Cross Condor soared gracefully over the Pacific Ocean, two girls seated comfortably inside the cockpit.
"Your plane is very cool, Lamia-senpai!" Hatoko said.
Lamia blinked. "There's that word again."
"That weird word you used when we blew up the bug brothers."
Hatoko was confused for a moment; she put a finger to her lip, frowning in thought. Then, her eyes widened and she made a comical 'o' of realization with her mouth. "Oh! No, not is same. Back there, senTAI. Right here, senPAI." She pronounced the words slowly, carefully, and deliberately.
Lamia didn't bother to hide her confusion. "Oh. Uh...okay. So um...?"
Hatoko was quiet for a moment, simply staring at Lamia in confusion. Then, she realized the older girl was waiting for an explanation, and blushed. "Anou...senpai is person above. Like in higher class. Sentai is..." She frowned. "Is..." Shaking her head, she looked down at her lap, embarrassed. "I do not know words in English."
"It's okay, really."
//'Senpai' is someone who's in a higher station in life than you, like a senior coworker or an upperclassman,// the Director's voice spoke from Cross Condor's communications panel. //'Sentai' roughly means 'task force' or 'squadron'.// A pause. //Actually, it's a pretty good description of what you Rangers are.//
Lamia jumped in her seat. "Warn me next time you're gonna jump in like that!" she snapped at the comm panel. "Geez, give a girl a heart attack..."
//Sorry,// the Director chuckled.
"What's our ETA?" Lamia asked. "I'm still figuring out how to fly this thi—"
And that's when the right wing exploded.
"What the hell just happened?!" the Director shouted.
"Give me a minute!" A5 cried frantically. "It's...wait! It looks like it was one of those black spheres from the arch!"
"Aimed at Cross Condor in-flight?" the Director asked, half skeptically, half alarmed.
"I can't say for sure!" A5 said, moving from panel to panel examining wildly flashing readouts.
//—got a real problem here!// Lamia's voice shouted over a horrible screeching and roaring noise through a connection choked with static.
The Director paled.
"Go up! Go up!" Hatoko yelled frantically.
"It won't go up!" Lamia exclaimed. "We've lost a wing! How the hell did we lose a wing?"
The girls felt their stomachs lurch violently as Cross Condor began spinning as it dropped. Grunting, Lamia pulled hard on the yoke, desperate to level out their descent.
Two terrifying minutes later, the plane slammed into a sandy beach with a muffled thump.
"No crash?" Hatoko asked, looking up and peering out the cockpit windows.
"Lucky for us," Lamia said, shuddering. She toggled the communicator. "HQ? Come in, HQ?"
Nothing but static. Sighing, Lamia opened the cockpit. "We might as well figure out where we are..."
"I'd be happy to help with that," a rough, guttural voice growled. Lamia's head snapped around, and she gasped in horror at what she saw.
Hatoko poked her head up, took one look, screamed, and disappeared back into the plane.
What appeared to be a rotted, skinned corpse encased in a crimson metal exoskeleton stood on the beach, snarling at them. "This is where you will be buried for all time, Power Rangers!" A ball of crimson-and-black fire roared over their heads, the heat of its passage intense.
The girls looked at one another.
"Run?" Hatoko asked.
"Run," Lamia agreed, nodding.
Transforming as they jumped out of the plane, they broke into a fast sprint, the nightmarish monstrosity at their heels hurling deadly fireballs.
"Confirmed, there's an Arkhaider on that island where they went down!" A5 shouted. "Can't get a visual, there's too much interference in the datatrans systems!"
"Keep trying," the Director said sternly, hands clasped stiffly behind his rigid back. "And advise the other Agents of the emergency."
PowerRed, sword in hand, and PowerPink, blaster drawn and shaking in her trembling grasp, stood and faced the nightmarish monster bearing down on them.
"So, you are this world's protectors," the fiend snarled.
"That's right," Red replied. "And we've already taken out three of you things, so—"
"Yes, you have performed admirably against my soldiers. But you will not do so well against ME!"
Pink suddenly screamed and began firing wildly. Half of her shots missed wide; one actually hit the nightmarish monster, staggering him slightly. He growled and retaliated with an arc of black lightning which sent the younger Ranger flying, sparks and smoke erupting from her exosuit.
"HATOKO!" Red cried, alarmed. She leapt into the Arkhaider's line of fire, sword glowing. "CROSS—"
"I won't allow that!" the enemy roared, extending a freakish, metal-tipped hand. A wave of intense cold passed over PowerRed, and she could feel her entire body freezing over.
*We're...going to die...*
The freezing sensation ebbed, replaced by a warm, gentle wind surrounding her. She turned to see Pink standing nearby, a broad cone of shimmering pink wind streaming from the younger Ranger's blaster and enveloping her.
"Ah...thanks," she replied.
"Yokatta," Pink sighed with relief, withdrawing her weapon. She glanced nervously at the enemy, who was watching them with cold amusement, arms crossed.
"That you have survived my attacks for this long...actually impresses me," the monster rumbled. "It is almost a shame that I must destroy you."
"We're not going down without a fight!" Red shouted, shaking a fist. "This world isn't yours to do with as you please!"
"Oh, but it is!" the enemy laughed. "All worlds are ours to do with as we please. We are the supreme force in the universe! What can you pitiful, squirming wretches do to stop our advance?"
"Talks too much!" Pink shouted. "Ugly monster talks too much!"
Red paused, tilting her head. "This one IS awfully talkative. I mean, we've just been standing here not fighting for what, almost two whole minutes? What gives?"
"You are hardly a worthy battle if I do not allow you time to recover," the enemy rumbled. "And it has been a VERY long time since I have dealt with a formidable opponent directly."
Red took a step forward, pointing her sword at the skinless, blackened, hideous creature. "You're not a regular Arkhaider, are you?"
"No, human, I am not," he replied. Bowing, he introduced himself:
"I am Skullcaesar, Supreme General of the Archking's occupation forces. I have directed seven thousand successful campaigns. I have NEVER been defeated.
"And now, with your deaths, I will make that number seven thousand and one."
A5 had managed to clear up the datatrans link in time for everyone in the command room to hear PowerRed's question and Skullcaesar's speech.
"He's playing with them," the Director said angrily, slamming a fist on the command console. "That smug son of a bitch is PLAYING WITH THEM!"
"Do you think he's really...you know...their big leader?" A5 asked nervously.
"He sure enough sounds like a goddamn general," the Director replied acidly. "This is bad..."
"Ooooh, I hope the others get there in time," A5 said, running his hands through his wild hair. "Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi..."
Skullcaesar extended his right hand to his side. A column of shadowy flames formed in the air; it resolved into the shape of a massive, jagged black sword with a large, horned white skull adorning the hilt. "Now, let us battle!"
"Hatoko, stay back," PowerRed warned. Adjusting her grip on her sword, she charged the enemy, screaming a fierce battle cry.
"Senpai! You not fight alone!" PowerPink shouted. She summoned her Hurricannon and ran in a different direction, keeping her gaze fixed on Skullcaesar.
The general ignored her, concentrating on Red. Their swords met with a loud clang and a shower of sparks. "A duel it is, then," he snarled as he kicked her in the stomach, sending her flying.
Red leapt to her feet, then sprang high into the air, spinning; her sword became a whirling blur of death as she descended toward Skullcaesar. He blocked most of her strikes, but the sheer force of her spinning attack sent his sword flying from his hand. Sparks rose as the red blade bit into his metal fingers; with a roar, he lashed out with his left hand, raking his claws across Red's helmet as she landed. Smoke and sparks rose from her visor as she was thrown to the ground. Skullcaesar recovered his sword and approached her, raising the wicked black blade for a killing strike. "I thank you for the exercise," he said.
A vortex of pink wind lifted him off the ground before he could finish his opponent. He roared in fury as he was thrown high into the air.
Pink rushed over to her fallen ally, kneeling beside her. "Senpai! You okay?"
Groaning, Red rolled gingerly to her feet, head bowed. "Thanks, Hatoko," she said. "That was—LOOK OUT!"
The two Rangers rolled in opposite directions as Skullcaesar descended between them, an overhead slash burying his sword halfway to the hilt in sand. Red recovered from her roll and flipped toward her opponent, executing a double roundhouse kick that staggered him. Pink leapt in with her daggers drawn, trying to cut one of the tubes protruding from Skullcaesar's exoskeleton. She missed, but her daggers bit into the black flesh, causing the enemy general to cry out in pain.
"You...wretched...WORMS...!" Skullcaesar roared; his eyes flared bright, and a vortex of black wind erupted from him, buffeting the two Rangers and knocking them violently away. He extended his hands, palms flat, one pointed at each Ranger, and unleashed waves of pure black energy which surged over the two Rangers, raising showers of sparks and thick plumes of smoke from their exosuits as they writhed on the ground, crying out in agony.
PowerRed struggled to stand, clutching a hand to her chest. She was having trouble breathing, and black spots were dancing across her vision. Several feet away, PowerPink was in even worse shape; most of her exosuit was blackened and smoking, and she couldn't even manage to get one knee under her.
"Pathetic," Skullcaesar rumbled. He raised his sword, which began surging with black flames. "And now, the deathblow!"
A jet of rushing water struck the weapon, knocking it away.
A green energy beam traced across the alien general's face, staggering him and raising a shower of sparks.
Lastly, a crackling bolt of lightning slammed into his chest, knocking him flat on his back.
"What—?" Red wondered.
"Sorry we're late," a male voice spoke. Three figures in exosuits dropped to the ground between the monster and the two fallen Rangers.
Unlike Red and Pink, their exosuits were solid one-piece bodysuits, stretching from neck to foot, with the same matching boots and gloves. The Ranger clad in blue had a chevron-shaped belt buckle and two wide silver bands circling his helmet above a visor reminiscent of a shark's gaping maw. The yellow-suited Ranger's belt buckle was a four-pointed star; his visor was shaped like the head of a bull, and his helmet sported three bands. The final Ranger wore green, with a diamond-shaped belt buckle, four silver bands on his helmet, and a visor faintly evocative of a rhinoceros. In turn, the three Rangers began to pose.
Blue drew his lower right leg back at an angle perpendicular to his left, extended both arms straight to his sides, then spun in place, gracefully dropping into a tiger stance. "The surging tide that washes away evil! PowerBlue!"
Yellow planted both feet in a wide stance, twisting his body so that his right side faced the enemy. He raised his left hand slowly to the sky as though grasping at the sun, and pointed at his foe with the first two fingers of his right hand. "The wrath of God that splits the heavens! PowerYellow!"
Green crouched low, left leg extended straight to his side, arms crossed in front of his chest. He lowered his head like a charging animal, raising both arms above his head at forty-five degree angles and making claws with his fingers. "The messenger of the green Earth's pain! PowerGreen!"
As the trio made their introductory speeches and poses, the two girls managed to regain their footing, and joined their teammates.
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!"
Lastly, Red 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!"
Striking a group pose, they shouted in unison:
"Chosen by fate to defend all mankind! UNMEI SENTAI...POWER RANGERS!"
Skullcaesar tilted his head. "You humans...are strange."
"Three man?" Pink asked, studying the new arrivals.
"We're outnumbered," Red quipped.
"Are you two alright?" Green asked.
"Will be okay when we kill monster," Pink replied.
"Then what're we waiting for?" Blue shouted. A gleaming blue trident appeared in his hands. He spun it, pointed the head at Skullcaesar, and cried, "TIDAL SURGE!" The head of the trident exploded away from the shaft, propelled by a rushing jet of water. It spun as it flew like a rocket; Skullcaesar tried to deflect it but it evaded his sword and struck him in the shoulder, breaking loose one of the tubes. Sickly green fluid spurted from the damaged tube as it dangled limply.
Yellow produced a massive cannon. "VOLTAZER!" Three heavy, barbed steel hooks shot out from the end, trailing thick cables behind them. They sank into Skullcaesar's exposed flesh; arcs of electricity coursed over his body. The evil general twitched and screamed.
"Don't leave me out!" Green said. A green bazooka appeared in his hands, which fired a massive green energy blast at Skullcaesar. He was blown free of the hooks from Yellow's Voltazer, and staggered as he struggled to keep his footing.
"My turn!" A pink column of wind enveloped him, sending him skyward for the second time. He crashed heavily into the ground, raising a cloud of sand.
"Insolent..." Skullcaesar seethed as he struggled to stand. He looked up...
...into the visor of PowerRed, whose sword was glowing.
A massive fireball erupted from the point where Red's flaming cross attack struck Skullcaesar, throwing showers of sparks in all directions.
PowerRed turned her back to the explosion, crossing her arms. "Mission complete."
"We win! Yatta!" PowerPink cheered, jumping up and down happily.
"Wait..." PowerGreen said cautiously.
Skullcaesar stood up. Green fluid was gushing from his damaged tubing, and his exoskeleton was blackened and mangled. He clutched at his wounded shoulder, eyes blazing. "Power Rangers...I concede this battle to you. When next we meet...I will destroy you."
A black sphere descended from the sky, swallowing Skullcaesar. Before the Rangers could react, it zoomed away, a sonic boom ripping through the sky in its wake.
"Dammit...!" PowerRed hissed. "He got away!"
"It is okay," Blue said, walking up beside her and placing a hand on her shoulder. "We will finish him off next time."
The five Rangers looked at one another. "I suppose introductions are in order?" Green asked.
Blue unsnapped and removed his helmet, revealing handsome Spanish features, shoulder-length, wavy black hair, and bright green eyes. "Esteban Castille," he said. "I am from Barcelona."
Green removed his helmet. He had thick, wild red hair, a faint scrub of ginger beard, and a lot of freckles. "Forrest Pine. I'm from Canada."
Yellow removed his helmet. He was black, with short, stiff blonde-frosted hair and intense, dark eyes. "Jack Franklin, from Miami."
The girls were last to remove their helmets.
"Hatoko Momokaze. I am Japanese."
"Lamia Cruz, from Alameda, California." Lamia ran a gloved hand through her hair. "Okay, now that that's out of the way, we need to get back to base." She grimaced. "But first, we need to check on my plane. The Director's gonna kill me..."
The Rangers, having reverted to civilian form, made smalltalk and discussed what had happened over the last two days as they walked from the battleground to the shore. Lamia winced at the sight of Cross Condor, lying half-buried in the sand with a gaping hole in the wing. Nearby, at the water's edge, a gleaming blue submarine with obvious features of a shark floated serenely, while further up the beach, a bubblegum pink dove-themed helicopter sat waiting.
"The Director loaned us your chopper, Hatoko," Jack said. "You'll have to fly it back to base."
"Eh?!" Hatoko exclaimed. "I f—no, no, bakamitai! I no can fly!"
"It's easy to fly this one," Jack replied, placing a calming hand on her shoulder. "I'll ride shotgun and teach you, okay?"
Lamia sighed. "So I guess I'm riding with you guys in the shark, huh?"
"I am sorry, my shark cannot seat three," Esteban said. "You will have to ride in your plane while I tow it." He sounded truly apologetic.
"Okay, but somebody better ride with me," Lamia said, arms folded. "The radio's shot in this thing, and I'm not gonna spend the whole ride back to base without anybody to talk to."
"Sure thing," Forrest said with an easy smile.
"It'll be a slow ride back, but at least we have the time," Jack said.
Lamia sighed. "Okay, let's get it rigged up so we can go back to base."
As the Rangers worked on pushing the Condor so it could be towed and rigging the cables, Jack shook his head. "You said that Skull guy back there did this? By himself?"
"Yeah," Lamia replied. "Don't ask me how. Or how we survived fighting him, if he can do THAT."
"Obviously he had some sort of anti-aircraft weapon," Esteban said, shrugging.
"Trust me, when it comes to these Archons, there's nothing obvious," Lamia muttered.
All in all, it took nearly thirty minutes before the Power Rangers were limping slowly home in two and a half Mechanimals.
The Director, A5, and Johnson stood silently, solemnly, watching a replay of the Rangers' first team battle.
"They didn't have a chance, did they?" A5 asked quietly. "If that guy hadn't run away..."
"Tactical retreat," Johnson corrected. "He chose not to take a chance until he has an advantage. Trust me, he'll be back."
"Like I said, he ran way," A5 insisted.
"He's definitely their damned General," the Director said. "No question about it now. Still, it'd be better for Earth if the Rangers don't have to fight him again until they're a little more organized..."
"They did alright for just having met," A5 said.
"They got lucky. They need training."
Skullcaesar staggered into the operations chamber of the Arch, eyes burning angrily as streams of greasy green fluid spurted from the damaged tubing on his arm. He clutched at the wound on his shoulder, hissing in pain. Smoke was still curling from his damaged exoskeleton.
Snarling, he lumbered over to a motionless Arquilon at the rear of the room and, without any warning or preamble, grabbed its left arm and tore it off. The faceless grunt twitched and dropped to the ground. Ignoring it, Skullcaesar slammed his fist against a chromed plate on the back wall. With a hiss of air and steam, a large, grimy glass tank slid out of the wall. Skullcaesar stepped up into the tank, shoving the severed arm into a slot at the base as he did so, and angrily jammed a thick needle connected to a flexible black hose directly into his shoulder wound. He let out a frustrated hiss of pain; the tank slowly filled with slimy greenish-black muck, covering him to nearly eye level.
*Those blasted Rangers shall PAY for this.*
"Good...even in this dimension, the power to protect lives exists."
From high above the Earth, a red-clad figure watched as the five chosen heroes assembled. The shining light of the planet below reflected off the gleaming red visor of his helmet.
"I'll watch just a bit longer...just to make sure they're okay." Arms folded, he nodded to himself. "Fight hard, Unmei Sentai Power Rangers! You are this world's one and only Super Sentai!"
Ranger Profile: P02 "PowerBlue"
Name: Esteban Castille
Occupation: Marine biology student
A university student from Barcelona, studying marine biology. Esteban enjoys spending time in the water, loves to scuba dive, and is knowledgeable about a wide variety of things. He tends to be rather popular with girls.
Weapons: Aqua Blaster, Surge Trident, Wave Cannon
Mechanimal: Chevron Shark
Next time: The Archons step up their attack! What—?! The monsters are growing?!
The next report: "Five Are One! Assemble, PowerMega!" 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.