The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers

"Time Bomb"

From a play-by-E-Mail RPG
Gamemaster: Richard Ryley
Shane Gooseman: David Wills
Walter "Doc" Hartford: Luther Frisch
Zozo: James Grabowski/Stephen Long
Buzzwang: Robert Richards
Daisy O'Mega: Anastasia Atomaczyk

Fanfic composed by Richard Ryley

The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, and all related characters, are owned by Gaylord Productions. This is a work of fanfiction, and may not be distributed commertially.

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Chapter 1

Out on the edges of League Space, a thick asteroid belt circled a Black Hole. It seemed to be an inhospitable place, a region that could in no way support life, but its appearance was deceptive. Deep inside the asteroid field, there was one chunk of rock much larger than all the rest. It glittered with light, glowing from within in many colors, which shone through portals in the solid stone.

The inhabitants of this section of space called it Entropy's Edge. And the outlaws and cutthroats who hid out on this asteroid, so far from the law and order of Earth and her allies, called themselves the Black Hole Gang. The Bureau of Extra Terrestrial Affairs, and their Galaxy Rangers, called them by that name as well.

Daisy O'Mega preferred to call them scum. She'd been the leader of the gang for several years, until Shane Gooseman of the Galaxy Rangers tricked her, and Macross took over leadership of the gang. To be honest, it was probably all for the best. In the year since, she'd done a hell of a lot better for herself than when she'd been saddled with that pathetic band of miscreants. But the insult of it all still grated on her.

What made it worse is that she suspected that she let herself be tricked. Shane was a handsome devil, and she had the feeling that he would have been more of a reward than any robbery would have netted. But he was a Galaxy Ranger, and although she'd asked him to go with her, before she made her escape, she would have no holds on her. She'd lived that life before, and she'd hated it.

Even so, the Black Hole gang had almost been the biggest mistake of her life. She was running from the duty of being a full-time bounty hunter. So why on Earth did she take on the responsibility of running a gang? No, in the end, she bore no emnity to Shane for getting her out of that mess.

But Macross was another matter.

Daisy looked up as her boy came into the bar. He spotted her, back there in the shadows, even though she wasn't wearing her trademark shawl, and her hat was down over her eyes. It wouldn't do for her to be recognized, right here in the enemy's camp. She knew the rock better than even Macross did, though, and she knew how to get around Entropy's Edge without being seen.

"What have ye got for me?" she muttered, as her spy took a seat.

"Well, earlier this week, Macross got a visit from this fellow named Killbane. Ryker Kilbane, I think his name was."

Daisy nodded. She'd done a little research into Shane's background. This Kilbane was a Supertrooper, like Goose. Had very much the same powers, too.

"Anyway, he said he wanted to hire Macross. Had a lot a' credits, too. A lot a' credits. He said he needed a backup man for a plan to take out the Galaxy Rangers."

"What kind o' plan?"

"Well, that I don't know, exactly. They went into the meetin' hall, and I couldn't eavesdrop after that. If they'd caught me, they'd have strung me up for sure..."

*Coward* Daisy thought to herself. "Dinna worry about it," she said out loud. "What makes you so sure he was after th' Rangers?"

"Well, before they went inside, he said... and this is exactly what he said... I think... 'I've found out something that will spell the end of the Galaxy Rangers. They can't fight it, they can't run from it, they can't hide from it. You and me, Macross, we'll hold the lives of the Galaxy Rangers in our hands... especially that wimp Gooseman...'"

Inwardly, Daisy smiled. Gooseman, a wimp? Hardly. Looks like he might be owing her a favor soon. That could prove interesting. Besides, there was no way in Hell she would let something with this kind of power wind up in the hands of Macross.

"All right, let's say I'm intrigued, then. Where is Kilbane no'?"

"He left. He said he would take care of his part of the bargain, and Macross would stay and take care of his. Ever since then, he's had us building these weird devices... transmitters of some kind. All of Entropy's Edge is working on them."

"Hmmm... And you dinnae where Kilbane is?"

"Actually, yes I do. He told Macross to meet him on Prairie. The boss is also putting together a team to do some other kind of job. They've been doing some vigourous training. I'm told some of it looks like they're being trained to go up against the Rangers."

"Okay. Thanks. I'll look inta it." The redhead dropped some coins on the table, as she left the bar, pulling her hat down a little as she vanished into the shadows.

* * * * * *

"Galaxy Rangers... please, come in..."

Commander Walsh gestured at the three Rangers standing in the door of his office. Zozo was already there, yawning, and Gooseman, Doc and Buzzwang filed in to stand beside him. The commander looked up at the door, as if expecting someone, then sat down at his desk.

"I just recieved a call from Senator Wheiner. I tried to convince him that this is not Ranger business, but I'm afraid he wouldn't listen. I'm sorry to ask you all in here like this, but at least Zack and Niko are away on other business. If I had my way..."

The burly man's speech was cut short by a commotion from out in the hall. There was the sound of running footsteps, and the protests of one of Walsh's aides. "Sir! You can't go in there! The Commander is in a meeting!"

An imperious voice answered him. "Of course he is! I called that meeting! Now, out of my way!"

"But sir!..."

The door, already open partway, flew open as a figure strode into the room. He was a greasy-looking man, with dark greying hair and beady eyes. He wore the familiar brown uniform of a Senator, with his badge of office, a green capelet, over his shoulder. Senator Wheiner had arrived.

"Look here, Senator..." Walsh began, but Wheiner ignored him.

"Galaxy Rangers... I regret having to come to you, of all people, to deal with this situation, but I see no other choice. My daughter must be returned to Earth immediately, and the utmost secrecy is needed..."

"Now, see here!" Walsh began, but Goose interrupted.

"Don't tell me your daughter's gone to Tortuna to shoot another Rock Video..."

"I hope not," interjected Buzzwang. "I barely got her out alive the last time..."

"That's not..." cut in Walsh.

"I remember that incident all too well," answered the Senator. He frowned accusingly at the Rangers. "I have tried and tried to make Eve understand that you grandstanding troublemakers are not worthy of her respect, and yet she always seems to find some way of emulating you and your grandiose methods. She even had the nerve to talk back to me!!!!"

"You can't blame us for that..." Zozo began, but was interrupted, as Walsh brought his walking stick forefully down on the table. All eyes turned to him as Zozo put both hands up to his pointed ears.

"Now that I have your attention..."

The Senator snorted. "Grandstanding son of a..."

"When I spoke to the Senator," Walsh said loudly, cutting him off, "he said that his daughter had taken something, and gone back to Prarie, where she is currently going to school. You wouldn't tell me what it was over the comm, Senator, so what's going on?"

"Eve broke into my private office safe, and stole a top secret computer disk! You've got to get her back here right away! She's probably gotten involved with some hooligans at that school, and..."

Walsh looked startled. "Top secret information! What information?"

In a fraction of a second, the Senator went from concerned parent to a sudden and inexplicable anger. "YOU GET THIS STRAIGHT, COMMANDER! THE INFORMATION ON THAT DISK IS TOP SECRET! NEITHER YOU NOR ANY OF YOUR RANGERS IS TO LOOK AT IT! IS THAT CLEAR?????"

The commander threw up his hands. "Perfectly, Senator. But how valuable is this information? Should we expect trouble? Does anyone else know about this?"

Wheiner shook his head. "No. The information has been hidden away in my safe for the past two years. No one has seen it but my Committee."

Walsh paused for a moment. "We'll get your daughter back, Senator Wheiner. And the disk as well."

"All right. Just remember, that information is TOP SECRET." He stared at Goose, Doc and Zozo again. "If any of you looks at anything on that disk, I will have you all up on Contempt charges... if not TREASON!"

"Settle down, Senator. The Galaxy Rangers are under my command, and if I order them not to look at the disk, they won't. And the treaty we have with the Kirwin government allows me to get an assurance from Zozo, as well."

Zozo blinked. He'd been grinning widely, and suddenly looked as if he'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Walsh looked at the Rangers. "So... Galaxy Rangers, I order you not to look at that disk... and Zozo, I want your word as an Ambassador that you will not look at it either..."

Zozo sighed. "Very well, Commander. But keep in mind..." He shot the Senator a dirty look. "Kirwin will not be all that happy if this turns out to be a wild goose chase."

"WILD GOOSE CHASE!!!" Wheiner pulled himself up, barely containing his rage. Walsh was quick to cut in.

"If it does, Ambassador, your government will have my utmost apology... as well as my thanks for retrieving the daughter of one of our... public servants."

Wheiner managed to hold his look of fury for a few more moments. Then, he sighed. "Very well. Bring my daughter back..." Looking a bit deflated, he left the room.

Walsh put a hand to his forehead. "He's gonna owe me big time for this one... my Galaxy Rangers... baby sitting..."

"Commander..." Buzzwang began. "If we cannot look at the disk, how will we know if we have the right one? We will not be able to look at the label if we cannot look at the disk..."

Walsh looked confused for a moment, then irritated. "No, Buzzwang, I don't mean that you can't look at the case of the disk. I mean that you are not to access the data on the disk..." He glanced at Doc. "And that means no sending Pathfinder in to read it, either..."

Doc feigned a look of shock. "I wouldn't think of such a thing..."

Walsh held his gaze for a moment, and Doc put up his hands. "Okay, okay! Hackers just don't get any respect..."

Walsh shook his head. "Look fellows... I gave my word. And going around the letter of it is just as bad as breaking it. Consider that information officially off limits..."

He paused for a moment, then glanced at the door. "Quite frankly... I don't think there's anything of any importance on that disk. Two years ago, we hadn't even met the Andorians yet. The biggest thing going on was the failure of the Supertrooper project, and I know where all that data is. So I think this is just our Senator believing that he's more important that he is."

"If it seems like someone really wants that information, and your lives are in danger unless you know what it is, then consider yourselves as having a 'need to know'. But otherwise, humor the man..."

Walsh leaned in a little closer. "And if anyone asks me, I'll tell them that I never told you that... so it better be a matter of life and death."