Episode 1: Cyber Op Energize, Part 1 Written by Aaron Thall
Begin Mission Log.
Place: Reality 4510-231, Washington, D.C.
Time: 2117, 8:21 PM, Day unknown.
The area is desolate, nearly devoid of life. The skies are black, filled with blood red clouds and lightning without thunder. The only noticeable movement comes from dozens of bizarre red robots with faces not unlike demons. They are the Dreads, merciless fighting machines, the legions of the dread interdimensional dictator Kalask. Methodically, they comb the desolation that had only hours before been a battlefield. The defenders had been brave, many, and virtuous; Kalask had wiped them out in less than three months. Now, only a small number of freedom fighters remained. They knew their cause was lost for this reality. The Dreads were searching, killing the survivors one by one. The resistance was desperate... and they had a plan.
Daniel: Quiet! The Dreads are coming this way. We can't stop Kalask, but maybe someone else can.
Daniel whispers this harshly as he ducks behind a disabled tank. He's bleeding badly, and carrying a submachinegun under one arm. His clothes are tatters and he has a wild look in his eyes. He looks around carefully and motions for his two compatriots to join him.
The first is Kevin Jacob, an older man who just looks tired, resigned to fate. He moves with the knowledge that he is only moments away from his death. His features are gaunt, haunted. He too carries a machine gun, although he doubts he'll ever have good use for it.
The second is a far cry from either man, a ten year old girl of Indian descent, her dark features and slanted eyes not hiding the saddened innocence of the child upon whom so much rests. She wears a torn yellow T-shirt and blue jeans, and wears a small knapsack upon her back. She cautiously adjusts the straps before joining the two men. Her name is Anya Maize.
Daniel: Anya, are you ready?
Anya nods sadly, but resolutely.
Anya: I am, but are you sure that this is the only way?
Kevin: We're both sure, kiddo. The damn bastard's goons've already turned the planet into a cinder... there's no going back. If we're gonna stop him, it ain't gonna be here.
They duck down suddenly as Dreads skulk past, then start moving again once the robots are out of sight. They are moving steadily towards a central tower in the midst of the desolation... the headquarters of Kalask. It is an ugly thing, a bizarre, surreal mix of ancient and future technology, combined to create a sense of eerie menace and evil.
Daniel: We've got one chance to do this right. Time to get moving.
Daniel goes over to Anya and pulls a small device from her pack. He presses a couple buttons and throws it as far away from them and the tower as possible. There is a tense moment of silence as it hits the ground and bounces... once... twice... and then erupts into a fireball that would not have seemed out of place in the bowels of hell itself. The reaction of the Dreads is immediate as they rush to investigate the explosion. Daniel, Kevin, and Anya see this and dash for the tower, not stopping for anything. Anya, dispite her young age and heavy load, manages to keep up. Once they reach the side of the tower, Daniel picks another weapon from Anya's pack and attaches it to a wall. He presses a sequence of buttons... and the entire tower sparks before it's lights go out.
Kevin: The scrambler worked! We've got five minutes to pull off a miracle.
Daniel: So stop gabbing and come on.
Daniel points towards a side entrance less then ten yards down the wall. The three sprint towards it. Once they reach it, Kevin and Daniel grab the door and strain to pull it open. Slowly, since it has no power, the heavy door relents, allowing the three access. However, this has taken almost a minute of their precious window of safety. Behind the door is a long passageway leading to both an elevator and stairs.
Anya: Which way?
Kevin: Stairs. Elevator's still down from the scrambler, and it'd be watched anyway. Instant deathtrap.
Daniel: Agreed. Let's move.
Anya nods silently and follows the two men as they go up the stairs as rapidly as they can. They are all painfully aware of their time running out. The stairs eat up their time faster than they would like.
Daniel: Damnit! Thirty seconds left!
Anya: But... that means he'll see us!
Kevin: Knew this wasn't gonna work...
Daniel: MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!
The three bolt down the hallway, but the seconds quickly run out. Alarms blare the moment the time is up, and a terrifying roar is heard.
Kevin: I know that sound. It's Munch. Get going. I'll hold him off as long as I can.
Anya: But he'll kill you! You can't stay!
Kevin: I do, or we're all dead. GET GOING!
Daniel nods and grabs Anya's right arm, pulling her with him. They both watch as a wall panel slides open, revealing a large cybernetic creature that is only vaguely humanoid. It's Munch, a monster possessing a mouth larger than most of his torso, complete with serrated steel teeth. His eyes lock onto Kevin and he seems to chuckle.
Munch: First you, then your friends. I'm a very hungry guy, you know!
Kevin nods slightly.
Kevin: First you gotta get past me, and that's not gonna happen.
With no further warning, Kevin opens fire with his machine gun, spraying Munch with a barrage of armor piercing bullets. Munch roars in anger and pain as the bullets dent his metal parts and draw odd yellow blood from his flesh wounds. None of the bullets go far enough to kill.
Kevin: DIE! WHY WON'T YOU DIE?
Munch: Give me a reason to!
Munch advances on Kevin as he continues peppering the monster with bullets. The barrage continues for fifteen more seconds before the weapon begins dry-firing.
Munch: Awww... All outta ammo? TOO BAD!
With an inhuman roar, Munch storms forward and chomps down on Kevin's gun, as well as much of his upper arm. Kevin screams in agony and tries to pull free, but Munch's mouth has far too strong a grip for simple human strength to ever hope to break. With evil glee, Munch grabs Kevin and pulls him closer.
Munch: Dinner time.
Anya watches from a distance, horrified, as we hear a terrible crunch, followed by several sounds best left to the imagination. Daniel, instead of watching, grabs her by the arm and pulls her along.
Daniel: He knew the risks. Do you really wanna make his sacrifice be for nothing?
Anya shakes her head.
Anya: Where are we going again?
Daniel: Our inside man told us that Kalask uses some kinda interdimensional warp to go from one reality to another, if you believe that. Honestly, I'm starting to. The way we all figure, we're gonna lose here, but another reality might be able to stop the bastard if they're warned long enough in advance.
They rush down the corridor. Once they reach a thick metal door, Daniel hits the intercom next to it.
Daniel: We're here. Let us in, Rick.
Rick: You got it.
The metal door slides open, revealing a high tech laboratory, complete with a small white platform. Rick motions for them to hurry inside. Rick is dressed in a red and black uniform with the insignia of Kalask's forces on the right breast and the back. His blue eyes and blonde hair help him to look more like a Nazi than a resistance sympathizer.
Rick: You know we're probably about to die, right?
Daniel: Kevin already found that out.
Rick: ...Oh god... I'm sorry... If I'd only known...
Anya: HE'S COMING!
She points out the door towards Munch, who is walking their way with a small army of Dreads. Munch's teeth are stained red.
Munch: DREADS! GET THEM ALL!
The Dreads nod and start charging forward. Daniel levels his gun and begins sweeping the corridor like a bad action hero.
Daniel: RICK! GET TO WORK! I'll keep 'em back!
Rick says nothing but begins pressing buttons. The white platform glows with unnatural energy
Anya: But... You haven't told me the plan yet!
Rick: You ARE the plan, Anya. Get on the platform, and take this.
Rick quickly hands her a data disk.
Anya: What do you mean =I'M= the plan?
Daniel: HURRY UP! I'm running out of bullets!
Bullets strike the Dreads and Munch. Several Dreads fall, but many more are only dented. The mouths of two begin to glow for a moment, and then spit flames. Daniel ducks under the fire and continues his barrage.
Rick: Kalask's scientists have been searching other realities. I'm sending you to the one with the best chance of mounting a successful defense. The one he's been looking for all along. You have to warn them and prepare them for the invasion.
Anya: But... I can't do this alone!
Rick: YOU HAVE TO! Setting coordinates now...
A monitor flashes to another reality's California, before targeting a military base on the coast.
Daniel: This is it!
Daniel's gun begins dry firing.
Daniel: SEND HER NOW!
A Dread fires it's flamejets, and Daniel's sleeve is set ablaze. He screams as Munch runs forward and grabs him. Rick sees Anya moving to help him, and quickly motions for her to stay where she is.
Rick: DON'T MOVE! You get off the platform, and everyone loses!
Anya: DANIEL! RICK! DON'T-
Before Anya can finish her protest, Rick hits the button and the self destruct simultaneously. As she fades away, a scream of horror in her throat, she sees Munch bite down on Daniel as Dreads and Rick are caught in a violent eruption. Then it all fades away to white...
Location: Prime Reality, Fort Myers, Horizon, California Time: Five seconds after Anya's disappearance from her reality.
Anya's scream of horror returns as she reappears atop the desk of General Phillip Sauder of the United States Army. Sauder is the quintessential military man, gruff, hard-nosed, tough to surprise. Anya's sudden appearance, however, surprises him.
Sauder: WHAT THE HELL? How'd you get here?
Hesitantly, but quickly recovering, Anya steps forward. Sauder can see pain and terror in her eyes. And more... A hardness that has no place in the eyes of a young girl. He forces himself to calm down and look her dead on.
Anya: I...I came to warn you...
Anya holds up the data disk Rick gave her.
Anya: Kalask is coming...
Location: S.P.D. Command Base, Newtech City Time: Two months later.
The room is shadowed, with only one light above a fancy oak table. In the center of the is a picture of Anya, a picture of the devastation to her reality, and a picture of a man wearing a mask like that of a Chinese dragon. Sitting at the table are General Sauder, Kat Manx, and Supreme Commander Doggie Cruger.
Cruger: Sauder, you can confirm that all the claims are true?
Sauder: Affirmative, sir. The information has been poured over, the girl questioned, and both analyzed. There is no doubt in my mind that it is all true. This Kalask is indeed going to arrive, according to the disk, in approximately nine years. We have that long to prepare for the bastard.
He picks up the picture of the man in the mask
Sauder: This is Kalask. From what the girl told us, he conquers entire realities one by one, looking for the prime reality... OUR reality. If he conquers us, the entire multiverse will be forfeit. We need to devise a strategy and weaponry that can combat his cyborgs, robots, and monsters. The girl's unofficially our best expert on what the bastard's capable of. If we're going to be ready, we'll need her.
Cruger: Kat, what do you think? Can S.P.D. handle this Kalask?
Kat shakes her head, frustrated
Kat: Unfortunately, this Kalask apparently scouts realities ahead of his invasions. All of S.P.D.'s current technology is widely known, and even though we have nearly a decade to prepare, there's no guarantee that he wouldn't be able to anticipate it simply by extrapolating on existing data. In addition, it's been ages since the planet's even needed active Rangers. You yourself transferred most of our Earth operations off planet forty years ago.
Cruger: True... There are other active elements out there... The Wildzords of Animaria, the Aquitian Rangers, even the Gold Ranger of Triforia or King Dex of Edinoi... But Kalask will learn all of their strengths and weaknesses before he begins.
Kat: And because of that, he'll be ready for them.
Sauder: The one that told me all of this... The girl... She said that her Earth's protectors didn't even last a day. Said they were something like the Avenging Sociey of Justice or something like that. Kalask wiped them out effortlessly in a single strike. In my assessment... We need something... someONE... new.
Kat: What he's suggesting makes sense. A new approach, one that Kalask can't forsee... It just might work.
Cruger: I agree. The time for talk has ended. Now, it's a time for action. Sauder, I leave this in your hands. Unfortunately, I'm needed back at headquarters for the forseeable future.. You started this, you're in charge of stopping this maniac before he destroys the planet. Any resources you require will be at your disposal, including Anya Maize. Recruit whomever you have to, but make sure you stop him. And I want to be kept briefed on everything involving this situation, is that understood?
Sauder: Yes sir. In fact, I believe I already know who my next recruits should be...
Sauder lifts up a laptop and opens it up, revealing an article from a news report. He puts it onto the table. The headline reads "Twin Junior Scientists Banned for Controversial Inventions".
Location: The William Cranston Institute of Science, Angel Grove, California Time: Two days later, 10 am Pacific Standard Time
The building itself looks as though it came out of the Jetsons. It's only true adornment is a lifesize golden statue depicting it's founder in his Blue Ranger uniform. Inside the Administrator's office, we can hear the tail end of a heated discussion that isn't going well for it's two youngest participants.
Wendy: What do you mean we can't come here anymore? We met all the requirements!
Matt: We admit that our teleportation unit requires some fine tuning, but it's only a matter of time before we make it fully functional. And you do have to admit that our psionic computer accessing system does work!
The door to the Administrator's office opens to show the official dragging two ten year old children out. One is a boy with brown hair, neatly combed. He wears a purple T-shirt and blue shorts. His name is Matt Venturas. The girl is his twin sister, Wendy Venturas, possessing equally brown hair. She wears a pink tank top and gray sweatpants. The official is a most exasperated young man, no older than thirty, but mentally swearing that the Venturas Twins are going to lead him to an early grave.
Official: All I'll admit is that your idiotic laser gun blew up our terrarium! Now get out! BOTH OF YOU!
The twins sigh, dejectedly, and start walking towards the storage area to collect their inventions.
Wendy: So what now? We can make these inventions work, but no one will ever give us a chance, just because we're kids...
Matt: It may not help that we took our cues from that Rangers inspired ripoff they used to air on TV... What was it? Super Changing Lightning Commandos?
Wendy: giggling Something like that...
They continue their small talk as they walk down the corridor, mostly to avoid talking about where to go from here. They reach the storage area, but as Matt reaches to open it, the door suddenly swings open, revealing General Sauder.
Sauder: Are you Matt and Wendy Venturas?
The twins nod, surprised.
Sauder: Excellent. I've read up on both of you. Some impressive accomplishments for a couple kids, the incident with the teleporter aside.
Wendy: Ummm... Sir? Who are you exactly?
Sauder: I'm the government, and the two of you may be the best hope this universe has to go on living.
The Twins blink, surprised by that statement.
Sauder: I've had my eye on you for a while now. Brillaint but undiciplined... And there's that OTHER complication the two of you share...
Both children swallow hard. He knows their secret.
Sauder: You can relax. I'm not here because of that. No, I'm here to give you the chance to create whatever your imaginations can dream up. Unlimited resources, a state of the art laboratory... I've already cleared this with your parents as well. Are you interested?
The Twins exchange looks. Matt, a bit more hesitant, says nothing. Wendy, however, looks up at the General.
Wendy: Are you SURE you can't just adopt us?
Location: Hill Park Mall, Horizon, California Time: Eight years later.
Scene opens on an S.P.D. recruitment center. Lots of propaganda posters (including one stating that "The Shadow Ranger Wants YOU!"), fancy inside, but functionally so. The main difference is an offer notice in the window offering free college scholarships, and only for trying out for a series of tests. We see an 18 year old girl glancing at and then away from the recruitment office. She's obviously trying to make a decision about the offer, but is thinking entirely too much, frightening her to no end. She's a petite build, blonde with blue eyes, her hair short and straight with bangs. Her name is Cindy Cook.
In the distance we hear the usual mall sounds as two young men walk towards the exit, which is right next to the recruitment office. One of the men is Jeremy Simms, the typical brown haired, brown eyed kind of guy, complete with a good build. He's wearing a red shirt and denim jeans. His companion is Walter Jenkins, an African American with short hair. He's wearing white canvas pants and a green tanktop.
Walter: I'm telling you, Jer, it wasn't your fault that things fell through with... what was her name?
Jeremy: June, Walter. Her name was June.
Walter: shrugs See, she's already being forgotten. You gotta relax, man, chill out and cut loose. There's a world full of women who'd just die to be with a guy like you.
Jeremy: And your point...? She wasn't just any girl... We were together for three years... And now she's gone and moved back to Alabama. Chances are I'll never see her again.
Walter: So fly free, buddy. Scour the river of love. Think Cassanova. Or the Beatles. Hell, just go to the top of the heap... Think ME.
Jeremy shakes his head incredulously.
Jeremy: Man, you are nuts!
Walter: I know. It helps.
Jeremy: Okay, forget nuts, go right to impossible.
The door to the recruitment center opens wide to reveal a young Latino man with a casual athletic build and spiky hair with blonde tips. He's wearing a black shirt with a blue jacket and matching pants. He is Jake Taylor. He wears a perennial superior smirk on his face as he walks towards the two.
Jake: No. Not impossible. Try incomprehensible. Just like his belief that he's God's gift to women everywhere.
Walter: (sardonically) Always a pleasure, Jake... So, what rock did you crawl out from under today?
Jake: Oh, I didn't come out from under a rock, but I'll happily help you find a boulder so you can bury yourself for the good of all humanity.
Walter: Shouldn't be a problem with all the rocks in your head.
Jake: You have any one-liners that DON'T have moss growing on them?
Cindy cautiously moves towards them. Walter and Jack don't notice as they trade venomous barbs, but Jeremy sees her out of the corner of his eye.
Walter: So, why were you in there motions towards the center with a thumb anyway? Signing up for the tests where they see if apes really CAN write novels? It'd be right up your alley. Except for the writing part. Mad Libs are more your speed...
Jake: If you MUST know, and mind you, I'm using words with few syllables so you'll understand me, I just find it preferable to deal with a few minor "tests" than do like you do, by practicing the phrase "Do you want fries with that?"
Walter: I work at Jungle Karma Pizza.
Jake: I know. I figure it's easier to get through college not covered in grease and oil, and a full scholarship just for trying this thing is a real sweet deal.
Jeremy moves away from the exchange and edges towards Cindy, who sees him coming and looks away. Undeterred and curious, Jeremy walks over to her.
Jeremy: Ummm... Excuse me... Are you all right?
Cindy: hesitates, then slowly, quietly, answers Y-yes...
Jeremy: I don't bite, if that's what you're worried about.
Cindy: laughs dispite herself No... No, it's not that... I... I'm just... too shy for my own good.
Jeremy: Why? There's no reason to be afraid. motions towards the still verbally sparring Jake and Walter Those two don't bite either, although I think Jack might be rabid...
Cindy: Actually... I've been trying to convince myself to go in there for the last hour...
Jeremy looks and realizes she's referring to the same Recruitment Center that Jake came out of.
Jeremy: Okay, I'm confused. If you're so shy, why consider signing up?
Cindy: It's... not that I want to... But my parents can't afford to send me to college, and they really want me to go, and when I saw the offer in the window...
Jeremy: Too good an offer to pass up, but you're afraid of looking bad if you mess up?
Jeremy: Okay, tell you what... I'll sign up with you and make sure you do okay.
Cindy: blinks, clearly not expecting this kind of support from a total stranger You don't have to do that.
Jeremy: I want to. I was raised to always help a lady in distress.
Cindy: blushes Th-thanks.
Jeremy: No problem... Errr... I didn't catch your name.
Cindy: I'm... I'm Cindy.
Jeremy: Jeremy. Pleased to meet you, Cindy.
Cindy: smiles So, are those two friends of yours always like that?
Jeremy: Yep... looks and sees that Jake and Walter are gone. HEY! Where'd they go?
The door opens to reveal Jake and Walter, still arguing as they walk through it.
Jeremy: ...Walter? YOU signed up?
Walter: Yep, if only to show Jake Ass here some REAL moves.
Jake: Oh, real clever... rolls eyes Like this is really gonna be a challenge. I mean, how hard could it possibly be?
Location: Fort Myers, Horizon, California Time: 24 hours later.
Close-up of a white gloved fist as it swings just over the ducking helmet of the Blue Cyber Ranger. Cyber Blue instinctively follows up with an attempted thrust punch to his attacker's shoulder, but she twists of of the way and turns to face him once more. She, for the record, wears a matching pink costume. Cyber Pink chuckles.
Cyber Pink: Almost got me that time.
Cyber Blue: Then I'll just have to try harder then, won't I?
The costumes, at first glance, seem similar to the Zeo Rangers' uniforms, mostly a single color, and with a collar area designed to look like yellow and black circuitry, complete with 8-bit inspired boarders. Their belts are silver, but with a microchip designed belt buckle. Their white gloves and boots's trim are binary code... The same is true for the trim on Cyber Pink's skirt. Holstered for now on each of them are two weapons... The first is a wicket high tech dagger sculpted to resemble the number one, and the other is an unusual blaster sculpted of green crystal. The helmets, identical save for color, each have VR visors built in and a mouthpiece sculpted on as well. All in all, there's no denying that the next generation of Power Rangers would definitely look the part.
Taking initiative, Cyber Blue unsheathes his dagger. In response, Cyber Pink does the same for her blaster.
Cyber Pink: No. Succeeding would be the ONLY acceptable response!
She fires without warning. Cyber Blue dives to the left and comes up in a roll before leaping into the air and slashing at his opponent. She sees the move coming and leaps over the blade, landing behind him. Cyber Blue follows through on his slash by turning around to continue it's arc, even as Cyber Pink turns as well. They each face each other, his blade millimeters from her visor, and her blaster, tip glowing, the same distance from his own helmet.
Cyber Blue: It seems to be another draw.
Cyber Pink: Well, what else is new?
Both step away from each other and holster their weapons before bowing to one another. Watching this entire display are Jeremy, Jake, Walter, Cindy, and many other potential recruits.
Jeremy: That was amazing... They had to have practiced for years to be that good...
Walter: Any idea what the girl looks like?
Cindy: SSHHHHH! Something's happening...
Jake: stifles a bored yawn and leans back
The two Rangers walk off the stage as a loudspeaker clicks on. Over the speaker is the voice of General Sauder.
Sauder: You have seen how good you will need to be to pass the first test. You will be escorted to the training area momentarily. Only the very best will go on from there. The rest will be sent home, and we thank you for taking the time to do this.
Walter: raising an eyebrow Dude sounds about as friendly as an eel... which pretty gives him one up on Jake over there...
Cindy: This... is really intense... I mean, I took some karate back in high school, but this... I mean, those two went at it for TWENTY MINUTES. And they barely broke a sweat! And... And they were Rangers! Real live Power Rangers! There haven't been any Rangers for almost a century!
Jeremy: Relax. Just do your best, Cindy. That's all anyone could ask of any of us.
The doors to the auditorium open and the volunteers begin filing out. The trio joins the crowd. Jake, typically, lags behind so he can be fashionably late. As they walk down the hall, they all notice just how many areas are restricted on the base. The personnel are all visibly tense, as if expecting an emergency at a moment's notice. Jeremy just keeps his eyes focused on the large doors ahead, no doubt leading to where they would all see if they had what it took. Once everyone else has gone in, Jake casually strolls down the corridor and stops in front of the wide open doors. He turns and looks at the nearest guard.
Jack: ...Do you have any soda machines around here?
The guard just glares at him
Jake: I'll take that as a no... walks inside
Inside, Jake sees the various testing apparatus, an eclectic mix of standard endurance testing machines and high-tech monitors that look like they'd be at home in some futuristic cartoon series.
Jake: Okay, so maybe this is MODERATELY impressive...
Walter: Can't you just shut up and be stunned speechless like the rest of us?
A large door slides open at the far end of the room, and three people step out. One is General Sauder himself. Flanking him are two young scientists in white lab coats holding monitoring devices and clipboards. Their name tags both read "Venturas". It is indeed the twins, older now, but not really changed in appearance.
General Sauder: My name is General Sauder. You will address me as General, or Sir, whichever you prefer. These are this project's chief scientists, Wendy and Matt Venturas. They are the ones who will determine who stays... he looks at Jake specifically And who goes.
Jake: ignores Sauder and focuses on Wendy Woah... She is... WOW... Maybe if I put on some of that old Taylor Charm...
Walter: Stick with Old Spice... Yeesh...
Sauder: If there are no further questions... BEGIN the test.
Insert montage of the characters going through several tests. First, a strength test. Jeremy scores second highest, Walter slightly edging him. Jake gives his all for a solid third. Others goes, and Cindy finds herself solidly in the middle, belatedly realizing she's the only girl to sign up for this opportunity. Next comes the endurance test. Each cast members take their turn on a g-force simulator. Several participants take one look and turn green. Jake goes first, and lasts three minutes. Jeremy lasts three minutes, five seconds, and Walter just under three minutes. Cindy, surprisingly, outlasts them all at three minutes, fifteen seconds. Next comes a memory test. Jake scores highest, Jeremy and Walter tying. Cindy is too conservative, and her scores are average. Then there is a Chinese puzzlebox. Jeremy finishes first, Cindy a close second. Jake and Walter compete with each other so much that instead of finishing the task at hand, they're ready to hit each other with their boxes when the timer sounds.
Cindy: ...Do you guys EVER stop?
Jake and Walter: NO.
Off to the side, General Sauder and the twins watch the four especially. Matt silently makes notes in his pad while Wendy types in the latest data. Sauder, however, remains still, seemingly focusing on everyone at once, but paying special attention to Jake and Cindy...
Wendy: All right... And phase one is complete. We now ask that the following participants return to the waiting area, and we thank you for your time. She rattles of a list of names, those people slowly leaving the room.
Sauder: Why send those people away?
Matt: I can answer that, Sir. Those are the ones who got sick on the G-Accelerator. If they couldn't handle that, they certainly don't have what you need.
Sauder: nods imperceptibly Good thinking. All right. All those who remain, the time has come to test your fighting skills. Only a handful of you will make it beyond this point. The rest will return to the waiting room, where you will then be shuttled off back to your homes.
Surprised mutterings fill the room, until Sauder clears his throat.
Matt: You will split into pairs designated by the monitor on the wall. Your goal is to incapacitate your opponent as quickly as possible with as little injury to yourself as you can manage. You will be graded according to effectiveness in the following categories: Agility, skill, injuries sustained, injuries delivered, time elapsed, and focus. The battles will begin in two minutes, so take what time you have to prepare.
The monitor on the wall flares to life, reflecting the data. Oddly, Cindy is not listed. Jeremy and Cindy exchange glances, before Cindy walks over to the three overseers.
Cindy: Ummm... Excuse me... Err... Sir.. But why didn't I get listed?
Wendy: That was my doing, I'm afraid. I didn't think it would be appropriate to subject you to this section of the test, considering we already have all the women we will need for our purposes.
Cindy starts to relax, oddly relieved.
Sauder: However, we DO have need of a female alternate, in case one of our female recruits doesn't make the cut. YOU are that alternate, and that means you don't NEED to go any further.
Matt: I concur. You've shown a great deal of promise so far, although you seem to hesitate when you should instinctively react. Still, I do not believe that will be too detrimental, and it can certainly be worked upon and improved.
Wendy: And if you DO feel the need to try... I'd certainly be willing to spar with you.
Cindy: You can fight?
Wendy: You didn't seem so surprised when Matt and I sparred in the auditorium.
Cindy: Waitaminute... That was YOU? And YOU?
The twins nod. Wendy smirks, amused by the reaction.
Cindy: slight smile Won't JAKE be surprised...
A buzzer sounds, and six battles begin. Another montage starts as we see Jake quickly kick his opponent in the face enough to stagger the other man, then sweep his leg out, kicking hard enough to bruise bone. A second fight, with two men we have not met, goes several minutes until a sucker punch lays the smaller man low. A similar story occurs with the four other unknowns, one tearing a ligament while another just gives up, too hurt to move. Walter and Jeremy, waste no time with their battles, ducking under swings they saw coming miles away and attack, Jeremy karate chopping his opponent in the ribs, while Walter accidentally brakes his opponent's clavicle.
Sauder: I've seen enough. Those of you who are injured, you will be taken to our medical unit and excused. To all participants, the military thanks you for your cooperation. Miss Venturas, have you made your determinations as to who will continue on?
Wendy: I have, Sir. Please step forward as your name is called. Simms, Jeremy. Jenkins, Walter. Taylor, Jake. Cook, Cindy. That is all.
The three men exchange glances as they step forward, Jake wearing a superior smirk. They walk forward and join Cindy as the rest filter out.
Sauder: Follow me, and I'll explain as we go.
Sauder turns to leave, the twins falling in step behind him. Confused, the four follow warily.
Jake: So... Candy, right?
Jake: Whatever. What'd you learn about the Brain Babe?
Cindy: Only that you probably shouldn't call her that to her face.
Sauder: No talking. Listen and listen well. The four of you did pretty good under normal circumstances, but what I am about to tell you is a top military secret, one that makes anything you have ever imagined before seem tame. This installation is the primary staging ground for a planetary defense against the arrival of invading forces from another reality. You have been selected to participate in exercises that will further the defense of this planet. Each of you has been screened by several agencies, including the World Government and SPD, and each of you has gotten the nod.
Jeremy: ...Invaders from another reality?
Walter: Great shades of Flash Gordon...
Sauder: I said no talking. When I am finished, you may ask whatever you wish, and then decide if you are willing to accept the mission. The twins here have developed technology and weapons which will be used to combat the coming threat, but feel that straightforward military tactics would be ineffective, a notion seconded by the one who informed us of the threat. Should you accept this responsibility, you would be granted access to this technology as a part of a special military unit codenamed Cyber V.
Wendy: Mr. Simms, you scored overall highest, so you have been selected to be Cyber Red. Mr. Jenkins, you will be Cyber Green. My brother Matt is Cyber Blue, and I am Cyber Pink. Miss Cook, Mr. Taylor, you are both selected to be alternates; in the event that any recruit is unable to fulfill their duties, you would step in to replace them.
Jake: ...ALTERNATE? I'M A STINKING PINCH HITTER?
Matt: You were originally slated for dismissal, Mr. Taylor. However, the General felt you had potential and overrode our recommendations. We also have accessed your school records and spoken to your teachers, Miss Cook. You show great potential, and it is my sincerest hope that we do not require your services... no offense...
Cindy: None taken...
Jake: narrows his eyes. He does NOT like Matt... Not at all. Then, he pauses and gawks at Wendy. Wait... That Pink Ranger was YOU?
Jake: swallows hard. Whoops.
Sauder: I have urgent business to see to. The twins will finish your tour. Make sure they see everything they need to.
Matt and Wendy: Yes, Sir! they salute, showing a professionalism that only nine years serving the military could create
Sauder nods and heads down a corridor adjacent to the one the group is walking down. He is gone in seconds.
Matt: Obviously, the task at hand is a dangerous one. To that end, the final member of our little band is waiting for us all at the end of this corridor. I warn you now, she can be a little intense, but she has good reason to be, as will you all.
Jeremy: Who is she?
Wendy: The last survivor of a reality not unlike our own, who came here to warn us of the impending threat. She will be both your guide to the menace, and your teammate. Ah, here we go...
Wendy reaches a door with a keycard access. She slides her access badge through, and the light turns green. The door slides open and she motions for the four to enter. They walk in, cautiously, the twins following last. Inside, waiting, standing straight, tall, and serious as you could imagine, is Anya, now nine years older, fully matured, and ready to save the world.
Anya: It is good that you have come at last, for the enemy will soon be here... His name... is Kalask.
Location: Shadow Claw, Dimensional Limbo Time: Not Applicable
The Shadow Claw appears, wavering in and out of existence. It will typically do this, since it is in contact with so many conquered realities simultaneously. Like the tower from earlier, it is a bizarre and frightening mix of technology from past, present, and future, with odd variations taken from various realities, resembling a castle shaped to look like a skeletal clawed hand.
Kalask: Attend to me, my minions. The time to conquer the Prime Reality has finally arrived.
The throneroom, by contrast, is very advanced techwise, but in a terrifying way. The walls are covered with trophies of conquests... severed heads on plaques, destroyed weaponry, tattered remains of colorful costumes (including a red, blue, and yellow caped uniform, which shall remain nameless), and even photographs of desolation, each trophy marked with it's reality designation. The throne itself is patterned after those used by oriental emperors, golden with jewels embedded in it, an elaborate dragon design carved into the back. It's back faces the camera, hiding Kalask from view as the lights turn on.
Kalask: COME FORTH! THRAK!
A chamber door slides open, revealing what at first seems to be a caveman/troglodyte hybrid, but, on closer inspection, is shown to have many cybernetic enhancements, including a metallic warclub that hides many weapons. A metallic arm flexes, motors in it whirring powerfully. His cybernetic blood red eyes looks around, ever ready for danger from any quarter. He growls softly, annoyed to only be a subordinate. It is obvious from the way he carries himself that he wants more from his life, and longs for the day when it shall be his turn.
Thrak: I am here, my lord. bows, reluctantly, but respectfully.
Kalask: As you should be. COME FORTH! MIDNAI!
The air on Thrak's immediate left shimmers and wavers, coalescing into a small oriental woman with high cheekbones. Draped in elaborate black and purple robes, she is dwarfed by Thrak, but her mere presence exudes power, marking her a dangerous woman indeed.
Midnai: As always, I am prepared to serve you, Lord Kalask.
Kalask: Excellent. In the coming battle, your talents may indeed prove useful. COME FORTH! EMERALDE!
From the shadows comes a slight figure that appears to be a teenaged Japanese girl, but may well be far more. It is, however, impossible to tell, since she is covered head to toe in the traditional garb of the ninja, tinted emerald green. Her mask hides her features, only showing the bridge of her nose and her eyes, which are slanted and accented with oddly colored makeup. She wears a powerful looking kitana on her back, sheathed in a scabbard equally elaborate as her master's throne.
Emeralde: What would you wish of me, Master?
Kalask: voice taking on a pleasantly amused tone Patience, Child. I am not quite ready to give you your instructions. no longer amused COME FORTH! TEM-TAR!
Lowering from the ceiling comes Tem-Tar, his features grotesquely elongated and sickly yellow, with bizarre red marks on his face. His pointy ears highlight a bald head. His 8 inch nails clack together, as though they were blades being sharpened, and various medallions hung from his clothes, making note of his accomplishments.
Tem-Tar: I am present, my Liege.
Kalask: Good. Very good. As you are all painfully aware, our quest to find the Prime Reality has long borne little fruit, save to gather you all to me, the most powerful of the greatest conquered realities. But no longer. The Prime Reality has been found, and the time has come to claim it.
Thrak: YES! I shall do it for you, Lord!
Emeralde: Indeed, these fools should prove no challenge!
Tem-Tar: Do not be so sure. In many realities we have encountered both military resistance, as well as costumed do-gooders. While those exist here as well, nothing says they will fall as easily as those from the past. Besides... there is the small matter of them knowing we are coming...
Kalask: ENOUGH! roars the word
Kalask's throne turns around, allowing us to see Kalask in person for the first time. As the photo earlier revealed, he wears an elaborate Chinese dragon mask that completely hides his features. However, the mask is only a small part of the armor that covers his entire body, also mimicking the dragon, and highlighted by twin bladed gauntlets on his arms, each also possessing some sort of cannons. He is fearsome to behold, partially for his appearance, partially for his power, and certainly for his rage.
Kalask: I have not forgotten your folly of years past, Tem-Tar, allowing that resistance member to escape into the multiverse to the Prime Reality. Indeed, were it not for the fact that the development makes this conquest amusing, I would have had you executed. As it were, advance scouts have already reported that a defense is being built... one I want crushed immediately. Emeralde, Thrak, this is your assignment. Go to the base of operations for this resistance movement, and destroy it. Bring me both the weapons they have created, and the escaped resistance member. Her head would make a fitting addition to my trophy case.
Emeralde: bowing respectively It shall be done.
Location: Fort Myers, Horizon, California
Anya: ...And so you can see, Kalask must be stopped at all cost. And we have only one year to train you to do it.
Walter: getting up from his chair So you're saying that the "multiverse" makes quotation marks with his fingers is like a big tree, and this Kalask guy has been going from branch to branch to find the trunk... and we're it? Take the trunk and the rest go down, too?
Anya: Exactly. It sounds fantastic, but is it any harder to believe than the reality of Power Rangers?
Jake: Lady has a point. Okay, assuming they take the job, what's to stop Kalask from just nuking the Fort?
Anya: I know Kalask's methods. He will never go for the easy victory. He enjoys toying with his intended victims. He did it in my reality, and he'll do it here, too. First he sends advance scouts, so he learns of the defenses for the Earth. Once the Earth defenses are neutralized, he conquers the planet and goes from there, sending his minions into space, other dimensions, ANYWHERE there is life to be commanded. He has never lost, to the best of my knowledge. I only pray that here, we can change that.
Wendy: We will, Anya. Count on it. to the others You will all need to become familiar with this installation and the weaponry designed for you. Please follow us.
Another door opens, revealing a complex laboratory. Wendy and Matt go first, the others following. Anya lags behind, eyeing the group and, for the moment, liking what she sees. Walter manages to look back, smiling as he sees Anya.
Matt: We construct your weaponry here. This... holds up the green crystal-like blaster is the Data Ray. It can punch through steel, so be careful with it. The gauge in the back will tell you what level it's at. Try not to aim at people...
Wendy: And this... holds up the short sword from the demonstration is the Data Blade. It's sharp to the molecular level, and very powerful. It can gouge or slice enemies, depending how you use it. You will all need to practice using these.
Cindy looks around and sees five smaller devices with straps, obviously meant to be worn.
Cindy: pointing What are those?
They all look at the devices, which resemble small television screens with three buttons and a diskette inserted into them. The straps are black with gold trim, the "disks" colorcoordinated into five separate colors... Red, Blue, Green, Pink, and Yellow.
Wendy: small hint of pride in her voice THESE... are the Cyber Ops, the key to unlocking your powers. They will be programmed to recognize your voice print and a special password... Cyber Op Energize. Once activated, you will be supplied with a power suit that will allow you access to weapons, vehicles, teleportation, and powers ranging from super agility to super strength and endurance.
Jeremy: So when do we use them?
Matt: Soon, I'm afraid. As Anya said, we estimate that Kalask will arrive in one year. You'll need to guard them with your lives, because the technology can never be duplicated... The plans were hidden away for the sake of national security.
Anya: Indeed. But for the moment, we must familiarize you all with the base. Please, follow me.
They start to follow, Jeremy and Walter lagging as they take in the sights
Walter: Man, that Anya is-
Jeremy: Intense? Yeah, I noticed.
Walter: I was gonna say "babe". Think she'd go out with me if I asked?
Jeremy: You're just as bad as Jake!
Walter: Bite your tongue!
Jake: So... Wendy...
Wendy: That's Miss Venturas to you, Mr. Taylor.
Jake: ignoring the implications of her comment I was thinking... Why don't you and me forget this boring tour business and go have a little fun? Just the two of us...
Wendy: raising an eyebrow I doubt you could keep up. As it were, I do believe you're asking me on a date. No offense, Mr. Taylor, but I find your demeanor offensive, your attitude intolerable, and your aftershave atrocious.
Jake: ...So, around eightish?
Wendy: Plus, I take great disdain to the phrase "Brain Babe".
Jake: Nine then?
Wendy: Please... Just stop talking... I'd hate to have to cripple you.
Walter: makes a sound not unlike a helicopter falling from the sky and crashing to the ground
Cindy: snickers at that and looks around. Breathes a sigh of relief that it's not her going out into battle.
Location: Perimeter outside Ft. Myers.
Guards patrol the area, and watch as a bus carrying the rejected volunteers leaves the compound. In the shadows, there is the briefest glimpse of a lithe form sneaking towards the guards. It is Emeralde, silently unsheathing her trademark kitana, but moving quickly enough to not be seen.
Guard 1: Weird... Almost feels like we're being watched.
Guard 2: Don't you know the rule?
Guard 1: Rule?
Guard 2: Whenever someone says that in the movies or on tv, something happens and they usually die. So do me a favor and DON'T SAY THAT!
Guard 1: Oh, sorry... Can do...
Guard 2: Good.
Emeralde: above them TOO LATE.
Emeralde drops down between the guards, swinging her kitana as she lands. Guard 2 is slashed vertically across his ribcage. Bleeding profusely and cursing in agony, he drops to the ground and fumbles for his gun. Guard 1 jumps back and aims his rifle directly at Emeralde. At point blank, there is no way he could possibly miss.
Guard 1: Ohmygod... Okay, bitch, you're coming with me.
Emeralde: I think not. I do not like your tone, and my associate finds your weapon most amusing... for a toy.
Guard 1: "Associate"?
He gets his answer a second later as Thrak's large metal arm comes down, the hand grabbing the Guard by the head and lifting him into the air. The guard drops the gun in shock and struggles for a few second before we hear an audible snap. His body goes limp and Thrak drops him like a rag doll.
Thrak: Are you done playing, Emeralde? We have a job to do.
Emeralde: Indeed. My apologies, Thrak. You are quite right. No more playing around.
Emeralde, without looking, stabs her kitana down into the face of the second guard, killing him an instant before he would have managed to fire his gun.
Thrak: Summon the Dreads while I make a door.
Thrak aims his metal war club at the wall. A nozzle appears from the top and charges with potent energy...
Location: Inside, training area.
Matt: This is where you will train in the usage of your powers. We use holograms and force fields to simulate attacks. When in the simulation, your job is to accomplish whatever mission you are given, as quickly and effectively as you can manage.
Anya: The three of us will train with you. Although we have been using this for years, we still need to work as a team with the rest of you... Even the two of you, Cindy, Jake. Just in case.
Cindy: nodding Okay... But what will I tell my parents?
Wendy: You can tell your loved ones the truth. I sincerely doubt that Kalask's activities will go unnoticed by the general public for long, so secrecy is NOT a top priority.
Walter: Cool... So when do we see this room in action?
As if on cue, the outer wall of the training room bursts inwards. On the other side is Thrak, aiming his still smoking club and chuckling. He is flanked by the Dreads, which begin to swarm in through the hole. Emeralde walks in, gracefully and seductively, surveying the room.
Jake: Is this a simulation?
Anya: No... Those are Thrak, Emeralde, and the Dreads. Be wary of the Dreads. They'll try to exhaust you with sheer numbers, then fry you with flames from their mouths. Thrak is a cyborg strongman and commander of Kalask's forces. Emeralde is his top assassin and thief.
Matt: But they weren't supposed to arrive for another year!
Anya: The estimates I was given must have been off!
Wendy: ...They're here for the Cyber Ops... It's the only answer... But how did they find out?
Jeremy: No time to wonder. LOOK!
Below, guards rush into the room. The Dreads immediately shoot flames, frying the poor, brave men on the spot.
Jeremy: ...We have to help them. turns to the Twins Can you get the Cyber Ops while we hold those things off?
Matt: Will do. Jake, Cindy, come with us, and watch our backs. Anya, gentlemen... Good luck.
Jake: looking at the battle below No problem, man... Jeez...
Cindy: Right behind you! rushes after the Twins, who are already rushing down the corridor
Jack hesitates, then runs after them. The farther away from the battle, he figures, the better.
Walter: Okay, so what's the plan?
Anya: We go down there and stop them.
Walter: Good plan.
Anya: Follow me, and try to not die.
Walter: ALSO a good plan.
Anya runs to a stairwell and goes down it, three steps at a time, Jeremy and Walter find themselves hard pressed to keep up. As they reach the bottom, Anya kicks the stair access door open to reveal a Dread staring right at them. Startled, Anya momentarily freezes. Fortunately, Jeremy slams his fist into it, knocking it away long enough for Anya to recover.
Anya: Thank you.
Jeremy: No problem. Come on!
The three rush into the room, Walter immediately kicking a Dread in the side as Jeremy punches the one he's hit before a second time. Anya, now recovered, wastes no time, side kicking a third Dread before spinning to clobber two others. Thrak grins maliciously as he sees her in action.
Thrak: She must be the rebel who escaped.
Emeralde: Indeed. You kill her, I'll go after the weapons.
Emeralde leaps, going past the trio like a bolt of lightning. By the time they turn to face her, she is already gone, up the stairs they came from.
Jeremy: We have to go after her!
Anya: We'd never catch her in time! All we can do is hope to slow Thrak! If they both gain access, we're finished before we've even begun!
Walter: LOOK OUT!
Walter tackles Jeremy and Anya, shoving them out of the way as Thrak fires another energy bolt. They land hard on the floor as the blast shatters the metallic wall of the training room, sending sparks flying. No sooner do they land, then the Dreads move in to attack. Jeremy recovers first, sweeping his foot out and tripping one Dread, before spinning to his feet and kicking a second in the head. Walter jackrabbits, hopping while kicking two others, while Anya backflips away from her latest attacker, before gracefully spinning on her toes and chopping the robot in the mouth assembly.
Thrak: Very nice... chuckles to himself
More Dreads appear and start shooting flames from their mouths. Walter ducks under the flame jet aimed at him while Jeremy rolls, letting one Dread's flame take down a second Dread.
Jeremy: There's just too many of them!
Walter: I know! I keep hitting them, and more keep coming!
Anya: Do not lose heart! The others will come through for us!
Thrak: Sadly, you won't be here to see if they do. Steps forward and grabs Anya in his still living hand.
Thrak lifts up, pulling Anya from the ground by her shoulder. She grinds her teeth together, obviously in pain and frustrated beyond belief.
Walter: ANYA! rushes towards her, but many Dreads block his path. The nearest knocks him away effortlessly PUT HER DOWN!
Thrak: amused Oh, of course... I'll put her down... flexes his metallic arm One piece at a time...
Location: En route to the weapons laboratory.
The four humans rush down the corridor as quickly as they can, Jake and Cindy looking behind them every few seconds.
Matt: I estimate we'll reach the weapons laboratory in fifteen seconds at our present rate of speed.
They hear a slash and a thud that sound like a body behind them
Cindy: Yeah, and here comes trouble!
They stop as they reach the door. Wendy slashes her card through and the door rises
Cindy: Come on!
The door rises enough for them to enter. Wendy then slams her fist down on the emergency pad, which shuts the door behind them, an instant before Emeralde reaches it. Undaunted, Emeralde unsheathes her kitana and stabs the door with it, slicing completely through the steel door like a knife through butter.
Cindy: screams in shock as she sees the blade sticking through the door
Matt: It won't hold her long at all. grabs two Data Rays and tosses one to Cindy, then the other to Jake. And we have to get past Emeralde to get the Cyber Ops to the others. He straps the blue one to his wrist.
Wendy: So be ready for anything, because once that door goes down, we're all that stand between Kalask and the domination of every reality in existence... She straps the Pink one to her wrist.
They watch silently as the blade begins slicing down the length of the door..
Location: General Sauder's Private Office.
The office is basic military, with a large wall monitor and pictures, as well as a small personal vault built into the wall directly behind his desk
Sauder watches the screen on his wall as Emeralde prepares to break into the weapons lab and the other recruits battle Thrak. And then he smiles thinly.
Sauder: Now, as long as none of them dies on me, this operation should go exactly as planned...
Mission Log Incomplete...
Next Time: The battle continues, but will anyone SURVIVE to use the Cyber Ops? Next time on Power Rangers Cyber V!