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Old September 3rd, 2018, 04:32 PM #1
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Dogfights (A rebooted/AU PRZ)

The TV screen showed computer-generated images of F-16 fighters facing Machine Empire Quadrafighters in combat,

The narrator spoke, "For the first time in history, human pilots face off against warriors from another world."

An AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile flew into and destroyed a Quadrafighter.

"In the air over Angel Grove, California, Air Force pilots take on forces from the Machine Empire in fierce aerial combat."

Another Quadrafighter exploded, this time following numerous hits from the gun on a F-15 Eagle.

"Now you're in the cockpit as a band of pilots faces down hostile machines."

A F-16 carried out a perfect "bounce" against a flight of three Quadrafighters, firing an AIM-9 Sidewinder.

"Experience the battle, dissect the tactics… relive the dogfights over Angel Grove."

A Quadrafighter was torn apart by an AMRAAM, punctuating the cold open before the opening credits of "Dogfights" began.
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Old September 5th, 2018, 11:55 AM #2
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The canopy of the F-16 Fighting Falcon lifted up – the pilot pulled off his helmet. That had been a hectic afternoon. He set the helmet down and held up five fingers.

Two squadrons of Quadrafighters had headed for the Pensacola area. None would be returning to the Machine Empire. At least, that was what some herald had proclaimed in Washington, DC before they’d sent those fighters to probe.

Pensacola hadn’t been the only fight. Over the Atlantic, at least four wings of those fighters had moved towards a commercial air lane, but the carrier USS Enterprise – more accurately, the air wing of USS Enterprise – had stood in the way. Three F-14 Tomcats and 11 F/A-18 Hornets had been lost, but Air Wing Seventeen had downed 71 of the Quadrafighters, and the carrier had drawn the attention of the enemy.

The escorts had thrown up a flurry of missiles, and the rest of the Quadrafighters were shot down. None of those planes had the new upgrades that were being produced as quickly as possible at Groom Lake, Elgin Air Force Base, China Lake, and Patuxent River. They had held their own, on the right end of a 5-to-1 kill ratio.

It wouldn’t have been enough. But it was something, and the modified F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-15 Eagles were maintaining air superiority – just barely – despite their small numbers. But there would be more.

Right now, they had enough for two 24-plane squadrons of F-16s, and one 18-plane squadron of F-15 Eagles. One squadron of F-16s would be divvied up in half – some operating out of Andrews Air Force Base to cover the White House, the other half kept at Elgin for further R&D, training for maintenance personnel, and to protect that site. The other squadron would also be divvied up – 16 planes to operate at Angel Grove – the center of past attacks. The other eight planes would operate from Nellis Air Force Base as aggressors – passing on critical lessons to regular pilots.

The F-15 squadron would be chopped into detachments – eight would operate from Groom Lake to serve as adversaries and a defense force. Eight more would go to Angel Grove, replacing the F-16s at Nellis. The last two would stay at Elgin, where they’d train maintainers at the 33rd Fighter Wing, which would be the first to get upgraded F-15s.

Hal Elliot was tired – the five kills he had today had come from that dogfight – first, they’d taken down six Quadrafighters that jumped them. Then, they had come to the rescue of the Red Ranger’s zord, which had been on the wrong end of six-to-one odds.

The debriefing was a quick one. They went over the engagement, the intelligence officer took the tapes, and Hal was handed a cup. He took a sip, expecting coffee, and was surprised that it was his preferred Mountain Dew.

He was going to be among those sent to Angel Grove, his old home town – where he’d been among those threatened by the monsters early on, leaving just after the Green Ranger had come. His family had moved to the Pensacola area to get away from the threat – and seven months later, he’d been orphaned when a drunk driver hit his parents’ car while they were on a dinner date. Being that he had most of his high school education completed, he had scored legal emancipation.

He had done enough college courses to get his high school diploma, well, he had to have, and that would make it easy to juggle the test flights with everything. He’d be sorting that out tomorrow. Most likely, he’d have the transcript sent to Angel Grove, and then he’d check the graduation requirements. He did have a friend who’d gone through the Accelerated Baby Genius Program with him – maybe he was also close to graduation and could have some advice. But did Billy Cranston have the same phone number? It sucked being out of touch.

_ * _ * _

In the Power Chamber, Billy’s thoughts were far from old friends. Instead, he looked over an inventory. They’d picked up some readings that appeared to indicate Thunderzord technology had been in operation during the Machine Empire’s sweeps.

So, the time since destroying the Starroid monster had been spent going over what Zordon had been able to recover in the wake of Rito Revolto’s arrival. Then they went over the inventory, trying to correlate what they had recovered with what was known to be completely gone. This was complicated by the bomb Rito and Goldar had set off – so no telling what parts were gone either way.

“Looks like a good portion of the components were gone,” Billy said. “A lot of them. We thought they’d been destroyed, but some kids were telling us that the military was in the area…”

He heard the teleporter, looked up, and saw Tommy…

“Tommy, good to see you. I’m sorry if I’m a little late for the study session…” he said. “But I may need you to run to Pensacola, Florida for some Ranger business.”

“Billy, it’s three in the morning. You missed the study session for the biology test tomorrow entirely,” Tommy said. Then he realized something was up.

“Wait, Pensacola?” the Red Zeo Ranger asked.

“Yes, we picked up some strange readings, and you’d be the ideal candidate to place some remote sensors, since it would allow you to pay Kimberly a visit as she trains for the Pan-Global Games,” Billy said.

“What type of readings?” Tommy asked.

“Thunderzord technology. We’ve been running an inventory, and we’re unable to account for at least a quarter of the zord components,” Billy said. “We think…”

“They fell into the hands of the military? Well, I guessed that might be the case. After Starroid, some Quadrafighters jumped me when I was giving the Phoenix Zeo Zord a test flight after the repairs. Air Force F-16s blasted the Quadrafighters – it wasn’t close. I have some readings from the Zord,” Tommy replied.

“I can pull them and maybe get a good idea if…”

“After you get some sleep. If we’re lucky, you’ll have three hours before you need to get ready for school,” Tommy said. This time he made it clear there would be no argument.

“I think some sleep would be a good idea,” Billy said. “Alpha, can you pull down Tommy’s sensor logs and check them out?”

“As soon as you get some sleep,” Alpha V said.

Satisfied that it would be okay to leave Billy teleported out with Tommy, and a few minutes later, they would both be getting some sleep.
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Old September 6th, 2018, 06:13 AM #3
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The teleportation was a little loud, thought Corcus. Still, the Black Alien Ranger had gone to an isolated area. The readings from the first attack by the Machine Empire had been worrisome. Had elements of Ranger technology gotten outside the control of Zordon? They needed to know – and this special weapons storage bunker seemed like a good place to start.

Only, no morphin technology was present. Corcus made mental notes of what he did see. What was an AIR-2A, he asked himself. There were other systems – obviously bombs. He took a closer look. B61 Mod 10. Again, odd. Not weapons Rangers would use.

Someone was coming. Time to go. This wasn’t what they were looking for. He teleported out, and made his getaway – undetected, or so he thought.

A security forces airman first class saw the black water molecule take off.

“What’s that?” he asked his buddy. The Senior Airman saw the black molecule fly off.

“No clue, but it came from the special weapons bunker. We’d better call it in and check,” the Senior Airman said.

_ * _ * _

Corcus had not been a fan of Earth. Yes, the people there were nice, and would do anything to help, but they treated their oceans horribly.

“From what I could see, no ranger technology,” he told Delphine. “Only what appeared to be weapons typical of their technology level.” He then recited what he had seen.

“I will have Cestro look over your data after he has finished getting rest,” Delphine said.

“He is not here?” Corcus asked.

“He spent 29 consecutive Earth hours here, trying to chase down those readings. He was told to get some rest,” Aurico said.

“I am sorry I did not find the technology,” Corcus said.

“You still helped. These special weapons sites are not the place to look. But why would they park them near Angel Grove?” Delphine asked.

“Cestro would know,” Aurico said.

“He is to rest for at least six more hours,” Delphine said.

“A curiosity can wait for six hours,” Corcus said. A sensor blared.

“What?” Delphine said. She took a look, did a double take, then turned to Aurico.

“Get Cestro here now,” she said.

Twenty minutes later, Cestro looked over the readings – after dealing with the alarm.

“Corcus, you will be okay. It appears you had a minor radiation dosage – very small, indeed, we had far greater when we were outside on Earth,” the Blue Alien Ranger said.

“Radiation?” Delphine asked, stunned.

“That is what our sensors are saying,” Cestro said, growing concerned. “But these look like old rockets – larger versions of ones that juveniles make for hobby classes here on Aquitar.”

“But that is a simple chemical reaction,” Delphine said. “So where did that radiation come from?”

“The front of the rocket?” Corcus said.

“I cannot think that Zordon of Eltar would sit idly by if the humans…” Delphine stopped.

“They did split the atom, and the United States did have an arsenal of nuclear weapons in the Cold War, an arsenal they still maintain, even though it is smaller,” Cestro said.

“Under the Mirinoi Accords, the use of nuclear weapons is prohibited due to their environmental effects,” Corcus said.

“Do the humans of Earth know of this treaty?” Cestro asked. Delphine, Aurico, and Corcus shared a very nervous look.

“Did you ever tell them?” Corcius asked.

“It didn’t seem like a need,” Aurico said.

“Yeah, we kind of were busy – lots of monsters, much to learn about the culture,” Corcus said. “You and Delphine were liaising with Zordon…”

“Then they don’t know, do they?” Delphine asked.

Corcus unleashed a scatological epithet.

“So, do we tell them?” Cestro asked.

“Maybe we should tell Zordon,” Delphine said.

“Agreed,” Aurico said. “But we also must prepare to act ourselves.”

“Only as a last resort. Even then, we need to be restrained,” Delphine said. “The humans have only used them twice in anger. I believe we can expect that they will use them only if the Rangers fall.”

“So, if they know there are other guardians who can step in and help defend Earth…” Corcus said.

“They might be persuaded to hold back on using those weapons,” Cestro said. “I hope.”

“That doesn’t sound like you think you will succeed,” Aurico said.

“Which is why you may need to prepare for other options,” Delphine said.
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Old September 10th, 2018, 10:20 PM #4
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“So, you have to take a few classes still?” Wally Powers asked, shaking his head with some surprise.

“According to Mr. Caplan at Angel Grove High School, yes,” Hal said, holding up the letter. “I’m short one English credit, one fine arts credit, a credit in civics, and one other elective – and no, he will not count the fact I’m most of the way to a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering as the elective.”

“Damn, that’ll suck,” Wally said.

“Well, the good news is that they have a very liberal vocational/tech policy. I can use that to spend some afternoons here… but I may have to balance homework,” Hal said.

“You’re so good in the sky, I forget you’re still a kid,” Wally said. “So, what did Colonel Martin decide to do?”

“Short version, I’ll be a warrant officer,” Hal said. “Once the college degree is done, I’ll get commissioned.”

“Anything else happen while you were getting things sorted out?” Wally asked.

_ * _ * _

The office had been a little busy. Hal had filled out the forms and given them to the secretary. He had turned to wait in a chair – and nearly ran into an angel.

“Sorry,” he said.

“Not a problem,” the blonde said, with a smile. The Australian accent was clear.

Hal took a couple of seconds to compose himself before he asked, “Are you new here?”

“No, I’ve been year for about a year. You?” she asked.

“Yeah, just came over from Pensacola,” Hal said. “But I’m actually from here.”

“Really?” the girl asked, noting the lack of parents. “By yourself?”

“Yeah, my parents are dead – car wreck about two and a half years ago. Went to live with an uncle in Pensacola – and blew through most of a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. Problem was, my move back here was so fast, there was no time to get the high school to reflect I have most of a college degree, so I need to sort it out here…”

The blonde laughed a bit. “You sound like one of my friends,” she said.

The office door opened, and Mr. Caplan came out – still with the obviously low-quality toupee, Hal noted.

“Hal Elliot, why don’t you come in?” Mr. Caplan asked.

Hal went in. Caplan asked him to take a seat.

“We’ve looked over your transcripts – both the high school and college. You remind me much of Billy, although I think I see more focus in your life,” Mr. Caplan said. “It’s pretty impressive.”

“Thanks,” Hal said.

“The problem is, you are four credits short of graduating.”

Hal tried not to have his jaw hit the floor.

“Four credits short?”

“You need one English credit, one in civics, one fine arts, and one other elective – and it had better not be a science class,” Mr. Caplan said.

“Okay, who do I talk with?” Hal asked.

“Ms. Hanson can get you a course catalog, and we can sort out your schedule. You mentioned you had a vo-tech arrangement?” Mr. Caplan asked.

Hal pulled that letter out.

“Test pilot… most impressive,” Mr. Caplan said. “Well, just show that to Ms. Hanson, and we can work out a morning schedule for the classes you need. And I do appreciate you coming in today, I need to make sure that Billy’s had a well-balanced schedule, too.”

_ * _ * _

“So, you met a girl,” Wally said.

“Yeah,” Hal said. “Probably way out of my league. In any case, I need to catch up with Billy. I just landed him in some bureaucratic nightmare.”

“Too bad you can’t vent the frustration with some flying,” Wally said.

“Well, I can at least try to get caught up on AP government while we’re on ground alert,” Hal said.

“AP Government, AP English, Home Economics, and Journalism?” Wally asked. “Not a bad mix.”

“Got AP Government and Home Economics with that girl,” Hal said.

“So… you going to ask her out?” Wally asked.

_ * _ * _

“So, you met the new guy?” Tanya asked.

“Yes, he was at the office,” Kat said. “Getting registered, although for a half-day and with a vo-tech arrangement.”

“Really?” Tanya asked.

“Yes, but it turns out, I have two classes with him,” Kat said.

“Two classes with who?” Billy asked as he sat down, under an edict from Zordon to take an afternoon off.

“The new guy, Hal…” Tanya said.

“Elliot,” Kat finished.

“You said Hal Elliot?” Billy said.

“Yes, about your height, light brown hair…” Tanya said.

“Blue eyes,” Kat added.

“I went to the Accelerated Baby Genius Program with a Hal Elliot…” Billy mused.

“He has a vo-tech arrangement, apparently he got most of a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, and is already a test pilot,” Kat said.

“So it is him. He’s back in Angel Grove?” Billy said, smiling. “It’ll be good to see him. Trini, though, might not be so happy.”

“They didn’t get along?” Tanya asked.

“Hal and Trini see some issues very differently – for instance, back when there was the petition to save the statue, we had a discussion about the ban on DDT in our AP Biology class. Trini was all for it, but didn’t have a good answer when Hal pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control reported that DDT ban caused malaria cases to skyrocket,” Billy said. “So, she snapped that he didn’t care about the environment. It wasn't her best moment.”

“He does seem very polite, and I think he likes me,” Kat said. “He did help me carry the promotional materials for an upcoming clean-up day at the park. He also helped me out in Home Ec when we were cooking tacos, and agreed to help me with my trigonometry homework. He did get a little flustered.”

“Okay, when’s the first real date?” Tanya asked.

“He hasn’t asked me,” Kat said.

“He will… by the end of next week at the latest,” Tanya said.

“I give it until the end of the month,” Billy said.

“Split the difference at three weeks?” Tanya offered.

“Deal,” Billy said.

“So, my dating life is something to be bet on?” Kat asked.

“Jason, Zack, Trini, and I had a similar wager on when Tommy would ask Kimberly out,” Billy admitted.

“We’ll see what Zordon has to say about that,” Kat said, although she cracked a smile. “Is it that obvious that I like him?”

“Yes,” Tanya said.
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Old September 13th, 2018, 03:43 PM #5
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I love the premise of Earth pilots going up against the Quadrafighters. That's a lot of fun.

Also, I like the concept of the Mirinoi Accords, nukes in the PR universe, etc. A lot, actually.
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Old September 14th, 2018, 03:16 PM #6
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TheOneRJS200 wrote: View Post

I love the premise of Earth pilots going up against the Quadrafighters. That's a lot of fun.

Also, I like the concept of the Mirinoi Accords, nukes in the PR universe, etc. A lot, actually.
Thanks!

Wait until the dogfight takes plans "on screen," if you will.
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Old September 15th, 2018, 08:26 PM #7
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Tommy’s weekend visit had been well-planned. He and Kimberly had met Friday evening, and were having a date night with some Taco Bell.

“I had no idea Hal was here… and that his parents had died,” Kimberly said. “Aerospace engineering?”

“Yeah, he’s got a test pilot job using the vo-tech program for some afternoons while he clears up some credits he forgot,” Tommy said. “You know him?”

“Yeah, Billy and I often had to be the buffers between him and Trini,” Kimberly said. She filled them in on some of the disputes they’d had. Hal, it turned out, was someone who had found a way to tape all three hours of a talk radio program when he was young and had become a fan of that show's controversial host. He’d later built a second version for Billy to record science programs.

Tommy almost snorted out the soda he was drinking when Kimberly described how Trini had been impressed with Hal’s kindness towards Billy… only to discover that it had been a slightly improved model of the original device.

Kimberly had put off asking about one other friend.

“What about Kat?” she asked.

“Kat… well, let’s just say your rival for my affections is doing okay,” Tommy said. “She’s interested in a guy, and hopes he’ll ask her out. He might even do so.”

Kimberly’s heart skipped a beat. Was Tommy going to… then she noticed that glint of mischief. She was being set up… just like when Tommy had become the White Ranger. She was still trying to process that when Tommy landed the punchline of his set-up.

“Tanya and Billy have a bet on when Hal will ask her out,” Tommy said, smiling. Kimberly let out a breath she realized she hadn’t been holding.

“Tommy Oliver, do not frighten me like that again,” Kimberly said crossly, then stopped. “Kat… and Hal?”

Tommy nodded.

“Yeah, quite a surprise. I have home economics with her and Hal, and there’s definitely something there. He’s a nice guy, and a much better cook than me. Miss Winstead despaired of me ever learning to hard-boil eggs. Hal’s a decent cook,” he said. “He did steak and eggs with bacon and sausage. He cooked the steak and eggs in the bacon grease.”

“Yeah, he could cook,” Kimberly said.

“Yeah, but he’s probably the second-best in the class,” Tommy said. “Bulk’s better. He’s probably got a future as a chef. He and Skull have really turned it around since they joined the Junior Police Patrol. A far cry from when they were bullies.”

“Or trying to find out who the Power Rangers were,” Kimberly said. “Though, they always had that in them a little. Remember the Scatterbrain monster?”

“That one is hard to forget,” Tommy said, just before he was interrupted by a series of beeps.

“Tommy, there is a monster attacking Angel Grove,” Zordon said.

“I’ll be right there,” he said. He gave Kimberly a look.

“At least we got a chance to catch up,” she said.

“I’ll be back when it’s over,” he said.

_ * _ * _

Hal was among those who had arrived for a mass brief after they’d been called in. Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Martin, the commander of the 4450th Composite Fighter Squadron, was waiting as they arrived.

“Okay, folks, listen up. There’s a monster on the loose, and radar’s also picking up a likelihood of bandits incoming. Enola fight, two F-16s with Genies and B61s, is to go airborne and orbit over the NTC, fighters from Nellis will cover them. Boxcar flight, also with Genies and B61s, is going to fly towards Naval Air Station North Island and take ground alert there. F-15s will be in flights of four – call signs Topaz and Garnet. The other F-16s will operate in pairs under the call signs Outlaw, Toyota, Diamond, Showtime, Mustang, and Buick. All Eagles have four Slammers, four nine-mikes, and full guns. All Vipers have at least two Slammers, two nine-mikes, and full guns,” he said. “An E-3, call sign Robin, will vector you..."

A klaxon sounded.

“Navy and Marine birds will be up as well, and several Navy vessels will try to pick off enemy fighters as they approach. Stay below 35,000 feet, it’s open season up there for SAM units,” Martin said.

Hal and Wally took their folders, revealing they were Toyota flight, fifth in line for takeoff behind Enola, Boxcar, Garnet, and Outlaw flights. When they got the green light after requesting clearance to take off, Hal and Wally pushed their throttles forward.

The F-16s leapt into the sky from the runway of Angel Grove International Airport. The F-16s quickly made their way to a point. Hal made sure his IFF was on. No use getting blown out of the sky by the Navy – there were plenty of Quadrafighter pilots who would be trying to do that with malice aforethought. Weapons… Toyota flight was lucky – they had four AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles and two AIM-9 Sidewinders. Plus, he had a full load for the M61 cannon.

“Toyota, Robin. Nine bandits inbound, bearing from Trumpet 2-9-2 at 70,” a controller on the E-3 Sentry said.

“Roger,” Wally said. The two F-16s turned to kill the bandits. “Hal, take some from the right, I’ll go to the left – that way we don’t double-target someone.”

“Roger,” Hal said. The Falcon’s APG-68 radar soon had lock on two Quadrafighters.

“Fox One, Fox One with two Slammers,” Hal called out as four blips vanished as the guided missile cruiser USS Anzio unleashed its missiles.

Hal’s missiles worked perfectly. The AIM-120s closed the gap, their fire-and-forget capability allowing him to concentrate on the next shot… almost, almost…

Four of the blips vanished from the screen. The last one broke in front of Hal, who fired a third AMRAAM, and watched as it hit.

“Robin, Toyota, bandits splashed,” Wally said.

“Copy, Toyota, sky’s… wait, head for Trumpet. Several got past Garnet and Topaz,” the controller said.

_ * _ * _

The return to Angel Grove hadn’t been what Trini Kwan had wanted it to be. The sirens had sounded, and she knew she had to get to cover – she wasn’t a Power Ranger any more.

“Move!” Bulk shouted. He and Skull were springing into action. She’d heard from Kimberly and Billy about them making the Junior Police Patrol, and she’d been willing to give them a shot.

“You, too, Trini!” Skull shouted.

They had grown up – Trini had remembered Billy telling her about the time they’d taken on Scatterbrain. But this was something else.

“But…” she said.

“Shelter, now!” Skull said, then he softened. “I’ll go back and look for Billy and the others,” he added.

As they headed for the shelter, Trini could see one of the Quadrafighters coming in… and she knew it might be too late to run. The next thing she knew, Skull has pushed her down, and was on top of her – shielding her with his body, for what little good it would do against the weapons on that fighter…

Then she heard Bulk whooping loudly.

Skull got up.

“The Air Force just blasted it out of the sky!” Bulk shouted. Trini saw an F-16 close in,and fire a missile – she watched, and saw a second Qaudrafighter take a hit and spiral towards the warehouse district and docks.

The she heard the sonic boom as the F-16 began climbing like a rocket.

“Get `em!” she heard Skull shout. Just what was going on?

_ * _ * _

The Zeo Megazord made quick work of the monster. Now, the Power Rangers were moving to take on the Machine Empire forces attacking Angel Grove proper.

“Never mind, it looks like the Machine Empire is retreating,” Bill said.

Kat was worried. She and Hal had been supposed to meet at the Youth Center, and some of the Quadrafighters had attacked.

She hoped Hal was okay.

_ * _ * _

The last Quadrafighter had little chance. Hal got a radar lock with his last AMRAAM and sent it off towards the retreating aerospace fighter. It scored a hit, but detonated too far for a sure kill.

The wounded Quadrafighter began heading back, trying to turn into Hal’s attack, but the AIM-9M Sidewinder was an all-aspect missile.

“Fox two,” Hal said for the second time that day, and watched the missile go in and score the kill.

“That’s six!” Wally called out.

Hal could care less for the score. He and Kat were supposed to go over a Home Economics project at the Youth Center before this attack.

“Please, Kat, just be okay when I get there,” he whispered.

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Old September 17th, 2018, 11:21 AM #8
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Do you come from a military background? Wow. It feels like there is an incredible amount of detail and terms to do with the fighter planes and the military aspect of the story. There is some real movie level stuff going on right here. But on the flip-side of that, you do need to be careful as, personally speaking, it can feel like too much and I'm getting lost in all of the various names and terms that are being thrown out there. I think it would be an injustice to lighten their use, but I feel like there needs to be a way for you to explain them a little more for the audience.

But seriously, well done on that front. It feels majorly realistic.

I also love the overall concept of the story of showing the military aspect during Zeo, and the Mironoi Accords with the nukes. The negative is that the Go Go comics has tainted my enjoyment of new characters having been inserted into Ranger's lives, but I'm intrigued enough by Hal to see his relationship with both the new and old groups of Rangers.

Again, great job though. It's really intriguing.
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Old September 17th, 2018, 05:51 PM #9
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Claymore wrote: View Post

Do you come from a military background? Wow. It feels like there is an incredible amount of detail and terms to do with the fighter planes and the military aspect of the story. There is some real movie level stuff going on right here. But on the flip-side of that, you do need to be careful as, personally speaking, it can feel like too much and I'm getting lost in all of the various names and terms that are being thrown out there. I think it would be an injustice to lighten their use, but I feel like there needs to be a way for you to explain them a little more for the audience.

But seriously, well done on that front. It feels majorly realistic.

I also love the overall concept of the story of showing the military aspect during Zeo, and the Mironoi Accords with the nukes. The negative is that the Go Go comics has tainted my enjoyment of new characters having been inserted into Ranger's lives, but I'm intrigued enough by Hal to see his relationship with both the new and old groups of Rangers.

Again, great job though. It's really intriguing.
I have family members who served - I ended up an involuntary civilian (looked into enlisting, but my medical history killed that). Was a long-time fan of Tom Clancy and Larry Bond.

Some "fur" will start to fly very soon...
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Old September 18th, 2018, 01:43 PM #10
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You sir, seem to know your material very well. Very detailed and well written.

I also like the overall premise too. I can't wait to read more.

also... Quadrafighter's THAT'S what those stupid things are called. God, that's been bugging me for months lol.
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Old September 23rd, 2018, 07:44 AM #11
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BrownRangerKev wrote: View Post

You sir, seem to know your material very well. Very detailed and well written.

I also like the overall premise too. I can't wait to read more.

also... Quadrafighter's THAT'S what those stupid things are called. God, that's been bugging me for months lol.
Take a look at the next post. Thanks...

And glad to help with that little issue.
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Old September 23rd, 2018, 07:53 AM #12
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The Youth Center hadn’t been damaged too badly, Kat noted with a lot of relief. She’d had to reassure Skull that yes, she’d seen Tommy, and he was okay, but helping elsewhere. Hal wasn’t there, and she was worried.

She then saw his car pull up – the two bumper stickers were there. Hal did have an odd sense of humor, she noted, arguably it wasn’t her cup of tea, but at the same time, right now, she wouldn’t mind hearing a joke or two of his – even if it drove a fellow Ranger crazy.

He was just as glad to see her, she could tell he’d been worried, too.

“You okay?” they asked each other at the same time, causing them to laugh. From the side, Trini couldn’t help but chuckle a little. That had been kind of funny. The two then reassured each other they were fine and began to help clean up the minor damage.

Trini also pitched in, finding herself next to Bulk.

“Has this been the first time the Center’s been targeted?” she asked.

“By any monster? In that case, it isn't the first time, but it’s been a while. But it’s the first time for these monsters,” Bulk said. “Hope you don’t mind Skull…”

“Not at all. It was very brave,” Trini said. She paused. Bulk and Skull had changed – hell, they’d been heroes at least once. Wait, it was at least twice – and she’d seen an example first-hand.

“How’s Hal been?” she asked.

“Pretty good,” Bulk said. “Been through a bit. Lost his parents to a drunk driver after they moved to Pensacola, but I think he was even more up set to learn they didn’t build the barbeque pit in the park.”

“He backed the barbeque pit?” Trini asked.

“Yeah,” Bulk said. “He actually started trying to plan a petition drive of his own when he moved.”

Trini shrugged it off. The clean-up work took little time, and she soon caught Richie’s eye. Now, that was a little more high-priority than maybe seeing what was up with Hal.

_ * _ * _

“I think we can definitively say that the United States military has acquired and partially replicated Thunderzord technology,” Billy said. “The readings of that dogfight over Angel Grove are conclusive.”

“Have you been able to figure out what else we can’t account for?” Tommy asked.

“Still working on it,” Billy said. “The inventory is taking far longer than expected.”

“Zordon, we have an urgent signal from Aquitar!” Alpha called out.

“On the viewing globe,” Zordon said.

Delphine and Cestro’s faces appeared, looking concerned.

“Zordon, we have an urgent matter to discuss,” the leader of the Alien Rangers said. “We are going to teleport to you shortly.”

“You are always welcome. Alpha, engage the intergalactic boosters,” Zordon said.

In less than five minutes the two Alien Rangers were in the Power Chamber.

“Delphine, it is good to see you. Your assistance is greatly appreciated, and we owe you a debt that we may never be able to repay,” Zordon said by way of greetings.

“Zordon, we appreciate that. But there is an urgent matter. The United States government has been taking some actions we have observed with great concern,” Delphine said.

“We’re aware of it,” Billy said. “Some of the Thunderzord technology has apparently fallen into their hands and has been reverse-engineered,” he said.

“Then that makes two matters,” Cestro said.

“What is the other one?” Tommy asked.

“Corcus was investigating near the Angel Grove International Airport after we picked up unusual readings from the Machine Empire’s first attack,” Delphine said.

“Yes, United States military forces engaged the Machine Empire,” Billy said.

“We detected some of your technology, and Corcus infiltrated a ‘special weapons storage bunker.’ When he returned, he tripped radiation sensors,” Cestro explained.

“A what?” Tommy asked, confused.

“A special weapons storage bunker,” Cestro said, repeating the coordinates. “In this latest fight, we detected similar radiation readings on some of what appear to be fighters.”

He checked his notes.

“Enola flight and Boxcar flight were the likely options,” he said.

“Radiation?” Tommy asked. “Like nuclear radiation?”

“We thought ‘special weapons’ meant the Ranger technology,” Delphine said.

“It’s how the military refers to nuclear weapons,” Billy said.

Everyone turned to Billy.

“Nukes?” Tommy asked. “They haven’t…”

“The safest bet is that the nukes are a back-up option in case we were to fail,” Billy said.

“We managed to infiltrate some of the communications networks,” Delphine said. “Many are pretty secure, but we found a network that was somewhat open, and pulled some details.”

She handed over a data disc as she spoke. Alpha took it and inserted it into the computers.

“We can transmit some audio intercepts later,” Cestro said. “By the way, what does ‘Too close for missiles, switching to guns’ mean?”

Tommy shrugged. Billy, though, frowned a little in concentration.

“Hal has that bumper sticker on his car,” he said.

“I thought he was a test pilot,” Tommy said.

“True, he is a test pilot…” Billy said, stopping to think.

“Well, that is not the only problem,” Delphine said. “When Corcus did his search, he came across rockets known as the AIR-2A and devices called a B61 Mod 10.”

“Those are tactical nuclear weapons,” Billy said, causing the Aquitian Rangers to turn pale – which, given Cestro’s complexion, was quite an achievement. “They’re likely a backup option if we – meaning the Power Rangers here – fail.”

“Those were the devices listed for Enola and Boxcar flights," Cestro asked. "What are tactical nuclear weapons?"

“I’m not an expert, a friend of mine knows more than I do. But my understanding of tactical nuclear weapons is that they are relatively small weapons – much less powerful than…” Delphine cut Billy off.

“Billy, that is not going to matter. Under the Miranoi Accords, if nuclear weapons are used, for any reason, then there are two options Zordon would have,” Delphine said. “He either has to withdraw your team of Rangers, or he needs to replace the government responsible, and submit it to an intergalactic tribunal.”

“The Miranoi Accords?” Billy asked, turning to Zordon.

“Delphine is correct. The use of nuclear weapons would present us with some very hard decisions,” Zordon said. “Delphine and Cestro, thank you for this information.”

“What are the Miranoi Accords?” Tommy asked.

“Rules of conduct among my order,” Zordon said. “With the power from the Morphin Grid and the Zeo Crystal comes responsibilities. We may need to figure out how to reach the United States military and advise them of just how much thin ice they are on.”

“They’re gonna want something that they’d see as a better option than nukes,” Tommy said.

“I would concur with Tommy on that,” Billy said.

“What might they want?” Delphine asked.

“We’d have to talk with them,” Tommy said. “I’m just not sure how. I don’t think we can just walk on to the base.”

_ * _ * _

Inside the Pentagon, there are a number of SCIFs – Secure Compartmented Information Facilities. The most sensitive of topics were discussed there. In this case, the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs were there, and Colonel Kevin Martin was on via a secure satellite link.

“So, we can assess that someone accessed the monitored back door,” Martin said. “Exactly who, we are not sure, but with the report from some security personnel, we think it may have been the Alien Rangers.”

“In a special weapons storage facility?” the Chief of Naval Operations asked.

“Yes, sir,” Martin said.

“Had they come to you, what would the plan be?” the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff asked.

“At this point, we’d answer any questions they might have, and give them full access,” Martin said. “Provided they can verify they are the real Power Rangers. The possibility of imposters can’t be discounted.”

The call ended after a few more minutes of discussing those contact plans and a review of the rules of engagement.

“Wish we had some idea of where their base is,” the Air Force Chief of Staff said. “We have some stuff turned in by local citizens, but… we’re still looking at a lot of desert in Southern California.”

“Use recon assets?” the Commandant of the Marine Corps asked.

“Any command center is going to be hard to locate with our existing technology,” the Air Force Chief of Staff replied. “We’ve been lucky to extract what we can from the Zord components we recovered. In some cases, we need to build the tools and tech to build the tools and tech to build the tools and tech we need to build Zords that would be combat capable. The ThunderLancer program is the closest we are – and even then, we’re two decades away from something that could supplement Strategic Command, as opposed to being a capable backup.”

“So, what options can we present to SECDEF to give to the President?” the Chairman asked.

“We need to be able to get in touch with the Rangers to coordinate the defense of Earth with them. Or at the very least get some sort of working arrangement. We don’t know how they’d react to us crossing the nuclear threshold, for instance,” the Chief of Naval Operations said.

“Agreed,” the Chief of Staff of the Army said. "I have a lot of folks on the ground. So far, no blue-on-blue situations have arisen, but we’ll have our luck run out. We may need to provoke the Rangers into making contact with us.”

“How?” the Vice Chairman asked.

“Boxcar Flight,” the Commandant of the Marine Corps asked. “We have a Sentry give Boxcar flight the order to scramble and make a run. Ideally, against one of those gear ships while they are busy with a monster.”

“Broadcast the scramble order in the clear, give the okay to arm the Genies…” the Air Force Chief of Staff said. “The possibility of nukes going off might prompt them to make contact.”

“We’ve kept it conventional. It’s a fair bet they have some sense of our thinking. Scrambling Boxcar flight towards an approaching gear ship will show we’re on their side, and the order to arm Genies would get their attention,” the Chief of Staff of the Army said.

“We may need to also get a military space arm as well. The proposed National Air and Space Agency for the Defense of America can be authorized in the classified portion of the defense appropriations bill. In light of the Machine Empire…” the Vice Chairman let the thought hang.

“Okay, John, inform NORAD to have the 4450th implement the Boxcar Flight option at the first opportunity. We’ll also carry out some recon. General Norquist will likely see NASADA come under his command in any case, so he will be the best option to serve as liaison with the Rangers,” the Chairman said.

With that done, the six four-star generals adjourned the meeting. They at least had a plan. All of them had seen enough action, though, to know that no battle plan survived the first shot. But it was the best option they had.
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Old October 4th, 2018, 12:23 PM #13
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As usual, a really nice chapter. The whole Miranoi Accords is so vastly intriguing, and I'm loving how this is unfolding. It's really nice to see though that the military aren't being 'hard-headed' and are aware of the fact that the use of anything Nuclear just isn't on, and that they want to make direct contact with the Rangers.

One minor mistake I noticed in the chapter:

“We’ve been lucky to extract what we can from the Zord components we recovered. In some cases, we need to build the tools and tech to build the tools and tech to build the tools and tech we need to build Zords that would be combat capable.
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Old October 5th, 2018, 07:16 PM #14
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Claymore wrote: View Post

As usual, a really nice chapter. The whole Miranoi Accords is so vastly intriguing, and I'm loving how this is unfolding. It's really nice to see though that the military aren't being 'hard-headed' and are aware of the fact that the use of anything Nuclear just isn't on, and that they want to make direct contact with the Rangers.

One minor mistake I noticed in the chapter:
Not a mistake - that repetition was intentional. The state-of-the-art tech the military is way behind that of the Power Rangers. To get to Zords from F-16s is a multi-step process.

They have the beginnings of that with the enhanced F-15s and F-16s, and the ThunderLancer is pushing that integration even further.

ThunderLancer, though, is not even close to matching a Zord.

They have to develop more tools and tech to get to a level where they can beat one of the monsters (Rita/Zedd/Mondo) by swarming it and not using a nuke, but will lose half the force they send.

Then. they have to develop tools and tech to where they can swarm and have minimal losses.

Then. it's developing tools and tech to where they don't need to swarm - local alert units can handle the situation with moderate casualties.

Then, they get their own Zords.

P.S. - Did you catch the name of the NORAD Commander?
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Old October 6th, 2018, 12:27 AM #15
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I see. Perhaps a rephrasing would have been better there. The chief of staff repeating himself three times just feels a little odd to me. But it's certainly no big deal.

And no, I didn't make any connection there.
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Old October 6th, 2018, 08:49 AM #16
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Chapter Six

In his office at NORAD headquarters, General Theodore Norquist took some time to think over the situation, and his orders from the Secretary of Defense. They were to make contact with the Power Rangers. It was a tall order – and one with no small stakes. It could go very well, or it could go very badly.

He’d seen enough in the 33 years he’s served in the Air Force. It included a tour in Vietnam flying the F-105D Thunderchief in the mid-60s, and then two tours flying the F-105G Thunderchief on Wild Weasel missions (which included a MiG-19 kill), and a tour commanding the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing before transferring to NORAD.

That wing command tour had been one that included a very strange encounter, stemming from a very bad crash in 1977. His F-105G had suffered a bird strike, and he’d ordered his back-seater to eject. The seats had fired, but his WSO’s chute malfunctioned, and only partially opened. The mountainous terrain had done the rest. First Lieutenant Vic Darwin had been a good man, with a wife and what turned out to be triplets on the way.

Norquist had landed in some very rocky terrain and had a hard landing himself, with a messy compound fracture of his left leg. He’d also lost his service revolver – and a mountain lion seemed to think that the crippled Air Force colonel would make a good lunch.

He’d been saved by a robot, who had used some highly-advanced technology to stabilize his injuries and had stayed until the SAR team was two minutes away. Norquist recovered, then had continued his career. He’d kept the secret about his rescuer all that time. He ran his hand over his head, he didn’t have the hair he used to. But the moustache was still there. He wondered if his rescuer would still recognize him.

Then he knew just how to carry out his orders. He picked up the phone.

“Get me Colonel Martin,” he said.

_ * _ * _

“This is crazy,” Hal said, looking over the package. He and Wally had drawn the “Boxcar” flight responsibility for the week. It was a rotation, intended to make sure that everyone handled that job.

“It’s straight from an echelon above reality,” Wally agreed. “We’re to fly to MCAS El Toro, and stay on ground alert. Our scramble order will be in the clear from General Norquist himself – authentication Alpha Five.”

“That’s it? Suppose someone is trying to spoof us into scrambling?” Hal asked.

“Well, the intention is to make contact with the Power Rangers. General Norquist intends to handle it himself,” Wally said. “Guess that is why he makes the big bucks.”

“Sounds like one major bet,” Hal said.

Boxcar flight took off and made the short hop to MCAS El Toro, where elements of VMFA-134 and VMFA-235 were also sitting on alert. They were packing a variety of missiles as well, in case additional enemy units were spotted coming in.

But this was still ground alert, and it was normally boring…

“Boxcar Flight, this is General Theodore Norquist, NORAD Actual. Scramble to intercept enemy Giant Gear, bearing from Trumpet 2-5-2, distance 400. Authentication Alpha Five,” the voice of General Norquist came over the radio.

“This just couldn’t stay boring,” Wally said.

Hal clicked his mike twice. They were possibly going to fire off the first nukes used in anger since 1945. There was no way they could figure out how this enemy would react – not to mention how the Power Rangers would take it.

Then again, they’d broadcast the order in the clear. Perhaps the Rangers might act. At the very least, they’d know that the Air Force had no hostile intent towards them.

_ * _ * _

In the Power Chamber, Billy heard the broadcast as well. He glanced at a sensor display, then went to the comms panel.

“Tommy, you need to take that monster out fast – the Machine Empire sent a gear ship down, and the Air Force just scrambled Boxcar Flight,” he said. “The Air Force is going to use nukes to take that gear ship down if we don’t first.”

“Copy that,” Tommy said.

Fueled by that need, the Rangers went with the Zeo MegaZord. The Zeo MegaZord Saber slashed quickly, and the monster, RoboRat, fell to the ground and exploded. One situation resolved – now to defuse the second one.

“Zeo I Battle Helmet!” Kat called out. She locked the cannon onto the incoming Gear Ship, but…

“Tommy, those Air Force fighters – I don’t have a clear shot!” she called out.

“On it,” Tommy said. “Red Ranger to Air Force fighters. Red Ranger to Air Force fighters.”

“Red Ranger, this is NORAD Actual. Which fighters are you trying to contact?”

“The ones heading for the Machine Empire gear ship. Boxcar Flight,” Tommy responded. “If you can get them to clear the path, we can take it down.”

“Consider it done,” the voice was enthusiastic. Tommy was taken by surprise. This NORAD Actual was glad to order the fighters off…

“Boxcar Flight, NORAD Actual, clear the path. Power Rangers will handle the Giant Gear. Repeat, break now. Now. Now!” he heard NORAD Actual order.

“The F-16s just broke,” Tanya said.

Kat took dead aim at the gear ship.

“Cannon set to max power… locked on… firing,” she said.

The laser beam reached out, traveling eight hundred miles in an instant, and scoring a direct hit on the gear ship. It took eleven seconds of sustained contact before the gear ship disintegrated.

“Nice shooting, Kat!” Tommy said. Kat breathed a sigh of relief as the Rangers took the Megazord back to their base. This had been close.

“Good thing someone messed up and broadcast that order in the clear,” Tanya said in the Power Chamber.

“It wasn’t a mistake,” Rocky said. “They meant for us to hear it.”

“They meant for us to hear it?” Tanya asked.

“It is a logical conclusion,” Billy said. “The Air Force has to know that we are aware they have some of our technology. We know they are fighting, and they know we know. It makes sense from their perspective to establish some lines of communication. Although the authentication they used was surprisingly familiar.”

“It was almost 20 years ago, before any of you were born,” Zordon explained. “A plane known as a F-105G crashed near the command center, and the crew bailed out. One of the crew died, but the other was injured. Alpha went to the aid of the wounded pilot.”

“So that explains the authentication code,” Adam said, realization dawning on him. “General Norquist was the pilot.”

“We may have a chance to talk,” Tommy said. “I think I will handle this one, preferably with Delphine.”

“Show a second team of Rangers is available, and that there is backup in case we are unable to help,” Kat said.

“That’s good thinking, Tommy. I would suggest Alpha also go,” Billy said. “It could provide a personal connection for General Norquist.”

“I concur with that recommendation,” Zordon said. “The Rangers of Aquitar will take time to get here.”

“In the meantime, we can at least try to keep an ear out. Alpha, monitor the frequency used for that scramble order. There may be other incidents. That we were able to act in concert with them – or at least wave them off – is a good sign,” Billy said.

“I agree,” Zordon said. “It will still take some delicate negotiations, but we have a chance to head things off.”
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Old October 18th, 2018, 08:37 AM #17
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Chapter Seven

Once again, Skull noticed that Hal and Kat had a joyful reunion – with a lot more relief than you’d expect. Hal was doing test-pilot work – well, that was the official story that had been passed down. But Skull could put two and two together. Those Air Force planes had been dogfighting those alien fighters.

That meant that Hal may be doing test flights, but he was also in the thick of the fight. Had he even mentioned it to Kat?

That question took Skull aback. Granted, he’d never really thought of it. Hal Elliot, the high school senior who liked Katherine Hilliard, was also Hal Elliot, ace fighter pilot. Had to be if he was in a fighter like the F-16 or F-15.

Of course, Skull had his own secret – he was a very talented pianist who was looking at a possible music scholarship to Julliard. But this was a bigger one.

In some ways, it was none of his business. But on the other hand… Kat was pretty kind to him. If Hal got killed, that would put her though a lot, and that wasn’t fair to her. Then again, if the Machine Empire hadn’t invaded, Hal wouldn’t be fighting. Maybe there wouldn’t even be Power Rangers.

“Penny for your thoughts?” Bulk asked.

“Bulky, you ever see Hal around when the monsters attack?” Skull asked.

“You suspect he is a Power Ranger?” Bulk replied, with a smile.

Skull chuckled – the misadventures they had shared on their quest to discover the identities of the Power Rangers had occupied most of their sophomore year in high school – as well as the summers that sandwiched that year.

“No, but he’s fighting those alien fighters, if you know what I mean,” Skull said.

“A fighter pilot?” Bulk asked. “Then the bumper sticker makes sense.”

“Too close for missiles, switching to guns?” Skull responded.

“Yeah. I wonder if he told Kat,” Bulk mused. “She might have something to say about it.”

“Kat would have something to say about what?” Billy asked, having come in at the end of the conversation.

“Hal being careful on those test flights he does,” Skull said. “After all, don’t those alien machines send fighters down?”

“I’m sure she urges him to be cautious when he is flying,” Billy said. “Although, in all the years I’ve known him, he never was one to walk away from a fight from a bully. I don’t think he’d change that aspect of his personality if he were in the cockpit of a F-16.”

“I hope it doesn’t get him killed, not just for his sake, but for Kat’s,” Skull said. “She finally gets over Tommy, but now Hal’s risking his butt out there. What do you think she’d do?”

Billy shrugged, but he already had some idea.

_ * _ * _

“Well, we did make contact,” the Air Force Chief of Staff said. “The Red Ranger coordinated with General Norquist to call off Boxcar Flight. We then coordinated clearing Boxcar Flight out of the way for them to take out a Giant Gear.”

“So, we can assume they see us as not hostile to them at the very least,” the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff mused.

“I think so,” the Air Force Chief of Staff replied. “General Norquist has stated that he would like instructions in case they request a face-to-face meeting.”

“I’ll talk over that with the Secretary of Defense, but the orders state we are to cooperate with them,” the Chairman said. “So, we tell Norquist to answer their questions, take their suggestions into account, but make clear to them that he has a chain of command to address.”

“This is just the first step,” the Chief of Naval Operations spoke up. “We can’t just communicate with them on open frequencies. The good news is we got a bearing from an EP-3E when they reached out to Boxcar Flight.”

He pulled up a map.

“We only had one plane up, but it gave us this bearing,” the admiral, who had served on frigates, destroyers, and cruisers for most of his career. The closest he had come to combat was as the commander of a cruiser during the 1981 freedom of navigation exercises in the Gulf of Sidra.

“Maybe we can get an RC-135 overhead as well – a COMBAT SENT,” the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs suggested.

“We only have two,” the Air Force Chief of Staff said. “But we can get both in the theater. A RIVET JOINT might be able to help, too.”

“We’ll have to build more RC-135s,” the Chairman mused. “Okay, let’s try to locate the source of their signal. We’ll pull both COMBAT SENT planes – with heavy escort – and get them over Angel Grove. At the very least, though, we’ll hopefully get in contact.”

The meeting adjourned. The six occupants had felt some key progress had been made, but it was an open question as to where things could go from there.

_ * _ * _

Hal and Kat had finally arranged to have a picnic – well, more accurately, a barbeque. Kat had brought some macaroni salad and some cookies. Hal had brought some boneless chicken thighs and sodas.

The two had engaged in some small talk as Hal fired up the grill in the park.

“Hal, when you’ve done these test flights… have you…” Kat asked, a little nervous.

“Have I had to take on those alien fighters?” Hal asked. Kat nodded.

“A few times, when I had to protect myself or others,” he said. “Often the alternative would be to let them strafe the Youth Center or something else.”

“Sounds like you had no choice,” Kat said.

“Didn’t really,” Hal said. “But they’re not that good. Almost feel bad for them.”

“Almost?” Kat asked.

“My regrets are limited when I think of how they strafed some cities in their initial attacks,” Hal said. It was a slightly darker side to Hal than she had expected, and it did leave her wondering just what to make of it.

On the one hand, Hal was always kind to others – even when he crossed swords in the civic class, he was trying to be respectful of them. But she also knew that he had studied Krav Maga. He’d declined to spar with Tommy, Rocky, and Adam multiple times, unless they’d come to the school he attended.

Kat had wondered why – until she’d watched Hal’s brown belt test. In some ways, that martial art suited Hal more than the karate she had taken. That said, it was a very combat-oriented martial art.

At least he wasn’t looking to start fights, she told herself. That said, he was of a mind that if the fight started, he was going to finish it.

Hal had set up the marinade for the chicken and had started the grill as Adam and Tanya arrived. Tanya was bringing some brownies while Adam had two bags of chips and a small cooler. He opened it to reveal…

“Dwaeji bulgogi,” he said with a smile. “Spicy marinated pork belly.”

“Looks good,” Hal said with a smile. The coals were soon ready, and the four teens began their double date with a lot of small talk.

_ * _ * _

They had been left behind when Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa had been forced to flee from the Machine Empire. They had once numbered five, until one of them had picked the wrong house to try to raid for some food and had met up with the homeowner.

Three blasts of double-ought buck from a Mossberg 930 and a bunch of calls to 911 from the homeowner’s wife and neighbors later, the Angel Grove Police Department had arrived to see one alive and somewhat shaken homeowner, a dead Tenga, and the tardy arrival of the Power Rangers. It had ended with the homeowner going back to sleep with assurances from both cops and Rangers that he’d done the right thing, the medical examiner’s office getting a Tenga corpse to autopsy and dissect, and a mountain of paperwork for the Angel Grove PD’s homicide unit – something that occurred even in clear cases of self-defense.

A second incident, similar to the first, had taken place a few weeks later. This time, the Tenga had taken two rounds from a .44 Magnum in the chest. It was still alive as Angel Grove PD and the Power Rangers had arrived. That one had still been alive, and this time the Rangers took it into custody, while Angel Grove PD left after reassuring this homeowner he’d also done the right thing.

The surviving three Tengas had taken to hiding in Angel Grove Park, but they knew they’d have to get some food sooner, or, as one of them put it, “We’d be better off just turning ourselves in.”

The sight of three of the Rangers having a picnic, though, now placed them in a quandry. There was food there, but they’d have to get through three Rangers to do it. Then again…

“We got nothing to lose,” once of them said.

_ * _ * _

“I can’t imagine what those poor homeowners went through,” Tanya said.

“Why would the one fire three blasts from a shotgun?” Adam asked.

“He was scared, just thinking about protecting his family,” Kat replied.

“Those outcomes were probably the least tragic possible,” Hal said. “I’d do the same thing to protect myself, or Kat – and I’d have a clear conscience.”

“How can you be so sure?” Adam asked.

“I’ve thought this through for a while – ever since the first monsters came,” Hal admitted. “It’s not a close call for me. I’d honestly have a harder time picking a sub at Subway.”

“That seems cold,” Tanya observed.

“Not really,” Hal said. “If some of those aliens came right now, you’d be hurt or dead if you tried to think through whether you would act to protect yourself or not. So, it’s probably good if you try to think that through before the event happens. Then you simply default to your level of training.”

Adam nodded as he thought over the answer. It was time to turn the meat on the grill.

“So, who taught you this recipe?” Hal asked as Adam flipped the bulgogi.

“My dad. He worked in his family’s Korean barbeque restaurant in Stone Canyon before he joined the Angel Grove PD,” Adam explained. His dad served as a lieutenant in the traffic division. Even with monsters, there were still traffic accidents, some of them with tragic endings.

Just then, Tanya gasped. Hal and Adam turned to see three Tengas approaching.

“Adam, get Kat and Tanya out of here,” Hal said. The tone was emotionless, but underlying was a cold determination that Kat had never heard before. “Now.”

Last edited by fb111a; October 18th, 2018 at 08:42 AM.
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Old October 19th, 2018, 06:29 AM #18
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Nice work. Looking forward to seeing how/if Hal's coldness comes back to cost him with Kat.
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Old October 24th, 2018, 07:55 AM #19
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Chapter Eight

“You okay, Kat?”

Kat had been lost in thought ever since she’d managed to cover her identity as the Pink Ranger from Hal. The Angel Grove Police Department was handling the scene of the Tenga attack.

“I think so,” Kat said. “Well, to be honest, I am a jumble of a lot of things right now.”

“Can’t blame you at all,” Tommy replied. “I mean… Hal…”

“Put himself between me and three Tengas, and the only way those Tengas were going to get to me was to go through him,” Kat said. “He had no powers, no weapons, nothing but his skill and determination – and he had no second thoughts about putting himself at risk for me.”

“I think there is not much doubt about how he feels about you,” Tommy admitted.

“But at the same time… what he did was…”

“Brutal?” Tommy asked. One of the Tengas was dead, a second would be crippled for life, and the third would recover. It could have easily been three dead Tengas, though. The Rangers had arrived to see Hal finish applying a chokehold on a Tenga. Tommy had initially wondered why Hal had declined invitations to spar with him, and now there was little doubt as to why.

Kat nodded.

“For lack of a better word, brutal,” she said. “Then, there’s the fact that he fessed up to the Pink Ranger that he hasn’t exactly told his girlfriend just how involved he’s been in those dogfights.”

“You mean…”

“Right in the thick of some,” she said. “Including a little stint with Boxcar Flight. Remember that gear ship we blew away?”

Tommy nodded.

“Well, Hal was one of the F-16s scrambled to hit it with nukes until we called them off. By the way, he was grateful we did – he didn’t want to have to fire off nukes,” Kat said. “Not that I can tear him apart for it, since I’ve got an even bigger secret I’ve held back from him.”

“Being a Power Ranger,” Tommy said.

Kat nodded.

“So, what should I do, Tommy?” she asked. “I mean… in some ways, it’s a little scary to see Hal act that way… but in some ways… he’s no different than those times we responded when homeowners or others had to defend themselves from Tengas. We’ve always told homeowners they did nothing wrong, they were only trying to protect their families…”

“I know,” Tommy said. “You can’t blame them for protecting those they care about, and I honestly can’t blame Hal for protecting you. He didn’t start the fight.”

“I know,” Kat said. “Would you blame me for thinking about telling him…”

“Not at all,” Tommy said. “It sounds like you want to keep dating him. So, what you’re really trying to do is to somehow figure out how to reconcile the part of him that took out one Tenga and crippled another with the parts of him that are kind, considerate, and which you like.”

Kat nodded.

“I mean, I know I’m capable of some things. When Rita had me under that spell… but that was involuntary on my part,” she said. “Hal, though… that brutal fighting… there was no spell. But he wasn’t being evil – he was…”

“Trying to protect you,” Tommy said.

“I know,” Kat said. “But how do I deal with how he protected me?”

“I wish I had the answers for that,” Tommy said. “But I think it’s good that you’re asking yourself that question.”

“And as for telling him…”

“That’s something you’d need to talk to Zordon about,” Tommy said. “My thinking is that it’s too soon. But maybe you could talk to someone.”

“Who?” Kat asked.

“Trini,” Tommy suggested.

_ * _ * _

For Hal, an afternoon that had supposed to have been a fun double date with Kat, Adam, and Tanya had now become filled with answering questions from the Angel Grove PD, as well as describing what had happened. He’d now spent most of his Sunday talking over that encounter with the rest of the 4450th.

The Power Rangers had arrived first, all five of them. The Blue Ranger had someone called Alpha Five bring the two incapacitated Tengas in, while the first Tenga Hal had fought was left behind.

Hal had killed it. It wasn’t the first time – he’d destroyed those alien fighters, but this has been up close and personal. The Pink Ranger had consoled him – much as she had others who’d been forced to take a Tenga’s life recently – assuring him it wasn’t his fault that the fight had started. That had been before the Pink, Yellow, and Green Rangers were sent to guide the cops in.

Hal had seen Kat, Adam, and Tanya arrive, leading responding police officers, and Hal and Kat had hugged – each relieved the other was all right.

“I’m so glad you’re okay,” Hal had whispered.

“Right back at you,” Kat said. They had all gone back home after the incident. There hadn’t been much small talk, either.

They’d talked that evening on the phone, but Kat had demurred about rescheduling the picnic. Of course, the last one… he shook that off. Knowing that he’d killed, even though it was

Then, his phone rang.

“Hello?” he asked.

“Hal, it’s Kat. I want to apologize for being distant yesterday. That incident with the Tengas really shook me up. Can we meet tomorrow? I think we need to talk.”
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Old November 8th, 2018, 09:48 PM #20
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Chapter Nine

Hal and Kat met at a quiet place on the beach, somewhere there would be few prying eyes – or ears – to have a long talk. There was a bit of silence, growing slightly uncomfortable.

“I’m sorry that I frightened you,” Hal said. “I just couldn’t let you get hurt.”

“I don’t think you meant to frighten me,” Kat said. You had no idea that there were three Power Rangers right there, she didn’t say. “I just was taken aback at…”

“What I did?” Hal asked, finishing the sentence.

“Yes,” Kat admitted. “It did seem… brutal.”

“Yeah – it’s why I declined the invitations to spar with Tommy. He’s good, but Krav Maga is a a martial art that is geared more for practical usage as opposed to tournaments.”

“That’s how you ended up…”

“Yeah,” Hal said. He’d thrown Adam’s marinade in the face of the first Tenga, then tripped it up and smashed it throat-first into the corner of the picnic table, following it up with a hard elbow to the back of the neck. At least that was what she’d seen in the Power Chamber’s recording of the fight. That one was on a slab at the Angel Grove medical examiner’s office.

The second Tenga found itself the recipient of a splash of Hal’s marinade – and while Hal’s had been less spicy, it still flinched, and found itself still trying to reorient when Hal had delivered a vicious kick to the side of its knee, and then had wrenched its right arm out of the socket. That one took hours of surgery, and was now being held with the third Tenga, which had been choked out, by Dimitria of Inquiris.

“It sucks that it came to that, Kat. It does. I never wanted that. But the alternatives sucked more,” Hal continues. “Them hurting or capturing you were far more unacceptable to me.”

“It does leave no room for doubt about how you feel about me,” Kat said with a smile, bringing one from Hal as well.

“Kat, of all the ways I could show – or find out – just how I feel about you, that was way down the list of desired methods. It’s the same when I end up in a dogfight with those Quadrafighters. I don’t want it, it sucks, it’s not fun. The alternatives are worse than that, so…”

“You’ve been in dogfights?” Kat asked.

“Yeah,” Hal said. “Plus, there was a close call with that big gear ship the Power Rangers blew away.”

“But that wasn’t combat…” Kat said, then paused. “Wait, according to the Angel Grove Gazette, there were only two F-16s heading for that. How would you have had a chance?”

“We were packing Genie rockets,” Hal said.

“Genie rockets?” Kat asked.

“Relatively short-range systems, but they pack a big punch,” Hal said.

“As in… nuclear?” Kat asked. She’d know, but she had to try to look surprised.

Hal nodded.

“Shouldn’t be saying this, but I also don’t want to keep secrets from you,” Hal admitted. “The nukes are small – about one-twelfth the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, but I’m glad the Rangers called us off and handled it instead. It really would have sucked to have had to pull that trigger.”

“The alternative being the gear ship doing a lot of damage to Angel Grove,” Kat said. “But how…”

“I’m technically a warrant officer with the Air Force,” Hal explained. “I took the Air Force ROTC when I was doing my college coursework in Pensacola.”

“I didn’t know that,” Kat said. Yeah, she would have to have a long talk with Zordon after this.

“I never told you. In some ways, being at high school is good. It’s where I should be in a sense. Even if most of the courses aren’t too challenging,” Hal admitted. “I just hate that it’s marred by these battles. I sometimes hate whoever’s sending those robots to fight, and I hate whoever sent those Tengas.”

“Hate’s never good, Hal,” Kat said.

“I hate them because they left me no choice but to fight in battles to the death, Kat,” Hal said. “I hate that I hate them.”

Kat drew Hal close.

“Hal, you did what you did because you care. You fly and fight in F-16s because care about this city and for the people in it. You fought those Tengas because you cared for me and didn’t want me to be hurt,” Kat said. “You are, when it comes right down to it, doing the same thing the Power Rangers are doing, only in a different uniform. I’d say they don’t like having to fight these battles, either.”

“Really?” Hal asked.

“I’m sure of it,” Kat said, with a smile. “I just need you to remember that you’re fighting for what you care about, not against something you hate.”

“I’ll do my best on that,” Hal said. “So, how is your civics project coming along?”

“Quite well,” Kat said, smiling. “Smokey’s working out very well, and I hope to present him to Lieutenant Stone in a week.”
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