AUTHOR'S NOTE: It seems that I'm taking longer and longer to post these, and I apologize for it. It's difficult to find enough time to just sit down and write these, though the stories have already played out in my head. Thank you all so, so much for your kind words and enthusiasm for this fic.
This is a fanfic based off of Team StarKid's musical, Starship. This fanfic takes place after the end of the show, as a continuation. I do not own any of these characters except for the recruits, and any and all credit goes to the StarKids themselves.
As the doors to Sector 326 slid shut, Taz glimpsed one last look at the recruits. They were absolutely terrified. The girl would be okay; she was a quick-thinker with strong natural instincts. Kelvin might survive if he listened to her and fired like mad. But Riker... Riker was doomed. In a room full of zappers, he had selected a laser pointer, of all things. A laser pointer. Taz knew he hadn't meant to choose it, but he had done so inadvertently. She didn't even know why the cheap little trinket was included among all the heavy-duty weaponry. But if he stayed out of his friends' way, then maybe, just maybe, he could escape with his life. The boys' fates rested on Xaria's shoulders.
Taz had been in that situation many a time, and it was not a pleasant position to be in. In Sector 326, no less. Taz's own experience in the Sector, years ago, had left her hospitalized for two days. She did not envy the recruits at the moment. She had seen the current beast being loaded onto the ship several months ago, and it was terrifying. If they let their guard down for even a second-
"Commander Up requests your presence, Lieutenant," a voice behind Taz stated, pulling her from her thoughts. She turned to face the Ranger who had spoken. He was several inches taller than her, as most people were, with flaming orange hair that stuck up all over the place. He appeared to be in his early twenties.
"Up sent you himself?"
"Yessir. Ma'am! Yes ma'am!" the boy's eyes widened in mortification at his slip-up. A wry smile of amusement crossed Taz's face as he stumbled over his words in an effort to correct himself.
"Como te llamas?"
"My name? Um, Penn, ma'am."
"Alright, Ginger, wait here until one of de senior Rangers comes to relieve jou."
"Yes, Lieutenant." Taz nodded and walked past him, making her way for Up's quarters. The boy watched her go. As soon as she was out of earshot, he muttered bitterly to himself, 'Sir? Yes sir? You're lucky she didn't blast your head off right then!" With a sigh, he planted himself in front of the doors, mentally berating himself for looking like a fool in front of his Lieutenant.
With the exception of Taz, all the senior Rangers were gathered in Up's quarters. Tootsie and Mega-Girl were snuggled up together on one of the couches, and Specs and Krayonder were sitting side-by-side, and arguing on the other couch. Up sat on an ottoman between the two, twiddling his thumbs.
"C'mon, Specs! Just a small jetpack?"
"No, Krayonder! It wouldn't support your body weight, and you would die."
"Okay, so how about a full-sized jetpack?"
"C'mon, man!" Just then, Taz entered the room, and Up perked up noticeably. "Taz! How're the recruits holding up?"
"Unless dey've been killed in de five minutes dey've been in dere, fine. Dey should live to see another day."
"They are human, and therefore it is most improbable that they should survive such an ordeal without proper training. You have sentenced them to death, dwarf," Mega-Girl smugly remarked. Taz clenched her fists tightly.
"Dey will survive, jou piece of shit-"
As usual, Up ended the argument before it went too far.
"Mega-Girl, why don't you go wait for 'em? They'll need to be transferred to the infirmary if- er, when- they succeed." Mega-Girl complied with his request, shooting Taz one more smirk as she passed. As soon as the doors slid closed behind her, Up clapped his hands together. "Alright, team, let's get down to business. We'll fill Mega-Girl in when she gets back. We received a call from February today, sayin' she found what could be a clue as to Bug's whereabouts."
"May I inquire as to what this clue might be, Commander?" Specs asked, readjusting her glasses as they slipped down the bridge of her nose yet again.
"Uh, well, we don't actually know." Up answered, shifting uncomfortably.
"Qué? Jou just said jou talked to her!"
"I know, Taz, I know. An' I did talk to her, but she didn't say what it was. All she said was that she had it." Taz sighed and waved him on.
"We'll reach Bug World in a couple of time cycles, and figure out what to do from there. Oh, an' February said she's bringing a friend along with her. And, um, again she wouldn't say who."
"So let me get dis straight," Taz began. "February es bringing an unknown object aboard de ship, as well as an unknown companion, and none of jou find dis de least bit suspicious?" The other Rangers looked at each other in silence, pondering her words for a moment. In unison they all shook their heads.
"Now, about those three recruits!" Up continued. "They'll need mentors once they get outta Sector 326. Krayonder, you'll mentor Kelvin-"
"Sweet, man!" Krayonder grinned. "...Which one's Kelvin?"
"The one that's not Riker and not a girl. Taz, you mentor Xaria and I'll take Riker." Taz nodded.
"What about de other recruits? I won't have time to train dem now."
"Hm..." Up rubbed the stubble on his jaw as he considered the situation.
"Tootsie, why don't you and Mega-Girl take care of that one? Specs, you just keep doin' what you're doin' for now. An' when we reach Bug World, I want all of you right back here. Taz'll escort February."
Satisfied with their new orders, the Rangers dispersed. In a few time cycles, they'd touch down on Bug World. And none of them knew what to expect.
February cupped a hand over her eyes, peering up at the sky. The Starship should have arrived already.
"February! February, look!" a voice beside her exclaimed. The former Science Officer followed her friend's gaze, and there it was, a small speck on the horizon, growing closer and closer even as they watched; a Starship. Her Starship. She smiled at the sight of it, happy that she would soon be reunited with her old friends. The smile faded as a wave of sadness washed over her. She would be reunited with them only because Bug was missing. Her companion sensed her unhappiness, and nudged her comfortingly.
"If I know Bug, he's fine, wherever he is. And with the help of the other Starship Rangers, we'll find him and bring him home in no time," he reassured her. "But, um, we should probably run now," he added nervously. The Starship was nearly upon them. The two scrambled to avoid being trapped beneath the massive ship, and dove out of the way just in time. A cloud of dust billowed up, thickening the air. When it had cleared, February found herself staring up at the open doors of the ship she had once called home. A familiar figure strode down the ramp and stopped directly in front of her.
"Long time no see, eh chica?"
Taz offered her hand and helped February to her feet. The shorter Ranger raised an eyebrow upon noticing the Science Officer's companion, and February made a quick introduction.
"Taz, this is-"
Once again, the senior Rangers sat gathered in a semicircle in Up's quarters. All eyes were fixated on February as she spoke.
"A few days ago, Bug said he had to leave the Hive. Somebug had reported something spooky near Pincer's old hole, so Bug went to investigate. After a few time cycles, I started to get worried, and sent his friend Bumbly out to look for him. Bug was- nowhere to be found." The girl's voice began to waver, and she had to take a deep breath before she continued. "I went back to look with him, and Bug had- he was just... Gone."
"The Science Officer mentioned a clue," Mega-Girl reminded February. The girl wiped her eyes to rid herself of the tears threatening to overwhelm her.
"Yes, this was all we found." From out of her pocket she produced a dirty, torn piece of fabric.
"What is it?" Tootsie asked, scratching his head. February managed to rub some of the grime from the cloth, and handed it to Up.
"It's from his uniform," she explained, her voice still strained. "Some of the Hive members were able to re-create his human uniform. He never takes it off."
Up stared at the item he held in his hands. He chewed his lip thoughtfully.
"But this... Well this is the G.L.E.E. logo."
Taz spat on the floor in disgust at the mention of the G.L.E.E.. Their particular ship now functioned independently, and had been doing so ever since the discovery that it was the very Galactic League that nearly had them all killed.
"So we know Bug's missing in action," Krayonder thought aloud. "But like, what now, dudes? How're we s'pposed to find him?"
February looked over Krayonder's shoulder to the friend she'd brought along. He was hovering nervously by the back wall, and hadn't spoken a word the entire discussion.
"We- we have a theory," February sniffed, struggling to regain her composure. She beckoned to him, and he reluctantly joined the group, hovering over her shoulder.
"What's your name, son?" Up asked gently.
"Um- it's... I'm... Uh- Roach, sir. Roach."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Roach. And you know Bug?"
"He's my b- my best fr- friend, s-sir."
"You don't hafta be afraid of us," Tootsie beamed cheerfully. "Ain't nothing on this ship that'll hurt you." Roach smiled weakly, and gave an uncertain nod.
"I've never been on a Starship before," he admitted. It was very daunting to him, what with all the sliding doors and flasing lights and buttons. Bug World suddenly felt very far away. Specs was staring intently at him, and he shifted uncomfortably under her gaze.
"Your native tongue is the language of Bug World, correct?" she finally asked.
"Yes, but Bug- Bug and February- they taught me your language too. They taught most of the Hive, actually."
Specs leaned back in her seat, fascinated. She opened her mouth to ask another question, but Mega-Girl cut her off.
"This is irrelevate to the current conversation. What is this theory the Science Officer mentioned?"
February nodded to Roach, encouraging him to speak. He cleared his throat nervously and began.
"The Galactic League patch was the only part of Bug's uniform we found, but it was sewed on with silkworm string, which is nearly impossible to break. It never could've fallen off on its own. I- that is, we... We thought maybe it was a sign. From Bug. If he was- if he was kidnapped, he might've bitten it off and left it for us to find."
Up let Roach's words fully sink in before he spoke. "Now it becomes a question of whether or not Bug left this specific patch for a reason."
Roach cocked his head to the side. "You mean... You mean he might've been trying to tell us it was the Galactic League that took him? But that doesn't make sense! The Galactic League-"
"Es full of dickheads," Taz finished. "We don't work for dem any more." Roach was utterly confused, and with a sigh she patiently explained. "It was because of de Galactic League dat Junior, de little fart, tried to destroy jour Hive and take de Overqueen." Roach tensed up noticeably at the memory of what Junior had nearly done.
"Then it makes sense that the G.L.E.E. should be behind all this," Up reasoned. They all sat in silence for a long while, each one of them struggling to make sense of it all. Finally, February asked the question on everyone's mind.
No one had an answer.
Next Chapter: As Riker, Kelvin, and Xaria begin their one-on-one training with their mentors and the senior Rangers struggle to discover Bug's location, tensions run high aboard the Starship, and some unlikely friendships may begin to forge.