Spirit of a Ranger
Rating: T for now, may raise to M later.
Pairing: Shinji/Kat, other stuff in the background.
Note: A few hours have passed between the start of this chapter and the end of the last one.
Shinji Ikari was walking a bit behind his new friend, Billy Cranston, on their way to the Angel Grove youth center.
And Shinji was completely and utterly terrified, even moreso than when he had first lain eyes on Eva Unit-01.
Oh, he'd had friends before. Of a sort. Well, kind of. … Okay, it was more accurate to say that Toji and Kensuke used him as an excuse to ogle his guardian, Misato, but they had otherwise put up with him spectacularly.
Shaking himself back to the present, he heard his name spoken, and looked up to see Billy facing him over his shoulder. The older teen smiled and said, "Walk with your head held high, Shinji. You know, there was a time when I didn't have much confidence either. But eventually, I started to grow out of it with help from my friends. All you need to do is to have some faith in yourself."
Shinji nodded, but didn't reply. How could anyone have faith in me of all people, let alone myself? I'm worthless… and because of that, everyone around me suffers. Toji's sister almost got crushed, then I almost crushed him and Kensuke a few days after that… then Rei almost got vaporized protecting me because I wasn't good enough to kill the Angel with one shot… I'm the very bane of Asuka's existence… and let's not forget that the reason I'm even here in the first place is that I was useless enough to let an Angel eat me…
Nevertheless, Shinji continued following his friend until they got to the Angel Grove Youth Center, where they encountered four teenagers that he hadn't met yet. "Shinji, these are some friends of mine. I'd like you to meet Rocky, Adam, Aisha, and Tommy."
As the four nodded, gave a welcoming smile, and shook Shinji's hand, the Third Child noted that they were each wearing a different color – Tommy in white, Adam in black, Rocky in red, and Aisha in yellow. Upon reflection, he noted that Billy was similarly clad in blue. Does everyone in Angel Grove normally wear one predominant color, or is it just these guys?
Nervous, Shinji bowed and said, "Um… it's nice to meet you, everyone. My name is Shinji Ikari. I hope we can all get along together…"
Surprisingly, each of the group smiled kindly and shook his hands, introducing themselves in turn.
"Adam Park, pleasure to meet you."
"Rocky DeSantos, how're you doin'?"
"Name's Tommy Oliver."
"And I'm Aisha. But… I wonder where Kat is?"
At the mention of her name, Shinji's face went a light shade of red, although he was thankfully saved from embarassment by the timely arrival of that very person.
"Hey guys, sorry I'm running late! I had some errands to run and it took a bit longer than I'd planned on…"
Perky as could be, Aisha said, "That's fine, we haven't been here more than a minute or two ourselves!"
Kat had been looking over the group, noverbally greeting each of her friends in turn, before suddenly taking note of the Japanese young man.
With a bright smile that left Shinji awestruck, she said "Hey there Shinji, it's good to see you again. So… care to join the rest of us for lunch?"
Instinctively taking a few steps back, he had the most triumphant example of a 'deer in the headlights' expression the others had ever seen, completely stunned that not only had Billy seen fit to introduce Shinji to more of his friends, but apparently Kat had also been looking forward to another encounter.
I… I don't know how to deal with this! I mean, I've never actually been invited on any kind of group get-together that wasn't for school. Okay Shinji, calm down, it's just other people being friendly… Oh, no, that's not helping me at all… um… I don't know what to do, but no matter what, I mustn't run away. … Actually, that does help a little bit. I mustn't run away, I mustn't run away, I mustn't run away…
Un-freezing himself, he looked at the others… and upon being confronted again with his problem, Shinji's newfound confidence plummeted right back to zero. Lowering his head out of habit and turning a bit to the side, Shinji eventually managed to stammer out, "Um, well, sure, I guess I could, but I don't want to impose on anyone else or anything…."
Each of the other teens had a positive response in what seemed like no time at all.
Adam shrugged and said, "It's no problem at all with me."
Rocky grinned, "The more, the merrier!"
Aisha, who appeared to be the most energetic of the group by far, smiled as she exclaimed her assent.
Billy just shook his head a bit as he said, "I didn't ask you to come along just so to give you the boot, so of course you're welcome."
At this point, Shinji's stomach rumbled violently, turning his face as red as Rocky's shirt with embarassment.
Tommy laughed as he came over and gave Shinji a friendly clap on the back, inadvertantly causing the younger man to stumble forward half a step. "C'mon kid, let's all get some lunch."
In the Command Center…
Zordon's eyes widened as he sensed a distortion in the Morphing Grid. "Alpha, you must contact the Rangers. There is a disturbance in the interdimensional interval – a hostile life-form from another universe are invading our world."
"Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi! Right away, Zordon!"
Outside the gym and juice bar…
The air seemed to distort as an alien shape began to form.
It was the Third Angel, or rather a human-sized incarnation from another universe, that had arrived due to a gap in the interdimensional walls.
It could not sense the forefather, ADAM.
If the forefather was absent from this world, then it would lay waste to those that so resembled the children of Lilith before resuming the search elsewhere.
And the first targets it observed were a pair of human males – one large and rotund, the other very slim.
The adolescents stared at the Angel.
And the Angel stared at them.
Then, slowly, it raised an arm and opened its hand as a massive amount of energy built up in its palm.
Just as Rocky's watch communicator beeped, Bulk and Skull burst into the juice bar, screaming in mortal terror. "MONSTER! THERE'S A MONSTER OUTSIDE AND ITS GOING TO KILL US ALL!"
Cue a panic as everyone save Shinji, Billy, and the latter's friends rushed to leave through the emergency exits.
Shinji, a bad feeling in his gut, rose to take a look outside, and his blood froze.
'No... nononononononono... An Angel? Here?! But-... but... but Unit-01 already beat that one! Just my luck, something starts looking up in my life and I get Angel zombies coming after me.'
Shinji was so busy having his little freak-out that he didn't notice when the other teenagers got up and used their wrist communicators.
Zordon, through the communicators, quickly briefed them on the situation. "Rangers, the monster outside is from a parallel world to the boy's home universe – what his Earth calls an Angel. I cannot tell you much about how to fight it, but know that it will be far more ruthless and dangerous than any of Rita or Zedd's monsters to date. May the Power protect you."
At the same time, Shinji managed to screw up some resolve. 'This... this thing being here is probably my fault – I mean, it seems like everything else is, so I guess that means I have to kill it. Again. I mustn't run away, I mustn't run away, I mustn't run away...'
Just before Tommy could tell Shinji to run for safety, the boy grabbed a metal folding chair and yelled, "You guys go find the Power Rangers or something, I'll try and hold it off until then!"
As Shinji ran outside to do battle, he had finally managed to rid himself of fear and doubt. But only because he pushed them aside with a desperate plea not to screw up, just once.
It was so unexpected that the Rangers were shocked into paralysis for a moment, before Tommy yelled, "It's morphin' time!"
Six flashes of light later, the teenagers with attitude had vanished, and in their place stood Earth's greatest heroes - the Power Rangers.
In the few seconds it took the Rangers' morphing sequence to complete and then for them to run outside, they found that Shinji was already attacking the Angel with his metal folding chair. "Not this time," he yelled. "You're not hurting anyone here!"
Screaming with anger and emotional pain, Shinji brought down his improvised weapon on a red sphere in the Angel's chest with all of his strength, and barely cracked it.
The Angel paused for a second, and observed the damage inflicted on its soul.
If it had eyes like a human, it would have narrowed them. Whereas the Angel had, before, been taking its time destroying the false heirs of Lilith, it had now encountered an opponent that – either through luck or intuition – struck a blow that actually hurt it.
To be truthful, the actual damage inflicted was less than minor - the scratch from a kitten would be more lethal. The fact was, however, that the Angel had indeed been dealt an injury on the only part of its body that wasn't expendable.
Up to this point, the Angel had been casual in its destruction – after all, nothing these fleshlings had could penetrate its AT Field, and it could effortlessly regenerate anything except the core – but this particular cretin had denied itself the right to a painless death.
Quick as lightning, the Angel backhanded Shinji with so much force that every bone in his ribcage broke in five places on impact, and the boy was sent flying into a tree. On the one hand, Shinji was fortunate to collide side-first, meaning his back and spinal cord weren't severed. On the other hand, his right arm and shoulder were rendered totally worthless.
Shinji would've blacked out from the pain, but the Angel extended its AT Field into his mind and forced him to remain awake.
Your suffering will be absolute and without reprieve, it seemed to say.
The Angel then yanked Shinji to him with the AT Field, before then breaking his legs.
The boy had, by this point, already lost his voice screaming in agony.
Fury abiding, the Angel then gripped Shinji in its massive hand, to kill him with an energy spike through the eye.
Just before it could finish off the boy, however, the Angel was interrupted by an energy bolt in its face.
Heat rising from the barrel of his axe-cannon, the Black Ranger growled, "Drop the kid. Now."
The Angel considered, before throwing Shinji at the frog-empowered Ranger with all its strength.
Adam caught the boy with no trouble or injury to himself, but the sheer force with which Shinji was thrown sent the Ranger skidding back several feet.
Beneath his helmet, Adam glared at the enemy that, in its own world, was called an Angel.
Tommy cut in at that moment, contacting their mutal mentor. "Zordon, our visitor's going to die if we don't get him some help, and he's way too hurt for Earth's medical technology to save him."
"I will have Alpha teleport him to the Command Center – with luck, our advanced medical science will be able to recover him."
Shinji, at long last in a state of blessed unconcsiousness, disappeared in a flash of light as the teleportation system activated.
Tommy clenched his gloved fist, seething. "Not even Zedd's monsters have shown that kind of pointless brutality before..."
Then, seeming to regain his bearings, he raised his voice. "You guys ready to take this creep down a notch?"
The Power Rangers each summoned their weapons, and Earth's heroes rushed into battle.
The Angel raised its AT Field to stop the Rangers from advancing, only to stagger forward as the Pink Ranger fired dozens of energy arrows into its back.
Glaring beneath her helmet, the battling blonde yelled, "Hurt a kid like that on our watch, will you?!"
Because the Angel was distracted by Kat's sneak attack, its control over the AT Field faltered, allowing the Red Ranger to dash forward and hack open its chest with his sword, while the Black Ranger immediately followed up with a strike from his axe, knocking the Angel back several feet.
Before it could regain its bearings, the Blue Ranger bisected his lance into its twin components and bludgeoned the Angel several times in rapid succession, even as the Yellow Ranger hacked its arms open with her daggers.
Once again becoming irritated, the Angel unleashed its AT Field in all directions and blasted the colorfully-clad teenagers away from it.
Instead of a wall, however, it had been used as more of a strong wind. And the instant that wind had passed, the White Ranger made his move with a flying kick to the Angel's core before backflipping off of it and tossing Saba at it, the sentient sword flying around the Angel hacking at it from all sides and occasionally firing off laser beams, before returning to Tommy's hand.
The Angel's eyes flashed, and an explosion rocked the ground beneath the Rangers' feet, sending them all flying backward.
Rushing over to check on her comrades, Kat growled, "It just regenerates everything we do to it…"
"Not everything," Billy observed.
Looking at the sapphire soldier in confusion, Rocky intelligently asked, "Huh?"
Tommy was the first to notice what Billy was talking about. "That red gem in the center of its chest – the kid nicked it earlier, and that didn't regenerate while we were attacking it. And then, when I did a number on that same gem just now, it's a lot more cracked.. and it's not regenerating now, either."
"You think that's its weak spot?" asked Aisha.
"Looks that way," Tommy agreed. "All right guys, let's bring 'em together!"
As one, the other five Rangers cheered, "ROGER!"
The five colored Rangers quickly combined their weapons.
The Rangers' now-complete energy cannon quickly charged up a blast of energy, before colliding with the Angel's AT Field.
Orange wall and bright blast clashed for several seconds, before both exploded, cracking the Angel's core even further.
However, the backlash of energy also hit the Rangers, slamming them into the side of the Youth Center with nearly enough power to force a demorph.
Meanwhile, Rita and Zedd were observing the battle from their lunar castle.
"So what do you plan to do about that otherdimensional monster down there, Zeddy?"
The galactic overlord was furious. "The idea that some… some NOTHING is going to destroy OUR enemies is unacceptable! WE will destroy those power brats, and on OUR terms!"
Gazing down at the planet below, however, he observed that the Rangers were pretty much getting their butts kicked.
"If they'd just go ahead and use their stupid Megazord, they could stomp it to death without a problem!"
"Indeed, but their foolish honor won't allow them to summon the Zords until their enemy has already escalated to giant size."
Zedd seemed to be at war with himself for several seconds, before he punched a hole in his wall and came to a decision. "Loathe as I am to give the enemy aid in any shape or form, I will not allow my nemeses to be defeated by anyone other than myself! Rita, we will allow the Rangers use of their Zords."
Witch and warlock crossed their magic scepters and cast their spell, as the first family of villainy cried, "MAKE THAT MONSTER GROW!"
A bolt of blue lightning fell from the heavens and struck the Angel, before growing it to the size of a skyscraper.
Rocky huffed. "I was almost starting to wonder when Rita and Zedd were going to make things worse for us…"
Nevertheless, the situation had escalated beyond their ability to control on the ground.
As one, the six Rangers cried out, "WE NEED NINJAZORD POWER, NOW!"
I'm sorry that it's been... how long now? A year? Two years? Longer? - since the last update. I hope this was worth the wait.
I had to re-watch Evangelion as research for my other fic, Shinji and Super Smash Bros., and it turns out that's what got me in the mood to work on this again. 'Course, even though I was in the mood to try, this chapter still gave me a lot of trouble writing it, and really, it came down to whether I went ahead and posted it with this much, or spend another few months trying to work out the fight between the Mega Ninjafalconzord and the 3rd Angel along with an update of what's happening over on Earth-EVA.
Now then, a few continuity errors to address. I realize that in MMPR canon, the Rangers are using the Shogunzords by the time Kat replaces Kimberly, and IIRC they stopped using the Power Cannon back in season 1. When I started the fic, I hadn't seen MMPR in well over a decade, and had thought that Kat was the Pink Ranger for all of season 3, not just the final 10-ish episodes. I know now that's incorrect, but I've already established in-fic that there are zillions of zillions of alternate universes, so chalk these problems up to being a parallel world of the MMPR 'versal cluster. Still, I figure there probably wouldn't have been too many complaints, so I probably just wasted a paragraph on pointless rambling.
Reviews would be nice, but it's not like I'm, y'know, gonna beg for 'em or anything...