"Power Rangers Psycho Impulse"

Book 1: "Ground Zero"

Chapter 1: "Bend Sinister"

Disclaimer: This is essentially an original Power Rangers story, with no connection to any previous series save for the use of the Psycho Rangers. Most everything else is mine.

Author's note: I wrote Power Rangers: Psycho Matrix as one of my first fics submitted to but looking back, I think I could have done better. Here's my attempt at that, with a darker, more thematically post-cyberpunk interpretation of a revitalized Psycho Ranger team. Enjoy.

Las Serafinas, Nevada – 2029

He stood alone on the battlefield, his comrades unable to go on. He wore a black uniform with armor covering his chest, padding his joints, and protecting both his face and the air-filtering mask he wore. He held a pulse rifle in his hands, facing his would-be killers. Beneath the helmet and the air-filter mask, he smiled.

"Let's do this," he mumbled, and made his move. He fired into the platoon of enemies as he charged them. They fired at him, but the sensors in his helmet allowed him to predict by their body language when they would fire and determine precisely when to evade. As he evaded, he fired back, the sensors in his helmet allowing him to hit his foes with deadly precision.

When all of his foes were down, he walked on, reaching a prison facility. He entered and walked through it, seeing bedraggled men and women who seemed as though they had seen far better days. Of course, it wouldn't be so easy; guards were pouring in to stop him. He raised his rifle and began shooting at the guards while dodging in a manner akin to a character from the classic film The Matrix. Eventually, they also fell down, and he continued on to the secured room that contained the supercomputer controlling the prison facility system.

He sliced the door open with a sustained blast from his pulse rifle and shot the guards inside dead. He stepped in and walked to the supercomputer. Just then, his helmet spoke. "Objective cleared. Do you wish to pause and save, or do you wish to continue?"

"Pause," he spoke and the supercomputer room and everything around it faded away. His armor faded away as well, leaving him dressed in a black high-tech vest over a black shirt with an upside-down keyhole collar and red stitches in the seams and black jeans with red stitches. The helmet was gone, revealing messy dirty blond hair and an augmented-reality visor over his eyes.

"Robin, are you done with that game yet?" his mother shouted from downstairs. "Dinner's almost ready!"

Robin removed the visor and the vest, revealing teal eyes in a young, fair-skinned face, and left his room for the head of the stairway. "I'm done, Mom!"

Cape Opal, South Africa – 2029

"Shango!" a female voice shouted. "Are you done with that game yet? It's time to study!"

"I was done thirty minutes ago, Mother," a tall, broad-shouldered, dark-skinned young man answered calmly. "I've been studying for the past twenty."

"That is good news," Shango's mother answered. "I do not want you to fall behind."

"No, Mother." Shango smiled. "I will not fall behind."

Shango had spent roughly an hour playing the augmented reality game Quadra Cell, in which the player assumed the role of a super-soldier in a quasi-apocalyptic world. The game's system, like so many augmented reality game systems, functioned via a special visor and vest that generated a tangible environment overlaying the real environment for more immersive play. It was an excellent way of bleeding off excess anger or dealing with certain aggressions in less destructive ways.

At this present point, he was reading a textbook on geopolitics, his eyes ghosting over a block of text describing expanding corporate power and influence within global politics. He turned the page to chapter eight, studying the interconnections between banks, governments, and corporations.

Engelnacht, Germany – 2029

Another Quadra Cell player was plowing through foes, overcoming their obstruction by simply blasting them out of their lives. He did not bother with things like dodging; he simply moved too fast and hit too hard for them to do much against him. By the time he was past, there was a trail of enemy dead behind him and there was nothing stopping him from destroying the enemy base. At that moment, the A.I. of the game chose to speak through his helmet.

"Objective cleared. Do you wish to pause and save, or do you wish to continue?"

"Pause," the player spoke, and the augmented reality around him faded away to reveal the true reality, that he was just a black-haired young man wearing a high-tech visor and vest over dark clothes. He shed both the vest and the visor, revealing blue eyes set in a square-jawed, fair face. He exited his room and walked down to the dining room where his parents and sister awaited him.

"So glad you could deign to join us, Alaric," his father casually teased him.

"Sorry," Alaric answered.

"You spend too much time on that thing," Alaric's sister pouted.

"You do realize I'm going to join the national army next year," Alaric responded. "I need all the pre-training I can get."

"A game, even one as realistic as Quadra Cell, will not teach you everything you need to know," Alaric's mother orated.

Alaric sighed. "I'm still achieving high marks in my classes."

"So you are," Alaric's mother acknowledged. "For the time being, anyway."

"You're never going to stop – how do the Americans say it? – ragging on me about this, are you?" Alaric mused resignedly.

Alaric's mother pondered this for several moments, or seemed to ponder it, and then smirked. "No."

Alaric groaned, at which his father said, "Eat. Behave as though you live here and are part of this family."

"Yes, Vater," Alaric mumbled good-naturedly.

Rio de Primavera, Brazil – 2029

A dark-haired girl was running to her house, a film of sweat on her darkly tanned skin causing her yellow sports bra and black jogging shorts to cling even more tightly to her body than before. She was coming back from two hours' worth of jogging around her neighborhood. Once on the porch of her house, she opened the door with the key she carried on her and entered.

"Micaela!" a booming male voice shouted. "You're home."

"Yes, Pai, I'm home," Micaela answered, stepping into the living room to greet her father, a tall man built like a bear. He rose from the sofa and she embraced him, him returning her embrace fully. Then she heard him deeply inhale with his nose.

"Filha, you're sweaty," Micaela's father remarked dryly.

Micaela grinned up at him. "That's what happens when you run around the neighborhood for two hours."

"Cleanse yourself and get new clothes," Micaela's father ordered, but his light tone made it sound more like a suggestion.

Micaela released herself from her father's embrace and jogged upstairs to her room, retrieving a robe from her closet and then going to the bathroom. She turned the shower knobs until the water was just right and then stripped down in order to get into the bathtub. She closed the curtain and let out a soft hiss of relaxation when the warm water hit her body, washing away the detritus of her exertion.

Finishing her shower in ten minutes, Micaela dried herself off with a nearby towel and donned her robe to return to her room. Once inside, she threw on a large T-shirt and boy shorts; it wasn't like she was going to go anywhere today. If something came up, she'd just change quickly. In the meantime . . . she opened a case containing an augmented reality vest and visor, preparing to play the game that was an almost fundamental part of her corner of the universe.

Sabera, India – 2029

Slim, agile fingers danced over the tactile keyboard of a computer. A flat-screen monitor showed data in the form of numbers and letters and symbols, all integrated into a rapidly expanding code. Those fingers never stopped once, only slowing once their task was on the very verge of accomplishment. Once the code was finished, one of those fingers stroked the touchpad to click the "run" command.

Another window overlaid the first, with a simple message: "Software modification accomplished."

The owner of those fingers, a dusky-caramel-skinned girl with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes glittering with cleverness, smiled. She'd been at this for a little over an hour, and she was almost sad that it was so easy. She stretched in her chair and closed the program, ejecting the CD-ROM in the process. She inserted the CD-ROM into a slot in the high-tech vest that enabled her to play augmented reality games.

There would be ample time for her to work later, despite what her mother and her father would say. Now, however, was the time she chose to relax. The game was simply her method of doing so; she strapped on the AR vest and donned the corresponding visor, moving to a more open space in order to play without accidentally destroying her things.

Just as the game was about to start, she heard her mother's voice call out for her. "Achala! Are you finished with that? There's someone here to see you!"

Achala sighed and removed her visor and vest. She straightened out her clothes, a simple reddish-pink blouse and a long khaki skirt with a slit up the middle, and walked downstairs, dreading what was to come. It was her mother's habit to try to set her up with young men, often the sons of her coworkers, in an attempt to give Achala something of a social life.

"You shouldn't spend so much time studying and playing computer games," Achala's mother often said to her. "You need to spend time with other people your age. In the real world."

Achala didn't begrudge her mother that point, but she thought that she should have the ability and freedom to choose her own associates. She was all right with friends, but she didn't necessarily want to date. Of course, it wasn't like her mother really understood that last part, as she kept finding boys for her.

Of course, Achala was surprised when she found out that her "suitor" was actually a petite East Asian girl dressed in a dark gray suit uniform. "Mata?" Achala wondered. "Do you think I have turned into a lesbian?"

"Not at all, ladaki," Achala's mother replied. "This is simply a young woman who wishes to make your acquaintance. She said it has something to do with that game you're always playing."

"Oh," Achala said. She turned to the girl. "Hello."

The girl politely bowed. "Hello. I am Sakurai Miyuki. It was imperative that I come to your home. Time is of the essence."

End Notes: That's the beginning. While it may seem short to you, it's something I'm doing for a challenge on LiveJournal; I have to write 1700 words or more each day for an entire month and it has to be an original story. This technically qualifies because these are original characters with very little ties to canon incarnations of Power Rangers, save for the fact that they will be taking on the powers of the Psycho Rangers. There will definitely be more and the story will be posted in batches of two or three chapters to boost your reading experience since each chapter will be around 1700 words long. Hopefully, you enjoyed.