Shane stared out the balcony of BETA Mountain. Staring at the night sky. He could hear the familiar footsteps of his friend Zach approach him. "Go ahead and yell at me for failing Zachery," Shane sighed. "It doesn't matter."
"The hell it doesn't!" Zach stared at his friend. "Shane what happened out there?"
Shane debated whether or not to tell him for a moment. Then decided.
"Darkstar's pregnant," Shane let out a breath. "And Stingray's the father."
"Oh…" Zach blinked.
"You don't get it Zachery!" Shane said. "Supertroopers are supposed to be born sterile! We're not supposed to have kids! We're only supposed to be born in test tubes! Do you have any idea how much of a cow Walsh will have if he hears about this? How badly the Board of Leaders would react to this?"
"Oh boy…" Zach sighed. "I think I can get an idea."
"I couldn't tell the Commander," Shane slumped against the balcony. "I couldn't bring Darkstar in because that would be a death sentence for the baby as well as her. And I couldn't bring in Stingray because…It wouldn't have been right to leave Darkstar and the baby defenseless! Not that it matters because Stingray is defenseless because of me! Do you see what I mean?"
"No, I don't," Zach frowned. "What do you mean defenseless?"
Shane looked ashamed. "I…I tried to heal him Zach. I tried to use my new powers to…I don't know. Drive the crazy out of him. All I managed to do was make it worse. Not only did I do something to his brain but…He doesn't have his powers anymore."
"His powers? You mean…?"
"I think his regular bio-defenses are working but they're slower now. And his eye blasts are gone. Yeah. I took his powers away and now he and Darkstar are out there and…" Shane made a gesture. "It's all a mess!"
"Does Walsh know…?"
"No, I didn't tell him about that either. I've got enough pressure being a damn bounty hunter for my own kind without…Can you see why I didn't say anything Zach?"
"I guess so," Zach agreed. "You really didn't have a choice did you? I would have done the same thing."
"All of it," Zach let out a breath. "Even the part trying to use that healing to bring Stingray back to his senses. You had no idea that would happen, Shane. But maybe it's for the best he hasn't got…"
"If it was just him I wouldn't care!" Shane spat. "But Darkstar…Zachery, none of the other Supertroopers liked either Darkstar or Stingray very much. Especially Kilbane, Gravestone and Chimera! The only person they hated more was me! Without Stingray's powers to defend them and in Darkstar's condition…She's my sister, Zach."
"Goose I know how close you once felt to…"
"No, Zachery. My real sister," Shane gave him a look. "She's got Cheyenne's DNA in her too. I just can't believe I didn't see it before all these years!"
"The real kicker is that I used to have a crush on her when I was a kid," Shane moaned. "I even fell in love with her. Not that anything ever happened! She liked Stingray that way more than she liked me but still…"
"Ah," Zach winced. "Now I am getting the entire picture."
"Let's just say my brain can't handle this right now," Shane groaned. "Too many what ifs and what the hells are going on in there. Oh wait, I almost forgot the best part! I found out the real reason the other Supertroopers couldn't stand me! It seems they found out I was designed to be a bounty hunter in case they went rogue!"
"Yeah turns out Walsh and Garson planned on me to not only hunt down others of my kind but replace them," Shane let out a breath. "Just clone me and freeze the others or stars knows what when they couldn't work anymore! So much for me being the one destined to unite my kind! It's all a lie!"
Shane closed his eyes. "When Cheyenne told me that I was the one to unite the Supertroopers I didn't want to believe it. It seemed too good to be true. Then we found the kids, Flashfire…Noah…And then…I don't know. I just felt so…For the first time in a long time I wasn't completely ashamed of being a Supertrooper. I thought maybe I could undo some of the damage I've done. Make things right again. But it was just false hope. It was all a lie. I'm nobody's savior. I'm a destroyer."
"Now cut that out! You are not a destroyer!" Zach said fiercely.
"That's not what Darkstar thinks," Shane hung his head down. "I always thought I could save her at least. The others…."
"Maybe you can't save all the Supertroopers but there are those you can save and you have saved," Zach pointed out. "Remember the kids? And Flashfire? And Noah? You saved them. They're alive because of you. Don't ever forget that."
"Zachery you don't get it. I always told myself that I wasn't a bounty hunter. That I wasn't programmed to hunt down my own kind. No matter what my orders were at least deep down I could believe that about myself. And now that I know the truth…"
"So what?" Zach barked. "You were designed to be a killer but you overcame that. You were designed to never feel human emotions but you do! It doesn't matter what you're made up of genetically! It's who you've become that matters! And I see a loyal, brave Galaxy Ranger. And a good friend."
"It's not just Cheyenne and the other Supertroopers I'm failing," Shane shook his head. "It's Commander Walsh. I tried so hard but I…He'll never trust me again."
"You know the Commander," Zach consoled his friend. "Walsh will get over it. Knowing him he's just angry at himself for getting captured."
"I hate keeping secrets from him," Shane admitted. "I mean…I wish I could tell him about Cheyenne, Niko…everything. I want to but…I don't know. Maybe I should?"
"Normally I would say you should tell Walsh everything but…" Zach frowned. "Right now I think it might be safer to keep this under wraps for a little while longer."
"Zachery…If I did something that hurt you, and Doc and Niko…I wouldn't be able to live with myself," Shane sighed. "I just can't go through what happened at Wolf Den again. If I did something that…"
"You won't," Zach snapped. "I know you! You'd never do that! Don't give up Goose. You can deal with this. I know it."
"You really believe that?"
"Yes. And Darkstar's not lost yet. We'll think of a way to help her," Zach promised. "Don't worry. The Galaxy Rangers have been up against worse."
"Thanks Zachery," Shane let out a breath. "I'm sorry to get you involved in this."
"Goose remember all the times I failed to rescue Eliza?" Zach put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "You never let me give up then. And I'm sure as hell not going to let you give up now. Got it?"
"Got it," Shane made a weak smile. "Thanks. I needed that."
"Listen Shane, you're my best friend," Zach told him. "You've been handling this burden by yourself for far too long. No matter what happens, me and the other Rangers are going to see you through this. Even if…If worse comes to worse…We'll help you take down Kilbane and the others. We're part of a team. Your problems are our problems and don't you forget it."
"I did, for a moment," Shane let out a breath. "It's just all this information rattling around my head. It's a lot to absorb."
"Look at the bright side Shane," Zach smiled. "At least the worst is over. There's no more secrets Walsh is hiding from you that can make your life any more complicated. Come on, let's get Doc and Niko and go to my place for dinner."
Shane smiled. He realized how lucky he was to have a true friend in Zach. And he also knew sooner or later Walsh would forget about his anger with Shane.
"Good idea," Shane agreed. "And you're right. Walsh will be mad for a week or so but…I've done a lot worse and he's forgiven me for it."
"Now all you have to do is forgive yourself," Zach said.
"That's going to take a lot longer," Shane sighed. "But like you said the worst is over."
Little did Shane know that the worst was only beginning.
Coming soon! The Tangled Web Saga! Wait til you see what's coming next!