Rangers of Two Worlds, Part II
(Original posting date: April 29th, 2014)
Author's note: Someone requested a refresher on the casualties so far, so here they are...
Mack (Chapter 5)
Cole & Kendrix (Chapter 10)
Tommy (Chapter 13)
Kimberly, Leanbow, Carlos, Theo & Eric (Chapter 14)
Bridge, Kira, Xander, Tori, Adam (Chapter 15)
Sentinel Knight (Chapter 16)
Tyzonn & Aisha (Chapter 18)
Daggeron, Udonna, Flynn, Shane, Ryan, Chad, Kai, Max, Jen, Nikki, Matoombo (Chapter 20)
Itassis, Benji, Clare (Chapter 21)
Previously on Power Rangers: End of Days, the Overdrive Rangers were revealed to be behind the deaths of Mack, Cole and Kendrix! During a massive battle in the quarry, they managed to kill several Rangers, and then left the survivors to die in an explosion that should have wiped out the entire Ranger legacy. But the arrival of the RPM Rangers and a sacrifice by Flynn changed destiny and allowed many Rangers to survive. Last chapter, in the future, Kat Manx made plans to extract all surviving Rangers to the year 2027, but Doggie Cruger got in the way and brought in Nova and Sam to stop her, leading Kat to release the A-Squad. In the present, the Overdrive Rangers made their appearance at a celebration held for the 10th anniversary of Dark Specter's fall, as the Blackout is set to begin...
Newtech City, 2027
"You've got some nerve, asking for our help, and with this of all things," Charlie said coldly. So far, she'd been the only one to speak to their visitor. Kat suspected that the other members of A-Squad were deferring to the other woman, that they would follow her lead if only she could be convinced.
They were all gathered in a dimly lit interrogation room, which gave the holographic representations of A-Squad an almost solid appearance. If Kat hadn't placed the containment cards in the projection device herself, she would have sworn they were actually there. In reality, however, they were still in the cards and posed no threat to her.
Kat was silent for a moment, knowing that, in this moment, the resentment directed at her was well-deserved. A-Squad had every reason to turn down her request after what had been done to them.
"Charlie," Kat broke the silence, not entirely certain of what she would say next.
"We came to you and Cruger with this," Charlie cut in forcefully, "before information about the black-out was made classified. And this wasn't about a single Ranger's death, it was about the decimation of the Ranger line. We asked to be sent back, to be given a chance to alter this one event in time, to save the lives of individuals who gave up so much for us. We suggested extracting them to this time and starting them off on new lives, so as not to alter the past. But Cruger denied our request, and you just stood there, speaking of the sanctity of the timeline. Protocol and regulations were elevated over all else, over the value of human lives. You turned on us long before we turned on you."
"I made a mistake," Kat recognized. "With the means at our disposal, we hold great power. But this power needs to be wielded carefully. Courses of action borne of the best and noblest of intentions don't always have the intended outcomes."
"Let me ask you this," Charlie continued. "Were B-Squad not in the past right now, were this about going back to help the Rangers of that time, would you be considering intervening?"
"No," Kat answered honestly, without hesitation. "I still strongly believe that caution must be exercised when one considers actions that could impact the time stream. This strong belief is curbed by B-Squad's presence in the past, by Bridge Carson's death, by the conviction and the actions of Sky Tate."
"Clocking Doggie Cruger," Charlie mused with a smirk. "I didn't realize our new Commander had it in him to do that. I'm certain we'd all love to see that footage."
"Let's get back to more pressing matters," Kat suggested. "Will you help us extract B-Squad and the others?"
"What's the plan?" Charlie questioned her
"You go to the past, locate B-Squad, along with their allies," Kat began. "Once that's done, you'll all be returned safely to the present."
"And who's to say SPD won't make a return impossible, like they're currently doing for B-Squad?" Charlie asked.
"A computer virus will bring down the mainframe on our side," Kat explained. "We won't be able to send anyone else to the past or bring anyone to this time. You'll be supplied with a device, however, that will transport you and everyone within a ten meter radius of you to the present."
Charlie was quiet for several moments. It was clear she was assessing the mission. There was a reason she'd been promoted to A-Squad Red, after all. She'd been recognized early on in her training as an exceptional tactician.
"Alright, so you arrange for the Rangers' extraction," Charlie recapped. "If Cruger confronts you and doesn't back down, you set us free to ensure that you can at least send someone to retrieve the Rangers. Once we're gone, you bring down the mainframe, making everyone in the present powerless to stop our return. We find the Rangers, use the device you'll be supplying us with, find our way back here. And they all live."
"That's pretty much it," Kat confirmed.
"It seems like you've pretty much figured it all out," Charlie commented. "There's still one variable in this equation."
"What side will A-Squad take?" Kat offered.
"It's the big question, isn't it?" Charlie responded. "Although the answer to that doesn't really matter. If you trust us and we turn on you, B-Squad and their friends are as good as dead. If you don't trust us and leave us in these cards, same thing. You really only have one choice."
"Trust you and hope for the best," Kat offered.
"That's right," Charlie confirmed.
"And what if I offered you all a further incentive to cooperate?" Kat asked.
"A-Squad doesn't want anything from SPD. Not anymore, Dr. Manx," Charlie cut in before the other woman could continue. "Set us loose and hope for the best. That's your only option."
"A-Squad Green down!" Kat heard Nova call out from across the command center. Sparing a glance in her general direction, she saw the unmorphed ranger laying still on the floor. Nova's victory didn't free her up to come to Cruger's or Sam's assistance however, as she still had the Pink A-Squad Ranger to deal with.
"Look out!" Charlie shouted, bringing Kat's attention back to their current face-off with Doggie Cruger. Even though SPD's Supreme Commander no longer had access to the powers of the Shadow Ranger, he was still more than a match for his opponents. He effortlessly blocked and dodged their attacks, while his jabs and kicks connected painfully on several occasions.
Charlie's warning came just in time, allowing Kat to take to the air before Doggie could sweep her off her feet. As she soared high above the battle, she caught a glimpse of the Blue and Yellow A-Squad Rangers, who appeared to have taken out Sam and were now going to assist their teammate in her fight against Nova.
"Stand down and call Nova off, Doggie," Kat pleaded when she landed. "There's no way the two of you can defeat us all."
"You know I can't do that, Kat," Cruger replied as he managed to grab Charlie by the throat. He then lifted the Red A-Squad Ranger off the ground and sent her crashing against a nearby wall. "Would you ever surrender, if it meant giving up on your convictions? I'm afraid this fight will only end when one of us is defeated. I'm truly sorry about that."
It was too late when Kat heard the humming of the weapon charging up behind her. Amidst the super-powered fighting, she'd stopped paying attention to Cruger's men, who'd made their way inside the Command center with the Canine Blaster. The energy discharge slammed into her from behind, throwing her against a nearby console. She soon fell to the floor, unconscious.
Angel Grove, 2009
"Let go of me!" Dana shouted as she tried to break free from Carter's and Joel's grips. "I have to warn them!"
"Dana, stop and think this through," Joel pleaded with the Pink Lightspeed Ranger. "You can't use your communicator. We can't contact them."
As Dana struggled to free herself from his grip, Joel found himself struggling with his own emotions. Carter and Dana, the fireman and the doctor, always level-headed in the face of a crisis, both falling apart under the current circumstances. Seeing their distress, seeing their pain as they worried about their daughter and Bill Mitchell, it was killing him. But he had to stay solid, he needed to be the rock his teammates needed in this moment, despite his own fears related to Angela's safety. He needed to reason with Dana and speak the words that Carter was currently unable to find. Around them, several Rangers were gathered, all of them quiet as they let the Green Lightspeed Ranger deal with his teammates.
"They killed Ryan," Dana continued through her tears. "They killed my brother, and now my little girl and my father are there, at the celebration, at their mercy. I can't lose them. Please don't let me lose them."
"Will has super-hearing, Dana," Joel reminded his teammate. "If we contact your father, or Angela, or anyone we know there to warn them, there's a chance he'll pick up on the communication and do exactly what it is you want to prevent."
"We'll do whatever we can to keep them safe, but we need to put our heads together and come up with a plan. We need you to get a grip on yourself, Dana. Can you do that? For Sammie? For your father?"
As the words sank in, Dana's breathing slowed and her struggling lessened. When Joel finally let go of her, she didn't reach for her morpher. Around them, everyone relaxed.
"Can anyone think of a safe way of sending them a message?" Dana asked after a moment.
"I could send a text message or an e-mail, if they have access to a mobile device," Sophie volunteered from where she stood with the rest of B-Squad and Sky. "Just give me a name."
"Angela Fairweather," Joel replied before Dana could respond. "The Overdrives will have their eyes on Bill and on Andrew Hartford. She's our best shot."
"Okay," Sophie confirmed as her systems pulled up contact information for Angela. "Sending… oh no…"
"What's wrong, Sophie?" Sky asked the Green SPD Ranger.
"Something's blocking my transmission. I can't reach her."
"It's starting," Ziggy announced.
Ever since the Mayor of Angel Grove had started to address those gathered in the park, Devin had been filming every word, every significant reaction, occasionally getting brief commentaries from Cassidy.
The crowd had gotten particularly excited when the Overdrive Rangers had finally arrived. Many had expected the other Rangers would make their entrance shortly after that, but that hadn't been the case. The Overdrive Rangers had explained that the others were investigating a seismic disturbance and that they would be there as soon as they were done.
After that announcement, Bill Mitchell had taken his place behind the podium and he'd begun the tribute to Mack Hartford. Devin had been listening to what the man behind the Lightspeed Rangers was saying, occasionally taking his eyes away from the stage to look at his camera's display and make sure everything was being recorded and broadcasted back to the station.
Devin frowned when he noticed a message flashing on his screen. For some reason, the footage wasn't being transmitted to the station anymore. Looking to the side discreetly, he noticed the same thing on the camera of the man standing next to him.
"Everything okay, Devin?" Cassidy asked him as those near them started whispering among themselves.
"Something's up," Devin whispered in his girlfriend's ear. "Looks like all the camera signals are being jammed. I don't think that's the usual prelude to balloons and puppies."
"Maybe we should warn the Rangers," Cassidy suggested.
"Somehow, I don't think that'll be necessary," Devin answered after noticing the Overdrive Rangers' staring in their direction. There was something off about them, there had been something off about them ever since they'd arrived. "Cass, we need to get the hell out of here..."
Having been unsuccessful in her efforts to raise the Lightspeed Rangers, Angela had eventually resigned to focusing her attention to her surroundings. That had been most revealing, and it was the reason she was now trying to place as much distance as possible between herself and the main stage.
"Where are we going, Ms. F?" Samantha questioned as she struggled to keep up, almost being dragged alongside the older woman. "I want to see my parents."
"I know, sweetheart," Angela responded, scooping the girl up in her arms so that she could pick up the pace.
Her suspicions had been aroused the moment the four Overdrive Rangers had arrived on the site of the celebration. Why had they been the only ones? Why hadn't there been members of other teams with them? Why had Tyzonn not been with his team?
Additionally, the Overdrive Rangers' demeanors had been a red flag of sorts. Whereas the Aquitian Rangers had presented a calm and peaceful aura, the Overdrive Rangers had seemed closed off. Obviously, the loss of one of their own could have explained this, but there was more to it than that. They had almost came off as predators eyeing their prey as they looked out over the crowd.
Angela's final warning had come when she had noticed the media representatives' chattering amongst themselves, all under the watchful eyes of the Overdrive Rangers. A quick glimpse at her cell phone's display had revealed that she no longer had any reception and she had suspected this problem wasn't only affecting her.
Without wasting another moment, Angela had whispered to Samantha that she needed to use a restroom and that they'd be back in time to see her parents arrive. The little girl had been disappointed but she'd gone along with the request. At Angela's insistence that they be discreet, so as not to bother anyone, they had snuck away and started towards the restrooms. Once there, Angela had gone to use one of the public phones that stood by the building, to no avail however, as the lines were all dead.
Hoping the Lightspeed Rangers and their allies were all safe, Angela started making her way to a place she would hopefully be safe in, a place they had agreed she would go to in the event something bad happened.
Since he'd had the opportunity to read Bill Mitchell's tribute beforehand and since he'd pretty much memorized its content, Andrew Hartford had been surprised when the Lightspeed Rangers' mentor had strayed from his text, drawing the attention of Mack's teammates as he addressed the bonds they had formed during their adventures together.
Turning his gaze back toward the crowd, Andrew had noticed a dark haired woman sneaking off towards the side of the crowd with a young girl, recognizing them as Bill Mitchell's granddaughter and the Green Lightspeed Ranger's fiancée.
Andrew's heart sank as his suspicions of the past few days became further anchored. For some reason, the Overdrive Rangers had been behind the deaths of Mack, Cole and Kendrix. Whatever had happened so far this day, whatever blood had been spilled, had also been a direct result of their actions.
Andrew found Spencer, who was seated in the first row. Although the older man was paying close attention to the tribute, his eyes soon found his employer's, easily understanding the message they conveyed. Moments later, Spencer casually reached for one of his cufflinks, activating the device concealed within.
Taking a deep breath, Andrew tightened his grip on the plaque that the Mayor had given to him. Exhaling, he felt the comforting weight in his hand, knowing that he'd only get one chance at this and that it needed to count.
Without warning, he swung at Will, who was seated closest to him, catching the Black Overdrive Ranger unaware in the jaw and knocking him off his chair.
In a matter of moments, the other Overdrive Rangers gathered around their fallen teammate. Andrew only saw malice in all their eyes.
"What is going on here?" Delphine asked, as she and her teammates all rose to their feet.
"They've been turned evil," Andrew caught the Aquitians up succinctly. "They're the ones who killed Mack, Cole and Kendrix."
"They were just the first to fall," Ronnie stated casually, smirking as she looked in Bill Mitchell's direction.
"You have to stop them, by any means necessary," Andrew instructed the Aquitians, his heart heavy at hinting at the destruction of his former charges.
The Aquitian Rangers jumped off the stage, amidst the panicked and dispersing crowd, and formed a line.
"It's morphing time!" Delphine called out. "White Aquitar Ranger power!"
"Black Aquitar Ranger power!"
"Blue Aquitar Ranger power!"
"Yellow Aquitar Ranger power!"
"Red Aquitar Ranger power!"
"Rangers of Aquitar, full power! Power of water! Power of light! Powers unite!" they all called out in unison once they stood morphed, ready to face off against the Overdrive Rangers.
"This should be fun," Will told his teammates as he stood up and grabbed his Overdrive Tracker, a gesture that was echoed by the other Overdrive Rangers.
"Overdrive, accelerate!" they called out, going through motions that had become second nature to them over the years. The outcome of these motions however, was somewhat different from what they had gotten used to.
"Something wrong, Rangers?" Andrew asked after he had breathed a sigh of relief. He had always hoped it would never come to this, but during his charges' tenure as Rangers, he had always thought about the possibility of one of them or all of them being turned to the side of darkness. These considerations had led to his building a device that would neutralize their trackers if such a need were ever to present itself.
In recent days, he had attributed the shift in their behavior to their coping with Mack's death. As time had passed however, his suspicions as to their involvement had been aroused. That was the reason he had brought the power inhibitor and given it to Spencer, who had activated it earlier with a touch of his cufflink.
"Well played, Mr. Hartford," Rose acknowledged, her hand reaching inside her jacket pocket. "But did you honestly think I wouldn't plan for this and come up with a failsafe to your potential failsafe?"
Andrew's eyes widened as the Pink Overdrive Ranger pulled out a small device that emitted a soft light once activated. He could only hope that she was bluffing, but he was certain that wasn't the case. Rose had been a bright young woman, even back when he'd originally recruited her. If anyone could outthink him, it was her. There was only one thing left to do, Andrew thought as he made his final play.
"Overdrive, accelerate!" five voices called out, leaving the man who had originally been meant to become the Red Overdrive Ranger finally assuming that mantle against those he had chosen to be his team.
"You think you can take us?" Will asked, even as his teammates launched themselves off the stage to face off against the Aquitian Rangers.
"I guess we'll find out," Andrew answered, drawing his Drive Defender in its saber mode.
Newtech City, 2027
"To tell you the truth," Charlie slipped in after dodging a backhand, "I've been waiting for this for the longest time, Cruger." Around them, the Pink and Blue A-Squad Rangers were now keeping Doggie's men busy.
"You need to look at the bigger picture, Charlie," Cruger attempted to reason with the Red A-Squad Ranger, holding his arm out to keep her at bay. "I realize that you think this is the right thing to do, but it isn't."
"I was your best cadet, strongest strategist, most brilliant mind," Charlie countered. "What I suggested, you should have given it more consideration. I took everything into account before I placed my request. But you just dismissed it."
"Charlie, -" Cruger pleaded.
"The time for talk is over, Supreme Commander" Charlie cut him off before she launched herself at him, easily slipping past his defenses. She moved as he had never seen her move, in a way he had no way of defending himself against, the element of surprise on her side. When her fist connected with his jaw, it was with a force she had never unleashed before, having always been careful to conceal the full extent of her strength.
As Doggie landed on the cold tiled floor, unconscious, she walked toward Boom, confident that her teammates would take out the rest of Doggie's men with ease. The young man offered her a watch-like device that she proceeded to place on her wrist.
"Anything I need to know about it?" she asked.
"Aside from what Kat already told you," Boom stated, "just that it'll take 24 to 48 hours for it to recharge."
"What do you expect me to do while it recharges, once I'll have found the Rangers?" Charlie questioned. As Kat had told her about the mission parameters, she had been under the impression that her return would be immediate once she'd have found the Rangers.
Boom had no answers for her, as far as that went. Without putting further thought into the complications this could cause, Charlie pushed a button on the side of the device. A few feet away, what appeared to be a portal of light blue energy appeared.
"Charlie, what are you doing?" A-Squad Blue called out to her from across the room.
"I'm going alone!" she shouted to be heard by him and A-Squad Pink. "Mission's too dangerous, and I'm not risking your lives. Once I'm through and the portal closes, I want the two of you to stand down."
Not giving her teammates a chance to object to her plan, Charlie walked toward the portal. She was almost there when she was tackled from behind.
Angel Grove, 2009
The moment he arrived in the park, Conner's stomach turned at the sight before him.
"Are they all…" he asked, catching his breath, looking at the bodies that now surrounded him, at the flaming wreckage that had once been a stage.
"The Aquitian Rangers are all dead," Cam confirmed somberly from where he knelt by the Blue Aquitian Ranger's body. Dustin, Blake and Hunter all stood nearby, their heads lowered. Even though the Rangers gifted with speed had been dispatched to assist the Aquitians, they'd arrived too late.
"You guys been here long?" Conner continued, still taking in his surroundings.
"We got here about thirty seconds before you," Hunter answered. "Guess our ninja streaking's a bit quicker than the speed you get from your dino gem. Sorry we broke off and left you behind."
"It's okay," Conner replied before movement in the smoking debris caught his eye. "Guys!" he called out, pointing as planks were pushed to the side and a bruised and bloody figure stumbled toward them.
In a matter of seconds, Blake and Hunter were standing by the man and helping him stay up. It wasn't long before the others joined them.
"The Overdrive Rangers, they killed them," Andrew said, looking at the Aquitian Rangers' bodies. "Spencer, the Aquitian Rangers, they're all dead."
"Mr. Hartford, are you okay?" Cam asked, trying to draw the older man's attention away from the bodies and to him instead. "How do you feel?"
"I'll be fine," Andrew said even though he looked everything but fine at the moment. "I had Mack's tracker, teleported from his casket before we left San Angeles as a precaution. I tried to help the Aquitians, but Will was too strong. He hit me with his Drive Slammer, sent me crashing into the stage and forgot about me."
"An oversight?" Cam asked.
"No," Andrew answered. "They wanted me to survive, so I could watch."
"Watch what?" Dustin asked.
"They wanted me to watch as they killed Spencer, and the Aquitians," Andrew said. "They wanted me to see them leave with Bill Mitchell so I'd tell his Rangers about it."
They fell out of a portal that hovered several feet in the air in a deserted alley in Angel Grove's industrial district, landing hard on the ground.
Sam was back on his feet several seconds sooner that Charlie. During his fight against her teammates, he'd let them get in a few good hits and he'd pretended to go down quickly. As he had hoped, they'd decided to let him be. And so, as everyone had been beating on each other, he'd been biding his time, waiting for his opening.
"Your face-off with Cruger left you too weak to face me," Sam warned A-Squad's leader. "You don't stand a chance, Charlie."
"Screw you," Charlie said just before she launched herself at him.
The Omega Ranger easily sidestepped her attack, using the Red Ranger's momentum against her and throwing her against a dumpster. She demorphed before she even hit the ground.
Sam waited a few moments before he cautiously approached her still form. Once he was close enough, he rolled her over so he'd have access to Kat's device. He quickly pulled it off Charlie's wrist, then backed away. She wasn't to be underestimated. Sam then looked around, trying to find something he could use to bind the Red Ranger, spotting a metal pipe on the ground.
He approached the pipe and bent down to pick it up. Just as he was about to wrap his hand around it, a hand gripped his wrist while another hand pressed on a button on his Omega Morpher, causing him to power down. Turning to the side, he caught Charlie smirking at him.
"That's how you play dead, Sam," she told him as she elbowed him in the face. The unbearable pain he felt told the Omega Ranger that Charlie had broken his nose. As he tried to recover, Sam was powerless to stop her from shoving him against the dumpster.
"But now, play time's over," she said as he felt her arms lock around his neck in a chokehold. Sam struggled to break free, tried to shake her off before the oxygen deprivation got the best of him, feeling himself slip away slowly until everything went dark.
To be continued...
Yes, it's been just over three months since the last update. A vast improvement in the delay since last time, and I hope I'm able to maintain it... It should help that I just finished a translation certificate this week-end, so now I'm not juggling part time classes with a full time job anymore.
About this last chapter, along with the previous one, they gave us a bit of a break from the main story. They've been mostly about setting up the board for what's coming up. We're back, full time, with the Rangers starting with Chapter 23. Time to raise the stakes again.
Our scenes in Angel Grove were mainly about making the Overdrives a very public threat and about starting off the Blackout. They were also about visiting with some of our secondary cast, namely Andrew Hartford, Bill Mitchell, Angela Fairweather and Samantha Grayson-Mitchell, Devin and Cassidy. Also, bringing in the Aquitians briefly was a perk that came up when breaking the chapter.
The greater plot involved A-Squad and setting up someone who could turn out to be a rather important player in the second half of the story, Charlie, A-Squad Red. What I liked about the idea of using her is that she's a bit of wild card. A-Squad already turned on SPD before, so what exactly will Charlie's agenda be? Which side will she join? Keep reading to find out about that!
As always, thanks to everyone for reading and a special thank you to everyone writing in. It's always a treat to hear from you all, especially those who've been writing in for a while. For your comments since last chapter went up, thanks to ImaSupernaturalCSI, Kalanna Dae, Red Shadow Ranger, Kh530 (how's that casualty list, huh?), Asian95, SilverDragonRanger09, Masterfanfic2014-15, Harley McCoy & Michelle!
Coming up: Tensions rise amongst the survivors as one Ranger decides that blood demands blood. And we head towards our next encounter with the Overdrive Rangers, who will join the ranks of the Overdrive Rangers?