Duty & Honor – Part 2
Kim and Tommy hurried towards the trap door in the floor of the kitchen, Tommy catching the hidden latch and throwing it up and open as Kim made her way down the stairs, her husband, the former black ranger following her.
As they moved to the console, they found the reason for the alarm appearing directly over the city. Clearly shown on the flat expanse of computer screen appeared a spaceship of obvious alien make. And it was quickly making it’s way to Reefside.
“Did you invite anyone to town?” Kim quipped, her voice unable to mask her concern.
“I don’t recognize the design. It looks familiar…” he remarked, looking at the curved edges, and the series of things that resembled tubes protruding from the top and bottom of the ship. It was glowing slightly, but moving at a slow rate so that neither he or Kim could tell if it was a trick of the light or if the ship was actually the yellowish gold color that surrounded the vehicle.
“Well, it isn’t Billy, is it?”
“I saw his ship the last time, and that certainly isn’t it. Besides, he would have let us know he was coming. And on top of that, it’s not trying to be subtle. Whoever is flying that ship wants to be seen.”
“Where do you think its heading?”
“At this angle,” Tommy remarked as he slid into the console chair and ran the computations that he’d watched Hayley complete time after time, he estimated the ship’s path, “it’s going to go right over the downtown.”
They looked at one another with a mixture of concern and hope. Maybe it was a race of aliens that were looking for the rangers for help. Or perhaps they were lost… it didn’t always have to be… but the longer they thought about it, both Kim and Tommy knew that those simple, happy situations were usually not the ones that rangers got.
“You’re not thinking what I’m thinking, are you?”
“I’m trying not to Beautiful, but if this thing makes any aggressive moves…”
“We’ll be back in business.”
“I think it’s time to call the team.”
And with that, Tommy hit the button on the control panel, activating the calls on the communicators of the formerly retired rangers. Then, Kim sat down beside him as they monitored the situation, waiting to see what this ship was up to.
High above Reefside, in the control room of the spaceship sat an ominous humanoid shape. There was a long dark cape that clasped in silver around his neck, draping over his shoulders and down underneath him and then trailing across the bulkhead of the ship. With his precise gestures, his crew did as he requested, not a single word having to be spoken.
As he directed the ship closer, he could almost feel his prey below him.
The rangers were here. The last ones… *his* rangers.
And they did not have long to live.
Focused on the computer screen before him, Ethan had been only superficially noticed the people murmuring around him. He was on level 10 of the battle simulation game that Hayley had just installed on the cyber café’s computers. The controls had taken him a bit longer than he’d expected to master. So he’d had gotten himself killed one too many times for his liking and was more focused than ever in moving to the next level.
That was until the murmuring turned into shrieks and gasps as the whole Cyberspace seemed to rock with an earthquake force. The tables and chairs clattered around, and people jumped beneath them
“What the?” yelled Ethan as he dove under the computer station.
“Earthquake?” Trent called out from where he was huddled by the bar.
“I doubt it,” remarked Hayley, who had realized that the shaking of her establishment had reached a peak, and then tapered off, just as the darkness that had passed over the café had seemingly continued on. As the room returned to normal, there were still some patrons, including Cassidy and Devin that were cowering under the tables and didn’t seem to notice that everything had gone back to normal.
“All right everyone, it looks like it’s over…” Hayley said, trying to restore some calm.
Trent, Ethan and Hayley heard the noise from outside and hurried out the Cyberspace, trailed by the patrons of the cyber café. As they looked up, they quickly saw what had obviously caused the earthquake like conditions – the gravity of an approaching spaceship.
They looked to one another and then as their communicators chimed, they knew that the Dino Thunder team was no longer retired.
“We’ve got to go… be careful Hayley,” said Trent as he and Ethan hurried to Trent’s car in the parking lot, knowing that they had to get to Dr. O and Kim’s as fast as they could.
Conner and Kira had decided to go for a picnic at the park outside of the city limits. Since missing the movie the night before, they’d spent as much of the day together as possible, knowing that Sunday would more than likely be spent studying for finals. While the McKnight’s and the Ford’s both approved of their children’s relationship, there was no wiggle room in their minds about schoolwork.
“So, are you sure you don’t want to discuss this any more?” Conner asked, grabbing an apple from their basket and bringing it to his lips to take a big bite from it.
“No. I think we both know what we want at this point,” replied Kira, laughing at the exaggerated chewing of her boyfriend.
“Still, I think you’d have such great opportunities…” he mumbled around the apple.
“And I think I don’t want to be without you.”
Swallowing the remains of apple in his mouth, Conner felt his heart race as Kira smiled at him. It was something he never got tired of. If Dr. O felt for Kim even half of what he felt for Kira, he could understand how those months apart had been so tough. Leaning towards her, he brushed his fingers along her cheek. As he did so, the smile that had been there was replaced with something more serious; a look of want.
Sliding his hand behind her head, Conner pulled her closer to him, lowering his lips to catch hers, and the spark that they’d found the first time they’d kissed was set off again. Kira reached to catch his shirt in her hand and pulled him down with her as she fell backwards onto the soft blanket they’d brought with them.
Carefully balancing his weight to stay off her fully, Conner continued to kiss the woman beneath him. When her tongue slipped out to lash at his, he felt his body shake. The emotions between them were so powerful, and as they got closer, explored more of the feelings and actions that being a couple offered, he fell deeper and deeper in love with her. And luckily for him, she felt exactly the same way.
Kira held Conner to her, enjoying the way that she could make the normally self centered jock care only about pleasing her and kissing her into senselessness.
His hands roamed closer to the swells of her breast that tantalized him. They’d engaged in heated kisses in the front of his car late at night before he walked her home. And there had been a lot of caressing of each other through the safety of clothes. But actually going farther… feeling her ‘up’ had been, well, still on the horizon.
They had been taking it slow, more for Kira’s benefit than his. Yet Conner wanted this to last, to have what Dr. O and Kim had… and if that meant waiting for Kira to make the first move, he could live with that.
Which her kissing his neck hard enough to give him a hickey right this moment as his fingers ran up and down the side of her breast seemed to be.
Slipping his hands between them, he molded his fingers around the soft globes. As soon as he gave the soft flesh beneath Kira’s shirt a small squeeze her mouth broke away from his neck and she looked up at him with a slightly stunned look.
“Should I stop?” he asked with sincerity tingeing his otherwise desire filled voice.
Kira whet her lips with her tongue, making Conner groan. The action reverberated through his hands and into her body, sparking her nipples to life, their points starting to dig into Conner’s palms as she moaned at the sensation, her head rolling from side to side to indicate her answer.
Encouraged by her answer and response, Conner massaged her breasts harder, his fingers roaming more along the cloth covering the swells he so desperately wanted to see. Kira dug her fingers into his shoulders, her head leaning up to find his lips, capturing them and nibbling at his lower lip before he sealed their mouths in a heated kiss.
The darkness seemed to creep up on them, but they’d been too wrapped up in one another to notice. At least until the ground rattled beneath them. For a moment they huddled together as the ground shook, but then realized that the situation required action, not for them to try to hide away from it.
Breaking apart, they sat up and looked around. They were alone, and the only evidence of the event seemed to be the swaying of the trees and the shaking of Conner’s Mustang. However, they did note one strange thing… it seemed dark. The sun had been fairly bright for a Saturday afternoon in May, but now it was almost sunset dark. As they surveyed the park, they noticed that there was bright sun in places, and that there was a shadow, like a cloud crossing the sun’s path. But it was a lot darker…
“Normally I would have made a crack about making your world rock, but…” Conner remarked as the shadow and the ground movement dissipated.
“I think technically you just did,” she retorted as she continued to look around for what might have caused the shaking. “Earthquake?”
“It is California.”
“Still… oh no…” Kira suddenly exclaimed, looking skywards and seeing the massive shape of a spacecraft heading for the center of Reefside.
Without a second thought, they jumped up, gathering up their things, stuffing them in the trunk of Conner’s car. As they got in, they heard the familiar chime of their gauntlets and realized what was going on. With that Conner turned over the engine and headed straight for Dr. O. and Kim’s place.
The sound of pounding feet announced the arrival of the rest of the team. There was a stream of people, first Trent and Ethan followed by Conner and Kira as they flooded into the basement from the kitchen entrance. As they emerged in the cave-like area of the command center, their eyes were glued on the older married pair of rangers where they sat before the monitor, looking for answers to why their normal lives had been interrupted for what they thought was the retirement of their ranger lives and responsibilities.
“What is it?” asked Trent as he rushed forward, his hand landing on the console as he stared at the screen.
“Do we know what they want?” Ethan inquired as he followed Trent to the console.
“Are they dangerous?” Kira wondered aloud as she moved to Kim’s side.
“Has there been any more movement?” questioned Conner, immediately stopping at the side of Dr. O’s chair, his mind in leader more already.
“Calm down guys,” Tommy said simply, and the others bristled slightly, but realized that they were pushing their mentor and teacher a bit fast for answers that he might not have.
Admonished, the rangers turned from Dr. O and watched the ship settle over Reefside. The golden glow that covered it seemed to pulse as if it was alive or harmonically resonating with something. Of course, there was always the possibility that it was a force shield that was set up to keep everything out… including possible hostile action by the ranger team or the local scared police or military.
The six of them continued to study the picture, noting the crowd gathering to watch with a sense of dread. Still…
“So far there hasn’t been any hostile movement. Maybe…” Tommy began, hoping he wasn’t about t jinx things.
Suddenly as they watched, the ship unleashed a red colored laser blast to the center of the city, setting a few cars and part of a building on fire, sending people running and screaming. That settled everything as far as the rangers were concerned.
“If we had no bad luck, we’d have no luck at all,” gripped Ethan, recalling the recurring bad luck both this team and all their predecessors had as rangers.
“Alright, we’re back in business. Everyone find some space and let’s get into uniform.”
Hurriedly everyone moved to find their old places, accommodating Kim as well, since they never had done much morphing in the command center with her as part of the team. Six voices, all with slightly different styles called out the phrase as they activated their morphers, setting the room aglow with colored light. As it paled, the dino thunder ranger team stood in their armor, helmets in place and ready to get back to action.
“Grab your bikes… we’ve got to get moving now!” yelled Tommy, with Kim right behind him as they headed for the raptor cycles and raced towards the scene.
Riding into the downtown center, the rangers arrived just as the ship above unleashed another salvo of laser fire, scorching the earth and setting a building on fire. People around them were running quickly, and there seemed to be few if any injuries. Confused on what that meant, Tommy and the team slowed to a stop within the radius of the blasts and jumped off.
“Zords,” announced Tommy, deciding that the time had come to get rid of the space ship once and for all, and the firepower of both the Megazord and the Stegazord would be what they needed.
Yet before he could call on the Brachiozord from its resting place along with the rest of the team and their own zords, the air around them shimmered with the same golden glow of the ship above them. Within seconds the air coalesced and the golden glow solidified into beings.
Surrounding them were dozens of beings. They resembled nothing Tommy or Kim had ever seen in their days of fighting. Rather than cogs or putties or Tengas, these seemed to be something between a soldier and a priest… each one of the beings looked like a human man, pale in skin color and dressed in military-like jackets, pants and boots. The color of the uniforms shifted, from black to white to gold as the light hit them. But what struck Tommy as the most odd was the thing that reminded him of priests… they all wore dark red banded colors around their necks and held metal staffs. And they were all bald.
The rangers stared through their visors at the soldier-like aliens who stared back, as if both were taking the measure of the opposing side. Silence encircled them as the hovering ship stopped firing, as if to make sure none of their people were hit by stray fire. Yet the silence ticked on without a single person from the newly arrived alien race making any gesture of move towards trying to communicate with the rangers.
“Uh, you come in peace?” asked Conner finally, deciding that someone had to make the first move.
Without a word, the men looked at the dino thunder team and as one charged.
Before they knew it, the rangers were under siege, surrounded and being assaulted by all sides. Kira and Kim had ended up side by side, and they focused on punching and kicking whatever they could. Kira finally let loose with a terra scream to give her and Kim some breathing room before they attacked again. Ethan and Trent had ten of the soldier things attacking them, and while Trent used his dagger’s energy arrow making ability, Ethan focused on his invulnerable skin.
“You sure you guys don’t wanna talk about this?” Trent asked as he sent another volley of arrows at the advancing men, some striking their targets and others missing wide.
Yet no matter how many times the rangers spoke to the beings attacking them, there was never any reply, which concerned more than a few of the team.
Conner and Tommy focused their attention on a large mass of the warriors, Conner using his speed to attack and Tommy his invisibility to assail the soldiers without being seen. All of the rangers had chosen to use their sidearms, save Trent, but soon it became clear that most of those laser strikes were being shrugged off by the alien beings.
“We need some more firepower guys,” Kim yelled over the din, and called forth her personal weapon, created for her by Hayley right before the wedding… her Stegabow.
Kim pulled back on the bow string, feeling the energy of the arrow forming, and she let fly. The first bolt struck one of the advancing warriors straight in the chest, and he went down hard. She smiled behind her helmet, thinking that after all this time her skill with the bow hadn’t left her.
Kira jumped into the fray with her Terragrips, Ethan beside her with his Tricerashield, each of them plowing through the assembled attackers, blocking blows from the staffs that fell towards them. Tommy’s Brachiostaff sent forth a shockwave of earthquake power, and Trent’s dagger continued to send forth arrows, similar to Kim’s.
Conner had called his own weapon, his Tyranostaff and was proceeding to whip it around his head and bring it down on the advancing soldier alien when just before he could connect, the being literally misted through the stroke of the weapon.
“What the hell?” yelled Conner both in surprise and anger, his momentum spinning him around and the soldier took the moment to strike Conner with his own staff, sending a shock of electricity through the young man’s body.
At Conner’s yell, everyone had turned to see what had happened. Those closest saw Conner spinning and the strike of the staff held by the alien. But none had seen how it had happened, until the other shapes before them began to mist before them, Kira’s attack as well as Kim and Trent’s arrows passing through the golden colored mist that had only moments before been solid adversaries.
“It’s like a ghost!” Trent exclaimed, surprised like Conner had been.
“Ghosts aren’t solid,” complained Kim, noting the alien’s near-immediate solidification as one of them brought their staff down towards her, and she had to block using her bow.
“These are,” Ethan added as he found himself
“Use the dino gem energy, like with the Triptiods to make them solid,” yelled Tommy over the chaos of battle.
Doing just that, Kira and Ethan slammed their hand with their morphers forward, focusing the energy on the wraith-like soldiers before them. As the dino energy hit the alien and the power filled the silhouette, solidifying them until they stood stone-still, like statues. Then Kim and Trent fired their weapons, striking the incapacitated bad guys and shattering them into golden shards.
But the toll seemed to be almost more than Kira and Ethan could handle, as they both slumped towards the pavement, Conner and Kim running to their sides. Tommy and Trent had used the same power infusion from their dino gems on another pair of the wraiths, Tommy using his staff and Trent his dagger to shatter the statue aliens once they’d been petrified by the gem’s energy.
“We can’t keep doing that. At this rate we’ll drain ourselves dry before they’re all gone,” Trent panted, feeling the toll of using his energy for that purpose.
“Still, we don’t seem to have much choice,” replied Tommy, pushing himself to stand up straighter as a pair of the soldier things started for him, others forming a perimeter around the ranger team.
Then suddenly, before the two moving reached him, they and the other the wraiths simply began to mist again, and disappeared without a sound.
Above them, they heard a heavy hum as the engines of the ship above them seemed to rev up. Moments later, the ship seemed to lurch upwards, as if making a sudden retreat, flying upwards in a swift motion. Yet before it left, it let loose a final volley of fire which struck the ground near the rangers, causing them to scramble out of the way, Kira and Conner jumping to escape the path of the beam.
Picking themselves up off the pavement, the rangers watched the steam curling off the place where the laser had struck. And it was Ethan that gasped and waved everyone close when he realized that the beam had etched a message into the ground. As the team stared at the red-hot trenches in the ground that had seared there, they read the four simple words that struck a frightening chord in all of them.
“Prepare FOR DEATH rangers.”
“Oh no, this is *so* not good,” remarked Conner as Kira moved to his side, circling his waist with her arm without carrying if anyone saw them in such a pose while in uniform.
Tommy and Kim looked to one another and sighed. Somehow they should have known being retired was too good to be true.
Since we’re heading into the holidays, and I know you’ll all be too busy to find time to read, we’ll see you in three weeks this time: Jan 8, 2005!
click the picture to go to the Duty & Honor series page
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