//—now boarding for Okinawa at gate—//
"Come on, we've got to hurry."
A teenaged Japanese girl in tight white jeans and a pink fleece hoodie jogged to keep up with the brisk strides of a nondescript man in a plain black suit. "Tanaka-san, are we going to Okinawa?"
"The UNMEI private jet is at Okinawa, so yes."
"The acronym is a coincidence," Tanaka said crisply. "An American came up with it, and found out it was an actual Japanese word later." He paused. "Momokaze-kun, I must warn you. Almost nobody at UNMEI speaks Japanese. Most of them speak English. You're going to have to work hard to—"
"It is Oh Kay," the girl said abruptly, in halting English, with a falsely cheerful smile plastered on her face. "I can English speak."
Tanaka smiled painedly. "Not bad, but—"
A herd of people suddenly stampeded past, screaming hysterically.
"What the hell?" Tanaka wondered. At his side, his companion gasped, both hands clasped to her mouth. He followed her gaze...
...and his face fell. "Oh...shit."
"Um...should we be out this far in the middle of the ocean in a helicopter?" Lamia asked nervously, peering out at the hundreds of miles of identical sea stretching seemingly into infinity.
"We're almost there," Johnson, who was piloting the copter, replied. He absently checked a couple of switches and gauges. "They've got us on radar. It won't be long..."
"Huh? But...there's nothing..."
Johnson's mouth quirked. "Wait for it."
And then suddenly something showed up that wasn't the Pacific Ocean.
A gleaming, angular mass of beams, girders, platforms, and lights faded into view, sparkling in the first light of day.
"What the hell—? Where'd that...?"
"Chameleon field," Johnson replied. "An optical illusion involving lots of mirrored plates and reflective lighting. It only really works in featureless places like the middle of the sea, but when it does work, whatever you're using it on completely vanishes." The helicopter began to descend toward a landing pad which had revealed itself. "Of course, most of the base is submerged. It's easier to hide it that way; only the parts we need to have above the surface use the C-field." He grinned. "Miss Cruz, welcome to UNMEI."
The young Ranger candidate pressed herself flat against a wall, eyes wide in terror. "What...what...what..."
Tanaka frowned, adjusting his glasses. "This is bad," he muttered. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a wristwatch with a pink heart design in the center. "I'm sorry, you'll need to transform and fight now."
"You...you want me to fight...THAT?" the teenager shrieked, face white as chalk. "I can't...I'm sorry!" Turning, she scrambled into the nearby restrooms.
"Wait—!" Tanaka called. But it was too late. Over the din, he could faintly hear the click of the lock. "Well this is going well."
After the third security checkpoint, Lamia was becoming unnerved with the admiration the guards were showing her. "Are they...?" she began.
Johnson raised an eyebrow and glanced behind them, where the latest group of guards were trying to pretend not to watch them. He chuckled. "You're the culmination of everything UNMEI has worked for," he explained. "You're the first to successfully transform and fight, and, well...you did beat the living hell out of an alien monster last night." He grinned. "It's a little hero worship."
"Uh...okay, if you say so..."
"Command is right up ahead."
Four guards saluted; Johnson showed his identification and instructed Lamia to show her morpher watch. The guards opened the enormous steel vault door behind them, and the two stepped through into a hexagonal room full of computer displays and monitors. Two people awaited them in this room: a rather short, nerdy-looking man with a huge, unruly mop of sandy blonde hair wearing a lab coat over a red turtleneck, and a tall, broad-shouldered, imposing man with a hard face, stiff, wiry gray hair in a square brush cut, and a navy blue uniform over which he wore a long black leather coat.
The smaller man rushed over and eagerly grabbed Lamia's hand, pumping it furiously. "P01!" he exclaimed. "It's so great finally having you here! You were awesome last night!"
"Uh...thank you?" Lamia hedged nervously, backing away.
"You'll have to excuse A5," the tall man said in a deep, commanding voice, hands clasped behind his back. "He's very excitable."
"A5?" Lamia asked, blinking.
"That's what everyone calls me," the shorter man said. "We're big on codenames and numbers around here. I've been A5 ever since I joined."
Johnson coughed. "Lamia Cruz, meet UNMEI's top two: A5 and the Director."
The Director stepped forward, nodding curtly to Lamia. "Miss Cruz," he greeted. "It is good to have you with us."
"Uh...thanks, I'll do my best."
"I'm sure you will," the Director replied, smiling.
Lamia looked around. "So, this is like, mission control?" she asked.
"Something like that," the Director said. "From here, we can monitor the enemy, as well as the Rangers and their status."
"Speaking of which, there's supposed to be four others, right?"
"They're all on their way," A5 said, attention once again turned to the lighted table in the center of the room. "They should all be here by tomorrow. We're expecting P05 this evening."
"Plenty of time to give you the short tour," Johnson said.
"Right now, I'd rather debrief Miss Cruz concerning last night's engagement with the enemy," the Director said. "I understand you're tired, but—"
"Actually, I'd like to learn more about what happened last night," Lamia replied. "This is all so confusing, and things are moving so fast, I feel like I'm caught in a hurricane."
"Understandable," the Director nodded.
"Maybe this'll help," A5 said, turning on a large monitor on the side of the room. "Just picked up a news broadcast showing a video of your battle!"
The Director's head snapped around sharply. "What?!"
"What?" Lamia echoed.
"Crap," Johnson muttered.
The four of them gathered around the monitor, which was displaying video captured with a phone; PowerRed was tearing through Arquilons so fast she was a red and gold blur.
"Is that really me?" Lamia asked, staring at the grainy video.
"Yep, that's you," A5 nodded. "P01 in action!"
"Johnson? You were supposed to take care of media leaks," the Director growled.
"You think I could find every single person with an iPhone?!" Johnson asked, adjusting his glasses. "I'm amazed only ONE got away from me."
The Director sighed. "I suppose it'll be a moot point soon enough anyway."
Lamia stared at the combat footage of herself, flushing. "I didn't get a good look at that outfit last night. It's a little...embarrassing."
"You'll get used to it," the Director said dismissively. "Remember, the whole point of the suit is to keep you safe and give you the power to fight—"
"Yeah, I know," Lamia said. "I mean I know there's no way I'd still even be alive today without it." She frowned. "It's just that it's a little, well..." She sighed. "And what's all that...stuff I'm doing there?"
"What stuff?" the Director asked.
"That...that..." Lamia gestured vaguely with a hand. "Posing," she finished lamely. "I mean, look at it. It's..."
"THAT, you can't blame on us or the suit," the Director said with a smirk. "That was all you."
The rookie Ranger paled. "Gah."
"I don't know," A5 said, head tilted as he watched the video for the umpteenth time. "It kinda works, somehow."
A klaxon abruptly began to howl; pulsing red lights strobed along the ceiling. Lamia looked around in confusion. "What—?"
"Trouble," the Director rumbled. At that precise moment, his phone rang. He withdrew it from his pocket and flipped it open. "Go."
"Tanaka here. We have a situation."
The nondescript Japanese agent of UNMEI looked around at the panicked, screaming civilians running around the airport, and grimaced. *A 'situation' is putting it mildly...*
"Hai. Delivery of P05 has been compromised. The Archons are active at Narita. Two Arkhaiders and approximately thirty Arquilons."
Lamia frowned. It sounded like something major was going down, but the Director was speaking in another language to whoever was on the other end of the line.
The sound of an incredibly loud explosion erupted from the Director's phone, loud enough that he had to pull it away from his ear, and everyone in Operations heard it. The Director winced, then put the phone back to his ear and began speaking very quickly. After a moment, he closed his phone and put it away. He turned to face Lamia, his expression grim.
"Let me guess," she said heavily. "I've got work to do."
"Agent Tanaka and Candidate P05 are trapped in the terminal at Narita Airport in Tokyo, along with several hundred civilians. Two Arkhaiders and a large force of Arquilons have taken control of the airport. That explosion was a fuel truck."
Lamia gasped. "TWO Arkhaiders?! I barely handled ONE before!"
"You do have more powerful weapons you haven't accessed yet," the Director said. "Plus, you won't be alone..." He paused, frowning. "Well, if..."
The Director turned his face away, and seemed slightly embarrassed. "If you can coax P05 out of the ladies' room. As soon as the Arkhaiders showed up, she freaked out and locked herself in the restroom. Agent Tanaka can't get her to come out."
Lamia stared at him. "You're kidding, right?"
"The thing is, P05 is only sixteen. She has the potential, but..." He sighed.
"You intend to make a soldier out of a girl THAT young?" Lamia exclaimed, horrified.
"I'm sure Agent Johnson already told you, but all five candidates are absolutely vital. We can't replace her, even if she's..."
Lamia pinched the bridge of her nose. "I'm not liking this."
"None of us like this, Miss Cruz. Unfortunately, the Archons don't care what we do and don't like." The Director withdrew a palmtop from his jacket and tapped in a sequence of commands. "In any case, you need to go immediately. I wish we could reroute the other three to the scene, but there just isn't time to wait for the entire team."
"Then I'll just have to deal with it the best I can," Lamia said with a heavy sigh. "But two things. First, how do I get there, and second, how the hell am I supposed to fight that many enemies?"
The Director smiled. "The answer to both questions should be coming up right about...now."
Lamia stared, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, at what was currently parked on the tarmac on the roof of UNMEI Headquarters. "This...is for ME?" she asked.
"Your personal assault craft," the Director confirmed with a grin. "Say hello to the Cross Condor."
It was a large red airplane...sort of. It more strongly resembled a giant mechanical bird.
"Is this...a giant mechanical bird?" Lamia asked.
"Yes. It's a giant mechanical bird. All five members have personal assault craft. The design of each is based on an animal, with functions of different land, air, and sea vehicles, and powerful defensive weaponry."
"Why animals?" Lamia asked.
The Director shrugged. "Seemed like a good idea when we were designing them."
"There's no time to waste. Transform and launch."
"Right." Lamia depressed the control studs on her watch.
"RANGER FORM, POWER-ON!"
Less than two minutes later, PowerRed was zipping over the Pacific Ocean at mach speeds in a giant red mechanical condor.
In the thirty minutes since Tanaka had called the Director, the situation had grown exponentially worse.
Twisted, burning husks of planes and service vehicles were scattered all over the runways. Half of a jumbo jet stood, crumpled like a wad of wastepaper, in the shattered windows at one of the terminal gates. Most of the civilians had been evacuated, but a few were still stuck inside, hiding under chairs and counters or in the restrooms, much as Tanaka's young charge had done.
A sharp, piercing cry split the air, audible even over the screaming victims, laughing monsters, and roaring fires. Outside, something large and red parted the haze of smoke hanging over the runway; two rows of white-hot fire erupted from the pavement, scattering Arquilons. The red shape disappeared again in a flash, but not before something much smaller had dropped to the ground.
PowerRed had arrived, and she was running into the terminal, red heat blaster blazing a clear path before her.
"Amazing..." Tanaka breathed as he watched the red-and-gold soldier battle her way through the throng of Arquilons. As soon as she was within shouting distance, he half-stood, half-crouched from his hiding place and called out, waving an arm over his head. "Over here!" he shouted.
Her head snapped around, and PowerRed began flipping toward him, shooting Arquilons as she went. As soon as she reached him, she moved into a guard position. "Agent Tanaka?" she asked.
"Yes," Tanaka said. "So the suits actually work. Incredible..."
"Yeah, they work," Red remarked. "So, what's going on with this P05 girl?"
"She's...a little overwhelmed," Tanaka replied. "I think actually seeing what she's going to be fighting upset her."
"No kidding," Red replied sarcastically. "So she's holed up in the bathroom, right?"
"Yes. Do you think you can talk her out?"
"I can try. I don't speak Japanese, though..."
"She knows some English."
"Well, that's something," Red muttered, eyeing the remaining Arquilons nervously. She tensed as she saw one of the Arkhaiders begin to move toward the terminal. "Okay, I've gotta hurry this up."
"Her name's Hatoko. Hatoko Momokaze."
"Got it," PowerRed replied. She pressed her sidearm into Agent Tanaka's hand. "Cover me. Don't let anyone or anything come over here." She paused. "And no peeking," she admonished, waggling a finger at the Japanese man.
"I understand." He handed her a watch, similar to her own, but with a pink heart in the center. "This is her morpher."
Red nodded, then took a deep breath. Glancing back over her shoulder to make sure the coast was clear, she kicked the restroom door in.
Hatoko screamed in terror as the door exploded inward, crashing into the far wall.
A red-clad, female figure walked in, glancing around. "Hatoko? Hatoko Momokaze? Are you in here?"
Hatoko had the best scores in English of her class; actually understanding real, spoken English was another matter entirely, but she could at least tell the strange figure who had just entered the restroom was calling out to her. She hoped she wouldn't be noticed peeking over the top of the stall...
"Found you," the newcomer said. "Come on out of there."
"P—please...no hurt me..." Hatoko whimpered.
"I'm not going to hurt you. I'm your friend. I'm here to help you."
The red-clad woman pulled the stall door open, breaking the lock casually, and offered a hand to the frightened teenager. Hatoko yelped, backing away, nearly falling into the toilet.
"Look, I understand you're scared. It's really scary out there. But you don't have to be scared. I can fight those monsters, but I need your help."
The red woman extended a watch; Hatoko recognized it as the same one Tanaka-san had shown her earlier. "Put this on. You can become like me. You can fight. You can save all those people out there."
Hatoko hesitated. This was what Tanaka-san had told her about, but...
"I...I am...not know..."
The red-clad woman sighed and reached up, unfastening the clasps on her helmet and removing it. Hatoko now found herself staring at a Western woman, not much older than herself, with a kind face and gentle eyes.
"My name is Lamia," she said. "I'm scared too. But I've fought these things. I understand how important it is. If we don't fight, everyone we love will die. It's up to us." She offered Hatoko the watch once again. "Please...trust me."
Hesitantly, Hatoko reached out, taking the watch from Lamia's outstretched hand. She fastened it around her own wrist. "I...what do I do?"
Lamia fastened her helmet back in place. "Here, I'll show you..."
Tanaka ducked as a chair flew though the air, narrowly missing his head. It smashed against the wall behind him.
*I didn't sign onto this to actually FIGHT these things...*
"Sorry to keep you waiting," PowerRed's voice called from behind him. He turned...and breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
"We'll take it from here."
Standing beside PowerRed was a similar figure, outfitted in pink over silver tights, a bright silver heart-shaped buckle adorning her belt. The visor of her helmet, while still evocative of a bird, was more gently rounded in shape, with five thin silver bands above and a silver faceplate beneath.
"Sorry for causing so much trouble," she said softly, bowing.
"It's okay. Glad you're ready to fight now."
"I will do my best."
"Here, you'll need this back," Tanaka said, tossing Red her gun.
"Right," Red said, sliding the weapon back into its holster and turning to her comrade. "Are you ready?"
The two Rangers dashed past Tanaka in twin blurs of red and pink. Sighing heavily, he pulled out his phone. "P05 is active."
"Didn't I already kill most of these?" Red wondered as she and Pink were surrounded by Arquilons.
"Too much more!" Pink replied, nervously backing away from the alien soldiers. "All over world, come here!"
"Right, of course," Red said, sighing. She charged into the fray, fists and feet flying.
"Anou...no karate," Pink said shakily, nervously backing away from three Arquilons which were almost within spear range.
"Use your gun!" Red said. Even as she said so, she unholstered her own weapon; the blazing red heat beam ripped through one of the Arquilons on Pink's left, sending up a shower of sparks and smoke as it fell, twitching.
"Ah...hai!" Pink drew her sidearm and fired at the closest enemy. A tightly compacted, hot pink horizontal tornado ripped forth from the weapon, slamming into the Arquilon and sending it flying.
"Nice!" Red called, flashing a thumbs-up.
The two Rangers tore through the massive throng of Arquilons in less than two minutes, battling their way off of the apron and onto the runway.
"That's as far as you go!" a rumbling voice called. Two enormous insectoid Arkhaiders dropped in front of the Rangers out of nowhere, shaking the ground as they landed.
Each had six thick, muscled legs ending in vicious claws, and stood upright on their hindmost legs. Each had shiny black shells and buzzing wings. Each had creepy insectoid eyes and heavily armored heads. One had a long, thick horn sprouting from the center of his head; the other had a pair of broad, jagged mandibles resembling antlers.
"We were hoping you'd come out to play!" the thick-horned one spoke. "We're the Bash Beetles! I'm Rush!"
"And I'm Crush!" the other one said in a high, droning voice.
"KYAAA!" Pink screamed, hiding behind Red and cowering.
"What's wrong?" Red asked. Glancing up at the Arkhaiders, she realized what had sent Pink cowering into the bathroom earlier. "Oh, you're afraid of bugs, right?"
"Hai," Pink agreed, nodding repeatedly.
"Then let's squish these bugs so you won't have to be afraid anymore, okay?" She accentuated this statement with an exaggerated stomping motion.
"Squish...?" Pink repeated uncertaintly, mirroring Red's stomping motion.
"That's right," Red nodded.
Pink nodded repeatedly, pumping a fist. "Hai!"
The beetles laughed. "The only ones getting squished around here are you pests!"
Red stared defiantly at the two beetle Arkhaiders, Pink scrambling to stand firm at her side. "We'll just have to see about that!" She posed, extending her arms to her sides, then crossing them perpendicularly in front of her chest before pointing with her right hand at the enemy soldiers while raising her left arm at a 45-degree angle. "The blazing defender of the human race! PowerRed!"
Pink extended both arms above her head, dropping low to crouch on her toes, with her knees pointed sideways from her body; she brought her arms down and inward, touching the crown of her helmet with her fingertips, forming the shape of a heart with her body. "The gentle wind that restores the springtime of the Earth! PowerPink!"
The Bash Beetles laughed. "Well, this should be fun!" Rush guffawed.
"You won't be laughing when I'm through with you!" Red replied, tapping a button sequence on her watch. She held out her hand and grasped the hilt of her sword as it materialized in front of her. Quietly, she whispered an aside to her partner: "Look at your watch. Press the flashing buttons."
"Eh?" Pink looked down. "Aa!" She did as Red instructed, and a pair of short pink daggers appeared in her hands. She struck a shaky combat pose, brandishing her new weapons.
"Let's show these ugly bugs the door," Red said.
"Those puny weapons won't work on us!" Rush jeered. He charged suddenly, weaving past a hasty strike by Red and ramming her hard in the shoulder. She grunted as she was sent spinning to the side.
Crush had closed ranks with Pink and attempted to snare her; she guarded with her daggers, dropping to her knees as she struggled to repel the Arkhaider's attack.
"You're no challenge at all," Crush sneered. "Weak little girl!"
Pink responded by flipping up and over the Arkhaider, landing on his shell and jamming her daggers into the soft gaps in his armor. The beast roared in pain and began thrashing around; Pink was sent flying and tumbled across the ground on her side.
Red, meanwhile, had gotten to her feet and once again sized up Rush, trying to find an opening. The beast snarled, barrelling in with his head bowed for another assault. She tumbled to the side, springing up just as he passed, and struck hard with her weapon. A few sparks rose from the beetle's shell, but Rush didn't even seem to notice.
A sudden scream diverted her attention from the Arkhaider; she turned her head just in time to see Pink flying toward her, arms and legs flailing, before the other Ranger slammed into her, sending both of them sprawling.
"Sorry, sorry!" Pink yelped as she tried to untangle herself from Red.
"Not your fault," Red wheezed, extricating herself from her partner more calmly. Standing, she tracked the two beetles; they had the Rangers surrounded and were taunting them, moving in closer and closer...
"CROSS BLAZER!" she cried, rapidly slashing with her sword. The blazing fire attack caught both beetles and knocked them back, but still didn't seem to do much damage.
"Is that the best you can do? Come on, we wanted a GOOD fight!" Rush laughed.
"It is no good!" Pink yelled.
"I noticed!" Red replied, crouching defensively. Her watch began beeping. "Eh? What this time?"
A new flashing pattern: white-white-gold-red. Two alternating red-white lights blinked next to two of the control buttons. Nodding, Red pressed the indicated buttons. "Hatoko!" she yelled. "Check your morpher! Flashing buttons!" Even as she said this, her sword disappeared.
"Eh? Ah—hai!" Pink copied Red, her daggers disappearing in a pink flash.
"Are you giving up?" Crush sneered.
"Never," Red replied. "In fact..." A large crimson flash; suddenly, she was holding a massive red five-barrelled cannon. "We're just getting warmed up."
A large pink bazooka materialized in Pink's hands; she staggered momentarily under its weight. "Sugoi," she breathed softly.
"Little girls with big guns!" Crush hooted. "How adorable!"
"Let's see how adorable THIS is," Red remarked, taking aim at the stag beetle Arkhaider. The barrel of her cannon began to glow and spin; it soon started spitting out dozens of white-hot fireballs which slammed into a suddenly frightened target.
"What...?!" Rush roared. But before he could intervene, he was seized by a violent, spinning burst of wind. It lifted him off the ground, expanding vertically into a glowing pink tornado which flung him high into the air, then slammed him forcefully to the ground beside his scorched, smoking brother.
"Un...believable..." Rush wheezed.
"Just...who ARE you pests, anyway?" Crush grunted as sparks and smoke erupted from his body.
"UNMEI no sentai!" PowerPink declared, arms folded in a victory pose.
Red glanced at her quizzically, then shook her head and replied, pointing at the fallen Arkhaiders, "We're the Power Rangers!"
"Unmei...sentai..." Crush wheezed.
"Power...Rangers..." Rush hissed.
"We'll remember it!" they howled together, before exploding spectacularly.
"No you won't," PowerRed said, turning from the explosion and crossing her arms. "Mission complete."
"We did it!" Pink cheered, jumping up and down.
"We sure did. So, do you think you can do this? Do you think you can be a Power Ranger?"
Pink stopped jumping, and rubbed the back of her head. "Eh...ah..." She bowed suddenly, deeply, and held her pose for an uncomfortably long moment. "Please teach me! I am number one best student!"
Red tilted her head curiously. "Hey, hey, this is only my second time doing this..."
Tanaka scrambled up to them, panting and sweating. "You did it? You won?"
"Yep, the Arkhaiders are gone," Red replied.
"Good," Tanaka whuffed. "Red-san, can you take Momokaze-kun to headquarters in your Condor?"
"Sure, no problem. You need a lift too?"
"No, no," Tanaka replied with a dismissive wave of his hands. "I'll get back another way. Besides, my job's finished." He bowed to the two Rangers, then shuffled back into the airport, muttering something about finding a few beers.
"Well, okay then," Red said after a moment. "I guess we'll head on back to UNMEI then. You ready?"
"Hai!" Pink said cheerfully. She paused, covering her still-masked face with still-gloved hands, and more quietly said, "I mean Yes!"
Red shook her head. "We'll work on that..."
Monitors covered the cold gray metal walls of a dim, dank control room. One monitor abruptly turned red, a message in Archon script flowing across it in black block letters.
"The beetle brothers have been defeated," a voice said unnecessarily from one of the command consoles.
"Obviously," a menacing voice rumbled in reply.
A figure stood in the center of the room, fists clenched, radiating menace. This figure resembled a skinned corpse which had been charred black; bands of gleaming crimson metal surrounded the blackened meat and sinew like some ghastly parody of a skeleton. This even extended to a skull-like helmet; rows of jagged steel teeth formed a grillwork in a fixed, unmoving jaw beneath a heavy crimson metal brow and narrowed, menacing eye sockets from which a dull red flame burned. Three black metal horns protruded from the crown of the skull, curved inward; various tubes ran in and out of the flesh and steel, conveying poisonous-looking green fluids.
"Orders, General?" the calmer voice from the back of the room asked, somewhat nervously.
"Continue monitoring," the gruesome figure rumbled, eyes blazing. "I will end this ridiculous nuisance personally."
Ranger Profile: P05 "PowerPink"
Name: Hatoko Momokaze
Occupation: High school student
An ordinary schoolgirl from Gunma Prefecture, Japan, Hatoko never expected to be called upon to fight alien invaders. It doesn't seem like she's ready to fight for the fate of the world, but...
In addition, PowerPink faces further difficulties in being the only member of the Power Rangers who doesn't speak English.
Weapons: Style Wind, Blossom Daggers, Hurricannon
Mechanimal: Heart Dove
Next time: Yellow, Blue, and Green! The three men who answered the call! At last, the fated meeting of the five!
The next report: "Five Heroes Assemble! The birth of UNMEI Sentai!" POWER-ON!
The logos and concepts of Super Sentai and Power Rangers are the intellectual property of Toei, Bandai, and Saban Brands. The characters and story of this work of fiction are the intellectual property of Mythril Moth. Do not repost without permission.