Eclipse Star: Chapter 71
Recap: Previously on Eclipse Star, the Demon Regime sent an army of Hex-Duo robots to attack Trillium City, ultimately getting shut down by Joshua’s Teens (team-name pending). But that wasn’t all, as the Octa-Rangers were thrown into the fray as well, though they, too, were defeated. In the battle, Maximilian, Octavious’ son, was taken captive and brought to the Northern Lodge. Chris and Derek snatched his teleportation belt and made for the city one last time to put things to rest. They hit the teleport button and disappeared, but where did they end up? Those answers and more, today, on Eclipse Star!
-Chris and Derek reappear in an open chamber of what appears to be a sewage system. They take a second to recalibrate and then look around.
Derek: Damn, your head spinning, too?
Chris: (Looking noticeably sick). Way more than you know.
Derek: (Coughs and shakes his head, reorienting himself). Okay, I’m fine now. (Looks around). Sewer system?
Chris: (Propping himself against the brink wall). That’s what it looks like anyway.
Derek: Well, we did say it’d probably send us underground. Funny thing is, sewer systems like this don’t really exist.
Derek: It’s fantasy. Sewer systems are generally no larger than a few feet. One sewer worker can barely fit through pipes to perform maintenance, but open catacombs like this don’t exist in things other than movies or comic books.
Chris: I swear I saw a documentary about New York where they showed wide-open sewers.
Derek: Look, we can debate the existence of a fictional city like New York again, or we can get on with this.
-Chris and Derek begin walking down the open catacombs of the strange sewer system, quietly stepping, only the slightest sound of their feet pattering on the ground echoing around.
Chris: So how long do we want to walk until we-
Derek: (Holds his hand up). Shh. (Pause). You hear that?
-Chris listens intently with Derek, neither of them breathing.
-A few yards down around the bend the sounds of two more footsteps can be heard, along with casual conversation.
Ranger Sampi: (Rounds the corner with Ranger Qoppa, both wearing their full uniforms while carrying new helmets). So he’s like, “Look, you wanna put on spandex and fight teenagers, go for it, but you’re killing your mother,” and I’m all, “No way man, you’re not my real father.”
Ranger Qoppa: Strange. My dad was totally supportive. He even picked out my suit’s color.
-Chris and Derek duck into a side drainage pipe before the two Octa-Rangers can see them. They walk past the hidden pair, still chattering away.
Qoppa: I mean, salmon’s cool and all, but I think it sort of undermines my intelligence.
Sampi: Nah, you’re just over-thinking things.
-Chris and Derek slowly crawl out of the duct and step lightly behind the two.
-The four round another corner, leaving the scene and casting only a shadow.
-Two silhouettes slump out of frame as another two drag something out of sight.
-Quick shuffling noises can be heard as two shadows reemerge once more.
-Chris and Derek round the corner again, now wearing the outfits of the unconscious rangers.
Chris: (Slipping the gloves on his hands. He’s wearing the pink uniform). Well that was simple enough.
Derek: (Wearing the blue, sifting around his chest plate). These must be the new armor upgrades they were talking about.
Chris: Don’t really feel like much.
Derek: I don’t think they’re on right now.
Chris: And the belts are missing. (Clips Max’s belt around his waist). Anything happens, get back to me and we port out of here.
Derek: That thing goes both ways?
Chris: (Shrugs). I just naturally assumed.
Derek: Glad to know our escape plan is a hunch.
-Chris starts looking himself up and down.
Derek: What the hell are you doing?
Chris: I just noticed how slimming this material is.
Derek: Christ, you’re kidding, right?
Chris: I mean, look, my hips are totally concealed.
Derek: Pff, fag.
Chris: Just put on your damned helmet.
Derek: Least I picked the blue outfit. (Puts his helmet on as Chris does the same).
Chris: Can you hear me through this thing?
Derek: Yeah, just fine.
Chris: Good. Let’s make this quick then. We get in, we find some way to bring this structure down, then we leave.
Derek: Split up?
Chris: Nah. Let’s play this close.
-Chris and Derek walk off to search further down the sewers.
-Meanwhile, back in the Northern Lodge’s couch room, Austin and Kyle are slumped in front of a glowing fireplace.
Kyle: Okay, how about this: “Hey Chris, you know that girl Rachel you knew? What’s up with her?”
Austin: It’s direct, and I like that, but it’s also insensitive, which I’m against.
Kyle: How about, “Chris, I ever tell you about my grandfather and how he died of cancer?”
Austin: What’s the context?
Kyle: Context of what?
Austin: Of the telling.
Kyle: Breakfast, probably.
Austin: Did you grandfather really die of cancer?
Kyle: He died of something, might as well have been cancer.
Austin: Where you close?
Kyle: To my grandfather?
Kyle: Which one?
Austin: The one who died of possibly cancer.
Kyle: Oh, not really.
Austin: Hmm, no go. Chris will totally pick up on that.
Kyle: Your turn then.
Austin: (Sits up a bit). “Chris, your grandma told us a story about a girl you once knew named Rachel. How is she?” (Instantly stops). No, that’s horrible.
Kyle: I think you had something there for a while, until you added that stupid part at the end.
Austin: You think?
Joshua: (Walks in). Ooh, let me try: “Chris, are you aware that you have unresolved issues with death as brought upon by a childhood friend’s terminal illness?”
Kyle: That could work.
Austin: The whole situation sucks at any rate. I mean, who lets a little girl die of cancer anyway?
Joshua: (Sits down). We slamming God for that one?
Austin: Unless someone else could have cured the little girl.
Joshua: You going to keep repeating the fact that she was a little girl?
Austin: A little girl.
Joshua: How do you know God didn’t help her?
Kyle: I know this one, don’t tell me.
Austin: Because then we’d have another teammate named Rachel following Chris around wherever he went.
Joshua: Would anything have been accomplished the past few months if Rachel were still alive?
Kyle: I bet you if they were together, Chris wouldn’t have acted like a dimwit and bumped the Eclipse Star off that pedestal.
Austin: And that justifies letting a little girl die?
Joshua: Ah-ah, you’re just looking at it from the perspective of someone looking backward. It’s like playing armchair coach at a football game.
Kyle: You lost me.
Joshua: Anyone can tell you what play a team should have run after the play is already run. Don’t you think a smart coach would have just told his team to score a touchdown?
Austin: We’re not talking football; we’re talking about-
Austin and Joshua: A little girl.
Joshua: Yes, I know. Do you think that little girl is currently suffering from cancer?
Kyle: She died, right? I’m not missing something here?
Austin: No, technically she’s not suffering anymore, but I don’t see why she should have die in order to be cured.
Joshua: So you’d rather her body be cured and her soul turn black and die?
Austin: She should get to have her cake and eat it too.
Joshua: First, you’re getting that backwards; It’s “to eat your cake and have it too” since having a cake and eating it doesn’t mean much but eating a cake and getting to somehow keep it is a magical entitlement wish.
Kyle: That does make more sense…
Joshua: Secondly, this life isn’t the important one.
Austin: Little girl, dead.
Joshua: I’m not saying God wants to see little girls die. That’s awful. But that same little girl now gets to spend the rest of eternity sitting beside Him and enjoying His majesty? How can you not cheer for that?
Austin: So it’s a case of the ends justify the means?
Joshua: You should be aware, the guy who wrote that book did so as a satire. You know that, right?
Austin: I know that, uh, no, I didn’t pay much attention when we read that book.
Kyle: Was Italy a real place?
Joshua: That’s where Italian comes from, yes.
Kyle: Oh. (Beat). What’s Italian?
Joshua: So who talks to Chris?
-The three begin hemming and hawing again thinking of how best to broach the subject.
-Back in the subterranean lair, Chris and Derek find themselves walking into a much larger, vastly open main chamber with multiple buildings stretched out as far as they can go.
Chris: Wow, I didn’t expect to see this here.
Derek: You certain that belt was a short-range thing?
Chris: No clue.
Ranger Stigma: Hey! There you guys are! Why’d you turn off your communicators?
-Chris and Derek stop for a moment as they look back and forth between each other, silently. Finally, Chris looks over at Stigma and shrugs.
Stigma: Yeah, I’m not really surprised. C’mon, Octavious wants us for another debriefing.
Chris: Last one wasn’t brief enough?
-Chris slaps his gloves over the mouth of his helmet as Derek stares him down.
Stigma: Heh, that was almost clever for you. Then again you do wear pink. Now get your asses in there.
-Chris and Derek nod as they follow Stigma into one of the larger buildings.
-Once inside, they begin passing armed Demon Regime soldiers as they go about their business.
-Finally they enter a room where Octavious is pacing back and forth.
Octavious: ‘Bout damned time!
Stigma: Sorry sir, we’re a little on edge right now.
Octavious: Why are you two wearing your helmets?
Chris: (Quietly imitating Qoppa’s voice). Uh, his face got smashed pretty badly during the fight.
Derek: (Not disguising his voice at all). Yeah, and he’s just fuck-ugly.
Octavious: (Grinning). Ahaha. Okay, fine, keep your silly space helmets on. You can clearly still hear me talking through those, and I don’t particularly care about hearing you speak, so shut up and listen. Wait, where’s Syrus?
Stigma: He’s in his room.
Octavious: You, the fuck-ugly ranger.
-Chris cautiously points at himself.
Octavious: Yeah, you, go fetch him.
-Chris slowly salutes and turns around. He stops for a second and turns back toward Octavious.
Chris: Uh, where…?
Octavious: Oh, uh, building D, room 12.
-Chris salutes again and leaves the room.
Octavious: Whatever. Anyway, where was I?
Stigma: I assume this is about Max again?
Octavious: Shit! Yes! Who let him get kidnapped?!
Derek: I’m guessing Syrus.
Octavious: Right! Jeez, you’re really on today. The hell is your name again?
Derek: Fuck if I know.
Stigma: That’s Ranger Sampi, and he’d do well to remember to whom he speaks.
Octavious: Yeah yeah, whose idea was it to name you guys after stupid obsolete letters? (Waves his hand in frustration as Stigma begins speaking). Fine, doesn’t matter, more important things. We need my son back. Mind you, not for personal reasons, but it looks bad for a nation’s leader to lose his son in a failed attempted-conquest.
Stigma: How do you propose we get him back?
Octavious: Didn’t I teach you rangers some failsafe maneuver?
Stigma: Formation Omega-Omega 2. It’s rather deadly.
Octavious: Right, so how again do you pull it off?
Stigma: Uh, I actually don’t know. San, you remember?
Ranger San: Oh, uh, yes. Ranger Sho, could you assist me?
Ranger Sho: No way man, I ain’t messing with this failed move.
San: Okay, Sampi, could you please?
Derek: Yeah why not.
-Derek and Ranger San step forward, standing a few feet apart. Derek watches San as he starts moving in some elaborate dance formation until finally stopping.
Derek: Jeez, are you serious? That’s super gay.
Octavious: I agree. What the hell is that?
San: Formation Omega-Omega…2?
Octavious: Did Syrus teach you that one?
San: Uh, you…did?
Octavious: You, back of the room.
-San cringes and slinks to the edge of the room.
Octavious: I assume the teleportation belts worked?
Stigma: Yes, perfectly.
Octavious: Well that’s good news. At least Charles didn’t screw that part up.
Sho: Then Max must still have his belt on. We could get Charles to reverse the signal and suck him back here.
Octavious: Now that sounds like a plan that could work. None of this “Omega-Omega” crap.
San: (Raises his hand). “Omega-Omega 2.” The first one didn’t work and…uh…I’ll shut up now.
Octavious: Stigma, get Charles up on the intercom. Might as well kill some time before Syrus gets here.
-Chris, still dressed as Qoppa, walks slowly out of the main building and looks around.
Chris: Great, “building D” means nothing to me. And why the hell am I going along with this anyway? Oh well. (Taps a nearby guard). Hey, which building’s D?
Regime Solider: Building D? Third on the right.
Chris: Thanks. (Starts to walk away but suddenly stops). Hey, do I outrank you?
Regime Solider: Technically, yes, in this division I think so.
Chris: Oh. Okay, just curious. (Starts to walk away but stops again). Which division is this again?
Regime Soldier: Zanrethan Division Alpha. That’s…that’s why we’re stationed in Zanretha.
Chris: Well duh, I knew that. Carry on.
Regime Soldier: (Quietly). Jeez, that pink ranger’s an idiot.
-Chris walks off toward building D, shaking his head.
Chris: Why am I talking so much? And why haven’t Derek or I been caught yet? They’re almost making this too simple.
-Chris walks through the doors of building D and watches the room numbers as he passes them
Chris: 9…10…11… (The hallway stops). And no 12, of course. (Looks all throughout the hall). If this were anyone but Syrus I’d assume he’d have his room protected with some ridiculous passcode like “Alpha-Beta-Theta.” (Waits. Nothing happens). See, my suspicious are confirmed.
-Chris keeps walking, finding room 13 instead.
Chris: Well, this is as good as any.
-He pushes the doors open. The lights are off. A brief feel around the wall yields the light switch.
-Once illuminated, the room appears to be filled with video screens left and right with the largest monitor sitting in the center. Every screen clicks on and showcases footage of the kids fighting at various times with the center screen displaying Chris’ fight with Hex-Duo 6.
Chris: Wow. This is almost sick…
-Chris becomes entranced just watching the center replay over and over.
Syrus: Is there something you need in here?
-Chris whips around, somewhat surprised to hear Syrus’ voice without warning.
Chris: Oh, Syrus, there you are. Octavious wants you for some meeting.
Syrus: He wouldn’t if his son wasn’t a fool. (Stops). Wait. Did you call me “Syrus?”
Chris: That’s…that’s your name, right?
Syrus: Yes. But you didn’t call me “sir.”
Chris: Oh. You outrank me then?
Syrus: Yes, but I hate being called “sir.” You’re supposed to be the stupid one…
Chris: Well I can’t be that stupid.
-A moment passes as Syrus eyes Chris up and down.
Syrus: Take off your helmet.
Syrus: Because I’m your commanding officer and I order you to do so.
Chris: I’d rather not.
Syrus: Can’t you feel it?
Chris: Feel what?
Syrus: That humming?
Chris: No, I don’t.
Syrus: The last time I felt this humming was in the failed museum raid.
-Chris begins stepping toward the door.
Chris: Octavious wants us-
Syrus: How stupid do I look?
-Syrus leaps at Chris, throwing a strong punch.
-Chris ducks as Syrus takes a chunk out of the wall.
-Chris throws his hands up and hits Syrus with a quick energy blast to the chest.
-Syrus is thrown through to the next floor as Chris begins running.
-The top floor is ripped up in a wave chasing Chris with Syrus crashing down in front of him.
-Syrus reaches out and grabs Chris by the throat, pulling off his helmet.
Syrus: (Visibly happy). I knew it. (Laughing). I knew it! This is just so…exciting.
-Back in Octavious’ briefing room.
Charles: (On screen). I suppose it’d be no problem to zero in on Max’s signal and force him to teleport back. You want him in your briefing room?
Charles: Alright, give me a second to pinpoint him…there. Right now?
Octavious: Oh yes.
Charles: Then here we go.
-Charles presses a few buttons and punches in the warp code.
Syrus: Do you realize how long I’ve been waiting for this?
Chris: I don’t really care.
-Chris and Syrus suddenly appear in Octavious’ briefing room. Everyone looks around confused.
Octavious: This isn’t Max. This is just Syrus and the pink ranger.
Derek: (Notices Chris’ helmet missing). Uh-oh.
Syrus: What did you-?
-Chris grabs Syrus’ hand with one hand and pounds Syrus in the head with the other, knocking him into Octavious.
Chris: Derek, we’ve gotta bail!
Derek: I figured.
-Chris charges an energy blast in his hands and fires it into the room as he dives out with Derek doing the same.
-Syrus and Octavious get up from the smoke, shoving each other away. The room is totaled.
Octavious: What just happened?!
Syrus: Don’t pay it any mind. I’ll take care of things.
-Syrus vwings away as the other three Octa-Rangers sit coughing.
Derek: We still need to take this place out.
Chris: Yeah. (He grabs the Octa-Rangers emblem on his chest plate and twists it, powering his suit on). We’ll need the extra oomph here.
Derek: (Powers his suit on as well). I say we do what we did to the warehouse.
Chris: This place looks too stable for that. We need a different plan.
-Syrus erupts from the building, flying directly toward Chris with his arm extended.
Syrus: You can’t run from this!
-Right as Syrus is about to grab Chris, Derek grabs Syrus’ hand and swings him into the ground.
Derek: Well well well, look who showed up again.
-Derek nods at Chris and Chris keeps running.
-Syrus looks up, noticeably bothered.
Syrus: No, I want this now!
Derek: You’ve still got a rematch with me buddy boy.
-Derek clenches up with Syrus, holding his ground thanks to the suit’s added power.
-Chris keeps running, ducking into building D.
-Soldiers look at him, suddenly realizing something very wrong is happening.
-He leaps at them, taking out foes left and right in a flash. Guns begin firing after half the troops are unconscious, but it’s too late for them as Chris has become a blur, skimming across the room.
-He explodes through the walls, skidding to a halt in front of a series of mail tubes.
Chris: Now there’s an idea….
-Chris starts charging Pulse energy in his hand. He opens the mail tube and begins placing energy balls inside as they get sucked through the system.
Chris: This had better work…
-Back outside, Derek and Syrus are exchanging blows.
Syrus: Why are you wasting my time?!
Derek: Wasting? You’re not exactly winning at the moment.
-Syrus catches Derek under the chin with a palm strike, sending him toppling over.
-Syrus dives on his chest and plunges his fist into the armored chest plate, tearing out a chunk of circuitry and wires, shutting the suit down.
Derek: The hell?!
-Derek cups his hands together and jams them into Syrus’ chest, unloading everything he can charge in an instant.
-Syrus is rocketed up into the ceiling of the underground chamber.
Syrus: (Grabbing hold of some hanging ladders to regain his stability). I should have expected that. I must be getting too excited.
KROW! KROW! KROW! KROW!
-The buildings all around begins exploding, completed eradicated as energy balls suddenly serge through them.
-Syrus shields his face, looking down to spy Chris coming from building D as it, too, explodes.
-Syrus turns upside-down and kicks off from the roof at Chris.
-Chris dives at Derek, hand outstretched.
-Derek throws his hand out as Chris presses the button on his belt.
-Syrus slams down into the concrete where Chris and Derek once stood. He stands up from his crater, no dead children under his fist.
Octavious: (Coughing). Syrus! Hah! Where’d they go?!
Syrus: They’re gone.
Octavious: So go after them!
Syrus: I don’t know where they went.
Octavious: You’re kidding me!
Syrus: We need to get everyone out of here before the ceiling caves in.
-Somewhere over the city…
Derek: Holy jeez! Hahaha! I can’t believe that worked!
Chris: (Trying to catch his breath). Oh man, I didn’t think it would. (Takes off Max’s belt and crushes it in his hand).
Derek: Why’d you do that?
Chris: It sucked me back once; I don’t want it happening again.
Derek: Okay, that makes some sense.
-Chris grabs the emblem of his chest piece and tears it off, shutting the armor off.
Derek: Okay, now explain why you did that.
Chris: I don’t know what these suits do, but it didn’t feel like something that should be constantly pulsing through our body.
Derek: You kidding me? All they were pulsing was extra power. We coulda used that!
Chris: Look, you want shortcuts, fine, but no good will come from that.
Derek: This from Mr. Three Days?
Chris: Your point?
Derek: Whatever, your dad’s dead.
Chris: Ooh, and where’s your dad?
Chris: Sorry, that was uncalled for.
Derek: Just shut up. We annihilated the Regime’s base, so let’s go.
-A strange twinge hits Chris and Derek.
Chris: You feel that?
Derek: Yeah. The hell is it?
Chris: I don’t know.
-They look off toward the South as the city beneath them rumbles very faintly.
-While they can’t hear it, they see a red light rip the morning sky wide open off in the horizon.
Chris: What is that?
Derek: It looks just like that light I saw in the desert, except this one’s red, not blue.
Chris: You saw a light in the desert?
-The light fades.
Derek: C’mon, this isn’t our concern.
Chris: You kidding me?
Derek: Do you really want to go deal with that right now?
-The two point themselves North and begin flying back to the lodge.
-Meanwhile, emerging from the Regime’s bunker base…
Octavious: That’s it, we’re ruined.
Stigma: Sir, we can rebuild, we can-
Octavious: No, we’re done here. Zanretha isn’t right for the taking anymore. We’ll deal with things elsewhere. (Notices Syrus staring off to the south). And just what the hell are you doing?
Syrus: There was a red light just now.
Octavious: Oh wow, a red light. Do I look like I give a damn?
Syrus: Something isn’t right.
Octavious: You know what? I know exactly what isn’t right. In fact, I’m looking right at it.
Syrus: (Looks over, somewhat confused). I don’t-
Octavious: You know how many times you’ve failed me now?.
Syrus: I’ve failed you? (Laughs to himself). You must be joking.
Octavious: No, as far as I’m concerned, the only reason none of our recent plans have succeeded is because you’ve managed to strew them up.
Syrus: (Irritated). Choose your words carefully…
Octavious: Who just let a couple of fucking children blow up our last refuge? Who stood idly by as my men and my robots attacked the city? Who fought his own men, watched as a multi-billion piece of machinery was destroyed, and lost a tournament to a 16-year-old boy?
Syrus: You don’t know what you’re talking about.
Octavious: Then why am I not holding the Eclipse Star in my hand right now? Tell me, whom did I put in charge of a simple museum heist?
Syrus: (Gritting his teeth). All of those plans were ill advised to begin with.
Octavious: Face it; you’re no good to me anymore.
Syrus: You know whom I serve.
Octavious: Yeah, and so do I, but you go through me to get to her, and my orders haven’t been to fuck up every step of the way!
Syrus: I wouldn’t-
Octavious: Wouldn’t what? Challenge you? The fuck are you? A solider, in my army! You don’t think I can’t kill you if I decide?!
Syrus: (His body is beginning to shake with rage). I’d relish the attempt.
Octavious: Then come at me, or are you still too brainwashed by some fucking dead carpenter?
-Syrus leaps at Octavious in a blind madness.
-Octavious puts an arm out and detonates a ridiculous amount of energy all at once.
-Syrus takes all of this without being able to cover himself. He’s thrown miles and miles through debris, disappearing from sight.
-Octavious lets out a sigh and holds his hand out to Stigma.
Octavious: Fucking peasant. Made me dirty my hands. (Stigma pulls out a cloth and begins cleaning Octavious’ hand). Good boy. Now round up every last solider you can and tell them to pull out of Zanretha. We have some rebuilding to handle.
Stigma: Yes sir.
-Chris and Derek look back after feeling Octavious’ blast.
Chris: That one was a lot closer.
Derek: And a lot more powerful. (They look at each other silently for a moment). Let’s get the hell out of here.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 69
Recap: Trillium City was under siege by an army of Hex-Duo robots, but thankfully the group was able to issue a shutdown code to every mechanical soldier, turning them off and allowing enough time to blow up the two big Charles Robotics facilities. There’s still more to do though as the group discovers an even bigger threat: A building-sized Hex-Duo piloted by the Octa-Rangers! They’ve got to fight for the city, today, on Eclipse Star!
Chris: Willy, give me your ear-bud.
-Willy pulls out his ear-bud and tosses it to Chris, who in turn sticks it in his ear.
Chris: Jack, tell me what I’m looking at.
Jack: (At the Northern Lodge viewing the situation on TV). News stations just came back online and the first thing they started broadcasting was one hell of a large robot. And apparently the Octa-Rangers are in the cockpit.
Chris: The Octa-Rangers?! You’re kidding me!
Jack: That’s what the cameras are showing.
Glitch: (Coming over the frequency). Guys, we’re a few blocks away from this thing. Please advise.
Kevin: (Taps Chris on the shoulder). Help civilians, maybe?
Chris: Yes, Kevin, good idea. Glitch, tell your group to clear the area as far as you can. Protect civilians and whatnot. Relay that to Lindsey.
Glitch: Will do.
Glitch: Help civilians.
Leena: (Rolls her eyes). Well obviously.
Lindsey: Alright, stay low and do everything you can to help. Let’s go!
-Her group takes off to round up bystanders and get them the heck away from the area.
-Meanwhile, Chris’ group of four takes off at full speed toward the behemoth.
Derek: So your plan is to…what exactly?
Chris: You’re strong; you piece things together.
Derek: I think we should take out the Octa-Rangers one by one. If they’re down, the giant robot might go down, too.
Chris: That’s what I was thinking. Willy? There’s no nice way to say, uh, go help civilians instead of fighting.
Willy: (Beams) Haha! Fine by me!
Chris: (Smiles) Glad you understand.
-Willy spirals away from the group and down toward the ground as Chris, Derek, and Kevin go in for the attack.
Chris: Okay, let’s rock and roll!
-The Octa-Zord fires a blaster from its eyes at the three, missing its target only slightly.
Derek: We got eye cannons!
Chris: I noticed!
-The three duck and dodge blast fire until the robot stops for a moment. It’s headpiece breaks away to reveal the pilots, each now wearing beefier suits with metallic sheens.
Stigma: So glad of you to join us!
Chris: I thought we beat you guys a while ago? What do you stand to gain from this?
Qoppa: I’ll tell you!
Stigma: (Holds a hand up). Hey, yo, I got this.
Qoppa: Yeah! He’s got this!
Stigma: (Back to Chris). What we stand to gain is a victory for our mighty nation! What we stand to gain is honor for Balobyn and praise from Octavious himself!
Chris: So you think a giant robot is the best option?
Stigma: Sure. Why wouldn’t it be?
Chris: You know, stability for one.
-Derek and Kevin come flying out from behind the robot, each hitting a leg at the knee joint.
-The robot buckles backward and starts to fall.
Stigma: Rangers! Quick Maneuver Epsilon!
-The Octa-Rangers pull some levers and dials in unison, causing the giant zord to swivel at the hip, catching itself before it hits the ground.
Stigma: Hah! Can you do better than-
-Chris smashes through the back of the head and grabs Stigma, plowing him into the ground.
-The Octa-Zord recovers and begins fighting Derek and Kevin once again, moving surprisingly quickly for something its size.
-Chris and Stigma grapple and spin as they skid on the pavement before Stigma gets a chance to throw himself clear.
Stigma: Hah, alright, that was pretty good. But you’re just wasting your time.
Chris: Hey, I got nowhere else to be. My time is yours.
-Chris takes a swing at Stigma. Stigma stands his ground as Chris’ punch bounces off Stigma’s chest.
Stigma: (Waggles a finger). Ah-ah-ah. We’ve had a bit of an upgrade since we last fought.
Chris: Upgrade huh?
Stigma: That’s right. New armor, courtesy of Charles Robotics. Our strength and durability have increased far beyond our normal limits.
Chris: I don’t really care about your normal limits; I’m more curious about mine.
-Chris takes another swing and begins the two of them exchanging blows.
-Kevin and Derek continue buzzing around the Octa-Zord like flies, being general annoyances but not doing any real damage.
Derek: You got a favorite color?
Kevin: I have no preference at the moment.
Derek: Alright then, I’ll take the black-
-Derek is smacked by a backhand as he ponders what to do next.
-Qoppa leans out of the cockpit.
Qoppa: Yeah! You like that?
-Kevin stomps down on Qoppa’s head, knocking the pink ranger clean out of the zord.
Kevin: Derek! I went with pink! That okay?
Qoppa: (Spiraling to the street below). It’s salmon~!
-Derek orients himself as another massive robotic hand swats at him. He punches it away and begins to repeat this process as more punches and kicks rain down upon him.
-Eventually, the robot claps both hands against him, closing him in.
-Derek is now being pulled between two huge hands.
Sho: (He and the other two rangers are staying inside the cockpit this time). That hurt much?
Derek: (Struggling). Ghhhh…nah, not really.
Sampi: That’s totally a lie. You’re lying! That’s got to hurt!
Derek: Heh, oh really?
-Derek pulls his arms to his sides and flies straight up, carrying the Octa-Zord with him.
San: (Flipping levers and dials). Hey hey hey! This thing’s not supposed to bend like this!
Sho: So fix it!
San: I could really use a maneuver order here!
Sho: Uh…which one fires rockets?
Sampi: Maneuver Rockets-Fire…fire! (Hits a button).
-Rockets appear from the zord’s shoulders and fire straight up at Derek.
Derek: Alright then, that makes sense.
-Derek lets go of the robot and zooms off to lose the rockets. They persist on following him.
Derek: Hah! You’ve got trackers in those things? You’re making this WAY too easy!
-Derek does an about-face and flies back at the Octa-Zord.
-The rockets turn around and follow him.
-Derek stands on the opposite side of the Octa-Zord, arms crossed and looking proud of himself.
Derek: You guys are doing all the work for me, aren’t you?
Sampi: Maneuver 1337 Hax!
-Sampi pulls another lever, causing the center of the Octa-Zord to open up just as the rockets blast through it.
Derek: Oh shit.
-Both rockets hit Derek head-on, throwing him through a number of buildings where he finally lands, skidding on his back, totally wasted from the double explosion.
-Meanwhile, Chris and Stigma are fighting back and forth as cars trying to get out of their way.
-Chris flips over a car as it slams on its breaks, skidding into Stigma.
-Stigma smashes the back end of the car, flipping the front end up under Chris’ chin.
-Cars start to pile up behind the two, only having minor fender benders but still crashing into one another.
-Chris looks back at the damage being done.
-Stigma throws a punch that grazes Chris’ cheek, just as he moves his head out of the way.
-Chris throws one back directly at Stigma’s chest. The punch is caught by Stigma using both hands to absorb the blow.
-Stigma elbows at Chris, missing as Chris ducks.
-Chris throws an awkward left straight-punch as he ducks backward. The punch still lands in Stigma’s right side, causing him to wince sideways.
-Chris follows up with a kick from his right foot that hits Stigma in the head right above the neck.
-Stigma slams his helmet against the ground, bouncing as he hits.
Chris: (Tapping his earbud). Glitch, I’m over on Washington and 17th; can you send someone over to divert traffic?
Glitch: Yeah. (As he’s directing civilians into buildings). Austin! Washington and 17th! Chris needs traffic control!
Glitch: Austin’s on his way over.
-Stigma fires a blast at Chris, blowing him across the street through a storefront.
Stigma: You need to be put down!
-Stigma charges after Chris with his hands glowing.
-As Stigma points them down at Chris, Chris slams the ground next to him, throwing up a cloud of dust and glass.
-Chris comes through the cloud straight on, mashing Stigma in the face, cracking his helmet around the visor.
-Chris leaps out of the ruined storefront, headbutting Stigma at the crack.
-He reaches out and grabs Stigma’s foot, pulling him back through the storefront and hurling him out the back end.
Syrus: (From an underground bunker, viewing a screen displaying the fight with Chris). Ranger Stigma, land and kick straight back immediately.
-Stigma lands and kicks back, catching Chris right in the face, stunning him.
Syrus: Downward elbow strike to his neck.
-Stigma leaps up and hits Chris with a downward elbow strike at the collarbone, badly phasing Chris as he drops to a knee.
Syrus: Full body tackle.
-Stigma throws himself at Chris, the two launching themselves out into the street again.
Stigma: Wow, this is actually working.
-Chris’ eyes flick open as he stares at Stigma’s helmet.
-Chris cranks his Pulse energy way up, tossing Stigma off him and down the block.
-Derek’s eyes also flick open as he regains some consciousness, the quaking of the Octa-Zord’s footsteps helping to rock him back to reality.
Derek: (Rubbing his head). God damn. Fine. (Stands up and growls his next line). Fine.
-As the Octa-Zord continues taking steps forward, Derek’s power skyrockets. He begins screaming as the zord stops moving. The ground, however, is still quaking, much worse than before.
San: He’s charging for a really big attack.
Sho: Yup, sure looks like it.
San: So we should…?
Sho: Meet his attack with our own.
San: Yes! That is exactly what I was going to suggest!
Sho: Sampi, what maneuvers do we have left?
Sampi: (Reading off a long list). Um, let’s see, we can’t use the Omega Cannon at the moment, so I’d say our best bet is the Desperation Chest Buster. Sound good?
San: I’m down with that.
Sampi: Great. (Flips some levers). Maneuver Desperation Chest Buster!
-The Octa-Zord’s chest opens up to begin charging a crazy-huge energy attack, releasing it almost instantly.
-Derek throws his hands forward, cupped as they meet, and unloads his entire energy payload, screaming as his does so.
-The two energy attacks collide and begin pushing against one another. Derek starts taking a few steps forward, pushing a lot harder than the robot can.
Derek: DEREK MANEUVER EFF YOUR COUCH!!!!
-The energy attack begins generating a pulsewave that shatters all nearby windows.
-Derek’s beam completely engulfs the Octa-Zord’s beam, slamming into the robot and throwing it backward.
-Derek’s beam dissipates as he drops his arms, exhausted.
Derek: Hah, hah, ah man, that wasn’t so bad.
-The Octa-Zord lands on its back, the front pretty badly charred and ripped up.
Derek: (Hunched over with his hands on his knees). Hah. (Flips off the Octa-Zord). Right there buddy.
-Qoppa lands in a crater next to Derek, totally wiped out. Kevin lands next to him.
Kevin: Nice blast, Derek!
Derek: (Looking down at Qoppa, his eyebrows raised). Not bad work yourself.
Kevin: He’ll be fine, but he’s probably knocked out pretty good.
-Derek takes a step forward and raises his foot. He starts to bring it down on Qoppa’s head, but Kevin stops him.
Kevin: Hold on! There’s no reason to kill him!
Derek: (Derek looks from Qoppa to Kevin and back). Well, I guess he is the pink one, so it’s your call.
Derek: (Unsure). Now what?
Kevin: The big robot’s down, so I don’t know.
Jack: Hey, who’s still got radio conferencing down there?!
Chris: (Still fighting with Stigma). Jack, I’m still here. What’s up?
Jack: You’ve got a second megazord coming your way.
Chris: You’re shitting me.
Jack: ‘Fraid not. And this one looks like a tiger.
Chris: (Aghast). What?
-As Chris and Stigma clench up, a massive white tiger zord barrels overhead, running to meet up with the downed Octa-Zord.
Stigma: Hahaha! Looks like Digamma showed up for reinforcement!
-Stigma starts trying to pull Chris in as he throws his knees out, but Chris keeps stopping each knee-strike.
Chris: (Clenching his teeth). I don’t care who shows up to help, it’s not going to-
-Chris stops as he looks Stigma straight in the tinted visor. He squints and catches the briefest glimpse of Stigma looking back, though not directly at Chris, but rather at the screen within the helmet showing Syrus.
Syrus: (Notices this instantly). He knows about the visor!
Syrus: Fire your strongest energy attack now!
-Stigma briefly sparks before unleashing a powerful bright red-tinted energy blast directly at Chris’ chest.
-Chris takes all of this, once more getting thrown through a number of buildings.
-As this is happening, Digamma’s tiger zord meets up with the Octa-Zord.
Derek: This isn’t gonna be good.
-Lindsey and Glitch land next to Derek and Kevin.
Lindsey: We just heard that…(pointing) that was showing up.
Derek: Well, it’s here now, so no worries I guess.
-The tiger zord flops down on the remains of the Octa-Zord, fusing the two together as strobe lights kick in. It jumps back up, even bigger and tougher looking.
Qoppa: (Regaining consciousness). Oh hey, the Super Octa-Zord! That’s so cool!
-Lindsey elbows down into Qoppa’s helmet, shattering the facemask completely. Qoppa is once more out.
Lindsey: So who has a plan?
Kevin: I actually have one.
Lindsey: Care to share?
Kevin: It’d just be quicker if I go ahead and do it.
-Kevin starts concentrating and glowing an amber hue. He begins to grow exponentially larger until he matches the size of the Super Octa-Zord.
-The Super Octa-Zord stops advancing as the cockpit breaks away to reveal the four rangers sitting in it.
Digamma: (Now wearing a pristine white ranger outfit). You’re kidding me! There’s no way that’s possible!
Kevin: (His voice is now infinitely deeper). Hahaha, you guys attacked our city, remember? We have home-court advantage.
Digamma: Okay, who’s ready to-
-Lindsey hits Digamma, carrying him out of the cockpit and into the fray with her.
Sampi: Um, did we just, uh, lose our replacement leader just now?
Sho: Yes, just forget him, we’ve got a big-ass black dude standing in our way. Pull out the Octa-Sword!
-Sampi flips some levers and the Super Octa-Zord produces a glowing energy sword out of nowhere.
-The Super Octa-Zord steps forward, trying to cut Kevin down, but he steps out of the way, kicking the Super Octa-Zord in the chest. They begin fighting back and forth.
-Digamma and Lindsey careen through the air as they punch back and forth.
Digamma: What was that all about?!
Lindsey: I felt like I was missing some sort of fun!
Digamma: I’m not about to get beaten by a woman!
Lindsey: You’re not about to have a choice, Maximilian!
Digamma: Don’t you dare!
-The two continue brawling in the air.
-Stigma runs through the debris, looking for Chris, but he doesn’t seem to be anywhere.
Stigma: I don’t get it, where did he go?
-Chris flies out of nowhere and stomps Stigma in the head with both feet, taking him to the ground and riding his helmet as they go.
-Chris shifts over to stand on Stigma’s chest before punching down onto his helmet.
-Chris continues pounding as they keep skidding.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM!
-Chris’ eyes look scarily intense as his teeth are gritted.
-Stigma’s helmet explodes into a shower of pieces. Chris takes one last look at him and throws a final punch.
-The ground around Chris and Stigma craters out. Stigma is totally K.O.ed, though still alive.
-Chris hops off Stigma’s chest and lets out a sigh. He picks up a sparking piece of the inner visor.
Chris: Can you still see me in there? Huh? You don’t leave us and our home alone? That happens to you. (Drops the piece and looks around). Now where’s my grandma? (He flies off).
-On the other end of the screen, Syrus stares at the static on the display, speechless. His lips quiver as a smirk crosses his lips. He leans back in his chair and starts laughing to himself, clapping as he does.
-Lindsey and Digamma land on the top of a building as Digamma begins throwing serious punches and kicks in her direction.
-Digamma chops at her neck, missing as she ducks.
-He follows up with a series of punches, hitting her each time harder and harder.
Digamma: Oh my, that can’t feel good.
-Lindsey throws her hands up to block but still continues to take heavy shots.
Digamma: You can’t compete with our armor’s upgrades. They make us faster, stronger, and more durable.
-He stomps at the building, causing it to collapse.
-Lindsey loses her footing as the building begins falling, leaving herself open to an attack.
-Digamma leaps out and smashes her in the face with an epic knee.
-He pinballs her in the air several times before booting her as high as possible.
Digamma: You’re not much of a fight, are you?
-Digamma pulls his arms back and starts charging his energy attack.
Digamma: Digamma Beam, FIRE!
Lindsey: Dang it!
Digamma: What the hell?
-Lindsey floats in the air, perfectly okay, holding her elbows blades out after slicing Digamma’s beam in half.
Lindsey: (Smiling). Heeeey, that was kinda cool.
-Lindsey disappears and reappears instantly above Digamma’s head, stabbing her elbows blades down into Digamma’s shoulders.
-His armor cracks and splits as he screams out.
Lindsey: (Smiling). Ooh, that can’t feel good.
-She slices out with a flourish, sending the arms of Digamma’s armor falling to the ground.
-She spins and cuts Digamma’s helmet in the same fashion, sending two pieces falling to either side.
-Lindsey holsters her elbow blades and grabs Digamma’s right arm, breaking it in one swift motion before moving onto the left arm and repeating.
-Digamma continues to scream out in agony.
Lindsey: And now, the Lindsey Super Awesome Finisher!
Digamma: Oh no…
-Lindsey screams out as Digamma winces. She lightly chops Digamma in the back of the neck, knocking him out.
Lindsey: And that was a girl that did that. Ouch to you.
-Kevin and the Super Octa-Zord trade blows back and forth, though Kevin has yet to be hit by the energy sword.
-The zord starts firing lasers at Kevin repeatedly, pushing Kevin stumbling backward.
-The Super Octa-Zord pulls the sword up high and brings it down hard and fast at Kevin’s head.
-Kevin reaches out and grabs the zord’s arm, struggling to stop it but managing to get control.
Octa-Rangers: NO NO NO!
-Kevin forces the sword around on the Octa-Zord, pulling it down and then stabbing the zord through the midsection as sparks shoot out all around.
-The Super Octa-Zord takes a few steps backward as it begins glowing. Three brightly colored rangers leap out of the exploding robot.
-Rangers Sho, San, and Sampi land on the ground, panting through their helmets.
Sampi: Rangers, I think we were soundly defeated.
Sho: We’re not done yet.
Leena: Oh I think you’re done yet.
-The rangers look up and see Leena, Kyle, Glitch, Scott, Austin, Danny, Willy, and Clinton standing around them.
San: Ah man. Octavious is gonna kill us.
Sho: Desperation Maneuver-
-Leena kicks Sho in the facemask, shattering his visor.
Leena: Desperation Maneuver Shut Up Already.
-San and Sampi look at each other and nod. They grab Sho and hit the Octa-Ranger emblem on their belts, causing them to glow and disappear.
Kyle: Huh, I wasn’t expecting that.
Leena: Oh come on, we were all expecting that.
-They start to walk away.
Danny: A little.
-Stigma manages to regain consciousness long enough to hit his emblem as well. The same goes for Qoppa.
-Digamma, however, is totally out as Lindsey flies him to the rest of the group.
Lindsey: Where’d they all go?
Glitch: They seem to have some sort of short-range teleportation device.
Lindsey: At least I got the white one.
Austin: That Maximilian?
Austin: What do you want to do with him?
Lindsey: I want to ask Jack. Who has an earbud?
Glitch: I’ll ask him.
Lindsey: And where’s Chris?
Glitch: Uh…huh, I don’t know.
Austin: Last I saw of him he was fighting Stigma.
Lindsey: Well, we should go find him. Everyone else is accounted for.
-The ground starts rumbling.
Leena: Great, what now?
-An enormous explosion rips into the sky from the shoreline where Iess, Grid, Fox, and Job said they’d be.
Lindsey: That was either a very good thing or a very bad thing.
Austin: Let’s find Chris first, then we worry about those guys.
-Chris has flown to the point where the cameras last saw his grandmother.
Chris: (Tapping his earbud). Jack, I’m at her last location, just as you said.
Jack: Yeah, the news cameras don’t seem to care much to show anything except the downed mechs. What’s the area look like down there?
Chris: The ground is all charred up and there’re parts from broken Hex-Duo robots everywhere. Whatever happened here, it was pretty chaotic.
Jack: It’s been pretty chaotic all over the city.
Jack: The others have Octavious’ son, by the way.
Chris: That’s super; I don’t want any more party members at the moment. It’s hard enough keeping track as it is.
Chris: Hold on, I think I see someone.
-A group of two or three dozen come out from hiding once they see Chris in the street.
Chris: Hey, the fighting’s all over. You’re safe now. Have any of you seen an older woman with black hair around here?
Barbara: Older woman? You’re calling me an older woman now?
-He rushes to his grandmother and hugs her closely.
Chris: What the heck happened to you?! I saw you get blown up or something on TV!
Barbara: What? Oh you kids and your TV. You can’t believe everything you see on those things.
Chris: So really, what happened?
Barbara: I was saved by someone who looked an awful lot like your friend Derek.
Chris: Derek? No, he was with me.
Barbara: Hey, I’m just telling you what he looked like.
Chris: Is he still here?
Barbara: No, he ran off immediately afterward.
Chris: (Taps his earbud). Jack, my grandma’s okay, but we might have a problem.
Jack: We’ve had a lot of those.
Chris: She says someone that looked like Derek saved her.
Jack: (Confused). Derek? Derek was with us at the Northern Lodge when we saw her attacked on the news cameras.
Chris: That’s what I said. If there’s yet another super-powerful guy running around out here, I want to know where he is and what he’s doing.
Barbara: Well I just told you he saved me, right? Then he’s a good guy.
Chris: Grandma, I haven’t seen you since, oh man, since this all started, right?
Barbara: Yeah, that’s about right.
Chris: I tried to come see you a few months ago but the house got blown up by some guy that looked like Syrus.
-Barbara becomes far more serious at that name.
Barbara: Did you kill him?
Chris: What? No, he got away.
Barbara: The next time you see that man, I want you to kill him. Don’t even wait; just kill him.
Chris: I don’t understand.
Barbara: Just do as you’re told! I don’t want to see you getting killed!
Chris: Oh…okay then?
-The rest of Chris’ group flies down next to him and Barbara.
Austin: What’s all the yelling?
Barbara: (Instantly less serious again). Oh Austin! Is that you? You’ve all gotten so big!
Austin: Oh, Chris’ Grandma! Hey! Thank you!
Barbara: I don’t believe I know everyone here.
Chris: We’ve got to meet back up with some people, but I want you to come with us. We’re going up north. Will you come?
Barbara: I’ve got nothing better to do, so sure.
Chris: That’s great! Hey, finally things sound like they’re ending well!
Lindsey: Well Mr. Positive, we’ve still got places to go and things to do.
Chris: (Smiles). You’re right. Lead on team leader.
-Lindsey smiles back as the group takes to the skies and starts flying back to the Northern Lodge.
-To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 57
“It’s Morphin’ Time!”
Recap: While the group at the church managed to overcome the Regime’s attack, the group of Chris, Derek, Scott, Glitch, and Lindsey are still fighting on at the Arena against the Octa-Rangers. Scott is down for the count and Glitch refuses to fight, but he has an idea to patch in some incriminating evidence to the mega screens that’ll shed light on what the Hex-Duo robots were all about and Octavious’ true colors. The fight is now three against five. Can the group hold out long enough for the plan to work? Things get more intense today, on Eclipse Star!
-Stigma, (the red ranger), San, (the yellow ranger), Sampi, (the blue ranger), Sho, (the black ranger), and Qoppa, (the pink ranger), are all in formation, ready to attack the group.
-Chris, Lindsey, and Derek power themselves up and charge forward.
-Glitch takes Scott and shoots up into the rafters and out of sight.
Stigma: Rangers! Focus attacks on the remaining three! Lethal force!
Stigma: Ready Alpha Strike…
Chris: Renegade Crusher GO!
-Lindsey and Derek nod and blast ahead of Chris.
Sho: “Renegade Crusher…?”
-The Octa-Rangers seem slightly stunned for a moment as Derek and Lindsey shoot straight up instead of hitting the group.
-Chris quickly flicks his hands out, firing rapid flick shots at the five opponents.
-Each ranger takes a flick shot in the face, being knocked off balance.
-As they turn their attention to Chris, Derek comes down in the middle of the rangers and pulls out his sai, causing a sonic boom by drawing them against themselves.
-The rangers are thrown in various directions.
-Stigma and Sampi get up first, only to have Chris and Lindsey slam them from behind with a double-kick.
-They then both pull back and hurl energy blasts at Stigma and Sampi at the same time, hitting their targets and blowing them into the air.
-Sho gets up on his hands and knees, but receives a boot directly in the face from Derek, popping him up as Derek connects with a palm strike, hurling Sho into the wall.
-Qoppa gets up and looks around, confused. San gets up next to him and looks up.
San: We gotta help Stigma and Sampi!
Qoppa: Uh…which ones were they again?
San: The two in the air! Go help them!
-Right as Qoppa looks upwards, Lindsey comes by and grabs his helmet from behind, turning it sideways.
Qoppa: Oh no! I’m blind! Fellow rangers, I am blind!
Lindsey: Silly rangers. (She grabs Qoppa and pushes him into San). You two have fun!
San: Hey, stop messing around!
-Qoppa makes contact with San and immediately starts flailing, throwing punches and kicks.
Qoppa: AHA! I’ll smash you good!
San: Dang it Qoppa! It’s me! San!
Qoppa: (Even more confused). Uh…which one was San again? Must be a trick!
-Qoppa takes a big swing at San and begins wrestling with him.
-Stigma rights himself in the air and pulls Sampi out of the way of a blast being fired by Derek.
Derek: So you’re not such an idiot, huh?
Stigma: Neither are you three, apparently.
-Stigma lands along with Sampi.
Stigma: Renegade Crusher huh? Not a bad technique.
Lindsey: Chris, you just made up some words and yelled them at us, right?
Lindsey: That’s what I thought.
Derek: (Taps his head). Quick thinking. We’ve got it.
-San finally grabs Qoppa’s helmet and fixes it, causing Qoppa to stop flailing about.
Qoppa: Oh, San, THERE you are! I was blinded by the terrorists for a while.
San: Shut up and regroup.
-The rangers regroup.
-Meanwhile, Glitch and Scott are up in the rafters. Glitch is just finishing bandaging Scott’s hands.
Glitch: There. That should help a bit, but it’s only a temporary fix.
Scott: Better than nothing.
Glitch: Okay, there has to be a video feed around here somewhere.
Scott: They changed the setup of this place since we were last here. There used to be a hanging mega screen in the middle, but Syrus smashed that.
Glitch: The other two screens in the arena are built into the walls on either end. I don’t think we can tap in to those without tearing into solid concrete.
Scott: Then we head to the control room. They’ve got to have people monitoring the fight, you know, just to make sure no one uses any profanity or something.
Glitch: They’d sensor a brutal fight only if it uses profanity?
Scott: Yeah. Also probably if anyone started having sex without warning.
Glitch: That’s crazy.
Scott: No shit. Now come on, let’s go find the video feed.
-Back on the floor…
Stigma: I think we’ve had just about enough now. Octa-Rangers! Full power!
Chris: Full power? You mean they haven’t been fighting us at full power yet?
Lindsey: Well neither have I, so we should be fine.
Derek: Yeah, then again you haven’t been fighting two at once, have you?
Lindsey: It looks like I’m about to get my chance, huh?
Chris: You two, stay to the sides while I-
Lindsey: Derek, you take the blue one and the yellow one, I’ll get the pink and the black one. Chris, that leaves you the guy in red.
Chris: This isn’t going to-
-Lindsey throws herself into the fray with Derek trailing only slightly behind her. She grabs Qoppa and hurls him upwards with all her strength before ducking under one of Sho’s punches.
Qoppa: Yah! How’d a girl throw like that?!
-Qoppa starts to correct himself in the air before zipping down and fighting with Lindsey as she dodges Sho’s attacks.
-As Lindsey keeps dodging, Sho’s fists start glowing with a dark aura, rippling the air more as they shoot forward.
-Qoppa tries to grab Lindsey, but as she leaps behind him, Sho fires a heavy punch into Qoppa’s chest.
-Qoppa takes the severe hit and doubles over.
-Meanwhile, Derek has begun attacking his two rangers with quick hits.
-He grabs San’s helmet and boots him in the stomach, dodging under Sampi’s punch from behind and elbowing Sampi in the back.
-Sampi returns with a swing that Derek swats away, roundhousing a kick to Sampi’s side.
-San tackles Derek and rolls him to the ground, throwing a yellow glowing punch that cracks the ground as Derek dodges.
-Derek grabs San’s arm and holds him down, pummeling him in the helmet with punches with his free hand.
-During all this, Chris and Stigma are mostly just squaring off.
Stigma: So, you’re supposed to be the primary target?
Chris: Yeah, though I don’t like being thought of as an objective.
Stigma: My only interest in you concerns my mission and my obligation to Octavious and Balobyn.
Chris: Then listen, we’re not terrorists. We’re kids. Do we look like terrorists to you? Do we fight like terrorists to you?
Stigma: No. You’re sloppy, and yet you’re still strong. (Looks over at the others). Your teammates are doing remarkably well, wouldn’t you say?
Chris: They can take care of themselves.
Stigma: Maybe, but I don’t believe you have very solid teamwork.
-Stigma vwings from Chris’ sight.
-As Lindsey is about to throw a punch at Qoppa, Qoppa disappears as well as Sho.
-Chris and Lindsey look around, confused, finally resting eyes on Derek.
-Derek is dodging punches and kicks from Sampi and San, retaliating, then dodging again.
-The two disappear for a moment.
-Almost too quick to distinguish, Derek is being lifted up by a knee in his stomach, courtesy of Stigma. He gasps for air before a blur of colors rip him a new one, battering him mercilessly.
Lindsey: That was so fast…
-Chris takes a run towards Derek, sparking as he’s picking up speed.
-Derek continues taking hits, unable to keep his head up anymore.
-Chris disappears with a boom.
-Things freeze for a second as Chris’ foot buries itself deep into Stigma’s back, bowing him backwards before hurling him forward into the wall with a KRACKOOM.
-The other Octa-Rangers all look to see Chris in the middle of their group right before he sending them flying in all directions.
-Chris grabs Derek and lies him down on the ground.
Chris: Derek, you don’t look too good.
Derek: (Severely damaged). I didn’t ask for help…
Chris: Shut up. You’re no good to us right now, so just shut up.
-Stimga gets back up as the other Octa-Rangers regroup around him.
Stigma: That…koff…that was a lot stronger than I figured he could deliver.
Octavious: (From his viewpoint in the skybox). Shit. If that kid hits max power down there there’s no telling what’ll happen.
-The crowd is going nuts as Lindsey runs over to Chris and Derek.
Lindsey: So we’re down to just us, huh?
Chris: No, you’re getting out of here with Derek.
Lindsey: I don’t think so.
Chris: Lindsey, you’re not-
Lindsey: Stop it! Let me help you, okay? I seem to remember you asking for help just a few days ago, so what, did I just miss my chance or something?
Chris: (Getting extremely defensive). Don’t make this about something it’s not. I don’t want you getting hurt. If Derek can’t even deal with them-
Lindsey: Why do you think I’m weaker than Derek?
Derek: (Getting up, stumbling towards the Octa-Rangers). Because you are, Lindsey. You just don’t have the raw…guh…drive.
Lindsey: (Looking at Derek and then at Chris). Oh what, so you don’t care if he goes and gets himself killed? You think he can handle himself better than me even after getting beat to hell?
Chris: You just don’t understand how this works.
Lindsey: Then show me!
Stigma: Rangers, give them another taste of the Omega Buster.
Chris: Omega Buster…oh damnit!
Derek: You ready for this one? (Derek grins and puts his arms up).
Chris: Lindsey, please, just get out of here.
-Chris begins charging a counter attack as the Octa-Rangers start waving their hands in sync.
Lindsey: (Serious). You really think you can block their big attack all by yourself?
Chris: I don’t know.
Lindsey: Why aren’t you fighting like you did a few days ago?
Chris: Things were different back then.
Lindsey: Yeah, what was different?
Chris: I- (Images flash through Chris’ head of him talking with his father).
James: So Chris, what’re you fighting for?
Chris: I don’t know. I still haven’t figured that out yet.
James: It’s got to be something incredibly meaningful to you. Once you find something you can’t live without, you’ve found your motivation.
Chris: I don’t have anything like that.
James: So you don’t have anything, but do you have anyone?
Chris: I- (Back to the present). I didn’t have any other options back then.
Lindsey: This is about Jack, isn’t it?
Chris: (Continues charging). Lindsey, this is a really bad time to bring that up, don’t you think?
Lindsey: (Pissed). Well clearly it’s bothering you. Everything has to be about you, doesn’t it? You have to get your way or else everything’s just terrible, huh?
Chris: (Growing increasingly angry). Lindsey!
-The Octa-Rangers are about to fire.
Derek: (Weakly charging a blast in his hands as well). Alright you bastards, let’s party.
Lindsey: Admit it! The only reason you’re acting so pathetic is because I’m not in love with you!
Stigma: OMEGA BUSTER FIRE!
Chris: GET DOWN!
-Lindsey turns around, finally seeing the massive blast firing at her. She hardly seems surprised.
-Derek stumbles, not having enough energy to fire a blast and stand up at the same time.
Chris: DAMNIT DAMNIT DAMNIT!
-A massive explosion takes place. Lindsey gets up to see what’s happened, realizing that Chris jumped up, grabbed her, and threw her into Derek, knocking the two of them out of harm’s way before finally blocking the beam at the last second instead of countering.
Lindsey: (Shocked). Oh my God…
Sho: Did we get them?
Sampi: Well we definitely hit something.
Stigma: (Annoyed). I don’t believe this.
-Chris is still standing, though his legs are wobbling now. His arms are raised in front of his face, smoking and charred.
Chris: (Through gritted teeth). Lindsey, for the love of God, get the hell out of here, please.
Stigma: Rangers! V formation attack!
-The Octa-Rangers speed towards Chris and Lindsey in a V formation.
Lindsey: Chris, I’m s-
Chris: I don’t have time for this!
-Chris takes off to meet the Octa-Rangers head on.
-As they’re about to meet, something shoots from between Stigma and Sho and slams into Chris, knocking him into the back wall, breaking it down.
Lindsey: Dang it! This is my fault! I was just trying to push him a little…
Chris: (Getting up). What just hit me?
-The Octa-Rangers have stopped advancing. Standing between them is a new ranger dressed in a green outfit decorated slightly better than the other five.
Stigma: Who are you?
Green Ranger: (Elaborate pose). I am Digamma, the Emerald Ranger.
Stigma: Octavious never told me about a Ranger named Digamma.
Digamma: Octavious sees the need to keep things to himself unless absolutely needed.
Octavious: (Positively stunned). Who is that guy?! And what is he doing out there?!
Chris: (Gets up, somewhat fine). Great, a green ranger. Just what we need right now.
Lindsey: (Goes over to Chris, willing to assist him to walk). Chris, I know you’re mad at me, and I’m sorry.
Chris: (Pushes her gently away and begins walking forward, rubbing his shoulder). I know. It’s okay. I shouldn’t be telling you what to do all the time. I love you, so I worry.
Lindsey: Chris, we’ve been over this; you don’t love me.
Chris: Whatever. I’m over-protective for a lot of reasons. (Sigh). You know you’re stronger than Derek, right?
Lindsey: (Smiles). Oh yeah.
Chris: (Smiles back). Good, because I’m gonna need you big time here.
Lindsey: As long as you don’t tell me to leave.
Chris: No, this time I’m pretty sure I’ll need your help. It’s taking Glitch a lot longer than I figured to do this, so there’s a good chance we’ll just have to play this one out to the end.
-Meanwhile, backstage in a control room…
-Glitch and Scott are at a computer console as Glitch madly flips switches and presses buttons. A few tech workers are knocked out next to Scott as he watches the video monitor.
Scott: They look like they’re getting the shit kicked out of them.
Glitch: I don’t mean to take so much time, but Octavious had someone safeguard against computer hacking a lot better than I figured.
Scott: So what, you’re a computer, too. Just meld with the damned thing and let’s be done with this.
Glitch: It’s not that simple.
Scott: Well Derek’s down and a green ranger just showed up.
Glitch: (Not looking up from his frantic typing). I am aware of that.
Scott: We’re gonna cut this one close… (Pulls out a cigarette and starts smoking).
Glitch: Yeah, well, you’re probably getting used to that by now.
-Scott goes back to watching the monitor which shows Chris and Lindsey standing back-to-back.
Chris: I don’t know how strong the green guy is, but the rest of them can be handled unless they work in unison.
Lindsey: Is it time to start hitting harder?
Chris: I’d say so, yes.
Lindsey: Alright. Let’s do this.
Lindsey: Pink first?
Chris: Oh yeah.
-The two both charge energy blasts in their hands and fire next to each other, combining the blast to be much larger than expected.
-The Octa-Rangers leap out of the way, but when they look down both Chris and Lindsey are gone.
Digamma: They’re on the move! Watch your backs!
-Before the rangers have time to react, Qoppa blurts out a whimper as Chris and Lindsey tackle him from the front and the back at the same time. He falls to the ground, out.
-San looks over, getting hit in the face and the back of the legs at the same time.
-He spins around in the air, confused, until an axe kick comes down on his chest, throwing him to the ground as well.
-Sampi and San look at each other and zoom to the far walls, keeping their backs protected.
-Chris and Lindsey appear, flying towards them. The two rangers put up a block, ready for a head-on attack.
-Chris and Lindsey switch rangers at the last second before punching, hitting them in the side of the head behind their guard.
-Sampi and San fall to the side, getting kneed into the walls, becoming imbedded and both out of commission.
-Both Lindsey and Chris are breathing extremely hard.
Chris: Hah…you doing okay?
Lindsey: Hah…hah…I’ll be fine.
-Chris and Lindsey turn around and catch Stigma in their sights, rushing towards him with Chris speeding ahead of Lindsey.
-Digamma appears in front of Lindsey from behind Chris, pounding Lindsey in the gut with an authoritative punch.
-She gasps slightly as she’s lifted into the air. Chris turns around when he hears the sound.
-He starts to slow, not realizing that Stigma is pulling back for an attack.
-Chris notices Stigma’s attack right as it hits him in the head.
-Chris is thrown onto his back, smoking and in a lot of obvious pain.
-Lindsey is grabbed by the face. Digamma charges a quick blast and nails Lindsey with the hand holding her.
-Lindsey is flung clear across the arena floor.
-Chris finally gets up.
Digamma: I’ll give you credit for taking out four simple targets. However, myself and Stigma are not so easily dispatched by silly tricks.
Chris: Lindsey! Are you okay?!
Lindsey: (She gets up, wobbling). Ye-yeah…I’ll be okay. (She suddenly grabs her face, wincing from the pain). Just…just give me a second…
Chris: (To Digamma). You’re making a big mistake here.
Digamma: You made the first mistake by opposing Balobyn and Zanretha.
Chris: We followed the orders we were given exactly. And we never attacked Zanretha or Balobyn, only the Demon Regime. Octavious is the leader of the Regime. Your leader is the terrorist, not us.
Digamma: Sometimes leaders have to do strange things to ensure their nation’s success. Balobyn is about to enter a golden age thanks to Octavious.
Chris: What are you, his biggest fan?
Digamma: Far from it actually. (Power stance, green energy pulsating visually off his uniform). I am vastly more powerful than any of these other rangers. You realize this, yes?
Chris: Yeah. That doesn’t mean I’m impressed, but I’m aware of the fact.
Digamma: Aren’t you curious to see exactly how powerful?
Chris: Not exactly. Hey Lindz?! You curious to see how strong this guy is?!
Lindsey: (Shakes her head, shrugging). Not really, no!
Chris: Well, that’s two against one.
Digamma: Stigma! Take the girl! I want the main target!
-Digamma launches himself forward, decking Chris in the face. Chris’ cheek ripples from the attack as he’s hurled off his feet.
-Meanwhile, Stigma disappears and reappears behind Lindsey, attempting to knock her out with one punch.
-She turns around just in time to catch Stigma’s hand.
-He struggles to get free from her grip.
Stigma: I don’t get this…how can a girl keep up with us?
Lindsey: I’ve been training with the boys, so I’m not exactly what you’d call “prissy.”
-She disappears after letting go of Stigma’s wrist and reappears with a kick to his head.
-On the other side of the arena, Chris recovers from his attack, vwinging from his position and punching at Digamma.
-Digamma blocks the punch before the two disappear, appearing every so often around the arena to deliver simultaneous attacks that cancel each other out.
-Finally, they appear above the center as Digamma smashes Chris in the face again.
-Every time they continue reappearing, Digamma is nailing Chris with a heavy attack. After enough of these hits, Digamma slams Chris with an elbow straight down.
-Chris falls and hits the floor, badly damaged.
Digamma: Is this the best you can deliver?!
-Stigma is backed into a corner, getting nearly destroyed by Lindsey with every blow.
Stigma: Gah Digamma! I need help!
Digamma: For goodness sake…
-Digamma looks over to Stigma and starts to move towards Lindsey.
-Suddenly the TV’s screech with static. Everyone in the crowd covers their ears and starts mumbling as the TV’s go blank for a moment.
Digamma: What now?
-The TV’s come back on with Glitch and Scott in the frame.
Scott: These aren’t on, are they?
Glitch: We’re patched in. They’re on.
Scott: What? Why didn’t you- Ha, alright then, let’s get some things straight here folks. My name is Scott Delaney, and Octavious would like you to believe I’m one of the twelve terrorists threatening your city.
Octavious: What’s going on-?!
Scott: He would also like you to believe that the Hex-Duo robots were manufactured in order to hunt us down and save your city. The robot to my right is named Glitch.
Glitch: My official name is Hex-Duo Model Number Seven.
Scott: He is one of the ten robots that ravaged the city. Glitch, show the footage.
Glitch: Here’s the truth.
-Glitch hits some more buttons. The screen becomes static again for a moment before jumping in with a scene of Octavious speaking with Charles in his lab.
Octavious: How is production coming along with these?
Charles: It’s slow, but it’s going very well. I have this one nearly completed here-
-Gestures towards Glitch/the camera.
Octavious: I don’t want one! I want an army of these things! How do you expect me to occupy a city with only one damned robot?!
Charles: The specifications only covered this one-
Octavious: Clearly someone didn’t brief you enough. I want ten. No less. Each should be loaded with more shit than a tank. Can you do that?
Charles: We don’t have that kind of money-
Octavious: I own a f*cking country! I don’t run out of money if I don’t want to!
Charles: Fine. Ten, just as you ask.
Octavious: Good. If I like the progress in another week then I may let you see a current picture of your wife.
-Static. The crowd starts to murmur louder.
-The footage cuts back in, once more with Charles and Octavious in the lab.
Charles: They’re nearly done. I just have to finish programming their orders and install safety chips.
Octavious: No safety chips. We’ve spent enough money as it is.
Charles: You told me a month ago that money was no option.
Octavious: I don’t care about them needing safety chips.
Charles: Without the chips we won’t be able to stop them from harming civilians if it comes down to it.
Octavious: So? We’re not loosing them in our country, are we?
Charles: Octavious, sir-
Octavious: Look you old shit, I don’t give a damn how many people these things end up killing as long as they kill the twelve little bastards I want dead, is that clear?
Charles: What you’re talking about is tantamount to a war crime.
Octavious: Well that’s why we aren’t slapping our name on them, isn’t it?
Charles: Would you like me to remove the Demon Regime’s logo from them then?
Octavious: I don’t care. Only a handful of people know my connection to the Regime, so it doesn’t matter. The public’s too stupid to know anything different. You realize I got my son Max into The Legion? The damned nation’s filled with idiots anyway.
-More static. The crowd is growing extremely angry.
Octavious: God damnit! Someone cut the power already!
-Octavious runs out from his skybox, rushing down to the ground floor.
-The screen comes back on, this time showing the Hex-Duo robots and their group as they’re flying to the Legion’s headquarters.
Glitch: (In the place of the camera). Six, I still don’t think we need to kill anyone. There has got to be another way here.
Hex-Duo 6: (Turning to Glitch). Listen Seven, I’m growing bored with explaining to you that I don’t care what Syrus thinks about human life. I wasn’t programmed to care about human life. We were given orders directly from Octavious not to care about human life other than his and his son’s. As long as we kill the primary target and eliminate The Legion, our mission is complete. Do you understand?
Glitch: (Quietly). Yes.
-More static. The screen comes back on to show the attack on the Legion’s base. Images of explosions and fire run rampant, showing the Hex-Duo robots specifically rushing up and slaughtering individual members of the Legion every so often.
-The camera, (Glitch), runs away, looking back on Hex-Duo 6 snapping The Commander’s neck.
-Glitch turns back to get clear shots of the remaining eleven kids, all distraught, in pain, and most of them weeping, horror-shocked.
-Static once more. The crowd is gasping, getting louder and louder.
-Before the screen can come back on, Digamma hurls energy blasts from both hands, destroying both screens at once.
Lindsey: What? You weren’t enjoying the show?
Digamma: That’s enough from you!
Lindsey: Face it, it’s over.
-The crowd is growing extremely hostile, booing Octavious’ name as well as the Regime’s and the nation of Balobyn in general.
Digamma: You will shut your mouth like a good girl, or you won’t have a mouth left with which to speak to me like that.
-Digamma starts to walk towards Lindsey, only to look down and see the dust vibrating slightly.
-Digamma looks back directly as Chris connects with a punch that rawks Digamma.
-Digamma is thrown clear off his feet, a crater appearing on the ground at the point he was hit.
-Digamma’s helmet shatters and bursts off as he crashes into the retaining walls, coming to a halt.
-Digamma stands up, shaking his head, his hand on his face. He looks around and sees the crowd booing him. Everyone else looks down and sees Digamma’s face.
Digamma: My helmet…? Oh no.
-Chris looks over at Digamma.
Chris: Maximilian is the green Octa-Ranger?
-Octavious rushes out at this moment on the ground floor, stopping and seeing Max.
Chris: (Picking Derek up off the ground while talking to Max and Octavious). You see this crowd here? These are the citizens of Zanretha. These are the citizens of my nation. They’re on our side now. You’ve lost. Leave now before things get worse.
Max: No. I didn’t disgrace my country or my people. And I’m not finished yet.
-Max begins glowing green again, crouching a bit to start gathering a crazy amount of energy while grunting. Within no time, things are beginning to shake, originating from Max.
Chris: Derek, come on, get up. I need to know you’re okay here.
-Chris continues trying to wake Derek up as he looks up and sees Lindsey behind Max, also powering up.
Chris: Ah no… Lindz!
-Chris drops Derek as Lindsey leaps at Max.
-Max turns around and slams her upward with both hands in a massive punch. She careens into the air as Max proceeds to charge himself up to maximum power.
Max: This time you’ll know your place!
-Chris leaps into the air as best he can, already charging a counter-attack in his hands.
-Max throws his arms into the air.
Max: See you in Hell!
-Max fires his ultimate attack, a massive upheaval of energy from all around him that seems to spring up from the entire arena floor. The energy explodes upward, erupting through the arena’s roof.
-The crowd freaks out and finally starts fleeing out any exit possible.
-In the city, Jack, Austin, Kevin, Danny, Willy, Clinton, Leena, and Kyle are flying towards the arena with Jack on Kevin’s back.
Clinton: (Holding his hand to his ear). Jack, the radio transmissions are going nuts right now regarding our group at the Trillium Grand Central Arena. The Octa-Rangers are down, and Glitch played all the needed footage, but something’s wrong.
Jack: We’re just about there, so-
-Jack’s sentence is interrupted as they see the Arena’s top blow off and watch as green light flies into the clouds.
Kyle: Jack, that does not look like a good thing.
Jack: Full speed! We need to get there NOW!
-The church-defense group speeds off to assist.
-Inside the Arena, Max is still outputting a massive amount of energy.
Derek: (Finally coming to). Unh…the hell? I wake up to this?
-Glitch and Scott rush onto the Arena floor.
-Max laughs until he hears a faint sound coming from within the blinding green light.
-An energy blast shoots down from the middle of everything directly down on Max, hitting the ground and exploding in a hellish detonation.
-Everything goes white as sound fades to eventual peace, the crowd being too stunned to say anything. The only sound that can be heard is the noise of chunks of debris falling onto the Arena floor.
-Finally, the intensity of the light fades, revealing Max lying facedown on his stomach, green outfit ripped to shreds. He is struggling to crawl forward, his hand reaching out.
-Octavious looks on, dropping his arm having been covering his face. He rushes out to the middle of the arena, speaking through clenched teeth.
Octavious: God damn you, Max. You f*cked up everything.
Max: Father, together…we can kill him…
Octavious: We’re getting out of here.
-Octavious throws Max over his shoulder and takes off. The Octa-Rangers follow closely behind.
-Lindsey lands shortly after that carrying Chris on her back.
Lindsey: Not bad. Not bad at all. You nearly killed yourself, but not bad.
Chris: (Weak). Thanks…
-Glitch and Scott run up to the two.
Glitch: That was amazing!
Scott: We were about to step in to help, but it looked like you had everything under control.
-Derek stumbles over.
Derek: Octavious and that bastard son of his got away.
Scott: Ug, profanity just sounds so crude coming from you, you know that?
Derek: We could end this all right now if we go after them.
Lindsey: Derek, right now, none of us look like we’re really in any shape to go chasing after him, and definitely in no condition to keep fighting.
Chris: What’re you talking about? I could go another…hundred miles… (Chris passes out).
Lindsey: (Stroking his head). What a trooper…
-Lindsey and the others look up as Jack’s group flies down from up above.
Austin: What the heck happened here?
Lindsey: We hit a bit of a snag, but we handled it.
Jack: Lindz, we just saw the light beam. That wasn’t what I’d call a “snag.”
Lindsey: Well, okay, the light beam was after the snag. After the snag we had a bit of a snafu, then a fubar, but now we’re pretty okay I’d say.
Kevin: Anyone injured?
Scott: Check the wrists. (Holds up his arms). These are going to hurt for months. Oh, and also Chris is out, Derek is beaten pretty badly, and Lindsey needs a comb.
Danny: The Octa-Rangers got away, didn’t they?
Lindsey: Yeah, but we’re a whole lot stronger than them. We just need better teamwork.
Jack: I couldn’t agree more.
Lindsey: How’d things go at the church?
Austin: (Thumbs-up). Mission accomplished. Parents saved, case closed.
Derek: Was my father there?
Austin: I didn’t see him, no. I’m sorry.
Derek: He hated church anyway.
Lindsey: Well now that we won, let’s go see our parents!
-The group just coming from the church clamps up and grows awkward.
Leena: Uh, Lindz…
Lindsey: (Becoming worried). What’s wrong?
Jack: Lindsey, it was best for our parents to go into hiding for a while.
Lindsey: Okay, so let’s go to where they’re hiding.
Jack: No, you don’t understand. I asked them to do what my parents did and cut ties with us.
-Lindsey is heartbroken.
Jack: Lindsey, I’m sorry, it had to be done to keep them and us safe.
Lindsey: (Tears are starting to stream down her face). I couldn’t even tell them goodbye…? Tell them I love them…? Jack…why?
Jack: Lindz, there just wasn’t any time-
Lindsey: WHY?! (She bursts into tears, turns and runs away).
Leena: Lindz… (She runs after Lindsey).
-Chris groggily opens his eyes, rubbing his face.
Chris: Jack…that you guys?
Jack: Yes. We were successful.
Chris: Good. I did my half of the deal, too. Now can we go make sure my grandma’s alive?
Jack: I don’t-
Austin: (Cutting Jack off entirely). Heck yeah let’s go! I haven’t seen your grandma in forever!
Jack: We need to-
Kevin: (He shushes Jack as the others ignore him and all rush Derek, Chris, Glitch, and Scott to begin exchanging stories). Just let him have this. He’s done everything we asked him to do, please, he needs to make sure his family is okay.
Jack: (Annoyed). Fine. We can go there next. We might find another abandoned safe house.
Kevin: Well, personally, I hope we don’t.
Jack: Lindsey hates me now, doesn’t she?
Kevin: She just needs some time. She’ll be okay.
Jack: (Shrugs). Doesn’t matter. Most of you guys hate me anyway. It’s not like I’m useful at the moment or anything. (Shakes his head). Alright gang, listen up. (The others turn their heads to pay attention). We’re heading to Chris’ house now. Any objections? Good. Shall we move out?
Jack: Yeah I’m not getting sick of that yet…
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 55
“Go, Go Octa-Rangers!”
Recap: Last time, our heroes received some very startling information from a news report showing Octavious’ son Maximilian taking command of the Legion and issuing a challenge to the terrorists, by which he means the kids. It becomes apparent that the Regime intends to kidnap the group’s parents in addition to the typical challenge against Octavious’ personally trained team, the Octa-Rangers. All the parents have been instructed to huddle at Kevin’s family’s church in Brooksboro while Chris, Derek, Lindsey, Scott, and Glitch head to the Trillium City Grand Arena to accept Octavious’ challenge. It’s going to be a heated chapter, on Eclipse Star!
-The two sides, (Octa-Rangers and the group of Derek, Chris, Lindsey, Scott, and Glitch), rush head-on at each other as the entire stadium erupts with cheers.
Derek: Guys, hit hard and hit harder!
-All the members square off with someone else.
-Derek connects with Stigma, the red ranger.
-Chris hits Sho, the black ranger.
-Scott leaps against Sampi, the blue ranger.
-Lindsey attacks San, the yellow ranger.
-And Glitch goes after Qoppa, the pink ranger.
-On a side note, the 5 ranger names are obsolete letters of the Greek alphabet.
-Ranger Stigma and Derek clench up and travel high into the air in the center of the arena as the other eight fighters clash around.
Stigma: Give up terrorist before we’re forced to subdue you!
Derek: (Smiling and laughing). Exactly how much have you been told about us?
Stigma: Enough to know you’re the enemy!
Derek: Yeah, well apparently not enough to know you’re way outclassed.
-Derek throws Stigma’s hands wide and slams him with both fists downward at the shoulder/neck.
-Stigma careens back down to the floor.
Derek: So that’s one down already?
-Stigma rights himself before hitting, vwinging from sight.
-Derek looks annoyed and surprised.
-Stigma clobbers Derek from behind, grabbing him in a bear hug afterwards.
Stigma: Surrender! This is your final warning!
Derek: I just don’t believe these guys!
-Derek powers up, hurling Stigma from him.
-Stigma flips backwards out of control in the air before stopping himself, skidding backwards slightly in the air.
Stigma: (Mostly to himself). I don’t get it. Exactly how strong are they going to be?
-Chris and Sho connect blows while hovering near the crowd. They’re matching each other exactly depending on which attack is thrown, so they look as if they’re symmetrical in motion.
Sho: You think you’re playing with me?
Chris: (Oblivious to any offense). No, I thought we were fighting.
Sho: Then why are you holding back!
-Ranger Sho slams Chris in the face.
-Chris tilts his head back and quickly snaps it back, shaking his head.
Sho: What is this?!
Chris: I really don’t want to hurt you. I’d rather just let you tire yourself out if that’s at all possible.
Sho: Who do you think you’re supposed to be?!
Chris: I’m just Chris. I’m the primary target I guess.
Sho: (Freaks). What?! (Yells at Stigma). Red! This guy’s yours!
-Stigma and Derek are clenched again.
Stigma: Busy Sho.
Sho: No seriously!
-Sho tries vwinging away from Chris.
-Chris grabs Sho’s foot and keeps him from leaving.
Chris: You’re just not…trying, are you?
-Sho turns around and throws both hands out, blasting Chris point blank with an energy blast.
-Chris takes the hit in the upper torso and lets go as Sho floats in the air, taking deep breaths, trying to calm himself.
Sho: Hah, hah, that look like I’m trying?
-Smoke clears and Chris shakes his head again, perfectly fine.
Chris: No, not really.
Sho: (Freaks). GAWAWAWAWA! RED! (Blasts off towards Stigma).
Stigma: (Sighs). Fine.
-Stigma does a very unexpected maneuver and leaps up, wrapping his leg around Derek’s face, following it by thumping Derek on the top of the head with his elbow.
-Stigma then grabs Derek’s arm and swings him around, throwing him at Chris.
-Chris easily catches Derek, righting him in the air.
Chris: Hey, Derek, you fairing alright?
Derek: (Angry). What?! Alright?! Stop playing around already!
-Stigma and Sho rush Chris and Derek.
Stigma: Shadow Blood attack!
Chris: “Shadow Blood”?
-Stigma and Sho fight in unison against Chris and Derek, using the exact same attacks.
-Chris and Derek are both confused enough to take a few hits every so often.
-Stigma and Sho both increase strength at the same time, disappearing and hitting Chris and Derek in the backs, then the fronts, before grabbing them and throwing them into each other, finishing with heavy stomps onto Chris and Derek’s heads.
-Chris and Derek hit the ground. Chris hits and instantly gets to his feet. Derek lands and stumbles over.
Chris: They’re not that powerful just yet, but they know how to fight in unison.
Derek: (Furious). It’s all just a bunch of fluff.
Chris: You okay?
Derek: I’m fine!
-Derek takes off back at the two.
-Chris takes off following Derek, though Derek turns around and throws a warning blast at Chris.
Derek: Don’t get in my way!
Chris: (Stops and looks around). This is ridiculous…
-Lindsey and San, the yellow ranger, fight on throughout the stadium, matched up fairly evenly. Lindsey keeps goading San to follow her rather than lead, so Lindsey leaps into the crowd as San attacks her every so often, getting blocked each time. The crowd members just seem entertained more than anything.
Lindsey: You don’t seem half bad, you know?
San: You…you really think so?
Lindsey: Oh yeah. I mean, I’m pretty strong alright, but you’re holding up pretty darn well.
San: (Stops for a second, getting embarrassed). Well…we have been trained reeeeally well, so…
-Lindsey connects with a strong haymaker to San’s helmet.
-San skims over the crowd, hitting the ground level hard.
-Still he gets up rather quickly.
San: Now that’s just not fair.
-San vwings back in front of Lindsey.
San: What’s all that about, huh? Being all nice and then hitting me like that?
Lindsey: (Pretty surprised). Wow, maybe you aren’t half bad. Seriously, level with me, exactly how strong are you guys gonna be?
San: Well let’s see, if Stigma’s the strongest and he’s…
-As San gets lost in thought, Lindsey hits him with a haymaker to the helmet again.
-San repeats the entire process, though when he vwings back to Lindsey she doesn’t waste any more time before kicking San in the side of the head, knocking him into the stands next to more idiots too busy hooting and hollering to understand they could be injured.
Lindsey: (Standing with her hands at her hips). I’m still curious if you’d like to answer my previous question.
-San just sits up this time, shaking his head before turning to Lindsey and blasting at her.
-San continues to take pot-shots at Lindsey as she disappears and reappears while dodging them.
-Chris is cruising around the arena, checking to see if anyone needs his help. He sees that Lindsey basically has things under control.
-Derek is struggling to continue blocking all the attacks from the two rangers fighting him, though he is managing to do it.
-Glitch and his foe are nowhere to be found.
Chris: Where’d Glitch go? I can’t even track him in the normal ways since he’s a robot… (Looks over). There’s Scott…he’s doing fine I think? Now…Glitch… (Looks up into the rafters). He’s got to be up there!
-Qoppa, the pink ranger, is charging up energy blasts and firing them at Glitch, who keeps narrowly avoiding them.
Glitch: I’m not actually going to harm you. Please, just back down.
-Qoppa fires another blast.
Qoppa: But I don’t want to! The boss said you were a terrorist and a traitorous terrorist and a robot and a whole lot of other bad things that I’d rather you not be, so I have to make you not exist if that’s okay?
-Fires another blast.
Glitch: Well, no, I’m sorry, I kind of need to stay alive.
Qoppa: But I don’t want you to!
-Qoppa shoots a larger blast that actually hits Glitch, pounding him hard and sending him falling from the rafters.
-Chris leaps up to the rafters just as he sees this.
-Qoppa turns around, startled.
Qoppa: Why’d you call me Glitch?
-Chris zooms up to Qoppa and hits him in the stomach.
Chris: Not you, the robot!
-Chris pushes Qoppa’s face forward and punches him with his other hand.
-Qoppa is hurled off the rafters, definitely rattled.
-Chris looks off and leaps down, chasing Glitch.
-Glitch is still smoking from the previous blast but okay as he puts his arms down from the block.
Glitch: Whoa, didn’t expect these guys to be capable of something like that.
-Chris meets up with Glitch.
Chris: You okay?
Glitch: Yeah, but I don’t want to…you know…fight.
Chris: Then why’d you come?
Glitch: I don’t…uh…(Looks off at Lindsey).
Chris: (Almost offended). You can’t be-
-Qoppa comes from behind Chris and slams into him with both fists outstretched, plowing him into the stands.
Qoppa: Qoppa’s back! Hahahaha!
-Qoppa pins Chris down and begins wailing on him as best he can.
-Chris reaches up and grabs both of Qoppa’s fists, pushing back with some effort.
Chris: Get…off…me…you…silly… frat boy…nutbar!
-San is thrown into both Qoppa and Chris, the three becoming a tangled mess.
Lindsey: (Looking down). Sorry Chris! Got a bit carried away!
-San leaps up.
San: I’ll carry you away!
-He rushes Lindsey again.
Chris: “I’ll carry you away?” (To Qoppa). Seriously, where’d Octavious find you guys?
-Qoppa leaps up, extremely proud and thumbs at his chest.
Qoppa: He didn’t pick us, we volunteered! (Posses).
Chris: Yeah, you’d definitely have to be a nutbar to volunteer to fly around in pink spandex.
Qoppa: This isn’t pink! I was told it was Salmon!
Chris: Sorry, that’s pink.
-Chris delivers an uppercut to Qoppa. The fighting continues.
-Scott and Sampi, the blue ranger, trade huge hits to the heads. Scott’s in a classic boxing stance. Sampi is hopping back and forth.
Scott: You guys got this all wrong.
-Sampi quickly jabs at Scott, who leans away.
Sampi: What do you mean?
Scott: Well, first…
-Scott punches at Sampi, who also leans away.
Scott: We’re not terrorists or bad guys. We’re just teenagers.
Sampi: No one is inherently innocent.
Scott: I didn’t say we were innocent, we’re just not bad guys.
Sampi: My people are being killed every day in this pointless war. If I can end it a day sooner, I’ll do everything I can.
-Sampi swings at Scott, catching him in the head, knocking him to the wall.
-Sampi comes at him again with a series of strikes to his torso and head.
-As Sampi moves to strike with another carefully planned attack, Scott reaches out and grabs Sampi’s helmet from the top.
Scott: All this karate bullshit’s for dumbasses.
-Scott reefs on Sampi’s helmet, smashing his face into the wall, crunching the concrete and cracking the helmet.
Scott: You think us kids know the first thing about technique? Dude, wake up, we’re just dickin’ around.
-Sampi gets up, wobbly, holding his helmet, steadying himself.
Sampi: No, you’re wrong. You’re wrong about everything.
Scott: Okay fine, like I give a rat’s ass if I’m right or not.
Sampi: Don’t you care that hundreds are dying?
Scott: Sure, but we ain’t the one’s who’re killing ‘em!
-Sampi leaps onto Scott, throwing him backwards into the wall as well.
Sampi: Tempest Strike!
Scott: What the hell?
-Sampi rips into Scott, hitting him over and over, grabbing Scott’s wrist and twisting down, then pulling Scott closer to him, shattering Scott’s wrists.
-Sampi grabs Scott around the torso and throws him upwards behind him, appearing above him suddenly in the air.
Sampi: San! Tempest Thunder Annihilator!
-San chases Lindsey around the arena again, stopping briefly before zipping to Sampi’s location above Scott.
-The two charge blasts above their heads before firing them straight down onto Scott, hitting him and pounding him into the ground before exploding.
-Lindsey covers her face with an arm, surprised that San isn’t still right behind her.
-Chris looks up at Sampi and San.
Chris: Ah no!
-The smoke clears. Scott’s on the ground looking pretty beat up but still breathing.
-Lindsey lands next to him, bending down to look him over.
Lindsey: Scott! Are you okay?!
Scott: (Close to passed out). Nah, I’m done. Give ‘em hell babe. (Out).
-Sampi and San are still hovering briefly in the air as the crowd goes wild at Scott’s defeat.
Sampi: Filthy bastard…
Chris: You think there’s any honor in this?!
-Chris zooms into Sampi’s face, headbutting him hard.
-Sampi is thrown through the stands, hitting and skidding into the far back wall. None of the crowd are injured.
-San looks over just as Chris flips forward, hitting San in the top of the head with an ax kick that knocks him to the ground next to Lindsey.
Chris: Lindsey! Stomp his throat!
Lindsey: (Looks up at Chris, stunned). What?!
Chris: Take him out!
-Lindsey looks down at San. San is slowly pushing himself to his feet, knocked stupid.
-She looks back up at Chris.
Lindsey: No! I can’t do it!
-San stands up at a slouch.
San: You’re too soft for a war, aren’t you?
-San dives at Lindsey, hitting her hard with an energy blast at point blank.
-Lindsey is hurled from the detonation.
Chris: Lindsey! God damnit!
-Sampi reappears in a flash as he nearly breaks Chris’ jaw with a hook.
-As Chris spins around in the air, Sampi begins charging a large energy blast.
Sampi: I want you to burn in HELL!
-Sampi thrusts his hand forward to discharge as Derek appears, grabbing Sampi’s hand and throwing it upwards, causing him to fire and hit Stigma and Sho as they chase after Derek.
Derek: Ah ah. That wouldn’t be nice.
-Qoppa slams Derek in the back of the head before throwing him to the ground far below.
Qoppa: Hooray for Qoppa!
-Stigma and Sho recover from the misfire after quickly blocking.
Stigma: Team tactic Omega!
All Octa-Rangers: Hooah!
-All five Octa-Rangers land near each other on one side of the arena in a V formation.
-Chris hits the ground next to Derek, landing on his hands and knees. Lindsey stumbles up, holding her arm.
Lindsey: We’re not making much headway guys.
Scott: (On his back, fading in and out). I cracked the blue f*cker’s helmet. They’re not indestructible like a robot or anything.
-Glitch lands with the group.
Glitch: Are you alright?
Derek: Where have you been?
Glitch: I…I don’t want to hurt anyone.
Derek: The whole point of being here is to fight to the death!
Lindsey: No! We’re not killing anyone! We’re better than that!
Derek: Didn’t stop us from killing robots last week!
Lindsey: Those aren’t real people!
-Glitch winces at this as Lindsey instantly realizes what she just said.
Lindsey: Oh my God, Glitch, I didn’t mean-
Chris: We don’t have time for this! Look alive!
-Chris points off at the Octa-Rangers.
-The five are all glowing and causing the stadium to rumble, swaying their arms and hips in rhythm.
Stigma: Octa-Rangers…OMEGA BUSTER!!!!!
-The Octa-Rangers thrust their hands all together, connecting at a middle focal point, firing a massive, multi-colored energy cannon.
Chris: Retaliate NOW!!!!!
-Chris and his group all fire hurriedly charged energy blasts to combat the good blast heading their way.
-The two beams connect and tear up a line between the two factions.
-After a few moments time, the beams explode from the center, blowing everyone backwards and creating a crater in the center of the arena.
-The crowd stands up and cheers louder.
Stigma: (Down on one knee). How did they counter that?!
Chris: We all okay?!
-He looks around. Lindsey is fine, Scott is on his back again breathing heavily, Derek is standing but shaking, and Glitch is in a full block.
Scott: I blew out my hands with that last one.
Lindsey: I nearly did, too.
Scott: No, look.
-Scott lifts his hands up. He’s literally ripped the skin off his hands with large gashes around his wrists that look as if his skin bubbled and popped.
Lindsey: (Gasps and covers her mouth). Oh God…
Glitch: I’m sorry…I couldn’t bring myself to fire back…
Scott: Glitch, I’d give you the finger right now but it might fall off.
Chris: Derek, can you still fight?
Derek: (Tensing himself back up, one eye keeps closing). I could fight all five all day if I had to.
Scott: (Laughing out his response). Bullshit…
Chris: Derek, why’re you…?
Derek: I told you I’m fine.
Chris: (Leans in to Derek). You’ve been fighting at your max this whole time, haven’t you?
Derek: If you can do it, so can I.
Chris: Please, rest, I’ll take care of them.
Derek: I don’t need your help! I’m fine!
Glitch: I can still help!
Derek: You? How’s the peaceful war machine going to help us?
Glitch: I need enough time to get to the room with the video feed to all the monitors.
Lindsey: What’re you planning Glitch?
Glitch: There’s an audience of impressionable sheep all just listening to whoever has the strongest case. I have hours of video and audio from the attack at the Legion base, the fight at the mall, and conversations between Octavious and the Hex-Duo.
Chris: You got enough to incriminate Octavious in a stadium of his fans?
Glitch: At least a month’s worth of footage.
Chris: Well I hope you’ve got one hell of an editing program in your head, because we’re only going to get one shot at this.
Lindsey: How much time do you need?
Chris: We can give that.
-Chris turns back towards the Octa-Rangers.
Glitch: I hope so.
Lindsey: No sweat.
Sampi: (Yells off at the group). How did you like our formation attack?!
Derek: I’ve shit bigger beams than that!
-Octavious appears on the large monitors.
Octavious: Terrorists, are you willing to admit defeat?
Lindsey: We’ll never admit defeat!
Chris: We’ve lied about defeat a few times, but we’ll never admit it.
Octavious: Alright then. Rangers, you are now authorized to use, (Screen zooms in on his face), Lethal. Force.
-The Octa-Rangers salute to Octavious.
Octavious: Show them Hell!
-Derek finally calms himself down and takes a deep breath, getting back into a fighting stance.
Derek: Well then, you all ready to see Hell?
Lindsey: (Fighter stance). Definitely.
Chris: (Fighter stance). Already there.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 54
-Octavious walks off stage once the cameras at his press conference go off. His son Maximilian follows him.
Octavious: I doubt we’ll have to wait very long until we get a response from all that.
Maximilian: Yes, very doubtful. But father, that still leaves another variable uncertain.
Octavious: And what variable is that?
Maximilian: How likely are your soldiers to succeed?
Octavious: The Octa-Rangers are flawless. I’ve trained them myself.
Maximilian: That contradicts itself. If you trained them yourself they cannot be without flaws.
Octavious: (Restrained anger). Hold your tongue, boy.
Maximilian: That is not to say that you are a poor instructor; rather that no one can be trained in under a month and be expected to compete with the current opposition.
Octavious: Don’t underestimate my skills.
Maximilian: I’m more worried about you underestimating the skills of those kids.
Octavious: I’m not. Anyone who trains under me should be adequately prepared to fight at their peak. I’m the best there is.
Maximilian: Then maybe you should be the one fighting.
Octavious: Or maybe it should be you, huh? You’ve been telling me for years how amazing you are in battle, but I’ve yet to see that.
Maximilian: I haven’t had the chance-
Octavious: No, and you will not be getting that chance any time soon. Nor will I. Those in a position of power do not do the fighting. That’s how you know they’re strong; they have someone else do the fighting for them.
Maximilian: I could kill these kids if I fought them.
Octavious: (Getting right up in Maximilian’s face). Do you even realize how difficult it was to get you to where you are now? Do you? Just think for a second about what an accomplishment it is for the son of the enemy’s forces to suddenly become leader of those forces.
Maximilian: I realize it was difficult.
Octavious: You don’t know the half of it, boy. I’ve been waiting for years for the timing to work just right for this. Every day there was the chance that you would be found out; that everything we’ve been working for becomes compromised. Allowing you to rise in ranks unnoticed, and then have the current Commander, my cousin, killed without traceable blame being put on us, is a miracle enough as it is without mentioning all the hardships that are far too complicated to explain. And now you’d like to just throw that hard work away?
Maximilian: No. But I do not intend to be the type of leader who sits around and does nothing when I’m entirely capable of getting something important done myself.
Octavious: Then you’re indeed going to be a foolish leader.
Maximilian: At least I’m not a coward.
-Maximilian walks away.
-Syrus stands off to the side, arms crossed.
Syrus: Kids today. What can you do with them?
Octavious: Don’t push me Syrus…
Syrus: The current generation is so ungrateful. You raise them, pamper them, make them heads of enemy forces, and still they want more.
Octavious: (Smiling). Ha ha, gloat all you’d like Syrus, because pretty soon it’ll be you who’s got to deal with these kids firsthand. And failure won’t be tolerated again.
Syrus: (Becoming serious again). I have a problem with our current strategy.
Octavious: You think the Octa-Rangers aren’t strong enough? Is that it?
Syrus: Beyond just that, I’m far more concerned about what you’ve instructed a handful of soldiers to do.
Octavious: War is Hell, Syrus.
Syrus: But there is no honor in kidnapping innocent family members.
Octavious: Don’t worry; I’m not asking you to be a part of the raids.
Syrus: Please, don’t do them. No good will come from these actions.
Octavious: Hmph, you sound like one of my Soothsayers… We’ve finally gotten the information needed about these kids’ personal lives and you don’t want to use it?
Syrus: If you push them they will push back and far harder than you’ll like. Don’t do it.
Octavious: It’s already been set in motion. While the group meets us tomorrow at noon here at the Arena, their parents will be in the process of getting kidnapped. If for some reason the Octa-Rangers fail to kill them, we’ll force them to surrender with our newly gained leverage.
Syrus: Such a thing is cowardly.
Octavious: Well isn’t that a popular word…
Syrus: A person’s loved ones are not bargaining chips. They’re not objects to be used against an enemy. I’ve seen it happen before, and it doesn’t work. I’ve witnessed exactly how devastating a mistake it can be.
Octavious: We’re within inches of succeeding here Syrus. Years of planning are falling into place, and by the end of the month Balobyn will be in charge of Zanretha. The war will be over and a new age, our age, will have begun.
Syrus: We need to find the Eclipse Star before we can do any of that.
Octavious: Hah, I don’t need some stupid rock to help me rise to power, let alone kill a couple of children.
Syrus: Don’t forget our primary goal, Octavious.
-Syrus starts to walk away.
Syrus: We were given a task with specific orders; don’t disobey.
Octavious: Hmh, Lucifer isn’t in charge yet.
* * * * *
-Jack sits up straighter after seeing the recent newscast.
Jack: Alright everyone, it should be obvious that we have a whole new set of problems.
Kevin: Should I go get the others?
Jack: Yeah, this seems like it’d warrant the sort of thing requiring everyone here to discuss.
–Kevin nods and rushes up the stairs.
Jack: Shame, too. One night of rest would have been nice.
-Austin walks into the living room.
Austin: Hey guys, I heard some commotion. Anything the matter?
Jack: I’ll explain when everyone’s present.
Austin: Oh no. I hate it when everyone has to be present for something. Never good.
-Derek walks down the stairs behind Kevin, rubbing his eyes and looking like hell.
Derek: This had better be good. Or really bad. I don’t know which, but it better be something.
-Lindsey comes in from outside, looking somewhat huffy.
Jack: Oh good, Lindsey you’re here.
-Lindsey walks right up to Jack and kisses him, grabbing his face and pulling him closer.
-Everyone else in the room stops everything they’re doing to watch this.
-After a few seconds Lindsey lets go of Jack.
Jack: Well that’s…that’s definitely how we should always start these meetings.
-Jack looks up and notices someone out of the corner of his eye standing at the back door.
Jack: Chris…good, you’re here too.
Chris: (Surprisingly together, though very cold). Something the matter Jack?
Jack: No, nothing. (Shakes his head). No wait! Yeah, there’s something! (Looks around). Everyone accounted for?
Glitch: Everyone’s present, yes.
Jack: Okay. Everyone, I’ll make this short and sweet. First, the Legion is now run by Octavious’ son. Secondly, they’ve made it sound like we’re responsible for all the bad things happening recently and managed to convince the city we’re terrorists. Third, they’ve issued a challenge where they’d like to pit us against a few of their fighters. Finally, they’re about to kidnap our parents. I think that about covers everything.
Derek: (Very bothered and worried looking). What? Do you know any more specifics?
Jack: Not much more than that. Octavious has the challenge stated that they’ll be waiting at noon every day at the Grand Arena, but nothing more than that.
Derek: What about our parents? Anything about them?
Jack: No. They they’re about to bring our parents in for questioning, so that could mean just about anything.
Chris: Alright, so let’s go kill them.
-Everyone seems bothered by this idea.
Lindsey: What? What do you mean by that?
Chris: Exactly what it sounds like. We go kill Octavious and his fighters or anyone else who feels like threatening us or our families.
Derek: Finally some decent ideas start coming from your head.
Austin: No, that’s a horrible idea. Come on Chris, we’re better than that.
Chris: Are we? Maybe we shouldn’t be anymore. Why should we play by some stupid set of rules if no one else is?
Kevin: But that just means all the more that we should be honorable in this.
Scott: Forget that crap. We’ve nearly been killed half a dozen times now and all we have as a result is one serious bounty on our heads.
Danny: But…things are gonna be okay somehow. I don’t know how, but…somehow. (Turns to Austin). Right?
Austin: Yeah, everything always works out. We’ve nearly been killed half a dozen times, but we’re still NOT dead. That means something. And we’ve been following the rules, which has to mean something more. If we did anything differently, who knows? Maybe we’d be dead.
Chris: (Sighs and takes a deep breath, talking quietly). You’re right… (Shaking his head). I’m sorry, you’re absolutely right.
Kevin: Yes. An eye for an eye is not the way to go about this.
Derek: But they intend to hurt our families. I’m not going to sit around and let that happen!
Jack: We have to meet them as soon as possible, so that’d be noon tomorrow. If we’d like to look like the honorable ones, we’re going to have to show our faces at the first opportunity. But we also can’t just leave our parents out there by themselves.
Lindsey: So we’ll split into two groups!
Derek: That’d never work.
Lindsey: Yes it would! They’re expecting all of us to show up, right? Well, they’ve only got 5 guys waiting for us, so why should we all go? That wouldn’t look very honorable, now would it?
Clinton: (Sighs). She does have a point.
Lindsey: Yeah I do. So we only need to send 5 of us to fight them. In fact, we don’t really even have to send 5, we could-
Kyle: Chris could just go. (Eyes on Kyle). I mean, think about it, the guy’s gotta be unstoppable now, so what’s 5 more guys for him to fight?
Chris: No, I’m not able to fight at that level again. I did it once, I don’t want to do it anymore.
Austin: Five of us go. No more, no less. We play exactly by their rules.
Jack: In the meantime, the rest of us will go check in on our families.
Derek: (Annoyed). There’s a problem with that, Jack. Our families don’t all live in the exact same house.
Lindsey: Most of our parents live in the same neighborhood though. Mine, Austin’s, Danny’s and Willy’s and Clinton’s. Leena’s too. They all live in the same main area of town. What about you, Kevin?
Kevin: My parents live nearby the Foursquare Church on Main. Are you familiar with the area?
Jack: Yeah, that’s also in Brooksboro, right?
Kevin: Yes. My father’s the pastor of the church there.
Scott: No surprise there. (Shrugs). Well I’ve got good news at least: I don’t know who my father is, so we don’t have to worry about him at all, and if the Regime finds and kills him, it’s just doing me a favor.
Leena: What about your mom?
Scott: She’s been locked up. Unless they’d like to break her out of jail, I don’t think they’ll be wasting their time with her. She doesn’t even know who I am anymore anyway. She’s lost her mind.
Lindsey: That’s so sad.
Scott: Do I look all that sad?
Jack: And my parents have been hidden for the past four months after I advised them to, so they’re fine or at least unattainable.
Glitch: Do you even know where they are?
Jack: No, and it’s better that way. It keeps them as safe as can be.
Leena: Well that still leaves Chris’ parents.
Chris: My grandma lives in Brooksboro, too, though a bit out of the way.
Leena: I didn’t ask about your grandma, I’m talking about your parents.
Derek: His parents are dead, you insensitive bitch.
Leena: Well jeez, so-rry. He never talks about his family. What about your mom, Derek? We know your dad’s gone, so what about your mom?
Derek: Don’t know, don’t care.
Lindsey: Derek, that’s unrealistically cruel. She’s your mother.
Derek: I’m not going to waste my time worrying about her. I don’t talk to her anymore, nor do I care what happens to her. And if the Regime just got a bunch of info on me, then they’ll know that using her to get to me is an absolute waste of time.
Glitch: It’s true. The data files I sifted through don’t have his mother listed as a possible emergency use.
Leena: Well that’s good, I guess.
Kyle: Which five of us are going to the big show then?
Jack: I can’t fight, so I’m out. Chris, you’ll go. I don’t care what you think about that, you’re going. Derek, you too. Scott, you’ll go as well since you don’t have anyone to worry about. Glitch, since you’ve got all the information about the Regime, you’re going. Besides, if they try to talk their way around anything you’ll be able to prove them wrong. And that just leaves one more spot.
Lindsey: I’m going.
Jack: No, you’re not.
Lindsey: Yes, I am. I’m strong and I’m angry and we need our strongest and angriest to fight right now.
-Jack pulls Lindsey closer to him so that he can talk only to her.
Jack: Lindz, I don’t think that’s such a good idea considering…
Lindsey: (Whispering back). No, it’s a great idea. The four guys you’d like to go are the most unstable wrecks in the group, and half of them listen to anything I tell them. I can keep anyone from doing anything stupid.
Jack: Good point. (Back to everyone else). Fine, Lindsey’ll go.
Chris: Lindz, it’s too dangerous.
Lindsey: (Angry). You’re not going to tell me what to do, understand?
Chris: But I don’t…
-Austin rests an arm on his shoulder.
Austin: She’ll be fine. You’ll be there to look after her.
Lindsey: I don’t need looking after, but yeah, in the worst-case scenario you can be there to help me, Chris.
Jack: The rest of us will go to Brooksboro to find out anything more about our families. Kevin, Foursquare Church on Main? Where is that?
Kevin: Let’s see…(Doing some calculations in his head). Lindsey’s family lives on 23nd Street, with everyone else living within 10 blocks of that…the church is about 3 miles away from everyone else.
Danny: Did anyone remember that tomorrow’ll be Sunday?
Kevin: (Snaps his fingers). I totally forgot! They’ll be at Sunday Mass by noon.
Jack: The rest of your families the praying type?
Lindsey: Yeah, especially since I left on this whole crazy journey.
Austin: Most of our parents will be at church, so this could work out perfectly.
Chris: My grandma doesn’t go to the Foursquare Church anymore.
Jack: We’ll have to hope for the best then with her. We just can’t afford to spread ourselves that thin. If your family isn’t at the Foursquare Church tomorrow at noon, then we can’t defend them. Agreed?
Clinton: That’s tough but fair.
Danny: That’s easy for you to say; your family’ll be there. What about…(Points at Chris).
Lindsey: Everyone call and tell your loved ones to go to church tomorrow. (Shrugs). I don’t think it really matters if we give ourselves away anymore since we’re going public anyways.
Jack: Okay, so tomorrow before we split up make sure to call your families. Everyone understand?
–Nods and agreements all around.
Jack: Good. Now get some sleep. Tomorrow’s probably gonna suck.
* * * * *
-Octavious paces around backstage at the Arena, looking tired.
Octavious: What time is it? (Checks a wall clock). It’s nearly noon…and they haven’t shown up yet.
-The five Octa-Rangers are standing backstage as well, stretching themselves out. They’re all dressed in different colors, with the main ranger in red. The rest of the rangers are dressed in variations of blue, yellow, black, and pink, all with helmets on.
Red Octa-Ranger: Octavious, sir. (Salutes). As the leader of the Octa-Rangers, I feel the need to speak.
Octavious: Shut up Ranger Stigma, you’re the leader by name only.
Stigma: Regardless, I have a few concerns about what you’ve asked us to do.
Octavious: Fine, you’ve got a few minutes before you all perform; what is it?
Stigma: The other rangers and I aren’t sure that making a spectacle of things is the proper way to go about this whole…secretive war thing.
Octavious: Well then it’s a damned good thing you aren’t the one who’s in charge of a nation and a half.
Stigma: But I’m-
Octavious: Quiet. I want all five of you ready in ten minutes. You go live, whether the kids show or not.
Stigma: What if they bring more than five?
Octavious: They won’t. They’re stupid and noble and they’ll come with no more than five. But rest assured, they are the enemy and they must be eliminated, no matter the cost. Now tighten your helmet and get out there. The public is waiting.
* * * * *
Chris: (On the phone with his grandmother). Yes, Grandma, I realize that I haven’t talked to you in months. You do understand what I mean when I use the word “war,” right?
Chris: No I’m not patronizing you; I’m telling you something very important. Get to Kevin’s family’s church for Sunday Mass, alright?
Chris: I don’t care if you haven’t been there in years.
Chris: I don’t care if it’ll make you look like a hypocrite.
Chris: Either do this for me or risk being killed, is that simple enough to understand?!
Chris: No! I’m not patronizing- Gah! I love you! Be safe!
-Chris slams the phone down.
Lindsey: (On the phone elsewhere). Yeah mom, Foursquare Church.
Lindsey: No, I can’t be there. Not for a while anyways. Why? Because mom, I’ll be at the Trillium Grand Arena.
Lindsey: I know! I heard that I was on TV last night! Isn’t it exciting?
Lindsey: Hah, no mom, I’m not a terrorist. But I do have to go fight again today.
Lindsey: You saw the last tournament? Don’t worry, I’m a lot stronger now. I’m not gonna get hurt as easily as last time. (Burst of excitement). Oh mom! You could watch me on TV again I bet! They’ll definitely televise it, I’m sure of it!
Lindsey: Yeah yeah, Foursquare Church on Main. Tell them to flip around till they find us. Okay, love you. Tell dad the same. Bye!
-She hangs up.
Derek: (Writing a note). “Dear father…” Hmm…(Tapping the pen on his chin). “I was here at the house and must have just missed you. Gone to go prove that your son’s the greatest. Hope you get a chance to see. Love, Derek.” Yeah, that should be good enough.
-Derek puts the note on the table and leaves.
-Everyone’s gathered in the living room again, packed and ready to go.
Jack: Okay gang, this is it. This is the moment we’ve been training for all…this morning. Let’s go out there and not screw up. Okay?
Chris: Yah yah!
–Chris, Derek, Lindsey, Scott, and Glitch all power-up and take off towards the Arena via the air.
Chris: See ya Jack! Don’t do anything stupid!
Jack: Same to you!
-The group of five flies with Derek at point.
Derek: Alright team, listen up here.
Chris: You’re the leader now?
Derek: Shush. I have no idea how powerful these rangers are, but I can only assume that we’re far mightier than them.
Glitch: Should we morph our powers into one and then just have a single representative attack?
Derek: No. I think we’d all like a crack at these guys.
–Everyone just kinda looks at Chris like he’s an idiot.
Chris: What? I’m trying to get us hyped. You got a better idea?
Scott: Anyone want a pre-game smoke?
Lindsey: No thanks. I’m not really the smoking type.
Scott: Smokin’ hot.
-Scott winks at Lindsey.
iChris smacks Scott, causing him to drop his cigarette.
Scott: Ah no! It’s an omen of things to come!
Glitch: Omen? What sort of omen?
Scott: An omen that I’m gonna kick Chris in the balls.
-Scott punches Chris in the groin.
Chris: Gah! What the hell?! That wasn’t even a kick!
Scott: So I improvised mid-attack. It’s called the element of surprise.
Lindsey: I’m gonna hit ‘em hard and leave ‘em out cold! Who’s with me!
Others: (Unenthusiastic). Woo.
Lindsey: Oh come on! This’ll be FUN!
Scott: You’ll be fun.
Glitch: That makes no sense.
Scott: You make no sense.
Derek: Shut up. Kick it into high gear troops. (Gets a smug grin on his face). We wouldn’t want the festivities starting without us now would we?
–They all increase speed towards the Arena.
* * * * *
-Octavious walks out onto the main platform overlooking the Arena floor. The stadium is packed full of people anticipating a show of some kind.
Octavious: Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome, to an historic event like no other! Today marks the first official joining of the nation of Balobyn and the nation of Zanretha working together against a common threat for the greater good! Today, we shall liberate your city and rid it of the evil shadow of terrorism caused by the Legion’s traitors! Tomorrow will be the dawning of a new age of relief!
Octavious: Hmh…say anything and they’ll eat right outta your hand…I present to you all your saviors!
Octavious: Octa-Rangers! Assemble!
–Huge cheers once again as the Arena’s lights turn off and rave lighting kicks in along with heavy techno music.
Octavious: Ranger Stigma!
–Red Ranger jumps into the center.
Octavious: Ranger San!
–Yellow Ranger leaps out and high-fives the Red Ranger.
Octavious: Ranger Sampi!
–Blue Ranger leaps out, flexing and boxing the air.
Octavious: Ranger Sho!
–Black Ranger rushes in, flipping back and forth and kicking about.
Octavious: And finally, Ranger Qoppa!
–Pink Ranger rushes out, pumping his arms in the air.
Qoppa: Hooray for me!
Octavious: Trillium City, these are your saviors!
-The crowd gives a standing ovation as the Octa-Rangers clap and stretch to their welcome, trying to get the crowd even more riled up.
-Octavious also claps for the group, smiling a very fake smile as he does so.
Octavious: Aren’t they great folks? For their first demonstration, they have a choreographed piece to show! Witness their dancing prowess!
–Spotlights go off, with one left lighting the Octa-Rangers as they all stand together in first positions for a dance routine.
Octavious: Hit it boys.
-The spotlight explodes as an energy ball collides with it, showering the Octa-Rangers with glass and sparks.
-They all cover their heads, breaking their stance.
Octavious: What was that?! (Yelling at the stagehands nearby). Fix it! Now!
–Lights finally come back on.
Derek: And now presenting, the REAL saviors!
–Derek, Chris, Lindsey, Scott, and Glitch are all standing on the Arena floor in front of the Octa-Rangers, who jump back with a start upon seeing the group.
Chris: Tyrannosaurus! (Poses).
Derek: (Breaking character and turning to Chris). Dude, I told you NO.
Octavious: What?! They showed up?! (Clears his throat). Ahem, of course they showed up. Ladies and gentlemen-!
Lindsey: (Totally getting into the act, yelling at the top of her lungs to the whole stadium). ARE YOU READY?!!!
–The Arena cheers regardless of the fact that these are supposed to be terrorists.
Derek: The reigning champion of Trillium City has returned! (Points at Octavious). Prepare to be defeated! (Thumbs down).
Octavious: Octa-Rangers! ATTACK!!!
Octa-Rangers: GO TIME!!!
–They leap at the group, ready for battle.
-The two groups collide with a flash.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 53
“A Very Special Report”
Recap: Last time, after the events of the Hex-Duos’ destruction, the group decided the best course of action would be to hide away at Derek’s father’s house, though upon arriving something seems odd due to his father’s absence. Regardless, the group has holed themselves up and prepares to lay low for the time being.
-Jack relaxes in a hot bath in the master bathroom.
Jack: Phew…nice to find some time to myself once in a while. Surprising, too. (Looks around). And no one’s tried to bother me, either. I almost don’t like that…makes me suspect something’s wrong. Damn, even when I’m trying to relax in peace I can’t do it without some commotion.
-Jack loosens up and slips deeper into the water.
Jack: Whatever, not my problem right now. If anything happens, Chris should be about to handle it. (Shakes his head). Strange guy. I’d feel bad about the way people’ve been treating him if he wasn’t so damned unrealistically advanced. Bah, who cares. Let the guy stew for a bit. It’ll be good for him.
-Jack closes his eyes and tries to rest.
-Chris knocks at the bathroom door.
Chris: Hey Jack?
Jack: (His eyes slowly open again, a completely annoyed look on his face). Well at least I got my wish…(sigh). Yeah? What’s up?
Chris: You doing alright in there?
Jack: Yes Chris, I’m doing just fine.
Chris: Sure you don’t need anything? I could have sworn I heard my name.
Jack: (His eyes are closed again as he’s relaxing). You’re just hearing things again.
Jack: Thank you, you can go now.
Chris: Alright then.
-Chris turns away from the room and walks back through the master bedroom.
Chris: I know I heard my name…(Shoots an angry look in Jack’s direction). Lousy backstabber…(Shakes his head). Nah, that’s not fair, I can’t blame Jack for anything. I mean the guy’s basically a cripple now anyway.
-He notices the path of clothing leading to the bathroom.
Chris: Still impressive that he got himself changed and to the tub all by himself.
-Chris sees Jack’s watch lying on the floor.
Chris: Oh, that’s his weird power-reader watch, isn’t it? Hmh, never actually tried it for myself…
-He bends down and picks it up.
Chris: Now let’s see how it works…
-Chris presses the button on the side. It instantly starts a slow, rhythmic beeping.
Chris: There we are. I assume this dot here’s me…and these dots must be…can’t see them properly…
-He adjusts some of the knobs on the side.
Chris: Aha, so you can zoom in and out on people, eh? That’s kinda nifty. So let’s see…no big activity or huge readings coming from anywhere, so that’s good. (Taps the face of the watch). Yep, Derek’s still the next biggest dot on here, so he should be happy. Hmm, wonder what the rest of these buttons do…?
-He starts to turn the watch over in his hands, flipping it over to reveal the message on the back.
-Chris stops and squints at it.
–The message reads “For your endless devotion. –Octavious.”.
-Chris whips around to check the bathroom door, his face in disbelief.
Chris: It…I’ve gotta show this to someone…
-He rushes out of the room. The rest of the house is dark. Chris looks around for any lights that are still on.
Chris: Someone’s gotta be awake. (Looks at the message on the watch again). Only one guy who’d listen right now anyway.
-Chris knocks on the next door he gets to.
Chris: Derek? You awake in there?
Derek: (An angry grumbling comes through the door). No, this had better be important.
-Chris steps through the door as he opens it, quickly shutting it behind him.
Chris: Derek, read this.
Derek: (Sitting up, extremely groggy). What?
–Chris hands Derek the watch.
–Chris flips it over and points at the inscription.
-Derek tries to look at it, blinks a few times, then rubs his eyes before finally focusing on it and reading it semi-aloud.
Derek: “Endless devotion…Octavious?” (Shakes his head, reading it again). Where’d you get this?
Chris: It’s Jack’s watch. He left it on the floor when he got undressed.
Derek: (Coughs to clear his throat). You pulling my leg?
Chris: No. I just found it, so I had to show someone.
Derek: (Really awake now). I knew it.
-Derek clenches the watch in his hand, standing up.
Derek: I knew it! I knew the bastard was acting funny. He was working for the enemy the whole time. It completely makes sense.
-Derek starts to walk towards the room.
Chris: Hey, where’re you going?
Derek: I’m gonna go drown Jack; does that sound fair enough?
Chris: (Quick to react). Derek! Don’t do something stupid. I showed you the watch first because I figured you’d be the only one to believe that I didn’t just write the inscription myself or something, so please, don’t do something stupid.
Derek: (Staring in disbelief). Why would you have written the inscription?
Chris: I don’t know; everyone else is just predisposed not to trust me right now. You’re the only one unafraid of me.
Derek: (Rubs his eyes). God…I’m too tired for that.
-Derek whistles, rattling the whole house.
Derek: HEY! Everyone awake! Dining room, NOW!
-He and Chris walk downstairs.
Chris: Derek?! What are you doing?
Derek: This is probably the least-stupid thing I can do at the moment. At least this should get an accurate telling of everyone’s feelings about Jack, and it won’t be an opportunity for me to kill him either, now will it?
Chris: You do have a point…
-Lindsey rushes into the dining room as everyone else stumbles in, all effected by various stages of sleep.
Lindsey: What’s going on? Is everyone okay?
Chris: We’re not sure. We’ve got a problem.
Derek: Is everyone here?
Glitch: I’ll go get Jack.
Chris: (Throws up his hands). No! Jack can’t be present for this.
Lindsey: Okay Chris, I’m getting really scared now; what’s happened?
-Chris dangles the watch between his fingers, swinging it back and forth.
Derek: This is Jack’s energy-gauging watch.
Kyle: (Points an important finger in the air). “Power-reader.”
Danny: I always thought it was called a “Lifeforce-scouter.”
Scott: Nah, it’s just an expensive watch that beeps. Jack just makes shit up whenever it does.
Derek: Shut up. Point is, it’s not about what the watch does.
Leena: What does it do?
Danny: Scouts lifeforces of course. Duh.
Chris: Guys, there’s an inscription on the back. Here, hand it to me.
–Derek gives Chris the watch.
Chris: (Reads). “For your endless devotion.”
Chris: “Signed, Octavious.”
–Everyone is a bit under-whelmed by the revelation.
Chris: Octavious…(Nothing)…the leader of Balobyn and the Demon Regime…? Anything?
Lindsey: Let me see that.
–Chris hands her the watch and inspects it for herself.
Lindsey: Chris, I don’t know about this…
Leena: How do we know you didn’t just write it because you’re jealous or something?
Chris: What? (Smacks Derek). See, I told you. (Shakes his head). What would I have to be jealous of anyway?
Leena: Oh I don’t know, plenty of things…
Kyle: Come ON already; give the guy some slack, alright?
Leena: (Annoyed). Don’t start with me, Kyle. I’m in no mood for it.
Austin: Chris, you swear to me you didn’t write that?
Chris: Yes, I swear it.
-Austin walks to the middle of the group.
Austin: Okay, so Chris didn’t write it. There’s got to be an explanation though.
Derek: There’s a perfectly good one: Jack’s been playing for the wrong team.
Clinton: No, I don’t believe that. Why would they want him dead just as much as us? He’s upstairs nearly paralyzed as a result; why would they do that to their own side?
Scott: Well, could be possible that he’s an outcast trying to gain his reputation back? (Shrugs). Sounds about as reasonable as any other suggestion.
Lindsey: No, Jack’s not like that. I’ve talked to him, he’s done nothing but look out for us this whole time. I trust him.
Derek: You trust anyone who looks into your eyes and tells you to trust them.
Lindsey: That’s not true! (Frustrated). We’ve had a lot of deep conversations with him; he’s not like that at all.
Kevin: What’s his middle name?
-Lindsey’s caught off guard by both this question and the fact that Kevin’s the one asking it.
Kevin: Please, you said you’ve had deep conversations with him, can you tell us where he was born? Who his parents are? Simply his middle name?
Jack: His middle name is Diana.
–Everyone whips around to see Jack sitting at the bottom of the stairs, watching them all.
Jack: He grew up in a suburb of Jamestown, on the coast to the East of Trillium City. He lived with his parents, both of which were respectable members of their community, until he finally got accepted into the Legion at age 13. His parents gave him a simple name like Jack and decided that for some flair they’d give him a female middle name to keep him wondering. And he’s incredibly stupid for leaving his things lying around where snoopy individuals are looking, but not stupid enough to turn his ear-receiver off.
Derek: How much have you been listening to?
Jack: All of it. I told you, I’m not that stupid. Would you really expect any less from me?
Lindsey: Oh Jack, I’m so sorry, I didn’t-
Jack: Shush. I didn’t get a chance to tell anyone much about me, and for that I apologize. That isn’t my watch; it belonged to a close friend of mine named Nathan, and he worked for the Regime. I’ve been talking to him for the past few years, though you’d all only really care about the conversations I’ve had with him over the time you’ve known me.
Clinton: So you’ve…?
Jack: Yes, I’ve discussed all of you with Nate. Particularly him. (Points at Chris).
Kevin: Chris? Why Chris?
Jack: Because frankly he just scares me, and whatever’s happened recently hasn’t done much to help that.
Chris: Me? But I’m not…I didn’t…
Jack: Nate and I discussed anything we’d heard between our respective organizations, but we had a very strict policy meant to keep each other and anyone connected to us alive and as safe as possible. He told me a few important details about the Regime’s base in the ridge and gave me a fairly large supply of the prototype PEZ we’ve been using, which we’ve basically expended by the way.
Willy: Why didn’t we ever hear about Nate then? Sounds like he’s a close friend, so why haven’t you said anything about him until now?
Danny: Yeah, Willy’s right. We would have heard something about him sooner…right?
Jack: I honestly couldn’t trust any of you by talking about something as dangerous as that. I’m sure you’d have all freaked out and figured I was just telling the Regime exactly where we’d be and how to kill us, which turns out to be an accurate guess on my part. I’ve only talked to one person about all of this, and it’s Lindsey.
Lindsey: Jack, I didn’t tell! I promised I wouldn’t!
Jack: I know. (Smiles and gives her a thumbs-up). I never doubted you for a second, either.
Derek: (Raising an inquisitive eyebrow). Where is Nate right now?
Jack: He’s sitting in his apartment, dead and most likely decaying right now.
-Lindsey gasps, along with a number of other members of the group.
Lindsey: I’m so sorry Jack…
Jack: I was there when it happened. He betrayed me to the Regime. He betrayed all of us to the Regime. And when Syrus showed up, he killed Nate. I was right there when it happened. I felt him die inches away from me. And then Syrus left.
Kevin: My God…I’m so sorry for your loss, Jack.
Jack: I brought it upon Nate. If I didn’t run to his apartment after being attacked by the Hex-Duo robots, then he might still be alive. But while I was there I stole his watch, which you’re holding right now, Lindsey.
Derek: You know, grave-robbing isn’t that favorable of an act either, Jack…
Scott: But it was grave-robbing from a traitor. I can get behind that.
Willy: Stealing from the dead is still stealing from the dead though. What about Nate’s family?
Jack: He doesn’t have any that still talk to him, save for me. We were somewhat half-brothers, if you can consider us that. If he died, the watch would technically belong to me. So, any more questions?
Glitch: I’ve just got one.
Glitch: You were at Nate’s apartment for a while, right?
Jack: Yes. For about a day.
Glitch: And then you found us at the mall. But you couldn’t have gotten this information from Nate since you said he was killed.
Glitch: Well…(Rolls his eyes and shrugs).
Clinton: (Catches on). Then how did you know where to find us…?
–Everyone has highly judgmental looks on their faces pointed at Jack.
Jack: Hah, I’ve got a few places bugged.
Chris: That still doesn’t answer the question.
–This gets a few nods as response.
Jack: Hmm…if you really must know, I tapped into Nate’s all-points bulletin signal.
Jack: His radio from the Regime. They figured out where you guys were headed and I intercepted the alert.
Lindsey: How did they find us? We were careful not to do anything that’d give ourselves away. I was really good not to react to anything anymore.
Scott: By which you mean you were numb to everything for a solid two days.
Lindsey: Same thing.
Glitch: And I was blocking any signals either coming from us or seeking our location. So how’d they know where to find us? It doesn’t make sense.
Jack: Someone tried calling their dad.
-Jack shoots Derek a nasty look.
-Everyone starts curiously looking at Derek.
Derek: (Hardly blinks at this). Yeah, I care about my father. I’m surprised you have the audacity to look at me that way.
Kyle: You know he has a point. Of all the heartless, despicable, terrible things we could think Derek would do…this isn’t one of them.
Jack: Regardless, he gave away your position, which was the exact reason I told people not to be calling their families.
Lindsey: Jack, don’t be too harsh. (Rubs her face). Derek, you just wanted to check on your dad, right?
Derek: I love my father. A hell of a lot more than any of you. I wasn’t worried about myself or us; I was just concerned about him. (Crosses his arms and leans back on the counter). And from the look of things he may still need my help.
Chris: Derek, I’m sorry that your father isn’t here.
Derek: (Responds sharply). That doesn’t mean he’s gone, alright?!
Chris: I didn’t mean it like that at all.
-Derek pushes Chris aside as he leaves.
Derek: I’m not awake enough to deal with this. No more interruptions, understood?
-Derek trudges out of the room and upstairs.
-Everyone watches him go while saying nothing, wincing as a group once the door slams.
Jack: Any other business for tonight?
Chris: No I think we’re covered Jack.
Leena: (Raises her hand). I’ve got some business. (Eyes all turn to her). I don’t want him, (points at Chris), sleeping in the same house as us.
Kyle: I said leave the guy alone…
Leena: No! He’s dangerous! Chris, do you even know how you did…whatever the heck you did the other day?
Chris: I’m not going to lose it, if that’s what you’re getting at.
Leena: Oh yeah? How can I trust that?!
Chris: Any one of you can do what I did! You just haven’t gotten to the point yet where you know how!
Leena: Oh, so using that logic, WE CAN’T DO IT!
Lindsey: Leena, please…
Leena: No Lindz, no. This guy disappears for a few days and comes back as an immortal, and I don’t trust immortals!
Scott: I don’t mean to start shit and whatnot, but I agree that the nuke should go elsewhere for the time being.
Austin: No! Chris shouldn’t have to leave. That’s ridiculous.
Glitch: Right now he’s also our best protection. Without him, we’re likely to be overtaken by whatever the Regime plans on using next.
Leena: No, we’ll be fine, because apparently we’re capable of doing exactly what he did. Isn’t that right Romeo?
Chris: Hey shut up. I didn’t have to do anything for you. In fact, I wish you’d have already been killed by the time I got there. At least then I wouldn’t have to listen to your constant bitching about everything!
-Lindsey smacks Chris.
Lindsey: Take that back! You don’t mean it!
Chris: Nah, I do! (Pointing at Leena). I don’t know why you decided to come along. I take responsibility for everyone else here, but I never asked or even wanted you to come!
Kyle: Dude, chill out, you’re just a bit miffed right now.
Chris: Shut up! I hardly know you either!
Scott: Yeah, you’re making a great case for why you should stay…
Kevin: Chris, I understand you’re angry, but you need to calm down. Please, take a deep breath.
Chris: Fine. (Breathes in deeply and then exhales). I’m sorry. Leena, I didn’t mean that.
Leena: I don’t care. I’m just here because Lindsey’s here, and I bet you’re just here for the same reason, aren’t you?
Chris: That…(Clams up and turns red).
Jack: No that’s not true. I’ve talked to Chris about the subject. He’s here because he wanted to make a difference and to look after everyone. Isn’t that right, Chris?
Chris: (Very quiet). Yeah.
Austin: We gotta remember to actually try looking out for each other again guys. Come on, we’re hardly alive and we’re fighting again. A few nights of rest? Sound good?
Leena: (Suddenly blurts out). He’s just here because he’s in love with Lindsey! There, it’s been said!
Chris: I said SHUT UP!
–The house shakes and the floor cracks a little as Chris yells this, causing everyone to become intensely fearful again.
-Chris stops after yelling this, instantly uncomfortable and ashamed.
Chris: I’m…I didn’t…
-He turns and rushes out of the room.
-Austin shoves Leena.
Austin: Why’d you go a say something stupid like that?
Leena: Oh come on, it isn’t a secret. The guy’s crazy about her. You figured that out by now Lindz, right?
Lindsey: (Quietly). You didn’t have to be so rude about it. (Sigh). I’ll go talk to him.
Austin: Lindsey, give it a few minutes. He needs to calm down.
Lindsey: Fine, you come talk with me, privately, please?
-Austin and Lindsey walk out from the room.
Jack: Glitch, carry me to the couch. Please. I’d like to see the news.
-Glitch walks over and slings Jack over his shoulder, carrying him to the couch.
Glitch: How’d you get down here by yourself?
Jack: I crawled. I played a lot of Metal Gear as a kid.
Scott: Now where’s the remote…?
-Scott peruses the living room, searching for the remote.
Scott: Can’t find a remote.
-Willy turns on the TV.
Willy: I don’t think there’s any cable hooked up from the looks of things. Pretty basic setup. (Some static comes up). Hold on, I’ll fix this.
-Willy starts fiddling with the TV.
-Lindsey and Austin walk outside into the backyard. She looks very solemn about everything.
Lindsey: I don’t want to hurt him anymore.
Austin: I know you don’t.
-They stop walking.
Lindsey: It’s just so hard. I don’t know what to say to him. He’s a good friend; I get that. And he would never do anything to harm me or put me in danger.
Austin: He does love you.
Lindsey: He only thinks he loves me. How can he know? We’re only 16. (Shakes her head). I have nothing against him, I really don’t.
Austin: Then give it a try.
Lindsey: I can’t.
Austin: Yes you can. You just don’t want to.
Lindsey: The timing’s all wrong. Me and Jack, we’re…
–Lindsey quietly nods.
Austin: For how long?
Lindsey: It’s not official or anything. I’m not even sure he feels the same way really. (Looks up at Austin). But that’s not the point. I can’t commit to Chris right now.
Austin: What if this had never happened? What if we were still living at home, safe and sound? Then?
Lindsey: Under different circumstances…I don’t know.
Austin: You’re afraid of him too, aren’t you?
Lindsey: A little, yes. You’re not?
Austin: I’m terrified. But that doesn’t stop me from looking him in the eye and telling him exactly how I feel. He’s still the same person, Lindz. He’s still the same shy guy who took you to Homecoming Freshmen year.
Lindsey: We went as friends though…
Austin: But you had a great time, right?
Austin: Still the same guy. Still can’t dance though.
Lindsey: Or look me in the eye…but now he can destroy entire city blocks without even trying.
-Austin grabs her and looks her directly in the face.
Austin: But he wouldn’t. You can do the same thing. Me, too. Or Derek, or Kevin, or even Jack. In another year, we’ll all be shocked that we thought Chris was doing anything too radical.
–A tear rolls down Lindsey’s cheek.
Austin: What’s wrong?
Lindsey: I just…you think we’ll still be running around, hiding and fighting…for another year? Two years? How much longer?
Austin: I don’t know.
Lindsey: I don’t think I can keep this up for that long.
Austin: Maybe you can, maybe you can’t. The only way to know for sure is to take a risk and keep going.
-Lindsey turns away and starts walking.
Lindsey: I need to talk to Chris.
Austin: Please…(Closes his eyes and cups his hands together), be kind to him.
–Lindsey turns and nods sadly.
Willy: Got it!
-Willy stands up from behind the TV.
Willy: Is it working?
Kyle: Yep. (Feels around for the remote one last time). And I guess we’re watching this.
Jack: (Checks his watch). I think we made it just in time for the news.
-The channel comes into clear view, the news just starting.
News Anchor: Good evening, I’m Diana Miranda, and the disheveled man sitting next to me is Dave Trenton.
Other News Anchor: Yeah I’m Dave Trenton. Who wants to know?
Scott: (Smiles). Oh these guys are great.
Diana: (Quietly talking to her co-anchor). Dave, you said you weren’t going to drink tonight…
Dave: Hey, the city’s been under attack from who knows what, world’s at war, I could die at any moment. I’m gonna have a drink.
-Dave pulls a bottle of whiskey from under the table and takes a swig.
Dave: You want some? (Offers the bottle to Diana).
Diana: No thank you Dave. I’m sorry, folks, it seems my co-anchor is a bit under the weather today.
Dave: (Holds the bottle up high). And this is tonight’s news!
–Camera shift to Diana.
Diana: It’s been a week now since The Legion was destroyed here in Trillium City. Witnesses still aren’t sure what they saw, and local police are extremely baffled.
Dave: I told you, there were robots involved.
Diana: Dave, how would you know?
Dave: Because I saw them Diana. Big shiny metal men, floating around the city, looking all over for, who KNOWS what.
Diana: Right…well unfortunately rescue crews haven’t managed to find any survivors from the wreckage. However, those that escaped from the base found themselves stationed at the Legion’s new temporary headquarters at an undisclosed location.
Dave: Brooksboro. They’re stationed in Brooksboro. There’s another Legion base located there.
Diana: Dave, it’s an undisclosed location, there’s no way you could have seen it.
Dave: Hey, I’m not stupid, alright? The government’s been trying to keep things all hush-hush right now, I’m just saying that there’s another Legion base in Brooksboro, a gang of robots patrolling the city, and some kids who know how to blow up my apartment. (Points at the camera). Yeah I’m talking to you, you little punks! Didn’t think I’d know who destroyed my apartment, huh? Thought you could get away with it? No one screws with Dave Trenton!
Kevin: How did he know it was us?
Scott: The guy may be drunk, but you don’t forget a little thing like your house being torn apart.
Diana: Dave, don’t bring your personal life into this. Haha, you know that the fire department has no idea what caused your apartment building to collapse.
Dave: (Pissed). It was kids. Kids that could shoot beams from their hands. (Looks like he’s about to strangle his co-anchor). Their hands. BLAM! Hand beams!
Diana: (Laughs awkwardly). Oh Dave…you’re such a kidder.
Danny: (Scratching his head). I don’t remember if we destroyed any buildings or not. Did we?
Jack: When Chris and Derek fought a few buildings came down.
Leena: All the more reason why he freaks me out.
Willy: Derek did more damage than Chris that time.
Danny: Yeah. I was there! Where were you?
Leena: Oh forget it. (Crosses her arms in a huff).
Dave: Point is Diana, I’m gonna find those kids, and I’m going to shoot them in the face, WITH MY OWN HAND BEAMS!!!
Diana: (Her eyes are darting around worriedly). Uh…and now it’s time to check in with Johnny Jenson for the weather. Johnny, how’s it looking outside?
-Camera shifts to an eccentric guy with glasses standing in front of a blank whiteboard.
Johnny: Hey Diana I’ll tell you how it’s looking outside.
-He spins his whiteboard over, revealing a lot of scribbles of fire, the world being eaten by a demon, and a baby flying through space.
Johnny: It’s looking FREAKING CRAZY! That’s how it’s looking!
Diana: But Johnny…the weather…?
Johnny: Folks, we’re gonna be experiencing some pretty heavy rain…of FIRE.
-Johnny circles the fire on the whiteboard.
Johnny: Yes that’s right, it will be raining fire for the next few years, because the lord of darkness himself, that’s right, Michael Jackson, is coming back from the grave to eat every last one of us. The only way to counteract this? We must start a colony of space-babies. Perhaps our generation will perish, but surely our children shall thrive. I highly recommend carrying a flame-retardant umbrella with you and start consummating like bunnies until we have flying children. Oh, (turns back to his whiteboard and scribbles a few more things), uh, high of 83, low of 60, partly cloudy. Back to you Diana.
Diana: Thank you…Johnny. (Turns back to Dave). Well Dave, pretty silly to think of flying children, huh?
Dave: Oh is it? (Looks back at the camera). You little flying bastards are out there, and I’m gonna rip your faces off, you hear me?!
Diana: Dave, please stop threatening our viewers.
Dave: Shut up you stupid (bleeped for television). How would you know anything about kids? No guy would find you attractive, not now, not ever, and unless you try really hard, I doubt you’ll find a man in time to make much use of those ovaries before they shrivel up in oh, (looks at his watch), another year or so.
Diana: (Unsure of what to say). Uh…Dave…you and your jokes…
Dave: I want you to die soooo badly right now.
-Away from the TV group, Lindsey finds herself walking down the basement stairs. A faint sob can be heard.
Lindsey: Chris? You down here?
Chris: (In total darkness). No…I’m not…
-Lindsey turns the light on, revealing Chris huddled in the corner, his eyes red and swollen.
Lindsey: Chris, please, talk to me.
Chris: (Rubs his eyes dry). What is it?
Lindsey: I’m sorry for how people have been treating you lately. It’s not fair, I don’t-
Chris: Then stop joining in. You keep looking at me like I’m going to hurt you for some reason.
Lindsey: (Gently touches his arm). No, that’s not true at all. You’d never hurt me; I know that.
Chris: Then why are you so afraid of me?
Lindsey: Because I’m only 16. All I do is worry about things. I don’t know any better and neither does anyone else our age. That’s one of the things about us, we’re just ignorant about things we don’t understand, like power and war and love…
Chris: (He looks up at that last part). Love isn’t something people understand. It’s just there.
Lindsey: Chris, about what Leena said…tell me honestly, is it true?
Chris: Which thing?
Lindsey: (Very strict). You know which thing. Now tell me, (pulls his head up so that he’s looking directly into her eyes), is it true?
Chris: (He can’t speak for a second, his eyes watering up again). I…(He blinks and tears roll down his cheeks). Yes. (Nods). Yes it’s true.
Lindsey: (Shakes her head). Chris, you’re only 16. You don’t-
Chris: I’m not stupid! I know how I feel!
Lindsey: Don’t get angry with me.
Chris: I’m not angry, I’m lonely! You think it’s easy being me right now? Huh? Have everyone look at me like I’m a monster? Like I’d kill them for bumping into me? All I want is someone to hold me and tell me I’m okay just the way I am. To tell me they’re not afraid of me. That they love me, too…
Lindsey: (Gets up). I’m sorry… (Closes her eyes and shakes her head, fighting back tears). I’m so, so sorry. I can’t do it.
-Lindsey starts to walk away.
-Chris reaches out for her.
Chris: Please…I need you…
-Lindsey turns around, she’s holding herself and crying now.
Lindsey: I need some sleep.
-She starts walking to the stairs, turning as she reaches them.
Lindsey: Jack and I are together.
Chris: How long?
Lindsey: Since he kissed me last week.
-She turns her back to Chris.
Lindsey: Please don’t hate him because of me.
-Chris remains alone. He huddles up and begins clenching his fists, tears streaming down his face.
-Back upstairs on TV…
Diana: Um, it seems our very own Sam the Go-To Guy has a live report from the site of the Trillium City Center Mall. Sam, can you hear us?
-A very panic-stricken man in a heavy coat is standing around the wreckage of the mall.
Sam: Hi Dave, hi Diana, it’s me, Sam, and I’m standing on ground zero for the recent attack on the Trillium City Center Mall…or whatever it’s called, I forget.
–Some wreckage topples over a few feet from him.
-Sam grabs his chest.
Sam: Oh my…that was a close one.
Kyle: Heh, I love this guy.
Diana: Sam, can you tell us a little bit about how the mall’s looking?
Sam: Well Diana, it’s looking pretty torn up. There’s been a pretty big crew of workers digging around the area, trying to clear the space of all the debris. In fact, I’m probably not supposed to be here right now. My life’s in mortal peril.
–Wrecking ball swings by overhead.
Sam: HA! You see?! Nearly took my head off…
Dave: Hey Sam, it’s Dave.
Sam: Oh, hi Dave. How’re things?
Dave: Things are terrible. No Sam, I’ve got a question.
Sam: Yeah Dave?
Dave: Was anyone killed during the attack?
Sam: Um…I think there’s some good news to report there. I’ve been told that there were no casualties and that everyone in the mall managed to get out safely.
–The group watching at home cheers.
Dave: Everyone’s alright?
Sam: Yeah Dave. It was a miracle. There were a few that suffered from mild injuries, but overall the damage was mostly just in the confusion they all felt.
–A spot caves in right next to Sam’s feet.
Sam: Oh jeez! Can I go home?!
Cameraman: (From behind the camera). No keep going. This is priceless. Hehehehe…
Dave: So nothing was found like say…any kids in the wreckage…?
Sam: Um…no…nothing like that. I’ll dig around a bit…
-Sam gets down and starts moving some chunks of debris around.
Dave: Damnit, that means those kids are still out there…
Sam: Oh! I did find one thing!
-Sam stands up holding a robotic arm.
Sam: Seems I found what looks like…I don’t know what it looks like.
Dave: Robots! (Points in Diana’s face). I told you! Dumb (bleeped for television), teach you to doubt me!
Sam: Well, I think that’s all for-
-The arm whips around and starts choking Sam.
Sam: AH! Tell my wife and kids I love them! Gah! Back to you in the studio!
Diana: Thank you Sam.
Danny: Whoa. You think he’ll be alright?
Kyle: He’ll be fine. I swear the guy nearly dies once a week.
-Diana is handed a piece of paper.
Diana: It seems we have some breaking news. We now go live to City Hall where the president of Balobyn has a statement to make regarding the recent attacks on Trillium City.
Jack: What? Turn it up, quick.
–Willy tweaks with the TV, turning the volume up.
Octavious: Greetings citizens of Trillium City and Zanretha in general. It has been a tragic few weeks for your fair city, and the nation of Balobyn wants nothing more than to help in any way it can.
Jack: Help DESTROY it.
Octavious: The war abroad against the Demon Regime has been a terrible one, and I sincerely hope our two nations can stop their advances.
Jack: You can stop their advances by not telling them to advance.
Leena: Shush. TV’s talking.
Octavious: Though the loss of the Legion’s Trillium City base is great, I am certain that it shall come back stronger than ever under the leadership of its new commander.
–Another man walks onto the stage to cheers.
Jack: (Jack freaks out). That’s who was in second in command?!
Octavious: It gives me great pleasure to introduce my son, Maximilian.
-Octavious begins clapping as he steps back for Max to take the podium.
Everyone watching on TV: His son?!
Jack: How did he get his son in the Legion without me knowing?
Scott: I’d say it’s a bit more impressive that he got his son all the way to a Commandership without you knowing.
Maximilian: Thank you father. Zanretha, I hereby take command of The Legion with the promise that I will rid this great nation of all who choose to oppose it.
Maximilian: Furthermore, with the help of my father, we will have access to far greater weapons and far vaster numbers, making our search for the ones who caused all this trouble that much simpler.
-Octavious steps back up to the mic.
Octavious: I’m sure many of you have been asking about sighting robots around the city. I’m here to tell you, they were indeed sent by Balobyn, but not to destroy!
Octavious: No, these robots were sent to help stop a group of traitors within the Legion. You may know some of these individuals from school or work or anywhere.
–Pictures of the group along with their names begin flashing up on the screen.
Octavious: These were the ones who destroyed the Legion’s headquarters, as well as the Trillium Mall.
Octavious: Balobyn dispatched a group of highly designed robotic soldiers to bring them to justice, yet they were defeated.
Maximilian: If you see any of these teenagers, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Legion at once. In fact, their relatives will be called in for questioning as soon as possible.
Octavious: Furthermore, it goes without saying that if you are found harboring these terrorists you will also be subject to the full extent of the consequences that follow.
Leena: How can they-?! I don’t get how-?! Jack?!
Jack: They’re getting desperate.
Glitch: It makes sense I suppose. They have to spin this to put themselves in a good light, otherwise they could be blamed.
Clinton: And as a result we’re now the most wanted criminals in town. Unbelievable.
Scott: I don’t know, sounds kind of cool.
Jack: So now we’ve got to deal with the Legion in addition to the Regime? Fantastic.
Octavious: I’m opening the floor to questions. Any questions at this time?
Reporter 1: Yes, Octavious, will Syrus be joining the hunt for these terrorists?
Octavious: Syrus will not be. He’s busy with a very important assignment that requires his full attention at the moment. Yes you, in the back. (Points at another reporter).
Reporter 2: Some eye witnesses claim to have seen the group of robots attacking civilians. What have you to say to these claims?
Octavious: One of our original ten robots was captured and reprogrammed to follow the orders of the terrorists.
Glitch: That’s not true!
Kyle: Dude, none of it’s been true.
Octavious: It’s unfortunate to think that our good intentions were twisted to fit their horrible plans, but at times these events are unavoidable. We’re taking precautions to fix the matter. Next question?
Reporter 3: Yes, I have a question for Maximilian. What sort of plans do you have for dealing with these terrorists now that you’re the commander of the Legion?
Maximilian: As I’ve said before, my father and I will be working very closely to bring these criminals to justice as soon as possible.
Octavious: That’s right. And that is why it gives me great pleasure for this one last announcement. Boys?
-Octavious looks up. The camera pans above his head to reveal five costumed characters standing on the archway above his head.
–The five all leap down at once, landing gracefully on the stage.
Octavious: These are an elite group I personally trained with the sole purpose of eradicating the terrorists and protecting the city. Think of them as my gift to Zanretha. (Smirks). Give them a demonstration, boys.
–The five all wave their arms in the air in sync before firing a massive collective blast upwards, then all slamming their fists into the ground, causing a mild earthquake.
-They then all stand and salute to Octavious and Maximilian.
Kyle: (Everyone’s shocked). Who the hell are those guys?
Octavious: Trillium City, I present to you the Octa-Rangers.
Maximilian: We’re offering a challenge to the terrorists. We’ll be at the Trillium City Center Grand Arena every day at noon waiting for you. If you have any honor left, prove it. Otherwise you’ve been warned. That is all. This press event is over. No further questions.
–Screen shifts back to Diana.
Diana: Well there you have it folks. Looks like the city’s saved.
Dave: Things are just gonna get worse before they get better.
Diana: That’s all for us at Channel 70 News. I’m-
Jack: (Holding the remote). I think we have a serious problem.
Kyle: Where’d he find the remote…?
To Be Continued…