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Old February 15th, 2017, 05:17 PM   #21
FlashmanX
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wow I come back to a big update.
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Old February 16th, 2017, 04:57 PM   #22
Ravie
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yeah, I took your advice and just threw everything up I had done at that point.
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Old August 8th, 2017, 02:20 PM   #23
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Chapter 13: Ancient Now

Tempest was in the medical bay taking Rena Hart's blood pressure. The girl had spent several days there trying to physically recover from being possessed by the spirit of an evil alien space witch for several months. She was still weak and tired out easily, which was why she was getting regular check-ups at the Lab even though she'd been officially released. She could barely take a long walk right then, let alone utilized the DynaKnighter that had conveniently bonded to her.

Tempest charted her results and released the pressure. "You're doing good, better than most people would be," she assured.

"Thanks," Rena said and rubbed her arm. "What about him?" she asked, jutting her chin toward the only other patient currently in the room.

He was a pale haired man lying on his back. They'd found him a couple weeks earlier in a hidden medical facility on the island. He'd been in what they concluded was a stasis tube. Large white wings had sprouted from his back, but they'd been rotting away for millennia. The proximity of their DynaMorphers had awakened and jumpstarted the poison. They'd had to do energy surgery to remove his wings to stop the poison from reaching his body. Once that was done, they'd called in several reconstructive surgeons to finish rebuilding the musculature of his back. He'd been asleep ever since.

"He's healing rapidly but no one has any idea why he won't wake up. We don't know enough about his physiology. It's a miracle we didn't accidentally kill him trying to save him," Tempe said.

The door opened and Lark came into the bay to check on him. She was a frequent visitor. Tempe suspected she felt responsible because it was ultimately her Morpher that had released him from stasis. "No change?" Lark asked, looking over his chart.

Tempe shook her head. "No change," she said and repeated her assessment of his condition. Lark nodded and turned away. "Let's go down and get some real air," she suggested.

Rena smiled. "That sounds great. Am I healthy enough?" she asked Tempest.

"It'll probably do you good," Tempest agreed.

"Let's go then," Lark said. It was unusual for her to suggest time away from the base, but she really felt like she needed to get out for a while, even if it was just a short walk with a patient. She pulled out her tablet and pressed something and the three of them appeared in on a moderately cleared forest path. "My father's idea of a 'hiking trail'," she explained and slipped the tablet back into her pocket.

Rena took a deep breath and stretched. "Nice," she said. She resisted the urge to do a few back flips. She wasn't up for that.

Tempest chuckled. "I get the feeling we aren't the ones you really want to be taking a walk with," she said.

Rena grinned. "I'll get him alone later," she said. She stuffed her hands in her pockets. Rex and Melody had kindly bought her some new clothes while they tracked down her belongings that got left behind in the motel room she'd rented in Clearwater before Azula possessed her. That included most of her things, phone, computers, personal items since she'd been living in a dorm room at her college in Stone Canyon.

Something on Lark's tablet beeped and she hastily opened it up to check whatever message just came through. She wrinkled her nose when she saw it was just a report. She slipped the tablet back in her pocket.

"Not the news you were looking for?" Rena asked.

Lark looked at her blankly. "Huh?" she asked.

Tempe chuckled. "Doc doesn't even know she's looking for that news. She's kinda slow with somethings," she told Rena.

Lark pursed her lips. "I have no idea what the both of you are talking about," she said.

Rena snickered. "Was it love at first sight, you think? I mean, he's done nothing but sleep since I arrived, but I can see the appeal," she said, addressing Tempest.

Tempest nodded. "A real sleeping beauty," she agreed.

Lark turned red when she realized what they were getting at. She straightened her spine. "What is love at first sight with you and Taylor?" she asked, turning the tables.

Rena wasn't perturbed. "Hmm. Sorta, in a way, I suppose, but I guess I didn't realize it 'til later," she said.

Seeing that the other girl was willing to talk, Tempe pounced. "So, what's the thing with you guys. You're obviously all for him and he's all for you, but you weren't together together?" she asked.

Rena sighed and laughed again. "You know that movie with the people who kept running into each other at weddings and funerals? That was us, except the funeral part. I did run into him when I went to one with my roommate, but not at the funeral itself. But I was doing my thing, and he was doing his thing. The timing was never right for anything else until I was nearing the end of my training and my semester. We decided if we wanted an actual thing, we'd meet at certain time at a certain place," she explained to her rapt audience. She suddenly smiled because he'd shown up. Sure, she'd been possessed by Azula and long gone by then, but he showed up.

"I don't know the movie you are referencing, but I believe I understand," Lark said.

"Well, I'm glad it finally worked out. If anyone deserves a happy ending, it's Taylor Hicks," Tempe declared.

Rena looked her over. "You aren't my competition, are you?" she asked.

Tempe grinned. "You wouldn't stand a chance if I was, sweetie," Tempe shot back with a laugh. "You don't have to worry, though. My love for Taylor is purely hero worship," she said. She suddenly stopped and held out an arm to pause the other two. "There's something weird," she said.

Lark frowned. "Define weird," she said, looking around.

Rena went on high alert, glancing around, but she didn't think there was anything around except for them, but Tempe wasn't one to react over nothing. The tall girl crouched down and put her hand on the ground. She shuddered. She gestured for the other girls to follow and she veered off the path. They were silent as they move along, even Lark, who's skills had improved dramatically under Taylor's guidance.

Tempe stopped them. "Look at that," she said. There were huge footprints in some soft earth. They could see debris from Drage's spaceship scattered around the area.

Lark used her tablet to take a photo and send it to Mars in the Lab. "Could it be a Warstar alien that escaped somehow?" she asked.

Rena knelt to look at the footprint. "Warstars were usually insect like. Despite the size, these are more human-like," she said. In tacit agreement, the three girls followed the footprints. They found they had to navigate around more and more spaceship debris. Lark quickly jotted a note to have a team clean up the area.

After a while they found a rather large section of hull had crashed into and explodes some craggy foothills around the peak. The ground around the hull section looked it had been burrowed through. A second set of footprints, much smaller and with shoes on, had briefly joined the large ones before disappearing rather quickly. "Why do I have a very bad feeling about this?" Tempe asked.

"Because you're smart," Rena said, looking around and trying to remember anything she may have gleaned from Azula about this.

Lark was taking more pictures of the area. "We'd better tell Gore and the others," she said.

"We'd better get back. You look like you're about to drop any minute," Tempest told, noticing that Rena had gone even paler than usual. Rena nodded and didn't argue one bit. She didn't like it, but she wasn't going to argue. She might pout about it privately, but she wouldn't complain aloud. Lark used her tablet to teleport them back to Sky Base and begin preparations to study the site.

--/-\--

The mayor of Starkweather Valley was on his way to a very important meeting. He was reviewing a report when suddenly his driver slammed on the breaks of the car. "What's going--" his question stuttered to a stop when he saw through the windshield that a monster was standing in front of them. Purple-brown, and somewhat snake-like, the monster jumped on top of the car and ripped the roof off with a screech of tearing metal.

The mayor screamed when the monster reached down and dragged up. "Are you the highest ranking official here?" he demanded.

The mayor blubbered something that resembled a yes. The monster seemed to grin. "Very good," he declared.

--/-\--

Although Lark had sent people to the site the girls had discovered, nothing conclusive was found out. Taylor, Gore, Sin, and Ram had also taken a look. Gore agreed that the area felt weird. Taylor couldn't argue with that.

"You're supposed to be resting, not helping Lark get to the bottoms of new mysteries," he told Rena after they'd returned. They were grabbing lunch in the mess.

She shrugged. "I just can't seem to stay out of trouble," she said with an innocent smile. It was a smile he didn't buy for a minute.

Ram, Mars, and tempest joined them at their table. "Mind if we join?" Ram asked.

"A bit late to ask once you've already sat down," Taylor said drily.

"You'd think Abuela didn't teach us some manners," Mars said in a tone just as dry.

"I'm just hungry," Tempest said and dug into her sandwich. "Sorry," she added around a mouthful of food.

"It's okay. I was finished anyway. Know where Lark is? I've been letting her get too lazy lately," Taylor said.

Tempest washed down her sandwich with a drink of water before answering. "I passed her heading toward the medical bay," she said.

Taylor nodded. "Seven sharp," he reminded Rena and kissed her cheek before standing and walking off.

Rena was trying not to blush and took a drink of her juice.

"What's happening at seven sharp?" Mars asked before Tempest could.

"Jeeze, people. A date. People go on dates when their dating. You should try it some time," Rena said and skittered out of the mess herself.

Tempest dropped her sandwich and pouted. "Way to rub it in," she muttered. The twins nodded to agree, equally dejected.

--/-\--

Taylor found Lark in the medical bay, looking over their patient’s charts. He sighed. "It's not your fault you know. We saved his life. If we hadn't found him, the poison would have continued to spread until it killed him. Slowly," he reminded her.

Lark pursed her lips. "Yes, but if I hadn't gotten so excited and woke him up before we time to assess the situation, perhaps things could have turned out differently," she said with a sigh.

Taylor rapped his knuckles against her head. "Get out of that head," he said.

She winced and rubbed her head. "I am still your boss," she reminded him primly.

"Then fire me. Oh wait, you can't," he responded. "Come on. We haven't been to Stark Peak for a while," he said. Lark hesitated. "Let's go. You're driving yourself crazy. Time to clear your head and embrace some wind," he said firmly.

Lark was about to agree when the alert began sounding. They rushed to the Lab. Mars appeared as they arrived, half eaten sandwich still in her hand. She sat down and began typing. Everyone else was showing up as well.

"Oh, this is bad," Mars said. Pictures began to flash on the screens. "This is the mayor's motorcade," she said during one pictures. All the pictures were of people shaped piles of mud.

"What about whatever's responsible?" Gore asked.

Mars shook her head. "It pops up every now and then, but never long enough to get a lock on it. Whatever it is and however it's moving around, it's fast," she explained.

"We'll go down and check things out," Taylor said. The others agreed. They went to the teleport platform and teleported.

Rena came into the Lab and sat down at a console. "Mind if I stick around?" she asked mars.

"Fine by me," Mars said.

--/-\--

A whole street was cordoned off by their personnel around the site of the mayor's motorcade. The human shaped piles of mud were disconcerting. Ram took scans of it. He wanted to get a sample, but at the same time, he didn't want to disturb them if they were actually people.

Sin's sharp eyes saw something splattered nearby. He went over to it. "Ram," he called as he squatted down. Ram went over and did take a sample of the green liquid. "Do you think its Ooze?" he asked.

"Oozers don't tend to leave pieces of themselves behind," Lark stated.

Gore and Taylor were surveying the car. "Whatever did this was seriously strong," Gore said.

"We need to figure out how to find it or find out how it's hiding from the system," Taylor said.

"I think I know," Tempest said from further away from the main scene. Taylor and Gore went to where she stood under a tree in the median. There was a huge mound of dirt from where something had burrowed into the ground.

"Could be the same thing as the crash site?" Ram wondered when he joined them.

Gore shook his head. "I don't think so. That was more like someone fighting their way out. Whatever this is, it's burrowing through the ground," he said.

"You and Tempe should be able to follow it," Taylor said.

Tempe and Gore looked at each other. They nodded and put their hands on the mound of dirt and closed their eyes. Sure enough they could almost feel the disturbance beneath the surface. "We'll contact you when we have something," Gore said as he and Tempest began to follow something only they could.

"You two, back to the base and analyze that. Lark and I will check out a few things down here," Taylor said to Sin and Ram.

"We will?" Lark asked. Taylor nodded.

"Will do," Sin said. Ram saluted and the two of them teleported.

Taylor began walking off. Lark caught up with him. "What are we checking out?" she asked.

"Get your tablet out and see if there's any sort of connection between the attacks. They don't really seem random," Taylor said.

Lark nodded and took out her tablet. She began to organize the incidents. They teleported to each site and sure enough a pattern had developed. "They're attacking famous or important figures. The people around them are just collateral damage," she finally concluded.

"We found out what the green stuff does," Sin communicated to them.

"It turns people into a toxic sludge," Ram said.

Lark sighed. "But why target people like this?" she wondered.

"We have news as well," Gore said. "We found the general vicinity of where the thing is that's doing it."

"But it's deep underground and hidden under a bunch of concrete," Tempest added.

"Sounds like you guys need to lure it out," Rena chimed in. "And I think I know how," she added.

"We're all ears," Taylor said.

--/-\--

There was supposed to be a concert by a famous singer in town, but a press statements stated due to the attacks, they would be cancelling the concert. But, a few hours later, a press conference was held in from of the stadium she was supposed to be performing at.

"My show will go on! No monster is going to stop me from reaching my fans," she vowed on a live broadcast that was heard all over the city to a few reporters that held mikes up to her face.

The ground began to rumble. A monster burst out of the ground and hurled a green loogie at her. She stood back and waved her arms, putting up a wall of air that it bounced off harmless. "What? What just happened?" he demanded.

The singer pulled off her purple wig and whacky shades to reveal her usual red hair and gray eyes. "It's what we call a trap," she answered.

"And you fell right into it," one of the reporters added. The rest of them fell back. Taylor stepped forward. He and Lark jumped, knocking into, the monster feet first. He fell back. The two of them ran a way and jumped, landing gracefully in a relatively empty area of their choosing.

The monster sprang out of the ground not far behind them. "Who are you!" he demanded.

Lark and Taylor flipped out their Morph Cards. "We're introduce ourselves then," she said. They slid their Cards.

"Red Ranger Power!"

"Pink Ranger Power!"

They two of them Morphed and were joined by their comrades. "We're Power Rangers! We defend this planet. Who are you supposed to be and why are you turning people into mud?" Red demanded.

The monster spread his head. "I am Sludgeon. My masters are the great exterminators, the Dread Circus!" he announced.

"The what now?" Red asked.

There was a whoosh of wind and a very large man landed beside the monster. He was well over eight feet, well-muscled. His feet were bare. His bottoms were black leather that was nearly entirely made up of buckles. More belts went halfway up his bare chest. One of his overly long arms was covered in a spikey gauntlet, the other was made up of gold and brass gears and a clawed arm. Gold platelet armor covered one shoulder and connected by more bets to leather spikes on the other side. This was all topped with a skull-like gold mask with a breathing apparatus jutting out one side, and a mane of shaggy, murky hair that hung down his back. Dirty looking wings sprouted from his back but though huge, didn't seem large enough to give flight to a man of his size. He held a double-ended mace-like/club-like weapon.

A woman alighted beside him. She was dark skinned and bald. She wore what could have been a top-hate with goggles. A gold beak-like breathing apparatus covered the lower half of her face. Her apparel was an odd mixture of almost ancient Egyptian, and pseudo-Victorian. It did somewhat make her look-like a circus ringmaster. She wore a short skirt, boots and a bustle that was covered with fabric that floated around her as if always blown by the wind. She too had the same dirty brown wings. "Allow us to introduce ourselves while we're at it," she said, her voice distorted by the mask she wore.

She raised one hand covered by a delicate, lace-like, red-jewel studded gauntlet in a dramatic fashion. "I am Nekhbet. My associate here is Bludwyng," her companion gave a graceful bow with a flourish. "We are the White Wing Exterminating Force, Dread Circus! Excuse our incomplete outfit. There used to be three of us," she added with a small snarl.

"So, you're the ones turning people into that stuff. Why?" Blue demanded.

"Oh, that's the simple part. You see, this planet is toxic to us. By turning its lifeforms into toxic sludge, they'll soak into the ground, and poison it's other lifeforms, name the trees that produce the oxygen. It'll also emit the chemicals we need to breath," she explained rationally. She clenched her fist. "But that's secondary," she said and turned to them savagely. "Our main goal is to wipe out you and any of those lily-white wings who may have survived for the past ten thousand years. They'll regret killing our comrade and imprisoning us!" she vowed.

"We're not going to let you get away with that," Black vowed.

"Humph. Then let us what humans and white wings are capable of when they combine their power," she suggested.

"Are these guys the ancient enemy the Caervinians fled from?" Yellow wondered.

Before anyone could answer her, Sludgeon attacked, jumping through the middle of them and slashing with claws. They sparked and were knocked over, but they quickly rallied. Sludgeon came back for them, but Green and Blue jumped and kicked him in the head, knocking them back. "Leave him to us!" Blue said.

The other four Rangers turned their attention to the other two beings. "We'll take the lady in charge," Red said as he and Pink rushed toward her.

"That leaves up with Lurch here," Yellow said and she and Black summoned their weapons and charged forward.

Bludwyng met them head on. He swung his weapon and knocked Black's axe attack aside and hit him in the chest. He swooped up with the other end to batter Yellow and knock her back. Black came at him again with the Axe, but Bludwyng was fast and whirled back on him. Yellow jumped high and forward with her Claw. Bludwyng grabbed her arm and held her up.

"Augh! Let go," she demanded as she dangled and kicked out.

Bludwyng did as she asked and tossed her over his head. "Tempe!" Black checked on her when she landed. "You'll regret that," he said and ran toward the goliath. Bludwyng lashed out immediately, hitting him with both ends of his weapons and sending him flying.

Yellow went to him. "Gore!" she said. "He's incredibly strong," she said.

"I noticed," he said grimly. "But we can't give up," he said. She nodded and together they rushed him again.

"Sea Sniper!"

"Sea Staff!" Green held the staff and helped Blue gain more altitude when he shot the monster. Sludgeon stumbled back. Green rushed forward and lashed out with the staff. Blue joined him, and the three of them traded blows, until the two Rangers hand to flip out of the way several times when the monster tried to spit on them with his green stuff.

When they looked again, the monster was gone. "Where is he?" Blue demanded looking around.

"Uh-oh," Green figured it out too late as the monster came up out the ground under their feet and slashed at them as they came up.

Nekhbet was as fast and light on her feet as the sky powered Rangers. Red finally caught up with her, and slashed at her with his sword. Her gauntlets glowed, and his sword slid off an invisible force that rejected friction. He tried again. And she glided out of his reach laughing as she did so.

He tried several times, but it didn't seem to help. He ducked. "Phoenix Shot!" Pink fired on her with the Sky Shooter.

Nekhbet's gauntlets glowed again and she seemed to catch the energy. She turned in a graceful circle and threw it back on the Rangers, only the blast was twice as strong.

The Rangers all landed in a heap together.

Bludwyng joined Nekhbet as she laughed. "And here I was actually worrying about what those white wings had planned all those years ago? Either humans are pathetically weak or their technology isn't what they always bragged it was," she declared.

Bludwyng tilted his head toward her. "Ah, that's true. Maybe the pollution you humans have caused is giving us a boost. It's like half our work is done for us," she said.

The Rangers got to their feet. "That's out problem, not yours," Red told them.

Sludgeon burst out of the ground behind them. "Eat this!" he sprayed them with his sludge formula.

Now covered in toxic mud, the Rangers staggered and groaned as their suits fought with his power.

--/-\--

"I have to go help," Rena said as she got to her feet.

"Whoa, there," Mars said, jumping up to stop her. "I don't think you've been cleared for active duty, yet," she said, grabbing her by the arms.

Rena pulled away. "That doesn't matter. I have to go help," she said and went to find where Lark was storing the DynaKnighter. Mars was helpless to do much else but hope for the best.

--/-\--

The Rangers were down and continuing to struggle. Nekhbet walked over to them. "Struggle. Struggle. Struggle," she laughed again. "You'll become sludge that destroys the Earth as you know it," she taunted them.

"Just give up! My poison will remain effective as long as I'm alive," Sludgeon gloated.

Red clenched his fist. "Then, I suppose we'll just have to make sure that's not for much longer," he said as he struggled to his feet. The other Rangers were standing as well. "Let's go!" he said. They charged forward, but they weren't very effective and Sludgeon got the upper hand again.

"We won't give up!" Pink declared.

"We'll never give up!" Black echoed.

"Why not? Just give it up already," Sludgeon scoffed.

Nekhbet made an irritated sound. "Let's finish this quickly, I tire of this charade," she side. She made several hand gestures with her gauntlets glowing. A whirl of dark energy appeared between them and she tossed it at the Rangers. The explosion sent them flying.

Sludgeon bounced around. "Just turn to sludge already!" he shouted at them.

Suddenly something dropped out of the sky like a silver and gold bullet and crashed into Sludgeon, knocking him aside before landing under an overpass.

"What was..." Yellow murmured.

"Rena?" Red wondered as they saw someone walking toward them.

It wasn't Rena. It was similar. Black armor with silver and gold. The Sacred face adorned a helmet with a red visor and lions surrounding it. The chest plate even resembled the king of beasts.

Bludwyng suddenly made an outraged gurgling sound, the first sound he'd made since the twos grand entrance. Nekhbet hissed in outrage. "You! How are you still alive! My poison should have killed you!" she cried out.

"Who-who are you?" Sludgeon demanded, still reeling from that blow.

"A lost knight who owes his life to these humans," he said, pointing toward the Rangers. "With a tremendous power of the Earth, Titanium Lion Knight!" he announced.

"Looks like your worried for nothing, Doc," Red pointed out.

"Looks like," she agreed quietly.

From not far away, Rena gripped her DynaKnighter in something close to relief. She decided to hide before she was spotted. She did not want to get scolded unnecessarily.

Sludgeon stepped up to the Knight. "I don't care who you are. You'll fall victim to my poison, too!" he said and attempted to spit on him, but he deftly jumped out of the way.

"Leon Laser!" he produced a lion-like laser and fired on the monster.

Sludgeon staggered back. "I'll show you!" he jumped into the ground and burrowed toward the Knight.

"Leon Sword!" He converted his laser into a sword. He jabbed the blade into the ground. "Cursed creature! This is vengeance for my people!" he jerked the monster out of the ground and into the air. He slashed his sword several times, creating a shape. "Titanium slash!" He delivered a final devastating blow that had the monster arcing with electricity.

"Wow. He's tough," Blue said.

"We're tougher," Black declared.

"Yeah. We can't let that muckraker keep us down," Yellow said.

"We can do this," Red agreed and the Rangers got to their feet again.

With renewed determination, they tapped into their internal energies, their Ki, and the elements. They began to glow and the sludge exploded away from them. They ran forward, Blue and Pink first, shooting at the still rather stunned Nekhbet and Bludwyng. Yellow and Black jumped over them and crashed into them with their weapons and spun away. Green jumped into the whacking with his staff.

"Dragon Slash!" Red came down hard with his sword and the power from it made an impact even on Nekhbet. He pulled a card from his belt. "Sky High Micro DynaZords!" He summoned. The sky related Zords appeared including one they hadn't previously seen before.

"Dragon Blaster!" Red said, attaching the Zord to his sidearm.

"Phoenix Blaster!" Pink said, attaching the Zord to her sidearm.

"Crane Blaster!" Blue said, attaching the Zord to his sidearm.

"Swan Blaster!" Green said, attaching the Zord to his sidearm.

"Hawk Blaster!" Yellow said, attaching the Zord to her sidearm.

"Raven Blaster!" Black said, attaching the Zord to his sidearm.

"Sky High Bullet!" the six Rangers fired on the winged aliens. Even with Nekhbet's shield, they were blown back.

She made an impatient sound. "Maybe I underestimated you," she said. "Being able to shake off the poison with your internal energy was impressive. From now on, we won't go easy on you," she warned them. She pointed at Titanium. "Especially you," she said, said. She summoned a whorl of dark energy and threw it at him. While he struggled to fight it off, she made wings with her hands and wiggled her fingers. The two disappeared.

"That was going easy?" Green murmured.

Sludgeon sprang up out of ground and hit Titanium in the chest, making him stumble back. the monster was already making another move, springing out the ground again, this time spinning like a drill and forcing him back, crashing through a parking facility wall. "Did you think you could defy the Dread Circus!" he demanded.

Titanium pushed the rubble off himself, surprising the monster. "The thought crossed my mind," he said. He flipped out a card with a scanned it with his laser. "Micro DynaZord. Fire Lion!" A red vaguely lion-like MicroZord appear and he attached it hos Leon Laser. "Say good-night," he told the monster. The little head began to spin as it charged.

"Eh? Wha-what? Wait?!" Sludgeon panicked. He attempted to borough into the ground, but it was too late. Titanium fired.

"Titanic Punisher!" the energy spiraled toward the monster and exploded into him. The monster screamed and exploded.

"The people are turning back to normal," Mars reported.

"That's good," Pink said in relief.

"That guy's good," Black said, impressed.

"Anybody can shoot a gun," Yellow sniffed.

"Hey," Blue objected.

They started toward Titanium but a canister of Ooze came out nowhere and exploded around the remnants of the monster. "Sylon!" Red said, clenching his fists. He knew that they hadn't seen the last of that blue-skinned freak.

Sludgeon laughed. "My big revival," he gloated and then changed forms into a centipede-like creature mixed with a tank complete with wheels. "Now I'll quickly crush you guys!" he began rolling toward them and shot purple energy out of his mouth at them sending them crashing into the ground.

Titanium held out a hand. "Let me handle this," he said and flipped out a card and scanned it on the top of his other hand. "Macro DynaZord! Ground Lion!” he summoned. They watched in amazement as his armor detached itself from his body revealing a powersuit like theirs but it was silver over black and instead of his chest being dedicated to a single tribal set of wings, the wings were shaped to resemble a lion's face.

The armor converted itself into a black face, silver maned lion's head that grew full sized. It flew forward and crashed into the monster several times. It wasn't until the rest of the body, resembling a bulldozer appeared and merged with the head part that he was teleported to the Zord's cockpit.

"That's seriously kind of cool," Green said. "How come don't have armor that transforms into a Zord?" he asked.

"I'll get right on that," his sister said drily.

"It was rhetorical," he muttered. Yellow patted him on the shoulder.

The monster and the Ground Lion were going at it. The monster spun around and tried to bash the Zord with his tail. The Zord roared and began spinning in a donut that crashed into the monster knocking him on his side. He growled and with frustration and back to his feet in his normal form.

"This is for those of you who dare mess with this planet," Titanium flipped out a card and scanned it on his console, which had a scanner in a similar manner that the other Zords had a card reader. The hubcaps of his wheels pulled back to reveal missile and energy began to gather in the Lion's mouth. "Lion Charge!" He fired. A whirl of energy hit the monster, and the missiles all launched to hit their target. He fell back and exploded.

Titanium exited his cockpit, appearing with the other Rangers as his armor reassembled around him. He clenched his fists has it sunk in that he really was facing his ancient enemy again.

"That was fantastic," Pink said, interrupting his thoughts.

He looked up and cleared his throat. "Thank you. Now, how exactly do we get back to Skycrest?" he asked, looking up even though her knew it was invisible from there.

"Er...how did you get down?" Yellow asked.

"I jumped," he answered.

"Of course, you did," Black said and gave Red a pointed look even through his helmet.

Red was grinning under his helmet. "Mars, give the man a ride home. Rena, too," he said.

--/-\--

Somewhere in an underground cave system, Nekhbet and Bludwyng had set up camp. With them they had a capsule sort of device. It was where their monsters came from. It was also what remained of the ship that brought them there. It filled the cave with the noxious atmosphere they needed to breath in. It was where they'd been sealed for ten thousand years. The debris of Drage's ship had set them free.

Nekhbet paced. "To think, our poison didn't kill him. He'd actually removed his wings! Can you imagine? That was the only thing decent about those white wings. They'd never mutilate themselves in such a way," she complained.

Bludwyng suddenly got to his feet and snarled, baring his teeth. Nekhbet turned, seeing an interloper arriving. A blue-skinned creature approached them. "Who are you?" she demanded.

"Someone who can help. Like I helped before," Sylon answered coolly, his new disguise allowed him to breath the noxious air inside the cave without the need of a mask.

"That was you?" Nekhbet asked suspiciously. "How did you make it? Only we know how to make the muck," she said.

"Muck? No, mistress. It's Ooze," he corrected politely. "We have a common goal. Exterminate the human plague," he said. "I offer my services to you," he said, taking a knee and bowing deeply.

"What do you think, Bludwyng?" Nekhbet asked and glanced at him. "Right. We'll just kill him if he becomes a nuisance," she said. "Welcome to the Dread Circus...whoever you are," she said.

"I am Sylon," he introduced.

"I don't care. Find me food," Nekhbet said and sat regally on an ornate chair she'd found in the pod and brought out.

Sylon bowed and back away slowly. Calm and acquiescent he may be on the inside, but his rage and disgust on the inside made him empty his stomach when he'd exited the cave. That witch and her beast would do his dirty work, but he'd be the victor in the end.

--/-\--

Erion Wyndesong was facing down the curious faces of eight humans. When he'd been teleported home back to Skycrest, he'd found fresh clothes waiting for him in one of the room and he'd been told to come to the Lab when he'd changed. He cleared his throat again. "Who removed my wings?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

There was silence for a moment. "I made the decision," Taylor said firmly.

"Thank you," he said. "I begged them to do it, but it was blasphemy to even suggest it, much less do it. I knew it was my only hope. When I tried to do it myself they locked me in stasis," he said. "Though I feel incredibly unbalanced. It'll take some getting used to," he said. "Ah, please forgive my manners. My name is Erion Wyndesong of Land Tribe," he said and gave him something of a polite, gallant bow. "I have so many question, I am unsure where to even begin," he said.

"Well, we probably as many question, but don't we start by introducing ourselves?" Taylor suggested.

Erion readily agreed. His new comrades were humans. He didn't know the fate of his people. He'd been asleep for ten thousand years. And the Dread Circus was still to be dealt with. The only place he could start from was meeting his new comrades and the only hope he had.

--/End 13\--
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