, you should hurry and help." he said and handed the Red Wind Morpher to Taylor.

Taylor didn't argue. he could see that the girls needed his help. He strapped the Morpher to his wrist and gave the power disc a spin. "Ninja Storm, Ranger form, ha!" Red wind energy enveloped him. "Power of Wind!" He was already moving as his red power suit and helmet formed around him. He jumped high, and began to spin, He used his cyclone like a drill and crashed down into Manglore. The monster squawked and retaliated with screeching blasts that he avoided by turned back flips as he joined the two girls.

"So, where's mine?" Kane asked Cam.

"You don't get one," Cam said.

"Yes, I do. It'll turn me green," Kane added.

"No idea what you're talking about," Cam said.

Kane shrugged. "Deny it all you want, but you'll give it to me eventually. Why else would you be teaching me bushido?" he said. Cam didn't comment.

In a coordinated attack, the three Rangers split up. Yellow was sucked down into the Earth. Red went high, and Blue dashed straight ahead.

"Sonic Finn!" A dolphin tail shaped weapon appeared in Blue's hand and she blasted her own sonic attack at the monster. He sparked wildly.

Yellow exploded from the earth behind him. "Lion Hammer!" A large yellow hammer slammed into the earth and send explosive energy toward him that sent him free falling wildly.

"Hawk Blaster!" A hawk-head shaped blaster appeared in Red's hand as he fell through the air. He did a mid-air backflip away as the creature exploded, landing beside his teammates.

Falcore scoffed. "Your Shades need more work, Sharkita," he said to the woman.

"I hate to agree, but I agree. At least they can do that," she added as the monster grew into a giant form. The two malformed people slipped back into the shadows.

The Rangers glanced up at the giant creature. "Time for Zords," Red said. He spun his power disc again. "Hawk Zord!"

Yellow and Blue summoned their Zords respectively.

"Lion Zord!"

"Dolphin Zord!"

Shimmering into existence behind holographic illusions, the three Zords made themselves known and the three Rangers jumped into the cockpits. The red hawk-shaped Zord's wings caught on fire and it dive bombed the monster. The dolphin Zord launched a missile attack. The Lion Zord's mane began to spin, attacking with thousands of Gs.

The monster sparked and smoked, but didn't go down.

"All right, ladies. Megazord time," Red said.

"Right!" they agreed.

The Zords began to shift and combined to form a Megazord with feudal flares and the Wind Academy symbol on its torso. "Storm Megazord!"

Manglore screeched at the new threat and hit it with a massive impact. Blue yelped and Yellow grunted with the impact as things inside the cockpit went a little haywire. "Hang on to your helmets," Red warned them. The Megazord charged forward and the symbol on its torso began to glow. The monster tried to run away, but spherical blasts of energy where discharged. A red one made of pure wind energy, a blue one made of water energy, a yellow one made of earth energy, and the last was made of white energy combining all three forces.

The energy blasts hit the monster, and exploded him. The Storm Megazord, skid to a stop on the other side of the explosion. "Looks like we closed the book on him," Red announced.

"Looks like we might make a pretty good team," Yellow said and leaned on one of his shoulders.

"Yeah, well. I got to admit, you both exceeded expectations," Blue agreed with a smile in her voice as a new team of Wind Ninja Rangers were born.

~~~~~

Kane flitted around Ninja Ops like a kid in a candy store. Cam had tried to keep him out, but there was no way that was happening. Not when his two best friends had just become Power Rangers. "I knew Cam was a nerd, but I never realized how much of a nerd he really was," he commented, looking around.

"Right," Cam's voice startled Kane and he looked around before seeing Cyber Cam on a screen.

"A narcissistic nerd at that," Taylor said, eying the AI version of their deputy headmaster that introduced itself as Cyber Cam.

The real Cam cleared his throat. "Since I've let you in here, you should be quiet and stay in the background," he said.

"You've met me, right?" Kane asked with an unrepentant grin.

Aly rolled her eyes. "So, when are you going to tell us what's going on and why we were activated as Power Rangers?" she asked.

"Yeah. What are we up against?" Alex asked.

"I believe I can answer that," Sensei Kanoi entered Ninja Ops quietly. The four students lined up and gave him respectful bows and greetings. "There is a shadow devouring our land, one child at a time," he said. "Until today I didn't realize what that meant. After seeing the two people, I now know. We're dealing with Shadow Ninjas. Ninjas that practice dark arts. The forms you saw are the results of giving into the shadows," he explained as the students listened raptly.

"They appear to be taking children and replacing them with shadow duplicates. The only reason to do so is to train them. We must find the source of this problem and rescue the children. That is why you have been chosen as Power Rangers."

~~~The End~~~
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Old September 30th, 2017, 02:29 PM #8
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Power Rangers Dino Charge

Power Rangers Dino Charge
Chapter 1: It's Gonna Get Wild


Clearwater, CA

They were making more racket than a rampaging elephant. They weren't trying to be sneaky, after all, the airfield was abandoned. It was the best place for impromptu, no holds barred paintball. There was talks of a match at the end of month and someone needed to check out the airfield beforehand and give the all clear. Scott Sterling and his best friend, Dylan Stilinsky, reigning paintball champs, were volunteered. They would have done it anyway. It was a good chance to get in some practice beforehand.

They loaded up their dirt bikes with their gear and set out. The old airfield had been abandoned so long nobody even remembered what it was called. It was just the old airfield to the teenagers of Clearwater. It was located out of the city in roughly the middle of nowhere. It was surrounded by forests, foothills and Clearwater Reservoir. Despite that, there were plenty of trails to the place as generations of Clearwater youths used it for their own nefarious purposes. Trails through the woods were also quicker than using the highway to get there.

Scott hadn't been there in several months. Which, now that he thought about it, was strange. Paintballing there was usually a summer-long endeavor with the local scene. True, for a month of that, he'd been traveling around Asia with his dad. Still, even Dylan remarked that no matches had been held there. It was Dylan's idea to hold the match there and check things out. He wondered if Dylan was doing his Dylan thing again, and piecing things together that other people didn't.

Scott's thoughts were disrupted as they neared the old airfield. His eyes widened and banked left on his bike and pulled up hard. Dylan did the same thing. They removed their helmets. "Why did we stop?" Dylan asked, frowning, looking around. The airfield was over the top of the ridge, but for some reason they'd stopped short.

Scott shook his head. "I don't know. Maybe this was a bad idea," he said.

Dylan's frown never let up. Scott glanced at his friend. Dylan was a somewhat pasty guy with intense brown eyes and short but messy brown hair. He wore a black hoody with yellow racing stripes down the arms against the chill of the mid-North Pacific fall air. He rubbed the back of his neck. "This is why nobody's been here all summer," he said quietly.

For some reason, the hair on Scott's neck raised as well. He turned his head and there was a guy standing at the top of the ridge, looking down at them. Sandy-haired, a little taller than average, slimmer than stocky, Oliver Queen-style stubble, and dressed like any other guy on the street. Mountain boots, well-worn jeans, a tee-shirt, and a red flannel jacket were his only nods to the weather. Nothing really stood out about him. But he made Scott feel like backing away a little despite the distance between the man the two teenagers.

"Private property, boys. This is as far as you go," he said casually, a faintly bemused smile on his face.

"But the airfield is abandoned," Scott said stupidly. He fought back a wince at his inane comeback.

The older man's smile widened slightly. "Abandoned didn't mean nobody owned it. I bought it. Sorry, boys. You'll have find another paintball battleground," he said and made shoo-ing motions at them.

"I think we should get going, Scott," Dylan said, backing up his bike with his feet. He put his helmet back on and strapped it under his chin.

Scott frowned and didn't back away. "Who would buy that decrepit old airfield?" he asked. "According to my mom, it's a death trap," he said.

The guy's grin turned genuine. "Yeah, moms are usually right about those things. You'd be surprised what a little money and a lot of hard work can accomplish. See ya 'round, boys," he said and gave a wave.

Scott and Dylan both jumped slightly and turned their heads when they heard what sounded like a branch snapping in the trees behind them. When they turned back, the mysterious guy was gone. More than a little creeped out, the boys finally turned back toward home.

--\/\/\--

Scott Sterling was a sixteen-year-old sophomore at Fredrick C. Price High School in Clearwater, California. He had no idea who Frederick C. Price was or why he had a school named after him and he didn't much care. School was, for the most part, an unwelcome necessity. His grades were moderate. He wasn't popular but then that wasn't something he'd strived for. He had friends he could depend on being his friends no matter what and that's all he cared about.

Dylan was the best friend, but Tyler Hale was just as true. He could even boast that he'd once had a girlfriend. Though that hadn't lasted long and they'd settled into an amiable acquaintanceship since high school started, it was still romantic history. Plus, his ex was one of the most popular girls in school, so that was always a bonus. He didn't care about being popular but it was still a nice feeling to know that he'd once gotten a girl like that.

This year, he was enjoying school moderately more than usual and it was all because of his first period class. He'd chosen Music as an elective because it's sounded like a bird course and the music teacher had been old, half blind, half deaf and slept through most of the classes. She'd given A's just for being present. It had sounded like his dream class.

When school started, they found out that the old music teacher had retired and they'd hired someone new. That first day of class had been nerve-wracking for the people who signed up for the class for the easy A. Then Miss Hart appeared. Young and pretty, she wore a mixture of frumpy school-marm and scene fashions that even Lydia Bishop, resident fashion guru, couldn't find fault with.

Half the guys in class were enamored of her. Her black hair was short and edgy and her eyes were gold. She had a figure any teenage guy would drool over. That wasn't really the main reason Scott liked her class. Sure she was the hot teacher, but she also knew her stuff. She made it not boring. There was also something about Miss Hart that was just plain odd.

Dylan had noticed it at first, as usual, but once pointed out to him, Scott picked up on it too. She usually wore heels, but she didn't make a sound when she walked. Occasionally, the idiots of the class like to try to haze the new teach by either trying to nail the back of her head with spitballs, or gum, or chalk, or wads of paper. Somehow, she manages to get out of the way just in the nick of time. It never seemed like she dodged. She just either dropped her chalk, or stepped aside to write something else, or just fractionally turned her head. She never acknowledged that anything happened. But Dylan was right, as Scott observed these things, he knew she was doing it on purpose.

On this particular day, Scott was still unsettled about his and Dylan's encounter over the weekend with the guy at the airfield. He wasn't paying attention to anything in particular. Class hadn't officially started yet and Miss Hart wasn't in the classroom. A football player and a lacrosse player who sat in the back where starting to argue. Jocks had always taken music to keep their GPAs at an acceptable level. It wasn't going to be quite so easy now and some of them were feeling the pressure already.

Dylan jostled his arm to get his attention. He blinked and looked around. The two, some new kid who'd transferred to the school just to be on lacrosse team, and a beefy guy named Mick, where already standing up. They'd be grabbing collars next.

Scott sighed and got to his feet. He slipped in between them just as they were reaching for each other and knocked their hands away. "If you don't want to be here, you got another week to drop. Just drop. Don't bother the rest of us," he said.

"But Scott, this guy--" Mick started, but Scott put a hand on his shoulder and sat him back down.

"He doesn't know the rules. He's new. Give him a break," Scott said patiently. Mick grumbled and slouched in his desk.

Scott glanced at the new kid, Liam something or other. He was glaring daggers. "Sort it out later. There's zero tolerance. You throw a punch, even if you miss, you’re auto-suspended. You get hit and swing back, you're auto-suspended. Didn't you come here to play lacrosse?" he asked.

Liam's nostrils flared as he exhaled through his nose. He slowly sat down and looked away.

"Very good, Mr. Sterling. Take your seat now."

Scott and everyone else in class looked at the front of the room. Miss Hart was already at her desk. She motioned for him to take his seat. His ears turned red and he did so. She smiled at him and started her lesson.

--\/\/\--

After school people lined up at the buses or milled toward awaiting vehicles. Dirt bikes weren't approved modes of transport, so Scott usually just walked home. Crystal Bishop and Lydia Channing flanked him suddenly. Crys was a cute girl with a wide face, sparky mossy-brown eyes, freckles and an infectious smile. Her dark hair was a longer than shoulder length and was dyed gold at the ends. Lydia was flawless redhead with a wide mouth and large brown-gray eyes. The red gold hues of her hair fell around her. "Yes?" he asked them.

"Good job this morning," Lydia said and threw her hair over her shoulder.

"Yeah, new guy is kind of a hothead. Doesn't know Mick is a dunce yet," Crys added with a smile.

Scott shrugged. "He'll learn. New kid's always do eventually," he said. He'd moved to Clearwater when he was 14 with his mom. It wasn't his first move. He was the perpetual new kid. Clearwater was actually the longest he'd been in one place. He wasn't looking forward to moving again. Luckily, his mom seemed just as disinclined as he was. She'd even started seeing someone.

"Are you coming to my party, Scott?" Lydia asked. Lydia's parties were the place to be. Her family owned a lake house and somehow she always managed to talk her mom into letting her use it for a bunch of teenagers to gather.

Scott shrugged. "I'll probably drop in," he said. That was a yes and Lydia knew it. She beamed at him and she and Crys walked toward her shiny pink champagne car. They gave him cheery waves as they got in. It was only because he was watching the parking lot that he noticed the guy in the uniform leaning against Miss Hart's shiny gold Kia Soul.

He recognized the uniform even before he absorbed the S.P.D. written all over it. The blue-gray color splashed with gun-metal silver was obvious. That was curious. Clearwater was a long way from New Tech City. Idly he wondered if there were any aliens going to school with them. That'd be kind of awesome.

Was Miss hart an alien? Is that why the guy was leaning against her car. That would explain a lot. He grinned manically at that thought then mentally shook his head. He was pretty sure she wasn't an alien. He slipped closer, curiosity getting the better of him. Using the other staff cars as cover he crept closer.

The officer was in his late twenties, had short, fashionably neat hair, a movie-star face and nearly black eyes. He talked on a phone to someone. "Okay, babe. Take it easy. If mom is hovering, just let her hover. We're leaving on the next Terra Venture, she'll miss us and her grandson, and whatever you have roasting in the oven." He sighed and looked up at the sky while he listened to whatever response he was getting.

"No, I haven't talked to Rena yet. Apparently she keeps her phone off at school so I'm camped out by her Kia. Yes, I will tell her for the ten thousandth time to marry Taylor before we leave," he said. "Here she comes. Love you, babe," he said and hung up his phone. He slipped it into a holster near the badge he had on one hip.

Scott ducked back as Miss Hart approached the man. "Rex! What are you doing here?" she asked. He could hear sounds of a hug.

"I need yours and Taylor's help with something. He worked out of Clearwater for a while after he left Angel grove, right?" he asked.

"Yep. Get in, I'll drive you home. I gather you didn't bring a ride?" she asked.

"What gave it away?" came the droll answer. They laughed. Scott didn't get the joke.

"What kind of training?" the guy named Rex after a quiet moment.

"Don't know yet. Something though. Oh, but one of my students trains at Tai's over summer breaks," she said excitedly. Their voices moved away and he heard doors opening and closing but not what his response was. They drove off and Scott stood from his crouch. He winced at the pain in his leg.

"I thought you were doing better," Dylan said as he approached with a frown.

"It comes and goes," Scott said. Actually, the doctors said it was all in his head, but he didn't want to sound like a mental patient. Especially not to Dylan who'd had anxiety problems of his own. At least anxiety was a real thing.

"Why were you snooping?" Dylan asked.

Tyler came running up to them. He skidded to a halt and grabbed onto them both as he caught his breath. "Someone said there was an S.P.D. officer here," he said, gasping. He reached into his pocket and took out an inhaler and took a hit of it.

Dylan and Scott supported him. "Calm down. There was but he's gone now," Scott said.

"Do you think there's an alien in our school?" Tyler asked once his breathing was under control again. Though he seemed sturdy enough, Ty had chronic asthma. He has short dark hair and nearly colorless blue eyes behind sturdy silver frames.

"Nah. I wondered the same thing. I think he was Miss Hart's brother or something," Scott said with a shrug. Once he'd gotten a better look at the officer, he'd noted they shared a remarkable resemblance. Still, something about those last few remarks made him think they knew he was listening. He mentally shrugged it off. "Video games and home work at my house?" he asked.

"Homework first, then I will wreck you both at Halo," Tyler declared stoutly.

"In your dreams," Dylan came back at him. Scott grinned but didn't say anything as they left the school. Weird things were put on the backburner for now.

--\/\/\--

By the weekend, Scott had almost forgotten about the weirdness. He prepared to go to Lydia's party. "You sure you don't want me to drive you?" his mom asked. In her mid-thirties, his mom was really pretty for a mom. Of Cuban descent, she had dark eyes and long, inky black eyes, both of which he'd inherited, but his complexion was much farer than hers. His face also bore an unmistakable similarly to his blond haired, green-eyed father.

He finish gelling his hair up. Though he looked what his mom termed "scruffy" most of the time, he thought he cleaned up rather well. "That's okay. Don't be late for your date. Don't leave Vicky waiting. You don't see her hovering around the lake house mom'ing up her daughter's party," he said.

Luce Sterling laughed. "Okay," she said and checked her make-up in the mirror. "Do I look okay?" she asked nervously.

"You look like my mom. Don't make me say more than that," he said.

She rolled her eyes exaggeratedly. "Fine. But my widdle smooshy-wooshy wooks so han'shome," she said and pinched his cheeks.

"Augh, give my face back," he complained and pulled his face from her grasp. He stretched his jaw and rubbed his cheeks. "Go. It's the big six-month anniversary, right? Quite dawdling with me and get going," he said with a grin.

Luce kissed his cheek. "Okay. I'm off. Have fun, mijo. Be home by midnight or else," she said and left the small bathroom they shared and left the house, leaving her perfume wafting behind her. Going into his room, he found some men's body spray and spritzed himself so he didn't smell like mom perfume at the party.

He went downstairs, locked up the house. Their tiny house didn't have a garage. His mom usually parked in the front drive. He kept his dirt bike in a dinky little shed in the back. He made his way there now. But something felt off to him. He didn't know how to explain it. Shaking off the feeling his rolled the bike out of the shed and padlocked the door. He sighed when he realized his helmet was going to ruin his hair.

"You knew," he said, shaking his fist in the direction he guessed his mom was in. That's why she offered to drive. Grumbling, he put his helmet. She'd kill him if he got ticketed for not wearing a helmet. He hopped on, cranked up, and took off.

He let his mind clear as he drove toward the lake. That's when he realized that Lydia's lake house was on the same side of the lake as the airfield. Without thinking, he veered off course and headed deeper into the forest. Once again, when he got to the bottom of the ridge, he pulled to a sharp stop.

As he glared at what he coming to think of as an invisible barrier, he felt the earth beneath his feet shake. He swallowed hard. Pain radiated along his leg and he cried out. He hopped off his bike and grabbed at it. He felt over ungracefully, but he didn't care. The ground was shaking in a rhythmic way, as if giant footsteps were approaching. Fast. Something was coming toward him and he was in too much pain to move. He scrabbled for something to defend himself.

His hand closed over some small cylindrical object. Something spiny poked into his hand, momentarily distracting him from the pain in his leg. He looked at the object. It looked like a battery with a red spin sticking out of it. He clicked the spine and the battery glowed brightly. The pain in his leg faded away as he felt another presence near him. He got to his feet as a mechanical dinosaur popped out of the trees in front of him. "Holy--"

"Language, Mr. Sterling."

Scott spun and saw Miss Hart standing behind him, dressed all in black with navy-colored markings on her tunic-like top. She was looking at the dinosaur with a perplexed expression. The dinosaur, a red, white and yellow tyrannosaurus rex, gave a roar. He turned around and ran off, disappearing into the forest again.

Rena tapped a smart watch on her wrist. "Positive contact. T-Rex is awake, but we have a slight problem and his name is Scott Sterling," she said.

"Easy fix." Scott turned his head. The blond man from the other day appeared, also clad in black and blew some sort of dust in his face. He dropped like a stone.

--\/\/\--

Scott woke with a start. He blinked and looked around, not processing what he was seeing. He was in a large circular room. It was filled with computer equipment, and screens and doors, and counters, and chairs and other stuff his brain wasn't processing. In the middle of the room was a circular bank of consoles and screens. He was trying to piece together what had happened and was failing.

Voices finally reached him. Had he been able to hear until just now? He thought so. He saw Miss Hart, now with her tunic removed and she just wore black leather pants and a black turtleneck. She held up the little red battery he'd found. She was showing it to the S.P.D. guy from the other day. "Hey that's--"

"Yours? I know. I was just about to check it power level," she said. "I was just telling Rex how you found it," she said. Rex gave him a brief smile.

"I was wondering what the T-Rex said to you."

Scott looked up and saw the blond guy lounging on a cross-beam above him. "It didn't talk," he said dumbly.

The man gracefully dropped to the ground. "Then you weren't listening. It definitely said something," he said. He crossed his arms over his chest. He cocked his head and studied Scott.

"Are you sure? I know Billie said that they were capable of an artificial sentience, but to the level of communicating?" Rex asked the blond.

The guy tapped his ears. "The wind carries everything here. There was an attempt at communication," he said and crouched down in front of Scott. He finally realized he was laying on a surprisingly unsticky, pale leather gray couch. "We just have to get you to remember. You were scared and in pain at the time," he said, "but you heard it," he said.

"Yeah, well, maybe you shouldn't have blown knock-out dust in my face. Things are kind of muddled right now. Plus, all I heard was a roar. We're lucky my bladder remained steadfast and reliable," he stated.

"He reminds me of someone," Rex said to Rena.

"Any number of your stinky friends that eat sarcasm pancakes for breakfast," Rena said primly. Rex snorted.

Scott had time to be proud of the fact that he'd correctly guessed the two's relationship. Only siblings could go at it like that. Then the blond guy struck. Two fingers to various pressure points turned his body to liquid. Then he struck in the centers of power. The last was his inner-eye. The spot right between his eyes.

Everything went black and all sound was drowned out. No. Not all sound. He could hear something. A sound repeating itself. Like that episode of Dr. Who where the four beats would play over and over. It was eerily similar.

The world came flooding back and he gasped. "Something is coming. Be prepared. We will join you soon. You will be needed," he said quickly before the message was lost to his subconscious again. "What did you do to me?" he demanded, reaching out and gripping the leather tunic of blond man.

He just grinned. "I realigned your chakras and opened your third eye so you could get the message. It's a little jarring but we didn't have time for all the training and meditation it would take to do it naturally," he said.

Scott let go and nodded. "Oh," he said. He'd heard his dad spout similar stuff. "Who are you people anyway and where am I?" he asked and got to his feet.

"Well, I'm Rex Hart, S.P.D. I'm sure you already know Rena," he said, gesturing to Miss Hart. Scott nodded and turned his gaze to his blond tormentor.

"Taylor Hicks. As for where you are, well, that was why I blew knock-out dust in your face," he said and moved away to where Rex and Miss Hart, Rena, were doing things to his doohickey. He placed a hand on the small of her back, an intimate gesture, and leaned over to see. "Cammi, anything you can add?" he asked.

Scott hadn't noted a fourth person. He looked around quickly. The computer screens on the central bank lit up with an animated, somewhat 3D anime girl with big violet eyes, purple glasses, dark pigtails and a cute uniform with a short skirt. "It's the same as the others. Except it's fully energized." she announced in the voice of a teenage girl. "But it is definitely the missing Charge Cell for the TyraZord!" she announced with a playful wink in Scott's direction, as if she could see him.

Rena sighed. She glanced between her brother and...her boyfriend? Fiancé? Fiancé. Scott remembered the modest rock she wore on one hand and Rex's comments to whomever he was speaking to on the phone that day in the school parking lot. "Well, what now? There are still several Charge Cells still out there, plus the TyraZord is the only one we've been able to locate. You can't even find AnkyZord," she pointed out.

"Sora's still looking for PachyZord, too," Rex said and scratched his jaw. "Any other time, I would say, no worries, but," he gestured toward Scott, "something is about to happen. I'll help the best I can, but I still have a job until June, and a kid, and another on the way, and preparing for TVIII," he said. "I'll have to leave it to you two," he said and clapped him both on the shoulder. His grin was downright evil. Made Scott glad he was an only child.

Taylor glanced at Scott. "So, I'm Sensei this time, huh?" The smile that stretched his face gave Scott chills. He didn't know what the heck was going on, but he had feeling having that guy as a Sensei would not be fun. At all. Even worse than Dad.

"Well, I did agree to teach. This just isn't how I expected it," Rena said. Her smile was more reassuring. She broke away from the two men. "I already called your mother and told her you met me on the road and helped me change a tire. I said I'd either make sure you got to your party or home," she said. "Which do you prefer?" she asked.

"What about my--" before the words even left his mouth, Scott was catching the battery-thing-- Charge Cell? -- because Taylor Hicks had tossed it to him. "Thanks. I think I'll go home. I so do not feel like a party right now," he said. He needed time to sort things out. He had too many questions and they were all jumbled up. He needed to be alone in his room. "Wait! Does that mean--" dust was flying in his face even before he finished the question.

--\/\/\--

Scott woke in his bed the next morning. Physically he felt better than he had in a long time, but mentally he was worn out. He'd been returned to his bed. Someone had kindly removed his shoes, but otherwise left him as is. When he'd come to, he'd checked and sure enough his bike was back in the shed and the padlock was shut tight. He'd returned to his room to sort things out, but he almost immediately fell into a natural sleep.

He rolled out of his bed and went to the bathroom. He listened for sounds of his mom. She was usually doing housework on Saturdays, but he didn't hear anything. He fished his phone from his pants pocket and checked his messages. There were a ton from Dylan and Tyler, wondering where he was, a few from Lydia and Crys as well. Finally, he found one from his mom saying she wouldn't be back that night and for him to behave himself as if she were there. "Ugh, gross, Mom," he muttered, but he was actually kind of happy for her.

He texted Tyler and Dylan back and made plans to meet at Jungle Karma Pizza for "breakfast". He didn't know how much he should say about Miss Hart and the secret lair. As he dressed, he concocted his story. Dylan would know if he was lying, so he was trying to say as much possible without saying anything substantial.

He was still concocting his story as he walked down the street. Jungle Karma Pizza was a local popular place for teenagers to gather or go on dates. It wasn't too far from his house and he could use the extra time to think that walking brought him. He became aware of something niggling inside his head. He slapped his hand over his forehead. Was his third eye still receiving signals from that dinosaur?

He was. A chill ran up his spine. There was danger. He turned his head. There was a chill in the air. He looked up and saw something shoot over his head. It was freeze beam. It hit some building in the distance, covering them with a thick layer of ice.

He could also see TyraZord fighting, and not winning, a weird paisley and seaweed monster that was part Loch Ness and part Alien queen.

Before he knew what possessed him, he started running.

He skid to a stop when he abruptly came upon a group of paisley clad kelp monsters that surrounded a big tough looking ice monster. "Oh, crap," he said. No wonder people had been running the other way. They were afraid and he could barely perceive a sorrowful blue aura wafting off of them.

"What are you looking at, boy?" the monster asked. "Think you can take us on by yourself?" he asked cockily.

"Well, I hadn't actually planned to do any 'taking on'," he said, using his fingers for air quotes. "But if you insist," he said. He ran forward and jumped, planting both feet into one of the seaweed monsters. He landed on his back but he was already rolling back to his feet. He kicked out and took another off its feet.

"Scott! Stand still for a second!" a cutesy voice said from somewhere in the general vicinity of his wrist. When he glanced at it, where his watch had been moments ago was now a cutting edge smart watch. Inside the watch was the animated face of Cammi the computer. He felt a weight on his leg and he looked down. A holster had appeared, strapped to his waist and his thigh. In the holster was a yellow gun. He pulled it out and began firing before he could marvel for too long because his pause had given the kelpies enough time to converge on him.

He swung out, jumping and kicking and firing his weapon until there were no more kelpies.

"My Xides! Why you little pain! I am the great Issage! You will regret this!" The creature brought up scoop-like claws to his face and launched an icy attack at him. At the last moment, the T-Rex stepped in front of him, catching the blast instead.

For a moment their eyes locked. He could see intelligence there. "You saved me. Thanks," he said. "But, I think I can handle this. You picked me for a reason, right?" He grinned when he seemed to get an affirmation. He rested his gun on shoulder. "Hey, computer chick. What is this thing and how does it work?" he asked.

"I'm glad you asked!"

TyraZord arched up and roared, the ice shattering.

The creature called Issage stumbled back. "What?!"

Scott stood, pulling the Charge Cell from his pocket. He pressed the spine it lit up. He inserted it into the fire-arm and clamped it closed. "Dino Charger!" He spun the cylinder it lit up and he began to faintly glow. "TyraZord Power Up! Fire!" He fired at the monsters and the ghost image of the TyraZord's head exploded from the barrel, hit some poor Xides, looped back and engulfed him in power.

A red morph suit formed. There were white boots and gloves. A belt with a battery pack appeared around his waist. A sash across his chest were yellow dinosaur fangs sandwiched between silver and black stripes. A silver dinosaur head formed on his left shoulder and a large crest with a Tyrannosaurus Rex head drawn on it formed under it. Finally, his helmet was red, resembling a T-Rex, yellow teeth framed the front in the style of an open mouth with small silver mouthpiece that was almost like a tongue.

He took stock of himself. "Oh, man. This is so cool!" he said. He opened his belt and pulled out one of three Charge Cells resting within. He clicked the spine. "TyraZord! Mega Power Up!" He threw it at the Zord. TyraZord opened his mouth and the Cell turned super-sized and fit into his mouth.

His eyes glowed brightly and a crest atop his head stood up. "All right! Let's go!" Dino Ranger Red said. TyraZord strode forward and Red ran toward the monsters. While TyraZord fought with the weird giant thing, Red turned all his attention back to the Xides and the monster still on the ground.

He punched and kicked his way through the paisleys. At one point he flipped upside down and kicked out, leaving an expanding energy trail that whipped in a circle. He landed and produced a yellow bladed, single edged sword. He jumped, landing on TyraZord's head. The Zord had been thrashing around, taking out smaller Xides, and keeping the giant Xenoxide at bay.

He'd lost track of the boss creature while he'd been making his way through Xides. "I'll take out the big one for you," he said to the Zord and ran along its length. The Zord flicked his tail just as Red jumped. Using his altitude and momentum, he used the sword to produce a slash to took it out once and for all.

He landed near Issage and slashed him, taking him by surprise before flipping back. He slung the sword across his shoulders. "Okay, monster. Why don't you fill me on what's going on here? I'm a little new to this," he said.

Issage laughed. "If you knew, could you even stop us? The great Discord Army?" he laughed again. "By yourself, even?"

"By myself, huh? Well, I may be new to this, but there is one thing I know. A Power Ranger is never alone," he said. He held his sword at the ready. "Time for the next round," he said, only to scrunch back when someone began shooting around him, hitting the monsters.

He turned and sure enough, four other Power Rangers were approaching him with weapons in hand.

Dino Ranger Black had a Parasaurolophus emblem and coordinating open mouthed dinosaur helmet. He spun his DinoVolver on his finger and put it close to his mouthpiece as if blowing on the barrel. Dino Ranger Blue had a stegosaurus emblem. Dino Ranger Green was skirted with a Velociraptor emblem. Dino Ranger Pink was also skirted, her emblem a triceratops. They walked toward him. He jogged over to them.

"We can make friends later on," he said.

"Unless we already are," Black pointed out.

"That's quite a possibility," Pink agreed.

"Whatever," Blue said.

"Don't we have work to do?" Green pointed out.

"What's going on! Where did you come from all of a sudden?" Issage demanded, striding in front of the pack.

Red whirled back toward the monsters. Blue and Black flanked him on one side. Pink and Green flanked him on the other. "All right. I'll play along. Why not," he said and struck a pose. "With the fanged power of TyraZord; Dino Ranger Red!"

"With the striking power of ParasaZord; Dino Ranger Black!"

"With the horned power of TriceraZord; Dino Ranger Pink!"

"With the slashing power of RaptoZord; Dino Ranger Green!"

"With the armored power of StegoZord; Dino Ranger Blue!"

"We are Power Rangers and we are Dino Charged!" they finished as one.

"Oh, my gosh. Tai would kill them if he saw them doing that." perhaps only Red heard the voice of Miss Hart. So, they were around. He thought so.

"No one's afraid of you!" Issage said. "Get them!" He ordered the Xides. They rushed forward.

"Come on, guys. It's time to get wild!" Red said. The five of them rushed forward.

Black drew his DinoVolver and began firing. He jumped, and wrapped an arm around one of them and tossed him into several others. He bounced off an old truck and flipped backward, firing as he went. He landed and turned back. "Time to finish this," he said. He pulled a Charge Cell from his belt. He opened the mouth of the DinoVolver and inserted it. He closed it up. "ParasaZord!" He spun the cylinder. "Vanquish Charge!" He jumped and fired. Several ghost images of a black and gold Zord's head exploded into the Xides.

Blue inserted a Charge into his DinoVolver, then he collapsed his Dinotana down into a piece that he stuck on the front of it. "Combine. Vanish Charge!" He pumped the front part of the weapon and fired a blue blast at some Xides. They came at him, but he fought them off. He turned. "Once more for good measure! Vanquish Charge!" He fired again and they went up in a fiery blue blaze.

Green was fast and agile. She held a Dinotana. She spun, slicing through a series of Xides gracefully. They came at her, she ducked and shrugged them off, slashing where she needed to. She pulled a Charge from her belt and inserted it into the mouth of Dinotana. She pumped the handle and jumped. "Slashing Charge!" she spun and green energy trailed behind her blade as she slashed. The energy exploded, no Xide was safe.

Pink combined her Dinotana and DinoVolver and fired like gangster with a tommy gun in a mob movie. She'd never actually learned any martial arts, but years of ballet kept her in good stead. She spun around on one foot, kicking out with the other as Xides came at her. She jumped and kicked through the air. She landed in a crouch and fired at a Xide coming at her.

She bounced up and kicked again, going high, then kicking out. She landed and removed the front of the gun. She pulled a Charge from her belt and put it in. "TriceraZord," she spun the cylinder, "Vanquish Charge!" She sot them with a massive beam of pink energy, causing a chain reaction of explosions.

Red jumped at Issage and the two went down in a tumble. They regained their feet, but Red didn't let up on his barrage. Flying kicked to the chest, and punches barely blocked. He jumped back for distance then ran forward again, jumping again and taking Issage down. He rolled to his feet as TyraZord came to join him. A wild idea suddenly struck him. "Let's see how you do with this one!" He pulled a Charge from his belt and put it in his DinoVolver. He spun the cylinder.

"Like I'll let you defeat me!" Issage scoffed and prepared an ice blast.

"Open up, Tyra!" Red called. TyraZord roared and Red jumped, landing in his mouth. The ice blast hit just as the Zord closed its mouth. The ice broke when TyraZord opened his mouth. Energy charging behind him, he spit Red out. Red came flying at the monster, "TyraZord! Vanquish Charge!" he fired.

His shot hit the monster and he rolled out of the way as TyraZord's shot clamped down on him. He sparked wildly before exploding.

Red stood as TyraZord ejected his now depleted Charge. It shrank and Red caught it. He ejected the one from his DinoVolver as well. "Thanks, buddy," he said.

The others came running up to him. "That was amazing," Pink said.

"This is the most amazing thing ever. My friends will not believe this," Black declared.

"You can't tell people," Green said, appalled.

"Seriously, dude?" Blue said.

"Not even one person?" Black asked.

He got hit on the back of the helmet by a woman in black. A mask hid her features but Red knew who it was. "Are you kidding me, Stilinksy? Even though I'm sure the person you're so eager to tell is right there," she pointed at Red, "there are rules in this game," she said flatly. She tapped her wrist. "They're tagged, Cammi," she said and before any of the others could ask questions, they arrived at the place Red was becoming to hate.

"Power Down. We have to energize the Charge Cells," Miss Hart ordered.

Their morphs went dormant and their Charges appeared at a terminal Scott had vaguely noticed last time he was here. He looked in surprise at his new team mates. Dylan was the Black Ranger. Liam Whatshisname was the Blue Ranger. Ah, he really should learn the guy's name if they were going to be a team. Crys was the Green Ranger and Lydia was the Pink Ranger.

"So, are you guys finally going to tell me what this place is?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest, looking at the other adult in the room. The others glanced up in surprise when they saw which way Scott was looking.

Taylor hopped down as Rena removed her hood. "Well, I guess now it's DinoOps," he said.

"Ohh! I like that!" Cammi said as her screens lit up.

"And, now, new kids, prepare yourselves. This is where your training begins," Taylor said with the same grin that gnawed a hole in the middle of his stomach.

--\/\/\--

Somewhere in the North Pacific Ocean

The Frozen Castle, the body of a giant space creature was frozen. Now shaped somewhat like a giant carrot with tendrils of hair sticking out of the water, deep within him were five creatures. A horned guy with a silver, crowned head wearing a long robe was known as Lord Chaos.

An armored feline warrior in big-cat furs, with a red face and golden mane was Goldo, the Knight of Anger. A silvery and blue knight with a sorrowful expression was Argo, the Knight of Sorrow. Bright, bubbly, pink and full of hearts was Rozza, the Knight of Happiness. Round, mostly green and patch-work with a cute face was Cobi, Page of Joy.

From their fleshy chamber, they were able to see that the emissary they had sent to the humans to gather one of the three emotions they needed to awaken the creature in which they dwelled. Full of irritation, Goldo slashed his sword, golden arcs of electricity crackling the air. "How did that happen?"

Argo, tears slipping down his face, "How sad! We were never so careless before!" said.

"Don't be such a sad Sam. Turn that frown upside down and keep smiling," Rozza said in a lilting, musical voice.

"What do we do now, Lord Chaos?" Cobi asked in a cute, little boy type of voice. Though his sleeves covered whatever hands he hand, he seemed to be bouncing the tips of his fingers together.

Chaos whipped toward them, robes fluttering with the action. "Same thing we always do. Send emissaries to gather the emotions of the humans," he said, gesturing to four gauges topped with the three masks that were mirrored on three points of his face. A joyful, happy mask, a sad, sorrowful mask, and an irritated angry mask. He skewered each of them with a fierce look. He turned calmly and walked away.

--\/\/\-END 01-/\/\/--
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Old September 30th, 2017, 02:36 PM #9
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Power Rangers Dino Charge

Power Rangers Dino Charge
Chapter 2: A Snapping Combination

In a strange facility known only to five teenagers as DinoOps, they stared at their music teacher, Miss Rena Hart, and a blond guy they didn't know. They'd just became the Earth's newest Power Rangers. They fought and won their first battle against an unknown enemy. To say they were confused was an understatement.

Dylan Stilinsky had been running late to meet his friends at Jungle Karma Pizza. He was looking for a second clean sock when his computer came on by itself and the face of an anime girl with pigtails and purple glasses told him that because he'd found a weird battery looking thing on a hike two summers ago, he was going to be a Power Ranger. She gave him a dinosaur gun, quickly explained how to use it and when he blinked, he was in the middle of a group of paisley clad seaweed monsters. It was either Morph or run away.

Crystal Bishop and Lydia Channing had been together. Crystal found the little green cylinder in Angel Grove the year before. She found out Lydia had had a pink one for almost five years. They didn't know what to do with them, but they never wanted to actually part with them. They eventually ended up carrying them around with them. They were in the process of cleaning up the lake house, listening to music when their speakers had been over taken by a cute, cheerful voice and made into Power Rangers.

Liam Connors was a transplant from Turtle Cove. He randomly found his blue cylinder while swimming outside Chamberlain Prep, where he'd gone to school, and was not supposed be. It'd been at the bottom of a rock pool. Since finding it, he'd carried it around with him like a lucky charm. He'd been asleep when the attack happened. The computer girl had awakened him forcefully with every screen in his room began blaring an alarm. He'd come up swinging and hadn't been in a good mood since.

Scott Sterling was the only one who wasn't completely confused. He'd visited DinoOps before.

Now, this blond guy they didn't know said they were going to start training. "Who are you people?" Liam asked. "What gives you the right to train me?"

The man raised a brow, but it was Miss Hart who answered. "We're still trying to piece everything together. Five years ago, there was an event that shook everything," she said. They nodded. They were aware of it. It was all the news would talk about for weeks. "Unfortunately, even though that said event protected the planet, it has left ripples," she bit her lip.

"One of those ripples was that the quake caused an accident in a research lab not far away from Clearwater. It was out in the middle of nowhere and unauthorized, so people who should have known about it didn't know. Then, a few months ago, my brother found something. Cammi," she gestured at a circular bank of computers where the anime girl was chilling out on several screens.

She disappeared and an image of a device similar to their battery/cylinders appeared. It was cyan and seemed to correspond to a different dinosaur than any of the ones the teens had. "He took it to the proper authority. She finally found the origin. That's when he came to find me," she smiled and looked at Scott.

He nodded. "I knew it. You both knew I was there," he grumbled.

"You make too much noise, kid," said the man.

Dylan was absorbing things quietly. "So, assuming you'll tell us later why he came to you, you found the lab and they were developing Morphing Technology and Zords. This isn't that lab, though, is it?"

"No, this place originally had a different purpose, but it was close by so some crazy mad scientist modified it to contain the Morph Tech," she said. "We didn't understand the significance of timing until Scott came along.

We now believe that it is the Zords who choose the Ranger and you guys were chosen," she declared with a smile.

Liam shook his head. "I still don't get it. Who is this guy? Why you? Why Scott? What was that monster thing?" he demanded.

"My name is Taylor Hicks and this is my place," the man said, spreading his arms out to encompass the facility. "Rex came to Rena because they're both former Power Rangers. He is former, right? I mean, didn't he get promoted out?" he asked Rena. When it came to Rex Hart, there was honestly no telling.

"As far as I know," she said with a shrug. All eyes were suddenly on her. "What? A girl can't Power Ranger, teach, and pursue a music career all at the same time?" she asked them.

"Sounds perfectly reasonable to me," Lydia assured her with a smile.

"Which one?" Crys asked. "I mean which team, which Ranger?"

"Rena was the Gold Samurai Ranger. She had a hand in making the universe shake," Cammi piped up, her visage reappearing on the screen again.

"As for the enemy, that's actually an easier answer. Since that event, things have awakened. Among them was an enemy that until now did things differently. Either attacking smaller communities or taking advantage of a larger threat's wreckage. They first began making a foray in 2012 after the ocean boiled." Cammi's screens would show CCTV stills of monsters as they skulked about, not drawing attention to themselves, doing who knew what.

"We don't know much about them. Our sources don't have much information other than these seaweed things are skin cells from a giant creature that destroys planets. A creature known only as Discord. When they came to Earth or how they got here aren't important. They could have been here hundreds or thousands of years. That doesn't matter.

It's up to you to stop them," Rena said.

"That's really..." Lydia blew out a breath.

"Yeah," Crys said.

"Why us?" Dylan asked. He scraped a hand though his hair when the skin of his scalp began to feel tight.

Rena shook her head. "Ask the Zords. They picked you," she said. "Well, when you find them that is. When the facility blew up, they scattered and hid," she added.

"How do we do that?" Crys asked.

"It's not pretty," Scott warned her. Taylor grinned at his comment. She gave them both a curious expression.

"If these Zords picked us, why do you keep talking about training? I don't need training. I have a black belt," Liam said.

"Hmm. I don't," Taylor said thoughtfully. "But I still doubt you can touch me," he said.

Liam snorted. He didn't understand what this Taylor guy was even doing there besides the fact he owned the place. Now he's saying how he didn't even have a black belt.

"Taylor," Rena said unsurely.

"No. It's a valid point. I don't have a black belt. I'm not going to force anyone to train under me who doesn't need it," he said. He looked Liam dead in the face. "If you can land a blow anywhere on my body, I'll admit your superiority. That goes for any of you," he said, looking at each of them.

Lydia put up her hands. "I have ballet slippers and pom-poms, no belts," she said. She sat down on a couch and primly crossed her legs at the ankles. She smoothed out her skirt. Crys chuckled and sat down beside her as well.

"Hey, I got no belts either," Scott said. He leaned against the wall. He never had any formal training, but his dad had taught him a lot. Dylan shrugged and leaned beside Scott. He only knew the things he'd learned second-hand from Scott. He wanted to see what exactly they were missing and Liam wasn't picking up on at all.

Rena rolled her eyes and sighed. She leaned against the wall. She waved her hand, giving him permission to do whatever he thought was necessary.

Liam looked around at everyone then back at Hicks. The man had the audacity to fold his hands behind his back. "Begin whenever you want," he said.

Liam attempted to look relaxed. Then he struck, punching out from his waist, fast as snake. There was no chance of not hitting his target. His fist whizzed by Taylor's head. He tried again, not only punching, but kicking, and jumping and ducking. Every time the man seemed to either be just out of reach, or turned in just the right moment. Liam was panting, but that guy was just standing there without expression. He finally relaxed his stance. "I don't understand," he said finally. "I trained at the best dojo in Turtle Cove," he said.

"Oh! AJ trained you! I thought I recognized some Scott karate," Rena declared. "Little bit of Pai Zhuq thrown in, of course," she said with an amused smile.

Liam was still frowning when he glanced at her. How did she know Sensei Austin? What the heck was Pai Zhuq? She shrugged. He turned his head toward Hicks. "You said you don't have a black belt," he accused.

"The school I went to didn't do belts," Taylor said. "If you want to get technical, I am a Wind Master but I still have a long way to go myself. Never assume just because you have a belt of the nth degree that you're the best you could be. You can always improve," he said. "Still going to object to training under me?" he asked.

Liam blew out a big breath. He bowed formally. "Sensei," he conceded.

"Good. Now that that wrinkle has been ironed out," Taylor struck. Scott had the extreme pleasure of watching someone else get the third eye treatment. When Liam went liquid, Taylor lowered him to the floor and waited for him to come back around.

"What did you do to me?" Liam asked as he rubbed at his forehead.

"He realigned your chakras and opened your third eye so you can pick up dinosaur signals. You get used it," Scott answered.

Liam put a finger in his ear and wiggled it. "Is that what that is? Sounds kind of like a heartbeat," he said, but aside from that first initial burst of activity, the sound subsided to his subconscious. He got the feeling though that something was waking up.

Lydia raised her hand and jumped up. "Me next. I want to hear my Zord, too," she said.

"You probably want to sit back down though," Scott said.

"Oh, okay then," Lydia said and sat back down. When Taylor approached her, she found out why. "Ooh," she said.

Crys nodded to give permission for her turn next. She winced and braced herself. Which was what Taylor didn't want. That was why he usually relaxed the muscles first. Finally, he eyed Dylan. Dylan eyed him back.

Taylor turned toward Rena. "Anything we've missed?" he asked. Dylan blinked in confusion.

"I think it's my turn," Cammi said from her screen. "Everyone, look at me," she prompted and cleared her throat. Or simulated clearing her throat. Obediently the teenagers looked at her, arguably the most incredible thing in a room full of incredible things. "Hi! I'm Cammi. Computer-generated, Artificial, Multi-purpose, Mechanized Intelligence, but I really just prefer Cammi. I want you guys to plug your phones into the ports around the central control bank," she instructed.

Several ports around the circular control banks in the room opened up with plug-ins for whichever types of phones they had. The five of them plugged their phones in. They disappeared into the recesses of the computer banks.

Lydia gasped. "That was a brand new phone," she said.

"Don't worry," Cammi said with a reassuring smile. "You'll get it back. Ah, here we go," she said. Suddenly, little machines, they assumed they were machines, no larger and perhaps smaller than grains of sand spilled onto each terminal. The machines covered each terminal and began to change design slightly. They now reflected their colors and dinosaurs, the key boards glowed with coordinating light. Six circular ports appeared along one side. Several usb ports appeared along another, along with headphone jacks and other ports any other computer would have.

The last thing that happened was the building of the new phones and smart watches. Each of the phones was state of art though no particular brand was associated with the design. The skins were dusky metallic, in muted coordinated colors. The smart watches were designed for each teen individually, except Scott, who already had one. It looked a lot like his usual sport watch, with a heavy red and white braided band and squared face, but was now obviously a smart watch.

The watch for Lydia had slim gold links for a band, the bevel encrusted with pink jewels, it's circular static face reminiscent of mother-of-pearl but was very much a screen. The watch for Dylan's had a thick black and gray camo nylon band and a square screen with a real time reflection of the night sky with a small compass in one corner. Crys's was functional, pebbled green silicon with a squared face surrounded by green enamel bordered in white. Liam's was silver linked and round, the bevel resembling a popular brand for men, the face also reflected that brand.

Their old phones reappeared while they were putting on the watches. "The phones and watches act in conjunction but also independently. Anything you can do with one, you can do with the other. Each have a normal mode and a Dino mode. To access the Dino mode, from your start screen, draw the symbols you see on this screen," Cammi's face disappeared and a computer generated animation demonstrating the proper procedure. It was basically a number system. Scott drew a "1" with the line under it. Dylan drew a "2". Liam drew a "3". Crys drew an open-topped "4". Lydia drew a "5".

"Among apps included is communication. Each of you is listed, as is DinoOps, Rena and Taylor respectively, and me! I will update you when new contacts are added. The bright yellow circle with the dinosaur face is to contact everyone at once. Please use the communication app only for emergencies. Normal mode still has enhanced plans connected to them. Other apps are summoners. DinoCharger is the little gun icon. Sword icon for Dinotana. Battery icon for Charge Cells. When you open it you'll note that there are many of them. You can learn about them in the information app, or right here at your terminals." Cammi reappeared on the screens and gestured to the terminals below her. Until then, she'd been showing animated instructions.

"Any questions?"

"Loads, but I think we got it for now," Scott said. He had to admit, this phone was a lot better than his old one. In normal mode, the apps were easy to navigate and he had about a ton more memory. All his contacts were listed, but he seemed to have a lot more music than he had before and all of it to his taste. The others were marveling at them at them as well.

"How much does all this cost?" Dylan asked.

"Free phone plans are provided to people who protect the world by Nodroz Corp. Despite what blue and red commercials tell you, it's actually the best network in the country, world, solar system, galaxy!" Cammi's voice squeaked with excitement. She blushed and cleared her throat again.

"What's the app with the little swirly thing?" Crys asked and opened it up. The first icon was a little house that said "home" under it. The second one was the same bright green dino icon that represented DinoOps. Another was a Cammi icon (a pair of purple glasses) with the words "as needed" under them. Another was a microphone that said "input".

"Teleport app. Please don't use the teleport app for personal reasons," Cammi told them sternly.

"I will try to plan out a training regimen that accommodates all your schedules and particular strengths. For, now you guys deserve a break and time to process everything," Rena said. And with that, they were blinked out of DinoOps.

---\/\/\---

Frozen Fortress

Cluttered around the main hall of the Fortress was a bunch of junk. "I've stolen things from humans in order to make a more modern monster," Cobi said in his childlike voice. Chaos and the other Knights of Discord ignored him for the most part.

Chaos swept toward the collection towers topped with the emotion masks. "Each of you, stand before a tower and formulate a plan. An Emissary will be chosen. Not only must we gather the emotions of these humans, but we now face a threat to our plans," he reminded them. "A threat that must also be eliminated." He fisted a hand as he thought about their defeat at the hands of Power Rangers.

Goldo, Argo, and Rozza each hurried to their respective tower. They touched a bulbous part at the bottom of them. The towers glowed for a moment. "Eeriss will decide which of you will get to carry out your plans," Chaos said.

Darkness swept around them and centered on the Tower of Sorrow. The mask's eyes glowed. "The chosen emotion is sorrow." From its mouth a monster was spewed forth. Made up of iron and wiring, it looked like a mixture of a homeless man and a junkyard car crusher.

"Junker Joe, at your service, boss," the monster announced triumphantly.

---\/\/\---

Lydia lay across her bed, playing with her new phone. She was doing the required research on her new circumstances. The information provided by Cammi was in-depth and informative. She made a mental note to ask why there wasn't any or redacted information on some of information on past Power Rangers or even whole teams. The team that caused the universe to shake, which Miss Hart admitted to being a part of, only had some basic information about the members and technical information. Nothing that gave you a real idea how things happened or why like some of the other information.

There was also very little information about the team from S.P.D. but she supposed since that was an active, law enforcement facility, it made sense. Everything was classified. She slowly became aware of the beating in the back of her mind becoming more cognizant. She gasped and jumped up. She turned put the phone to sleep and slipped it into her pocket.

She grabbed a jacket and some shoes and hurried out of the house.

---\/\/\---

Liam was in his backyard, running drills by himself. The activity actually helped him clear his mind, as it was an automatic thing. He didn't know how he felt this whole situation. Things had been strange lately. Last year, his old school ended their lacrosse program out of nowhere, which was how he ended up in Clearwater. FCP High had the second best lacrosse program in the region.

Unfortunately, since coming here, he hadn't been able to find his place. He kept clashing with people over the smallest things. He wasn't even officially on the team yet since there hadn't been try-outs, but everyone knew he was a shoe-in. Other players and hopefuls didn't like that. The football jocks didn't usually like the lacrosse jocks. And there wasn't a dojo to be seen in the whole city. Well, if there was he hadn't found it yet.

So, he trained alone, practiced alone, and tried to keep to himself to avoid ticking off even more people. Maybe things would get a little better now, if he could temper his temper a bit. He hadn't meant to sound like a conceited horse's rear at DinoOps, it's just what happened when he opened his mouth. He'd come off as a complete dill-weed to his new team mates. Not to mention Miss Hart and his new sensei.

What had he been thinking, challenging that guy? He actually really did know better than that. He could tell just by the way he carried himself that he wasn't going to be on the same level has some dumb high school kid. "Yes, I know I'm kind of an idiot," he muttered. He stopped mid-run, tripped over his cleats, and went down face first. He blinked. Did someone just talk to him?

He shuffled to his gear and took a slug of water and listened harder. He grinned. He ran into the house. He packed some water and snacks into a bag. He didn't know how long this was going to take, but he was kind of excited. He changed out of his cleats into a pair of all-terrain sneakers. He stuffed a hoodie into his bag just in case the weather turned cool.

He strapped his phone to his upper arm, started his running playlist and stuck his earbuds in his ear. He left his house and began jogging away from the city.

---\/\/\---

Rena popped into DinoOps by way of a chute that started somewhere above them. She walked over to where Taylor sat in front of a bank of computer screens. Though Cammi occupied the one in front of him, the others were being filled with information on each of their Rangers. "Ever wonder how these things happen? I mean, what metaphysical being decided that Taylor Hicks and Rena Hart need to watch over the newest crop of Power Rangers?" she asked idly.

Taylor snickered. "You'll hurt yourself trying to find the meaning of life. What do you think?" he asked, gesturing toward the information on the computers. Rena studied each one. "Ooh, I like what you picked out for Lydia. The emphasis on kicks and jumps will serve her well, and nicely balanced with strengthening her upper body and arms as well. Why does her nano-frame instructor look like Trini in a blond wig?" she asked.

Cammi pouted. "Is it that bad? I thought using a composite of Kat and Trini would be best given that her training regimen is heavily based on their unique strong points as well," she said.

"Give her Karone's hair. She'll be perfect," Rena said assuringly. Cammi brightened and began redesigning the image on the screen.

Rena looked at the screen with Crys's information. "So Kane was her primary instructor at the Studio?"

"That's right. Her movements are similar to his, so I designed a regimen based on his. I also got permission to use him for a nano-frame," Taylor said. Kane Watanabe was his best friend and Taylor probably knew his fighting and teaching style best of anyone, except for maybe Kane's boss.

"Going to continue Scott karate with Liam?" she asked, raising a brow.

"Mostly, but I'm going to mix it up with Kung Fu and Krav Maga. He needs to be less rigid and mixing up his training will loosen him up a bit more," he explained.

"You don't have much up for Dylan and Scott," she said, crossing her arms.

Taylor sighed and leaned back in his seat. "I know. I'm debating. Scott's been teaching Dylan. Dylan will learn quickly whatever he's taught. The thing is, someone's been teaching Scott Wind-jutsu among several other things. It's messy and sloppy but somehow effective," he said.

"So you don't know whether or not you should take him on as a Wind student," Rena concluded.

Taylor nodded. Rena wrapped her arms around his shoulders and rested her chin on top of his head. "First of all, let Dylan do his own thing. Like you said, he'll learn it quickly. Do you know, he's been systematically testing me since about third day of school? He's impressive," she said. "Focus on hand to hand rather than grappling and wrestling. Teach him how to get distance. He's almost like Sin when handling that DinoVolver, but we can't let him depend solely on that," she said.

Taylor nodded. He tapped her hands and she unwound them so he could type something into the computer.

"As for Scott, go with the Wind-jutsu. Temper it with Capoeira, like with Lydia. We'll figure out the rest as we find out what all he knows already," she said. He nodded but didn't respond verbally.

Suddenly and alarm sounded in the chamber. "Scott pushed the panic button. Zeroing in on his location now and contacting the others," Cammi announced.

Taylor looked up. Rena patted him on the shoulder. "I'll go. Stay and finish up," she said. She grabbed her shirt and pulled, revealing her black tunic. She put her hood up and tapped the teleport app on her watch.

---\/\/\---

Scott checked his watch for the time. He was heading toward JKP for a quick meet-up with Dylan and Tyler. He hadn't had a chance to talk to Dylan alone. They wouldn't be able to talk in front of Tyler either, but neither one wanted to exclude him from just grabbing some munchies on a Sunday afternoon.

He was so caught up in his thoughts, he only just missed barreling over Tyler. He jerked up short before he even realized he almost hit another person. "Oh. Sorry," he said, shaking his head. He rubbed the back of his neck.

"No problemo, amigo," Tyler said and grinned.

Scott snickered. "Any sign of Dylan yet?" he asked as they shuffled toward the pizza place.

"He could be late. Last I heard he had a killer game of Shooter going," Tyler said.

"Then he'll definitely be late," Scott agreed.

The two boys continued on their way, chatting casually.

No one noticed when Junker Joe appeared with Xides at first. "Crush and go!" He waved an arm that looked a little like a square, metal tennis racquet. A large energy fist crushed a building. Xides came together to form the giant Xenoxides.

Tyler and Scott swung around. Tyler's eyes went wide behind his glasses. People were running away, emitting that same blue aura as before. "We gotta get going," Scott said. He pressed a button the side of his watch, each of them had a similar button, alerting Cammi and DinoOps of a monster incursion.

In the crowd of people, Scott allowed himself to be separated from Tyler as he double back. He felt a little bad about it, but he didn't have a choice. He summoned his DinoVolver as he ran. He drew it and fired on the Xides. He simply bashed one over the head with the gun and kicked another in the face.

"That's enough damage for one day," he warned. He pulled a fully energized Charge from his pocket. He'd taken to carrying one around with him everywhere. He pressed the spine it lit up. He inserted it into the fire-arm and clamped it closed. "Dino Charger!" He spun the cylinder it lit up and he began to faintly glow. "TyraZord Power Up! Fire!" He fired at the monsters and the ghost image of the TyraZord's head exploded from the barrel, hit some poor Xides, looped back and engulfed him in power.

He ran forward, now holding a Dinotana rather than his DinoVolver. He'd wanted to try it out before. He ran forward and jumped. He braced himself on the shoulders of a Xide and bet back, slashing with the 'tana. He drove the hilt into the face of his reluctant host and jumped back, landed in a crouch. He stood. He pulled a Charge from his belt and put in the mouth of the dino head near the hilt and gave it a pump.

Red energy crackled around the blade and he waved his sword in a circle. "Charged Slash!" He slashed with the blade and a crescent of powerful red energy hit the Xides. He ran past them as they arced with electricity and exploded. He attacked the monster, kicking and slashing with the 'tana. He held down one scoop like hand and jump, spin kicking him in the head and bouncing back. A depleted beep let him know that that Charge in the Dinotana was out of energy.

He ejected it and sighed. "Out of juice. Change of tactic time," he said. He sent away the blade and drew the DinoVolver. He pulled another Charge from his belt. He opened the 'Volver and inserted the Charge. "Maybe this will finish you off!" He pointed the gun at the monster. "Vanquish Charge!" He fired a blast of red energy at the hunk of junk monster.

Something got in the way. A sad-face silver and blue suit of armor deflected the attack and knocked it aside. "Master!" Junker Joe said appreciatively.

"Owowowee! That hurt," Argo sobbed and shook out his arm.

"Crap," Red said and ejected the Charge. "Another one out of juice," he complained. "What's this? Another monster?" he wondered, looking at Argo.

Argo sniffed. "Who's a monster?" he demanded. "I am The Knight of Sadness of the great Discord Army, Sir Argo Sorrowful Silvertears the III," he announced. "My heart knows such pain, that you can't imagine. But I will gladly give you a taste of it!" he said and ran toward the Red Ranger.

"Okay, Sir Silver Sadsack. Gotcha," Red said and ran toward him. The two of them shared a round of hand to hand combat that ended with Argo kicking Red's feet out of from under him. He managed to roll out of the way and to his feet before he could get stomped. Argo produced an axe and slashed Red across the chest with it. He attempted again, but Red managed to catch it between his hands.

"Give it back," Argo demanded.

"Nope. You're gonna try and hit me with it again," Red denied.

"That's the idea," Argo said. They struggled for a long moment, but Argo was atrociously strong. He managed to get the axe back and did indeed slash the Ranger several times before he could get away. He kicked the Ranger in the chest. He went flying backward, bounced off a chain-link fence and came back. Argo slashed again and Red went flying into the ground.

"Okay, Sir Silver Sadsack is strong," he said. He really needed back up. Where was everyone?

"Ha-ha. I'll take it from here, master," Junker Joe and strutted toward Red.

Dino Green jumped from a building and slashed him with the Dinotana. He bashed against Argo from the blow. Red rolled into a sitting position. Green stood near him.

"Sorry, I'm so late. My mom went into super doomsday prepper mode as soon as she found out about the attacks. Getting away was not easy," she said.

"We'll get the hang of it eventually," Red declared.

Argo and Junker Joe had righted themselves and were starting toward them. Gunshots firing made them stumble back as Dino Black joined them. "Let's all just blame our moms," he agreed.

Red bounced to his feet. "It isn't like Lydia to be late to a party. Guess it's just the three of us," he said.

"Rest for a few more minutes. Let's try the Dino Arms," Black told Red then Green.

"Sounds like a plan," Green agreed. They each pulled a Charge out of their belts and placed it in their DinoVolvers. "Dino Arms!" They ran the cylinder of the 'Volvers down their right arms. Spikey silver armor formed along the length and weapons appeared in their hands.

Green charged forth with the bladed weapon and her Dinotana. She got in between the monster and his master. She kicked Argo out of the way. She blocked his swinging axe with her weapon and stabbed him in the chest with it.

Argo staggered back, smoking slightly.

"Here I come!" she said and jumped.

"Oh, no," Argo moaned.

"Raptor Slasher!" nearly vertical mid-air, she spun, slashing first with the sword and then with her weapon.

Black saw that Green was doing okay and aimed his DinoVolver and gun-like weapon at the giant Xenoxides. "Parasa Shooter!" He began firing at them.

"Who needs rest?" Red wondered. He pulled his final Charge from his belt and inserted it in his DinoVolver. He rolled the cylinder down his right arm and spiky armor formed. A t-rex head formed over his hand. "Nice," he said as the head opened and closed a mouth full of sharp teeth.

"Tyra Gnasher!" He ran toward Junker Joe, jumped and kicked that junker in the face. He used the kick to bounce up, and came down with the weapon bashing the monster with as much force as he could muster. He hit several times before Junker Joe was able to dodge. The weapon snapped several times as the monster dodged. Finally using an upper-cut movement, the Gnasher grabbed hold. He picked up the monster and tossed him. He landed with a smashing crash.

Giant Xenoxides tried to shoot Black with twin beams of green energy. He jumped back. "Ha! Missed me!" he gloated. He looked up when he heard something coming toward them. A huge pink triceratops was galloping through the streets with the Pink Ranger riding on its head. Yellow drills made up its forehead horns. "Yee-haw!" she whooped. She jumped off and came to a skidding stop beside Black.

"Sorry, I'm late," she declared. "Go, Dru!" she shouted at the TriceraZord.

"Dru?" Black asked.

"Short for Druscilla," she said. He just nodded as if that explained everything.

The StegoZord charged forward and jumped, twisting mid-air as the tail began to whirl like a giant drill bit. It plunged into the Xenoxides and exploded them.

Red's concentration was still on the monster. Suddenly the eyes of the Gnasher lit up and he took a stance. It was a move his dad had taught him a long time ago. "TyraZord Rock-Crusher Punch!" He punched forward and a powerful burst of energy shaped like the TyraZord's head zoomed toward the monster and seemed to snap onto him. The energy of the attack sent him flying and smoking wildly.

He rolled to his feet. "Curse you, Ranger!" he spat. They're fight had brought them just outside of Jungle Karma Pizza, where the owner had set up a plastic T-Rex statue to celebrate the new Power Rangers. Junker Joe took an immediately dislike to it. "What is that?" he snapped and crushed it, sending it up in flames. He disappeared, along with Argo to regroup.

---\/\/\---

The Rangers regrouped in DinoOps after the battle. Scott sent Tyler a text asking if was okay, apologizing for getting separated, and saying that they'd meet up again a little later. "Where is Liam?" he asked. The Blue hadn't shown up for the fight at all. At least the other three had excuses. Truthfully, he didn't know Liam very well and hoped he had a good one, too.

"He's on a dinosaur hunt. He was too far away to help," Cammi answered.

Scott nodded. That was a good excuse. "Speaking of dinosaur hunts, nice going, Lydia," he said with a grin.

Lydia beamed. "Thanks!" she said.

"Did you really name your Zord Druscilla?" Crys asked.

"Sure. She felt like a Druscilla. What do you call TyraZord, Scott?" she asked.

"Gabe," Scott answered. He ignored the strange looked Dylan and Crys were giving him. They'd get it eventually.

Dylan shook his head. He looked at Taylor and Miss Rena. "Here's a question," he said. "Why are these Discord guys suddenly concentrating here in Clearwater? From what information we have on them, they've spread out their activities up and down the west coast and even up through Canada and Alaska. They never hit the same place twice," he said.

"That's a question without an answer," Rena answered.

"That's something we're going to have to figure out," Taylor said.

"Figuring things out is Dylan's specialty," Scott said and clapped his friend on the shoulder. Dylan made a face and wiggled out from under the hand.

Taylor got to his feet. "Since I have you all here while we wait for the monster to return, I'd like to introduce you to your training regimens," he said.

Suddenly, piles of sand began forming on the ground. These piles of sand began taking on human shape. Crys gasped when one of them turned into her sensei. "What is that?" she asked.

"My nano-frames will be your instructors. They're programmed with the techniques that build on each of your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses," Cammi explained, trying to sound serious and professional.

"This is amazing," Lydia said and circled the nano-frame in pink that was obviously meant to be her instructor. She poked it and it felt real.

"Even though they each have individual characteristics, they're all me. So, even though this one," the nano-frame of the stocky Asian guy in green raised his hand, "looks like Kane, he's not," she said.

"That's kind of weird," Crys declared.

"If it bothers you, I can redesign the nano-frame, but this one is built using Kane as a model so his movements and reactions will be more natural," Taylor explained. "Though, I have to admit, it's kind of creepy," he said, looking at the expressionless nano-frame.

"I don't think I've ever seen Kane that still," Rena agreed.

"How do you know, Sensei?" Crys asked Taylor curiously.

"He's Taylor's BFF," Rena answered before Taylor had a chance to answer. He shot her grimacing scowl at the description. She just smiled at him sweetly.

"C'mon, now, Miss H. Guys don't call each other BFF," Scott said.

"I think she's aware," Dylan said. "So back to the nano-frames," he said. "They teach different things, right?" he asked.

"Right. I chose the regimens. If you don't mind, I decided to take you in a different direction than Scott. I know he's been teaching you, but your strengths lay in different areas," Taylor said.

Dylan nodded. "I can live with it," he agreed.

Scott shrugged. "Fine by me. So you won't be teaching us personally?" he asked.

"Not really. But I'll be overseeing your training, and you'll all undergo basic sword training with Rena," he said. She waved at them. "However, Scott, I think you and I will probably have some one on one time," he said ominously.

"Why?" Scott asked.

"Where'd you learn that rock crusher technique?" Taylor asked.

"My dad taught me. One of the first things I mastered," Scott answered. "Why?" he asked again.

"It's a Wind-jutsu technique used when sparring against an Earth Ninja. They have a tendency to throw rocks at you. One of the first things I mastered as well," Taylor answered. "Anyway. The nano-frames are always available. They'll take you to training rooms. I'd like for you all to put in at least ten hours a week," he said.

No one argued with them, but he could tell they weren't pleased. "We'll figure it out around school and extracurriculars. Don't worry, guys," Rena said.

"Can we go now, though? We kind of left Tyler hanging in the breeze. Keeping this from him is bad enough but we ain't gotta turn into d-bags because of it," Scott said.

"Sure," Taylor agreed.

Dylan and Scott left DinoOps but Lydia and Crys chose to stay and start their training.

---\/\/\---

Though Jungle Karma Pizza was nearly deserted, the few customers who were there seemed to be in high spirits. Scott and Dylan were finally able to meet up with Tyler, who was both terrified and excited by the events of late. He was telling Dylan about his almost close encounter with Xides when a nearby table exploded in raucous laughter. They tried to ignore them at first.

"Anyway," Tyler said after finishing a bite of his pizza slice, "I got separated from Scott, right? But, weirdly enough I didn't need to use my inhaler after running around like a lunatic. I tried to go back to find him, but I guess the crowd pushed him another way. Instead I saw the Red Ranger fighting those monster things. It was pretty rad," he said. He tried to take another bite of his pizza when someone from the next table slid his chair back and rammed into Tyler's. The pizza smushed into his nose.

The table interrupted in laughter again. "Sorry, dude," the perpetrator said off-handedly as he got up to do whatever he was doing.

Scott waved the napkin canister in Tyler's direction. Dylan was glaring at the next table.
"It's not a big deal," Tyler mumbled as he wiped his face off.

Scott folded a clean napkin into a paper football. "So, the Red Ranger, huh? From what I've heard, he's kinda a BAMF," he said without even so much as a smile. He working on making the football as hard and tight and compact as possible.

"No, I heard that was the Black Ranger and the Red Ranger was kind of wuss by comparison," Dylan said. He took the football once Scott was finished with it. He lined up his shot and thumped it.

Tyler automatically picked up his empty plate and the football ricocheted off of it. "Someone made me get out of the way before anyone else show up. I don't have any framework for comparison," he explained, as the three of them watched the football, arch upward, bounce off the light hanging above their table, bounce to the next one at just the right angle to shoot it downward like a miniature missile, just in time to hit the rude guy who knocked into Tyler right between the eyes as he was coming back with a fresh soda.

"My bad, dude," Dylan said in the same tone of voice that was obviously as insincere as the other's had been.

The guys at the other table got to their feet. Jungle Karma's main waitress stomped over with a pizza order and clattered it on their table. "Sit down and eat, quiet down or get out," she said. With glares of promised retribution they did sit down.

The warm skinned girl with somewhat blond hair turned dark eyes on the trio. "As for you three, can you at least not make things worse?" she demanded.

"We were playing football," Scott said, showing her the goal he made with his fingers. "Dylan is terrible at it," he said.

"Yeah, I mean, it's not like he intentionally made a shot like that, timed to get that guy right between the eyes at that exact moment," Tyler stated.

"That would be impossible," Dylan agreed. She made a sour face and walked away. Shelley Cornell's parents opened Jungle Karma Pizza in late spring, so she hadn't gone to school with them very long and no one knew her very well. One thing everyone could agree on; she was not cut out for customer service.

"Maybe we should pay up and get going," Scott said.

"We'll leave Shelley a generous tip," Tyler stated and pulled some money out of his wallet. He put several ones on the table as they went to the register to settle up. They were getting glares from the other table. They ignored it and left.

"Hey, Scott. You gonna go out for lacrosse this year?" Tyler asked tentatively as they walked down the street a way.

Scott stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jeans. "I don't know. I haven't thought about it," he said. "I'll see you guys later. Mom wants me to get some chores done today," he said.

"Adios," Tyler said.

"See ya," Dylan added.

They were both quiet as they watched Scott go. Dylan shook his head. "Guess I shouldn't have brought it up," Tyler said.

Dylan shrugged. "Don't sweat it," he said. "I got a few things I gotta do for my mom, too. Later," he said.

"Later!"

---\/\/\---

Later that evening, Scott and Lydia were coming out of a grocery store carrying bags of food. Lydia thought they should do something special for their moms for their anniversary, so she thought up making them a nice dinner. Scott's culinary talents consisted of scrambled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches.

"We can fix that. Besides, do you know how much a girl is going to melt over a guy that can cook for her? I bet Taylor knows how to cook," she said as she headed toward her car. It was a tiny little coup that, even as not tall as he was, Scott always worried he wouldn't fit into, yet he always miraculously seemed to. She clicked a button on her fob and the trunk popped open.

"Well, why don't you ask him and see? Me, I think grilled cheese can be romantic on its own," he declared as they stowed their sacks in her trunk.

"Remind me again why Crys dumped you?" Lydia said drily.

"Crys loves my grilled cheese," Scott said without answering her question. He didn't need to. He glanced up when he heard footsteps coming toward them.

Liam Connors, still in his running clothes, stopped beside Lydia's car and caught his breath. "I heard about earlier. My bad," he said between breaths.

Lydia patted him on the back. "Nothing you have to suffocate yourself to say. We get it, don't we, Scott?" she said and shot him a glance over her shoulder.

Scoot nodded. "Yeah, no worries. I managed to carry the fight," he said, puffing his chest out a bit.

"Yeah, after me and Dru came along," Lydia said. "Did you have any luck?" she asked.

Scott fished a bottle of water out of the bags in the trunk and handed it over to the other guy. Liam took a thankful gulp and finally managed to speak coherently. "Yep. Found Cheech and he'll be ready when we need him," he said and managed a smile. He finally noticed what was going on around him. "Oh, are you guys, er...?" he made vague hand gestures to finish his question.

Lydia laughed. "Me and Scott? No, no. That's not happening. We're cooking dinner for our moms," she answered.

"You don't have to laugh quite so much," Scott stated. He closed her trunk. "If they get married will your mom buy me a car?" he asked.

"I wouldn't count on it. She'd probably just make me share," Lydia said. Scott made a face at the thought of driving around in her champagne pink ride. "Liam, you look beat, can we give you a lift home? You don't live too far from me," she said.

Liam waved her gesture aside. "Thanks, but I don't want to stink up your car," he said, pulling at his sweat-drenched shirt. "I just wanted to apologize before going and taking a long shower," he said.

"Afterwards, you might wanna head to DinoOps, Sensei has special training programs worked out for everyone," Scott said.

"I also want to apologize if I've come off as jerk to anyone so far," Liam said in a quick burst.

Lydia smiled. "You've been okay. Maybe just apologize to Taylor."

"Right. I really need to do that," Liam agreed. He knew that. He'd had a lot of time to think on his cross-country trek into the wilderness to find his StegoZord, whom he affectionately called Cheech.

A little girl of about eight was running past them, but tripped on a crack in the parking lot. She was about to go flying through the air Liam stepped forward and caught her around the middle and set her on her feet.

She broke into a big grin. "Thanks," she said cheerfully.

"Carly," Shelley rushed up in an exasperated huff. She grabbed the girl's hand. "Don't go running off alone. It's dangerous these days," she said. She stalked off without acknowledging or greeting the other teens.

Liam stood. "Well, I'll let you guys go do whatever you were going to do," he said. He gave them a wave and started to jog off.

"Later," Scott called.

"Bye," Lydia added.

A shrill scream paused them all. Cars were exploding as Junker Joe was making his way around the plaza the super market was located in. A horde of Xides filed out behind him, harassing people along the way. People were running for cover.

"Well, this is just great. You better not make us late for making dinner!" Lydia said. She ran into the crowd of Xides without fear. She jumped and felt herself get really light for a second, before getting really heavy when she kicked out, sending a Xide crashing into a bunch of others. "That was strange," she said. But she didn't have a chance to dwell on it.

"Shelley!" Near the entrance of the store, the young girl was being shuffled around by people trying to get out of the way of the approaching alien threat. Shelley wasn't easily seen. Scott and Liam made their way over to her. Scott made it first, but Junker Joe had been on his way as well.

Carly screamed and Scott knelt and threw his arms around her. He felt something strange, like pins and needles all over his back. But the blow he anticipated never came. He glanced back, past the spikes that were protruding out of his back, and saw that Liam was holding off the monster's attack with a bank of quarter machines he'd seemingly pulled out of the ground in front of the store.

"Well, this is weird," he declared.

"Yep," Liam agreed, grunting under the effort of holding back the attack. He pushed against the monster and them crashed the machines against him, sending him flying backwards.

Scott glanced at the wide eyed little girl. He'd finally spotted Shelley. "Shelley's over there. Maybe don't mention this, to her?" he asked hopefully.

Carly nodded and ran off to Shelley.

The monster regained his feet as Lydia joined the two boys. Scott had managed to get rid of his bone spikes. "How dare you interfere! Why aren't you sad and afraid?" he demanded.

"Someone like you would never understand the strength of friendship," Lydia told him. "These two guys, they're my friends and they have my back, and I got theirs. There's no reason to be afraid of you," she stated.

Liam was slightly taken aback to be called Lydia's friend, but he nodded. "Right," he said.

Scott chuckled and clapped Liam on the shoulder. "And as much as we'll do for each other, we'll do for everyone else. That's just how we do," he added. "You guys ready for this?" he asked.

The other two spread out. "Ready," they agreed. They used their watches and summoned their DinoVolvers. They drew, pulled Charges out of their pockets, and slid them into the DinoVolvers. "Dino Chargers!" They spun the cylinders.

"TyraZord! Power Up!"

"TriceraZord! Power Up!"

"StegoZord! Power Up!"

"Fire!"

They fired the Volvers and ghost images of the Zord's head shot out, circled back and enveloped them, forming their power suits and helmets.

Junker Joe startled. "Eh! That's no good," he declared upon seeing the Red, Pink, and Blue Rangers where three annoying teenagers had been. "Xides!" he commanded.

The Red Ranger summoned his Dinotana and converted it to fit to the front of his DinoVolver. "Dino Blaster!" Red began firing on the Xides. He ducked low and shot a few more, sweeping another few, before shooting again. He jumped, gaining an altitude he didn't expect when it felt as if his bones became lighter. He fired again.

Pink and Blue Inserted Charges into their DinoVolvers. They ran the cylinders down their right arms. "Dino Arms!" Spikey armor formed for both of them, as well as weapons over their hands.

"Tricera Lance!" A Lance had formed over Pink's hand and she ran and jumped through a trail of Xides, using her newfound ability to control her density to advantage.

"Stego Shield!" A shield formed over Blue's hand. He attacked Junker Joe, crashing the shield into the alien. "This is for being a pain," he declared. Joe attempted to block, and sparks flew as he struck out again. He tucked in close and spun behind the alien. He ducked and hooked the shield around the groin-ish area. He put on a burst of strength and jerked up, making the monster spin-flip into the ground. Hard.

"How crushing," Junker Joe complained.

Pink and Red joined him. "Nice job," Red declared. "Gimme a Charge," he said suddenly.

"Huh?" Blue pilled a Charge from his belt.

"Trust me," Red said and inserted the charge into his DinoVolver. He clicked it closed and pointed as the alien started getting to his feet. "StegoTyra Vanquish Charge!" He fired. Blue and red energy bursts shot out of the weapon and crashed into the monster. The Rangers turned away from the resulting explosion.

"Wow," Pink said.

"That was brave," Blue commented.

"Eh. Thought it worth a shot," Red said.

Finally appearing, Green and Black Ranger ran toward them. "Did we miss all the fun again?" Black asked.

"We so need to work on our excuses," Green sighed.

Argo rushed over to Junker Joe. "Are you okay, Joe?" he asked mournfully.

Cobi and Rozza materialized and skipped over to Argo and the monster.

The Rangers noticed them. "More aliens?" Black.

Rozza touched the corners of her mouth. "Buck up and put on a smile. It'll all be okay," she assured Argo cheerfully.

"Yeah! I'll even help you out," Cobi chirped and pulled a watering can from the pocket that made up the front of his body. He poured some of whatever was in the can onto Junker Joe.

"What are you doing?" Argo demanded when the monster began to glow a putrid green.

"It's a gift from his majestic highness!" Rozza said.

"With this, he'll grow big," Cobi assured him.

"CRUUUUUUSH!" Junker Joe bellowed as he grew to enormous proportions.

"Crap. They actually made them grow. I was hoping that wouldn't happen," Blue said.

"I think it's an inevitable fact that eventually they always get big," Black said.

Junker Joe created a giant energy echo of his crushing arm over a portion of the city.

"Oh, no you don't," Red said and pulled a Charge out of his belt and clicked it. "Gabe!" he called. Digitizing from somewhere, TyraZord appeared and Red threw the Charge Cell at him. It grew larger and clicked into a slot inside the Zord's mouth. "TyraZord Dino Charged!"

He jumped up and landed on the now running Zord's shoulder. Gabe roared and jumped, kicking into the giant monster. He spun backward and landed on a building nearby.

"Hey you guys! Great news! Dru and Cheech can combine with Gabe," Cammi informed them cheerfully.

"Great! Druscilla!" Pink called, pulling a Charge from her belt, clicking the spine and tossing it. It grew bigger just as the pink TriceraZord digitized into existence. It clicked into her mouth. "TriceraZord Dino Charged!"

"Cheech!" Blue called. He pulled a Charge from his belt, clicking the spine and tossing it. The blue StegoZord with gold plates digitized. The embiggened Charge Cell clicked into place in his mouth. "StegoZord Dino Charged!" He jumped and began spinning, his plates glowing blue and crashed into the giant alien.

Red jumped down from TyraZord and landed by the others. Pink and Blue stepped forward to join him. "Snapping Megazord!"

The three Zords combined to form a Megazord with a shield in a one hand and a drill-lance as the other arm. The body of the TyraZord made up the shoulder and chest area, with TyraZord's head on one shoulder. Red, Blue, and Pink were teleported to a colorful cockpit inside the Megazord.

"Well, that's interesting," A black clad Taylor said from behind Black and Green as they gaped up. the Megazord. They turned, startled at his voice.

"You two were very late," Rena said from beside him. They nodded dumbly.

The three Knights of Discord were confused. "How did that..." Argo wailed.

"Are they allowed to do that?" Rozza harrumphed.

"Cool," Cobi declared.

Inside the cockpit of the Snapping Megazord, the three Rangers marveled. "This is so awesome," Blue said.

"Yep," Red said. He put his DinoVolver in a slot in the console beside him. Pink and Blue followed suit. "Now let's get this done," he said.

"Right," they agreed.

Junker Joe began firing energy at them, but they pushed through it. Using the StegoShield and TriceraLance, they lashed out. The monster sparked a little but came back with a more powerful energy attack. The Megazord bounced back with surprising agility.

"All right, guys. Time to end this," Red said. He pulled out another Charge from his belt. The other two held one up as well. They clicked the spines and inserted them into the consoles. Energy from the three Cells began to charge the one in Tyra’s mouth. "Snapping Combination Vanquish Charge!"

The TyraZord's mouth opened, and electricity crackled. The Megazord turned and a fired a ghost image of the TyraZord's head at the monster. It crashed into Junker Joe and exploded. "Crush you!"

The three Rangers teleported back to the ground. They powered down and joined their friends, who also powered down.

"Good going," Rena said.

"We'd love to do the debrief thing, but we seriously need to go," Scott told them.

Lydia gasped. "Yes, sorry Miss H, Taylor," she said. She grabbed Scott's arm and began pulling him toward her car. The parking lot was worse for wear but her car was still okay.

"Ditto, except, I'm about to fall out," Liam said.

"I can see that, sweetie. Go home and sleep," Rena assured him.

"But you two," Taylor said, gesturing toward Crys and Dylan who were trying to ease away, "aren't going anywhere," he said.

"So...head stands are just a Sensei Kane thing, right?" Crys asked hopefully.

"Don't give him any ideas," Dylan hissed.

"I didn't need the suggestions," Taylor said. "Come on," he said.

"It won't be so bad," Rena said. Dylan and Crys didn't believe her as the foursome teleported away.

---\/\/\---

When Lydia and Scott made it to DinoOps later on, they did indeed find Dylan and Crys standing upside down. Scott tilted his head. "You're looking a little red in the face, there, buddy," he told Dylan.

"Not funny," Dylan grunted. His arms were trembling. "Isn't it break time yet?" he asked.

"Sure," Taylor said from his usual perch.

Scott helped Dylan regain his feet, and Crys dismounted a little more gracefully. "How did the dinner go?" she asked.

Dylan leaned on Scott dizzily. "No. Don't say yet. I may have to barf first," he said heavily.

Liam appeared, looking a little more rested than he had before. "Wow. What did I miss?" he asked.

"Nothing yet," Lydia said with a wide smile.

Rena slid into DinoOps through a chute. "You didn't make them head stand this whole time, did you?" she demanded of her fiancée, looking up at him.

"Twenty-minute intervals," Taylor answered and hopped down.

"Where does that chute come from?" Liam asked, pointing at it.

"Our house," Rena answered.

"Did you guys have something you wanted to share?" Taylor asked Lydia and Scott.

Scott nodded. "Yeah. I guess. I mean, I wasn't thinking we were announcing it or anything," he said.

"Why not? We're all family now, right?" Lydia said.

Liam pointed to himself questioningly. Scott snickered. He slapped Liam on the shoulder. "Yep. You, too. Okay then. You're about to burst, Lydia. Do tell," he said.

Lydia grinned again. "They're getting married!" she said.

"Who?" Liam asked, confused now.

"Our moms," Scott answered.

"Cool. So you two are going to be brother and sister now?" he asked, gesturing to the two.

"If no one else saw that coming, I really am special," Dylan said dryly. Crys gave Lydia a hug and Rena congratulated them. Taylor smiled slightly but was distracted by his phone ringing. He moved away from the group to answer.

Even with aliens trying to conquer Earth, life moved on. People found their soul mates in unexpected places and made plans for the future. It was the Power Rangers duty to safeguard this future. Not only for themselves but their loved ones as well.

---/\/End 02\/\---
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Old September 30th, 2017, 02:42 PM #10
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Power Rangers Ninja Fury

Power Rangers Ninja Fury
Preview: Is Normal too Much to Ask?


A young man walked through some leaf covered forests with a back-pack slung over one shoulder. He was olive complexioned, had dark eyes and blonde hair that was cut short on the sides. Thanks to his parentage, he felt he looked like an east Asian idol with a bad dye job. He was a long way from home.

He didn't run away exactly. He preferred to think that he was on walkabout. That sounded better. After all there was no reason for him to run away. He was a perfectly healthy and happy alien-hybrid living in a realm of magical creatures with his magical sorceress mother and his giant-mace wielding father. They loved him, he loved them. And his extended family, his mother's sisters and their significant others. And his grandmother, the mother of all magic (it was a title).

He was curious about the wider world, however. Places where spell books weren't people's first readers, and arcane language arts wasn't required schooling. Somewhere normal. Yeah, normal. So, he crept out of his home one late night with all of his worldly possessions stuffed in his backpack, which held more than one would think. He knew that his mom would probably freak out a little bit, but he was fairly confident they wouldn't come after him too quickly or send the cavalry. After all, at his age, his father and his twin sister were travelling through dimensions, hunting interdimensional criminals for the bounties on their heads.

A walk around California was a walk on the beach in comparison. Sometimes literally. Besides, the young man was avoiding problematic areas where there were Power Rangers once upon a time. So he avoided Angel Grove like the plague. That was almost his second home anyway. Been there, done that.

He stopped walking, a sound penetrating his thoughts. He had heightened senses and perceptions. It would be his luck to inherit the spidey-senses some members of his family had. Not that he was complaining when they saved his hide. He dropped to his knees as something flew over his head and exploded a tree in front of him. He covered his face and rolled into a ball to protect himself as pieces of wood and splinters showered down over him.

He stood and turned around. "Dude! What was that?" he demanded, dusting himself off. He and another creature blinked at each other. The creature was a white nine-tailed fox demon in a mask, baggy yellow and gray pants. A deep sleeved kimono was covered in leather, fur trimmed armor. It's arms ended in claw-like hands, but the feet were too animal-like for shoes. It wore a mask over it's face that had red markings under the eyes, and a mane of dark, greenish hair was pulled into a long braid that hung down it's back. For all that, it was short, and slim, like a young boy. The decorative hammer that returned to its hand looked almost too big for it, but it held it with ease.

The fox-demon flattened its ears and snarled under the mask. "Tremble before me, human! Leave here! You are trespassing!" it said in a voice that sounded like a young kid trying to appear older.

The young man dropped his head back. "Is it because I ran away from home or because I'm a Goldsmith?" he asked the heavens but got no answer.

The fox-demon snarled again. This time it ran forward and jumped up, holding the hammer above its heads, preparing to crush the young man. "Ogre Summoning Hammer!" it yelled.

Van Goldsmith jumped backwards a few feet, but he still felt the earth shake under his feet as the hammer met the ground. The fox-demon was moving again. Van barely managed to avoid being crushed. Whatever his initial thoughts were about the thing, it was fast and strong. "Okay, kiddo. You wanna play?" he asked. He dropped his back pack and held out a hand, a large spikey mace appeared in it.

The fox-demon narrowed its eyes. It took in a deep breath as it scented the air. "What are you supposed to be, anyway?" it asked as it warily circled the young man.

"Didn't you hear me? I'm a Goldsmith," he said and ran toward the demon with his mace. The demon charged forward. The two weapons met. They strained against each other, eye to eye. Van's eyes widened when his mace gave out. Even as a dark exoskeleton formed over his skin, the hammer crashing into him was still one of the most painful things he'd ever felt. He flew off his feet and crashed into another tree, taking it down in the process.

The demon rested the hammer against one of the tigers' heads that adorned each shoulder of its armor. "So a Goldsmith isn't that spectacular after all," it scoffed.

Van sat up and shook himself, the exoskeleton disappearing. He sighed. "I just wanted to try out the normal thing. Was that so much to ask? I mean I know I'm not. I just wanted to try it out," he complained as he got to his feet. He knocked some dust and debris out of his hair. His friendly face had lost all humor and his glared at the demon.

The fox-demon slunk back warily. Maybe a Goldsmith wasn't something it wanted to trifle with after all. "Stay out of my way. Next time you won't like what happens," it warned him. It threw something on the ground that erupted a cloud of greenish dust. When the dust cleared, the demon was gone.

Van collapsed on the ground with a sigh. "Augh," he said and flopped backwards. He was more tired and hurt than he let on. "This is not going to end well," he groaned. Grumbling to himself, he got to his feet again, and looked for his backpack. When he found it and picked it up, there was something stuck to it. It was a blue shuriken made up of four triangles fitted around a circle. It was a key chain with a clip that was clipped to his backpack. He frowned and groaned again. "Here we go," he grumbled. He unclipped the shuriken and it began to glow. It grew in size to fit his palm. It began spinning, throwing off a blue light that engulfed him. He didn't know where he was going to end up, but he knew normal was no longer part of the equation.

٭ ٭ ٭
End
٭ ٭ ٭
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Old September 30th, 2017, 02:48 PM #11
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Project Omega

Project Omega
A Power Rangers Movie


2030
S.P.D. Prisoner Containment; New Tech City

The room within Delta Command was highly guarded. Two uniformed officers with side-arms stood in front of a plain looking door. It was located deep within the bowls of the base, but it housed the most dangerous criminals in the galaxy ever to be contained by S.P.D. operatives.

It was the most boring job. No one ever tried to get into that room.

Ever.

Cadets charged with guarding it were inevitably bored and one was even dozing off where he stood. The other one was playing a game on a hand-held device. Neither of them noticed the gray spider crawling along the ceiling. There was a scary moment when the door slid open. They scrabbled for their side-arms, but there was no one to be seen. They walked into the room and checked everywhere. They even heat scanned in case someone was using an invisibility cloak. Nothing.

They radioed their superior officer and asked for further instructions. They were told to return to their posts and that a tech would be down soon to check the door. They walked out and the door closed behind them.

The spider crawled out of it's hiding spot. It changed shape into the form of a young Asian man with short spiky black hair and dark gray eyes. He was dressed casually in jeans, a tee shirt and sneakers, instead of some cliche'd evil villain get up. "Too easy," he said to himself. He looked around. He was a room filled with little labeled drawers, reminiscent of a bank's safety deposit box room.

"And everything is neatly labeled. How kind of them," he said and walked over to drawer and began reading the labels. "Here we are," he said when he found the right section. He began pulling out cards. "Boring," he said and flipped it over his shoulder. "Boring. Boring. Boring. Hmm, these two might be fun," he said and kept two of he cards. He flipped through a few more, kept another one before getting bored and throwing the rest down. He paused when he found a card containing Emperor Grumm. "You wish," he said and threw it aside with the rest.

After some more card shuffling he finally found the cards he was looking for. "There we go," he said. He threw down four of the five cards and held one. "Sorry it took so long, sis," he said. He tossed the card in the air. He produced a staff and thrust it upwards. A beam of energy from the staff zapped the card.

A wind whipped the other cards around as the card glowed. A whirlpool of energy formed and a girl dropped out of it. She was an Asian girl with similar features as the young man. She wore a pink, slightly outdated S.P.D. uniform. She got to her feet and dusted herself off. She was highly annoyed. "All that work and planning. Ruined," she said and stomped a foot. She gripped her forehead. "I'm getting a headache. How long was I in there, Zuko?" she demanded.

"Five years. Sorry. I would have been here sooner but I was detained myself," he answered.

She made a somewhere between a scoff and snarl. "It's fine. Allying with the Troobians was a disaster on all fronts. And after all the trouble I went through infiltrating S.P.D., getting on A Squad and then corrupting the others," she looked down at herself and made a face. A puff of smoke enveloped her and her appearance changed. Her hair went up into a high ponytail and a punky pink/purple/black body suit with black leather boots to her knees, the heels of which were neon pink. A feathery shrug and a corset topped off the ostentatious outfit.

Zuko made a pair of sunglasses appear over his eyes. "Now I can look at you, Tamiko," he remarked. "We need to go," he said. He looked around and smiled. He waved his hand. All the drawers flew open and cards spilled out. Sirens began going off.

The two guards ran in. In all the confusion of the cards flying around, they didn't notice the puffs of smoke as the two siblings disappeared, no longer worrying about stealth.

~-~-~

Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

Sydney Drew opened her eyes and felt woozy. She groaned and sat up in her bunk. She rubbed her head trying to remember why it was hurting. The last thing she remembered was Commander Sky Tate telling her that she was being transferred from B-Squad. That had surprised her. She'd been B-Squad Pink for the past five years. She and Bridge Carson were the only remaining members. Sky had been promoted to Commander and now ran the facility. Bridge had been promoted to B-Squad Red and Elizabeth 'Z' Delgado had transferred to the junior cadet facility to work with Commanders Johnson, teaching and training their younger cadets.

Sky had called both she and Bridge into his office on her birthday no less. "It's time to make room for fresh cadets to prove themselves. Both of you are being transferred," Sky had told them. "Bridge, you're being assigned to Galactic Command Interrogation Unit as per General Cruger's orders. Syd," he hadn't even bothered to look at her, the big jerk, "you'll be briefed on your assignment when you arrive."

That was the last thing she remembered. She hadn't even had a chance to ask questions or protest. Everything just went dark.

She paused and looked around. This wasn't her room. She shared a room with Kendra Johnson, the fresh-faced B-Squad Yellow. This was bigger but there was only one bunk. She looked around. All her things where there. "What is going on?" she asked the empty room shrilly. The headache was fading. She ran a hand through her curly golden hair and gasped. Her Delta Morpher was gone. "Someone owes me answers," she said. She marched toward the door. It opened easily.

She poked a head outside the door. There was no one in the hallway but several more doors. She headed down the hallway. When she came back to her room, she realized the corridor was a loop. She studied each door carefully then. She smirked in triumph when she found a lift. She pressed the button beside it and the doors whooshed open. "Destination," a computerized female voice requested.

"Command," she said. Her stomach gave a lurch as the lift began moving. She could feel that she was going down. She gasped as the lift cleared and revealed the ocean around her. She dropped through the teeming sea life for several yards. The Tube darkened again. Within moments the lift stopped. "Omega Project Command Deck," the voice said as the door opened.

"Thanks," Syd said sarcastically.

"You are welcome," the voice replied.

Startled by the response, Syd stepped off the lift, giving it a dark look. She looked around the Command Deck. There a lot of computer terminals. She jumped when a holographic woman appeared in the middle of the room.

"Forgive me for startling you," she said in the same voice as the lift operator. "I am Beta Z, I am the central computer of Project Omega. Please wait while here while the other's assemble," she instructed.

Syd nodded numbly. She couldn't believe she was looking at a computer. Beta Z noticed her looking and smiled. Freaky. It was like it was alive or something.

The lift opened and Beta Z's voice announced the Command Deck to two other people. They both wore S.P.D. uniforms. The tall blond with green eyes wore a uniform was splashes of navy. The other one was younger than either of them. He had black hair and blue eyes. His uniform was splashed with black. They were talking as if they were familiar with each other. Syd knew neither of them even by sight.

"Maximilian, Zeke," Beta Z greeted.

"Beez!" they both said, surprised.

"And don't call me Maximilian," the younger guy said. He spotted Syd and grinned. "Well, hello," he greeted.

"Down boy," the one called Zeke said as if talking to a puppy. "What's this all about?" he asked the hologram.

"Please, a little more patience," Beez beseeched them. Three screens lit up with three different people on them. All seemed to be in their 40s. One of the men was a blond with glasses and short hair. He wore a set of coveralls and had a grease smear on his cheek. Another was a woman with a haphazard blond bun in a lab coat. The one in the middle was a guy with dark hair, dark eyes, and a neat goatee. None of them looked like S.P.D. personnel to Syd.

"Dad?" Max asked. "Or Mace, because I totally get you guys mixed up. Wait no. Mace doesn't have a dead badger on his face," the young man remarked.

The blond guy in glasses started laughing.

"Most kids respect their parents," the man said.

"Quit braying, Danny," the woman said with a sigh though it was obvious she was trying not to laugh as well.

Syd cleared her throat. "Um, excuse me," she raised her hand. "Hi. Abducted from Delta Command no idea who any of you people are. Can we get on with the explanation part?" she asked.

Zeke smiled. "Quite right," he agreed. "Abducted from KO-35 Delta Base. No clue what's happening either," he said.

"Jeeze, Dad. Seriously?" Max said said.

"It was necessary. We apologize. It's best none of you know where the Omega Base is located. You're the only ones who'll ever be there. We will communicate with you via these terminals and others located throughout the base. I am Dr. Davis-Doyle--"

"Feel free to call her Dr. Billie," the blond man interrupted the woman, earning him an exasperated eye roll. "I'm Dr. Daniel Kennedy. Danny is fine," he added.

"And I'm Xavier Hart. You can all call me Commander Hart," he said and pinned Max with a stern look.

"Dad, you retired. Like five years ago," Max said, ignoring the look completely. "Remember? You punched Commander Birdy in the beak and you quit instead of getting fired," he prompted, as if trying to stir his father's memory. The two scientists started laughing again.

"Yes, I am quite aware of those events. However, once Commander Cruger took over S.P.D. He asked me to return to help with a special project, which I will tell about if you would stop flapping your lips for two minutes. Remind me again why he was chosen for this," he said to the doctors.

"He's a Hart," Dr. Billie shrugged, as if that explained it all. "He did the whole over-achieving, top of his class, acing all the tests Hart thing," she added.

Max grinned.

Syd raised her brows and looked at the young man in a new light. He couldn't even be out of teens yet but it sounded like his record was impressive.

"We're still waiting for the explanation," Zeke reminded them.

"Right. As Billie was saying, you're the only inhabitants of Omega Base. The location is secret. You are allowed to leave. You will be outfitted with the ability to teleport. Each teleport will be scrambled so that no one can trace you. No one knows this base even exists. Only a few people even know about Project Omega. Your needs there will be fulfilled by Beez's droids. You'll have anything and everything you need." Commander Hart stated.

"So what is Project Omega?" Syd asked.

"A fugitive retrieval unit loosely connected to S.P.D."

"Loosely?" Syd asked. That sounded strange.

"As Cadet Hart pointed out, I'm officially retired from S.P.D."

"And we don't work for them," Danny added. Billie shook her head.

"Then I don't understand," she said, flabbergasted.

"We started Omega Project as a favor for Commander Cruger. Well, I did and I knew there were only three people in the galaxy that could help me do what he wanted done. We're autonomous. We are the Omega Project. Billie," he prompted.

Three devices appeared on the console. They were Morphers. They also seemed to have a motorcycle throttle attached to them. They were familiar to Syd. The Beta Z hologram turned out to be tactile. She handed one to each of them. Syd gasped. "But this looks like the Omega Ranger's Morpher!" she declared. "But it's ten years too early for that," she said.'

Billie snorted. Danny grinned.

"What am I missing?" she asked. She hated feeling foolish.

Zeke strapped his Omega Morpher on his arm. "Danny and Billie are geniuses. Put them and Danny's wife together and you get an Omega Ranger ten years earlier than expected," he explained. Max was nodding. He strapped on his Morpher on as well, grinning like a banshee.

"Watching footage of the Omega Ranger and analyzing scans taken around Delta Command, Danny and I were able to replicate the technology of the Omega Morpher. Dr. Holly Kennedy was able to replicate the Zord. We were also able to expand the technology into three distinct designations."

"Zeke Rahl was chosen for his experience and job performance at the Kovarian Delta Base. Not because if lineage," Commander Hart said. "None of you were," he added before anyone could say anything about Max. "Maximilian Hart, as stated has been at the top of his class on the Mirinite Delta Base. Sydney Drew was chosen for her experience and job performance, not only during the Troobian Crisis but since then as well. Though Bridge Carson was promoted to Red Ranger when Sky Tate was promoted to Commander of Delta Command, it was you who led the team and kept up efficiency," Commander Hart explained.

Syd felt her cheeks warm. She couldn't argue with that. Bridge was a great Ranger, but his leadership skills left much to be desired. She was regularly put in charge of assignments since Sky was promoted. She felt a sense of pride in that.

"Omega Project was activated ahead of schedule. All of you, especially you Cadet Drew, know about the break-in at the Prisoner Containment Room of Delta Command. We finally know who was taken out of containment. It is not good news," Billie said tightly.

A fourth monitor lit up. A face was displayed along with her S.P.D. records. "I know her! She was on A-Squad," Syd declared.

"Tamiko Morita. She worked her way up the ranks and made it onto A-Squad within a few months due her mental aptitude and physical prowess. She was A-Squad Pink and believed to be corrupted by Grumm.

"We now know that to be false. She is actually Tamiko Repulsa. She is a very powerful sorceress. We've been able to find out through various sources that she was the one who corrupted the others through their bond as Power Rangers," Commander Hart said.

"Too bad. She's seriously hot," Max said.

"Billie, you didn't clone Rex when no one was paying attention, did you?" Danny asked.

"You can blame that on genetics pure and simple," Billie answered.

"The person responsible for setting her free is her brother Zuko Repulsa. He has the ability to turn into a spider and basically strode right into the Containment Room," Commander Hart continued on, ignoring them.

The picture changed to show the young man. "He's as dangerous as his sister and as powerful. We have reports that while Tamiko was posing as a member of S.P.D. he was Broodwing's source on Onyx, keeping the empire in supply of weapons and robots. He also smuggled several criminals to Earth at the time, using his magic and charging an exorbitant fee."

There was a long pause.

"Well, what changed? Why did it take him so long to free his sister if he could seemingly do it at any time?" Zeke asked as he studied the information.

"He was trapped in a jar," Danny answered.

"He was what?" Syd asked, not sure she heard correctly.

"He has an aunt. She can be pretty hard core when she wants to be. She's usually the Librarian but she used to be an inter-dimensional bounty hunter. She trapped him in a bottle on Onyx when she found out what he was doing. Up until recently he was kept on Eltar. He was finally being relinquished to the custody of his parents after several magical contracts were rendered so they wouldn't release him from his jar for a period of so many years. I don't know, Taran starts talkin' about that stuff, my brains turns to mush," Danny shook his head.

"The transport vessel was trapped in an asteroid storm. His bottle got broken when the ship was hit. Within a week of freeing himself, he freed his sister. He also took these three known criminals." Commander Hart directed their attention back to the screen. "Devastation, his little brother Shorty, and Bork. Three of S.P.D.'s most formidable foes from the past."

Syd winced. She remembered them quite well. "Oh dear," she murmured.

"These files will be available for full scrutiny, right?" Zeke asked.

"Correct," Billie answered.

"So, these Morphers," Max prompted.

"Project Omega Rangers. Zeke Rahl, you are the Omega Ranger. Sydney Drew, you are the Sigma Ranger. Maximilian Hart, you are the Zeta Ranger. Your mission is to contain or destroy the three escaped convicts Devastation, Shorty and Bork. You will then send them back to S.P.D. Containment. Your orders for Tamiko and Zuko are to neutralize and detain. Once you have contained them you will be given a set of coordinates where you will meet with three people. You will hand over the Repulsas to them. Are these orders clear?" Commander Hart said professionally.

The three Rangers stood at attention. "Sir, yes, sir!" they answered.

"You are dismissed until you are called to duty. If you have any questions, Beez can answer them or contact one of us," Commander Hart said. His screen went blank. Danny gave them a little salute and his screen went blank. Billie's screen just went blank.

Max clapped his hands together. "Well, this will be interesting. Beez! Mess hall?" he asked.

"Just get on the lift," Beez answered.

"Let's go chat over food. Whatever they doped me with made hungry," Max said to the others. Syd realized she was hungry as well. She agreed with Zeke nodding his consent. The three of them entered the lift. It began moving.

Syd was frankly overwhelmed. She didn't appreciate the beauty of the open ocean when they passed through it again. "OK, do you two know each other?" she finally asked the two men,

"We've met a few times over the years," Zeke answered.

"Oh," she said and couldn't think of anything else to say. Finally the lift stopped on the living ring. A glowing arrow in the floor directed them to the mess. It was a large facility meant for more than three people. "I get the feeling there's supposed to be more than three of us," she said.

Max was grinning. "Nah. This place was abandoned years ago by some marine research scientists," he said.

"How do you know that?" Zeke asked.

"I snooped when I was home for Christmas. Saw some information. Didn't know what it was for. I'm a smart boy though. I put two and two together," Max said. He walked into the kitchen area and found it stocked with all sorts of food. "Bull's eye," he said. "You guys go sit. Cooking's on me this time but we should probably divvy up the duty," he suggested.

"Good idea," Zeke agreed.

"Your funeral," Syd said and gave them a cute smile. "I burn water," she declared and went to sit at a table in the dining area. She looked at her Morpher. It was amazing. She was still stunned she was chosen for this, though. She wondered if Sky was aware of what her reassignment was. Probably not. It didn't seem like they wanted many people to know about this.

Zeke sat down across from her. He pulled a chip from his pocket and pressed it. A holographic tablet was activated he touched a few things. He was a quiet one. "So, Zeke Rahl from KO-35, what's your story?" she asked in a friendly way.

He glanced at her. He really had pretty green eyes. "Not much. My family helped get a Delta Base established on KO-35. My dad and uncle were given commissions without having to go through training. I joined up when I finished my studies. I've been career ever since," he answered.

Syd sighed. "How exciting. What was your designation on KO-35?"

"Special Contingent Astro Ranger Silver," he answered.

Syd's mouth dropped open. "But Astro Rangers are independent. They're original," she said, her eyes wide.

"I am aware of that. The Kovarian Council, upon which sits my mother, made a deal with S.P.D. and allowed the Astro Rangers to be S.P.D. officers," he answered.

"You mean...no way," she shook her head. "You're one of those Rahls?" she asked.

Zeke sighed. "Yes," he answered simply. He seemed to be annoyed by her questions so she shut up.

"Well, if anyone is interested in me," Max chirped as he came into the dining area and sat down, "I am one of those Harts," he declared.

"Yes, yes, we're all aware of that," Zeke said.

Max ignored him and flashed a stunning smile on Syd. She had to admit, it was a killer smile. Syd shook her head. "I figured that out when you called Commander Hart 'dad'," she remarked. "What does being one of those Harts mean?" she asked.

He seemed appalled she didn't know. "You'll say I'm bragging so I refuse to answer," he said finally. He stood and went back into the kitchen.

Syd laughed. Zeke rolled his eyes. "You know?" he asked.

She gave a delicate snort. "Of course I do. The History of Power Rangers is one of the first things you learn when you make it to B-Squad," she said. "I've actually met his aunt Rena," she answered. "But, it wouldn't do to make his head even bigger than it already appears to be," she added.

Still pouting, Max returned to the dining room with a piping hot pizza. Syd made sure to praise his kitchen prowess to make up for teasing him earlier. That seemed to mollify him a bit.

~-~-~

Palace on the Moon

Tamiko paced around her parents throne room in a palace on the moon. For the past few weeks since her escape she and Zuko were making preparations for their attack on Earth. They made sure their parents were conveniently away from the moon. They'd scoured the remainder of the Troobian Empire. What they managed to find were some Kryobots and a giant robot. Space Patrol Delta had been quite thorough in cleaning them out and confiscating their weapons of war.

She was still dressed in her neon and feathered monstrosity. Zuko lounged in his father's throne. He was idly playing with dark clay, shaping a face. "We have plenty of this stuff so we won't run out of Dark Putties. There are even a few Giant Putties waiting for the kiln," he said.

She nodded. She looked at him and scoffed. "Dress properly," she snapped.

He rolled his eyes. He snapped his fingers, black leather with gold armor bits appeared on him, a spider emblazoning the center of his chest piece. "Better?" he demanded.

She waved her hand dismissively at his get-up. "Too...Goldsmith," she spat.

"I don't know, they had good taste," he said but snapped his fingers again. The armor changed to be less bulky but blood red and resembling human muscle in some places. A Z circlet appeared on his head. He spread his arms waiting for approval.

Tamiko clapped. "Perfect! Almost just like Grandfather in his glory days," she said approvingly.

He nodded and got to his feet. He walked to an ancient mounted spyglass overlooking the Earth. "All seems quiet. Where do we hit first?" she asked.

"We're going to hit Angel Grove with everything we have," she announced. "No more long game," she said. "Where are the cards?" she asked.

Zuko spread his hand and three cards appeared in them. He tossed them into the air and raised his staff. Each of the cards was hit with energy.

Three swirling vortexes appeared and spat out three beings. One was a green skinned alien with huge hands and dreads. Another was similar but had smaller hands and red dreads. The third alien was red and dressed like a martial arts master.

Tamiko snapped her hands and collars appeared around her necks.

"Hey, what's this? What's going on?" The green skinned alien, Shorty, demanded as he pulled at his collar.

"A little insurance that none of you will walk off now that you're free from S.P.D. containment," Zuko explained.

"How dare you? Who are you?" Bork, the martial artist demanded.

"You can't do this me. I am Devastation," said the final criminal as he pulled at his collar.

Tamiko made a fist. The collars began emitting pain signals to the criminals and they fell to to their knees. "We are the children of Widow and Roki Repulsa. Does that ring any bells?" she asked.

The criminals looked at them aghast. Although they had one failure to their name, Earth, the duo of Widow and Roki Repulsa had wreaked havoc on unprotected planets throughout the galaxy. They'd even crushed quite a few Power Ranger teams since their failure on Earth. They still made Earth's Moon their home, but they were rarely there.

"How can we serve the Prince and Princess of Evil?" Bork finally asked.

Tamiko smirked. "That's better. We have a task for you. Earth is a nuisance. It's vastly becoming a center of power for Good. It's frankly annoying," she said and rolled her eyes. "We're going to destroy Angel Grove as a parting gift," she said.

"Parting gift?" Bork ventured to ask.

"We have an opportunity in the far reaches of the galaxy that has our interest. If you succeed, you'll have your freedom," Zuko answered.

"And all we have to do is destroy this Angel Grove?" Devastation asked.

"Yes. You'll be given what's left of the Troobian Empire's Kryobots and a large contingent of Dark Putties. And there's a giant robot as well," Zuko answered.

"When shall we begin?" Bork asked.

"Now," Tamiko answered.

Zuko tapped his staff on the ground. The three aliens disappeared. "Let's go watch the fun," he suggested.

"Yes, let's," Tamiko agreed.

The two of them disappeared in wisps of smoke.

~-~-~

Syd was putting on some mascara. She had blue eyes that were slightly slanted. Her skin was a perfect golden hue. Her curly blond hair was naturally multi-faceted with gold and dark strands. She was slim and fit and not too tall or short. In other words, she was gorgeous. She really hoped that wouldn't cause problems with her new team mates. That would suck. She blew her reflection a kiss and walked out of her room. She headed toward the common room they'd found. It was in the center of the ring from what she could reason. It was spacious and circular and was the only door on that side of the hall besides the lift. There was even an entrance to the lift inside.

She stopped short when she walked in. Zeke sat in an open area, stripped to the waist and staring at a set of hovering metal utensils. Not only where they hovering in the air, some of them were bending and changing shapes. There was a look of absolute concentration on his face.

She squeaked when something flew over her head. She looked and saw that was a small mechanical bat.

"Sorry about that," Max said and held his hand out. The bat flew to his hand and shifted shapes. It turned into a boxy octagonal thing with a black Japanese Kanji on in. "It likes to fly every now and then. It kept bumping into the walls in my room," he explained.

Syd nodded slowly.

Max grinned suddenly. He held out his hand. One of the spoons Zeke was working with suddenly began to whirl around. Zeke frowned and the other utensils clanged to the the floor as he concentrated all his energy on that spoon. It was now vibrating and both of them had such intense looks of concentration on their faces.

Syd snorted. "Neat trick. Are you both telekinetic?" she asked as she went to find something to watch on the television.

"Nope. My dad's genetic ability to create a metallic coating over his skin didn't transfer to me the same way. He's Collosus and I'm Magneto. I can control the magnetic fields around certain metals," he explained. He dropped his hand and the spoon zoomed against the wall and clanged to the floor.

Zeke got to his feet. He gave Max an annoyed look. "You look tired," he told her as he put his shirt and jacket back on.

Syd pouted. She thought she'd did wonders with her make-up to hide that. "I don't think I slept well. I don't remember tossing and turning or having weird dreams. I just don't feel like I've slept," she said. She pulled a compact out of her pocket and checked her reflection. She looked flawless. How did he realize that she was tired.

"It's in your eyes. You're face is perfect," Zeke explained, startling her.

"Do you read minds too?" she asked with a huff.

"No. I'm hyper observant," he answered.

"Maybe you sleep eat. There was some food gone from the kitchen when I made breakfast," Max suggested. He eyed her body. "It doesn't show though," he assured her.

Syd gasped and checked her figure. "No way! I've never sleep-walked in my life," she denied.

"Let's check. Beez, security footage from last night?" Zeke asked.

"There is no need for surveillance here. There is no security footage," Beez's voice answered.

"No, there are cameras. I've noticed them," Zeke argued.

"There is no security footage," Beez replied.

"Beez, is there some reason you're refusing to show us the footage?" Max asked. There was silence.

Syd was beginning to get a really bad feeling. "Please, Beez, show us the footage," she said.

"There is no footage," she repeated again. "There is, however, criminal activity in Angel Grove. Teleporting you now," Beez said.

Before any of them could argue, they arrived in a war zone.

Kryobots and Dark Putties were wreaking havoc on the peaceful scene of Angel Grove. "Any sign of the fugitives?" Syd asked.

Zeke gave the area a thorough glance. He pointed. A building several miles away began to crumble. "We have to get through these guys first," he said.

Max nodded and pulled a black whistle out of his pocket. He blew on it. It was no ordinary whistle. The sound it made was high pitched and painful to the Kryobots and Putties. "S.P.D. Cease and desist immediately or face immanent destruction. This is your only warning," he said loudly in a professional manner.

There a half a beat as the creatures stared at them before returning to doing whatever they're instructions were.

"Wow, that worked so well," a voice drawled behind Max making him jump. They turned to see two tall teens with Asian features holding long swords. They were near mirror images of each other.

Max cleared his throat and puffed his chest out a little bit. "Citizens, please seek safety. Allow the professionals to handle this situation," he said.

The two of them shared a look then grinned at him. "We're your back-up," one of them said and nodded behind them. Several other teenagers, a few of them similar enough in looks they could be related, also stood with swords. Syd realized they were all wearing similar black body-armor reminiscent of ancient Japanese armor but much more stream-lined and slightly more Ninja-like. A geometric flame symbol was splashed over their hearts.

"This is Shiba Clan territory. We'll leave the Power Rangering to you, but no one's going to mess with our park without us interfering," the other twin said.

"Fair enough," Zeke said. The two nodded and pulled masks over their faces. The other teenagers followed suit. They drew their swords and swept into the onslaught. Before Syd could ask anything, he cut her off. "We'll explain later. Let's get to the fugitives," he said. "Omega Project!" He held up his arm and folded out the throttle of his Omega Morpher. He gave it three sharp twists. "Omega Form Activation!" A bright flash of white light transformed him into a Power Ranger with a white and navy powersuit with gold details. A chest piece piece formed with an Omega symbol on it. A helmet formed over his head that was identical to the one from five years earlier.

"Omega Project! Sigma Form Activation!" Syd gave three sharp twists to the throttle of her Sigma Morpher. A bright burst of purplish light transformed her into a Power Ranger with a dark silver and purple powersuit with gold details. A chest piece with a Sigma symbol on it formed. A helmet formed over her head.

"Omega Project! Zeta Form Activation!" Max gave three sharp twists to the throttle of his Zeta Morpher. A bright burst of silvery light transformed him into a Power Ranger with a silver and black powersuit with gold details. A chest piece formed with a Zeta symbol on it. A helmet formed over his head.

~-~-~-~

Zuko and Tamiko stood on a tall building not far away, observing the destruction with part glee and part distaste. Tamiko frowned when the Rangers showed up. "What is that? That's not right! He's not supposed to be here!" she said shrilly when she recognized what was clearly the Omega Ranger even if he was slightly different than her memories.

Zuko glanced over and gave a shrug. "Even with the Shiba Clan's help, they're outnumbered. The fugitives will level Angel Grove before they can make a dent," he said in a blase fashion.

Tamiko glared at him. "You never take your evil heritage seriously enough!" she snapped.

"Evil. Good. It's never ending. I'm looking out for me and you. You wanted to level Angel Grove, we're leveling Angel Grove," he said and gave a negligent shrug.

Tamiko scoffed. "I think you spent too much time in that bottle on Eltar," she growled.

Zuko frowned slightly. "Not really," he said. "I have no desire to sacrifice my time to the greater good," he assured her with a grin. "There's nothing in that for me," he added.

She still seemed annoyed with him but went back to watching the action.

~-~-~-~

Beside the teeanged Samurai of the Shiba Clan the Omega Project Rangers dove into the fray with the Kryobots and Dark Putties. Sigma had to admit she was amazed by the skill of these kids. They handled their swords like masters. Another mystery to get to the bottom of. Even with their help, there was a lot of foot soldiers to get through. With a frustrated sigh, she popped the throttle on her Sigma Morpher. "Brace yourselves," she warned the kids. She gave the throttle three sharp cranks. "Fist of Thunder!" Lines on her glove lit up and punched the ground with her fist. A shockwave rippled the earth toppling enemies and zapping them electric power.

She was amazed and impressed that somehow the suit was customized to work with her genetic power. Before she could contemplate too heavily on that, she was attacked again. In the distance they could still hear the destruction the fugitives were causing.

Zeta kept glancing in the distance as another building went down. He seethed slightly. He might not live in Angel Grove, but it was like a second home to him. He hated seeing the wanton destruction happening. "Oh, Kryobots," he called out in a sing-song sort of way. He popped the throttle on his Zeta Morpher and gave it three sharp twists. "Magnetic Expulsion!" Lines on his glove lit up. Suddenly the Kryobots, being made of metal, began to slide toward him. They struggled against the pull. When they all got within a few feet of him, he made a fist and the magnetic field he'd created turned into a magnetic pulse. The Kryobots exploded around him.

Omega was impressed by his teammates. He knew Commander Hart would have only picked the best but with Max being so green, he'd worried slightly. He shouldn't have. Sydney Drew was also impressing him. People did not give enough respect to the Pink Rangers. She was amazing. A little mysterious, but amazing. He also had to give props to Dr. Billie and Danny. The suits were even more powerful than what he knew of the Omega Ranger from the future.

He was a master of Kovarian martial arts but there were so many foot soldiers and the fugitives were still at it. He popped the throttle on his Omega Morpher. "Time to amp it up," he declared and gave it three sharp twists. "Reality Warp!" Lines lit up along his gloves then spread across his entire suit. Everything slowed down to a crawl around him. He began moving, not even needing to touch putties as his own telekinetic energy was channeled through his suit. Within five second, he was on the other side of the park and time caught up to him. Dark Putties disintegrated in his wake.

Sigma and Zeta appeared beside him.

A tall girl approached. "We have this from here. Go take care of that over there," she said and used her sword to point to where another building went down.

"Right," Omega agreed.

"Good luck, Schy!" Zeta said. She gave a brief wave before turning and going to help her little brothers get rid of the rest of straggling foot soldiers.

Omega, Sigma and Zeta ran to where the latest building fell.

~-~-~-~

"Leveled before they can make a dent, huh?" Tamiko scoffed.

"We've amped up the cons. They won't have an easy time with them, besides half th city is down," Zuko pointed out helpfully. Tamiko rolled her eyes.

~-~-~-~

They were having contests to see who could bring down the largest building in the quickest times. Shorty used his oversized hands to punch weak spots in the buildings while Bork used the whip on his head. Devastation was just viciously attacking.

"Omega Blasters!" The three aliens were blasted by high powered side-arms belonging to the Omega Rangers.

Devastation and Shorty reacted strongly to the sight of the Omega Ranger. "It's you," Devastation accused, pointing at him.

"Not quite. I'm better," Omega said as he holstered his side-arm.

"Hi, Shorty. Long time no see," Sigma said to the short green alien.

Bork smoothed out his outfit. "We're better, too. Our new mistress has given us a power boost. You only thought I was dangerous before," he said with a smirk in his voice.

"Yap, yap, yap," Zeta grumbled. "Fugitives, it is our duty to inform you that you will be arrested for fleeing custody. Surrender now or face the consequences. This is your only warning," he said. He knew it wouldn't be that easy, but now they couldn't say they weren't warned.

Bork's only response was to whip his head at the young Ranger. He back-flipped out of the way. "Well, I guess we're doing it the hard way," he said and ran forward to engage the so-called Ultimate Master. He stayed too close for the alien to use his ultimate weapon. His collar began to glow. Each movement began to get a little faster.

Sigma made out like she was cracking her knuckles. "Fist to fist. Let's go," she said.

"Don't think you can match me, little girl," Shorty sputtered. He swung one of his massive fists at her. She ducked and attempted a sweep kick. He jumped to avoid but she got him with an uppercut as she came up. Shaking with rage, Shorty began to throw punches with amazing speed and accuracy. That was new. His collar was glowing.

"Devastation has a bone to pick with you," the dread-locked alien told Omega.

"Then let's not waste any more time. You will be apprehended and returned to containment," Omega stated. Devastation didn't answer. He rushed at the Ranger. Omega met him head-on. The collar began to glow and his hits became harder and faster. It was all he could do to keep up with them.

Collars glowing with menacing light, the three aliens unleashed waves of energy. The area around them exploded, sending the Rangers flying.

~-~-~-~

Tamiko smirked. "Good. Angel Grove will be leveled in no time," she declared. "Maybe we should go down, knock over a few buildings?" she suggested.

"That's why we have grunts," Zuko said, shaking his head.

Tamiko pouted. "You're no fun," she accused.

"Just smart. I wouldn't count those Rangers out just yet," he said as the smoke began to clear.

~-~-~-~

The aliens were about to go back to earning their freedom when the smoke cleared. Zeta coughed and got to his feet. "I think we have a problem here," he said.

Sigma and Omega climbed to their feet.

"Let's crank it up," Omega said and popped his throttle. He gave it five sharp twists. Lines began glowing along his powersuit.

Zeta popped his throttle and gave it five sharp twists. Lines on his gloves began to glow and spread over his entire powersuit. Bork whipped his head in an attempt to head off whatever was coming. Zeta grabbed it and pulled the alien forward. He lashed out with his other hand, open-palmed. His hand met Bork's chest and the resulting explosion put them both down.

Sigma popped her throttle and gave it five sharp twists. Lines began to glow along her glove and spread over her powersuit. Shorty's collar began to glow and they rushed toward each other. Shorty punched out but she deflected. He quickly followed with his other arm. She expected and counted on that. She deflected and got between his arms and twisted, smashed both her fists into his chest. There was a bright flash and explosion.

Devastation's collar began to glow again. Omega ran toward him. They met in a clash of fists and limbs. Each blow knocked Devastation back. Omega jumped and kicked Devastation in the chest. He connected with a tremendous fash of light and large explosion.

Beaten and broken the the aliens regrouped. The Rangers regrouped as well. By the time they realized that their collars had been destroyed, the Rangers were already making their next move.

On the opposite hip as their side-arms they pulled hand-cuff looking devices. "Fugitive Retrieval Activation!" They activated the cuffs and tossed them. They spun through the air, seemed to disappear mid-way only to reappear around the fugitives' wrists. Each of them began to glow as they were digitized. When the glowing stopped, Containment Cards appeared in their hands.

"Fugitive Bork contained," Zeta declared and slid the card into his Morpher, which instantly send the card to the proper authorities.

"Fugitive Shorty contained," Sigma said and slid the card into her Morpher.

"Fugitive Devastation contained," Omega said and slid the card into his Morpher.

Zeta crossed his arms over his chest and looked around expectantly.

"What?" Omega asked.

"I might be the rookie but I know it never ends this easily," Zeta answered.

"You're right," Sigma agreed as two Giant Dark Putties and a Giant Robot appeared and began to wreck things.

"We should have done this from the start," Tamiko declared as she piloted th robot, firing a laser at a building.

Zuko stood behind her. "I rebuilt this heap from scrap. Let's just hope it doesn't fall apart," he said.

She reached back and smacked him, tired of his attitude. "We'll just have to fortify it," she said and began to channel magic into it. It changed shaped slightly, growing more armor plated with several gun turrets forming, including a shoulder mounted laser.

"You just had to go and open your big mouth," Sigma scolded Zeta.

"Tamiko and Zuko Repulsa are up there. Time to take this to the max," Omega said and popped his throttle. His gave it a single crank and pressed a button. "Omegamax Cycle!"

"Sigmamax Tri-Cycle!"

"Zetamax Quad-Cycle!"

A giant police cycle came speeding down the streets of Angel Grove followed by a quad bike and motorcycle with two wheels in front and one in back. The Omega Project Rangers appeared in the cockpits of the Zords.

"They have Zords. Big surprise," Zuko drawled.

"It won't do them any good." Tamiko declared. She launched a volley of shots at the three Zords and the world exploded.

"Don't smirk too soon," Zuko warned her as the three Zords powered through the smoke.

"Giant Putties! Get them!" Tamiko ordered.

The two large featureless creatures turned from their wanton war path and charged th Zords.

"Max, take one. Sydney, take the other. I'll keep the robot busy," Omega said.

"Right," the other two agreed.

Zeta piloted the four-wheeled Zord toward one of the Giant Putties. His controls were very much like handlebars. He accelerated forward and pulled, sailing over the Putty's head. He landed and turned sharply, spinning out in a loop-de-loop fashion, crashing into it's legs. He stopped, wheels smoking, facing the Giant Putty, and grinned.

He flipped a button. Rocket launders extended from the sides. "Targeting system online," he said as his screen lit up with a target sensor. It lined up and began blinking. "Target locked. Firing." He flipped another switch and the missiles launched.

The Giant Putty saw the missiles coming toward him and he tried to run away. The missiles were faster than he was. They connected in a massive explosion.

Sigma piloted the three-wheeled Zord toward the other Giant Putty. She accelerated sharply. The Giant Putty saw her coming and braced himself for the impact. She braked suddenly and her back wheel came up. She twisted the controls and turns. She pressed the accelerator again and the back wheel spun out in the Putties face. She jerked the controls again and righted herself. She smirked. "I could get used to this."

She flipped a button a rocket launchers extended from her back fender. "Targeting system online. Target locked. Firing!" she launched a massive missile that hit the dazed and confused Putty in a great explosion.

Omega eyed the Robot and revved his Zord a few times.

Tamiko narrowed her eyes. She pressed forward.

Omega accelerated. He popped a wheelie and crashed into the robot. The robot retaliated by firing at him. He was hit and went spinning. When he came to a stop, he was smoking and damaged. He flipped a switch and rocket launchers extended from his sides. "Targeting system online, Target locked. Firing!" he launched twin missiles that crashed into the robot in a massive explosion.

The three Zords regrouped. As the dusk cleared, the Robot was still standing.

"Looks like we might make it after all," Tamiko told her Negative Ned brother.

He wasn't listening. All his energy was going into the Robot to keep it afloat.

"It's never easy. Omegamax Megazord Activation," Omega activated the Megazord sequence. The Omegamax Cycle began to change shape. It shifted into a helmeted Megazord.

"Sequence engaged," Zeta stated as the Zetamax Quad-Cycle began to break apart and form armor for the Megazord that was reminiscent of police issue riot gear.

"Sequence engaged," Sigma announced as the Sigmamax Tri-Cycle began to break apart forming a helmet with visor, a shield and a a night-stick.

The three Rangers appeared in a joint cockpit. "Omegamax Megazord!"

Tamiko growled and held up her arm cannon and fired a volley of devastating blasts at the Megazord. The cockpit sparked wildly and dangerously. But, they'd managed to get behind the shield which absorbed most of the blast.

"If we're all okay, let's put an end to this," Omega prompted.

"I'm ready. You ready?" Zeta asked Sigma.

"More than," she agreed.

They began to rev their throttles. The night stick began to glow. Then the shield. "Omegamax Megazord Fugitive Bust!" They lashed out with the shield to nock the giant robot back then they spun the night stick and brought it down hard. Energy explodes, destroying the Giant Robot.

Tamiko and Zuko jumped out just before it exploded.

"They're on the run! Don't let them get away!" Sigma said. She and the others two teleported to the ground and engaged in a foot chase though the ruined streets of Angel Grove.

Tamiko and Zuko came to a barely intact parking lot of a ruined mall. They skidded to a halt and turned toward the rangers. "We were just leaving, but before we do, we'll get rid of you!" Tamiko shouted and summoned a staff. Zuko summoned a staff of his own.

"You didn't beat me last time and you won't this time," Sigma told her.

"Stupid little girl. Don't you get it. Last time we met, you thought I was just like you. You have no idea what I'm capable of," Tamiko said. She and Zuko crossed staffs and unleashed a stream of magical energy at them.

The boys were thrown back, their morphs fading, but some instinct made Sigma stand her ground. She crossed her arms in front of her. The energy knocked out her morph but she seemed to not need it as something strange welled up inside of her. Magical energy met magical energy. There was a strange harmonious sound as the three powers met. Then there was an explosion that blasted all three of them. It was the last thing she remembered.

She woke up with Zeke hovering over her, checking her vitals. She blinked at him. She gasped and sat up. "What happened?" she asked, looking around.

Max held up two containment cards. "We were hoping you could tell us," he said.

Zeke gave a brief smile that softened his face immensely. "We have the coordinates on where to take the cards. Let's go," he said and helped her to feet.

Still confused as all get out, Syd nodded. They teleported.

~-~-~-~

Many years ago, a tear appeared in dimensions. Briarwood found itself the gateway from Earth to the Mystic Realm. Eventually, the denizens of the Mystic Realm made their way into Briarwood itself. Today the city is a melting pot of human and creatures from what they call the Wood.

The Mystic Realm is home to many powerful magicians. There were three that strove to keep the balance of magic in the universe. Good, Dark and Chaos. It all had to be kept in check. That's where three magical sisters came in. Daughters of the Mystic Mother, formerly the most evil Space Witch ever to travel the stars, Rita Repulsa. Rei, Zita and Moriko Repulsa formed the new Magical Tribunal despite attempts from their predecessors to prevent them from doing so.

These three sisters had dangerous jobs and so they needed protection. They bestowed magical armor onto three men. These men were their Guard. Sora van Zandt was a half Triforian who protected Rei. Grifforzer was the son of Scorpina and Goldarr but now dedicated himself to Moriko. Titus was a clone of Grifforzer and his sister Lammy but found his calling in giving himself to the protection of Zita.

It was these six individuals who were waiting outside the entrance to the Mystic Realm for the Omega Project Power Rangers when they arrived.

Max blinked and looked around. "Briarwood? I should have guessed," he said.

"Why? What's going on?" Syd asked, putting her hands on her hips.

"I believe they can explain," Zeke said quietly. He was very familiar with Sora and Rei. His father had been Sora's sensei and he often visited KO-35. They gripped forearms in greetings.

"I'll let them do the talking. I'm just the muscle," Sora said in a faintly accented voice. The Irish lilt somehow right on the Asian featured face. Zeke nodded.

Rei smiled. "We need to speak with them," she prompted Max, nodding toward his cards.

"Right," he said and dropped the cards on the ground. He pressed a button on his Zeta Morpher. The cards de-digitized the two younger Repulsa's but they remained cuffed. They looked abashed when they saw three of their aunts and two of their uncles looking at them.

"Oh, this is not good," Zuko said. Tamiko mutely shook her head

"I'm glad you realize the gravity of your situations," Rei said.

"We were leaving. Just let us go?" Tamiko said hopefully.

"Yeah. We going to where Mom and Dad are," Zuko said in a placating tone.

Griff, a rather large man even if he wasn't very tall crossed his arms over his chest. "Kid, you just better be glad I asked Lammy to stay on Eltar with Taran. She was not pleased with you," he said.

Zuko's shoulders dropped. "C'mon, Uncle Griff. I had to get Tamiko out of containment. You get that right?" he asked hopefully.

"We get that," Moriko assured him. "But, it's what came next that concerns us," she said and glanced at her niece.

Tamiko shrugged. "I won't apologize," she said stubbornly.

"Of course not," Zita said. "But, you know what's coming now," she said.

Zeke started. "Wait a sec. She's a fugitive from S.P.D. custody," he said.

"We understand your concerns but we discussed this with Rex. You won't be held responsible for anything that happens from here on," Rei assured him.

"What's going to happen?" Syd asked. She didn't understand what was going on. She was also still reeling from what happened in Angel Grove.

"We're going to banish them from Earth," Zita answered. She approached Syd and looked her over. She touched her forehead.

Syd felt an electric thrill go down her spine.

"Is she ready?" Mori asked excitedly.

Zita nodded and stepped away. "She's ready," she answered with a smile.

"Ready for what? What's going on? What happened?" Syd demanded, and stamped her foot in frustration.

Tamiko and Zuko were also looking at her. Tamiko had a stubborn look of denial but Zuko seemed interested.

Rei said and reached out and laid a calming hand on her arm. "Twenty-some years ago, in Angel Grove, the Alpha Rangers battled with Zita and Roki Repulsa. Widow came along and married Roki. Even while Zita's true nature was being revealed, Widow and Roki were starting a family. They had three children. A set of triplets. There was Tamiko, Zuko and Umeko," she said quietly. Tamiko and Zuko nodded mutely. They had vague memories of their sister.

"Widow, you see, hated her older brother, Taran--"

"The White Wizard?" Syd asked.

Griff and Titus snorted in amusement. Even after all this time their big brother hated being called that.

"Yes," Zita said. "You see, when Taran, known then as Tarantules, was a child, he was caught in the wave of good magic that Andros released when he freed Zord from his inter-dimensional tube. He no longer had the predilection for evil so his parents sent him to Earth to live a normal life. Taran was destined for greater things than hiding in a cornfield in Kansas. He became a hero and Widow hated that."

"Hate is a mild word," Moriko stated. "Especially after he gained access to his magic. She ignored her parents edict that she not directly face him in battle several times. One of these times was when she was carrying. Taran hit her with a spell. We thought it'd had no effect on her but something strange happened. One of the babies absorbed it," she said and tapped her lip thoughtfully.

Rei nodded. "For a time, Widow and Roki tried to teach her evil, but it soon became apparent that she wasn't. In a rare moment of doing something selfless, Widow contacted us. We took Umeko. We bound her magic and repressed her alien physiology by using DNA from the people we chose to raise her as their own. We hadn't realized at the time that they'd also been physically changed due to their help developing the prototype Delta Morphers," she added thoughtfully.

Syd had a lead weight in her chest. "Please tell me your talking about Z," she said quietly.

The three women shook their heads. Titus gave a brief grin. "Show her what Lammy and Taran look like," he prompted Zita.

Zita drew two circles in the air. They shimmered. Eventually one showed a tall blond woman with curly hair in a white and gold robe talking with a tall lean man with brown hair. Her eyes were bright blue. The other window showed a tall man with curly blond hair and the same bright blue eyes talking with a pretty redhead. The resemblance was uncanny.

Zita waved away the portals.

"I need to sit down," Syd said Zeke caught her before she hit the ground and lowered her down. "Are you telling me that my parents aren't my parents and that I'm an alien?" she demanded.

"As far as your parents know they're your parents," Moriko said. "I wouldn't go accusing them of telling you things they didn't know. It was an added step to protect you from what we like to call the Taran-Widow Effect," she said and glanced at her other niece and nephew.

Zuko shook his head. "Why worry? It's awesome," he said.

Tamiko scoffed. She looked away and didn't comment.

"It was never meant to be permanent. The magic we used on your body and your powers are already unraveling. You even feeling it without realizing it. You may have noticed food going missing?" Rei asked. "You've also been shifting forms."

Syd gaped at them. "Last night. I felt like I didn't sleep and food was missing and Beez wouldn't show me the security footage," she said and struggled back to her feet, feeling less faint.

"At our request. You weren't to be faced with your true self until we could reveal it to you," Rei said. She looked at her sisters and they nodded. Syd suddenly found herself surrounded by them as they joined hands. They closed their eyes and tipped back their heads. Syd gasped as a rush of something spread through her and suddenly she knew the rightness of what she'd been told. All her senses came alive. She felt a welling of power within her.

After a moment the trio stepped back. They smiled at her. "Welcome to the family," they said together.

Syd nodded quietly and looked at her brother and sister. Vague memories of them were starting to come back. She walked over to Zuko. She smiled. "Going through the motions as usual and now you'll be banished," she scolded him.

Zuko frowned. "I don't wanna get banished," he told his aunts.

Zita raised her brow. She walked over to him. She put a hand on his chest and he gasped in pain and went to his knees. "What was that?" he demanded, panting hard.

"You'll stay here in the Mystic Realm," Zita said. "You can let him go, Max. He's no threat. I reduced his magic to that of a child," she assured him.

"Okay but just remember, I deny all responsibility. You talked to my dad about it," he reminded them before releasing the cuffs. They disappeared from around Zuko's wrists and reappeared at his side.

"Sora, take him to Clare. She'll begin his apprenticeship immediately," Rei said.

Sora nodded. "Give your dad my best," he told Zeke.

Zeke gave an acknowledging wave. Sora dropped an arm around Zuko's shoulders. "C'mon. Best to do what your aunts say," he said and led him to the Mystic Realm.

"I'll come visit!" Syd called after him.

He gave her a brief wave and a smile. He walked with Sora into the Mystic Realm. They walked for some time before passing a tall red head with bright blue eyes dressed mostly in white. She gave Sora a familiar smile and a brief wave before hurrying on whatever her chore was. Zuko's gaze followed her, even going so far turning around to watch.

"C'mon, lover boy. There'll be time for that later. If you even have a chance," Sora said, snagging the other man's armor and pulling him along.

The girl glanced over her shoulder as if feeling his gaze. Even as he walked backwards, being dragged by Sora, he gave her a smile a wave. She gave a brief wave back and continued onward. "I think I have proper motivation to behave myself," he said.

Sora snickered. "We'll see," he said and continued toward Root Core. He was glad Zuko was embracing his punishment.

Tamiko wasn't taking her punishment quite as well. "You have no right to banish me and separate me from my brother," she told him aunts petulantly.

"Of course we do," Zita said simply.

"I'm sorry, sweetie," Rei told her kindly.

"We'll come visit soon and see how you're settling in with your parents," Mori promised and the three sisters circled around the girl.

"Congrats on being part of the most complicated family in the known universe," Max told Syd.

"I blame you for this!" Tamiko told Syd just before she disappeared in a bright flash of light.

"I don't think we quite avoided the Taran-Widow Effect," Moriko said.

"She'll get past it. Eventually," Griff said and gave a shrug.

"Now what?" Syd asked.

"Now...you return to your life and if you ever need us, just come back to Briarwood," Rei said and gave her a hug and kissed her cheek. Next Moriko gave her a hug and kissed her cheek.

Zita was the last to hug her and kiss her cheek. "You grandmother looks forward to meeting you but we understand that you probably want to be alone for awhile," she said, someone who knew about the need to be alone and digest life altering changes. Titus came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders.

"Zita, Rei, Mori! Mom needs you guys. There's trouble brewing in the Shadow Lands," the girl in white called out as she approached the group.

The triplets shared looks. "Work is never done," she said and the three of them followed by Titus and Griff. The two men gave Syd friendly waves and the group walked until they seemed to disappear.

The three Rangers looked at each other. "Can we just go back to base now?" Syd asked, suddenly feeling tired.

"Of course," Zeke agreed. Max gave her a thumbs up and the three of them teleported.

~-~-~-~

Syd sat in the Omega Base common room watching the footage of her door opening and a small gold scorpion run out of it. She followed it's progress until it came to the kitchen where it reverted to her in her cute pjs. Then she watched as she stuffed her face with anything that didn't have to be cooked to be edible. When she appeared to be satisfied she turned back into a scorpion and scuttled back to her room.

"No wonder Beez wouldn't show me this," she said and sighed. "I would have freaked right out," she said.

"Those sisters, they know what they're up to. Scary as all get out but they know their suff," Max declared.

Zeke nodded. "One on one they aren’t so bad, but all together even Rei's kind of intimidating," he said.

"Oh, that reminds me. Shiba Clan? Those kids?" she prompted.

"Samurai Rangers of 2012. Needless to say, what Tai Stapleton didn't want anyone else to know about that team, they didn't," Max said and grinned. He got to his feet. "Modern day Samurai protecting their Lord, their honor, and the world if necessary. And I just happen to be one of them. My whole family is just about," he said and gave her a light salute as he wandered out.

Syd sighed and laughed. "He's right. He does sound like he's bragging when he explains things," she said. Zeke chuckled. "Ooh, look you laughed," she teased.

"It's been known to happen on occasion," he said. They shared a smile. A long one.

Beez's voice interrupted the moment. "Rangers to Omega Base Command for a briefing on a fugitive spotted on Earth," she said.

Syd sighed and bounced to her feet. Zeke stood. "Time to bag and tag. You up for this?" he asked.

She nodded. "Always," she said as they headed out. They met Max at the lift and headed up to Command to learn about their new assignment. Syd looked out into the Ocean as they passed through it. Her life was a lot different than it was just a few days ago and she couldn't say it was a bad thing. She was looking forward to her new life as a magical alien with superhuman abilities. Watch out universe, the new and improved Sydney Drew was coming. So were the Project Omega Power Rangers.

~-The End-~
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Old September 30th, 2017, 02:52 PM #12
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Power Rangers Mystic Knights

Power Rangers Mystic Knights
Chapter 1: Welcome to Tir Na Nog


2031, Ireland

Tourists milled around a major, ancient landmark despite the gray mist that drifted around them and diffused the sunlight into a hazy, almost ethereal glow. Among them, a surprisingly tall Asian featured girl with long dark hair falling over one shoulder in waves. Green eyes were hidden under the bill of her black cap that sported a geometric fire emblem. Jeans, tee-shirt, worn in hi-top canvas sneakers, and a long flannel over shirt, finished off the innocuous look. She was taking pictures with a digital camera and a backpack was slung over her shoulder.

Smiling slightly to herself, Schylar Stapleton left the milling group. To her they just looked like a ruined pile of big rocks. Unlike most people in the world, she didn't doubt they once held some of mystical significance, but they really weren't much to look at now. She put her camera away and took out a map. Though she was hitting all the hotspots while in Ireland, her main goal in making the trip was a small town with a crumbling old keep. She'd seen pictures of it in an album her great grandfather had brought over from Ireland when he immigrated in the 1960s. She had no idea how to pronounce the town's name. Whenever she'd first asked for directions, her attempt earned her an odd look and laughter from an older woman.

Then she explained that it was near the general vicinity of Kells in County Meath. That'd been more helpful and the woman circled a spot on her map. "Don't know why you're goin' there, lass. Place is almost empty," she'd been warned. Schy had just smiled and moved on.

Now glancing at her map again, she realized she had long bus ride ahead of her. After finding her way to the bus station, she found the right one, looked at her departure time and bought a ticket. She sat in the station's uncomfortable seats and pulled her bag into her lap. She took a moment to send quick message to her parents in Angel Grove, California. She was in that in between state of graduating high school and starting college. So she decided to take this heritage trip.

She wanted to come to Ireland because it was a little explored part of her family. Her Korean grandfather, Hawaiian Grandmother, and Japanese Great Grandfather kept those parts of her in the forefront. Especially the Japanese quarter, which dominated almost every aspect of her life due to the fact that her dad was the Lord of Shiba Clan, a group of Samurai charged with protecting the world from certain dangers. He also had a legion of Ninja followers that all swore fealty to the Red Lord. Aside from all that, he owned a martial arts studio, heavy on the Kendo and way of the warrior stuff. The Irish part of her was a mystery. Which prompted her terrestrial summer trip.

Other parents might have worried about their teenaged daughters tromping around a foreign country by herself, but not Schy's. Not only she was a black belt in karate, and a kendo champion, she knew enough of several other martial arts to be able to handle almost anything that came her way. There was no real need to worry about her. After an initial quick week-long visit, the whole family; Mom, Dad, younger twin brothers Tyson and Lucas, youngest sister Emmaline, and Grandpa Akira; they left her to herself. As much as she loved her family, and missed them, it was actually kind of nice to be on her own for a few weeks.

"In a land where I can barely understand half of what people are saying and not a single Power Ranger or Legacy in sight. It's so nice," she said to herself as she put her phone away.

"Huh, and here I was thinking the same thing."

Startled, Schy glanced up and met the gray gaze of a blond guy about her age sitting across from her. A really cute guy her age. Not Hart level cute, but pretty close. "Excuse me?" she said and stared at him.

He gave her a pretty, dimpled smile. "Sorry, was surprised to hear another American, then I heard what you said and I wanted to commiserate. Name's Neall Bly. I'm from Briarwood," he introduced himself.

"You're a Bly. You're eyes aren't green," Schy said stupidly.

Neall tilted his head. "No, I take after my mum. I'm the least Bly looking Bly in existence," he agreed.

Schy blushed and laughed at herself. "Sorry. I'm Schylar Stapleton. Angel Grove," she said.

Neall whistled under his breath. "You win," he said. "Where you headed?" he asked her, leaning forward slightly.

Schy looked at her map. "I have no idea how to say it. When some lady pronounced it, sounded like Sushi Clash," she said.

Neall switched to the seat beside her and glanced at her map. He chuckled and tried to enunciate for her, but all she caught was "Shan" "Cash" and "Carn". "Weird. That's where I'm headed. Kind of an out of the way place for you to visit," he said, arching an eyebrow slightly.

"Apparently that's where my Celtic blooded ancestors hail from," she said.

He looked her over. "Okay," he said simply.

Schy couldn't stop herself from laughing. "My great-grandparents were from Sushi Clash," she said, deciding that was what she was sticking with. "The rest of them came from Japan and Korea mostly," she explained.

Neall nodded with a slight smile. "Still, it's kind of strange. I come from Briarwood and not much phases me in terms of weird," he said.

Schy frowned. "I'm not sure I want to know why it's strange," she said quietly.

"Probably doesn't mean anything," he said and got to his feet as a flat bored voice informed them that it was time to board their bus.

Schy got to her feet. "I'm from Angel Grove and if there's one thing I know; nothing is a coincidence," she said, slinging her backpack over her shoulder again.

Neall nodded as he grabbed his duffel bag. "Yeah, that's what I was afraid of," he said and headed toward the bus ahead of her. Schy was quiet. They didn't sit near each other on the bus. Instead, Schy sat down next to a black guy sleeping with a hoodie thrown over him, his face partially covered by the hood.

Neall, sat toward the back, managing to get a window seat and watch the scenery fly by.

~~~

Mena Morgan stood at the bus stop. She watched three people disembark from the bus that had just pulled up in front of the covered bench beside the long lonely road that stretched in either direction without much of anything else to say there was actually a town there. A bleary eyed black guy towered over the other the other two. He was lanky and slim but with absurdly wide shoulders. Short dark hair a cut closer on the sides of his head. He wore a hoodie to keep the mist at bay. Definitely not who she was expecting.

The slim, pale olive skinned girl in the cap definitely wasn't it either. So that meant that the blond boy was. And yet, three strangers had just appeared in place where no one ever came. In fact, most people were leaving the village little by little. Even her father had left for a time. Though, his duty brought him back, with Mena's pregnant mother in tow from India. "Are you the Gatekeeper?" she asked the blond boy, her dark brows furrowed dubiously.

Neall smiled. "That's me," he said. "Is there a problem?" he asked.

"Several. The first being that I've never heard of a male Gatekeeper. The next being those two. Did you bring them?" she asked.

Schy raised her brows at the other's girl tone. "I'm not with him and I know nothing about Gatekeepers, male or otherwise. I'm looking for Professor Kieran Morgan," she said.

"Me, too," the black guy stated quietly.

Mena frowned. "I wasn't told to expect so many people," she said and rubbed the bridge of her nose. "This doesn't surprise me. Me Da is the very definition of an absent minded professor," she said with a sigh. "I'm Mena, Professor Morgan's daughter. You, what's your business?" she asked Schy, pointing at her.

"I'm Schylar Stapleton. I made arrangements to stay at his place for a week or so while I check out my family's old house place and looked at gravestones and stuff. Typical American genealogical visit stuff," Schy explained.

Mena nodded. "Right. I think I remember something about that," she said. "I just didn't realize that was this week," she said and rubbed her head again. "What about you?" she asked the other guy.

"I'm Enzi Teague. Professor Morgan will know why I'm here," he said.

Mena frowned again. Not at them but at the father who was miles away with his head in old books and scrolls. "Let's go," she said and gestured to the old pick-up truck parked nearby. "Two of you will have to ride in the back," she said and began leading the way.

"No problem," Enzi said.

"Yep. We'll ride in back," Neall said with a smile and slight bow toward Schy.

"Part of me wants to argue that even as a woman I am perfectly capable of sitting in the back of a pick-up truck for a while. But the rest of me doesn't want to keep getting wet. Water is not my element," Schy declared and slid into the passenger side of the truck.

Mena gave a little laugh. Neall just chuckled as he and Enzi climbed into the back of the truck. The mist was getting drearier and the sky was getting darker. It wasn't really going to be a pleasant ride, but he didn't really mind. Enzi didn't say much either way. They began driving toward the mysterious town of Sushi Clash.

~~~

It was full dark, and the mist had turned into a solid rain by the time Mena pulled up to a large manor house that was in decent condition but looked tired. The boys were soaked, so Mena hurried them inside. "Hollsy!" she shouted, her voice echoing through the house. Presently a thin older man with a large nose and wild tufts of white hair appeared. "We have guests. Take them to their rooms. When they've had a chance to dry off and warm themselves, bring them to the library for tea," she instructed the old butler. "Da is in the library, right?" she asked.

"'Deed he is, miss. Where else would ye be findin' 'im is what I want ta know," Hollsy answered and then turned his attention to Schylar and the boys. "Follow me," he instructed. They didn't argue.

Mena went to the kitchen. "Mrs. Byrne, please prepare warm tea and a late dinner for me, Da, and three guests in the library," she instructed the plump elderly housekeeper, who was watching something on her hand screen.

"Sure as I will, miss," Mrs. Byrne answered absently, but Mena knew Mrs. Byrne would get it done efficiently despite her addiction to trashy television dramas.

Finally, Mena went to the library to find her father. He wasn't hard to miss. Long black hair was tied behind his neck. Tall, thin and with a long nose, he looked more like a Tolkien or Rowlings wizard than a university professor, which is what his profession usually was. The description was more than apt for a Druid of the Old Ways. "Da," Mena said to get his attention, as his long nose was currently buried in a rather large old book.

Kieran Morgan fixed his bright blue gaze on her and blinked. "There ya are. Where'd y'go?" he asked and scratched his head. He looked out the window and seemed startled to find it already dark.

Mena sighed. "I went to the bus stop to pick up the Gatekeeper, but he wasn't alone. There was a girl on a genealogy tour and another bloke who said you'd know why he was here. He said his name was Enzi Teague," she said.

"Yes! The Teague’s kept the Chalice. The Gatekeeper will need it," he explained, seeming to collect himself. "Schylar Stapleton is the great granddaughter of Deirdre Driscoll," he said. "It's just lucky coincidence that she's here at the moment," he said.

"Lucky coincidence that a descendent of the Kings of Kells is here when we're trying to open the Gateway to Tir Na Nog," Mena said, a touch of sarcasm in her voice.

Professor Morgan gave a bemused smile. "Well, I didn't think it could hurt," he said.

Having not been very wet, it hadn't taken Schylar long to change into less damp and travel worn clothes. "A descendant of what now?" she demanded from the library door.

"Don't worry. Old historical, mythic stuff," Mena said offhandedly.

"In my family there's no such thing as 'old historical, mythic stuff'. That's how my dad became the lord of a clan of Japanese warriors dating back over a thousand years," she declared.

Professor Morgan looked at her, eyes bright with interest. "Really?" he asked. "Fascinating," he said.

"Da," Mena said. "No getting side-tracked," she warned.

"Oh. Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Stapleton. After speaking with your father on numerous occasions, he sounds like a fascinating fellow. I should like to meet him sometime as well," he said.

Schy nodded and came into the library. If she wasn't quite so travel worn, she'd ask more questions. "What's Tir Na Nog?" she asked.

"It's the Land of the Fairies," Professor Morgan answered enthusiastically.

"Actually, it's part of the Mystic Realm. It's a very old name for the Mystic Realm itself," Neall answered as he too came into the library. "And not too far from here is the original tear between the realms, but when it was sealed off, a thousand years ago, the Land of the Fairies was sealed off as well," he explained.

Schylar nodded a bit. "Sure," she said. Not disbelieving but not knowing what else to say. Schylar believed in a lot, and she knew about Briarwood and the Mystic Realm in an offhand sort of way but had never been there.

"The Gatekeeper!" Professor Morgan rushed forward to shake his hand energetically. "I would have loved to meet your mother, but it's delightful to meet the first male Gatekeeper as well. How did that happen?"

"I was born first and Xandra can't use the Tiara," Neall answered, extracting his arm before it was shaken off.

"I suppose that would explain things, though it's not a first born thing, from what I understand. Udonna was older than your grandmother," he said absently.

"Don't ask me. Magic works the way it works," Neall finally answered.

There was metallic rattle that drew everyone's attention as Mrs. Byrne brought in several dishes of food, plates, cups and a teapot on a serving cart. Enzi Teague walked slowly behind her. He was carrying a small box. "The Chalice!" Professor Morgan exclaimed and claimed the box.

"I hope it's the right one. Took me and my Daddy ages to find out which plantation house belonged to the Teague’s back in the day and track down what went where after the restoration," Enzi explained.

Professor Morgan opened the box and pulled out a silver cup with runic etchings all around. It looked both old and brand new at the same time. There was a gleaming emerald set on the face of it. It gleamed as if intelligent. "This is definitely the right one. The Eye of King Fin Varra, as gifted to Deirdre of Kells before the tear between the realms was sealed," he said in quiet admiration.

He beamed. "Now we just need to wait until the moon is full," he said.

"Until then, let's eat. I'm famished and I'm sure our guests are as well," Mena said and invited everyone to sit and have tea and have something to eat.

Schylar knew this was none of her business but knowing the things she knew, she had to ask. "Are you sure opening this place up is a good idea? Wouldn't it have been sealed for a reason?" she asked.

"It was sealed away to stop the misuse of fairy magic by humans," Professor Morgan answered.

"Gatekeepers have been trying to open Tir Na Nog from our side for generations, but we finally realized what we were doing it wrong," Neall explained. "This side is where the seal exists. So we needed to find the original opening and we also needed something from Tir Na Nog itself," he said.

Schy nodded slowly and smiled. They seemed to know what they were talking about.

Enzi just seemed lost. He had no idea what was going on. Suddenly his Daddy was sending him on a quest all over Louisiana to find a cup his white, slave owning ancestors had once owned. Now he was in Ireland with a bunch of crazy people talking about fairies and magic. Schylar seemed a little saner than the others though. "You understand what they're talking about?” he asked. He was surprisingly soft-spoken given his size and his parents. His Daddy had a voice that could shake walls when he whispered and his Momma was just loud and crazy.

"Slightly," she answered. "If you'll all excuse me. I've been traveling most of the day and I'm exhausted," she said and left the library. Not long afterward, Neall and Enzi turned in as well.

Mena and her father were left alone quietly. "What if she's right? What if there's a reason we're not aware of for sealing off Tir Na Nog?" she asked.

"There's nothing in the old writings to suggest that," Professor Morgan answered.

"The old writings may not be complete. Not every Druid in our line was adept at keeping up with them," she said.

"I'm sure there's nothing to worry about. Besides you heard the boy. The Gatekeepers have been trying for generations to open the way as well. They wouldn't do it lightly either. Never worry. Why don't you get some rest? We have a lot of preparations to make," he said.

Dubious, still, Mena relented as well and went up to bed.

~~~

Schylar walked through an old graveyard full of headstones of her ancestors. Every now and then she would stop and take a rubbing. Though she noticed a couple of familiar names in an older part of the graveyard. "Teague and Bly," she said to herself. "Why doesn't that surprise me?" she said and narrowed her eyes. She gathered up her supplies and headed back to Professor Morgan's manor. The village wasn't very large so she could easily walk wherever she needed to go. She paused slightly when she started to pass the ruins of the old keep.

She wondered what the story was with that. She got the impression that though it was a pile of rubble now, it'd once held some great importance. Shaking off a vague feeling of ice running down her spine, she started on her way again. Her samurai senses were telling her that there was more secret power lying in wait in those ruins than in all of Stonehenge.

She began walking again and nearly jumped out of her skin when there was movement near the ruins. She automatically reached under the back of her shirt and pulled out a telescopic baton that she sheathed against her back, which she flicked out to full length. It was the approximate length and weight of the swords she was used to using.

Neall put his hands up and stepped forward where she could see him better. "It's just me," he said. "I wasn't trying to scare you. I was just looking at the ruins. They give me the heebies," he said and gestured toward the pile.

Schy relaxed. She pushed the baton back into its original shape and it disappeared behind her back again. "Me, too," she finally said.

Neall grinned slightly. "Didn't know you were in tune with the mystical world," he said.

Schy shook her head. "I'm not. Just well trained," she declared.

Neall cocked his head at her. He shrugged. He didn't know enough about her or how she was trained to say that wasn't true but there was definitely a mystical energy given off by this place.

"There's something definitely off around here. This is the point where my great granny Queen Marie would be talkin' about bad voo-doo and making all kinds of hand signs to ward off evil things," Enzi said as he approached the ruins and the other two and just for good measure, he did actually make a couple of the hand signals toward the ruins.

Neall smiled vaguely. "Maybe we should ask the Professor about them. I bet there's an interesting story," he said.

"Good luck getting a straight answer from the nutty Professor," Schylar said. "Oh, yeah, you guys should check out the graveyard. Interesting names there," she said and walked away from the ruins.

~~~

As moonrise approached on the night of the full moon, the Professor and Mena were very busy in the library doing who knew what. Even when Neall, the one who would actually be opening the way to Tir Na Nog, tried to help, they assured him there was no need.

"What do the sisters think about you opening this thing up?" Schylar finally asked Neall.

Neall blinked. "The sisters? You know about the sisters?" he asked.

Schylar cocked her head. "You didn't know? Zita's my godmother," she answered. "So, I ask again; what do the sisters think about this whole thing?"

"Who are these 'sisters'?" Enzi asked. They were all sitting in the main parlor of the manor house. Enzi, though quiet and soft-spoken, didn't really like sitting still unless he was sleeping, so he was pretty much prowling around the room.

"Three magical sisters who keep the balance among white magic, dark magic and chaotic or gray magic. They're the Magical Tribunal. They have a lot of say in the Mystic Realm. And if they weren't on board, I wouldn't be here," Neall assured Schy. "Though, is Zita really your godmother? How did that happen?" he asked.

"That is a long and complicated story. There's cherry trees and first born child type stuff involved," Schy said off handedly.

Mena joined them in the parlor. "Is the Gatekeeper prepared?" she asked.

Neall got to his feet. "Ready as I'll ever be," he said.

"Okay, we'll be leaving soon. And, if you lot don't mind, we'd prefer to have no interlopers," Mena said to Schylar and Enzi. She motioned for Neall to follow her. With a quick backwards smile and wave, Neall followed Mena and the professor as they left the manor.

Enzi glanced at Schylar. "You have no intention of staying behind, do you?" he asked.

"There's no reason for me to be worried about this. Its Repulsa approved. Neall doesn't seem to be worried and he knows more about this type of thing than I do," she answered and bit her lip.

"Let's go," Enzi said and grabbed for his hoodie thrown over the back of a chair. He didn't know much about all this stuff but he came from a long line of shaman and voo-doo practitioners. Aside from all that, he knew how to listen to his instincts. His instincts were telling him to listen to Schylar's instincts even more so than Neall. Neall seemed like an okay guy, but a little too trusting and easy going.

Schy got to her feet as well. They left the house.

Enzi's time in the Louisiana swamps and African plains were not only about visiting his respective family members. Learning to hunt, track and stalk no matter the terrain was a huge part of his early learning, even before the intensive martial arts training a future Sol Reaver was required to go through. Despite his size, he hardly made a sound as he moved in the darkness.

Schylar on the other hand, began the martial arts first thing. Moving without a sound, not disturbing anything around her was ingrained into her very being. Though her family was heavy on the samurai, her dad also commanded a legion of ninja. She picked up a few things there as well. Every now and then, in the mottled darkness, Enzi could see her seem to flicker before the struggling moon rays could fully reveal her location only to reappear for a few moments well ahead of where she'd been only seconds before.

She suddenly put up a hand and they stopped. "What's wrong?" Enzi asked.

"They went the wrong way," she whispered and knelt down. "They're headed toward the ruins. That's not where they should be going," she answered.

"How do you know?" he asked, crouching as well, seeing the tracks for himself.

"I've been all over this area the past few days. I found the seal. It had the same runic etchings as the Chalice you brought. It's in a clearing a few miles to the north. We need to hurry," she said and began moving again. Before they were just following along at leisurely pace, but now they were in a hurry.

~~~

Neall carried a silver circlet used to activate his Gatekeeper powers. He was following Mena, holding the Chalice, and Professor Morgan who had a bunch of papers. He glanced up at the sky. The moon would be at its highest point soon. But where were they headed? Surely not the ruins. "Professor? The seal isn't here, right?" he asked.

Mena glanced at him questioningly. "Why do you say that? Where else could it be?" she asked. "This area has the highest convergence of mystical energy," she said.

Neall nodded slowly. "Yeah, but I don't think its good energy," he said and scratched the back of his head.

Professor Morgan waved a dismissive hand. "It's just powerful, that's all. It's Tir Na Nog after all," he said.

Neall nodded. Maybe Schylar's pessimism was getting to him. His mother, the former Gatekeeper and current White Sorceress, and the Magical Tribunal had all signed off on doing this. They trusted Professor Morgan's reputation and his ability. Who was he to question the experts? He was just a kid.

Soon enough they arrived at the ruins. Professor Morgan began to speak in an ancient Gaelic language and bright, floating runes began appearing in the air.

"Da?" Mena said and looked at her father with a frown. There was something off about the runes he was calling.

Professor Morgan ignored her and set the Chalice on low crumbling wall of the ruins. The moon reached its apex and the floating runes and Eye of Fin Varra began to glow brightly in the moon light.

"Now, Gatekeeper!" Professor Morgan said loudly.

Neall took the silver circlet and put it on his head. The moonstone in the center began to glow brightly. In a bright flash of light dark purple and silver robes appeared around him. His eyes glowed briefly like living moonlight. He moved his arms in a ritualistic way. "Power of the Shining Moon! Behold the Gatekeeper!" He held out a hand and a long ornamental staff appeared in his hand. Wizard-like robes formed around his body.

The Eye of Fin Varra began to glow, another moonstone at the base of the head of the staff began to glow as well. The runes began to swirl, forming a spiral in front of the ruins between the Chalice and Staff. Neall's eyes flashed again. An arc of energy connected the two stones. Neall glowed in the moonlight as he channeled his energy into opening the barrier between dimensions.

"Stop! This is wrong place!" Schylar skidded to a stop as she beheld the sight before her. Enzi stopped just behind her, eyes wide.

"What do you mean?" Mena demanded.

"The seal is in an overgrown glade a few miles north of here. You didn't know?" Schy asked the other girl.

Mena didn't get a chance to answer. "It's too late to stop the process now. Soon the barrier to Tir Na Nog will indeed be open, but so will the barrier to the Isle of the Lost," Professor Morgan stated with a calm grin. Though nothing about his appearance changed, the air of the absent-minded scholar was gone.

"Da! No! The Isle of the Lost? What are you doing?" Mena demanded and moved away from her father.

Professor Morgan gave a laugh. "Dear sweet, Mena, your father hasn't been at the helm for quite some time. Somehow fitting, though, that the descendent of the meddling old druid Cathbad was to be the vehicle for the return of the Dark Faeries and Queen Nemain," he said.

Neall, could feel something had grabbed on to his power and was trying to redirect it in a way they wanted it to go. Sweat covered his whole body as he struggled for control.

"Who are you?" Mena demanded.

The face of Kieran Morgan glanced disdainfully at the young woman. "In all your learning, you surely know about Midar, my dear. I am Midar and after a thousand years, Midar finally managed to make himself present in this realm. Druids aren't what they used to be," he commented off-handedly.

Mena gasped and covered her mouth, eyes wide with shock.

"Neall, is there any way to stop what you're doing?" Schylar demanded of the glowing figure of the young man. Neall couldn't answer. It was taking is entire concentration to stop his power from being redirected.

Dark shadows began to seep out of the now glowing portal between the Chalice and Staff. Schy reached for her baton and flicked it out to full length.

Enzi cracked his knuckles since he didn't really have a weapon. He was coming to a sleepy Irish hamlet and didn't expect this kind of trouble.

The shadows gained form, mostly black with strange blank white faces. "Shadow Wraiths," Mena stumbled back from the figures.

"Just the first of the vast army Nemain and Midar have acquired on the Isle of the Lost all these many centuries," the evil fairy formerly known as Kieran Morgan stated with a wicked smile. "What a delightful accident that the Princess of Kells can be the first to fall," he said with a wild glee to his bright blue eyes.

"Yeah, well, assuming you mean me, I don't fall so easily," Schylar said and ducked as a Wraith came at her. She cracked the baton against its back and whirled to take on another one coming at her.

Wraiths also fell upon Enzi and Mena. The tall boy may not have been armed, but a solid punch cracked through what appeared to be a brittle exoskeleton and out the back of one of beings. It dissolved into shadows and he rounded another one and head-butted it, crushing its face.

Mena's main line of defense was watery healing magic. It wasn't much, but the Wraiths didn't seem to like it when she flung the energy at them. Still they kept coming. Enzi noticed her situation and jumped in front of her to cover her the best he could.

Meanwhile, Schy ran toward Neall. "We're going to try something. It may not be magic, but my spiritual energy should give you a boost," she said. Neall barely managed a nod. Schy took several deep breathes and calmed herself despite all that was happening around her. If there was one thing she knew how to do well, it was channel her ki.

"What are you doing? Stop!" Midar shrieked.

Neall felt Schylar's energy join with his as howling wind blew through the area. He was finally able to break free of whoever was trying to control his magic on the other side. Unfortunately it was too late to completely close the barrier back down. He only had one option and he went for it.

The people of the village of Sushi Clash could have sworn a horde of banshees descended upon them that night as wails and shrieks filled the air and a light like the moon exploding could be seen from the old ruins. Then all was silent as the moon disappeared and the mist crept in.

~~~

Angel Grove, California

Tai Stapleton sat in his office of the Watanabe Bushido Studio making phone calls. It's been over twenty-four hours since he or anyone else last heard from his eldest daughter and he was worried. When he tried calling Professor Kieran Morgan, all he got was panicked servants who didn't know where their master was much less their young house guests.

After hanging up with the Irish authorities, he nearly broke his phone as his genetic super strength kicked-in without meaning too. Not only was his daughter missing, but so was Professor Morgan and his daughter and two other young men. No one knew what happened and all the locals could say was banshees and will-o-wisps. It was frankly frustrating. Someone knocked briskly on his door.

"Yeah," he called.

A man dressed in a black suit bowed to him when he opened the door. "Sir, Mistress Zita and an Ifetayo Teague are here to see you," he said.

Tai raised a brow. "Well that certainly is interesting," he said. "Let them in," he said even as Zita Repulsa was already pushing her way past the man in black.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. No time for that, we have a problem and my goddaughter is smack dab in the middle of it. I suppose her son is as well," Zita said without preamble and gestured to the other woman.

The two couldn't be more different. Zita Repulsa was a slim Asian featured woman with a dark pseudo-Victorian sense of style. Not short or tall, yet she gave off an air of power.

Ifetayo Teague was a tall, statuesque black woman in an expensive looking suit. Her hair was a cacophony of braids that were pulled into a single thick plait. She eyeballed Zita warily. "What do you know about my son, space witch?" she demanded.

Zita raised a brow. "Don't you know, Reaver, I haven't been a space witch in ages?" she remarked.

Tai sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Okay," he said sharply, gaining both women's attention. "Fey, welcome to the Studio. It's been awhile. I didn't realize the young man Schy mentioned was your son. Zita seems to have answers, so let's hear her out," he said calmly.

Though Fey was nearly a decade older than he was, she obeyed and sat down in a couch in the small seating arrangement on the other side of his office. Zita sat as well, opposite her. Tai joined them, sitting at the bend of the u-shaped arrangement. "Does this have something do with what Schylar termed "weird magicky stuff" that she thought was kind of dodgy?" he asked.

Zita sighed. "She is your daughter isn't she?" she said with a slight smile. "Honestly, there shouldn't have been anything dodgy about it at all. I don't think it was the magic she found dodgy. I think it was Professor Morgan," she said.

"Are you going to explain in a way that makes sense?" Fey demanded.

"I'm just as worried about Schylar and Neall as you are your son," Zita told her sharply. The two glared at each other.

Tai cleared his throat. "Zita, please," he said patiently.

Zita fidgeted. "It was a simple task. There's a part of the Mystic Realm that's been sealed off for over a thousand years. It's called Tir Na Nog and is the oldest part of the Realm. We were trying to open it. Mother, my sisters, myself and Clare all did the research and discovered the barrier was in the terrestrial realm. We discovered Professor Morgan was the Druidic Guardian of the seal. His ancestor, the King of Tir Na Nog, and the Gatekeeper at the time all worked together to close the way to stop the misuse of fairy magic by humans."

"So, what went wrong?" Tai asked.

Zita shook her head. "My sisters and I investigated. We were betrayed by someone, and my educated guess is Professor Morgan. Instead of the actual seal to Tir Na Nog, he instead had Neall open a gateway to the Isle of the Lost, which is where Dark Fairies and evil human magicians were banished to," she said.

"Which prompted the whole, seal it off to stop the misuse of fairy magic, I'm guessing," Tai said. "So what happened to my daughter?" he asked.

"And my son?" Fey added sharply.

Zita frowned. "From the traces we've been able to ascertain that some dark magic began to seep through. Someone joined their power with Neall's and he was able to seal the Gateway behind him, but not before everyone in the area was sent to Tir Na Nog," she said. "So, good news is that they're all probably alive. Bad news is that the gateway there can never be reopened again. More good news, the way to Tir Na Nog is open in the Mystic Realm. Bad news is that the Mystic Realm is huge and we don't have airplanes. It will take a while to get to them, find them and bring them back. More bad news is they probably landed in a war between Good and Evil." She tried to smile brightly and add one more positive note. "Good news is that Neall's a wizard and Schy is your daughter! If anyone can survive a war between good and evil it's them!"

Fey deflated slightly from releif. "You really think my boy is alive?" she asked the crazy former space witch.

Zita nodded. "I'm positive. There was nothing to indicate that they're not alive. They're just hard to reach right now," she assured the other woman almost kindly.

"Who's this Neall you keep mentioning?" Tai asked.

"Oh, he's the Gatekeeper and the son of the current White Sorceress of Rootcore," Zita answered. "I just wanted to let you know that Schylar was alive and that we're sending a party to find her and everyone else trapped in Tir Na Nog," she said.

Tai got to his feet and walked out of the office. Zita and Fey hurried and followed him. "What are you thinking?" Zita demanded. She'd known Tai a long time. She knew he was thinking something.

He stopped and turned toward her. "I'm going to Briarwood, but I need to make a few arrangements first and whoever you send, I want one of my people in the party," he stated.

"Me, too," Fey said.

"Neall's a Bly," Zita told Fey. "Hayden is probably already aware of things and is meddling as we speak," she said.

Tai stopped and turned toward Zita. "Are you telling me that all three of the missing kids who have just been plunged into a war between good and evil are Legacies?" he asked.

"Well, technically, Fey's son--"

"Is blood related to Nyo, Wood and TJ. He is a Legacy. You better than most people know that coincidences like this do not happen for no reason. We aren't sending a rescue party. We're scouting auxiliary Power Rangers," he stated and walked out of the Studio to the outdoor practice area where students in gray gi-like outfits were attending a lesson on the Dual Sword Technique. The black trim on the gray uniforms told him that they were very advanced students.

Leading the lesson was their guest instructor, a young man with black hair and blue eyes and the stamp of a Hart written all over his pretty face. He stopped mid demonstration when he saw Tai and Zita and the other woman he didn't know. Just Tai and Zita were enough to make Max Hart motion for the students to be at rest and bow to their master. Tai bowed back and motioned for Max them.

"Doesn't he work for S.P.D.?" Zita asked as she eyeballed him.
"I do. What's wrong? Is this about Schy? Did you find her?" Max asked Tai. He had to admit to being rather wary around Zita. His last dealing with the sisters still left an impression.

Tai held up a hand to silence him. "I'm not sending Max," he told Zita. Max had to be back to work at the end of the week. It was just luck that since Max was stationed on Earth, he was able to devote a couple of weeks each summer to teach the class. "The boys are with Grandpa in the mountains and Em's too young, so I need a recommendation," he told Max and nodded toward the crowd of advanced students.

Max understood that whatever was happening, he couldn't help. It sucked since Schy was like a sister to him, but he had his duty to S.P.D. as well. "Well, there is someone. It's probably the same someone you're thinking of," he said. Max knew Tai well enough to know that he didn't miss anything.

Tai looked over the group. Most of the advanced students were older than Max's nineteen. Most in their twenties, some in their thirties. That's how it'd been as long as the Studio began offering the advanced training courses. Only one student had about a month ago who was about the same age came to the Studio and signed up for the advanced classes. Tai had rarely seen specs like his in recent years and was intrigued enough to test the kid himself. If there hadn't been a nearly twenty-five year gap in experience and knowledge, the kid would have been quite formidable.

Instead of being belligerent that a guy in his forties so easily bested him despite all his training, he'd just grinned and bowed down and asked to be his apprentice. Jarrett Donovan was an odd kid, but a likeable one. Tai thought of himself a good judge of character and the kid had character.

"Jett!" Max called out to the crowd. He motioned him forward. "Bring Schy home safe," he said to Tai and went back to the practice area, effectively trading places with Jarrett Donovan.

Not overly tall, but not short either, Jett was of mostly Korean descent. His eyes were dark and slightly too long hair was pulled away from his face. He was wide at the shoulders and athletic looking. He bowed to Tai. "You wanted me for something, sabunim?" he asked, still bowed slightly.

Zita had been eying him before Max ever called him forward. "How do you feel about going on a quest through a mystical realm to rescue a princess?" she asked him.

Jett looked up at them, confusion written all over his face.

"She's joking, no princesses to be rescued," Tai said.

Zita shook her head. "Oh, no, Red Lord. I'm perfectly serious. According to the records we found at Professor Morgan's house, you're the King of Kells," she said. "Thus making my god daughter a princess. It's fitting. My god daughter should be a princess, after all," she added with a smirk. "I like this one. He'll be a fine knight in shining armor for her," she said. "Pack your bags, kid. You're off to Briarwood," she told him.

Tai rubbed his forehead. "Lord of Shiba Clan, King of Kells. If you tell me I'm the Emperor of the Galactic Empire at this point, I won't even blink," he said and walked off to find Lani and let her know everything that was going on.

"I wouldn't doubt it myself!" Zita called after him with a laugh.

~~~

Schy groaned and opened her eyes. Sunshine poured down on her through the leaves of trees. She was laying on her back in the middle of a forest. She blinked her eyes and sat up. Her head pounded and she grunted in pain again. She tried to get her bearings and remember what happened. She got to her feet, putting aside the pain throbbing behind her eyes. She saw movement nearby but when she turned her head, whatever or whoever it was was out of sight. She rubbed her eyes and found her baton.

She looked around as she put it back in its holster. She didn't see anyone else, but surely she wasn't alone here, wherever this was. She cracked her figures and slashed the air. Briefly a character shimmered there and then wind swirled around her as she brought sounds to her. By combining Shiba Clan and Elemental Ninja techniques she was able to use her ki to control the wind. She could hear small animals, whatever creatures were watching her, and finally the sounds of three other people breathing and their hearts beating.

She began running toward the nearest breather. It was Enzi. She shook him gently. His eyes popped open. He was gripping the silver Chalice in one hand so tightly it was nearly crushed. He sat up groaning. "What happened? Where are we?" he asked.

Schylar shook her head. "I'm hoping Neall can tell us when I find him. Can you get up? Hurt anywhere?" she asked.

Enzi got to his feet and shook himself like a huge dog. "I'm a Teague. We can take more than that," he said and gave a wide grin.

Schy nodded. "Come on," she said and began heading toward the next nearest person. Mena was sprawled face down in a clearing. She had a few cuts and scratches but was otherwise in one piece. She didn't respond when Schy tried to wake her up, so Enzi just scooped her into his arms and continued following Schy, who at least seemed to have some idea what she was doing.

Neall was further away than Enzi and Mena had been. She finally found him in a clearing and for a brief moment, she saw several small faces watching over him before disappearing. She ran over to him and crouched, checking his breathing and pulse. He was very pale but everything else seemed okay. What was left of his circlet was nearby. It was blackened and cracked, but the moonstone seemed intact.
Enzi lay Mena down nearby. "You see the tiny people, too, right?" he asked Schylar.

She nodded. "I see them. I'm guessing they're Fairies and we somehow ended up in Tir Na Nog," she said. "What worries me a bit is that I don't hear Professor Morgan or whoever he claimed to be anywhere close," she said. "We need some water," she said. "Watch over them, I'll find some," she said. She slashed the air again, and closed her eyes. Wind swirled around them, she closed her eyes and searched for the taste, smell or sound of water. She finally found it. She grabbed the Chalice, since it was pretty much still cup like.

Enzi watched as she seemed to flicker away. "That girl is something else," he declared in admiration. He jumped out of his skin when Neall suddenly bolted upright, eyes glowing wildly for a moment.

He blinked several times and the glow faded. He looked around, seeing Enzi and Mena, and his gaze finally landing on the circlet. He slowly reached for it, aghast. "Hundreds of Gatekeepers before me, and I'm the one who breaks this," he complained. He fished the moonstone out of other pieces and put it in his pocket.

Schylar came back with the water. "Good, you're awake, maybe you can tell us what happened," she said to Neall as she knelt beside Mena. She lifted her head and carefully gave her some water. Mena sputtered and came awake at that. She looked around wildly. Schylar then passed the cup to Neall, who took a healthy drink before passing it to Enzi to finish off.

"Yeah, sorry about that. I kind of had to make a call and seal off the Gateway before it opened fully. From this side and everyone got sucked in with me. I sort of threw Professor Morgan toward the dark magic that was trying to manipulate my power, and tried to fling the rest of us in the opposite direction," he explained.

"So does that mean we're trapped in another realm?" Enzi asked.

Neall shook his head. "No. I managed to connect Tir Na Nog to the rest of the Mystic Realm again. But the Wood is a long way from here," he answered. "There's also the Isle of the Lost problem," he added.

"Yeah, what is that?" Schylar asked.

Mena sighed. "It's where Dark Magicians and Dark Fairies were banished to a thousand years ago when Tir Na Nog was sealed off. Somehow Midar's influence managed to seep through and possess me Da," she explained sadly.

"How was that possible?" Neall demanded. He felt stupid and angry for being used like that.

Schy stood. "Scratch at a stone wall for a thousand years and you're bound to make a hole," she stated and stretched. "We should find some food and then figure out which way to go to get home," she said. "Anyone know how to make or use a sling?" she asked. She wondered if it was possible to summon a blade here.

Neall and Mena objected at the same time, earning curious glances from Enzi and Schy. "You can't kill and devour the flesh of animals in Tir Na Nog. It's an insult against nature," Mena said.

"Do I look like somebody that can survive on nuts and berries?" Enzi asked and gestured to himself.

"Just until we leave the boundaries of Tir Na Nog, you'll have to. I'll start foraging," Neall said.

Enzi sighed. "I'll help," he said. He was used to making due in the swamps or the savannah and sometimes meat wasn't an option. The two boys left the clearing.

Schylar sighed and sat back down next to Mena. "Sorry about your dad," she said lamely. Mena just nodded vaguely. She wrapped her arms around bent knees and rested her head on them.

Figuring that conversation wasn't in the offing, Schy got to her feet again and began to test the limitations of her ability to summon things here.

~~~

Schy was discouraged some time later, after a feast of fruits, nuts and roots and futile attempts to summon anything close to a weapon. It was also just sad, because that meant she was just too far away from her Dad, the Red Lord and his connection to whatever made Character Power work. Luckily, she was taught never to depend on the metaphysical, when the real world provided answers. Using a strip of material from her over shirt and several rocks, she managed to fashion a crude but effective knife.

After she'd fashioned the knife she cut some firewood for the night to come and the forests around them provided several good branches to fashion spears and staffs. Those were easy enough with her ki control. Stripping bark and smoothing the wood with blades of air was a cinch. Mena was watching in silent fascination the whole time. "Are you preparing for war?" she asked finally.

"I'm in a strange place with an unknown amount of hostiles. Yes, I'm preparing for war," Schylar answered and passed out her make-shift weapons.

Neall was impressed. "How'd you learn how to do this kind of thing?" he asked. He took a sharp spear and a sturdy staff that was about the size of the one he'd wielded as the Gatekeeper. "Wow," he said and gave it a couple of experimental swings.

She handed a spear and staff to Enzi. She'd actually used a young tree for his staff for the weight and size. Enzi was impressed. "How'd you know I used a heavier weapon?" he asked.

Schy gave a wan smile. "Knowing how to make weapons is part of the family business. So is sizing up allies and opponents," she answered vaguely. She didn't bother giving Mena a spear, and her staff was light and slim. "I'll show you some basic moves later. It'll be dark soon," she said.

"I should probably try and place some protective wards," Neall said, though he knew he was low on juice. Closing the Gateway had all but drained him.

"I can do that. You should rest more," Mena said and got to her feet. She could at least do this much to be useful. She was glad that none of the others seemed to be blaming her for any of this or what her father did. She let out a squeak when she started toward the forest and stumbled back. Neall, Schy and Enzi were on their feet. Small people around two feet tall were surrounding them.

"Are you really humans?" A small woman dressed in browns and oranges flew toward them on gossamer wings. "After so long?" she circled them.

"We are. I'm Neall. I'm the Gatekeeper and a wizard of the Mystic Realm," he greeted. "Who are you?" he asked.

"I am Aideen," she said and curtsied mid-air. "We'll send them to the Court!" she called to the other fairies. They all began to take flight and glow and sparkle. They began circling the humans, enveloping them a cage of fairy magic that both blinded and disoriented them before presently disappearing them from the clearing and leaving no trace of them behind.

~~~

Schy was getting tired of waking up in strange places after strange events. At least this time it was comfortable. A small stone room, a cushy bed, a breakfast of oatmeal and toast and orange juice waiting for her, a hot bath and even a change of clothes. Fairy Land had its perks. She took advantage of the bath and happily discarded her old crusty clothes for the ones provided for her. Supple leather boots, supple leather pants, a supple leather corset even that appeared to be reinforced with something to give her some added protection. Over that she threw a dark browny-pink overdress that had a hood and fell around her legs in four panels to allow her ease of movement. Over that was a thick leather belt.

She found a set of weapons waiting for along with a pack that seemed to hold much more than the small bag should have. Extra clothes, food, water skins, blankets, and anything else someone might need for the road was packed easily inside. Her weapons consisted of the staff she'd cut for herself, only had been stained a cherry color and intricately carved with Celtic symbols, but it felt like the one she picked out. There was a sleek single bladed sword that was approximately the same length and weight of her preferred sword back home. There was even an accompanying tanto. These were sheathed in a harness that went over her back.

She looked in the back again and eventually found her baton. She felt better with a sword on her back. She slung the pack on her shoulder opposite her new sword. "Time to meet my hosts and find the others," she said to herself. She opened the door and stopped short. A tiny woman was waiting for her.

"Greetings, your highness. King Fin Varra would like you and your friends to join him in the main hall." she said with a small courtesy.

Schy nodded slowly. "Your highness? What?" she asked as she followed the woman now fluttering ahead of her on gossamer wings. She didn't receive an answer. In fact she had to hustle to keep up with the fairy.

They finally entered what appeared to be a main hall of a castle or keep hewn from rock and golden wood. It was richly decorated and giant fireplaces seemed to keep the temperature at an optimal level. On a dais stood a small, pudgy man in golden robes with a shock of white hair and a pointy white beard. Standing before the man were her three new companions. They were all freshly cleaned, newly attired and well equipped.

Mena wore a light colored dress with flowy sleeves, a good and laces in the front over a darker blue under dress. She carried a pack and her staff, which had also been stained the color of ash and intricately carved, but no other weapons. Her long dark hair was being intricately braided by small excited women even as she stood waiting.

Neall and Enzi were attired similarly. Supple leather boots, linen pants in earth tones, lighter colored shirts under protective leather vests with hooded over jackets that were part shirt, part cloak. Enzi's was a mottled, dark tan/yellow and Neall's was an earthy maroon. They're staffs had undergone the same treatment as the others. They'd also been armed. A double-bladed European sword hung at Neall's side with an elegant hilt and handle. Several throwing daggers decorated his belt on the other side. Enzi had a quiver of arrows and a large, intricate bow lung across his back.

Fin Varra spotted Schy approaching and brightened. "Your Highness! Good, you're all here now," he said.

Schy gave a polite bow. "Greetings to our host," she said.

The little man clapped his hands and gave her bow with quite a flourish. "King Fin Varra, Princess. ’Tis a right pleasure to make your acquaintance," he said jovially enough.

Schy shook her head. "I don't know about this 'princess' and 'your highness' business," she said. "My name is Schylar Stapleton," she said.

Fin Varra was nodding. "Aye. I understand. Schylar Stapleton, Princess of Kells," he agreed.

"No, sir. No titles. Well, future Vassal of Heaven--"

"Aye, daughter of the Red Lord, King of Kells; daughter of the Vassal of Heaven, Queen of Kells," Fin Varra was nodding again. "I am aware," he said as if Schy wasn't trying to argue with him.

She pressed her lips together and just gave an accepting nod of her head. Neall gave her an amused grin, Mena was expressionless and Enzi just seemed confused.

"Now then, children," Fin Varra said, suddenly serious. The chatter and tittering of the fairies in the hall went quiet. All eyes swung to Fin Varra. "As I am sure ye all are aware, the barriers around the Isle of the Lost were opened recently," he said and gave Neall a look. It wasn't an accusing look. It was rather gentle and understanding. He passed the same look to Mena now. Her dark skin went dusky and she looked at the ground.

"What do we do about it now?" Schy asked before he could start speechifying. Her dad was the king of speechifying. She recognized it coming from a mile away.

Fin Varra seemed ruffled for a moment. He cleared his throat. "I know 'tisn't right to ask ye, princess, or ye Master Enzi, to get involved in this fight, but we need humans to fight this battle and ye be the only humans to step foot in Tir Na Nog in o'er a thousand years," he said. He pulled at a the lapels of a plush overcoat and seemed to prepared to go on some more.

Schy held up a hand. "Just tell us what we need to do now; what we're fighting; and how we're fighting it," she said.

Fin Varra harrumphed quietly. "Dark Fairies, led by Midar and a human sorceress by the name of Nemain were banished to the Isle of the Lost when Tir Na Nog was sealed away. They haven't been idle and we're nae all together sure what all they've done o'er there, but I do know that Nemain wants to get back to the Terrestrial Realm and conquer it and Midar wants Tir Na Nog.

"Now they're free to leave the Isle. Forces are already beginning to converge on us, but we believe the majority of the Lost are headed to the only way out of Mystic Realm now."

"The Wood. Are you saying that because of me, an army of unknowable Dark Things is heading toward the Wood?" Neall asked, abashed.

"Not because of you. Because of me Da," Mena said quietly.

Fin Varra shook his head. "'Tisn't the fault of any of you. All blame can be placed upon the head of Midar," he declared. He took a deep breath and puffed out his small chest. He tugged thoughtfully on his beard. "Though not all the forces are turned toward us, 'twould be enough ta pave the way for Midar to take over Tir Na Nog when he was ready. For a Dark Fairy to sit me throne, 'twould poison all magic in this Realm and the Terrestrial Realm. Even the Sisters, the White Wizard and the Librarian would be affected," he said.

"Wow. You're well informed about things for being sealed away for a millennium," Neall commented.

"We have our ways," Fin Varra said demurely.

"I guess it would be bad if these people were affected?" Enzi asked Neall quietly. Even Mena was looking at him with some confusion.

"Well, as we told you before, the Sisters keep the magical balance. The Librarian is a powerful alien sorceress who's basically only on the side of Good because people she loves are. As for the White Wizard going dark..." Schy trailed off and bit her lip.

"Every active Power Ranger in the universe would be affected by extension. He's the magical bridge between physical existence and the Morphing Grid," Neall summed up grimly.

Enzi gave a low whistle. Mena's eyes grew as big as saucers.

"But is it really possible for Taran to go dark? I mean, he was Z-Waved," Schy asked.

Fin Varra paced a few moments. "He wouldn't turn evil. His magic would be effected. He'd either have to completely cut us off from the Grid or every Power Ranger would be Dark," he explained. "Aye, 'tis a tricky situation to say the least. That's why we're needin' ye," he said once he finally stopped pacing.

Enzi nodded. "You have us. Me, anyway. This kind of thing, I've been training for it my whole life," he said and took a knee.

Neall took a knee as well. "Blame who you want, but this is partly my fault and the Mystic Realm is part of me," he said.

Mena quickly knelt. "I'll do everything in my power to fix the damage my father caused," she swore.

Schy knelt last, not that she was unwilling, but that she rarely took to the ground for anyone besides Dad and Grandpa. She didn't lower her head either. "As you noted, your fairiness, I'm the daughter of the Red Lord. I know my duty in situations like this. What do we do now?" she asked.

Fin Varra clapped his hands together again. "You have been equipped with weapons that suit your individual styles. A healer, a hunter, a warrior-wizard and a samurai. Leave your packs here. Once you defeat those encroaching 'pon our home, we’ll be needin' ye to wake the Cosantoir. They will guard Tir Na Nog while you travel toward the Wood to stop Nemain and Midar from escaping. The Cosantoir will also give you aid when you need them. They are nae easily won over, especially Pyre," Fin Varra explained.

Suddenly a fairy in armor flew in and landed in front of the King. "Sire, the Lost are getting closer. We need them now," he said urgently.

Fin Varra sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He waved a hand and runes shone in the air above each of the humans. "Light inside you. Forest before you. Earth beneath you. Water around you. Air above you. Fire within you," he said like a blessing or a prayer. The runes glowed brighter and became cloudy gray orbs. The humans stood and each took an orb. They glowed brightly and became braces upon their upper arms.

"Your journey begins now. If you've looked in your packs, everything you need has been provided for. Sir Neall, you know the Mystic Realm best. We provided a map for you. Once you pass our borders, Master Enzi, you may eat meat once again," Fin Varra said with a slight smile. "Druid Mena, do not dwell so upon the sins committed by Midar while wearing the face of your father. Remember, you and he are both descendant from a line of powerful Druids and you are both now within the Mystic Realm. Your magic comes from nature and not fairies. Even now, a battle may be raging for control of Professor Kieran Morgan," he said with the assurance of a kindly uncle.

Finally, his bright blue gaze found Schylar. "The people of Kells and Tir Na Nog have always had an inter-connected destiny. Be the Princess and lead your people. Be the daughter of Red Lord and the King of Kells. Believe in yourself, your comrades and magick," he said gravely.

Schy nodded firmly. She spun on her heels, the tails of her overdress flapping with the movement. "Let's go protect the universe," she said to the others. The warrior fairy zipped ahead of them to lead the way of Fin Varra's court.

~~~

A small battalion of dark figures could be seen from a distance. Upon leaving King Fin Varra's Court, a backward glance revealed nothing but a green glade with sunlight shining upon it. The armored fairy had assumed human size. He led the four humans to where the warrior fairies were gathered.

"What's the situation?" Schy asked a warrior fairy that seemed to be in charge.

"Shadow Wraiths, a few Golems, a contingent of Elite Dark Warriors and three Dracon," he answered.

Enzi was studying the movements of the enemy. "Weaknesses?" he asked. "Any particular weak spots," he amended.

"Most Dracon have tough nearly impenetrable scales, but if you can get them in the eye or inside the mouth, they'll go down. They aren't as large as dragons, but the smaller size makes them a harder target. With Golems, the only way to stop one is to tear it apart enough that it can't reassemble itself and the magick holding it together disperses," Neall explained.

The Fairy General nodded. "Shadow Wraiths are fast but mindless. They'll fight until you stop them," he explained.

"We found that out the hard way," Schy said dryly. "What about these Elite Dark Warriors?" she asked.

"Dark Fairies trained to be soldiers like us. We'll take care of them," the General stated.

Schy was silent awhile as she counted the fairies in black armor. "What if you can't?" she asked.

Mena sighed. "What the General actually doesn't want to tell you is that Nature Magick is the best defense against Fairies, Dark or otherwise," she stated. The General made a disgruntled sound but didn't disagree.

"You mean elemental stuff?" Schy asked. Mena nodded. "Right then," she said. "Enzi, do you have a position scouted?" she asked.

Enzi gave smile. "How'd you guess?" he asked and unslung the bow from his back and pulled a string out of his pouch. Though it seemed impossible, he bent the bow enough to string it. He left the group to get in the best position to fire his arrows.

Mena was a little surprised. "You lot do realize I don't know how t'fight?" she prompted.

Neall didn't face her when he answered. "You heard Fin Varra. You're in the Mystic Realm now. You're magic should be stronger than you ever imagined. I don't know much natural magic, so you stay close to me. Right flank?" he asked Schy.

Schy nodded. "I'll take the left. Be wary though. These kinds of situations, there's a trump card down there somewhere," she stated. She glanced at the General. "We have the advantage if we go now. If they get any closer, it could be very bad," she said.

The General nodded. He gave a signal with his hands and from each end of the line of warrior fairies, a horn sounded. The line began advance with weapons drawn. The Elites drew weapons as well and began advancing faster. Like sleek black lizards, the dracon slipped through the line. One raised its sinuous head and prepared to snap its strong jaws at one of the warrior fairies. A sound like a giant fly preceded a large arrow thunking hollowly into the red eye of the creature.

Schy left the dracon to Enzi. She had her eye on the golems. Ten feet tall and made of earth and stone, they were slow and ambling, but strong. Swipes of their disproportionately large, club-like hands sent warrior fairies tumbling through the air, and not an intentional way. She drew her sword and dove into the battle. Wraiths swarmed around her. She slashed them with her blade and kicked them away. The Wraiths were a nuisance. The Golems were the problem.

Several Wraiths converged and knocked her sword from her grasp and she took several hits, going down hard. She grabbed one's leg and pulled him off balance, making him crash into another. She sprang into a crouch and spun around several times, using her hands to balance a series of sweeping kicks that cleared a general area around her. She stood slowly and glared at a Golem.

It tilted its head and glared back. Even though its eyes were rocks she knew it was glaring. He swept a hand at her. She tried to dodge but he wasn't as slow as he seemed. She landed on her back near her sword. She stood up, gritting her teeth and gripping her sword. "Hey, lunkhead, let me show you what it means for me to be daughter of the Vassal of Heaven," she said and ran forward with a shout. She jumped high and began to spin really fast and channel her ki at the same time, creating a funnel of air. She went down hard, using her sword to slice him in two while the tornado she created blew him away like dust.

"Golem dispersal; check," she declared. Whether the warrior fairies would admit it or not, they needed help so she ran to their aid against the Elite Dark Warriors.

Once Enzi took out the first Dracon, a sharp eyed Dark Fairy pointed out his location and sent a bevy of Wraiths his way. He slung his bow over her shoulder and used his staff to take out the Wraiths coming at him. He needed a new position. The Dracon were doing some serious to the Fairy Forces and the warriors weren't having much luck scoring a hit.

Enzi scaled a thick trunked tree with strong limbs. He'd almost seemed to be running away from the battle. In reality, he'd gotten a better sense of his new bow's capabilities. He unslung it and drew a heavy arrow from the quiver. If he wasn't currently watching a battle between fairies, living dirt creatures, and small dragons, he'd wonder how the fairies knew what his capabilities were. They were fairies. He figured that was enough of an answer for him.

He drew back the string. He took a deep breath and watched for a moment as one of the Dracon ravaged one of the warrior fairies. Though he longed to interfere, he held still, waiting for his chance. They would be better served for him to get a shot, not wasting his arrows. When the Dracon lifted his head to roar triumphantly, Enzi let his breath and released the arrow. The Dracon let out a sick roar and collapsed.

Dark Warriors began firing their own arrows at him, but he was already on the move again. The warriors weren't what he needed to be worried about. The final Dracon seemed to have realize that it was in danger and he was the danger. Abandoning the buffet of good fairies, it came at Enzi directly like a streak of oily black lightning.

It lashed out with its tail and sent him flying in one direction, his bow and staff veering off in opposite directions. Enzi grunted and tried to reclaim his breath. The Dracon watched him with wicked intent. A forked tongue flicked out in a snake-like manner. The corners of Enzi's mouth stretched, revealing his teeth at the creature. "I've wrestled bigger gators than you in my great grandmammy's back yard," he stated. He charged the dracon.

The dracon roared and charged him right back. They collided and went rolling down a hill. The dracon kept trying to bite and swipe at him, but he had a hold on its head. When they stopped rolling, the dracon began to thrash around, trying to break the young man's hold on him.

Enzi straddled the dracon's neck and used his upper body to keep his head pinned to the ground. With his freehand he reached for an arrow and drove it through the top of the creature's head and into the ground. It finally stopped thrashing. He sat up and wiped his forehead with the back of his hands. All the dracon were down but he could still hear the battle. It was time to stop playing the long game. He began running back up the hill to rejoin the fight.

Mena discovered the beauty of her staff. The way it had been cut and weighed was perfect for a novice who seemed to only know how to swing and jab. Primary school rounders games were starting to resurface in her memory as well. Though shaped differently than a bat, she remembered she'd actually been pretty good at it. The runes that had been carved into it, also had a more practical use than just making it look pretty.

Like Neall had said, she could feel that she was more powerful than she had been before. Sometimes when her staff connected with an enemy, a bluish light would cause much more damage than just her blow alone would have.

Neall set his staff aside and drew his sword. He gave it an experimental slash and twist. It was perfectly designed for him and his style of sword fighting. He slashed through the Wraiths that surrounded him. A few Dark Warriors came at him as well but he managed to fend them off. Warrior Fairies came to his aid with them. He also guarded Mena's back. They recognized her as a novice fighter very easily.

The Wraiths and the warriors were less of a problem than the two Golems that decided to pick on the two of them. One used a big hand to swat them. Neall managed to avoid and cut off the hand that came at him, but Mena was sent flying. Neall tried to move quickly enough to catch her, but he was too slow.

Luckily, Enzi was just coming up the hill after killing off the final Dracon. He caught Mena against his chest. She honestly wasn't sure of hitting the ground wouldn't have been better. He set her on her feet. "Thank you," she said.

"No sweat," he assured her.

Neall watched the handless Golem’s hand reattach itself. He glanced at Mena. "I have an idea," he said. He said a few words in a language that was a little like Latin but also little like Gaelic as he held out a hand. Flames bloomed in his hands and he ran forward and threw it one of the Golems. It hit the chest and the creature exploded with a boom.

Mena knew that spell but she'd never known it to be so powerful. She held out a hand and said the words herself. A wild whirlpool of water began to swirl in her hands. She flung it at the other Golem, discus style. When it hit, it became much larger and more and more water began pulling apart the dirt creature until nothing was left except clumps of wet mud. Mena gasped. "I've never produced anything like that before," she said.

Schylar joined them, sheathing her sword. "It's probably because you're in the Mystic Realm. I might be too distant from my dad for Mojikara to work for summoning objects, but my elemental control seems to have been magnified," she said. The fight was dying down now. Very few Elite Dark Warriors were left and the golems had been turned to top soil and the Dracon into oily black spots on the ground.

Suddenly a horn sounded, a hair raising cacophonic sound, and suddenly the Lost forces drew back. A fairy in more important looking armor strode forward. "This battle is not won. Midar will have Tir Na Nog!" he declared. He began to change shape, his features and body twisting and distorting into something monstrous. Pig like, with three tusks jutting up from its lower jaw. Beady red eyes peering wildly from above a pig-like snout. More Shadow Wraiths began to appear. "Surrender to General Trifang and you may yet live!" he shouted.

"Is this the trump card?" Enzi asked Schylar. "I've seen some ugly aliens in my day but this might top 'em all," he commented.

"Have you ever seen a troblin?" Neall asked. Mena just made a small noise.

"This is the escalation," Schy stated. She strode forward. "We will never let Midar have Tir Na Nog," she said and used her right hand to touch the jewel on her left upper arm. "Air above me!" A glowing white rune appeared in front of her, clearly meaning "air". It wrapped around her forming a skirted power suit. It was mostly gray with a white area through the torso like a tunic. White topped gray boots and gloves formed. A white and silver belt with a runic design appeared. The silver bands remained on her upper arms. Lastly a very generic gray helmet formed. Silver surrounded a slightly angled visor and a v-shaped mouth-piece formed below it. Over her heart a circle emblem appeared with her elemental Mystic Rune embossed upon it.

Following her lead Enzi swiped his hand over his jewel. "Earth beneath me!" An "earth" rune appeared and enveloped him, forming his power suit and helmet.

Mena let out a quick breath and followed the motion. "Water around me!" A "water" rune appeared and enveloped her, forming her power suit and helmet.

Neall swiped his hands over his jewel. "Fire within me!" A "fire" rune appeared and enveloped him, forming his power suit and helmet.

Each suit was a slightly different shade of gray, as if whatever color they were supposed to be was gray scaled. Their helmets were very plain, with nothing to identify them as anything in particular, as if only half formed. Each elemental rune over their hearts was different. "Mystic Knights! Defenders of Tir Na Nog!" they proclaimed together.

"This was unexpected," Fire Ranger declared as he glanced down at himself and glanced at his comrades.

"A bit," Air Ranger agreed. "No time to worry about it now," she said and ran toward the monstrous Dark Fairy General. Though he was armed with a large double-bladed axe, she held out a hand. Her staff flew to her hand from wherever it'd been dropped. "Mystic Rod, Heavenly Sphere!" she called. It glowed momentarily and transformed into a long red rod tipped in a sphere made of a bladed discs dissected by another. Wind energy began to make it spin. She spun around and swung into the Wraiths as she made her way toward the General.

Fire, Water and Earth Rangers weren't far behind her. Fire summoned his staff. It changed into a long red rod tipped in a slightly curved blade. "Mystic Rod, Furious Blade!"

Water summoned her staff. It changed into a long red rod tipped in wide, somewhat bell-shaped blade. "Mystic Rod, Pacific Spade!"

Earth summoned his staff. It changed into a long red rod tipped in a triangular spearhead. "Mystic Rod, Stoic Spear!"

The four of them fought their way through the Wraiths and lower soldiers trying to get to the General. When they broke through the ranks and were about to charge, he suddenly gave a squeal of laughter. He slashed his axe several times in the air. Each time he did, blades of dark energy flew toward them in rapid succession. It hit, sending up sparks and sending them flying in a circle around him.

"So much for Fin Varra's human champions," Trifang snorted. "You can't defeat me," he crowed.

Fire got to his feet. He stuck his Rod in the ground slightly behind him. "That's what you think," he said. "Mystic Circle!"

Water was the first to understand and scrambled to her. Though Air and Earth weren't especially sure what the deal was, they were on their feet as well. Fire planted his feet. He placed his hand over his heart and his rune. "Fire Within Me!" His rune glowed before him and he began channeling all his energy into it holding out both hands now.

"Water Around Me!"

"Earth Beneath Me!"

"Air Above Me!"

The four Mystic Runes grew larger and boxed Trifang in. He began to squeal in panic, slashing at the runes ineffectively. Suddenly the Runes exploded toward him, hitting him full force. He exploded with a spine tingling squeal.

The battle stopped as the Dark Warriors realized their commander had fallen. A horn sounded. The Shadow Wraiths disappeared and the Warriors shrank to their usual size and flew away in a retreat. Fin Varra's warrior Fairies cheered.

Air sighed. She passed a hand over her Rune and her morph disappeared. The others followed suit. The Fairy General and several others approached them. They brought their packs. A couple of small pages even brought Enzi his bow and arrows he'd used on the dracon.

"We cannot express our thanks enough," the General stated. He got down on one knee, bowed his head and crossed a hand over his heart. The rest of his soldiers followed his lead.

Schy nodded. "Are you sure it's safe for us to leave?" she asked when they regained their feet.

"After this defeat, it will take time for them to regroup and plan another attack, especially since they are on the move. The best hope for Tir Na Nog now is for you to waken the Cosantoir," he explained.

"We understand," Neall said.

"Which way do we head now?" Enzi asked.

"The closest Cosantoir is Oceatheus to the west. Follow your map, it will lead you to him," he said. He gave them another slight bow and he and his fairies retreated to Fin Varra's Court.

Left alone the foursome looked westward. Schy sighed and shouldered her pack. "Let's get going. I know we're tired, but we need to find a place to make camp before nightfall," she stated and began trekking west. The others quietly followed. Four strangers in a mystical fairy land charged with the protection of two Realms and the fate of not only magic but the safety of the known universe as well. It was a burden to bear, but one they would, each of them, bear until the last.

~~~End~~~
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 05:46 AM #13
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Is your character Taylor Hicks a reference to the season five American Idol winner of the same name?

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Old October 2nd, 2017, 11:17 AM #14
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I get asked that all the time, and no. I didn't even know that guy existed until well after I created Taylor. I don't watch American Idol, never have. So yeah, it's a bit weird that he has the same name. It's possible that I absorbed the name from background noise and it surfaced from my unconscious when I was naming him "What's a good last name for a Taylor..." but it wasn't intentional. And I'm too attached to it to change so people will stop asking me that >.>
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 08:27 PM #15
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Ravie wrote: View Post

I get asked that all the time, and no. I didn't even know that guy existed until well after I created Taylor. I don't watch American Idol, never have. So yeah, it's a bit weird that he has the same name. It's possible that I absorbed the name from background noise and it surfaced from my unconscious when I was naming him "What's a good last name for a Taylor..." but it wasn't intentional. And I'm too attached to it to change so people will stop asking me that >.>
Oh, I did not know. Thanks for explaining me that it was actually unintentional.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 08:46 PM #16
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It's okay. I hope I didn't come off as snappy or anything. Rereading, it looks like it could have. It was more humorous that I get that question.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 01:26 AM #17
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Power Rangers Ninja Fury

Power Rangers Ninja Fury
Chapter 01: Shinobi Start!



Ferrant Heights, CA – 2018

Quarks was the place to be in Ferrant Heights for the teenaged crowd. Its campy space/science theme was throwback to another time, but it had a great atmosphere, the best food, and room for the occasional event. It was run by a quirky woman in her thirties with a mass of wild red curls, lots of freckles, and large square glasses that magnified her pale blue eyes. She preferred to be called Ms. Frisbey, though there were some who simply called her Ms. Frizz.

Ms. Frizz was a woman of many talents, several degrees in the sciences, arts, and philosophy. Somehow, she ended up spending her days running Quarks and writing down whatever musings passed her thoughts.

For the past year or she's also been the guardian of an independent nephew. Ms. Frizz had never been married, and never around kids as much. Suddenly having a teenaged boy staying with her took some getting used to. But she'd grown up with Grayson boys, and this one was not much different.

The reason Brenden Grayson left Mariner Bay was because Ferrant Heights was the place that was testing a new program for junior firefighters and other rescue services. It was a bit like an ROTC program attached to the local school, but for emergency and rescue services rather than military. Ferrant Heights High was a top-notch school itself with high academic and athletic standards. It was one of the only reasons his parents allowed their then sixteen-year old to attend the school.

Brenden did miss his family, and old friends, but he'd quickly made new ones. Aunt Frizz was a unique guardian. He never let himself believe she had no idea what he was doing despite her penchant for seeming scatterbrained.

He was hanging out with his friends at Quarks on a day when everything changed. Galen Kulbart was the first friend he made when he moved in with Aunt Frizz. He lived two floors down in the apartment building they lived in. They also ended up in the same class.

Galen was a cheerful friendly guy. His dad drove a dump truck for a local company, and his mother was a nurse at the hospital. He'd spent his early years in Stone Canyon, but his mom's new job brought him to Farrant Heights. He enjoyed dancing, rapping, mixing music, and karate.

Misty Falk and her newly divorced mother moved into the building about six months after Brendon. Recently employed as a scientist at S.P.D., Mrs. Falk's expertise landed her a high paying research job with a local biochemical company. Misty was a year younger than they were, but she was highly intelligent and ended up in their class at school.

As they sat at a table with a mobile of a galaxy class starship circling above their heads, eating French fries, and sipping milkshakes, they had no inkling what sort of day they were going to have. That somewhere in Ferrant Heights, a group of space-faring criminals had set-up a base of operations. That they were here to wake a great evil that was trapped below the city. That outside Ferrant Heights, a dimensional bubble was forming bringing with it a house and a family looking for a missing child.

٭ ٭ ٭

There wasn't a noise. No shimmer. No shake. No warning. Not far from the city of Ferrant Heights, a house and some landscape appeared. A woman with long dark hair poked her head out of window then dashed outside. "Did we end up in the right spot?" she asked, looking around. "I don't see Donny," she said. "What about Shing?"

A tall man followed her outside. "Shing got stuck outside the perimeter," he said. Something jangled at his side. He pulled a device out of the pocket of the pants he was wearing. He pulled the high-tech device open to reveal a screen. The face a man with thick black glasses appeared on it. "Sorry I couldn't be there to greet you. Family emergency," he said. "Did the transfer go smoothly?" he asked.

Dex Ro, Chieftain of the Ninjetti Clan of Shogunatta nodded. "We made it in one piece, except for Shing. One of the transmitters was malfunctioning. He was on the wrong side of it when it activated," he said. "Thank you for all your help," he said.

Mai Li, his wife, pushed her face into the frame. "Yes, thank you, Donny," she said.

"You're both welcome. Shame about Shing, but if anyone can figure out another way to get there, it's him. Good luck with finding Mika. If you need my help, you know how to contact me," he said and the screen went black. Dex closed the device.

Mai Li rubbed the back of her neck. Dex saw the movement, brushed her hand away and took over casually. "Getting to Earth was the hard part," he assured her.

She sighed and leaned against his chest. "I actually think that was the easy part. The hard part will be finding the Strange Clan, stopping them from awakening an ancient evil ninja spirit that was even banished from Youkai Mountain thousands of years ago, and getting our daughter back from them," she declared.

Dex smiled somewhat sadly. His dauntless wife was verging on hysteria. The unshakable Mai Li Yeoh hadn't quite been the same since their daughter disappeared. Learning more about her abductors hadn't helped matters. He kissed her temple. "But that, my dear, is why we came prepared," he reminded her.

She nodded and they went back inside the house. There was a workshop in the back of the house. That was their destination, but they got waylaid by two small entities barreling down a hallway. One was chasing the other. Dex scooped one up, a wiggling young girl of about eight. She squealed and giggled when he draped her over his shoulder.

Mai Li snagged the other one, a boy around eleven. "What the hurry?" she asked.

"Milo said that we're on Erf and that there are monsters here and that they were gonna eat me," the girl said.

With dark hair falling in his face, Milo pouted. "Miru's exaggerating. I was just telling her about the monster we're here to stop," he said.

"Are you exaggerating, puss?" Dex asked the girl as he set her on her feet.

"Maybe a little," she said and gave an unabashed smile, which made a dimple pop out of one cheek very much like her mother's. "But we wanted to see Erf," she declared.

"I'll take you both outside to see Earth in a little while," Mai Li said. "You two go to the court yard and do your morning drills," she ushered.

They both gave disappointed groans, but did as they were asked. The house was a series of rooms arranged in a square around a central courtyard with a gate. The courtyard had many purposes. One of the main ones was ninja training.

Mai Li sighed. "I get the feeling that Miru isn't wrong about the monsters," she said.

"Not if the Strange Clan are planning to awaken Gengetsu Kibaoni. If what I've learned about them is true, they'll need to gather a lot of fear. Human fear. Since they also have the Ogre Summoning Hammer, there will be monsters," Dex said grimly.

Upon entering the workshop, Mai Li skipped over to an ornate wooden box, and opened it. "Luckily my brilliant husband had the foresight to use the power of the Star Furies to create these," she said.
He walked up behind her and looked down at the box. Five shuriken of varying colors and designs were settled into the padded interior of the case. There was a red one, a white one, a blue one, a pink one, and a yellow one. They about the size of the palm of a hand.

Dex closed the case and took it out to the courtyard with Mai Li following behind them. The children stopped in their training and snuck closer, eventually attaching themselves to each side of their mother. Dex sat the case on the ground and opened it. He touched a device on the back of his hand. The shuriken floated out of the case and hovered around his hand in a circle. He flicked his hand forward and the shuriken shot into the sky over the fence, and disappeared in winks of color-coordinated lights.
"I just hope we aren't already too late," he said. He turned toward his family. "We may have visitors soon," he said. "Who wants to help prepare a welcome for them?" he asked. If nothing else, that got the children's attention, who had many a farfetched idea for their first encounters with Earthlings.

٭ ٭ ٭

A new city, a new start for Bianca Florentine. She was pretty, blonde girl, a bit on the tall side. She looked airheaded, slightly vapid. She was the perfect example of why one shouldn't join a book by its cover. She'd been acting since she was five starting out in commercials. Around ten she began to play roles in more action oriented programs. The younger versions of main characters usually. Eventually she landed a small role on an action program slated for younger children. It was cancelled.

That led her to her breakout role when she was twelve, the female part of a trio of ninjas. The program lasted four years, and finally ended. During that time, she didn't just learn basic pantomimed moves of martial arts. No, the studio and network hired a professional stunt and fight coordinating company and the head of the company did not cut the young stars of the series any slack.

The series ended when the intrepid ninjas defeated their worst enemy, graduated high school, and went off to live their lives in a peaceful world.
Bianca decided to do something similar. She decided to take a year off, finish high school, train more, and then go on to be the female action star of Hollywood. Though she started her career in San Angeles, her hometown, she relocated to Ferrant Heights for some anonymity and to finally process the death of her mom, for both her and her dad. He thought it'd be good for them to get away from the spotlight and the memories for a while, and she agreed wholeheartedly.

She was headed toward what she'd recently learned was the place to be if you were a teenager in Ferrant Heights. It appeared to be a hokey diner with the best food. She looked down at her phone to make sure she was in the right place. "Across from the north entrance to Ironside Park," she murmured. She looked up and around. She saw the quaint sign proclaiming Ironside Park. Across the street, she saw the neon sign proclaiming Quarks.

In the middle of the street she saw blue and black checkered creatures in wide pointy hats. Some carried spears, others carried flintlock-esque pistols. Some carried both. There appeared to be an entire squadron of them. Leading them was a more ornate creature without a pointy hat. Instead it seemed to wear a griffon's head as a helmet and had a more ornate spear.

Other people noticed them now, and began to panic, to scream, to run, to call for help. Bianca froze.
The leader of the cohort raised his spear and made an inarticulate sound that the others seemed to understand. Some got down on their knees and began firing ghostly balls of energy at people. Others fanned out to attack others.

One of the creatures came toward her. She shrieked, and pulled can of mace out of her purse and hit him full in in the face with it. He led out a garbled sound of pain and outrage as he staggered back. Then, years of martial arts choreography kicked in. She turned in close, elbowed him in the chest, twisted his arm, pulled the spear from his hand in a nearly expert whirl, and jabbed him with it.

Although he didn't exactly have a face, he seemed surprised as his looked down at the spear sticking out of his chest. He made a whine and then whooshed into a spectral figure that seemed to be sucked into an other-world. Bianca didn't have too much time to get over her shock of what had just happened, because now she'd become a target and needed to find somewhere to take cover.

She hid behind a tree, just as a ghostly bullet hit the tree, she felt it shudder. She shuddered. As she caught her breath, she realized there was something stuck to her purse. It was a small white throwing star that seemed to have been clipped on to it. She didn't get a chance to wonder about it because another of the creatures found her hiding spot. She yelped and rolled, thrusting his captured spear upward just as his came down. She cried out when it hit her shoulder. It seemed to go through her, but not in the typical sense, as it didn't tear her flesh. But it was stuck in her regardless, and she was seeing stars as blackness edged her vision.

٭ ٭ ٭

Brenden, Galen, and Misty had finished their meals. They were heading outside when they saw the creatures appear. "You kids get back in here!" Aunt Frizz shouted, her magnified eyes going even wider behind her magnified specs.

However, it was too late. The attacking creatures turned their attention to the building full of scared young people. Brenden slammed the doors behind him. "You guys run for it. I'm not letting these things in this building," he declared, his protective, rescuer instincts kicking into gear. He dodged a blast of the ghostly energy the musketeers fired.

Galen and Misty went in opposite directions to take cover.

Brenden rolled to his feet, landed a spinning back kick to one of the creatures with the spears. It sent him flying into a line of musketeers, disrupting their targeting skills. Another spearman came at him, and he ducked, jabbed the creature under the arm, effectively disrupting his ability to use the spear. Unfortunately for Brenden, the creature also had hand to hand combat skills as well. A knee to his head sent him crashing to the ground and made his ears, ring.

"I'm rustier than I realized," he complained. He got to one knee. He shook his head to clear the ringing and saw a strange key-chain sized throwing star clipped to his high-top sneakers. He didn't have time to investigate. He got to his feet and bounced on his toes lightly. "Let's see if this still works," he said. He blew out a breath, gathered his thoughts, and energy. He focused his Ki and thrust out a hand toward a creature coming at him. The creature jerked back, shook himself and kept coming. "A whole lot rustier than I realized," Brenden muttered. "Basics it is," he said and launched himself at the creature. The more he fought, the more past training came back to him, but he was still pretty rusty.

Misty dodged behind a piece of shrubbery. The firing stopped when Brenden amazingly threw one of the creatures at the others. Still, there were a lot of the creatures. She saw a couple of younger kids being chased out of the park by a couple of the spear wielding ones. Without thinking, she ran toward them. She hadn't had a chance to tell anyone, but she'd undergone an extensive training regimen for the inaugural "Junior S.P.D." program. She tended to be a bit competitive and always had to be the best at whatever she tried. She finished the program at the top.

She got between the kids and the creature. "Go to Quarks. Hurry," she shouted at them. Despite her compact frame, she rammed her shoulder into the creature's chest, grunting from the pain of it. She grabbed its wrist, hook her foot behind its ankle and threw him over her shoulder. She grabbed the spear and jabbed him with it. He disappeared in a whooshing flash, startling her so much she almost lost the plot. But she didn’t. She moved on because there were more of the creatures and more people in danger.

She missed another jab. The creature grabbed her spear, jerked her forward, and knocked her on her rear. Groaning, she climbed to her feet. She dusted off her bottom and found a pink star clipped to her belt loop. With no time to spare, she ran at her enemy, no wielding two spears. She jumped, using the spears as a landing zone. Stunned the creature found himself balancing her. She jumped again, hooking her legs around his neck, grabbing the spears. She used her momentum to throw him, but kept the spears.

Galen poked his head around the plastic trash can he'd hidden behind when the shooting stopped. Several Spearman were coming toward him. He may have been a free styling b-boy to most people, but he'd spent years as a pupil at the Stone Canyon Scott Dojo. Combining his two skill sets was sometimes pretty impressive.

Using his wrists, Galen spun himself, kicking the trash can into the spearmen. He whirled to his feet. He bounced, kicking out at one creature, punching another in the throat all while midair. His body spun horizontally midair before he landed, going to one knee. When he straightened the cap he wore, he realized a strange yellow thing was clipped to it.

He bent backwards, avoiding a spear swipe. He placed his hands on the ground behind him, twisted, spinning his body in a display of physics defying skill. As he whirled in circles, he kicked many of the creatures off their feet. When he came to his feet, Misty tossed him a spear. He grinned. “You guys are in for it now. I actually know how to use this thing,” he warned them, giving the spear a well-executed whirl.

Having acquired a spear of his own, Brenden joined his joined his friends. They all finally noticed the blonde girl get attacked, but between them and her were still nearly a dozen of the creatures. They looked at each other, and seemed to understand that they needed to help her.
Bianca rather wished someone would help. She wasn’t sure what the spear was doing to her, but it seemed to be draining something out of her. A flash of blue light made her wince. She found herself peering up at a pretty young man with the most ridiculously unnatural blonde hair that even a K-pop idol would steer away from.

Somehow, he didn’t even seem phased to suddenly be appearing in a war zone. If anything, he seemed rather annoyed. He threw his hands up. “Of course!” he complained. He cracked his knuckles, then kicked Bianca’s surprised tormenter, sending him crashing several yards away.

He adjusted the backpack he wore. “Let me help with that,” he said. He knelt and put a hand on her shoulder near where the spear was stuck. She groaned. He grimaced apologetically. “Sorry,” he said. “Good news. It may hurt, but it won’t kill you. It’s just sucking up your fear that it’ll kill you,” he stated. He got to his feet. He gripped the spear. “Brace yourself. Ready?”

Bianca sucked in a deep breath, gritted her teeth, and nodded. He pulled on the spear. It came out easily enough, but it did not feel great at all. He tossed it aside and helped her to her feet. “Thank you,” she said.

“No sweat,” he said. “You should get somewhere safe,” he said. “I’ll help those industrious heroes,” he said, meaning the outnumbered trio valiantly fighting off the creatures.

Something happened before she object, or he could do anything. A dark hooded figure appeared. Seeming to wink in and out of existence, he tacked wards onto the creatures. He stood off to the side as the creatures explode.

Spectral blue energy obscured everything on the street. When it cleared, if anyone remembered seeing five teenagers and a hooded man, they weren’t there now. They’d vanished along with the creatures and left everyone in Ferrant Heights wondering what exactly just happened.

٭ ٭ ٭

Ferrant Heights, back in the early 19th Century, used to mine for iron ore. There were a number of abandoned mines, and even an old mining shack or two. It as a dangerous area that neither the city nor the state knew what to do with. It was so far away from the city, that even bored hooligans didn’t bother to go there.

It was also rumored to be haunted.

In a way it was. Mining shut down for reason. It was if they were beginning to dig out something ancient. Something evil. The locals at the time believed it was ancient Native American burial places.
The Chinese laborers who also worked the mines thought it was the spirit of an ancient mogwai. They’d often burn paper money to appease it before beginning work. In the end, the mine shut down when it no longer produced enough ore to be profitable. Or so says the official account. Its rumored that they were no longer able to hire enough people to work there.

This was exactly the right place for a troupe of no goodnick space ninjas to set up a base of operations. Because there was a mogwai deep, deep into the mines and beyond this world. And these no goodnick space ninjas intended to wake it up.

The Strange Clan were a brutal, widespread group. Their criminal activities were well known in certain parts of the galaxy. They were human, but where they originated was something lost to the ethers of history. Not that they were a backwards gazing bunch.

No. They were focused solely on their future and their power. At least the current patriarch was. Laird Gennus Strange was a big, burly man with a face almost as red as the long braid that fell from the top of a head that was bald otherwise. Blazing blue eyes were sharp, and something of a family trait.

Accompanying on this venture was his brother Ryzo. Ryzo was the baby of the Clan’s elder siblings. He had a shock of white-blonde hair, the only man of the Clan whose head wasn’t mostly shaved. He also had two different colored eyes. The right was blue, the left was gold. He wasn’t very bright, but he was fiercest, most loyal warrior in the clan.

Juno Strange was the sister just younger than Gennus. She was his right hand. As shrewd as she was skillful, he often followed her advice when given. They also fought like cats and dogs over trivial matters like most siblings. She was the only brunette in the elder clan, her hair something akin to a pixie, but much shorter on the sides and in back. She tended to talk down to Ryzo. She also highly disapproved of one member of their little quartet.

Gennus had married a young, pretty, conniving little gold-digger. At least that’s how Juno saw her. Aradne was a skilled thief and con-artist. Gennus fell for her and had to have her as soon as they met. Tall, slender, warm skinned with oval brown, nearly black eyes, she looked like a Persian princess. Her black hair was long and stylish. She was highly pregnant, but Gennus didn’t want to wait to reach his goals.

They’d converted one of the old mines into something of a home, with rooms, a kitchen, and study of sorts. It was where they gathered to make their plan and keep an eye on their progress. It was also where an alter had been set up to gather human fear. There was a series of cascading bowls. When the bottom, largest bowl began to overflow, that meant they’d succeeded in awakening the ancient spirit of a being so powerful, so terrifying, that the Youkai Royal Family of Shogunatta had banished it to the furthest depths of reality.

Gennus had learned with enough human fear, the entity would begin to awaken. Then he’d just have to crack open the fabric of reality to finally free it. He’d spent a long time finding everything he needed to fulfill his destiny.
One of Juno’s skills was summoning onizaks, restless spirits of disgraced, fallen warriors, and controlling them. She’d finally sent them out to the nearest human population. For a while, fear had poured into the into the alter. Then it stopped.

“What happened?” Gennus demanded.

Juno was also able to see what any of the onizaks could. She’d been watching through the eyes of the daionizak, the cohort commander. “Some of the Earthlings fought back, but that’s wasn’t the problem,” she said grimly. “There was a man. Dressed in black. He used some wards to banish the onizaks,” she said.

“You should have let me go,” Ryzo stated.

“It sounds to me like you need something a bit stronger than an onizak,” Aradne said with a serene smile. She ignored Juno’s glare with grace.

The final member of their group joined them. A small fox-demon with nine-tails. It was compact and thin. It wore a leather and fur vest, baggy pants, and a fox-demon mask. It had a long greenish-black braid. It also carried a hammer that seemed ridiculously large for it.

“Gumi!” Aradne cooed, and waddled over to the creatures. “How’s my fuzzy-wuzzy little smooshums?” she said and scratched the demon’s soft furry ears.

Gumi snarled and flattened its ears back. “Stop doing that!” it said in a young but low voice. “I was scouting the area. We may have a problem, laird,” said the demon.

“I was just learning about a hooded man who knew how to vanquish onizaks,” Gennus said in a deceptively conversational tone.

“I don’t know anything about that. I ran into something that called itself a Goldsmith,” Gumi reported. “It was...impressive.”

Ryzo scoffed. “Anything that can give this scrawny little bag of fur trouble isn’t worth paying attention to,” he declared. “Let me go to the city and force these weaklings to fear me!” he asked.

Gennus was quiet a moment. “Juno, I want you and Gumi to supervise the youkaiza,” he said. Ryzo made a discontented sound, but a glare from Gennus shut him up quickly.

Juno paled slightly. “I haven’t ever summoned a youkaiza,” she said.

“Isn’t that part of why we obtained the Ogre Summoning Hammer?” Aradne said helpfully.

Juno sighed through her nose and got to her feet. “Gumi. Let’s go,” she said. Bouncing gleefully, Ryzo headed out behind his big sister. Gumi skulked out behind them, not looking forward to whatever they had planned.

٭ ٭ ٭

The five teenagers appeared in the central courtyard of a gated, walled, eastern influenced house. There was a banner strung from the overhanging roof of the central room that read “Welcome Heroes of Erf!” with a big smiley face painted as the dot of the exclamation mark.

A little girl threw a handful of glitter confetti into the air, and a little boy pulled a party popper which showered them with multi-colored paper strings.

The hooded man chuckled. “Nice sign,” he said. Pulling back his hood, Dex grinned at the expressions on the faces of the teens. “Where’s your mother?” he asked his children.

“Getting the cake,” Mai Li announced as she appeared from the kitchen was a cake that had the five multicolored throwing stars adorning it in icing. “Oh, you poor dears. We didn’t expect things to happen to so quickly. We’d hoped to be able to explain things before the Strange Clan made its move,” she said, setting the cake down on a picnic table.

“Things happen when they’re meant to,” Dex said.

“Explaining things would be nice,” Brenden said, finally finding his voice.

The blonde guy crept over to the cake. “Indoctrinate those guys. I know the spiel already. I’ll have cake,” he said.

Mai Li slapped his hand before he could get a taste of icing. “Oh, no, mister. You listen, too. It’s very important,” she scolded him.

He rubbed his hand. “Yes, ma’am,” he said.

Misty and Bianca couldn’t suppress giggles at his expense but Brenden frowned sternly.

Dex hid his amusement. “First of all, I am Dex Ro, Chieftain of the Ninjetti Tribe. This is my wife Mai Li. My son, Milo. My daughter Miru. We've come a long way. Since the Shinobi Stars found you, that means you can help us,” he said seriously.

“We gotta beat up a monster and find my sister,” Miru declared.

“There's a bit more than that, puss,” Dex said.

“Tell us over cake,” the blonde boy said.

Brenden looked at him with a frown. “How can you keep harping--”

“A great idea,” Mai Li said. She ushered everyone to sit at the table. She fussed over them, made sure they weren't hurt badly or too uncomfortable. She made sure they all had cake and milk. When they were settled, whether they wanted cake or not, Dex told them why they were there.

Then he explained that the Star Furies were a crystalline energy source found on one of Shogunatta’s moons. They began using them to power homes and other technologies. The most abundant source was furium. The Star Furies themselves were rarer. Small, highly concentrated crystalline deposits that naturally resembled stars. They were meant to be used for defense purposes.

When the Ogre Summoning Hammer disappeared, the Star Furies were utilized for new Morphing technology. “The Stars were designed to seek out and locate compatible partners. You five were chosen.”

Misty studied her pink star. “AI?” she asked, wide-eyed.

“Eh, not really. There was technical stuff about bio scans, mentality, and physicality,” Mai Li said.

“Whoa,” Misty said.

“So, what are your names?” Miru asked, wanting to stop dwelling on the boring stuff.

“Brenden Grayson.”

“Misty Falk.”

“Galen Kulbart.”

“Bianca Florentine.”

“Van Goldsmith.”

Before anyone could marvel over Bianca, as both Misty and Galen were fans, a strange sound erupted from one of the rooms. Dex to his feet and ran into the dojo. Brenden and Van weren't far behind him. There was a map at the back of the dojo. He tapped on a blinking red dot and the map changed to a video image of a creature rampaging in Ferrant Heights.

“Looks like we'll learn about our new powers on the fly,” Van said.

“Tap the back of your hands three times. Clicking the left button will take to a source of disturbance or back here. The right button is a communicator. To morph, connect the Stars and the Starter together. Good luck,” Dex said.

Tapping on their hands revealed a device they hadn't even realized had been implanted there.
“We really doing this?” Galen asked.

“You bet your buttons. I feel like this is what Master Park whipped me into shape for,” Bianca declared.

“You can't outrun destiny, no matter how much you might want to,” Van declared.

“I'd hate to think I finished top my class in the SPD junior program was for nothing,” Misty said.
Brenden nodded. “My whole life has been about doing the right thing. I won't stop now,” he said.

Galen nodded. “Let's go then.”

“Right,” they said together. They clicked the left button of the Shinobi Starters and disappeared in puffs of ninja smoke.

Mai Li blew out a breath. "They're younger than I thought they'd be,” she said.

Dex draped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her to his side. He gave her a slight squeeze. “They'll be fine. They wouldn't have been chosen if they weren't ready,” he assured her. She nodded and rested her head against him as they watched to see how things would unfold.

٭ ٭ ٭

The Ironside Mall was busy on a Saturday. Events earlier that day seemed far removed from people going about their business. Some shopped. Some sat around an open-air food court and sipped coffee or got a snack. They never expected an Onizak attack.

So when the creatures began appearing, seemingly clawing their way out of the ground, the ghastly creatures achieved maximum fear mongering. Afraid and panicked people began trying to get away from them.

Meanwhile, on the roof of one of the buildings that made up the Mall, Juno and Gumi were engaged in something else. Juno held a slip of paper between two fingers and was chanting something lowly under her breath. The paper began to glow, slipped away Juno, and began to form a ball of ghastly light. "It's ready," Juno said.

Gumi nodded and hit the ball of light with the Hammer. The light seemed to solidify, then crack. The glowing shell seem to fade away revealing a throwing star. "That's it?" Gumi snarled?

Juno smirked. She took the star and tossed it.

The five teens appeared in the courtyard of the mall. "These guys again," Brenden complained.

"Get back!" Van said suddenly, flinging and arm out before anyone could step forward. A streak of something flew past them.

"That guy again," Gumi snarled.

The youkaiza summoning star cut through anything in its way and then bonded to a chainsaw that someone had just purchased from a hardware store, but had been left behind when the onizaks attacked.

"Object devoid of will of your own, let the Youkaiza give you purpose," Juno incantated.

Dark energy exploded outward from the saw and it began to move, to change shape. It grew into a monster that resembled a weasel in a hockey mask, but with sickle shaped chain saw blade growing from it. "Aaah! This is nice," he declared. She spun in a circle and threw energy from his blades that cut off the tops of trees. He threw another at a van. It exploded on impact.

"Hey!" Brenden shouted. It was time to put a stop to this nonsense.

The youkaiza whirled toward them, throwing more energy blades. The quintet lunged out of the way. Bianca barely made it. Part of her brand-new skirt didn't make it. She gasped and sputtered. First her shoulder, now her skirt.

Weasel Sickle laughed. "Fear the blade. Be afraid. Be very afraid," he said, and ignoring them, started to attack more people.

"I think it's time," Brenden said, as he started to get to his feet.

"It's way past time," Bianca agreed, and got up in a huff.

"If you guys are sure about this," Galen said from where he sat. That thing was very scary.

Van put a hand on his shoulder. "It'll be a cake walk," he said.

"I think you just want another piece of cake," Misty declared as she stood.

"That's true," Van said as hopped to his feet. He held a hand down to Galen. The other boy grabbed his hand after a brief hesitation. Van effortlessly helped him to his feet.

"Then we're agreed?" Brenden asked without looking behind him.

Van pulled out his Power Star and clicked it. It grew larger, and an image of a helmeted figure appeared on it. "We are agreed," he said.

The others did the same.

Brenden nodded and pulled his out. He held his hand fisted in front of him. "Shinobi Start!" He placed the Star against the Starter. It hovered slightly and his flicked it, it began spinning

As one the other four repeated the actions. "Ninja Fury Power!" they called in unison.

The Stars flew forward, attacking several of the onizaks before flying back to them. In multicolored streaks, the Stars flew around them, producing nearly solid colored powersuits on the boys, with white boots, black arms, colored gauntlets and black gloves. The girls formed skirted powersuits with the legs being black with faux thigh high white boots, and white booties. Black sashes with colored shuriken motifs forms, then golden belts, frog themed sidearms, and finally yellow and silver bladed swords strapped to their backs.

The last things to form was the helmets. The Stars spun front of their faces as the helmets began to appear.

A mostly flat topped yellow helmet formed to match the main color of Galen's suit. A star with for rectangular points appeared as his visor. "The shimmering calm, Yellow Shinobi Ranger!"

A slightly more pointed pink helmet formed to match the main color of Misty's suit. A star with slightly rounded triangles as the points appeared as her visor. "The wavering haze, Pink Shinobi Ranger!"

A slightly flatter topped blue helmet formed to match the main color of Van's suit. A star with long sharp triangles for the points appeared as the visor. "The soaring clouds, Blue Shinobi Ranger!"

Another more pointed white helmet formed match the match the main color of Bianca's suit. A star with slightly rounded pentagons appeared as her visor with an outline of gray around it to match the gray bordering her sash. "The flower in the wind, White Shinobi Ranger!"

A pointed red helmet formed to match the main color of Brenden's suit. A shuriken in motion appeared as his visor. "The roaring brilliance, Red Shinobi Ranger!"

Sickle Weasel stumbled back in surprise. "What? What's this?" he demanded.

Juno clenched her fists. "That's a good question," she said. Gumi crouched, watching. The fox-demon snarled. It knew that Goldsmith thing was bad news.

"We are what's going to put an end to you today. We're Power Rangers," Red Shinobi stated.

Sickle Weasel and the Onizaks tilted their heads. "Power Rangers?"

Red drew his Star Blade. "Prepare to feel the fury," he said, and jumped. He flipped in the air, and came down in front of Sickle Weasel. The youkaiza threw one of its blades up to block the sword's slash. The began to trade blows, all the while he was also fending off onizaks with spears.

Blue drew his Blade. He began flipping through a series of onizaks. He rolled and came to his feet in front of a confused creature and revealed that he's used a wire from the base of the blade to string a line of them together. He drew his side-arm. "Surprise!" he fired on the creatures and they disappeared in ghostly blue puffs.

Yellow was fighting onizaks that had spilled out into a parking area. He jumped on cars, and kicked out at them before moving on. Suddenly he jerked back. There was one of the musketeers on the mall's tall sign sniping at him. He back flipped from one car onto another, then flung two copies of his Star at the side with wires attached to him. They worked like both grabbling hook and wenches. They pulled him up to the sign where he threw the onizak off. He pulled out his Shooter and fired, disintegrating him on the way down, and took out a few more that were after him.

Red lost the youkaiza while he was fighting the onizaks. He's ended up on another building of the mall complex. Onizaks were after him. He slashed at them with his sword and jumped onto a shorter, building. Onizak musketeers were shooting at him, but he flipped through a crowd of them, and unleashed several red stars, that lodged in the concrete beneath the creatures that were above and around him. He dove off the building just as the stars exploded.

With her blade in hand, Pink was fending for herself, but there were still plenty of onizaks after her. She let out a deep breath and jumped, gracefully sailing backwards in the air before flipping and landing. She stood and waited. The onizaks came after her. As they came forward, the concrete opened beneath them. "Pitfall Technique!" Even if the ones in front wanted to stop, the momentum of the ones behind send them all tumbling into the hole. She drew her side-arm and fired on them. When she turned, the concrete reappeared as if there'd never been a hole.

White found herself on a catwalk connecting two construction sites nearby where they seemed to be expanding the mall. A couple of onizaks had followed her up. She slashed at one with her blade, whirled on one foot and kicked the other off. Onizaks on the ground were firing at her and she used the blade to deflect the shots. "When are you guys going to realize I'm more than just a pretty face?"

She jumped down from the catwalk. She landed on one the onizaks and rolled to her feet. She kicked out at some, used her blade on others. One of the spearmen got a lucky shot at her sore shoulder, which threw off another spin-kick. She toppled to one knee and the Onizaks tried to take advantage.

Red came along, and handled them. "Are you, okay?" he asked, blocking her from any other attackers that may try to get to her.

"Ego's a bit bruised. Master Park would have my hide for that screw up," she declared sourly as she got to her feet.

"We won't tell," Blue assured her as he, Pink, and Yellow converged on them.

Sickle Weasel found them. "Yo, ninja wannabes," he called out. "I'll make you all cower in fear!" he said was shaking in rage at their defiance of his fearmongering.

Red stepped forward. "You'll have to do a lot better than that to frighten me," he said. He didn't mean to sound cocky, but his training had prepared him for fear.

"What! How's this?!" Sickle Weasel used his bladed to throw slashes of dark energy at the Red Ranger.

Red held up his sword. The energy met it, and he used the blade with a deft wrist movement to hurl the energy back at the youkaiza. "And this is just the start!" He lashed forward with his sword again as the youkaiza brought up his blades to defend himself.

"Transtarter Bow!" White and Pink each summoned a large star-shaped weapon which they used as a bow, and pulled back on it.

Red swirled around and jumped out of the way as energy formed in the center of the bow. The girls released and the energy blasts flew into the creature. He cried out when he stumbled back. He growled and his bladed arms began to glow.

"Boo!" Yellow appeared beside him. He also held a star shaped device, but his had a small dagger like blade on it. "Transtarter Blade!" He stabbed at the youkaiza and sent it rolling.

Before the creature could even properly get to its feet, Blue jumped from the catwalk. "Transtarter Claw!" he fell into the creature with a star weapon with two blades. Electrify arced and Blue pulled away. The explosion sent Sickle Weasel flying backwards, and crashing into the ground.

Red attached his Power Star to his Star Blade and pressed a button neat the hilt. "Ninja Fury Technique!" he spun the Star on his blade and red energy emanated from it. He ran forward at a great speed. His slashed streaks of red. He jumped up a great height and came down hard. "Furious Ninja Slash!" A final slash of energy had the monster arcing like crazy.

"You shinobi need to chill out a bit," he said weakly. Red jumped free just as the energy exploded.

He landed and whirled around with the others coming up behind him. "We don't chill when it comes to saving people from monsters," he declared.

The heap that was the monster began to smoke purple as the energy that created him began to dissipate. Just then a nine-tailed fox demon landed out of nowhere.

"You again!" Blue sputtered.

Gumi ignored him. The fox demon put a star on the hammer and twisted it. Without saying anything, the creature it the air above the creature. It jumped free when energy exploded out from the creature and it grew to enormous proportions. The explosion knocked the unprepared Rangers off their feet.

"Now you should be afraid. All your fear are belong to me!" he crowed He began using his blades to tear up the buildings he could get to.

"Now what?" White huffed.

"Did Dex's speech cover summoning Zords?" Blue asked.

As if on cue, five more Stars were thrown from the top of catwalk, the man in black. They landed in the concrete near them.

"Didn't think he'd let us down, did you?" Pink asked as she took her pink star.

"Nah. Guy's a pro," Blue said, taking his. The others took theirs as they got to their feet.

"Zord time," Red said, replacing his Power Star with his Zord Star. He pressed another button on his Blade. "Hidden Shinobi Zord!" he summoned, spinning the Star. As if appearing from nowhere, a red and silver humanoid Zord came running through the city.

Pink spun her Zord Star. "Hidden Express Zord!"

White spun her Zord Star. "Hidden Wolf Zord!"

A shimmer in the sky preceded the appearance of a pink and black bullet train. A white wolf Zord with a black head and golden throwing knife in its mouth jumped out of the back compartment with a howl.

Blue spun his Zord Star. "Hidden Drago Zord!" A blue dragon glowed into existence with a proud spread of its wings and an arrogant roar.

Yellow spun his Zord Star. "Hidden Dumper Zord!" A large yellow dump truck shimmered into existence and rolled down the street.

The Rangers watched as the Zords approached. "Wow. That's some collection," Blue whistled.

"They're awesome!" Pink declared excitedly.

"How did--how did they know my dad drove a dump truck?" Yellow asked.

"Mine's adorable," White declared.

"Come on. No time for gawking," Red said and the Rangers jumped onto their Zords.

Sickle Weasel turned, saw the Shinobi Zord coming at him. He slung energy blades, but the agile Zord jumped and spun, avoiding the blast. Sickle Weasel tried several times to strike at it, but the dodge dodged, even at one point leaping over the giant youkaiza. "Take this!" he threw several throwing knives at the Zord, but it jumped back, seeming to pull up a slab of street which the knives hit instead.

When concrete slab settled back into place, the Dumper Zord was on top of it. It drove toward the weasel, and launched several star shaped grenades that exploded around the monster's feet.

The Express Zord seemed as if it could use anything as a track, zoomed along and launched several throwing stars at the monster. The Wolf Zord attacked with throwing knife in its mouth then landed in the Express Zord's empty car.

With the youkaiza distracted, Shinobi Zord appeared with a piece of metal scaffolding and hit the monster. But as he pressed the advantage, it tripped, and went down.

"Ha! You're open!" Sickle Weasel said and went in for the attack.

Drago Zord swooped in and with a might roar, blew flames on the furry chainsaw. The creature flew back and crashed. "No, it was me who was open," he complained.

"Zord lessons are probably in the offing," Blue commented.

"I hope so," Red said. His Zord Star began glowing. "Time to bring them together," he declared and gave it another spin. "Shinobi Star Megazord!" The Zords began to transform and come together to create a giant robot with Shinobi Zord using Dumper Zord like a throne holding a sword made of Drago's tail. The Rangers appeared in a shared cockpit where they all stood in front of podiums that they inserted their swords into.

Red stood at the central podium. "Wow. This is kind of epic," he declared.

"Sweet," Yellow declared.

"Come on guys, get your heads in the game," Blue warned them.

"Oh, come on. We aren't all as strangely as you are," Pink declared.

"I don't think he's as jaded as he pretends to be," White stated.

"Okay, everyone, he's right. Let's go!" Red said and pushed his Blade forward.

The Megazord lunged forward, swing the Drago Blade. Sickle Weasel blocked with his arm blade. They traded blows while the Rangers struggled to maintain control. Red pulled his Sword and left the main cockpit and appeared in the Shinobi Zord and it jumped off the Megazord. It ran around the youkaiza, who whirled around trying to get a swipe in.

"Too fast," the monster complained, wobbling dizzily.

Shinobi Zord jumped back onto the Megazord and Red reappeared in the cockpit. "Now the finisher," he declared.

"Right!" the others agreed. They drew their Blades. "Splendid Slash!"

The Drago Blade began to glow. The Rangers slashed their Blades. The Megazord slashed the monster with an explosion of multiple colors as it slid by him. It came to a stop as he exploded behind him, nothing left but the youkaiza shuriken that landed in the concrete roof where Juno and Gumi were watching. It cracked and disintegrated as they watched.

Juno pursed her lips sourly. "Come, Gumi. Let's go see what our Laird wants to do about this," she said. She turned and jumped off the building. Gumi glowered at the heroes for a moment before joining her.

٭ ٭ ٭

Ms. Frizz shrieked when her nephew walked into Quarks. She ran to him and clutched him close. "Are you okay? Never do that again, you rotten boy? What would I tell your father if something happened to you?" she demanded, hovering between hugging him and smacking him on the arm.

Brenden winced, hugged her back, and had the decency to look chagrined. "I texted you that I was helping with the clean-up," he reminded her.

The other teens came into the building, and behind them were the Ro family. "This is such a cute place," Mai Li declared, looking around at all the decorations.

Forgetting her troublemaking nephew, Ms. Frizz beamed. "Thank you. I decorated it myself. I don't believe I've seen you around. Welcome to Quarks," she said.

"This is Dex and Mai Li Ro," Brenden said. "They're new in town and were volunteering at the clean up as well. That's where I also met Bianca Florentine and Van Goldsmith," he said.

"And I'm Miru and this is my brother Milo. He doesn't talk much," the little girl declared, and kept staring at Ms. Frizz's hair.

"Well. Welcome to Ferrant Heights," Ms. Frizz said. With that she bustled off to see about feeding everyone. Ferrant Heights might never be the same again, but that didn't mean she'd let anyone feel unwelcome. This was her town after all and she'd do whatever she could to protect it.

٭ ٭ ٭
End
٭ ٭ ٭
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 04:30 AM #18
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Ravie wrote: View Post

It's okay. I hope I didn't come off as snappy or anything. Rereading, it looks like it could have. It was more humorous that I get that question.
No worries.
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Old October 17th, 2017, 04:23 PM #19
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Power Rangers Ninja Fury

Power Rangers Ninja Fury
Chapter 2: Natural Born Shinobi


*****

Five teenagers were laying on the ground, head to head, fanned out in a star shape. Each of them had had some sort of training. But none of them were prepared for Dex Ro. They'd assembled upon his request, every day for over a week. He'd outfitted them with form-fitting black suits and chest covering with a hood that was a dark version of their Ranger colors. Then he began the training.

At first it hadn't been so bad. A few basic katas to assess them. He slowly ramped things up a notch at a time. All their styles were different but were rooted in the same basic principles of Karate. Even Van's unorthodox style was mainly a mixture of whatever his dad had picked up along the way and Kovarian martial arts he'd learned from his uncle. Misty's S.P.D. training had used karate as its basic hand-to-hand combat. Galen had been a student at the Stone Canyon Scott Karate Dojo. Bianca's Master Park had also used karate as the basis for his fight choreography. As for Brenden, he never said where he'd acquired his early training, and no one pressed him to divulge, but it was apparent to Dex that he was out of practice.

Finally, Dex had noted that Galen and Bianca were the two who were in the best shape, which had surprised them. Galen never competed in Karate, and hadn't trained much since moving to Ferrant Heights. He wouldn't have thought himself that way. Bianca was a bit proud, but also surprised. She only did the basic katas she was taught to stay in shape for the show. She only utilized the choreography she was taught.

"You do it well. You have a natural aptitude, and you learn what you're taught. Same goes for Galen," Dex had told them. "As long as he doesn't try to freestyle too much," he added with a slight smile.

Galen grinned, "That's my thing, though," he said.

"Maybe for fun, but not in this dojo," Dex declared. Galen nodded. A stern sensei wasn't anything new to him.

Van, he'd said, was strong and fast. "Maybe too strong, and too fast. Undisciplined. Your style is all over the place." Van could see that. Maybe the way he fought worked for his dad, but he was young, inexperienced, didn't have the edge to make it work. "But, your swordsmanship is some of the best I've ever seen," Dex had added. Van was proud of that. His uncle was one of the best swordsmen in the world. He'd also spent more than one stay in Angel Grove learning from another of the greatest swordsmen in the world.

Misty was the least experienced. She was only really taught some basic self-defense and very little offense. "The suit will help, but it's still just a suit. You learn quickly. You should catch up with the others with the right training regimen." Misty hadn't been sure about that one, but she was committed and she didn't like lagging behind when she committed herself to learning something.

Brenden was out of practice. "When did you stop training?" It had been Mai Li who asked him this question.

"When I was eleven or so," Brenden answered. "I didn't want to learn anymore," he added.

"And that's also part of your problem. Part of you still doesn't want to," Mai Li said. "Sometimes kindling just refuses to burn," she added a bit mysteriously.

"We'll work on that," Dex had assured him.

Which brought the five teens to an exhausted state they were in on a Friday afternoon. Aside from the regimen Dex had designed for them, they were also given practical exercises for building strength and stamina. They'd come back from a seven-mile trek through rocky terrain, underbrush, and scraggly animal trails, all with backpacks full of rocks. There was a weird moment when they realized that only Van didn't have rocks. He had iron weights. He didn't explain as he started jogging. Figuring he would when he was ready, the rest of them had set out behind him. Matters were made worse when Miru and Milo had caught up with and passed them and didn't seem to be anywhere as exhausted as they were.

Van rubbed his stomach as he stared up at the sky. "Man, I'm starving," he complained.

Misty and Bianca snickered. "Dude, you're always hungry," Galen told him.

"I'm a growing boy," Van stated with a grin.

"Where are you from, Van?" Bianca asked him, realizing they didn't know much about him. He just kind of showed up to practice and disappeared afterwards. He didn't go to school, which Bianca had just started. He didn't even seem to come into town.

"Briarwood," Van answered.

"The place where people dress up as fairy-tale creatures?" Misty asked, coming into a sitting position.

"Who wants lemonade?" Mai Li popped out of kitchen before Van could clarify her statement. She wasn't the first person to think that the creatures in Briarwood were a hoax. In fact, most people seemed to think so outside of the city. "I also have apple slices for everyone except Van," Mai Li added. She sat a tray on the picnic table. She transferred a large pitcher of lemonade, several glasses, a plate of cut-up apple slices, and a small plate with a cut-up reddish fruit from the tray.

"Why don't I get apples?" Van asked curiously and he and the others got to their feet. Miru and Milo stopped doing katas in tandem and ran over the picnic table.

"You'd eat them all," Brenden stated.

Mai Li chuckled. "I have something else for him. It's called a fire apple," she said.

Van was stunned. "Where did you get a fire apple?" he asked as he approached the table. He took the fruit and bit into it.

"Your mother. Somehow, she had a whole box of them delivered. Along with a letter explaining some things. I also had Dex retrieve your belongings from your campsite while you were on your jog. You'll be staying here with us," Mai Li stated.

"What exactly is a fire fruit?" Galen asked, eyeballing the fruit the blonde kid was wolfing down.

"Dragons eat them. They're one of the few things I can eat in moderation. Packed with proteins, nutrients, carbs. If anyone else tried to eat them, their metabolisms wouldn't be able to keep up," Van said. He wasn't surprised his mom had found him and arranged things for him. She was his mom after all. "Thank you, for allowing me to stay with you guys," he added.

"We tend to take in strays," Dex declared, coming out of a room. "Your room is ready," he said.

Galen was still trying to make sense of the dragon thing. He didn't think Van was joking about that.

"She also signed you up for school so that you can be with your team mates more. You'll start Monday," Mai Li explained.

Van rubbed his forehead. "Man," he said. "I've never been to school before," he said.

"Never?" Misty asked, shocked.

"I was home schooled," he said. Somehow, he was more nervous about the prospect of going to high school than he was about fighting an evil clan of space ninjas.

"I have something for each of you. When you all go home tonight, I want you to study how you think it should work. Meditate on it. We'll see how well you use it in the morning," Dex said, he passed out five more shuriken. They were identical but there was one for each of them. They had five blades, each representing a different element; water, fire, earth, wood, and metal. "Elemental Stars will allow you to harness the power of nature," he explained.

They took the Stars and looked at them.

"Without having to devote your entire discipline to a particular one?" Brenden asked.

"There are many types of ninja styles. Elemental arts are just one subsection. These stars won't replace years of learning and devotion, but they'll allow you to tap into nature for a short time. Still, you must master it," Mai Li explained.

"Can we try?" Miru asked excitedly.

"Sorry, puss. They're made to work with the Star Blades and only the Rangers can use those," Dex explained.

"Told you," Milo muttered at her as she pouted.

Mai Li smiled. "Now that you've got your new toy and your assignments, it's probably time to start heading home. It's getting late, and it's almost dinner time. Besides, it's Friday night. I remember Friday nights when I was teenager even as a ninja cadet," she said.

"We should help you clean up," Misty said.

"Don't worry about that. I'm a mom. It's what we do," Mai Li said.

"If you're sure," Brenden said. He straightened his body, placed a fist against the palm of his other hand and bowed first to her, then Dex. The others copied the gestured. The elders returned the bows. Four of the teens activated their Starters. The limited teleports were defaulted to take them home if there wasn't an attack.

"I'll help. Least I can do since you're allowing me to stay," Van said, and began to gather up dirty glasses and take them to the kitchen. Mai Li didn't object or complain.

Dex looked at her a for a moment. "What were you doing on a Friday night as a teenager on Earth?" he asked her suspiciously.

She grinned at him. "Not realizing my soulmate was on a planet far, far away," she said. She kissed his cheek. She gathered up her two rug rats so that they she could get them to clean themselves before she started supper.

"I'll remember you said that later," he called after to before retiring to the workshop to the sound of her laughing at him.

*****

Van followed behind Bianca as she led him through the streets of Ferrant Heights while she continually checked her phone for directions. "I thought we were supposed to be meditating on our Elemental Stars," he said. She'd called him earlier to meet up in town.

"And Mai Li said it was Friday night. C'mon, Misty said it should be nearby. Besides, if you're starting school Monday, you should at least show up to a party at least once and show your pretty face around," she said.

"If you say so," he said, trying not to show how nervous he was. He usually just hung out with his cousin at the Rockporium, a local record store, if he didn't have anything else to do. A party with a bunch of strangers...just the thought made him queasy.

Bianca giggled at him. "Stop being nervous. It'll be fine. Not only are you cute as a button, but you're hanging out with a celebrity. Besides, Misty, Galen, and Brenden will be there," she said. She sighed and looked at her phone. "If can ever find it," she groused.

Van smiled. "This way," he said. He could hear the music, voices of teenagers, and smell the acrid scent of a fire. She followed him since he seemed to have confidence he knew where he was going. Before too much longer, they arrived at an empty lot where lights had been set up, a fire was roaring in the middle, music was blaring, but they were far enough away from any homes or apartments to be bothering anyone.

When Van hesitated approaching, Bianca grabbed his arm and pulled him along. Misty bustled over to them with a big grin. "You guys are just in time," she said excitedly.

"Just in time for what?" Van asked.

"Galen issued an open challenge," Brenden answered.

"Open challenge?" Bianca asked.

There were several pieces of cardboard on the ground, and an old fashioned-looking boombox. It only looked old school, it was quite modern and digital. "Step up and take on the undefeated, if you dare," he said loudly.

"Break-dancing," Misty said. "He's amazing. I think. I honestly don't know for sure, but it looks impressive," she admitted.

Galen had one challenger. Someone who was always trying to take him on. He did well, but when Galen's turn came, the music suddenly changed. From the energic mix he was using to a Michael Jackson compilation.

Without missing a beat, Galen spun in a circle and began dancing like MJ. "Cheater," he mouthed to Brenden, who was behind the sudden change in music, holding on to Galen's phone which was connected to the boombox. But the mood of the party was lightened greatly and practically everyone began to dance along with their own best moves. Bianca even managed to drag Van into it. But hey, Van knew MJ. Eventually his nerves melted away and the strangers he met weren't as intimidating as he feared.

At some point in the evening, while drinking a cup of iced cola, something caught his eye on the outskirts of the party. He turned his head but even he didn't see anything else. This happened a few times. Finally, he decided that he wasn't imagining things and headed away from the lot.

"Where you off to?" Brenden asked, noticing him slipping away.

"I'll be back," Van said. "Don't worry," he added. He slipped into the darkness. Brenden tried to keep an eye on him, figuring it wasn't the call of nature that had him slipping away, but he hadn't seemed particularly worried either.

"What's that about?" Bianca asked as she approached him.

"Not sure," Brenden said with a frown.

Bianca sighed. "If he needs help, he'll call," she said. "This is my jam, come dance with me, handsome," she said and pulled him back into the throng.

Van wandered into the darkness. He was sure there was something out there, somewhere. He sucked in a deep breath and jerked to the side, narrowly avoiding being pounced on. Gumi quickly adjusted, rolling to a crouch with fangs bared. The sliver of moon made the creature's white fur gleam. That's what Van had been seeing.

"What are you up to?" Van demanded.

"I don't answer to you, Goldsmith," Gumi snarled. "I just really don't like you."

"Feeling is mutual," Van said. "You caught me off guard last time, but you really don't want to tangle with me," he warned.

The fox-demon growled and charged forward. Van dodged again, but a hand tipped in sharp claws managed to make four horizontal tears in his shirt. Gumi slid around. "Aren't you going to put on your shiny suit?"

"I don't need to do that, my furry little friend," Van said. He cracked his neck and then transformed. His alien form was mostly an anthropomorphic wolf, with a pair of cold blue eyes, black feathered wings, and a sectioned scorpion tail. He was also a bit larger than the fox. He paired his own large white fangs.

Gumi hadn't expected that. Not at all. Strategic retreat was best in this situation. "This is not fear." The demon threw something on the ground. Green smoke obscured Van's vision briefly, and the fox demon was gone. Van sighed and transformed back into his human form. It felt good to stretch all his muscles sometimes. He picked at his shirt. He couldn't go back to the party looking like that. He fished his phone out of his pants, and sent a group text that he was heading back to the Ro house. He privately thanked Bianca for dragging him out. He decided to walk back instead of spell-porting.

Oddly enough, his encounter with the fox put him in a pretty good mood. He whistled as he walked.

*****

The laird and master of the Strange Clan was rubbing his pregnant wife’s feet when Gumi skulked back into their base. "Where have you, been, poodle?" Aradne called out.

"Getting some air," Gumi answered and skulked down to where the fox-demon had made a place to sleep.

Ryzo made a scornful sound. "Why do we keep that mangy thing around? It sheds. Everywhere," he said, and sneezed.

Juno kicked him in the shoulder. "Can you use the Ogre Summoning Hammer?" she demanded.

"No," he grumbled, and sneezed again.

Aradne pouted. "Love dumplin', don't let them be mean to my precious widdle poodle," she told her husband.

Gennus growled. "Both of you, quite prattling. We haven't gathered any fear for the master's revival. Juno, prepare another youkaiza tomorrow," he commanded. He stood, scooped his wife into his arms, and left his siblings. They glared at each other and began fighting again.

*****

After a series of exercises, Dex led the five teenagers into the woods. They lined up in front of a straw dummy. Dex stood in front of them. "Did you all do your homework?"

"Yes, sensei," they answered in unison, though some were less certain than others.

"Very well. Present arms," he said. The teens drew their Star Blades from their backs and produced the Elemental Stars. They attached the Stars to the Blades. He very pointedly marked the straw dummies with different colors saying an element as he placed the markers. "Good luck," he stated. He threw something on the ground, and he and the dummies all disappeared in a puff of smoke.

The five dark clad youths ran for it, looking for their targets. Galen jumped, flipping through the air and landed in front of his when it sprang up in front of him. He twisted the Elemental Star until "wood" was at the stop. "Wood Technique!" he said and pointed the blade at the dummy. A root under his foot undulated and sent him flipping backwards. "Augh!"

Misty calmly came to a halt when her target appeared. She twisted her star and pointed at it. "Earth Technique!" Nothing happened at first, then the ground seemed to spit up the dummy, and continued to crack under it opened under her feet. "Eek!" she scrambled back.

Brenden thought he had some experience at directing his inner energy. When his target dummy appeared, he twisted the Star to "metal". "Metal technique!" He pointed at the dummy. His sword vibrated and a small metal pail landed on his head. "Ow!" he danced around, rubbing his sore spot. "How did that even happen?" he complained.

Bianca was too focused on her task to laugh at him. When her dummy sprang up, she rolled sideways, twisted the Star to "water" and pointed. "Water technique!" Water exploded as if a firehouse just burst, soaking her and sent her crashing into Brenden. He hastened to dampen her fall, but they both hit the ground. "Sorry," she said.

Van had a little more luck. He twisted his Star to "fire" as he ran. He stopped and around when the dummy popped up behind him. "Fire technique!" he thrust forward. There should have just been a small fire ball that set the dummy ablaze, instead, the dummy exploded in a glorious blaze that sent the others scrambling for safety.

The fire seemed to snuff itself out. "Ooh, sweetie. More self-control," Mai Li said as she came out of a stance. "Just a little," she said and patted him on the cheek. "But, all in all, not bad. Trust me, it could have been worse," she assured the slightly worse for wear Rangers.

"That's, um...good?" Brenden said as he helped Bianca to her feet. She smiled and rung out her wet braid.

"That's why I'm in charge of your training. Perhaps, 'not bad' but assuredly nowhere near 'good'," Dex declared. His wife was definitely too soft on them. "I hope no one had any plans for the afternoon," he said.

"No, sensei," the dejected group said as one and assembled again.

He smiled. "Good. Again," he said, once again marking five dummies with different colors and calling out an element before making the them and himself disappear.

*****

After a grueling afternoon of practicing with their Elemental Stars, the ninjas-in-training were allowed to leave. They were in Quarks, chowing down on food. Aunt Frizz fluttered over and alighted next to them. "My dear nephew, where have you been keeping yourself lately?" she queried.

Brenden had an answer for her, and it wasn't even a fib. He didn't like to fib to his aunt. "I'm taking karate lessons from Dex Ro. The one you met the other day?" he said.

"Oh, yes. How marvelous. The rest of you as well?" she asked, blinking at them with her magnified eyes.

"Yes, ma'am. I'd been looking for a new dojo since comin' to Ferrant Heights," Galen answered.

"Splendid. I always was jealous that the boys got to go off and play ninja warrior when we were younger. As long as you're all having fun together," she said. She looked up when door chimed and some new customers came in.

The kids watched her go. Van swallowed a bite of the hamburger he was eating. "Your aunt is human, right?" he asked.

Brenden raised a brow. "Pretty sure, why?" he asked.

"Just thought she might've been a fairy. Maybe a Mothran. Wasn't sure," he said.

Before Brenden could decide how to react, their hands beeped. His Starter appeared and he pressed a button. "Brenden here," he said, while eyeballing Van.

"A youkaiza has appeared," Dex told them.

"On our way," Brenden said. The five of them got up from their table and slipped out of the eatery while Aunt Frizz was distracted. They teleported as soon as they were sure nobody could see them do so.

*****

An odd creature had appeared at a picturesque area by Ironside Springs where a walking bridge connected the two banks. It looked like a turtle in a helmet that was also part fire-extinguisher. "Fear me, baby!" Extinctortoise crowed at the people. He ran up one side of the bridge, throwing people over his shoulder and into the water. Onizaks were running around, poking people with spears and generally creating panic and fear.

"This should be fun," Juno declared from where she watched, hidden.

Gumi hunched and bared its teeth. That Goldsmith thing would show up soon. There was no question about that.

As if just by the thought of them, they appeared. Darkly clad ninja. One with splashes of red jumped through and slashed one of the onizaks with his Blade and the creature disappeared. One splashed with yellow sprang through a series of Onizaks and landed feet first on one's shoulders and threw him as he rolled. He also slashed as he rolled by. One splashed in pink elegant slipped into the fray, slashing with her sword, freeing tormented people. The one in blue slid on his knees in front of a child. He held up his sword to block a menacing jab. He pushed her to her mother's waiting arms and rolled to his feet, slashing the onizak. The one in gray and white, back flipped in and slashed at several onizaks when she came to her feet.

Even if their hoods came down, the quintet still wore dark masks around their eyes to hide their identities. They were ninja after all. They gathered under an arch nearby, blocking off Extinctortoise.

"This is where your brief reign of terror stops," Brenden said. He spun out his Power Star and clicked it. He held up his other fist. "Shinobi Start!" He placed the star on top of his hand and spun it. The others mimicked his actions.

"Ninja Fury Power!"

Stars spun all around them, some shooting out to attack onizaks before coming back to them and forming their power suits and weapons. They ran into their enemies and attacked. Red went for the youkaiza. They grappled.

"I'll teach you fear!" he snarled. He grabbed Red by the belt and threw him over his shoulder with a mighty grunt. Red rolled to his feet and attacked the monster with his Blade. The monster lost ground, and retreated to an area near the edge of the water. He beckoned the Red Ranger tauntingly. "Come, little boy," he goaded.

Red struck out again. The youkaiza used his armored arms to deflect. He spun, butting him with his back. "Shell shock!" he cackled. He completed his spin and grabbed the Red Ranger and tossed him through the air toward the water.

"Whoa!" He went with his momentum, and managed to right himself mid-air to land on top of the water. Dex's lessons in action. He turned, gripping his sword. He started forward and jumped back onto the bank. He slashed at the creature. He tried to keep his distance. Getting too close to it wasn't a good idea.

They attacked at the same time and bounced off each other. Red slid back, braced his foot, and raised his Blade. "Not bad, red guy. Not good either," Extinctortoise said. He took a deep breath and blew a blast of freezing energy at him. Red went down cold.

Yellow sprang into help, sword raised jumped at the youkaiza. White went to Red. "Are you okay?" she asked, but he signaled he was. She and Pink joined Yellow in attacking the monster.

"Ha-ha!" Extinctortoise cackled. He spun around, blowing them with his freezing energy, sending them flying in all directions.

Blue rushed up, having gotten further away than he intended. He spun out his Elemental Star. He clicked it into his Blade. "That looks cold. Let me warm you up a bit!" he twisted the Star. "Fire technique!" he pointed the Blade at the monster.

"Eh?" Extinctortoise turned just in time to get enveloped in a plume of flames produce by the Blue ninja's sword. "Ayayayay! Hot! Hot!" he danced around. "I can't handle this heat. I'm gettin' out the kitchen!" he shouted, and jumped, still aflame, splashed into the water, and disappeared.

Juno's faced tightened. "Where did it go?" she snarled. "Guess I'll have to go find it," she spat scathingly. She also ninjaed away.

Gumi stayed behind watching the Rangers assemble from their near defeat.

"We owe you one," Yellow told Blue as they dropped their Morphs.

"Maybe you should have blown him up," Bianca teased.

"Yeah, at this rate he'll be back," Brenden said, not teasing at all.

Misty didn't comment, her eyes had gone wide as the creature with nine-tails slunk toward them. "Guys," she said quietly.

They all started and turned to look at the fox-demon and took up defensive stances. It just propped the hammer on its shoulder, and slumped casually. It looked them over dismissively and concentrated on Van. It bared its fangs at him. "Good save, Goldsmith. Wouldn't want anything to happen to your human pets, would you?" it taunted.

Van clenched his fists. "What's that supposed to mean, flea bag?" Bianca demanded.

Gumi snarled and snapped its jaws at her. Then it laughed. "Oh, I see. They don't know you're not even human. That's just too sad," it said. It threw its head back and guffawed. It shook its head, and threw something on the ground. A puff of smoke erupted and the fox disappeared.

There was silence and Van felt heat creeping up his neck. Oh, that scraggly little demon so had it coming.

"Dude. Are you, like, an alien?" Galen asked, finally breaking the taut silence.

Van closed his eyes briefly. He cleared his throat. "No. I am a second generation, non-human terrestrial," he stated tightly. He cleared his throat again. He checked his watched, not really considering the time. "I have some things to take care of, I'll check you guys later," he said, and he was off before anyone could really say anything to stop him.

*****

Van didn't have anything to take care of. He just sat on a bench in the park and fed the squirrels some peanuts. He wasn't even sure you were supposed to feed squirrels peanuts, but he had some in his pocket.

"I knew you were acting a bit squirrelly." Van was startled when Bianca appeared and sat next to him the bench. She was grinning at her clever pun. He had to chuckle at that one. "So, do you really think we care that you're a second-generation non-human terrestrial?" she asked him. She crossed her legs, and stacked her folded hands on top of her knee and looked at him patiently.

He shook his head. "No," he said. "I was going to tell you guys. I mean, obviously the Ro's know. But I wanted to tell the rest of you myself, but there hasn't been an opportunity to say 'Hey, guys, I'm an alien,'" he stated and gave some sarcastic jazz hands with his statement.

Bianca giggled. "Well, it does explain a few things. Any more secrets you're keeping from us?" she asked.

"I have really sucky magical powers," he said. He cleared his throat, held out a hand, muttered an arcane word and a fragrant white flower appeared in his hand. She gasped and took it gladly when he handed it to her. "My mom blames my dad. He has really sucky magic powers, too," he said.

Bianca sniffed the fragrant bloom. "Well, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. I don't even have sucky magic powers," she pointed out.

Van smiled and tilted his face toward the sun. "My aunt says that she thinks everyone, human and non-human alike, has their own sort of magic. It may not be showy spells, but something as simple as a smile brightening someone's day," he said.

"Wow. Does your aunt write corny greeting cards?"

Van chuckled. "Maybe she should. She probably read it in a manga." He slowly sat forward, resting his elbows on his knees, propping his chin on his hands. "We need to regroup. It won't be long before that youkaiza comes back," he said.

She nodded. "We can talk about the kitsune some other time," she said as she got to her feet. Van stood as well. Her phone rang and she excused herself to take care it. She had to take the call. Van decided to wait on her and give her privacy by wandering off the ways. The hair on the back of his neck stood up. "Catch up to me?" he shouted at her, and began running.

Bianca frowned and clenched her fist, but couldn't follow. Her dad was on the phone, and she couldn't just say she had to go fight a monster. At least she knew Van could take care of himself.

*****

Extinctortoise slowly raised his head out the pool of a water feature in the park. A young couple snuggling on a bench was a prime target to exact a little fear. He jumped out of the water. "Rawr!" he shouted.

They turned and screamed when they saw what was behind them. He grabbed them by their clothes and tossed them into the water behind him. "Ahaha! That was fun. Onizaks, get to it!" he said as the blue creatures began appearing to terrorize other park goers.

"I knew I smelled something fishy."

"Eh?" Extinctortoise looked up to see the blue ninja standing on a decorative wall. "You again?

"Shinobi Start!" Van morphed as he jumped off the wall, landing, with his Blade drawn. He slashed at the youkaiza and the onizaks. He threw several blue stars that took care of the other onizaks and concentrated his attack on the monster. The creature was quick, and strong, and managed to parry each attack. It fell on its back and kicked up with its feet.

Blue stumbled back. Extinctortoise sprang to his feet. "Take this!" He sucked in a deep breath.

"Trying that again, huh?" Blue spun out his Elemental Star and placed it on his Blade. "Fire Technique!" The monster blew out it's freezing energy but met a plume of fire.

The monster held up one of its arms, and from a nozzle, another blast joined the first. Blue felt himself sliding back, but put more energy into the fire. It burned brighter.

The monster made an enraged sound and brought up his other arm, and more energy met him. The extra burst of power exploded. Blue crashed backwards, and lost his morph. He rolled. Frost covered his skin, chilled to his bone.

"All that big talk for nothing," Extinctortoise scoffed. "Nice meeting you, Blue Ranger," he took in another breath, preparing to finish him off.

"Fire technique!" Four other plumes of fire from four different directions engulfed the creature.

"Aahh! Hot! Hot! Hot!" He cried, running around in circles.

Van looked up as his team mates joined them. "Thanks, you guys," he said.

Brenden held a hand down. "Alien, second generation non-human terrestrial, whatever. We're a team," he declared.

"I'm from New Tech City, so..." Misty shrugged.

"My bad, dude. I didn't mean to sound like a jerk," Galen declared.

Van took Brenden's hand and the other guy helped him to his feet. "Not a problem. I'm not mad or anything. At you guys anyway," he said. He shook himself, the frost covering his skin was finally beginning to melt. "You know, for a fire extinguisher monster, he's kinda flammable," he stated, nodding toward the youkaiza that had finally stopped, dropped, and rolled.

Extinctortoise got to his feet. "I'll make you all pay that!" he shouted. Onizaks began appearing.

"Oh, it's on," Bianca declared.

They spun out their Power Stars and took up a stance facing the monster. "Shinobi Start!" Brenden shouted.

"Ninja Fury Power!" Stars flew out and crashed into the monster, making him stumble back each time before spinning back to the dark clad ninjas. The Stars formed powersuits, weapons, and helmets.

"The roaring brilliance, Red Shinobi Ranger!"

"The wavering haze, Pink Shinobi Ranger!"

"The shimmering calm, Yellow Shinobi Ranger!"

"The flower in the wind, White Shinobi Ranger!"

"The soaring clouds, Blue Shinobi Ranger!"

They threw smoke bombs on the ground in front of themselves and disappeared. The monster and the onizaks looked around. "Where did they go?" Extinctortoise demanded. "Augh!" Red sprang up from behind a rock feature and, slashed at him.

Yellow, White, Pink, and Blue appeared and began fighting with onizaks. Several of them converged on Blue. He quickly slashed and jabbed, and kicked. More came at him. He took a spear from one of them. He tossed it in the air. When they looked up, a single sweeping slash took them out.

White was surrounded, but she was kicking at them. An onizak got behind her and slashed her across the back, but what fell over wasn't her, it was a straw dummy. Confused, and irritated they didn't noticed her sitting on a ledge nearby. She calmly placed her Power Star on the back of her Star Shooter. "Furious Strike!" The frog-like mouth opened wide, and a tongue-like blast out energy shot forward and took out her would-be attackers.

Yellow was fighting with a spear in one hand and his Blade in the other. He was also dancing out of the way when he needed to. He grinned under his helmet. He jumped, stuck the spear into the ground, and pun around it, with one hand, running on the onizaks sideways, and slashing others.

Pink found herself also on a ledge. "Transtarter Bow!" She aimed into the sky and let lose the energy bolt. Energy rained down on the onizaks, especially ones sneaking up behind White. They exploded in ghostly blue bursts.

Red fought with Extinctortoise. He kicked out with two feet to knock the monster back. He threw some red stars into the ground at the monster's feet that made the monster dance and spin. He spun the Elemental Star on his sword. "Fire Technique!" The stars explode in bursts of flame. Leaving him soot covered. Extinctortoise coughed.

"Water technique!" A gush of water sparkling with ice crystals crashes into the youkaiza as Red scrambles out of the way.

"Argh! So cold!"

Red jogs over to where Blue points his weapon at the monster. "Guess we've both about had it with this guy," he said.

"Yep. Let's put an end to him," Blue ran forward, turned a flip and slashed at the monster. Red came behind him, flipping and slashing the monster as well. They double-teamed him. Taking turns, kicking and slashing at him. Red got behind him, and Blue kicked. The monster stumbled back and Red knelt so that the monster would fall over him.

Extinctortoise scrambled to his feet. Blue and Red stood side by side and twisted their Stars. "Elemental Star Power!"

"I'm not falling for that again!"

"Metal Technique!" The Rangers slashed forward.

The monster was braced for fire, possibly water, but iron weights crashing into his head was unexpected. He fell over, his helmeted head cracked. His legs twitched. "Didn't see that coming," he admitted weakly.

Red and Blue replaced their Elemental Stars with their individual Power Stars. "Ninja Fury Power!" They spun their stars. Energy glowed around their blades. "Furious Ninja Slash!" They slashed at the monster several times in blurs of speed that left the monster crisscrossed with red and blue energy. They jumped free as the energy exploded.

The other three Rangers joined them. "Good work. That was awesome," Whit told them.

Gumi snarled quietly from where the fox-demon watched. It didn't have to get close to the monster to use the Hammer, and it decided not to risk another confrontation with the Goldsmith. The fox demon put a star on the hammer and twisted it. Without saying anything, the creature hit the air. Energy exploded outward around the youkaiza and it grew to enormous proportions.

"Alright. Zord time," Red stated. They nodded and placed their Zord Stars on their Blades and spun them. "Hidden Shinobi Zord!" he summoned, spinning the Star. As if appearing from nowhere, a red and silver humanoid Zord came running through the city.

"Hidden Express Zord!"

"Hidden Wolf Zord!"

A shimmer in the sky preceded the appearance of a pink and black bullet train. A white wolf Zord with a black head and golden throwing knife in its mouth jumped out of the back compartment with a howl.

"Hidden Drago Zord!" A blue dragon glowed into existence with a proud spread of its wings and an arrogant roar.

"Hidden Dumper Zord!" A large yellow dump truck shimmered into existence and rolled down the street.

Red gave his Star another spin. "Shinobi Star Megazord!" The Zords began to transform and come together to create a giant robot with Shinobi Zord using Dumper Zord like a throne holding a sword made of Drago's tail. The Rangers appeared in a shared cockpit where they all stood in front of podiums that they inserted their swords into.

"Let's teach this turtle how to ninja," Red suggested. He pushed the Megazord forward. Using the Drago Sword, it slashed the giant youkaiza.

"Ha! I'll be the one doing the schooling," Extinctortoise declared and tried to blow his freezing energy at them.

"Drago Shield!" Blue jerked his Blade, and the Drago Zord's wing shield blocked the attack.

The youkaiza scoffed. "I'm out of your league!" he said. Nozzles appeared out of his shell, and his freezing energy shot him into the sky. "And outta your reach!"

"Now that's straight up cheating," Pink declared.

"Since when do turtles fly?" White demanded.

"Since when do fire extinguishers?" Yellow pointed out.

Red left the cockpit and the Shinobi Zord jumped out of the Megazord in an attempt to jump and reach the flying monster. "Hahaha," Extinctortoise had the advantage wand kicked and held on the Zord.

"Maybe this wasn't a good idea," Red complained as he was jerked around.

"I'll help!" Blue said. He left the Megazord and the Drago Zord disconnected. It flew toward the monster and blasted him with a plume of flames. It lost the grip on the Shinobi Zord, but the Zord was falling and flailing. Drago swooped in and caught him.

White let out a breath she was holding. Pink slumped. "Man, that was intense," Yellow muttered.

"I have an idea," Blue said. He spun his Zord Star. "Drago Star Megazord!" The Shinobi Zord became the left arm of the Megazord, and the Drago Zord took Shinobi's place on front, but it's wings, tail and head attached to the back and top of the Megazord. It roared. Blue and Red appeared back in the cockpit.

"Thanks for the save," Red said.

"No sweat. Now, let's finish this once and for all," Blue stated and pushed on his Blade. The now winged Megazord took to the sky.

"Oh, ho! That's not good," Extinctortoise tried to speed away, but the new and improved Megazord was fasters. It began spinning around the monster, using its wings as blades. The monster sparked, crackled, and crashed into the ground a good distance from the city.

The Megazord landed and roared as Extinctortoise got to his feet. The Megazord whipped around and crashed into it with its tail. "It's done!” Blue said. He and the others drew their Blades. The mouth of Drago Zord began to glow. "Drago Burst!" They slashed with their Blades.

The mouth opened and roared as a bright burst of blue energy shot out. It hit the monster and he exploded. "Shinobi End!" Blue declared as the Megazord triumphantly turned away from the explosion.

*****

Gennus Strange saw the trickle of fear stop. He growled.

"What's wrong, dumplin'?" Aradne asked. She waddled over, and stood on her toes to peer at the bowl. "Not bad. A little more and it'll spill over into the next bowl," she stated.

"In other words, Juno screwed up again, huh?" Ryzo drawled. "Let me go next time, laird. I'll teach those Rangers who they're messin' with," he said.

"I'll think about it," Gennus said as he ushered Aradne to sit back and rest her feet. She was carrying precious cargo after all.

Grinning to himself, Ryzo took out his blade and began to sharpen it, looking forward to matching blades with a worthy opponent.

*****

The five ninjas lay in a circle in the Ro's courtyard again. They'd finished their days exercises, and were resting.

"The iron weights suddenly make sense," Galen declared suddenly.

"So does the fire apple,” Misty stated.

"Yep. It's cuz I'm an alien," Van said.

Misty suddenly sat up, and looked over at him. "Wait, you said dragons ate those," she said.

Van chuckled. "Briarwood isn't a hoax any more than New Tech City is," he stated.

"But...aliens are science...fairy tales are...fairy tales," Misty said helplessly.

Bianca laughed, and stood up. "I think Misty's brain just exploded," she said.

"I definitely see smoke," Galen stated. He got up and bounced on his toes. "I'm hungry," he said.

Brenden sat up. "That means Van's starving. Let's head to Quarks," he said.

Van groaned. "As a fact...I am starving. Quarks sounds good." He popped to his feet.

Bianca helped drag Misty to her feet. "Eat my dust, guys," she said, and suddenly took off running, eventually disappearing in a long white streak. The three boys took off behind her. Misty groaned. She was an intellectual, not an athlete, but she began running along behind them.

Mai Li smiled to herself as she watched them go. Her smile slipped a little. If only Mika were there, things would be perfect. Shaking herself out of her funk, she headed to her husband's workshop where he was bent over a work bench. Miru colored in a coloring book at his feet, and Milo was handing him tools before he could ask for them. She stood in the door, smiling as she watched. Yes, the picture was incomplete, but it was still a nice one.

*****
End 02
*****
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Old October 19th, 2017, 03:41 PM #20
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> Ravie
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Ravie
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Okay, quick question for anyone reading this post (and evidently someone is), I got a sorta request to add my Guardian Power Rangers story to this post. Does anyone else want me to. Although I have no firm plans to work on it again...should I add it for completeness sake?
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