Prologue: A Brave New World
Last Revised: April 23, 2012
Summary: Two years post Danger and Destiny. A new discovery of epic proportions sends the RPM Rangers on a journey to save three of their own, and down a path laden with familiar faces.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance
Ships: SD, ZK, FG, and more to come
Disclaimer: I don't own PR, wish I did. I don't own the song, Alive, it's by Leona Lewis.
Author's Notes: Okay, I did a hell of a lot of thinking through the Power Rangers timeline to come up with the time frame for this story. This story was also started before Samurai was even a twinkling, so they will not be included in this story, unless I set them in the timeline after RPM Happened. Here are a few things you need to know and remember.
1 – it's my belief that due to the fact that there were no aliens in RPM what so ever that RPM took place sometime between Jungle Fury (2008) and SPD (2025); that means there is approximately a 17 year gap there to play with. 2 – we saw Ziggy rob a Jungle Karma Pizza location, which means someone from JF had to have made it to Corinth, I will explain that in this story. 3 – there is no way in hell that given the amount of former Power Rangers, with and without powers, that any or all of them would have stood back and watched Venjix destroy the world (unless you consider the stupidity of Operation Overdrive, but that is neither here nor there). I'm going to explain that too. 4 – Corinth, in my opinion, is not the only city to have survived. We saw Omega City when the Rangers went to find clues to Dillon's past. I'm of the theory that just because Ranger teams didn't survive, doesn't mean their cities didn't. That will get explained here too.
5 – this story is set two years past RPM, giving the Rangers and their relationships and futures we learned of in Danger and Destiny time to mature and grow. 6 – given what I know of the official ages of the SPD team from the Disney website and the time line in which SPD was supposed to happen, Jack, Sky, Bridge, Z, Syd and Sam are alive during this story and ranging in age from 11 (Sky) to 2 (Sam). They may or may not at some point play a role in this, I haven't decided yet. 7 - As we know, Dr. Manx and Piggy were on Earth in this time frame, so I'm going to assume that Cruger was too, but in hiding. The events described in SPD would take place sometime just after this story. 8 – as we saw in RPM, Venjix destroyed the world. This story isn't going to be a happy go lucky story. Many of the Rangers we've come to know and love died during the three year assault prior to the opening sequence of RPM. More will die in this story. You've been warned.
Dedication: Enigmaforum – for the inspiration to do it. Shawn – for the encouragement to write this and for letting me bounce ideas off him. Ang – for the excitement you always have when I start a new project, it always makes it fun. Liz – I love you dearly, I hope you enjoy it even though you've not gotten to see a whole lot, or any, of RPM yet.
"Destiny rarely calls us at a moment of our choosing" – Optimus Prime, Transformers 2
Friday, October 6, 2017
(2 Years Post RPM)
The sun was at its highest point in the sky, beating down on the parched golden sands of the southern California desert. No living thing could have survived the brutal temperatures that had sky rocketed to nearly a hundred and seventy five degrees Fahrenheit, not before Venjix; unless they were specially equipped for it. The temps had come down some, the closer one got to the mountains or the ocean, in the two years since the virus had been defeated, but a normal person would still fry in the heat unprepared. At the top of the highest dune, a red spandex dressed figure stood ram rod straight, one clenched fist rhythmically pounding into the open palm of the other hand as it looked down on the desert floor. Luckily, the warrior was prepared, and the spandex, bless it, allowed for maximum comfort in this particular situation.
In the distance, nestled among the lower dunes, stood a towering, menacing building that looked like hell on Earth. The figure watched as robots, Grinders, unloaded boxes upon boxes of parts from a large semi into the building. A slight shake of its head had the figure wanting nothing more than to slide down the dune and attack; the urge to do so, to take revenge for all that had been lost was so fast so full that the warrior almost choked on it. Closing weary brown eyes beneath the helmet it wore, the red suited figure watched as memories of the past flashed on the inside of its eyelids, tearing at an already broken heart.
It had been two years since the Grinders had been seen in this part of California. Two years since the RPM Rangers of the domed city of Corinth had destroyed the Venjix Virus, the evil computer code of a villain that had destroyed Earth as nothing before it ever had. The broken heart that lay in the red warrior quivered at that thought; despite the deaths of those who had come before them, the Rangers of Corinth had proved to be honorable members of a long, victorious legacy. Zordon, in all his wisdom and glory, would have been proud of them.
But the warrior knew victory came with a price, and the possibility that that which you had fought to defeat could come back. In its experience, the warrior knew that no evil the Rangers had faced ever stayed gone for good. And now was no exception.
Venjix was back.
The crackling of the communicator strapped to the warrior's wrist brought its attention back to the present. "Go head."
"This is Yellow. Blue wants you to come back; he's got something on the computers."
"Tell him I'm on my way, and gather Green and Pink, we've got a bigger problem to deal with."
Domed City Of Corinth, CA
Eagle Squad Training Facility
Cup of coffee in hand, the Commanding Officer of Eagle Squadron stood on his balcony watching the sun come up outside the city shields. It was an image that never got old to Captain Scott Truman. In the two years since the air outside the dome had been cleared of Venjix's vile, the former Red Ranger had gotten use to getting up with a cup of coffee and watching the sun take its rightful place in the sky.
It still amazed and humbled him that he'd been apart of the reason Venjix had been destroyed. His days as a Ranger meant the world to him, which is why he'd accepted his father's offer to head up Eagle Squad. It had made the transition after giving up his morpher a hell of a lot easier. He was still keeping the city safe, but in a different way.
He was glad Gem and Gemma had agreed to join Eagle Squad. While it had taken many of the others weeks to get use to the Boom twins, they'd proven he'd been justified in asking them to join him. Not only did he believe in their abilities, but he was use to working alongside them. They had proven to him, countless times, but especially during that last battle, just what they were made of.
The beeping of his com-link made him sigh before turning back to head into his apartment. "This is Scott, go ahead," he said, switching on the screen. Hicks was on the other end, already in the newly rebuilt command center.
"Sorry to bother you," Hicks started. "But your father wanted me to let you know we've got a problem."
"The envoy we sent to Omega City a week ago has unearthed something in the hills just to the north of the city. It looks like another Alphabet Soup bunker."
Scott's eyes narrowed. Just the words Alphabet Soup left him with a bitter taste in his mouth. They were the reason Venjix had destroyed the world, they were the reason Dr. K, Gem and Gemma were the way they had been….all because they were greedy for weapons of mass destruction and thought using children was the way to get it. "Have you spoken to the twins or K yet?"
"No. Your father wanted you informed first. He wants Eagle Squad to head to Omega City and check it out, and he wants you to take Dr. K, Flynn and Ziggy with you. He said, and I quote, 'this is Ranger business'. You leave at 0900 hours."
"Get word to Dr. K and Ziggy at the school, I'll call Gemma at Flynn's and roust Gem out of bed."
Flynn McAllister's Apartment
Sunlight was filtering through the open blinds and right into sleepy blue eyes. With a groan, the former Blue Ranger turned away from the intrusion, burying his face in a mass of cherry scented black strands, otherwise known as Gemma's hair. Grinning to himself, he tightened his grip on her waist, pulling her gently back against his chest. He was spooned behind her and enjoying a rare moment to observe her unawares. She was using his left arm as a pillow while her actual pillow was clutched in her arms against her chest. She was dressed in one of his old sports jerseys and had her cold feet tucked back against his legs.
It still made him smile in wonder that they'd been sleeping in the same bed together for over a year. Following their retirement from Project Ranger, they'd begun casually dating for a year. That arrangement had changed when they'd begun sharing each other's beds, whether it was at the Eagle Squad's barracks or here in his apartment. He couldn't help but like the fact that Gemma used him as a giant pillow and blanket when she slept; almost always she'd go to sleep with her head on his chest or with his arms wrapped around her from behind. He signed with relief, realizing neither of them had woken in the night with nightmares; for the entire first year of their retirement, both of them had been haunted by nightmares of Venjix killing Gem and Gemma during the final battle. Flynn couldn't begin to count the nights he'd woken up in a cold sweat, fear gripping every part of him so hard that he'd rushed to the com-link and called Gemma. She'd almost always been seconds away from calling him, having woken from one of her own nightmares. After they'd started sharing each other's beds, the nightmares had trailed off until they were only once in a while. He had a feeling when their relationship finally took that last serious turn and became physical, they might go away altogether. But that was a thought for another time. For now, he enjoyed just having her in his arms.
The beeping of the com-link in the kitchen made him growl in frustration. Carefully slipping out of bed, making sure Gemma slept on, he plotted on the best way to kill who ever was calling him at the god-forsaken hour of six in the morning. "This had better be important!" he hissed when he hit the button to turn the screen on. He blinked rapidly when he caught Scott on the other side, dressed in a red t-shirt and a black leather jacket. He knew his best friend should have been getting ready for work, which meant military fatigues, not his old civilian uniform. "Scott? What's wrong? Why are ye calling me at six in the friggin mornin?"
"I'm sorry, I know you don't usually have to be up till eight, but it's an emergency. Is Gemma with you?"
"She's still a'sleeping, why?"
"You two need to get to the base, immediately. Dr. K and Ziggy are on their way here as we speak."
The look on the former Red Ranger's face had cold fear gripping Flynn's heart. "We've got Ranger business in Omega City." His words didn't make the former Blue Ranger's fears go away, they merely increased them.
"Give me a half hour, we'll be there."
"ZIGGY! HURRY UP!"
Rolling his eyes, the former Green Ranger yawned and came down the stairs from his room, slipping on the battered leather jacket he hadn't worn much in two years. Like his morpher, it had been a piece of his year as a Ranger he'd taken off and hadn't worn except maybe once or twice since Venjix had been destroyed. Considering Scott had said this was Ranger business, what better reason to break out his trusty sidekick. "I'm coming, keep your pants on!" he laughed, but saw that K's face was red and her eyes were swollen. It worried him, because he'd only seen her like this once in the last two years – the night the team had given her back their morphers and she realized that it was all over, that they'd won.
Dropping the humorous look on his face, he quickly strode over to her, reaching out to cup her face. "Hey, what's wrong?" he asked, thumbing away her tears. Their relationship had steadily built in the two years since Venjix had been defeated, and while they weren't close like Summer and Dillon or Flynn and Gemma, they were still affectionate with each other when the time called for it.
"I'm…" she choked, closing her eyes as more tears rebelliously leaked out and slid down her cheeks.
"It's going to be okay, you know that right?" he told her softly. "We've got the morphers, we've got two thirds of the team together; it's going to be okay."
When K's blue eyes opened, she was staring up into Ziggy's confident face. While she didn't believe him for a second, old habits died hard after all, she was appreciative of his attempt to calm her. "I'm scared."
"Me too; never stopped us before though."
"Let's go, Ranger Green," she murmured, smiling when he cocked an eyebrow at her. "What?"
"Don't start that again, it won't work," he muttered.
"Awww, but you were so cute in the green spandex," she teased, trying to lighten the mood even while Ziggy's mouth dropped open in surprise.
"I don't believe it! I don't believe it! You called it spandex!" he laughed, pulling her to him.
Rolling her eyes, K pushed at him before stepping back to smooth her coat out. "You have no proof whatsoever that I used the word spandex in relation to the bio-field technology or the Ranger suits, Series Green."
"Damn!" he muttered as they got in the jeep they shared and left the garage.
North of Omega City, CA
Uncovered Lab in Mountains
As careful as possible, the Rangers parked their zords at the base of the mountain where the Corinth Military envoy had set up camp. Once their passengers disembarked, Eagle Squad having caught a ride with them due to lack of a landing strip, the team demorphed, and began making their way up the side of the mountain to where the envoy was working. "This is even creepier than Omega City was two years ago," Ziggy muttered as they cut their way through the dense jungle path up the mountain.
"Just be glad we've got the portable system for the morphers this time," Scott told him, reminding him of what had happened the last time they'd left Corinth for Omega City. It had almost ended in disaster but instead had Silver and Gold joining the team. After the defeat of Venjix, it had been Dr. K and the Colonel's idea that they needed to rebuild Omega City. The plans had taken six months to come together, but a year ago, the remaining Rangers had been recruited by the military to begin hauling materials and equipment from Corinth. In her infinite wisdom, Dr. K had suggested setting up a portable system at the military base in Omega that was fitted to work with the Ranger technology, just in case.
When the team finally came to the site of the underground lab, Scott motioned for the non Ranger members of Eagle Squad to stick close together and behind the Rangers. With Flynn at his side, Scott led them all into the destroyed lab. One look inside screamed that this place was just as badly destroyed as the one found in Corinth had been – only as they entered, Gem, Gemma and Dr. K seemed to immediately realize it wasn't an Alphabet Soup lab.
"Sweet, what's wrong?" Flynn gently asked Gemma, running his hand up and down her back. Even dressed in a pair of black slacks and her leather jacket, a gift from the team as a memento of her Ranger days, she shivered.
The Silver Ranger said nothing as she carefully picked her way further into the destruction. "Not Alphabet Soup," she finally murmured in wonder.
"Oh my God!" K gasped, kneeling in the center of the floor. Using her fingers, she quickly wiped off a piece of the wall that was partially buried under other debris. The team huddled around her, all of them pulling out their flashlights and shining them down on what she was looking at. Right there on a piece of broken wall, were words that confused them all – Lightspeed Rescue.
"Dr. K? What's Lightspeed Rescue?" Scott finally asked, crouching down next to her. He handed Flynn his flashlight and carefully dug the piece out with K's help.
The young doctor let out a shaky breath. Lightspeed Rescue…she'd been a child when they'd been active, and she couldn't remember ever seeing another word about them in the confines of Alphabet Soup beyond the basic files of their mission nor had she heard about their work in the short years that had followed her escape. "Lightspeed Rescue was a top secret government agency that was a complete support system for the Lightspeed Rescue Power Rangers unit based out of Mariner Bay, California."
Everyone in the room looked shocked and surprised. "Other…Rangers?" Flynn asked, swallowing hard as he tried to digest the words. "I thought they were myth, the other teams."
K stood, cradling the emblem in her arms. "No, Flynn, they weren't. All told, from what I know, there were fourteen different teams in the years prior to Venjix's assault. I was a child when Lightspeed was active. Alphabet soup had information, basic information, on the technology all the teams used; it was the basis for the technology in Project Ranger. Believe it or not, most of the teams used alien-based technology brought to Earth many years ago, while others like the Lightspeed team had man made powers, and some still were said to be based on magic. All of it was tied into the Bio-Field we tapped into."
"Aliens? Magic?" Scott scoffed, shaking his head as he stood. "Come on Doc, that's not possible."
"She's telling the truth," a soft voice spoke up, one that didn't belong to any member of the recon group.
"Who are you?" the Red Ranger demanded, spinning around in a defensive crouch while the other Rangers joined him, Ziggy and Gem putting themselves in front of Dr. K.
Out of thin air, a figure stepped forward. "My name is Angela Fairweather Rawlings, and I am the creator of the Lightspeed Ranger technology."
Gem look at her curiously, his stance easing even while his brow furrowed before he walked over and stuck his hand through her. "Hologram."
"Correct. This base's computer systems contain all my memories, my knowledge, and a holographic program containing my image."
Ziggy stood, scratching his head as he stared at her. "But how?"
Angela's image smiled sadly. "This base's computers were set to recognize any signature from the Morphin Grid."
"Morphin Grid?" Flynn echoed.
The image nodded before beginning to explain. "All Ranger powers, no matter how they come to be, are connected to what is known as the Universal Morphin Grid. As my husband once described it, in layman's terms, it's like the Force from Star Wars, only it's specific to Ranger powers and magic."
Gemma stared at her in confusion before her face brightened. "The bio-field!"
K still stood, clutching the emblem, summoning the courage to ask what was digging at her. "What happened?"
The hologram seemed to sigh. "The batteries powering the base were damaged in the attack on Omega City at the beginning of the Venjix assault several years ago. Without the proper power, all the data here is going to be lost. You must save the data – it contains all known information on Venjix that the Rangers could gather, as well as any and all information I had on Earth's Ranger teams from Mighty Morphin to Jungle Fury. You must hurry!"
The team gasped when the image wavered before disappearing completely. "Flynn, Scott, go with Gem. I put the back up tools I might need in with the equipment that we had on the Lion Hauler. Ziggy, Gemma, help me start checking the equipment in here. The sooner we get the data back to Corinth, the sooner we find out what happened to the other Rangers," K ordered, carefully setting her bundle aside before striding over pieces of debris to the bank of computers at the back of the room.
"Captain, there's an incoming transmission from the Colonel," one of the Eagle Squad pilots announced.
"Come with me, you can patch me through to him on the way," Scott ordered. "The rest of you, help them clear the debris out of here."
While the four hurried out, Ziggy bent down to start sifting through the rubble with the other members of Eagle Squad. Gemma took K's lead and headed back to the computers, hoping that their data was not lost.
It took ten minutes before they began to see the floor of the lab, and it was then that Ziggy narrowed his eyes when his flashlight hit something that sparkled in the light. Pushing away a few pieces of ceiling, the green Ranger dug his fingers through and pulled away a necklace. A familiar necklace.
The Landsdown Diamond.
"K! Gemma!" Ziggy hollered, clutching the broken chain between his suddenly cold fingers.
The two women rushed over, Gemma giving a gasp while K's eyes widened. "That's…"
"GUYS!" Flynn's voice echoed through the open door seconds before the Blue Ranger thundered in. "Summer, Dillon and Tenaya are missing." He stopped short when he caught sight of the object in Ziggy's hands.
"Dr. K?" one of the pilots asked, holding up a beaten and battered leather jacked. The Rangers felt their hearts sink when the female pilot turned the jacket around. On the back was a number five in the shape of a very familiar wolf.
Dillon's Ranger jacket.
"Flynn, what do you mean they're missing?" Gemma finally shook herself from her stupor and demanded.
The Blue Ranger swallowed. "Colonel Truman was contacted this morning by Summer's parents. They haven't checked in with them in nearly six months and Rogue Squad found The Fury not far from here at the Dunes."
"They had to have found this place," Ziggy numbly responded. "At least some time in the last six months, they had to have been here." He hadn't realized that they hadn't contacted him either, and felt guilt and a cold fear seize his stomach. He gripped Summer's necklace tightly, his thoughts on the people he considered family.
"I'm taking Gem to the Dunes with me, to check and see if it's really The Fury," Scott said when the two re-entered carrying two cases with Dr. K's equipment. "As soon as you're done, head back to Corinth." The others nodded and got busy while Gem and Scott morphed before heading out for the Dunes.
Two figures hid behind a cropping of barely alive trees and the destroyed remains of an SUV. Each had a set of high-tech binoculars and were watching the two color-suited figures poke around the black car at the base of a distant dune. "What do you think?" the shorter, stockier figure asked.
"Looks like a couple of Power Rangers to me. Wonder why they're bothering with that car though."
The shorter one nodded. "Reports came through that three humans were taken to that big hell hole Red found a few months back."
The taller one rolled his eyes and sighed. "Yeah? So?" he fired back. "What? Do you think that has to do with the Rangers?"
The smaller one looked heaven ward before looking back at his friends. "Red said two of them were giving off Morphin Grid signatures, faint ones, but still…"
"Which means Rangers. Damn it all to hell!"
A chuckle escaped the smaller man. For the first time in nearly seven years, the warrior felt hope. There were Rangers again; young, active Rangers. "Let's head back before we're seen. I'm surprised that fighter squad didn't spot us."
The smaller man chuckled all the way back to their transport.
Next Chapter: We learn more about the mysterious warriors who seem to be watching the Rangers, the RPM team finds out more about the legacy they're part of, and the bad guys start revealing themselves.