Chapter 17

Blue Discovery

Somewhere in Earth's Orbit

Gorluce's ship sat in orbit around Earth awaiting the descent order. Gorluce sat in his ready room awaiting Mortis' arrival. He knew his lieutenant wouldn't keep him waiting too long. He would suffer if he did.

As usual, Gorluce was right. Mortis arrived on schedule. "My Lord," he said, "we are awaiting your order to descend to the planet's surface."

"Very well," Gorluce answered his second-in-command. "But let's give everything an old-fashioned once-over before we descend, shall we? We can't be too prepared to conquer a universe."

"Yes, of course, sir," Mortis nodded and stepped aside as Gorluce stood up and headed to the door.

Mortis followed Gorluce down the corridors of the ship, stopping every so often to point out where each of their guests' quarters was.

"And what progress has Cranivargo, our Org representative, made?" Gorluce asked.

"The Knight Org has made contact with the Red Wild Force Ranger, Cole Evans." Mortis told his commander. "I am certain Mr. Evans has rallied his team by now. Whether they will have their powers is uncertain."

"We have to assume they will. Power Rangers are resourceful, if anything; the foul things. And what news about our agent in the year 2030?"

"They've… eh-hem…liberated…some key figures for our cause, sir. Those figures have been brought up to speed and have joined our merry band."

"Very good. And our agent in Dimension V, perhaps they have some good news for us as well?"

"There has been some trouble in the past, but it could be resolved…"

"Could be?"

"There are some slight difficulties concerning…" Mortis stammered.

"Can they be dealt with?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then deal with them."

"Understood."

"Now can we continue, my good man?"

"Certainly, sir."

The two kept going until they headed to a factory-like room.

"What's in here?" Gorluce asked Mortis.

"Ah, yes; a little something I got from one of Rita Repulsa's old henchmen before he got wiped off the face of the universe. Quite a bit improved, though; I'll tell you that much, thanks to IBHF tech."

"When did I give you permission to make a deal with one Rita's goons?!" Gorluce howled. "It's bad enough we have…"

"Relax, my lord. He was desperate to get something for his empress over a decade ago, so he sold the blueprints. I've made my own improvements to it as well. But we'll use it if and when we need it, sir."

"It had better be worth it, Mortis."

They continued until they returned to Gorluce's ready room.

"Is everything in order, sir?"

"It is. Give the order to enter the atmosphere. But do not land, remain cloaked. Can't cause a mass panic yet."

"Aye, sir."

Mortis left to return to the bridge, and Gorluce headed back into his ready room. Once there and certain he was alone, he opened a small secret console on his desk that held a small black box: the Infinity Stone. Gorluce laughed. He wondered what he could do with it this time. The answer was simple: anything he chose. He decided to conjure up another henchman. Someone simple-minded would do, having no purpose except to be an example for anyone who dared oppose him. He remembered one such patsy, Divatox's nephew, what was his name again, oh yes…

"Elgar…" he whispered and the Stone glimmered. In a flash, the dim-witted pirate was brought before him.

"Dum-dum-dedum-dum-dadum-dadum-dadum…whoa! How'd I get here? Uh, who are you?"

"I am Lord Gorluce. Make yourself useful and stand guard outside this room."

"What? Wait a minute? What's goin' on here? Where's Auntie D?"

"Your aunt is gone. I am your new master. Now stand guard outside this room."

"Uh… okay, sure, whatever you say, boss."

Gorluce just laughed. It was good to be the boss.

Aquitar

Billy Cranston had a feeling that something was happening, but he couldn't quite put his finger on what. It had been years since he had permanently relocated to Aquitar; a change that he had gotten used to eventually with the help of the Aquitian Rangers, particularly Cestro, whom Billy had always felt a kinship with. While Billy couldn't breathe underwater, (then again, neither could the Aquitians; at least Billy didn't think so) Billy had gotten used to traveling through underwater structures and helping the Aquitians with understanding human culture, as they helped him understand Aquitian tradition. It seemed as though the air pressure of the structures was just about the same as Earth at sea level. He had gotten used to Aquitian vegetable dishes easily, and he had taught them how to make ice cream since it was such a big hit during their time on Earth. And to think, Billy had once been afraid of fish.

But now something bothered him. It wasn't the fact that his bond with Cestro was growing stronger by the day. Delphine would tell him that Corcus and Tideus were impressed with how two men from different worlds could get along so easily. Aurico even said it was an honor to have Billy as a friend.

But Billy wasn't sure Cestro was just a friend. Cestria, Cestro's cousin and the one who had brought Billy to Aquitar when his aging side effects began to rear their head, had told him he should follow his heart. And Billy's heart was telling him he wanted Cestro. But how could he bring himself to tell his fellow Blue Ranger?

But there was something else on his mind. Something was going to happen on Earth. He could feel it. He couldn't quite figure out what, but he knew in his mind something big was about to occur. Bigger than Power Ranger-normal. He decided to consult the very man he was in love with.

Billy headed over to the observatory. There was Cestro. Tall, dark skin, lithe build. And that was just his looks. Cestro was one of the few people on any planet that could match Billy intellect-wise. And Cestro just seemed to care more than the others.

But that would have to wait...

"Cestro?"

"Ah; hello, Billy. How are you?"

"I'm good. How 'bout you?"

"I am feeling very well, thank you. I was, as you say, shooting hoops in the gymnasium earlier."

"So how'd you do?"

"My close-range shooting is good; my long-range shooting, however...needs improvement."

"I'm the same way. Can't hit a 3 for anything."

"3?"

"3 point shot. Long distance shooting. If you shoot the ball from outside a certain distance line and make it, it counts for three points. Inside the line, it's worth only two."

"Billy, if all shots from beyond a certain line are worth more points, is it not advantageous to take all of your shots from beyond said line?"

"If you can make 3's. But the defense is always out there to stop you."

"Defense?"

"Yep. For every team trying to score points, there's an opposing team trying to stop them."

"Teams of five, am I correct?"

"Mmhmm."

"These teams take turns attacking and defending their goals. And after a certain amount of time, whichever team has more points wins."

"That's right."

"I see. Now that there are other things to consider, a good balance of long-distance and short-distance shooting is the way to go. I believe we should organize a game one day..."

"That would be fun. You're on my team, okay?"

"Certainly."

"Hey, Cestro?"

"Yes?"

"Can you point the observation satellite towards Earth? I want to see what's going on with my friends..."

"As you wish..."

Cestro typed in the coordinates and soon Earth was onscreen. But what they saw was not what they expected...

"There's a disturbance in Earth's atmosphere..." Cestro said with a quizzical look on his face.

"Hmmm... I don't like the looks of this. This reminds me of when Pyramidas came down to Earth. Luckily, Trey was on our side."

"Do you believe that another invasion of Earth is about to occur?"

"Wouldn't be the first time, probably won't be the last."

"The Rangers of Aquitar will assist Earth. It is the least we can do for our friends."

"Thank you. We need to go. Earth may need as much help as it can get."