Disclaimer: I do not own, nor do I intend/desire to make any money off the Power Rangers/Super Sentai concepts and characters presented in this story. They are fully the property of their respective owners and are used with loving respect. Furthermore, this story utilizes concepts borrowed/adapted from Chris Claremont's run on X-Men.
Summary: According to legend, the Phoenix always arises from the ashes. Well, this time the Phoenix decided to arise from a Falcon and a Crane. Sequel to the Crimson Phoenix Trilogy.
Author's Note: We return to the Crimson-verse and begin the story of Jason Samuel Oliver, heir to the Power of the Phoenix. This is an alternate reality that has several major points of divergence from mainstream Power Rangers continuity. If you are unfamiliar with my Crimson Trilogy, I suggest you go and read Heart of Crimson, Bleeding Crimson, and Burning Crimson before reading this story.
Chapter 1: Here We Go Again
Jason Samuel Oliver seemed like a perfectly normal little boy. At four years old he was a bright and curious child. His hair was a deep, warm brunette like his father's, his eyes doe brown, large, and expressive like his mother's. In personality his parents had to admit that he got both the best and worst of them. From his father he inherited fearlessness and was already manifesting a deep and crystal clear sense of justice. From his mother he gained a deep sense of empathy tempered with pragmatism well beyond his years. However, he could be stubborn to the point of being as immovable as a mountain, also like his father. And his temper, though slow to manifest, was a force of nature, just like his mother's.
However, all of that only mattered to Jason's parents, grandparents, and myriad "aunts" and "uncles." What mattered to Jason at the moment was . . .
"Yes sweetie, lie – ons," Kimberly Ann Hart-Oliver smirked at her son as she corrected his pronunciation while silently thanking the Power for her Ranger strength, as she was quite certain it was the only thing keeping the boy from dislocating her arm as he tried to pull her towards the lion enclosure at Stone Canyon Zoo. She glanced over at her friend and teammate Aisha Campbell-DeSantos and immediately felt that she was getting off easy. After all, Aisha had to struggle with her twin sons, Stephen and Antonio. Only a few months younger than Jason the twins were every bit their father in both energy level and appetite.
Thankfully all three of the rambunctious toddlers stopped dead once they got to the edge of the enclosure, mesmerized by the enormous cats. Aisha took the opportunity to wedge in some adult conversation, "Have you heard from Tommy?"
Kim rubbed the bridge of her nose with her free hand and responded, "Yesterday."
Taking the gesture as a sign, Aisha continued, "That bad, huh?"
"The worlds with native Ranger teams haven't been a problem, but the other worlds in the Alliance are still having issues with the New Order. Damaron and Sucanti have both forbidden the testing of acolytes. The Damaronians have gone so far as to threatened loss of citizenship to anyone who seeks testing even off world." Kim responded with a sigh. Back when they were first Rangers she would have never thought of speaking so openly about Ranger business. However, adulthood had taught her and the others that most people, especially the parents of young children, are pretty much oblivious to any conversation going on around them that does not directly relate to them. "It makes me miss Brandon."
"Understandable, but you know how he hated using his status to force governments to take specific actions."
"True . . . he preferred to get his way by being sneaky." The two women shared a sad smile regarding their lost friend.
As Kim collected herself she realized that Jason had moved closer to her and was now wrapping himself around her leg. Reaching down she rubbed his head and asked, "Sweetie, what's wrong?"
The child looked up at her, but his eyes seemed far away as he responded, "Bad."
"What's bad honey?"
"Bad. Here," Jason added, clutching tighter to his mother's leg.
"What do you me . . ." Kim trailed off as she sensed it and heard the Crane cry out warning in her mind. She locked eyes with Alisha, who was pulling her sons to her, and realized that Bear had given her the same warning.
Before Kim could do any more there were flashes of putrid light all around them and suddenly everyone was screaming. The Rangers grabbed their children and got the high wall around the lion enclosure behind them. The crowd was in a panic and people were running everywhere, but suddenly Aisha poked her and as she made eye contact, pointed. Through the thinning crowd Kim could see a dozen shambling forms.
"Are those Kelzacks?" Aisha asked.
"Looks like, but these are different," Kim responded, noting that they fit the general form of Kelzacks . . . not surprising given that Kelzacks were synthetic creatures, available for purchase through several black market sources in the Galaxy. However, these differed from the standard Kelzack design. They were a flat black, lacking the spiky protuberances of the type employed by Lothor and their face plates featured a thin-fingered, red handprint. "Don't recognize the markings. Figures some new wannabe warlord shows up to ruin a nice day."
"More than ruin a nice day," Aisha added, concerned, "they're headed right for us."
Kim reached for her wrist and hit the panic button on her communicator . . . to her disappointment when the status light failed to go on. Glancing at Aisha, she found the same result. "Comm's jammed, looks like we're the target." Aisha nodded, an edge of panic entering her features as Kim looked around, seeking an escape route. Unfortunately, getting their backs against a solid wall had cut off most of their options. There were still a lot of civilians around but if necessary Kim and Aisha could just teleport themselves and the kids away. Teleportation was risky, not just because of the potential witnesses but because of how young the boys were, but the potential consequences of exposure and a trip through the grid were a better option than allowing these Kelzacks to harm their children.
Tightly clinging to his mother's leg little Jason looked at the approaching creatures in terror, his doe brown eyes widening . . . and glowing ever so slightly crimson.