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Old October 19th, 2018, 09:41 AM #1
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> SuperselfieRed
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SuperselfieRed
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The Chain of Damocles

This is the highly revised version of the story I posted as Dino ReCharged. It is an "adaption" of Dino Force Brave that takes place in the main PR universe and takes inspiration from the BOOM comics.

Five youths are brought together by their connected powers, and cultivated by the mysterious Justice Sterling to defend the planet against a plethora of alien threats. All the while two of the Rangers are twisted together, not just by their family legacy, but by fate itself.

Link One: Fateful Encounters

Despite the fact Alice Scott was oblivious to her family's legacy, it already her in its prehistoric maw.

She was only concerned with answers. An empty childhood had left her hungry and crazed, it was that hunger that led her to sneak aboard the spaceship she found parked outside of Angel Grove.

A spaceship just like the one she’d seen streak across the sky the night her dad disappeared. Things had been going great until she got caught.

The horrifying amalgamation of machine and flesh pulled her down the tight corridor. The entire area smelled of rot and rust, though the smell of the creature itself wasn't much better.

The creature threw her into the nearest cell and slamming it shut.

"Don't mind him," A voice said from the cell across. “He just needs an oil change.”

Alice didn’t reply, instead she looked around her small cell, feeling claustrophobia kick in.

“Come on,” He said, “I’m not that scary. Least not when you compare me to the other miserable scum aboard this ship.”

“I just don’t make a habit out of talking to strangers,” She replied.

A face peeked out of the darkness, almond eyes, a crooked smiled filled with a few chipped teeth. “Well then, I’m Ankh.” He stuck his hand out of the cage. “Just a normal space mercenary that got over his head.”

She looked at the hand skeptically. She didn’t think a prisoner, or a mercenary, would be someone she could trust, but he might still have some answers she was looking for.

“Alice,” She replied. Taking the hand.

“A very Terrain name,” The boy observed, “I take it you’re from Earth.”

“That’s a pretty bold assumption,” She said. “It’s not like there's a bunch of Earthlings crawling around the galaxy.”

“Not a lot, but a few,” He said. “Plus you’ve already proven it.”

“How’s that?” She asked with an eyebrow half-cocked.

“Nobody but a Terrain would refer to themselves as an ‘Earthling’.” The boy said with a grin. “What’s next? ‘Take me to your leader?’”

She almost chuckled, but then an awkward atmosphere settled. The conversation had temporarily let her forget about the severity of the situation. But the fresh silence allowed the feeling to return, and she remembered how screwed she really was.

“I’ve been working on a way out of here,” The boy said, almost seeming to detect her fear.

“Yeah?” Alice asked, “Then why are you still behind the bars?”

“The time hasn’t been right.”

It was then that Alice could see something in the boy’s hand. He was rubbing it between his fingers like a worry stone.

And for a moment her heart stopped.

“Where did you get that?” She asked, eyeballing the object.

“This?” He asked, holding the object into the light, a black crystal with a metal tip at both ends. “I found it forever ago, tried to scrap it but nobody would take it.”

“Can I see it real quick?” Alice asked.

“No,” The boy immediately snapped, then after a few moments of silence, his tone shifted. “Why?”

“Because,” She replied, instead of elaborating she reached inside her own pocket, revealing a crystal of her own, this one a bright red.

“That’s… kinda weird,” He said, looking hard at her own crystal.

“Mine was my dad’s,” She replied, “I found it while I was searching through his old stuff.”

Suddenly the metal door slid open, and the heavy foot of the visitor echoed around. “Alright, little miss trespasser, the Boss would like to have a word with you.” The tone of his voice and the snicker after alluding to the idea the boss wanted anything but a civil conversation.

The creature stepped up to her cell, a towering figure covered in a thick red armor that dripped down his onyx body like wax.



The bars slid open, and a horrible sneer blossomed on the creature’s face. He reached for Alice, grabbing her by the shirt and pulling her out.

“Hey!” The boy called, “That’s no way to treat a lady! Were you raised on a farming planet?”

“I was,” The creature said, “Until I got bored and burnt it to the ground.”

“That’s pretty brutal,” The boy said.

“That’s what my mom said,” The creature said, an almost nostalgic look on its face. “Before I slit her throat.”

“Maybe she should have raised you a bit better,” The boy muttered.

“Hey!” The creature snapped, “Nobody talks bad about how my momma raised me! She was a great mother till the very end!”

The creature turned to Ankh and swung his cage open. “I don’t care what the Boss says. I’m going to take care of you. He’ll just have to find another toy.”

The creature grabbed Ankh with his free hand, holding him firm by the neck.

Alice felt a painful twist in her gut as she saw the boy’s face begin to physically turn blue.

The creature’s grip tightened, harder then Alice thought possible. “You’ve been nothing but a trouble-maker since you walked onto the ship,” He lifted Ankh closer to his face. “I’m going to enjoy watching you die.”

Despite what must have been an extremely painful experience Ankh managed to crack a smile, at first Alice thought this was a moment of pure lunacy. She assumed he had merely given in to his own demise and was simply giving his last spit in the face.

But then the creature collapsed completely, crumpling to the floor like a freshman at his first frat party.

Alice hit the ground, completely in disbelief.

“Come on,” Ankh said, he seemed to have quickly recovered, though the red marks still crawled across his throat like a spider. “It’s only a matter of time before someone notices this guy isn’t at his usual seat during Andriasin Blackjack.”

The boy dashed down the hallway.

And Alice found herself following behind.

***

Hallway melted into hallway as they made their way through the ship. Alice followed closely behind a boy she’d just met, towards a destination she didn’t know, on a ship she hardly understood.

“How do you know where we’re going?” She finally asked.

“Don’t worry,” He said, “Just run.”

At that point, things had been easy, the corridors all empty, but Alice knew how quickly the favor could change hands, and she dreaded the moment when things would start to get hard.

A moment that was approaching more swiftly then she realized.

“We’re almost to the escape pods,” Ankh said, “After that, it’s a straight drop down to the planet below.”

“Straight down?” Alice asked, “You mean we’re just going to free fall down to Earth?”

“Of course that’s what I mean. What else would an escape pod be used for.”

“Will that hurt?”

“How the hell would I know? I’ve never escaped before.”

Alice closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She knew that her best chance of getting out of there alive was to listen to this boy, but he was making it increasingly harder by the second.

That was when they hit the roadblock, the creature from before had managed to sneak ahead of them. “I figured this was where you’d end up,” the being said, its glowing eyes ignited with sadistic glee.

“Any more tricks up your sleeve?”

“Sorry,” Ankh said. “Fresh out.”

The red monster charged towards the duo, his hand outstretched and craving blood.

If in old age one were to reflect on the most revolutionary moment of their lives Alice wouldn't say that it was the moment she snuck aboard the ship. Nor would it be her fateful encounter with Ankh, though that would be a close second.

It would instead be the moments that came next.

It all started when the crystal around her neck began to glow.

Everything began to slow down, seconds dragged on infinitely, and the monster grew closer and closer, though now more akin to a rising sun.

It was then, as the creature was inches away from her throat-

The creature collided with the spot her body should've been.

Should've.

By then she was safely to the side, watching as the monster slid past her and flew straight for the wall.

The feeling suddenly subsided, leaving Alice weak and shaking.

Ankh looked at her like she'd just downed an entire bottle of hot sauce.

“That was cool, but we’ve got to keep going.”

The two traveled down the hall, seemingly faster than before.

As they approached a closed door Alice felt her heart sink.

Footsteps grew nearer, whether it was the red creature or something else, it didn’t matter. She'd be doomed no matter what.

Ankh punched in a code and the door slid open.

The two stepped into a cramped room as the door slammed behind them.

“You might want to grab onto something,” Ankh said.

“Wait-” she stuttered, “Why?”

But by then Ankh had already pushed the button, and they began free falling through space.

***

Bryce couldn't believe what was happening. The hot breath of the man seated beside washed over his face in between their kisses.

This wasn't the type of thing that happened in real life, in fact, he was pretty sure this scenario was reserved exclusively for the romance novels he’d never admit to reading.

And the man, that was the most unbelievable part. Bryce brushed his hand against the man’s chest, feeling his chiseled abs from under his tight shirt.

Corbin Aretino, the lead software developer for Anton Industries.

And as far as Bryce was concerned, one of the hottest men on the planet.

It had started as an interview for the website Bryce worked for, but somehow, unbelievably, things changed.

Their lips brushed again, and Bryce felt himself brimming with excitement. He felt like a balloon full of wet cement. He was so overwhelmed by primal emotion he felt like he was going to burst right open.

“So,” the man breathed in a husky voice. “Are you going to keep teasing me or what?”

Then, like a scooter driving right for a brick wall, things were about to crash and burn.

There was a knock on the window, a firm and authoritative knock.

A knock Bryce knew from his worst dreams.

He jumped away from Corbin, sinking back into the passenger seat.

Corbin rolled the window down and looked at the stone-faced woman. Her brown hair was pulled into a tight ponytail and with a black cap on her head.

With a Silver Guardian logo on top.

“Busy?” She asked. Her face had nothing, but her eyes twinkled with faint amusement.

That was good, Bryce figured, maybe she'd go easy on them.

“Sorry to interrupt,” she said, the corner of her mouth twitched. “You're just in a no parking zone.”

“Oh,” Corbin said. “My bad.”

“Hey, you look familiar,” she said.

Bryce didn't think he'd ever seen a face drop so fast.

“I just have one of those faces,” he replied, “I get that a lot honestly.”

“No…” She insisted softly. “You go to school around here or something?”

“No.”

“Hm…” she chewed on her lip. Something clicked in her head. “Oh-shit.You’re that guy from twitter who ranted about the Bio-Labs buyout!”

Corbin looked like he'd just been shot point blank in the chest.

He was about one more question away from a heart attack when the sky suddenly ignited with a blazing red light.

For probably the only time in Bryce’s life, he felt relieved to be staring at an apocalyptic event.

Something streaked through the sky, a bright red ball of fire.

And it was heading right towards them.

There wasn't time to reflect on the short eighteen years of anxiety and disappointment Bryce knew as his life.

Hell, there wasn't even time to panic.

The object crashed into the park across the road. The ground shook as if there were an earthquake and the officer had to grab hold of the car to even stay balanced.

Silence followed the crash, primarily because nobody knew what to say.

“Should we call someone?” Bryce asked.

“Who? NASADA?” The girl asked. “I'm already right here.” she turned towards the crash, her gun drawn.

As the smoke cleared Bryce began to make something out, some vague shape from the crater.

A metal pod, round and unreal.

That was when the pod opened up, and two figures immediately dashed out.

“Freeze!” The girl shouted, her gun pointed at the two.

The two immediately stopped, a girl and a boy.

“By order of the Silver Guardian’s intergalactic visitors policy, you have to come with me to the station for investigation.”

“We have that?” Bryce asked.

“You ever watch the news?” Corbin asked, “We have an alien invasion like once a year. Of course, we’d have that.”

“I’m not an alien,” The girl said, reaching into her pocket to retrieve her tattered driver’s license. “Alice Scott, I was born here in California.”

The girl took Alice’s ID, examining it in the light. She then turned to the boy, “What about you?”

“Sorry. Alien,” He said and held his hands up. “You’ll have to arrest me, officer.” He turned to Alice and smiled, “Take me to your leader.”

A booming noise filled the air, overwhelming everyone in the area, and the sun disappeared, cloaking everyone in darkness.

“Damn it!” Bryce heard the boy say, “Just when I thought we escaped.”

Escaped?

The street lights kicked on, revealing that a small spacecraft floated above them.

A figure appeared from a bright beam, a red creature with a melty armor.

“Don’t mind me,” The creature barked in a gravelly voice. “Just here to collect to a few escapees.”

“You can't have the girl,” the officer said. “She's a citizen of the planet. And the boy… we'll discuss that when you come with us to the station.”

“Sorry,” the creature said, “no time for that.” A fireball escaped from the creature’s hand and punched the car Corbin and Bryce sat in.

If not for their quick reflexes the two of them would be flying through the air with the vehicle as it flipped backward.

“Now,” The creature said, “I’m taking them back; if you have a problem with that you can discuss it with your loved ones at your funeral.”

The officer snapped into action, her small pistol exploding with small energy bursts that hit the red creature in the chest, sparking on impact.

“Hey now,” The creature said, touching its smoldering armor, “That actually kinda hurt.”

The creature then swung its massive arm at the officer, hitting her in the chest and sending her body flying backward.

“Hey dude calm down!” The raggedy boy called, “She’s just doing her job.”

The creature merely growled and threw a blast of fiery energy at the boy, thankfully he jumped to the side right as it flew past him.

“We need to get the hell out of here,” Corbin said, with wide eyes.

“What do you mean?” Bryce said, “We can’t just let them get killed!”

“That thing is an alien monster!” Corbin practically squealed, “We’re just gonna get murdered.”

Back at the fight the young girl, Alice joined in. She rolled under the creature’s first and sprang up, delivering a spin kick that managed to knock the creature backward a few steps.

“Didn’t know you could fight like that,” The boy with her said. “Where’d you pick that up?”

She shrugged, “I’ve been around.”

“I can’t just sit and watch this,” Bryce decided, “I’ve got to help them.”

He felt Corbin try to grab him by the back of his shirt but Bryce merely shook him off, saying nothing as he joined the battle.

***
Alice knew that they couldn’t hold off the creature much longer. The officer had since recovered from its attack and joined in. She fired off a few shots with her pistol but the creature easily shrugged them off.

“You think you're the first creature to try such puny energy weapons on me?” The creature asked with an amused tone. “I've devastated countless army, some armed even better than that water pistol!”

Suddenly something behind the creature exploded, a piece of wood hit him in the shoulder and splintered into a million pieces.

“Damn,” the boy that Alice had seen jump from the car muttered. “I imagined that working a lot better.”

“Oh this is rich,” the red creature said. “I haven't had this much fun playing with the locals since I brought bug spray to an Edenite refugee camp!”

He grabbed hold of the boy, lifting him by his shirt.

“Any last words?” The creature asked.

“You need to cool off!” A voice screamed from the left of the creature.

The other boy jumped to the scene a red fire extinguisher in his hand. He let loose, blasting a rush of white fluff in the air. It smacked against the creature, sizzling on impact.

The creature dropped the boy and fell to its knees.

The extinguisher grew empty and everyone stared at the silent lump that was the alien lackey.

The boy looked down at his hands in disbelief. “I figured that might work,” He said, “But I also figured I might die.”

“Are you happy with the outcome?” Ankh asked.

The boy shrugged, “Let’s wait and find out.”

Then the lump began to laugh. “You thought it would be that easy to defeat me?” the creature stood up, heat lines pouring off his form.“The only thing that's going to be easy is breaking all of your necks!”

Alice attempted to spin kick the creature and give the boy a chance to escape, but this time the enemy predicted the attack grabbed her by the ankle.

She hit the asphalt so hard her head started to spin and her ears rang.

For a second she thought she would actually blackout, as blood clotted in her hair, but that was when the familiar feeling from the ship washed over her. She looked down and her crystal was glowing once more.

But her’s wasn’t the only one glowing.

The other four looked to their various pockets, where each of them had a different colored gem, each of them glowing.

They all looked amongst each other with shock and confusion wrapped around their faces.

Even the boy who used the fire extinguisher, who hung several inches above the ground, had a pulsing green light radiating from his jean pocket

And that was everyone was enveloped in a bright light of color.

The strings of fate pulled tight around the latest stitch. And a new legend was on the horizon.

The creature dropped both of his captors as the blinding light began to recede.

And revealed five warriors in color-coded armor.

Their armor was fairly streamlined, their boots and pants matched their primary color, as did their arms though those were covered in a scaly texture as well. Their chests were white, with a shash of yellow triangles meant to replicate a mouth with metal lips. Their helmets were covered in a wide visor designed to resemble a gaping mouth with a plan metal mouthpiece.

Though Alice had never seen these forms before she instantly understood what they were. They were Power Rangers.

Ankh was the Black Ranger.



The female officer was the Pink Ranger.



The boy who used the fire extinguisher was the Green Ranger.



And his companion was the Blue Ranger.



That just left Alice, who looked down and revealed that a red suit was pulled tightly around her form.



“You're Power Rangers!” The Green Ranger exclaimed, the looked down at his own suit. “I'm a Power Ranger!”

“I don't care what you call yourselves,” the creature said. “You're all dead to me!”

“If you knew what you were dealing with,” The Black Ranger said as he took an offensive stance. “You'd pick better last words.”

The Ranger didn’t wait for a response from the creature instead he punched it in the chest. The creature stumbled backward, right into the Green Ranger.

“Next time you choke me, take me out to dinner first,” The Green Ranger said and slugged the creature in the face.

“This guy gets it,” The Black Ranger muttered. “A bit generic, but he’s got the spirit of it.”

The Pink Ranger jumped up from behind, kicking the creature in the head and turning him around.

The creature turned his attention towards the Blue Ranger who was a bit away from the crowd, his fists became a red blur as they flew towards his head. Yet the Ranger dodged each attack easily enough and finished off by flipping backward, kicking upwards and connecting with what he assumed was the creature’s jaw.

The creature looked around, eyeing each of the Rangers carefully. He scuffed and knocked the warriors away with a burst of heat.

In a flash of flames, the creature was gone, and the sky cleared, leaving the five Rangers standing amongst themselves.

Their armor failed, dissipating in a flash of their respective colors.

The five all looked at each other, unsure where to take things from there.

“Well…” The boy who was previously the Green Ranger said, “That was certainly interesting… but I’m probably way past my lunch break.” He turned around and looked over at the wreck that used to be his car. “I guess I’ll walk…”

“Walking won’t be necessary,” A stern female voice said from behind the group.

Alice turned to see a middle-aged woman in a tight looking suit.

“Because you’ll all be coming with me.”

“Yeah right,” The man said, “I don’t have time for this.”

As he took another step a cold faced officer stepped out of the cover of a nearby building, an assault rifle pointed at him.

“You’ll make time,” The woman said. She smiled softly, “Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Justice Sterling, and it's time for us to have a talk.”
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Old November 11th, 2018, 06:17 AM #2
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Hey, just saw this. Good work! I wasn't a huge fan of Dino Charge or its sentai counterpart, so I'm glad this follows a different path.
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Old December 1st, 2018, 09:23 PM #3
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I love how you've introduced your Rangers here. We get a good feel for each character all while there's still action going on.

I'm looking forward to reading more of this story.
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Old December 3rd, 2018, 07:14 PM #4
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I actually like the idea of this because I wasn’t the biggest fan of saban spliting up Dino charge from the main universe. I feel it over complicates the series a bit but it made the most sense with how they messed up super Dino Charge’s ending. Man I will support this project and you never know Saban May pick it up man. I’m guessing this is the main universe’s counterpart of Dino Charge.
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Old December 23rd, 2018, 06:52 PM #5
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A/N: Thanks for all the positive reviews, most of my free time has gone towards other projects but I found the time to do some more work on this. Hope you enjoy

Link Two: Tsuraira's Last Song

The group all stood around the woman. Her armed guard vigilantly behind them, his rifle still drawn.

Ankh couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed, he’d just escaped the ship only to find himself captured again.

“This is insane,” the man who Ankh would learn was named Corbin exclaimed, “My boss is probably having a heart attack.”

“Don't worry about that,” Justice said, “This won’t take long.”

“How can you hold us here?” He asked. “I'm pretty sure you're breaking like a hundred laws.”

“They're Promethea,” the officer, Erin said darkly. “They can do whatever they want.”

Justice ignored the comment but her mouth flickered.

“I know this isn't the ideal situation,” she said, “and I'm sorry for dragging all of you into this. But I promise it's important.”

“What do you mean?” Alice asked, meeting Justice’s eyes. “What's going on?”

“Those crystals,” she said, a strange lust in her eyes. “The energems. Powerful objects with an intense connection to the morphing grid. They sought you out because of your warrior spirits. And activated once all of you joined in the same fight. Now I'm here to help you use them responsibly, and to test some of our own toys while the opportunity arises.”

As the words left her mouth a technician stepped up with a suitcase in hand. He opened it up to reveal five strange looking guns. Ankh examined them, the blasters were mostly white with a barrel designed to resemble a dinosaur’s mouth. Next to them were what Ankh had initially assumed were bullets, but now with closer attention, he realized they were batteries.

“These will allow you to channel the energy of the Energems more carefully. There's more than that though,” she said and held out one of the batteries. “These will tie your morphed forms to one of our specially designed Zords, and allow you to access all of our weaponry.”

“So what,” Corbin said. “We're your beta testers?”

“You'll be serving the entire planet,” she said in a tone that said, more or less.

“That sounds pretty fun,” Corbin said, “I'm in.”

“Well my feet are already wet,” Bryce said, “So why not.”

“I don’t know how I could say no,” Erin said. “This is basically a promotion.”

Ankh sighed, “What other choice do I have? Besides, I’ll work for anyone who puts me on their payroll.”

Alice simply took the gun without a word.

Each of them grabbed one of the guns and their accompanying batteries.

“I know this is a lot to process. So I don’t expect you to be ready for the next few days. You can all just go home.”

“What about me?” Ankh asked.

“We have facilities at our base,” Justice said.

“My house has an extra room,” Alice blurted out.

Despite the new planet he had to stick to the old rules. And the most important rule was to stay with who has your back.

“I’ll stay with Alice, for now at least.”

“Well alright,” Justice said, “I suppose that settles everything.” She reached into her pocket and drew five business cards. “If you notice something before then give this number a call.”

Everyone silently took a card. The group dispersed, and everyone went their separate ways.

***
Alice felt weirdly nervous as she approached her house. There was a moment in her life where she thought she’d never see this place again, yet there she was.

With a strange boy in the passenger seat.

“So nobody’s going to care that you’re bringing a stranger home?” He asked.

“Nobody lives with me,” She said simply. Feeling a rock in her stomach suddenly.

“What about you?” She asked, “Do you have a family back home?” It was then it occurred to her that she had no idea where Ankh came from. She didn’t even know if he was alien. After all, he looked human.

“Nope,” He said. “Don’t know the planet I was born on, and my parents abandoned me before I can even remember.”

“Oh,” Alice said. That put them in a similar ship, so she said the one thing she always wanted to hear. “That must be hard.”

He shrugged, “Just means that there’s nobody to hold me back.”

Silence fell as they pulled into the driveway. Alice’s house was small and modest, resting on a large plot of land her dad had bought when she was young. He had personally designed and built the house, calling it his “base of operation”.

Thinking about that brought a rush of gut-twisting nostalgia.

She threw open the door and entered the square room with a beige couch pointed at the large CRT television. She hadn’t changed anything since she moved back in as an adult. it just didn’t feel right.

“Your room is at the end of the hallway. It used to be my dad’s study, so don’t mess with any of the books.”

“And here I was thinking I could burn them for warmth,” He muttered.

Once he caught her glare he shrugged, “Bad joke I guess, sorry.”

He disappeared into the room and Alice sighed, she plopped down on the couch. So much had happened in the last day.

And she wasn’t any closer to finding her him.

That was when it hit her like a rock from a hungry neanderthal who ran out of spears.

She then went into her father’s former study, where Ankh was examining the futon with confusion.

“Is that what I’m sleeping on?” He asked, “It looks...kinda cramped.”

“Here,” She said, and grabbed it from the bottom and pulled it out.

“Damn,” He muttered, “You guys haven’t mastered interplanetary travel but you have this?”

“Is that a fair trade?” She asked, cracking a smile.

He jumped down on the unfolded bed, “If you could make it more comfortable.”

“So…” She said slowly, trying to figure out the best way to ask the question. “How well did you know the crew of the ship?”

He immediately frowned, “Pretty well… why do you ask?”


“Were there any other people from Earth?”

“No. They came to your orbit to examine some kind of distress signal, they were hoping to ransack it. They didn’t find anything though, probably just a false reading. Its possible they’d been here before though. There’s no way for me to know,” He raised his eyebrow. “Why?”

“No reason,” she said. She then turned around, “Well alright, I’ll let you get comfortable.”

“Thanks,” He said abruptly, “For helping me get out of there.”

“You too,” She said and walked back into her room before collapsing. She closed her eyes and tried to feel relaxed. After everything that happened she knew she should feel better, the worst if it was over.

But she couldn't shake the feeling the worst hasn't even begun.

***
The red creature, known to his friends and family (if he had any) as Homuras, walked down the metal staircase. He felt embarrassed and seething with anger, he had allowed those brats to escape his grasp.

The ship was known un-affectionately as the Slime Pot, it was a place for the rejects of the galaxy. The thieves, killers, and scumlords from beyond the stars. The Boss acted as more of a landlord, offering anyone a place of refuge in this wild west of a galaxy.

Homuras stepped through the empty doorway to find a large room covered in thin smoke. Various aliens all sat at round tables, drinking, gambling, some just sharing stories.

He scanned the scene, looking for someone who would be perfect for the job he had in mind.

Someone who would help him get revenge.

Homuras saw a lot of tough looking fiends, but in this galaxy, guys like that were a dime a dozen. He needed someone unique.

There, he thought, looking at a man sitting alone.

As he approached the man paid no attention, instead he slowly sipped his glass of crimson wine.

“Hey there,” Homuras said and sat down next to the potential candidate. He was a dark fellow, dressed in a black suit with a flowing cape and giant red shoulder guards.



“Hello,” the man said. “For what do I owe to your arrival?”

“I-um was wondering if you were looking for some work,” he replied, hoping they were on the same page.

“Some work?” He asked with a slight rise in his voice. “You mean you what to hear my music?”

Homuras paused, maybe he'd picked the wrong guy.

“I must say I'm excited to find a man with great taste,” the suited fellow said. “Most find my music volatile.”

Volatile? Homuras thought that had to be good.

“Why not give me a sample?”

“Oh if you insist,” the man said, his blue lips smiling.

The man drew a thin baton and began to wave it in the air. Notes carved from blue energy hung around for a few seconds before he let them fly. They sailed through the air and entered the ears of a Tenga playing poker. The creature instantly fell unconscious, his opponent then peaked at his hand and pushed all of his chips forward.

“My music can render even the most persistent enemy unconscious.”

The rustic gears in Homuras’ head began to twist and turn, and a brilliant idea began to blossom.

“Your music is exactly the kind of performance I’m looking for.”

***
The morning sun painted the city of Angel Grove in a shiny coat of crimson as Bryce sat alone at the cafe and slowly sipped his coffee. His mind lost in thought.

He looked down at the crystal sitting on the table, the Blue Energem. He had found it years ago, bought from a traveling saleswoman at a local fair. She had said it suited him, the blue reflected his sensitive soul.

He sighed if it weren’t for that sensitive soul he’d feel a whole lot better.

Bryce looked down at his phone, hoping to find a new text.

Nothing but the time flashed across his phone, and his heart sank.

After a full day of radio silence, he figured Corbin should have at least shot him a simple hey. Or anything to curb the encompassing anxiety.

Suddenly a scream broke out in the street outside the shop and Bryce found his feet moving before he realized what was happening.

He stopped a few inches away, where a girl stood in horror as two monstrous figures moved down the sidewalk.

One Bryce instantly remembered from the attack yesterday while the other appeared to be a weird parody of a conductor. The conductor raised his this baton and creating strange notes of energy and the girl passed out.

“Good practice run,” the red monster mugged, “I think it's time to let the show comence.”

Bryce looked down at his phone and punched in the numbers, he didn't wait for a response. Instead, he raised his gun and took aim.

***
Alice and Ankh rushed to the scene, Alice held her gun shaky as they abandoned her car and headed towards the target.

Time seemed to drag. Like an old dog moving towards a bowl of kibble. Like a kid walking to school the day after summer break ended. Like a list of analogies that went just a little too long.

“It’ll subside,” Ankh said, as they moved down the alley.

Alice looked at him with a strange expression. “The nervousness, it’ll go away soon enough.”

“How do you know I’m nervous?”

“Because you look like a guy you owe half a starcruiser to just sat down next to you at the bar.”

“I'm fine,” Alice said. “You're probably just projecting your own feelings onto me.”

“If I was doing that you'd be more excited.”

The two came to the sight of the monsters in the city, standing around in the middle of the street as casually as two street performers.

And Alice realized she did feel excited.

Bryce approached the duo, his face coated in sweat. “Watch out,” he warned as his body swayed. “This guy is serious-” was all he got out before passing out.

“Long time no see,” the red warrior said next to his suited companion. “Are you here to turn yourself in?”

“No,” Erin said as appeared beside Alice and Ankh. “We're here to stop you.”

“What a shame,” the armored creature replied. “I guess we'll have to continue the concert.”

“There’s no shame in that,” The enemy’s friend said. “This is practically the rehearsal.”

The suited creature threw a wave of blue energy at the group but Ankh jumped on Alice and brought them both to the ground as the shot sailed over their heads.

“Let’s take this freak down,” Erin said and opened fire with her white pistol.

The red creature jumped in front of the blast, absorbing the large volley’s of energy with his chest. Sparks poured from his armor and he fell to his knees. “Those weapons have some kick to them now. Thankfully I have a weapon of my own,” The creature said and drew a bronze weapon that almost resembled a candleholder.

The three jumped away as blasts of fire escaped the barrel of the weapon and splashed against the wall behind them.

The creature laughed, catching Erin in his sights.

Before being thrown back by another energy shot.

“Sorry I’m late,” Corbin said, dressed in a white button up with a crooked green tie. “I was still in bed when I got the call.”

“Maybe next time you can spend a little less time on your hair and more time getting here,” Ankh spat.

Corbin ran his hand through his dark curly hair, “This is how I woke up,” He said, “I spent most of my time looking for a tie.”

Suddenly the creature the red monster was protecting made its move. It waved its baton in the air and summoned blue music notes. The notes sailed through the air and collided with Corbin. The boy fell back, his eyes rolling.

“I needed an outfit I could wear to the office…” He trailed off as his body fell unconscious.

“Be careful around that alien,” Justice warned them from their helmet comms. “It uses some sort of supersonic energy to render his opponents unconscious.”

“How about we just morph and take care of this freak,” Erin said, her morpher raised.

“Morph?” Ankh asked.

“Like use our suits,” Alice explained, “it’s what the Power Rangers have always called it.”

“I wouldn’t say its a metamorphosis as much as its a-” Anhk ducked as another blue note flew over his head. “Whatever let's just morph and waste this guy.”

The three each held out there morphers, the mouth opened and each of them dropped the battery sized dino chargers into the device.

“It’s morphin time!” Erin and Alice shouted.

“Now you're just rubbing it in my face,” Ankh muttered.

The three pulled the trigger, and their bodies exploded with color as their armor wrapped around them.

“I’ll take melty,” The Black Ranger said, “Why don’t you two see if you can stop the other guy.”

The Red and Pink Rangers nodded and jumped towards the figure clad in a suit. His blue face grinned, “Evening ladies, did you come to appreciate my music?”

“Sorry,” The Pink Ranger said, “But we’ve been receiving noise complaints, so we have to shut this consert down.” She unloaded several shots with her morpher and blasted the enemy backward with sparks raining from his body.

“That’s no fun,” He muttered, now scowling, “Why don’t you just face the music, and accept defeat before it swallows you!” He waved his baton in the air and summed red colored sharp signs that flew at the duo and slashed their armor, throwing them back and ejecting sparks from their bodies.

The Black Ranger danced around the red armored enemy. He wielded a golden blade that resembled their morpher while the enemy had converted his candlestick gun into a sword of his own.

“Why don’t you just surrender?” He asked the Ranger.

“Sorry,” He replied, “Not in my D.N.A.”

“There’s more at stake here then you realize,” The villain responded, “More players in this game then you can see.”

“Nah. Still, don’t care,” He said and slashed his blade across his enemy’s chest.

The two girls aimed their blasters at their enemy and opened fire but the enemy summed a gold-colored fermata that absorbed their blasts.

“Your standard attacks won’t do anything,” Justice said, “You have to combine your morpher with your dino saber.”

Alice and Erin nodded. At first, Alice was worried she wouldn’t understand how to perform this task but it seemed that her suit supplied her with all of the necessary information as she folded the sword up and attached it to the barrel of her morpher.

The two aimed their weapons at the enemy and opened fire.

Two cannonballs of energy shot at the enemy, breaking his shield and punching his body. Sparks poured from his form as he fell to his knees.

“Looks like its time for my curtain to fall…” He muttered, “Adieu.”

His body completely disintegrated in a giant explosion.

Knowing that his plan failed the red creature jumped back, growling as his body disappeared into flame. The Black Ranger attempted to fire at the enemy before he could escape, but each shot missed completely.

The three Rangers demorphed as Bryce and Corbin came to.

“What did I miss?” Bryce asked, looking around with a confused expression.

“I think we won,” Corbin responded, “Cool.”

“Good job Rangers,” Justice said, “For now you’re dismissed, but tomorrow you’ll begin formal training.”

***
Bryce felt his heart rise to his throat as he watched Corbin walk away from the crowd.

“Hey!” He called, not really sure where this was going to go, but sure that it would be better than feeling like a man hanging over a shark tank.

It had to be.

He paused for a second before turning around.

“Yeah?”

“What’s up?” Bryce demanded.

“What do you mean?” The man with the green tie asked.

“What’s up between us?”

“I’m not following,” He admitted with an emotionless expression.

“You haven’t texted me back.”

“Why would I?”

Bryce almost fell over right then, he’d felt punches to the stomach with less kick.

“What happened at the other day-”

“Was just another hookup,” Corbin said, “If you even want to call it that.”

“So are we just going to pretend it didn’t happen?” He pleaded.

“Nothing happened,” Corbin replied with a shrug. “We kissed in my car.” He turned around, “If you’re looking for Prince Charming look elsewhere. Otherwise, unless you plan on supplying some action, don’t try to hit me up.”

Bryce felt like someone reached into his throat, pulled out the heart that had been hiding there, and tossed it to the dirt.

***
Homuras knew he was in trouble as he moved down the hallway. The Boss had called him into his private chamber.

People didn’t just get called up there, not unless they were about to get their heads mounted on his trophy wall.

The door to his room slid open, and the smell of flowers filled his nose.

Not just any flower, Homuras realized.

But roses.

“Enter,” The Boss said in a gravelly voice.

Homuras took the first step inside, feeling like his entire body was dipped in ice.

The Boss at his desk, a calm expression on his green boney face. His body was blue, and his body was built like a tank. Before he owned this ship he was a simple traveler named Dei, who paraded the cosmos.



Now he was simply the Boss, one of the most respected and feared beings in the galaxy, and he was glaring right into Homuras’ soul.

“A good man lost his life in response to your incompetence.” He said simply.

“I did what I could!” Homuras begged, “It was those Rangers!”

“Forget those Rangers, they have nothing to do with this.”

The boss rose from his seat and approached Homuras. “This is about insubordination and pointless destruction.”

He grabbed Homuras by the neck, lifting him into the air. “I’d throw you into the sun, but I’m sure you’d enjoy that.”

Homuras gulped hard, seeing the blank look in the Boss’s eyes, the complete disregard of his own life.

“Instead you’ll have to do something much more dangerous,” He then set Homuras down. “You’re going to report to Her and explain why the boy isn’t with us.”

“T-that’s suicide!” Homuras exclaimed.

“So was dragging poor Tsuraira down to Earth,” He said, “This is how you’ll make amends.”

Homuras nodded, feeling almost out of body at this point.

“We’re leaving this planet immediately, setting a course for Onyx for you to meet her. I suggest you write a will, assuming you have anything worth passing down.”

***

Justice watched with extreme satisfaction as the Red and Pink Rangers disposed of the alien creature. It was one thing to develop the technology, but it was another thing altogether to finally see it implemented and be successful.

“Everything is going great,” Cedric, lead engineer of Promethea said with a grin. “Perfect test run.”

“Yeah,” She said, “You don’t get those too often.”

Justice felt it coming and frowned.

“Go ahead and run a diagnostic on the Zords, make sure everything is up to snuff.”

“Yes ma’am,” he said and rushed out the door.

Suddenly she felt overwhelmed with lightheadedness. She fell over, only managing to hold herself up by the terminal in front of her.

“Good job Rangers,” Justice said, “For now you’re dismissed, but tomorrow you’ll begin formal training.”

After that, she fell into her seat, took a deep breath and sighed.

“One down,” She said to herself. “Many more to go…”

Last edited by SuperselfieRed; December 28th, 2018 at 07:50 PM.
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Old December 31st, 2018, 10:22 AM #6
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That was a great second chapter! I love this story.

You've set up a lot of stuff and I'm terribly curious about what'll happen next.
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Old January 15th, 2019, 07:26 PM #7
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Chain Three: Country Roads Take Me... to a Giant Monster??!

The Red Ranger ducked under the blue blade that soared over her head.

Her blade connected with the Green Ranger’s creating a loud clunk and a rush of sparks.

“You aren’t bad,” The Green Ranger said, “Any formal training?”

“Nothing my dad didn’t show me on the weekends,” She said, kicking sword out of the Ranger’s hand and pointing her blade directly to his throat. “What about you?”

“The fact you just did that makes me kind of embarrassed to admit I have several years of fencing under my belt. When I was fifteen I managed to snag second place at a statewide competition.”

“Why'd you stop?” She asked.

He shrugged, “other things got in the way.”

Alice didn't want to pester him further and grew quiet. She then looked over where Ankh and Erin were both practicing at the shooting range. She couldn’t believe how sophisticated the Promethea compound was. The two Rangers were firing at a large screen that displayed interactive Putty Patrollers that responded to the shots in real time, trying to dodge them with strange rhythmic movements.

“It's crazy how easily all of this is coming to me,” The Green Ranger said. “Its like I was born knowing how to be a badass superhero.”

“Speak for yourself,” Ankh said in an annoyed tone. The Pink Ranger’s side of the screen displayed several putties laying with their backs with X’s over their eyes while his screen still had the first dancing figure. “my aim hasn't been this bad since I got stuck in that shoot out at the Onyx Tavern after four shots of Triforian vodka.”

“That's what I was afraid of,” Justice said, she was standing in the far corner, her hands behind her back.

“What's that mean?” Ankh asked.

“The suits were designed with human biology in mind. You're human enough for it to work at a base level, but we'll have to do some tests later to better configure it.”

“There must be some kind of flaw in your data, I’m as human as anyone else,” He grunted between what Alice assumed were closed teeth. “Just because I’m from outer space doesn’t mean I’m the monster from Planet X. I don’t need tests I just need practice.”He tried to shoot at the Putty again, only to miss.

He turned around and threw his morpher to the ground, “I’ll be in the locker room.” He said and walked off.

***

Bryce knew that he should be training, should be making sure he had this whole superhero thing down.

But he couldn’t bring himself to leave the damn locker room.

He hated Corbin, hated the effect he had over him. Bryce had been so excited to try out the Ranger suit in a sandbox environment, but then when he realized he’d be facing him the mood was totally ruined.

Instead, he sat with his head down, looking at his feet.

“You look kinda rough,” Ankh said.

“Yeah?”

“Hell yeah, you look like you just found your mom and your gang leader in bed together.”

“D-did that happen to you?”

“Course not,” Ankh said, “I’ve never met my mom.”

“I’m just having a bad day,” Bryce said after a moment of silence.

“Yeah,” Ankh muttered, “No kidding.”

“Do you ever feel like you're totally useless?” Bryce asked, “Like you just aren’t good enough?”

“Sometimes.”

“What do you do to help it?” Bryce asked.

“Kick someone’s face it,” Ankh said, “If I can’t find someone then I usually just find something that reminds of someone I’d want to kick in the face.”

“Gentlemen,” Justice’s assistant said as he stuck his head into the locker room. “There's a meeting in room A-9.”

“Well,” Ankh said and patted Bryce on the back. “You might get to try my method soon enough.”

***

Bryce looked around the large square room. Monitors mounted across the walls, displaying various different cameras, or sensor readings.

Justice was already at the end of the round table. Her face just as blank as it always was. Being a journalist he was used to having to look beyond cold eyes, but he honestly couldn’t see anything. He suspected she took classes to train herself against people like him.

It made sense, being that she was the C.E.O of one of the most notoriously shady organizations on the Fortune 500.

“Now that everyone is here,” She said calmly, “Let’s get started.” The monitors flashed to a small farm far out from the city. “There have been reports of various livestock going missing, or worse, showing up mutilated.” The screen flashed to a cow with a large chunk of meat missing from its chest and Bryce felt his stomach turn. “These reports had been on our radar for a few weeks, but last night one of the farmers and their child went missing.”

“So you’re gonna send us on a rescue mission?” Erin asked.

Ankh laughed, “They’re going to send us to dispose of whatever snacked on the poor kid.”

Justice was silent for a few seconds, Bryce caught her slipping, thinking of the proper response.

“It's your job to maintain peace and prevent extraterrestrials from running amok,” the screen flashed back to the cow. “Does this look like something done by a terrestrial creature?”

That was a good play, Bryce figured, but there wasn't any satisfaction in her eyes.

He had to remind himself that she wasn't a super villain, she was a person doing their job.

And now, so was he.

***
The team was fresh at the scene, all clad in their brand new uniforms. Simple police style garb with trimming that matched their Ranger colors.

Bryce knew that he should feel sharp, feel on top of everything. But he couldn’t help but feel out of place and small, like a son in his father’s uniform.

The farm was silent, and that was what bothered Bryce the most. The air was still, stale, still carrying the scent of animals and the filth that accompanied them, but now it was almost mute. It had faded somehow replaced with something far more unpleasant.

Blood.

“Shouldn’t there be more going on?” Corbin said. “I’m pretty sure Old MacDonald had more than just grass on his farm.”

“Justice said people starting going missing,” Erin observed, “Maybe whatever it was scared them off.”

“Or just got a little too hungry,” Ankh replied.

The five of them approached the brick farmhouse. Alice moved to knock on the door.

And it merely swung open.

They all moved inside, with Bryce waiting for Ankh to create a wall between himself and Corbin.

Something about the way he moved, so calm and casual, looking past Bryce as if he didn’t exist.

It really pissed him off.

The inside of the house was a complete wreck, papers flew across the stained linoleum, pictures covered the table, a coffee mug tipped and ruining some of the polaroids.

And a smear of blood streaked across the wall.

To Bryce, this didn’t even seem real, more like a haunted house or an elaborate stage show.

But even without the sense of reality, those things always scared him.

“What the hell are you doing here?” A voice demanded.

Bryce jumped back, falling right into Ankh and knocking the boy into a shelf and sending various glass objects crashing to the floor.

“Can’t you just leave a lady to grieve?”

The source of the voice was a middle-aged woman, suspenders, greasy blonde hair, and a shotgun pointed right at them.

“We’re with Promethea,” Alice explained, sporting the uniform they had all received earlier that morning.

“That doesn’t mean you can just stroll into someone’s house,” The lady replied.

Ankh shrugged, “She isn’t wrong.”

“We’re here to investigate what happened,” Bryce said. He knew that the weapon at his hip could make her's look like a pop gun, but that didn’t make him feel any safer. “We didn’t know anyone was still here.”

“Well, there shouldn’t be,” The woman said sadly. “If I wouldn’t have been in the cellar I'd be digesting along with everything else on the godforsaken property.”

“What did this?” Alice asked.

“It was some kind of beast,” The lady said, “Might as well have been Beelzebub incarnate. Red skin, horns and all.”

“Comforting…” Ankh said, “We went from a conductor to a space monster.”

“Space monster is exactly right,” The woman said. “I know it. Things have been happening for months. It's like something is bringing these freaks here.”

“Well it is Angel Grove,” Corbin said. “We’ve been like this for two decades.”

“Bah!” The lady howled, “That stuff used to stay in the city, but now nowhere is safe.”

“That thing,” Alice said, “Did you see where it went?”

“It came from the woods just south of here,” she said. “I’d bet that’s where its nest is.”

“You heard the shotgun wielding lady,” Ankh said and turned towards the door. “Let's go kill a monster.”

“How can you be so forward about this?” Erin asked.

“Because it's a forward job. We find the monster, we kill the monster, we go home.”

“We don’t know anything about it,” Erin said. “We don’t know its strengths, or its weaknesses, or even what it's capable of.”

“Yeah,” Ankh replied, “But we won’t get that by sitting around here. Our best course of action would be to get the jump on it and hopefully figure that stuff out on the way.”

Ankh threw open the door, “So come on,” and stepped out. “Like I said, we have a monster to slay.”

Alice followed behind him, as did Corbin. Bryce gave Erin a shrug and trailed behind them.

She groaned to herself but eventually followed as well.

***
The lush forest, the blood pumping in his ears, the adrenaline coursing through his veins, making every tiny detail crystal clear. This was the world Ankh was most accustomed to.

This was his home.

The group made their way through the forest, over thick foliage and broke trees.

“So what are we looking for?” Corbin asked, “And how do we know when we’ve even found it?”

“We’re looking for a trail,” Ankh explained, “Something concrete, something that will easily lead us to our target.”

“You mean something like this?” Alice asked, pointing down at the splotch of murky blood-soaked dirt.

“Yeah, that’s a good place to start.”

The five followed the trail of blood, past the destroyed limbs and trampled plants.

Ankh only knew one thing, whatever it was, it was huge.

“So how does this compare to working for SG?” Corbin asked Erin, “More or less exciting?”

“More,” She said, “I’ve heard a lot of veteran officers talk about this kind of stuff, but nowadays we mostly just act as secondary police officers.”

“Sounds kinda boring,” Corbin said, “If I’m going to commit myself to the danger, I’d like to get some excitement out of it.”

“He’s lying,” Bryce muttered to Ankh, “He’s just trying to impress her.”

“I could tell you that,” Ankh shot back, “That boy looks like the most stress he could handle is accidentally getting decaf coffee.”

The trail ended and both conversations were suddenly halted by the low growling that escaped the foliage.

Ankh was the first to raise his gun, Erin and Alice following suit. Each of them scanned the area, looking for something to shoot at.

He took a deep breath, feeling every sense available. Combing through them to find something, anything.

Then the hairs on his back stood up, a feeling, not quite akin to a particular sense, but a feeling nonetheless began to rise.

And it began to scream.

“There!” He screamed, point his gun between two large oak trees.

But by then everyone knew the direction from the noise alone.

The pounding of feet on dirt.

The trees completely shattered, sending splinters of wood flying in every direction.

And the insanely large, hopelessly hungry, red-scaled beast was coming right for them.

The creature was certainly something Ankh had to admire, a 10-foot lizard-like monster with a giant toothy maw, curved horns, and completely opposable hands.



“Well that thing is certainly ugly,” Bryce managed to mutter before they all jumped out of its path.

The alien charged past them, moving with the speed of and force of a semi-truck.

“Let’s slay this dragon already,” Ankh said, “All these flowers are going to upset my allergies.”

The five raised their Morphers, slid their batteries inside, and took aim.

Then fired.

The creature whipped around, moving its massive body clumsily but swiftly.

Blaster fire racked its body from Erin and Alice.

Ankh took a deep breath, catching the rampaging lizard between his sights.

And completely missed the shot.

The creature charged past them once more, and just like the last time Ankh jumped out of the way.

But not everyone followed suit.

The Green Ranger stood, seemingly rooted to the ground.

Then the creature plucked him up, like a child pulling flowers from their mother’s garden.

And promptly ran off.

“Looks like Corbin is helping us find its nest,” Alice said, “Whether he likes it or not.”

***

Corbin didn't know why he found himself paralyzed at the worst possible moment.

But it would probably be the reason he died.

The creature's maw pressed hard against his skin, if not for the suit protecting him he'd more then likely be gushing blood.

Not that he felt much safer.

The two moved fast through the forest, trampling over anything in its path.

They stopped at a small cave built into a large rocky wall, the creature ducked as it stepped inside.

From there Corbin was dropped to the ground, he landed on his butt, sending a jolt up his spine that would have hurt way more if he wasn’t morphed.

Surprisingly the creature then turned around, storming out of the cave slowly.

He watched, partially dazed and horribly confused.

Then he met eyes with the young boy.

“Y-you’re a Power Ranger!” The boy exclaimed. He couldn’t have been older than ten, dark curly hair, intelligent green eyes.

And a blood stain on his shirt.

“That thing bit really hard when it got me,” He said, holding out his shirt. “The blood has mostly stopped already. I think I’m fine.”

Corbin stood up, his helmet ignited the dark cave, casting everything in a green hue.

“This is unreal,” The boy muttered, “I can’t believe I’m looking at a Power Ranger!”

“Yeah,” Corbin said, “I’m still getting used to it myself.”

With his senses more collected Corbin took a look around the cave. The walls were strangely smooth as if a giant knife carved a hole into the rock. He looked away from the entrance, seeing an endless expanse of darkness. The ground around his feet was covered in thick crumbly dirt and loose branches, probably drug in by the creature if he had to guess.

There were some large globs of excrement, but no bones, so he figured the creature couldn't have been residing there for too long.

And then he saw it, sitting solemnly and half buried in the mess.

A singular man-sized egg.

“So this thing is a mommy,” Corbin muttered.

“That’s totally what I thought,” The young boy said. His eyes weren’t clouded by fear, instead, there were almost disturbingly clear, ignited by excitement.

Corbin tried to shake the feeling that was steadily snaking through his stomach, the twisting thought that crawling from the back of his mind to the front of his brain and curled like a cat in the sunshine.

He’d seen that exact look in the mirror.

“So what’s next?” The boy said. “Are we going to prepare for when the monster returns and ambush it?”

“We’re going to find some safety,” Corbin said, “And hope that the rest of my team kills that thing before it comes back.”

“That sounds lame,” The boy said, “I want to see the Rangers in action. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“Come on,” He said and turned towards the darkness, “Let’s see if this cave opens up somewhere else.”

He felt a chilling tug inside as they pushed forward, but he tried to ignore it.

He was sure whatever they were headed towards had to be safer than the giant momma lizard.

***
The sound of the forest was deafening. A paled silence, except for the faint rustle of wildlife.

“Don't trust silence,” Ankh said softly. “Silence is the dagger that danger keeps under his robe.”

“That was weirdly insightful,” Alice said.

“Borrowed it from an old partner,” Ankh said.

Partner? Bryce thought to himself. Maybe Ankh had some secrets in his closet.

Before Bryce's traveling mind could further evaluate the deafening stomp arose once more. The four Rangers armed there Morphers and prepared for the inevitable storm.

The enormous reptile reappeared, charging towards them with as much vigor as before.

Though Bryce was quick to notice its mouth now rested open and empty.

“I already have Corbin's location identified,” Justice said through their comma.“ “Just focus on the hostile.”

Hostile, Bryce repeated in his head. The way she said it so nonchalantly as if extinguishing the stigma that it was a threat.

“Alright guys let's get this thing bagged,” Ankh said.

And the creature charged.

***
Corbin didn't know what he expected to find at the other end of the cave.

But it certainly wasn't that.

“No way…” the boy muttered.

He took a step closer but Corbin stopped him.

“We can't risk getting to close,”

“Come on,” the boy explained. “It's a freaking spaceship! I've always wanted to see one up close. Ever since I saw them in a documentary at school.”

“Let me ask you this,” Corbin said. “When you watched those documentaries, did the spaceships ever have good guys in them?”

The boy grew silent. As much as it bothered Corbin to upset the poor kid he couldn't risk getting them in any more danger.

“Let's just turn around,” he said figuring that he could fill Promethea in afterward.

“Sorry,” the boy said. “I just wanna get close enough to take a picture.” He rushed forward as he reached into his pocket.

But that was when he tripped on a stray rock and fell forward. His phone screen shattered against the rocky ground, and his face connected with the sleek metal of the ship.

The ship began to pulse blue with electricity as a robotic voice said, “Bio lifeform detected.”

And the door suddenly slid open.

“Okay enough of that,” Corbin said and grabbed the kid by his shirt. “Let's get the hell out of here.”

“No!” The boy said. “I want to go inside.”

The boy tugged as hard as he could against Corbin, and despite it doing little against his own force the gesture itself was starting to annoy him.

“Stop being such a dumbass!” Corbin screamed in a tone that made his own blood run cold.

For a moment he sounded just like his own father.

Time stopped, the fluidity of reality twisted. Halted. And suddenly he was 14 years old again.

“No son of mine will be one of them!”

The sound of breaking glass. The screaming match between his parents.

The empty silence that somehow felt worse than a house full of screaming.

The kid froze and looked at Corbin with an expression a little too familiar for comfort.

“I'm sorry for raising my voice,” Corbin said. “Let's leave exploring the alien spaceship to the professionals.”

The boy nodded and the two headed back towards the entrance.

***

Bryce jumped out of the way of the creature and flanked it with some more blaster fire. “This thing is like a wolf that skipped breakfast.”

“Weird analogy,” Ankh muttered. “But accurate I suppose.”

“We need to hit it with something more powerful,” Alice spat. “Because this isn't getting us anywhere.”

“Fortunately,” Justice’s voice spoke through their helmets. “The engineers at the lab have cooked something up we need tested.”

A black colored Dino Charger metalized in Ankh's hand. Without a moment's hesitation, he jumped in front of the creature and slid it inside, taking careful aim.

He pulled the trigger. And nothing escaped the barrel.

He looked down at the weapon in confusion, instead of noticing that his armor was instead glowing softly.

The creature paid no attention, and instead bit down, swallowing half his body in its massive mouth.

But this time its teeth shattered as it came into contact with his armor.

It spit him out, blood leaking past its meaty reptilian lips.

“Let’s hit it all at once,” Alice said.

Erin and Bryce followed her command, and three blasts of energy shot into the lizard at once.

It fell to the ground, right at Ankh's feet and promptly exploded. The Black Ranger flew back as well, landing at the other Ranger’s feet.

“Coulda warned a guy first,” He muttered.

“Don’t relax just yet,” Justice warned. “We’re still getting reading from that hostile.”

“Must be a delay,” Ankh said. “That reptile is history.”

Of course, Ankk’s words seemed a tad silly as the creature suddenly stood up, glowing a purple hue as its body suddenly expanded immensely.

“How are we going to hold that off,” Erin asked. “At that size, it could demolish Angel Grove.”

“We’ve got that covered as well,” Justice said as a rumbling noise came from behind the Rangers.

Three massive dinosaur inspired machines came to the scene.

The reptile charged at the Rangers but a red and white mecha that resembled a Tyrannosaurus with a Gatling gun on its head met the creature head-on.

Its head-mounted gun blasted the enemy back as the black and white colored stegosaurus with a giant chainsaw head cut into the hostile and drew sparks from its tough hide.


“So Alice has a giant minigun,” Bryce said. “And Ankh has a chainsaw.” He looked up at the white and blue triceratops. “Why does mine have a giant forklift?”



“Don’t worry about it,” Alice said. “Just let them do their thing.”

The triceratops zord flipped through the air, smashing its blue shovel against the reptile’s head and sending its body crashing to the ground.

It tried to lift itself up, the damage down by the three Zords overwhelmed it's shaking body, and it fell to the dirt. Its eyes closed before snapping open, growing glossy and lifeless.

***
Corbin met with the other Rangers at the lady’s house. The young boy rushed towards his mom and embraced her.

Tears streamed down her face.

“Thank you,” She said, “Words can’t describe how much I owe you for what you’ve done.”

“Don’t worry about it ma’am,” Erin said. “All in a day’s work.”

Corbin looked down at the boy, who seemed to fully realize the weight of his father's absence.

“Hey dude,” Corbin said. “Maybe I can take you out to eat, maybe show you some of our Ranger tech.”

The boy’s face didn’t exactly light up, but the corner of his mouth curved upwards. “Yeah, bet.”

And that was about as good as it was going to get.

***
Corbin sat alone that night, the pale yellow lights broke through the bar’s window and painted the darkened corner in a sickly gleam.

He took a deep breath, setting his drink down.

His phone vibrated again.

Another text from Bryce.

He ignored it.

He was a cute boy, but he was too naive to the reality of human relationships.

They were frail, poorly constructed towers that people stuffed with hope and compassion. Hoping that it would be enough to supplement real structure.

But they’d eventually crash, and Corbin wasn’t going to get caught in the rubble.

He finished his drink and slipped his jacket on.

He looked down at his phone again and opened his text messages.

Not to reply, but instead to look at the last message he’d sent his father.

And hoped, just as he had for the last three years, to see a reply.

But there was nothing.
***

A hiss escaped the round cryo-pod doors inside the spaceship, and a figure limped out.
It looked towards its collection of trophies also on ice. It looked like someone had been snooping around his ship, and some of his collection had escaped.

It seemed that the ship’s engine was on auto repair, it seemed the auto repair had been activated months ago.

Meaning someone else had been snooping around his ship.

It grunted as it stretched its body, then collected gear to recapture the escaped specimen.

It stepped out of the ship and sniffed the earthy forest air with hyper-evolved nostrils that could detect pray for miles.

And it caught a truly appetizing scent.

A fine specimen, one to make a spectacular hunt.

His escaped trophies could wait, he’d just caught the trail something far more spectacular.
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