Piotr Rasputin, known as Colossus because of his organic-steel body
and his incredible strength, had just finished off the last of the Sentinels
facing the mutant super- hero team, Excalibur. Looking around to be sure
that none of the robots remained active, he also checked over his teammates.
Seeing that all was well, he went over to where the team's resident genius
was inspecting the wreckage of one of the robots.
"ShadowWolf, are you well?" he inquired.
"Prodigious, Colossus. These Mark IX Sentinels are quite impressive. I've found several weaknesses we can exploit for the next time we face them, though."
Kurt Wagner, AKA Nightcrawler, teleported in with a stench of brimstone to where the two men where standing. His looks added to his demonic arrival. Nightcrawler had dark-blue furry skin, yellow eyes, 2 fingers and a thumb on each hand and a tail.
"Mein Freunds, it is time to go, Captain Britain is getting quite anxious to leave, Meggan's just gone into labor. So you better board the Midnight Runner or Brian's going to leave you behind."
A young woman appeared at the hatch of the airship. "Kurt, get them to hurry the hell up!"
"On our way, Kitty," Piotr yelled out. Kitty Pryde was a woman of average height and weight with brown hair. She was wearing a dark-blue body suit.
The three men piled into the ship and Kitty closed the hatch while Brian sent the Midnight Runner on a course for Muir Island. ShadowWolf sat down at one of the chairs set up with a computer terminal in front of it, and started to work up the schematics of the Sentinels. He then stopped and just looked out the window. Piotr noticed this and sat down beside him. "Is there a problem, tovarisch?"
"No, I was just thinking about when I first met you and the others. Life sure has changed for me. It's also, in a lot of ways, the same."
"You mean when you were with the Power Rangers?"
"Affirmative, when I was with the Power Rangers...."
Two Years Earlier....
The Zeo Rangers had just destroyed the latest in a long line of idiotic robotic monsters that King Mondo had sent against them. This one had been the "SolarFlex." Billy had sent the team a "Solar-induction ray" to drain the monster of its power, then the Zeo Rangers destroyed it with the Zeo Cannon.
After being given the weapon back, Billy put it into storage with the rest of the items he had developed to use against a long list of creatures who had a destructive capacity only outmatched by their stupidity. He then watched the other Zeo Rangers depart to Ernie's for a victory party. Jason was the only one who didn't leave with them.
"Billy, you okay, bro?"
"I'm fine, Jason. Just a little tired."
"Why don't you come with me to Ernie's then? You're just as deserving of taking part in this than anyone else. More actually, it was your device that allowed us to beat it."
"Thanks anyway, Jason. I have some work I need to take care of at my lab." With that Billy teleported away.
"Zordon, does Billy seem to be sick or something? He doesn't want to do anything with the team anymore."
"Jason, Billy is still trying to recover from the Aquitian water treatment used to counter-act his unnatural aging. Give him time. He will soon return to full mental and physical health. Now go, the others are waiting for you."
"All right, Zordon." Jason teleported out in a flash of gold.
_I too am worried, Jason. Billy has become more withdrawn since his return. I can sense the power emanating from him. He truly is his grandfather's descendant. I fear he may have become overtaken by that man's legacy of darkness as well. I can only pray that the Power protects him._ Zordon then resumed concentration on his endless task of watching for the next stage of the Machine Empire's assault on the Earth.
At Billy's Lab
Billy checked his computer for any e-mail. Not finding any he made sure that the experiments he had running were stable. Then he went into his house, and saw the mail his father had set aside for him. _Let's see now...Stanford, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Sorbonne, Heidelberg and Angel Grove University. Here's an interesting letter. A Dr. Essex wants to offer me a job on his research team. He's coming by in a few days and will contact me when he shows up... Well that's the most interesting offer I've gotten so far._ Billy then went back to the lab, eager to start on a new power source for the Zords.
There was a knock at the door to Billy's lab. Answering it, Billy saw Jason, Tommy and the others there with drinks, food, cutlery and dishes. They all had slightly nervous looks on their faces.
"Hey Billy, since you couldn't make the party at Ernie's, we brought the party to you." Rocky smiled at Billy then walked into the lab.
"Thanks Rocky, remind me to kill you later. Okay, the rest of you, come on in." Billy stepped aside and waved the rest into the room.
After enjoying the meal with his friends, Billy saw that the e-mail indicator was lit. Checking it, he read the message, then read it again to be sure. "Jason, you want to read this for me to the others. I have to think about something."
With that, Billy left his lab. Sitting down at the computer, Jason got comfortable in the chair.
"Okay, let's see what this says: Dear Billy, guess what? Zack and I are coming back to Angel Grove. The Presidential Commission we where on ran out of funding and so, they're sending us home. We will be back in two days. Our flight comes in at 5:35 PM out of Dulles, so please be there. Be sure to tell the others, I really would like to meet Tanya and Kat. They seem like nice people from what you've said. To respond to your question, surprising as its spontaneity was, my answer is 'YES!' Love, Trini"
"So Zack and Trini are coming back?" Tommy asked Jason.
"Looks to be that way, Tommy."
"Wonder what Billy's question was," Rocky asked Jason.
"Ask him...." _Maybe he'll even deign to answer, but I doubt it._
"Who are Zack and Trini," Tanya asked Adam.
"They're the original Black and Yellow Rangers. They were on the first team with Billy, Kimberly and Jason. You'll like them, Tanya," Adam told her.
"What's this Trini person to Billy, Tommy?"
"Kat, ever notice he doesn't really date anyone? He declined Cestria's offer to stay on Aquitar, even though it was obvious she had it bad for him, and he was so moody on the 23rd of August? Well, it's because of Trini, that's her birthday. He loves her. You weren't there at the airport when Jason, Zack and Trini left for Switzerland. Billy told Trini how he felt. Hell, he even kissed her! If Zack hadn't interrupted them they'd probably still be there. If you had seen that, you wouldn't have had to ask who Trini is to Billy. For him, she's everything." Tommy said, almost enviously. _I had a love like that, then she left._
"That bad, huh?" Tanya whispered to Adam.
"Yeah, that bad." Adam whispered back.
Muir Island, Scotland
Kitty Pryde phased through the floor of the workout room where Kurt Wagner was giving Piotr Rasputin a rather pointed lesson in fencing. Kitty noticed Rahne watching the fight with a rapt look on her face. She was about to applaud Kurt's victory, when Piotr, using a fencing maneuver she was sure Kurt hadn't taught him yet, performed a rather showy parry, and then placed the point of his blade at Kurt's throat.
"Where'd you learn to do that Piotr," Kurt wondered.
"I've been studying with the classics, Kurt."
"Highlander, Highlander: the series, The Princess Bride and the Three Musketeer's movies, the ones from the '70's. I've been doing research," Piotr said with a grin.
"However you did it, Piotr... Bravo. You are becoming better. On to business, what can I help you with, Katzchen?"
"You know how you finally got Cerebro to work? Well it's picked up a psionic, and the readings are off the chart. I've already talked to Scott, Storm, Cable and the others. They're willing to let you handle this on your own. They'll give you whatever backup you might need. But it's your show."
"Wundebar, last thing I need is for them to have to deal with Piotr before certain hot heads have cooled down. Kitty, where is this psionic and what other information have you managed to get about this person?"
"The psi is a he, and he's from Angel Grove, California...."
Rahne's head popped up from where she was sitting. "The home of the Power Rangers?"
"Yes, Rahne, where the Power Ranger's are located. We've managed to get his name and address."
"So what's his name, Kitty?"
"William James Cranston, 18 years old, graduated high school early because of academic over-achievement, still seeking a college from what the computers tell me, or at least he hasn't registered with one yet."
"Kitty, place a call to Scott. Tell him we need to borrow Jean and Betsy. Their expertise in the field of the mind will be helpful in dealing with the kid. I'd rather have them and not need them..."
"...Than need them and not have them." Kitty finished for him. Kurt smiled at that.
"Let everyone know we're leaving in an hour. Meggan comes as well, I know she doesn't do as well outside of the British Isles, but she needs to have something to keep her mind off Brian. We'll be stopping at the Xavier Mansion first, to pick up Jean and Betsy, then we'll go to Angel Grove... Any questions? One hour then."
New York City
The man was old. He had fought in the two world wars. He had seen the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. He had seen the best and worst of humanity. He had been the best and worst in humanity. No one was living who had ever known him when he had the name "Jingko." Few remembered what he had been when he was younger.
Now, the man utilized his great will to ensure that he would not succumb to the infirmities of age. And yet he knew that he would eventually lose that fight. The only one he would ever lose. He smiled, as he remembered a quote from something he had read. _Wolf wins every fight but one, and in that, he dies._ He knew that his successor must be chosen. Before he finally succumbed to the embrace of the Yama Kings.
Only those of his blood could take what he had to give. His incredible will and strength of mind had forever changed the genetics of his line, so that his descendants would be smarter and more likely to attain the powers of the psyche. Even with all that going for them, there was still his knowledge, his training and his more than 50 years of experience that he had to pass on.
The Tulku had shown him what he could do in this instance. The man's only choice was who to pass his knowledge on to. His son by his wife Margo had died in Korea. Margo had never stopped grieving for their son and had died of despair. He had married a younger woman and she bore him a son. The woman had later divorced him and moved to Chicago with his son.
There his son grew into a man and married. He had felt his son's pain when his wife had died in a car accident. He had arrived at the funeral and met his grandson. He was surprised, the boy had little of the darkness that he had. Then his son and grandson moved to Angel Grove, California.
In the years that his grandson had grown, he had gone to Angel Grove to visit him. Each time he was surprised by the boy's intellect. He had never met such a staggering intelligence since the day he had first met Dr. Savage. He knew that the Doctor and his grandson would have been good friends. That pleased him.
Then his son had called and told him that the boy was dying of "accelerated aging" brought on by a reaction to an experiment the boy had performed. It was then that the man learned his grandson was a Power Ranger. Had been since their first appearance. He knew then that he had found his successor. His only worry was that the boy might not be healed. He felt relief when he learned that the boy recovered and was once again living with his father.
He could feel the boy's burgeoning mental power from across the country and knew that he had to train him before he was found by those who would misuse his ability. The man spent the four weeks following his grandson's return transferring all his assets, his land, and the patents he had into his grandson's name. He then finished the Journals of his life and adventures, knowing someday that his grandson would want to read them. Then he prepared for the trip to Angel Grove. He knew he had less than a week to transfer his knowledge before he died. _Sometimes,_ he thought. _Excessive knowledge can be a curse._
The man took the elevator down to the ground floor of his mansion. He had long ago lost the ability to walk for long distances, but was in better shape than his years suggested. Entering the door his chauffeur held open, he took one last look at his estate, knowing that he would never return. He then got in and told the driver to take him to the airport. Lamont Cranston never looked back.
Angel Grove Park
Billy Cranston knew, in his heart, that Trini Kwan loved him. Unfortunately, his mind was playing tricks on him, letting him see visions where she came back not to his arms but to Richie's or Adam's or even in one real gut-wrenching episode, Jason's. He knew that he was scared of what Trini would think when she saw him again. He had changed, from a geek eternally at the mercy of cretins like Bulk and Skull (before they had changed for the better), to a man who made such cretins look for easier prey.
Billy knew that Trini had changed as well. She had been gone for two years in Switzerland with people from various countries. She had gone off to help try and make the world a better place. Even if he didn't feel that the sponsors of the Conference were really interested in promoting world peace, at least she had tried. He had stayed in Angel Grove beating the snot out of monsters. He really wondered who had more courage.
So he sat in the park, skipping stones into the lake. Gathering the courage to see if he really wanted to take up the gauntlet he had thrown by asking Trini the question she had answered "Yes" to. He was so focused on what he was doing he never heard or felt the presence of another come up behind him.
"Wha'? Uh, yes, I'm Billy Cranston." Billy turned to see a man of average looks and build with brown hair in an Armani suit. He had a disquieting look to him, that Billy found slightly disturbing.
"Pleased to meet you, William. I'm Dr. Nathaniel Essex, I sent you a letter a few days ago. I was wondering if you were interested in my offer?"
"Well, sir, to become part of a research team into the cure for the 'Legacy Virus' is an honor, but aren't there more qualified individuals out there? I mean I just graduated from high school several months ago."
"I know that William, but I've paid attention to your work in the science fairs. You have a fresh view-point to science that I would like to utilize for my research. Please, think my offer over. You can reach me at this number, anytime. Good day, William." He gave Billy a card, then left.
"Good day, sir." _That was weird, I wonder how he found me. Oh well, he sighed, Trini's coming tomorrow...._
The Xavier Mansion
Excalibur had arrived at the mansion and the team split-up, most to visit with friends they hadn't seen in months. Kurt discussed how we wished to handle the potential recruitment of William Cranston, with the leaders of the X-men. Storm and Scott Summers offered their own idea's on the matter. After Jean and Betsy had prepared for the trip, Kurt gathered the others for their journey to Angel Grove. Seeing that Piotr was the only one not at the ship, he sent Rahne to look for him.
Rahne found him at the grave of his sister, Illyanna. The first victim of the Legacy Virus. A mad-man's final revenge against those who had defeated him. The Legacy Virus was targeted for mutants alone. Unfortunately, it had also been known to affect normal humans. "Piotr, it's time to go." Rahne gently told him.
"Of course, Rahne. Dosvidanya, Little Snowflake," he whispered. Piotr then followed Rahne back.
"I miss her too, Piotr."
Next Day, The Sheraton Hotel, the room of Kurt Wagner
There was a knock at Kurt's hotel room. Finding and activating his image inducer, Kurt changed from his natural demonic-looking appearance to that of a man who slightly resembled Errol Flynn, a cinematic hero of Kurt's. He opened the door to find Kitty Pryde, Pete Wisdom and Betsy Braddock.
"Kurt? Pete, Betsy and myself found some information you might be interested in. It concerns William Cranston," Kitty told him.
"What's that, Kitty?" Kurt inquired, intrigued. He showed them in and then waved them to the chairs in the room. Sitting on the bed, he waited for Kitty's report.
"You know how the Power Rangers are based here? Well, after talking to some of the locals, reviewing school and other records, and checking out Cranston himself.... Don't worry we were careful, no one should have noticed our questioning. We've come to a conclusion."
"Which would be...?"
"Cranston was probably a Power Ranger." Betsy told him.
"You have got to be kidding me? Wait, what do you mean, was?"
"I don't know why he isn't one anymore, but I will tell you how we came to that conclusion. About 3 years ago a Rita Repulsa starts attacking Earth, using some really hokey monsters. At the time of her first attack, her monster was beaten and destroyed by 5 individuals in uniforms, that while similar, all had different colors. Red, pink, black, yellow and blue. Coincidentally, William Cranston and his four friends all wear one color predominantly. All the time. A Jason Lee Scott wears red, Kimberly Harte wears pink, Zachary Taylor wears black, Trini Kwan wears yellow and William wears blue. People I've talked to said that they would get up when this Repulsa person sent a monster and disappear. A few minutes later the Power Ranger's would show up and defeat it. Then the kids would come back."
"You must have more than that, Kitty."
"Oh, there is more. Pete, you want to go from here?"
"Sure, luv", Pete Wisdom continued in a lower-class british accent. "Next thing these Power blokes have happen to them, is to have this git in green fight them. Then for some bloody reason, he joins them. At the same time, a Tommy Oliver starts hanging around the other's. He wears green alla the time." Pete pauses to light a cigarette. Kurt steps forward and takes it out of Pete's mouth.
"Not in here, mein herr," Kurt warns him, while crushing it.
"Bleedin' smeggin' git." Pete mutters under his breath.
"All right, you walking plush toy. After a while, Tommy Oliver disappears. The next thing the Rangers know, a White Ranger starts fighting with them. Tommy Oliver reappears and is wearin' white. Later, three of the friends get selected for that World Peace Conference. Jason Scott, Zachary Taylor and Trini Kwan. They leave, but three new kids hang out with them. Rocky DeSantos who wears red, Adam Park who wears black and Aisha Campbell who wears yellow. When the Ranger's show up in uniform again it's obvious that the Red Ranger isn't as buff looking, the Black Ranger's fighting style has changed alot, and the Yellow Ranger got shorter. All these changes coincide with what the physical and martial capabilities of the new kids are."
"So they took the spot of the other 3? There's more isn't there?"
"Right, Kurt. Betsy?" Kitty turns to Betsy Braddock.
"About a year and 8 months ago, the Rangers started using completely new robots and started using something they called 'Ninja Power'." Betsy, trained by a cult of assassins called The Hand, exchanged a look with Kitty Pryde, who'd been trained by the greatest Ninja Master, Ogun. "After 15 months, a Katherine Hillard, who's from Australia, shows up, starts wearing pink and is with the kids all the time. When the Pink Ranger next appears she's almost 6 inches taller than she was before and speaks with an Aussie accent. Kimberly Harte had left to practice gymnastics in Florida. They had used these powers almost a year and 3 months and then for some reason, switched to something called the Zeo Crystal. The only thing is, there are 5 Zeo Rangers, not 6. The colors of the Zeo Rangers are red, green, pink, yellow and blue. The group stills hang around together, but Tommy Oliver wears red, Adam Park wears green, Tanya Sloan wears yellow, it seems Tanya took the place of Aisha Campbell, where she went is unknown, Katherine Hillard wears pink and Rocky DeSantos wears blue. Also, several months ago, a Gold Ranger shows up. Soon, their old friend Jason Scott is back with the team, wearing black, which is the primary color of the Gold Ranger."
"I thought Cranston was the Blue Ranger? What happened to him?"
"We don't know, Kurt. Cranston starts wearing black , graduates high-school early and is asked by the Alien Rangers of Aquitar to go back with them. He accepts, comes back and then about 2 months ago disappears again. He then shows up again about a month ago."
"So this is all conjecture?"
"Kurt it fits the facts. Even if we're wrong, there is no harm done. But, Kurt, I'm not wrong," Kitty told him.
"So what does he do now? Is he still affiliated with the Power Rangers?" Kurt wondered.
"Near as I can figure, because of his intellect and mechanical skill, this guy has won more science fairs than Hank by the way, he's probably tech support for the team now," Kitty told him.
"Wonder if he likes doing it?" Pete asked.
"Probably not. Hank and Forge would go nuts if the only thing we used them for was their brains," Kitty explained.
"I just realized something. If he's a former Power Ranger, then he knows how to fight. What level of belt is he? Did you find that out?" Kurt asked Betsy.
"He's on record as having a black belt in Shotokan Karate. A style taught by both Tommy Oliver and Jason Scott," Betsy told him. "Who knows what he's learned by now. He's also supposed to be a decent gymnast."
"So we shouldn't underestimate him even though he doesn't have the powers of a Ranger, anymore. Let's be careful when we get him folks. He'll be a great asset to the team after he's been trained. Let's try not to scare him off," Kurt told them.
"I'm going now to pick Cranston up. Having Scott make the interview while we were at the Mansion was a good idea, Kitty," He told her.
"Thanks, fuzzy. Who you taking with you?"
"Jean and Rahne. They should be getting ready now. I have to get ready myself. Good work, all of you." Kurt then showed them out of his room.
_A Power Ranger? Unglaublich! This gets better by the minute, what's next I wonder?_ Kurt then started to take a shower.
The Youth Center....
Tommy Oliver knew that Billy was a good friend of his. He also knew that Billy was one of the smartest as well as one of the kindest people he had ever known. Knowing all this did not prepare him for Billy's reaction when he asked if Billy had told Trini how he felt about her.
"Tommy, any and all feelings I may have for Trini are my business. Don't start something neither of us want to finish. Please."
"What do you mean by that, Billy?"
"Do you really want me to tell you? I can open your old wounds just as easily as you can mine... if not easier. Look just leave me alone, all right? I've got an interview with some school that's taken an interest in me. So I need to prepare for that."
"Sure, Billy. Catch you later." _God, he can be such an arrogant bastard sometimes. He acts like he's the only one to have a girl you're interested in leave you._
Billy, left alone to his brooding, was watching the door to the Youth Center, waiting for the faculty members of "the Xavier Institute" to pick him up for the interview. That was when he saw an auburn haired woman, a man with a passing resemblance for Errol Flynn, and a red-headed girl perhaps a year younger than himself walk in. Rising from his chair, he went over to them.
"You're from the Xavier Institute?" _This is not what I expected._
The man looked Billy over and then said, "Yes, we are. I'm Kurt Wagner. This is Jean Summers and this is one of our students, Rahne Sinclair. You are William Cranston?" Kurt offered his hand, which Billy shook.
"Yes, I am, but please, call me Billy."
"All right, Billy. We have a car waiting to take us to the Sheraton. We have a banquet room there. You will meet some of the other students and faculty. This way please."
On the drive to the hotel, Billy could tell that he was being studied by the three he had just met. The man who called himself 'Kurt Wagner' and looked like Errol Flynn, spoke with a german accent. The woman he introduced as Jean Summers was obviously from the East Coast, probably New York considering how she had said his name. Rahne Sinclair talked with a definite scot's burr. Billy also couldn't shake the feeling that somehow he had met her before.
Kurt Wagner looked over William Cranston, trying to resolve the image of what he thought that the academic achiever he knew Billy to be would look like, to the obviously fit person before him. _He looks more like the gymnast that Betsy said he could be than a computer geek. Not what I expected._
Kurt, Hank is just as intelligent as Billy is. Would you call him a geek? Hank lettered in football, remember? Jean's thought's broke into his. Besides, it might be good that he can apparently handle himself. Remember Doug Ramsey?
Of course I do, Jean. Rahne and Kitty were both friends of his. You weren't around when the two of them were trying to find out if Douglock was actually Doug Ramsey. His being physically fit doesn't mean a thing if he has to fight the Juggernaut.
Kurt, and how well have you fared against Cain Marko? Give him a chance. If you can handle Pete Wisdom on a daily basis, you can handle this kid.
Rahne Sinclair knew, with the certainty that her instincts had given her over the years, that she had met William Cranston somewhere before. Yet she could not remember where it was she had met him. She could also tell that Cranston was puzzling over where he had met her.
The car pulled up to the Sheraton and the four got out. Walking into the lobby, they were directed to a side corridor that led to a door labeled "By Reservation Only: Reserved". Opening the door, Kurt Wagner ushered the women in first, then motioned for Billy to walk through.
Billy wasn't quite sure what to expect when he walked into the banquet room, what he saw wasn't it. A very tall, very big black-haired man introduced as "Piotr Rasputin"; a lavender haired english-sounding Japanese woman called "Betsy Braddock"; a brown-haired woman perhaps a year older than him named "Katherine Pryde"; an englishman named "Pete Wisdom"; a blonde-haired englishwoman who didn't look quite right named "Meggan"; and perhaps the strangest one of all, a blond-haired blue-eyed boy who looked about his age, who they introduced as "Doug Locke."
"I'm Billy Cranston, nice to meet you all."
As Billy sat down at the table he was seated with Betsy Braddock on his left and Jean Grey on his right. Across from him was Kurt Wagner. "Billy, let us eat first then we can discuss our school, verstehen?"
"Yes, I understand."
Angel Grove Airport
Lamont Cranston had not been to Angel Grove in three and a half years. It really hadn't changed much. He saw his son standing by the hangar for his personal plane. His son had his features but they weren't as sharp and his gaze was not nearly as intense. "Hello, son."
"Father, it's good to see you."
"You as well. Where's Billy?"
"He has an interview with a school. He'll be back around 2 o'clock."
"The Xavier Institute, I think."
"The Xavier Institute? Good school." _So Charles' people know of Billy? Then so will Sinister. Damn._
"I asked if you were ready to go? You okay?"
"Just fine, it was a long flight. And yes, I'm ready to go."
They got into Jim Cranston's car and drove towards his house.
Halfway there, Lamont looked up. "Take me to the Sheraton. Billy's there. I have to see him now."
Knowing that his father was rarely wrong, Jim turned the car around and went to the hotel.
After they had all eaten, Billy was shown to a chair and the others sat around him. They all turned to Kurt, who cleared his throat and started to speak. "Billy, what do you know about mutants?"
"Mutants? What does that have to do with.... You think I'm a mutant, don't you?"
"Billy, try to relax," Jean told him. "I'm going to do something, it won't hurt you. Please trust me...."
"Do I have a choice, Jean?"
"Yes, you do. You can walk out that door right now and not learn a thing about yourself or you can sit there and let me help you. Your choice, Billy."
"Very well then. Proceed." _I hope I don't regret this._
Why would you think that, Billy? Jean thought to him.
You're in my mind? How? Billy was more intrigued than scared.
I'm a mutant like yourself, Billy. And like you, my power's are of the mind. You're a psionic, Billy. You have a potential that is incredible. If you will trust me some more, I'll show you why we're doing this, all right?
Jean opened her memory to Billy. Showing him a condensed version of her life, she showed him: Professor Xavier rescuing her from the asylum her parents had sent her to when she had heard 'voices'; her first meeting with Scott Summers; the first time the Professor had told them of his dream, and of how they would have to fight for it; when she first met the Phoenix force; her 'death'; her rebirth and finding out that Scott was married; her work with the first X-factor group; her rejoining the X-men with her original team-mates; her second 'death' and rebirth; and he was finally shown the price the X-men and the world had paid when Professor Xavier had lost control over his own mind. Jean and the other's spent the next 20 minutes explaining to Billy how he was needed to keep Xavier's dream of a world of peaceful human/mutant relations alive.
When Jean and the other's had finally stopped, Billy realized that he had found something perhaps even more important than the Power Ranger's. He would be fighting for the future, not the now. For the world, not some little corner of it. Now he knew how Trini must have felt when she was chosen for the World Peace Conference.
"Billy, Kurt runs a team that will train mutants in their abilities. We would like you to be the first of that new class."
"Me? I'd be honored, but I have so much to do here." _Oh no! TRINI! I can't leave her. Especially when she's finally coming back!_
"Billy, control yourself. You're broadcasting to me and Betsy and it's distracting. Who's Trini and what about her?" Jean asked him. Betsy, he seems upset about this Trini person.
Teenage love, Jean. He's scared she won't love him, but he's scared she does love him, not a healthy combination.
"She's coming in on a flight tomorrow. I haven't seen her in more than 2 years. We're... real good friends," Billy told her.
"Billy, we weren't going to takeoff with you this second. We'll give you time to talk to your parents and Trini and work out when you can get to the school," Kurt assured him.
"Where is the school anyway?"
"Muir Island, Scotland," Rahne told him.
"SCOTLAND!" Billy exclaimed.
"Aye, and what's wrong with Scotland?" Rahne growled to him. Every trace of her Scot's upbringing coming out.
To the amazement of everyone, including himself, Billy growled right back in her face. "It's not here! My friends are here! My father's here! And tomorrow, TRINI will be here!" Billy's skin was starting to get darker and his features were attaining a lupine cast. Before things could escalate, Piotr Rasputin stepped between the two of them.
"Zetsynitze! Enough! Both of you back down, NOW!" Piotr bellowed at them.
Rahne and Billy both fell back with a sheepish look on their faces. "Sorry" they both whispered at the same time. The two looked at each other, then both burst out laughing.
"Billy, what just happened? You were changing?" Kurt asked him.
"What happened is that Billy just accessed part of his birthright." The voice came from behind them. They turned to see an old man, dressed in a black suit and trenchcoat, with a fedora on his head. The door was still closed from when he had come into the room.
Pointing at Billy, Jean, Betsy and Rahne in order he commanded, "I want Billy, you, you and you to stay here. The rest of you leave. We don't have much time." _I don't have much time._
"Grandfather," Billy gasped. He slumped into his chair in shock.
The members of Excalibur looked to Kurt, who looked to Jean. When she nodded, 'yes', Kurt got up. "Let's go to a movie, people. It's their show now."
Walking by Jean, he whispered, "Hope you know what you're doing, Jean."
_Me too,_ She thought. _Me too._
King Mondo's Sky Palace
Ever since the destruction of his latest monster, King Mondo had been in a rare mood... contemplative. Queen Machina was waiting for Mondo to reach his (very low) boiling point and start destroying some cogs. Yet, he just sat on his throne, viewing the Earth. Prince Sprocket, Klank and Orbus had made themselves scarce and were preparing how best to survive the oncoming storm, Hurricane Mondo.
It had been a day and still Mondo had made no sounds or movements. It surprised Machina when Mondo stood up, looked at her and told her to summon Klank. He then sat back on his throne, chuckling to himself.
Klank was brought before Mondo. He was surprised at the look of reason that was in Mondo's eyes. Mondo rose from his seat and stepped towards Klank. "Klank, I want you to rework some cogs. I'll get you the schematics and the power frameworks as quickly as possible. They have to look exactly like the information you are given. You need to make two different teams. For the first team use these schematics." If Klank had had eyelids they would have widened at what he saw. "The schematics for the second team will be forthcoming. Also, make sure they have remote destruct devices, just in case. When you are through with all that, bring them to me. Go." Klank bowed and left.
Mondo then turned to Queen Machina. "My dear, I want you to contact for me an Earthling who calls himself 'Mr. Sinister'. When you have him on the communicator, tell me. Then leave the room. I must speak to him alone." Machina bows and leaves.
"Power Rangers, you have finally met your end."
Lamont Cranston looked Jean Summers in the eye. He knew she could destroy him in a psychic duel if it came to it, but she'd be in for a fight. He also knew he couldn't fight her and Betsy Braddock at the same time. "You're with Xavier's group, yes?" he asked her.
"Yes, we are. Who are you, really?"
"I'm Billy's grandfather, my name is Lamont Cranston. A long time ago, I fought crime in New York and several other places. I was called the Shadow."
"Obviously, Billy recognizes you. Do you have any way of corroborating this? I'm not calling you a liar, I just prefer to be careful."
"Of course. Is Logan still on your team? Call him and let me talk to him. He can backup my story."
"Logan knows you? All right, give me a minute to call him." _How many people does Logan know? I hope this isn't another "old friend" like Sabretooth._ Jean dials her phone and then speaks into it. "Sam? Is Logan around? I need to talk to him. It's important. I don't care if he is down 5 points... I know Sam, thank you. Logan? Yes it is important. You know the kid Kurt and the others are trying to recruit? Well his grandfather showed up... The guy walks into a locked room and the first time we notice him is when he speaks. Yeah, Betsy and Kitty didn't feel him either. Says you know him... Lamont Cranston. Yes, he looks old." She turns to Lamont, "He wants to speak with you." She holds the phone out to Lamont.
"Hello, Logan? Yes, I'm alive. You want me to do what? Well, if it will convince you." Lamont clears his throat and starts to laugh. This isn't a very pleasant sound, in fact Rahne's hackles rise and Betsy falls into a defensive stance before straightening back up with a sheepish grin. Lamont continues for about 30 seconds and then speaks into the phone. In a deep raspy voice he whispers, "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Did you really think you could hide... from me?"
Lamont stops talking and listens to the phone. Handing it back to Jean, he says, "Logan will answer your questions about me." Lamont walks over to an empty chair and sits down.
"Logan, it's him? Can he be trusted? Thank you, Logan. Say 'hi' to Scott for me. Good bye." She disconnected the phone and put it away.
"I am sorry about that Mr. Cranston. In this business you have to be careful."
"Think nothing of it, child. I need the three of you to help me with Billy. Billy, if this is not done, your inner darkness will destroy you. What I am going to do is transfer to you my experience, my knowledge and my training by Tibetan Monks. I will not be transferring my psyche. Billy, if you've ever seen a movie called "Highlander" then think of it like this: my voice will be Ramirez in the head of Connor Macleod. I'll be able to give advice and answer questions but any and all decisions will be yours."
"Then why are Betsy and I here, Mr. Cranston?"
"Jean, you and Betsy are here to ensure that I transfer only my training, my knowledge and my experience. My time is nearly over, I have no wish to take Billy's. Rahne, you are here for an even more important reason...."
"What's that, sir?" Rahne asked him worriedly.
"You may or may not know this. At one time, Billy was a Power Ranger. Yes, Billy I know about that."
"Your father told me after you went to Aquitar the second time. I then did some research of my own and learned of your Ninjetti abilities." Betsy snorted at the word, "Ninjetti." Lamont looked over at her.
"Of course, Miss Braddock here, being a former Hand assassin finds that amusing. Miss Braddock, the Ninjetti are from an alien world. For Billy and his friends to attain the Great Power they had to perform a quest of great difficulty. What they did should not be mocked," Lamont told her.
"How do you know about the Hand?"
"We've met. They don't bother me anymore," He told her with a toothy grin. Betsy then decided to drop the subject.
"Mr. Cranston, what is it I need to do?" Rahne asked.
"Rahne, I want you to help Billy find his spirit animal. I want you to help him find the Wolf inside him again."
Rahne turned to Billy, "Your spirit animal was a Wolf?"
"Yes, why is that so surprising?"
"Because I can do this...." With that Rahne shifted her flesh to her were-wolf form.
To say Billy was shocked is like saying that War and Peace is a big book. He looked closer at Rahne, then said, "You!" Rahne looked at him confusedly until she realized just where she had seen him before....
The Machine Empire's Throneroom
"King Mondo, the human you are waiting for has arrived."
"Thank you, Klank. Please leave us alone." Klank bows and leaves.
"King Mondo? What an honor to meet you...." Mr. Sinister was once again on his best behavior, malicious.
"Enough with the pleasantries human. We have access to something the other wants. I propose a deal."
"What do I have that you could want? I do not deal in sentient machinery."
"True you do not. I have however the genetic potentials of several races that are under my rule. This will allow you more latitude in your experiments. In return, all I ask for is that you give me the power schematics of these following individuals...." Mondo showed his "guest" some holographic projections.
"Yes, I have all those on file. What is your plan?"
"My plan is simple. I will place these two teams into a confrontation with the copies of the others. Then I will remove the copies and have them fight. The survivors will be shocked to realize that they weren't fighting robotic or mutated monsters. Then I will send in my copies to destroy all that remain. Elegant, no?"
"No. But you could do worse." _And probably will._ "If I might make a suggestion?"
"Here's a list of who should fight whom. It will play to the strengths and weakness of your opponents." He hands Mondo the list, and then gives him a container with six vials in it. "I have fulfilled my part of the bargain... If you would?"
"Of course. Klank!" Klank enters.
"Yes, yuir mechanical evilness?"
"Give Mr. Sinister his genetic samples, then take these and start work on the cogs. You have an hour."
"Yes, yuir majesty." Klank leaves for his lab.
"With your permission, King Mondo, I will leave...."
"You are excused, oh and Sinister? Perhaps we may do business again?"
"Perhaps." Sinister was teleported out of the throneroom.
"All right, Rahne... Where have the two of you seen each other before?" Jean demanded.
"Aye, aboot three years back, Illyanna, when she was in her 'Magick' persona, detected a disturbance in the time stream. So, the two of us went to this distortion in time. The disturbance was centered on Angel Grove, except it was Angel Grove of 8 years ago. 8 years ago at the time. We saw this group called the 'Alien Rangers', and this human who was working with them."
"Billy was the human?"
"Aye, the thing is, he looks almost exactly like he does now. The fact that there was no change in his age is what threw me. Anyway, we saw the human under attack by these bird creatures. He's doing pretty good but he's outnumbered. So, Illyanna and meself we jump in and help him. Illyanna's sword is doing pretty good against them and I had to use my were-wolf form. The person we help thanks us and then teleports away... Why didn't you stay, Billy?"
"Rahne, I had to go. The tengas, those were the bird-things, were preventing me from acquiring a clean source of water for the Aquitaran Rangers. I had to get to them as quickly as possible before they started to die. You know, with everything that had happened I forgot of the appearance of you and your friend. Where is she anyway?"
"She died. The Legacy Virus killed her."
"I'm sorry, Rahne. I didn't know."
"Billy, Rahne, I don't have much time. We must start now. Jean, can you link their minds together?"
"Of course." She concentrated and then did so.
"Betsy, you will make sure that Rahne does not absorb any of what I'm sending to Billy. Jean, you are the control. You must not allow any of my psyche to go into Billy. Just my training, experience and knowledge. Can you do this?"
"Very well. Let us begin."
Angel Grove Cinemaplex
Kurt and the others were walking out of the theater when they were accosted by six garishly dressed figures. The apparent leader was dressed in red, and he was flanked by figures in pink, yellow, green, blue and black. Kitty looked at them for a moment.... "The Power Rangers?"
"We're called the Zeo Rangers now. Get them!" the one in red yelled.
The other Rangers all yelled, "Right!" Then proceeded to attack....
The Zeo Rangers were all enjoying a fairly quiet day in the park. Tommy was still worried over Billy's behavior earlier, but he soon got over it when they were confronted by six people who were some of the strangest looking monsters that King Mondo had ever sent after them.
The apparent leader was a demonic looking biped with yellow eyes and fine blue fur. He was flanked by a very large metallic looking man, a young woman wearing a dark-blue bodysuit, a man wearing a black suit who looked like an extra from "Reservoir Dogs", a blonde-haired woman with 'spock' ears and a creature that looked equal parts organic and mechanical that had the shape of a teenaged boy.
The demon drew a sword from behind his back and then screamed, "Attack!"
Tommy yelled back, "It's Morphin Time!"
Billy Cranston experienced a sense of vertigo when his grandfather started projecting his lifetime of knowledge into him. He could feel part of his consciousness expanding and knew that it was time to concentrate on finding his spirit animal again. Rahne was waiting to help him.
"Billy, focus on the feelings you had when you possessed the Ninjetti power. It is imperative to the success of this that you regain your link with the Wolf," Lamont told him.
Billy thought back to what Dulcea had told him on Phaedos. "You are the Wolf, cunning and swift."
Billy focused on the feelings he had when he had attained the Great Power with the others. Then he remembered all the fights he had as the Blue Ninja Warrior, all the skill and power that he had possessed. With Rahne's thoughts of being a wolf running through his head, with Lamont Cranston's presence added to his psyche, and with the added support of Jean Grey, Billy Cranston felt the return of the power of the Ninjetti.
When other's pulled back from Billy's mind and opened their eyes, they saw Billy dressed in a variation of the standard ninja uniform. It was of a dark, almost navy blue color, with none of the white of the old suit, nor did it have the gold coin on the chest, instead it had a black silhouette of a wolf on the front. Besides being form-fitting, the uniform had a face-mask that covered the lower part of his face. When Billy saw his reflection in one of the room's mirror's he saw an almost exact replica of the uniform he had when he was on Phaedos.
Billy then did what any other sane person would do if placed in a similar situation... He passed out.
Angel Grove Cinemaplex
This was one of the most confusing fights Piotr Rasputin had been in, in a long time. The so called "Zeo Ranger" who was fighting him kept shooting him with an energy blast from a staff. This was annoying. It didn't actually hurt his steel body but the force of it kept knocking him down.
He could tell Kurt was enjoying himself against the one in red, for he had an opponent who used a sword to fight against. Kittie was engaging the one in pink in hand-to-hand, Pete kept shooting at the one in blue who continually dodged his attacks, Meggan was ignoring the attacks the one in yellow was using against her and Douglock, who had shifted to a very bad copy of Chuck Norris, was fighting the one in green.
Just as Excalibur was gaining the upper hand, all the Zeo Rangers teleported out except for the red one. He laughed derisively at them, then before leaving challenged them. "We'll be at the rock quarry to the north of the city. If you have the courage meet us there." Then the Red Zeo Ranger teleported away.
Angel Grove Park
Tommy Oliver had received instruction in how to defend himself against a foe who used two weapons. Unfortunately, none of his instructors in the martial arts had ever taught him how to defend against a foe who used three weapons at once. The demon who was fighting him, that called itself "Nightcrawler," had a sword in each hand and one grasped in it's tail.
He had nearly been hit the first time that the demon had used it's tail to attack him. Even though he was ready for when it happened again he knew that unless he found a way to neutralize the advantage that third attack gave his opponent, he was finished. He took a moment to size up how his teammates were doing....
Rocky was beating the man in the suit, Kat was coming out even against the girl in the blue body-suit, Adam was having difficulties with the shape-shifter, Jason was continually knocking down his steel-bodied opponent but he kept getting right back up, and Tanya was getting thrown around by the blonde with the ears.
Just as Tommy was gaining the advantage, the demon backed away and looking him in the eye said, "Let's take this fight somewhere else. We'll meet you at the rock quarry to the north of the city. If you have the courage to face us there." With that, the Zeo Rangers' opponents all vanished.
It had been five minutes since Billy had fainted and he had not yet regained consciousness. Lamont Cranston appeared to be exhausted but would not allow himself to be tended to in any way. Rahne, Jean and Betsy were tired but they felt fine.
Billy finally started to stir. Groaning at the pain in his head, he focused on Jean. "Did it work?"
"Try thinking something to me, Billy." Jean told him.
How about this? Can you hear me?
Yes, Billy I can. You need to work on your control some but otherwise you do this well. Jean assured him.
Lamont Cranston rose to his feet and staggered over to Billy. "Billy, I have to leave now. As a final gift, you have ownership of everything I owned. These papers need to be signed but otherwise it's all yours. You don't need to live in the house in New York, your father might wish to live there though. Talk to him about it. Walk in beauty, Billy."
"Good-bye, grandfather." Lamont Cranston left the room, using the door this time.
Angel Grove Rock Quarry
Excalibur was ready for a fight. They had arrived at the rock quarry and the Zeo Rangers were not yet there. Deploying his team, Kurt had them take as much advantage of the terrain as they could.
After a few minutes of waiting, there was a multi-color flash of light, and standing in front of Excalibur were the Zeo Rangers. Kurt walked up to the one in red. "Very well then, let's finish this."
Tommy looked at the demon in front of him. "Who the hell are you, anyway?"
"I'm Nightcrawler. They are members of my team, Excalibur."
"Why did you attack us?"
"Attack you? You attacked us!"
"Wait a minute... Zeo Ranger's stand down!"
Kurt looked at the Red Zeo Ranger, then yelled out, "Excalibur, stand fast!"
"You were attacked by a group who looked like us, and then told to come here?"
"Yes, how did you.... Of course, you were attacked as well and told to come here. I hate that trick."
"Me too. Look if we don't have to fight we won't. Deal?"
King Mondo's Sky Palace
"WHAT! They're not fighting! KLANK! Send down the cogs, NOW! Kill them all!"
"Yes, yuir Majesty."
Angel Grove Rock Quarry
There was a flash of light and the Zeo Rangers and Excalibur found themselves facing their opposites. Quickly analyzing the situation, Kurt yelled out, "Take on your double! Move!"
The battle was then joined. It soon became obvious that the copies were inferior ones at that and the previous fight had damaged them to the point that they could not combat the originals effectively. The last of the copies that was standing was the one of Colossus.
He didn't last long....
"Billy, how soon would you be able to come to Scotland?"
"Jean, first I have to see Trini. Then I need to see just how much my grandfather left me, talk to my father about actually going to Muir Island, say good-bye to my friends and most importantly, see if Trini can come with me."
"What do you mean by that?"
"I really want Trini to come with me. I have no wish to be separated from her again. She can take the same college courses I would be taking on Muir Island. Trini is almost as intelligent as myself and has a better knowledge of the medical field. Jean, if she wants to come with me, I will take her along."
"Billy, first I'd see if she wants to go with you. Before you start making plans."
"Sure, Jean. Rahne? I guess I'll see you and the others in about a month or so. If you give me the coordinates for Muir Island I can get there myself."
"How would you do that, Billy?"
"I'll take the Radbug."
"It's a car that I modified. It can take me just about anywhere I wish to go that is on the planet. So getting to Scotland won't be that hard."
"You might want to tell us before you show up, Billy. Our defense system gets kind of twitchy sometimes."
"Sure. Jean, I need to borrow your phone, may I?"
"Of course, Billy." Jean hands the phone over to Billy, who dials in a number from a business card he takes out of his pocket.
"Dr. Essex? This is William Cranston. I'm afraid I must refuse your offer of employment. Yes, sir, I do understand the honor you were extending to me. No sir, I do not plan on changing my mind. When I finish my schooling if you are still interested in hiring me, I hope you will. It's a private school, sir. Yes, sir it is the Xavier's Institute. Good day to you to, sir."
"Who was that?" Betsy asked him.
"A doctor who was interested in having me join his research team. No big deal."
"Why did you decline the offer, Billy?"
"I feel I can do more if I work with Excalibur. Besides, I still need training in my mutant abilities."
"Have you been able to figure out what you can do, Billy?"
"Well, Rahne, besides telepathy which Jean tells me I still need work in, I can tell that the percentage of my brain that I use has increased to about 65 percent. With the increase of the active percentage of my mind, I can now access all the knowledge that I had when I was morphed as a Power Ranger. This will significantly improve my fighting ability. Something else is this...." Billy's face starts to darken and then takes on wolf- like appearance.
"My grandfather could change his face to look like his inner darkness. Well, I can have my face take on, to put it bluntly, a wolf's shadow. I still have color-vision and my senses are better, but nowhere near as good as Rahne is in her wolf-form. Since I have regained the Great Power, my strength, speed and agility have become increased to above-human levels. I still wouldn't want to get in a slap-fight with the Hulk though."
"Billy, what did you mean by 'the knowledge you have when morphed'?"
"Well, Jean when we were morphed we had access to all the battle knowledge that the previous Power Rangers had. I still have to train myself in learning how to fight with the knowledge. I will also need to determine if the special abilities I had as a Ranger are still active."
"Such as what, Billy"
"I could create a weapon called the 'Power Lance', as well fire off bursts of energy from my hands. As well as teleport."
Billy's communicator beeps. Looking apologetically around the room, he answered, "Yes?"
BILLY, PLEASE TELEPORT MS. SUMMERS, MS. BRADDOCK, AND MISS SINCLAIR WITH YOURSELF TO THE POWER CHAMBER. ZORDON OUT.
"Who was that, Billy?"
"That was Zordon. I can't describe him, you have to see him for yourself. Please stand close to me." Billy then activated his communicator, teleporting them to the Power Chamber.
An undisclosed location
"...Thank you, William. I understand. Good-bye." He hung up.
Mr. Sinister looked around the room at his team of Marauders. The leader Scalphunter, his second in command Arclight, Blockbuster, Prism, Vertigo, Riptide, Harpoon and Scrambler. "Cranston said no. Go to the 2nd option. Get Trini Kwan and Zachary Taylor for me. They will be arriving in Angel Grove Airport, tomorrow at 1745 PST from Dulles. I want those two alive. They have some martial arts training but no known powers. I brought you back for this. Don't make me regret it. Move." The Marauders quickly filed out and started to plan their mission.
"No one refuses me. No one."
The Power Chamber
Rahne Sinclaire did not know what to expect when she arrived in the headquarters of the Power Rangers. A giant head in a watercooler, a room that looked like a set from "Star Trek" and a short, jittery robot would not have been her first guess. She was even more surprised by the other visitor to the Power Chamber. A very tall woman in a green bikini with a staff.
"Dulcea!" Billy yelled out, surprised to see the holder of the Ninjetti Power.
"Hello Billy," Dulcea calmly told him.
"I thought you couldn't leave the plateau or else you'd age."
"I must apologize for that, Billy. I could have left at anytime. But if I had gone with you and the others then it wouldn't have been your victory in obtaining the Great Power and defeating Ivan Ooze."
"Oh... I guess that makes sense. Anyway... Dulcea, Zordon, these are the some of the people who will help me train in my mutant powers. This is Jean Summers, Rahne Sinclaire and Betsy Braddock." He told them, pointing to each in turn.
Dulcea took a closer look at Betsy. "You wear the outfit of a Hand assassin. Would you like to explain that?"
"I was a member at one time. But I've broken all ties with them. How do you know of the Hand?"
"The Hand were started by a failed Ninjetti warrior who came to Earth." Dulcea then turned to Billy. "Billy, I see you have touched the Great Power and have once again regained the powers of the Wolf. That is why I am here."
"What do you mean, Dulcea?"
"Billy, although you have regained the Power you cannot access a zord. You are now like myself, in that you have the strength, speed and agility at all times. I observed through the viewing globe that you can bring a 'shadow' to your features. That's just the beginning. Eventually, if you train at it, you can turn yourself into a wolf, the same way I can turn myself into an owl."
"How long will it take me to learn to turn myself into a wolf?"
"If you practice at it... around 25 years."
"That long, huh? Well, I'll let you know when I figure it out."
BILLY, I WILL BE SORRY TO SEE YOU LEAVE THE TEAM. ALTHOUGH YOU HAVEN'T BEEN FIGHTING WITH THEM, YOU HAVE ENABLED THEM TO TRIUMPH MANY TIMES. I HOPE THAT YOU ARE AS GREAT AN ASSET TO EXCALIBUR AS YOU WERE TO ME AND THE OTHERS. Zordon paused as the alarms flash in the Power Chamber.
"Ai-yi-yi! Zordon! The Rangers are fighting Excalibur!"
REMAIN CALM, ALPHA. AS YOU CAN SEE THEY HAVE ALREADY STOPPED FIGHTING.... Alpha and the others all turned to the screen showing the Rangers and Excalibur finishing off their copies.
MRS. SUMMERS, WOULD YOUR FRIENDS BE INTERESTED IN COMING HERE?
"I don't see why not, Zordon. You might want to let them know that you are bringing them here first. They can be kind of jumpy."
OF COURSE. ALPHA, OPEN A CHANNEL TO TOMMY. TOMMY, THIS IS ZORDON. TELL THE MEMBERS OF EXCALIBUR THAT I EXTEND MY HOSPITALITY AND OFFER A TOUR OF THE POWER CHAMBER. LET HIM KNOW THAT THE ONES WHO WERE WITH BILLY ARE HERE NOW.
The Rock Quarry
Tommy looked at Kurt Wagner. "Well, are you interested? Zordon very rarely offers tours."
"Is this Power Chamber the place where Billy helped you during your fights?" Kurt inquired.
"How did you know about that?"
"I have some good people working for me. If none of my team has any objections, then sure. We'll go."
"Good, stand close to a Ranger and they'll teleport you to the Command Center." With that Tommy put his hand on Kurt's shoulder. Out of the corner of his eye, Tommy saw Jason and Rocky both trying to race the other to stand by the tall blonde English-woman. With a laugh, he teleported.
The Offices of the Daily Bugle, New York City
"PARKER! Get in my office now!" J. Jonah Jameson, publisher of the Daily Bugle bellowed.
"Yes, Jonah?" Peter Parker asked.
"Peter, my boy! How are you doing? Married life treating you good?"
"Mary-Jane and I are fine." Peter's eyed narrowed. "What do you want, Jonah?" he asked, suspicion in his tone.
"Peter, Peter, Peter... I just want to offer you and your wife a vacation in California. You'd have to leave tomorrow morning though."
"Really? Thanks, I haven't been able to take Mary-Jane to many places...."
"Of course, while you are in California you can maybe do a little job for me?"
"What little job? Jonah, everytime you send me on a 'little job', people shoot at me. Do you know how annoying that is?"
"Peter, this won't be that bad. You get to go to Angel Grove, California and it's supposed to be a very beautiful town. While there, try and get me some pictures of the Power Rangers. If you can get photos of Spider-Man here, how hard will it be to get pictures of six garishly dressed people in California? Garishly dressed even for California I might add."
"How much am I being paid?"
"Paid? Peter, I'm sending you on a vacation for 2 weeks... Normal rate."
"Triple it and I'll go. Remember, I'm the one who can get the photos, nobody else can."
"All right you little extortionist. Triple rate. Now get out of here. Pick up your tickets from Robbie." _Sucker._
"Thanks, Jonah. See you in 2 weeks." _Why do I have the feeling I just made a mistake._
The Power Chamber
Rocky DeSantos was bummed. Jason had beaten him to the tall, blonde English chick and he'd been stuck with the guy who looked like a technological playdough teen-ager. When he got to the Power Chamber though, all that left his mind, when he saw the auburn haired girl.
Rahne Sinclaire was getting bored. Sure the technology in the Power Chamber was incredible, but technology had never been her first love. So when the Power Rangers and her teammates in Excalibur arrived, she was curious to see what the other Rangers looked like. When the one in blue removed his helmet, she started feeling something a little more interesting that boredom.
Walking over to where she was standing, Rocky had just one thought in his mind. And for once it wasn't about food. "Hi, I'm uh... My names, um, Rocky?" He managed to get out.
"Rahne Sinclaire. Do ye wanna talk?"
"Sure, it's kind of crowded here though. How about the park? I gotta demorph first," he told her.
"Sounds good to me. Let me tell Kurt where I'm going and then we can go." Rahne then walked over to where Kurt, Kitty and Billy were talking.
"Kurt, the Blue Ranger and I are gonna go talk in the park. Okay?"
Kurt looked over at Rocky, who was quite nervous from the scrutiny. "Of course, leibechen. Have fun." Rahne and Rocky then teleported out of the Power Chamber.
"Kurt, what was that about?" Kitty asked.
"Looks like Rahne found something interesting in Angel Grove after all." Kurt told her. Billy smiled at that. Looks like Rocky finally found someone who made him interested in all that "yucky, mooshy girl stuff".
Piotr Rasputin found the conversations around the room to be interesting, but had no intention in joining any of them. He was surprised then to notice that the woman introduced as 'Dulcea' was watching him. "Dulcea, is it? Is there something I can help you with?"
"Yes, it's Dulcea. Piotr, right?"
"Why aren't you with the others? They are your friends."
"They are, I just prefer to be by myself. Why aren't you with the others?"
"I'm used to being alone. The planet I live on, I'm the only sentient being on it. I have difficulties dealing with large groups."
The two of them then watched the others, and enjoyed being with someone who enjoyed silence.
An undislosed location
"Mr. Sinister, we've come up with a plan to obtain Kwan and Taylor. The only hitch we can find is the Power Rangers." Scalphunter informed him.
"And you want me to do what?"
"Sir, the Power Rangers are an unknown. This team is designed to fight mutants, not the Shogun Warriors. We need you to figure out a way to keep them away from us. Sir."
"I'll come up with something. Just don't fail me. The diversion for the Power Rangers will be in place when you make your move. That is all."
The Marauders filed out to prepare for the next day. Mr. Sinister turned to his vid screen and punched in coordinates. "King Mondo? Greetings, your majesty. I have a request to make...."
New York City
"Peter, you tell me that we get to take a trip to California, but we're leaving tomorrow? Did Jameson talk you into something again?" Mary-Jane Parker asked her husband.
"We're going to Angel Grove, California and while there I have to take pictures of the Power Rangers. It's supposed to be a nice town so it won't be that bad," Peter assured her.
"Okay, Peter. Well we'd better start packing...."
"Trini, you packed?"
"Yes, Zack I'm ready."
"Bet Billy will be happy to see you," Zack teased.
"Really? I never gave it a thought," she told him loftily.
"Sure...." he replied, unconvinced.
The Power Chamber
Zordon of Eltare felt both joy and sadness. The one Ranger who he depended on the most was leaving. He had seen Billy blossom from a shy boy to a man. He had seen Billy cope with losing his friends and his powers. He had seen him gain galaxy wide renown on Aquitar and Triforia. Billy was leaving one part of his life to begin another.
Kurt Wagner had been listening to the stories that the others had been telling, especially the ones about Billy. _And I thought being an X-man was tough. Having to go through high school and still deal with these monsters, Billy will probably enjoy the chance to relax._
Eventually, the telling of tales between the two teams wore down and it was time for everyone to leave the Power Chamber. Dulcea returned to Phaedos, Excalibur returned to their hotel and the Power Rangers went to their respective homes. They all promised to meet at the airport in the afternoon to meet Trini and Zack.
The Next Day, LaGuardia Airport 1235 EST
Peter and Mary-Jane Parker boarded the plane and went to their seats. They were informed that there were to be planned stops in Washington D.C., Chicago and then Angel Grove. Peter caught up on his sleep while Mary-Jane read a Danielle Steele novel.
The Sheraton Hotel, Angel Grove 0952 PST
Kurt Wagner knocked on Meggan's door. When she opened it and found him outside she let him in. "What is it, Kurt?"
"Did Rahne come back last night? No one's seen her since she left with the Blue Ranger..."
"Did you check with Kitty or Doug?"
"They haven't seen her, either... I'll see if Jean can find her. Guten Morgen, Meggan." He told her while leaving.
Dulles Airport, Washington D.C. 1350 EST
Trini Kwan and Zack Taylor were shown to their seats in first class. They were seated across from a young married couple. Trini thought the guy looked cute with his brown hair and hazel eyes. Zack thought the red-head was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. He knew he had seen her before, and then he remembered her as the model Mary-Jane Watson. _What a lucky guy to be married to her._
10 miles outside of Angel Grove 1146 PST
Scalphunter performed one last weapons check on himself. With his mutant ability to make a weapon to fit the needs of the moment from the component parts that were his uniform, he knew better than to leave that check to others. He looked over his team: Arclight with her ability to create shockwaves through the ground, Blockbuster with his great strength and durability, Riptide who was the speedster of the group and could release blades at high speeds cutting down all in their path, Prism with the power to refract all energy attacks back at his opponent, Harpoon with the ability to charge up the hunting spears of his Inuit people, Vertigo with the power to cause disorientation and nausea and Scrambler who could change a mutants ability and make it work against them. At one time Sabertooth had been a member but he had become lost to them. Then there was Malice, who could control others. But Scalphunter never learned what happened to her.
"All right, listen up. We do this by the numbers. Harpoon you will cause a diversion. Be creative and messy. I know, blow up the fuel depot for the airport. Then get back to the rest of us. Mr. Sinister has said that the Power Rangers will be diverted away from us while we do this. So this is what I want to do next. Blockbuster, you stop the plane, rip-off a tire. Riptide, Prism secure the AO. Harpoon, when you get back you work with them. Vertigo, Arclight and I go in to secure the targets. Scrambler, you stay out of the way and keep watch for the cops or any hero-types. Any questions?"
Scalphunter looked around at his team. "Ok, after the targets are secured I call in the airship and we didi mau out of there. Do not kill the targets. If, because of mitigating circumstances we're forced to take hostages, grab women and children. We need to be in place in five hours. We leave in four. That's all."
DeSantos Residence 1234 PST
Rocky DeSantos woke up with a weight on his chest. Looking down he saw the red-hair of Rahne. He smiled, remembering the nights events that lead to her being here with him. Rahne started to stir.
"Hello, Rahne. Sleep well?"
She smiled back at him. "Aye, that I did. What time is it, Rocky?"
"It's after 12:30. We don't have to be at the airport until after 5 o'clock. You want to get something to eat? The Juice Bar has some great burgers."
"Sure, but can I borrow yuir shower first?"
"Go right ahead."
After Rahne left the room, Rocky lay back down on the bed and crossed his arms behind his head. Just as he got comfortable, there was a Bamf like sound, the smell of brimstone filled the air and Rocky found a sword pointed at his chest.
"Guten Tag, Rocky. Where is Rahne?" Kurt demanded.
"Relax, Kurt. He didn't do anything she didn't want him to do," Jean told him.
"Just what is it he did do then?"
Rahne chose that moment to come into Rocky's room with a towel wrapped around her head and little else. "Rocky, I thought I heard something... What's that smell? Kurt?"
"Hallo, Rahne. Did you have an enjoyable evening?" Kurt calmly asked, then he turned his amber gaze onto Rocky. He didn't look happy to find Rahne wearing next to nothing.
Rocky said the only thing that came to mind. "Oh shit."
Angel Grove Youth Center 1237 PST
All the Rangers were at their usual table. They were waiting for Rocky to arrive, when Billy stiffened up and ran out of the Juice Bar. Jason followed to him to the parking lot and then saw Billy teleport when he was no longer under observation.
Jason then walked back into the Juice Bar. "Hey Jase, where'd he go?" Tommy inquired.
"No idea, he teleported out as soon as he got in the clear. He sure was in a hurry though. Wonder where Rocky is?"
DeSantos residence 1238 PST
Kurt was surprised when Billy teleported into the room. He saw Billy take in all the information in the room: Rahne standing in a towel with wet hair, Rocky on his bed with Kurt's sword at his throat and Jean standing to the side. Billy then walked slowly over to Kurt.
"You want to put the sword away? Rocky didn't do anything to hurt Rahne, Kurt," Billy gently told him.
"How do you know?" Kurt asked, while keeping the blade at Rocky's throat.
"I know Rocky, he would never do what you think he did. Kurt, they had sex, but it was Rahne's choice. Talk to her before you skewer Rocky."
Kurt put his sword away. "You're right. Rahne, Jean we need to go back to the hotel and get ready for later. Rocky, sorry about that."
"Yeah, no problem man. I understand. Rahne, you want to do something later?"
"Sure, Rocky. But wait until I talk to Kurt first."
"Coolness." After they left, Rocky turned to Billy. "Thanks, man. I thought he was going to kill me."
"He was thinking about it, but he had already figured out that you and Rahne didn't do anything she didn't want to do. He was just scaring you."
"Well it worked!"
"Get dressed, the others are waiting at the Juice Bar for you."
Flight 308 30 minutes out of Angel Grove, 1645 PST
So far the flight had been boring for Trini. Zack had zoned out with his headphones and while the couple across from them seemed nice, the man, who had introduced himself as Peter, slept most of the time. Mary-Jane on the other hand, was a very interesting person to talk to.
The two found themselves getting along quite well. Mary-Jane seemed impressed with the knowledge that Trini and Zack had been members of the Peace Conference. Trini found Mary-Jane's stories of being a runway model and actress to be both funny and fascinating.
The only strange thing that Trini saw, was when a stewardess lost her balance and nearly dropped a pot of coffee on Mary-Jane. When Peter, who Trini swore was asleep, reached out and grabbed the pot, preventing it from spilling. After returning it to the stewardess, he went back to sleep. The rest of the flight was uneventful.
Angel Grove Airport, 1715 PST
Scalphunter was ready. The first glimmers of the rush, were starting to creep up his spine. The flight was on schedule and Sinister's diversion should be getting started. "Comm check. Arclight?"
"Read you 5x5."
"I am here."
"Is it here yet?"
"At your command."
"Listen up, the flight is on time. Sinister's diversion should be starting soon. Harpoon, when I get the runway number they come in on, blow the depot. Remember, do not kill the targets. Everything else is fair game. Scalphunter, out."
5 minutes out from Angel Grove Airport, Flight 308, 1710 PST
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking. We will be making preparations to land. Please fasten your seatbelts, put your tray tables up and bring your seat to it's full, upright position. Thank you."
Angel Grove Business District 1720 PST
King Mondo's latest monster, the Corporate Raider, had arrived. The monster looked like a larger version of a cog dressed in a pirate outfit, complete with cutlass and pseudo-flintlock pistol. The Raider and his small army of cogs were enjoying themselves immensely, destroying the fronts of building, blowing up cars and in general causing a great deal of confusion.
While doing all this the Raider was singing.
"It's fun to charter an accountant
And sail the wide accountan-cy,
To find, explore the funds offshore
And skirt the shoals of bankruptcy.
It can be manly in insurance:
We'll up your premium, semi-annually,
It's all tax-deductible,
We're fairly incorruptible,
We're sailing on the wide accountan-cy!"
The Power Chamber 1720:30 PST
"Ai-Yi-Yi! Zordon, there's a monster in the Angel Grove business district!"
REMAIN CALM, ALPHA. CONTACT TOMMY AND THE OTHER RANGERS. LET THEM KNOW WHAT IS OCCURRING.
Angel Grove Airport 1721 PST
Tommy looked down at his communicator. "It's mine, guys."
Looking around, Tommy made sure he wasn't being observed by anyone who didn't know who the Rangers were. "This is Tommy."
"Tommy, King Mondo has sent down the Corporate Raider to the business district. It's destroying the area. You must get there quickly!"
"We're on our way, Alpha. Billy, tell Trini we're sorry we couldn't be here."
"Take off. She'll understand."
Tommy and the other Rangers found a secluded area and teleported out. Billy sighed and looked at the members of Excalibur. "That happens a lot around here. I can't wait to get away from it."
Kurt looked over the rest of his team. "The Corporate Raider?"
They all looked at each other and started laughing.
"Well, I guess it is kind of funny. They lose their humorous nature when you have to face them, though. Remind me to tell you of some of the other ones, sometime. This one is actually kind of clever." Billy told them with a grin.
Angel Grove Airport, Fuel Depot, 1725 PST
"Harpoon, they're on runway 14. Blow the depot. And be sure you're out of the blast radius. Scalphunter out."
Harpoon started to concentrate on charging his slay-spear. Then sighting on the furthest fuel tank, he threw his spear. He didn't miss.
Kelman residence, 1725:15 PST
Bob Kelman was enjoying his evening. He had finally found a woman to go out with that his son, Fred, didn't hate. Just as he was ready to start to eat dinner, he saw a flash and then felt a low rumble resound through the ground. That's when he saw the fireball over by the where the airport was.
Looking at his son and his date, he sighed. "Looks like I gotta go do my job. Save me a steak. Fred, if the department calls tell them I'm on my way to the airport."
"Sure thing, Dad."
Angel Grove Airport 1725:25 PST
After the explosions were over, Billy and the members of Excalibur picked themselves off the ground. Billy looked over at Kurt. "What the hell was THAT!"
Pete looked over at Billy. "Exploding fuel tank. To big to have been a plane, must have been the depot. Kurt, do you want us to take a look?"
"No. None of us have the powers needed to deal with a fire of that magnitude. Unless someone is in immediate physical jeopardy we let the local's handle this. Billy, your friends flight should be arriving in under 10 minutes. Shall we?"
Angel Grove Airport, Flight 308, 1727 PST
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking. For those who were wondering what the light and noise were, it seems that the fuel depot had a slight accident. This will not significantly delay your departure from the plane. We will be at the gate shortly and your captain, Billy Covington, thanks you for flying Air America."
Peter Parker looked over at his wife. "Something's wrong. We have to get off the plane."
Just before Mary-Jane could voice a response, the plane tilted sharply on its left. With a horrendous shriek of metal the plane came to a stop.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please do not panic. It seems that the left tire has had a blow-out. Please exit the plane using the emergency exits. This is just for your own safety, nothing is wrong with the plane."
Passengers started filing out of the plane and Trini and Zack got up to follow. They were both startled when Peter grabbed them by the arms. "Don't go out there. Something's not right. Don't go."
"Are you on medication, man? It's just a flat. No big thing." Zack reassured him. "C'mon Trini. We need to go."
With an apologetic look to Mary-Jane, Trini went to the nearest emergency exit. She and Zack went down the ramp and landed safely. Then a large figure stepped out of the shadows. "Are you Trini Kwan and Zachary Taylor?"
"Yes, we are. Is there a problem?" Trini asked.
"Not anymore." He told them. "Targets sighted. Clear the AO. Vertigo, do it."
Trini and Zack lost consciousness as a wave of dizziness hit them.
Angel Grove Airport
Billy knew something was wrong. Ever since the plane had gotten closer to the terminal he could feel Trini. He felt her brief flash of panic, then he lost contact. "Something's wrong. Kurt, we have to get out there. Trini's in trouble," Billy told him.
"Billy are you sure? The fuel depot went up but that's all. No one got hurt. Her plane was nowhere near the explosion."
"Kurt, Trini's in trouble! I'm going out there now!" With that Billy shifted into his costume and rushed the glass of the large windows that showed the runways of the airport.
"Piotr, grab him!" Kurt commanded.
Transforming to his organic steel armored form, Piotr grabbed the back of Billy's Ninjetti uniform. There was a flash of blue light and Piotr found himself holding an empty uniform. Just before Billy leaped through the glass he was tackled by Kitty Pryde. Rolling with her attack, Billy shifted his grip, tucked his shoulder and threw her off him.
It was at that point that Piotr was able to grab him by the throat. "Calm down, tovarisch. Jean, he is quite incensed, perhaps you could scan the area to see if anything is wrong?" Piotr asked.
"Of course, Piotr." Jean said. She then concentrated and focused her consciousness outward. "Kurt, he's right. Something's wrong. We better get out there, fast."
Kurt looked at his team. "Piotr, let him up. Jean, bust the glass."
With a thought, Jean Summers sent a telekinetic shove through the glass, shattering it. Grabbing Pete Wisdom, Kitty Pryde airwalked to the ground with him, Meggan held onto Rahne Sinclaire as she flew out the window, holding Douglock by the arms Piotr Rasputin just jumped out the window leaving a depression in the tarmac, and Betsy Braddock was caught up with Kurt Wagner and Billy Cranston in Jean Summers telekinetic field and lowered to the ground.
Jean pointed to the direction of the disturbance and they started towards it.
Angel Grove Business District
The Zeo Rangers arrived to the site of the battle where the Corporate Raider was singing.
"I'm a cog
and I'm ok.
I sleep all night
and I work all day.
I kill the Rangers
I eat my lunch
I go get upgraded machinery.
On Wednesday's I go shopping
Then engage in a killing spree."
Tommy looked over at his teammates. "Let's destroy this guy and go home. I hate Monty Python."
Angel Grove Airport
Mary-Jane Parker was watching her husband wrestle with his desire to rush out and fight whoever these terrorists were. She knew he didn't want to leave her, but with his Uncle's death, Peter had never forgiven himself for failing to stop the man who ultimately shot him. "Okay, Peter... You can go. Just be careful."
Peter Parker looked over at his wife. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, Peter. It's what you do. Go."
Kissing her, Peter then started taking off his outer clothing, revealing his Spider-Man suit. Putting his mask on and then checking his web-shooters, Peter looked into Mary-Jane's eyes. "I love you."
_I love you too, Peter. I just hate what you do._
* * *
Scalphunter was pleased. He had the two kids Sinister wanted, none of his team had been so much as scratched and there wasn't a hero in sight. Not even those Power Rangers. He then hit the recall button on the remote for the team's airship.
Harpoon was an Inuit hunter turned assassin. His senses, while not as highly honed as some, were still better than the average human. So it was a shock to him when he saw a very familiar armored figure surrounded by other costumed hero types, running towards his recall area. "Scalphunter, this is Harpoon. Spandex on your six, 225 yards. Known antagonists: Colossus, Nightcrawler, Jean Summers, Shadowcat, Wolfsbane and Psylocke. Unknown antagonists: one in blue style ninja outfit, one in black suit, one appears to be renegade Phalanx and one blonde woman in green. Will shadow until I can attain optimum strike potential. Will advise."
"Keep in the shadows. Riptide, Blockbuster and Prism are enroute. Take down Jean Summers first, then Psylocke. Scalphunter out."
Scramble and Arclight appeared beside him. "You want me to go with them? If I touch them, they lose their powers...." Scramble told Scalphunter.
"No, you stay nearby. In case they get through. Arclight stay near the kids. Anybody seen Vertigo?"
"She said she was going to check out something," Arclight told him.
The three of them never noticed the figure hanging inside one of the jet engines. _You touch them and they lose their powers, huh? You go down first. Then gun-boy and then the amazon._
Spider-Man had made an art out of hiding in hard to reach places. It helped that he could stick to most things. He then looked down at the blond in green he had webbed-up and knocked unconscious. _I remember you from the Savage Land. No way was I going to get nailed by you again._
Billy looked over to Kurt. "Kurt, I can get there faster."
"So can I, mein freund. It's called teleporting. But no ones goes alone."
"I can swim through the earth. It's one of my Ninjetti skills."
"Kitty, could you keep up with him?"
"If I held on to him, Kurt."
"Would that bother you Billy?"
"No. Kitty, hang on." With that, Billy dove through the tarmac into the ground.
"Wow, that was cool," Rahne gasped.
Psylocke was a trained assassin of the Hand. She knew when she was being watched. Psylocke turned to see Harpoon about 50 yards behind them trailing them. Kurt, behind us, 50 yards, it's Harpoon.
Let me see him through your eyes. Ahh, got him. Tell Rahne to get ready to back me up. Kurt thought to Psylocke. Then he teleported. Harpoon never knew what hit him.
As Billy was swimming through the earth, he could feel himself getting closer to Trini. He went 20 yards past where Trini was and slowly stuck his head out of the ground. He saw out of the corner of his eye that Kitty was doing the same thing. "Which one is the most dangerous?" He whispered to her.
"The short one. His names Scrambler. On account of that's what he does to mutant powers. The one with the guns is called Scalphunter. He can make any type of weapon out of the parts on his uniform. The chick is called Arclight. She's strong and can cause concussion blasts through the ground."
"Hi, kids. Having fun?"
Angel Grove Business District
For a souped-up cog with a sword and funny looking laser pistol, the Corporate Raider was pretty tough. He'd managed to twice disarm Tommy, knock out Kat, send Adam through a wall, thrown Tanya through a car windshield, kicked Rocky in the side so hard that three ribs broke and had fought Jason to a standstill. All the time singing Monty Python.
Tommy could take the beating he was getting. Hell, he could even take being disarmed twice. But he could not and would not take having to listen to one more verse of the "Galaxy Song".
"RED BATTLEZORD!! POWERUP!"
The Red Battlezord was launched from the Holding Bay and when it arrived, Tommy leapt into it. Looking down on the cog, Tommy brought his foot down on it. Destroying it before it could start another song. It had sounded something like:
"Here's a little number I tossed up in the Caribbean.
Isn't it awfully nice to have a SQUISH!"
Jason looked up at Tommy. "THANK you!"
Angel Grove Airport
Kitty Pryde turned around and saw the familiar looking uniform of Spider- Man. "You IDIOT!" Kitty hissed. "Don't do that again."
"Look, I'll take care of the destablizer. Then I'll help with the other two. Vertigo is taken care of." Spider-Man told her.
"What makes you more qualified to take him out?" Kitty asked.
"I'm not a mutant."
"Okay, Kitty? I can work up some momentum through the ground and hit Arclight with a kick, I'm stronger than you. Can you handle Scalphunter?"
"Sure. Spidey, we go in 15 seconds. Good luck."
"Break a leg, kid."
"Oh, I intend to."
Riptide was scared. He had to face one of the few people who had ever managed to kill him. Colossus had snapped his neck the first time they had fought each other. After taking Riptide's best shot.
Blockbuster met the enemy first. As in the last time he had met Colossus in the Morlock tunnels under Manhattan, he walked into him. This time however, he wasn't given the chance to know who hit him. Colossus hit him with a body shot to the solar plexus and then a straight right to the chin. He tried standing and was knocked flat by another right to the head. Then another. He finally stayed down after the fifth blow.
While this was happening, Riptide was finding out what happens to those who throw things at telekinetics. Jean Summers had simply caught his throwing spikes and shuriken, redirected them safely to the side and then lifted him off the ground and slammed him into Prism. Repeatedly.
The rest of the team ran towards the aircraft.
Mr. Sinister's Headquarters, an undisclosed location
Sinister was observing the battle on one of his many monitors. "Why can't I find decent help these days."
"You tell me, Nathan. Maybe because you won't hire intelligent people. Instead, you try and steal them or coerce them into working for you," A voice said out of the shadows.
"Hello, Lamont. It's been a long time. You're looking... pretty good, for your age."
"Enough. I want you to call off your dogs and then leave my grandson alone."
"And if I do not do this?"
"Then I do something I should have done 60 years ago. Kill you."
"Kill me, Lamont? You and what army?"
Lamont pulled out a small device the size of a pack of cigarettes. "I don't need an army. I have this."
"What is that?"
"An EMP device. It should do wonders for your computers."
"If you set that off, I will kill you."
"Make me a promise, Sinister. On your family's honor, swear to me you will not bother my grandson or his children for 500 years from this moment. Give your word and I go."
"Very well, I swear on my family's honor, to not bother in any way your grandson or his children for 500 years from this moment. Please take the device away, Lamont."
Lamont opened up the metallic case. "Cigarette?"
"You lied to me. I'm going to have to kill you for that, Lamont."
"I know. Remember your promise though. Will you make sure my grandson get's my .45's? They should remain in the family," Lamont Cranston said, while lighting a cigarette.
"Of course, Lamont. And Lamont, I gave my word. I'll miss you, Lamont. You were one of the few I faced who actually could appreciate what I do. Good-bye."
"See you in hell, Nathan." Then the Shadow started to laugh.
Angel Grove Airport
Spider-Man kept an eye on his target while the two kids got ready. It almost took him by surprise when the kid in blue rocketed out of the earth and kicked Arclight in the head. She flew back 15 feet, bounced and then came up. Only to be caught by a kick to the knee, an elbow to the forehead and a palm thrust to the throat.
Scalphunter felt the blur of Shadowcat's attack before it hit him. Recovering, he lowered his weapon and fired at her. When it went through her, he ejected the magazine from his weapon and grabbed another one. Before he could place it in the weapon it was ripped out his hand.
* * *
Scrambler ran towards the person fighting Arclight. He pulled up short when a figure in blue and red landed in front of him. Taking a martial arts stance, Scrambler attacked. His kick never got near his opponent, who moved to the side then sprayed some sort of web all over him, covering everything but his mouth.
"Maybe I should string you up and play pinata with you?" Spider- Man quipped.
Kurt and the others ran up to see Kitty fighting Scalphunter and Billy fighting Arclight. And Spider-Man of all people standing over a webbed over figure.
"Pete, help Kitty. Douglock, Meggan you help Billy."
Scalphunter was not a stupid man. He knew when a situation was hopeless. "Arclight, hit your teleporter!" He told her, then activated his own.
Arclight would have loved to hit her teleporter, unfortunately for her the person she was fighting never gave her a chance to do anything but try and block his blows. _He's going to beat me. Who the hell is this guy?_
In the Marauder's airship
In the transport for his team, Scalphunter hit the recall button for his team's teleporter's. Then he got the hell out of Dodge. _Sinister is going to kill us and let us stay dead this time._
Angel Grove Airport
Trini Kwan woke up to see a very familiar face looking down at her. She smiled. "Hi, Billy. Did you miss me?"
"Everyday Trini. Everyday. Trini, I want you to meet some friends of mine. They helped me rescue you."
"I appreciate what you did for me, but I want to talk to Billy alone for now. He can introduce you to me later."
After they had gone fifty yards away, Billy stopped and faced Trini. "What's this about Trini?"
"Billy, I heard that you were having problems and I'm sorry I wasn't here to help you. But I'm here now and you never have to be alone again. Billy, I love you and yes, I still remember the kiss we shared the night I left. This time though, if Zack interrupts us I'll kill him."
"Trini, let me take care of that." Jean, can you make sure Trini and I aren't interrupted? Especially by Zack, he doesn't have any tact.
Of course, Billy. Billy let me give you a piece of advice, if you love her, tell her now. Not later. You may never get another chance. That's something I learned the hard way.
"Trini, I have to tell you something. I'm a mutant, and these people asked me to join their team. I want you to come with me. We can take college courses while I'm training."
"Billy, did you ever wonder how I always knew what you or other people were feeling?"
"Actually, it did puzzle me...."
"I'm an empath, Billy. I'm also a healer. Billy, I'm a mutant as well. Think they want two new mutants to train?"
Billy's only answer was the kiss he gave her.
Epilogue The Midnight Runner landed at Muir Island. Brian Braddock was the first out the door followed by the others. Kurt was met by his fiancee Amanda Sefton, Rahne ran off to be with her boyfriend, Kitty was met by Pete Wisdom and Piotr Rasputin retired to his quarters.
Billy followed Brian to the medical wing of the complex. There he met Dr. Moira MacTaggert, the owner of Muir Island and a noted scientist in her own right.
"Hallo, William. She's with Meggan."
"Thank you, Moira."
Billy knocked on the door to the room that Meggan was in. "Come in, Billy."
"Thank you, Meggan. How are you feeling?"
"Being a shapechanger helped when I was in labor. Billy, his name is Brian, after his father." She told him, holding up her son.
"Where's Brian, anyway?"
"He found out and ran to get the others," A low voice said from the side.
"Did you miss me, Trini?"
"Only when you were gone," she told him. Then she opened their psychic link between them. Do you know what I'm thinking?
Trini laughed at the blush on Billy's face. "That's the one thing about you I like the most. Let's get out of here before the others make it to hard to get out. Bye, Meggan."
"Yes, bye Meggan."
"Bye Billy, Trini."
Billy and Trini left the room, then went to the local town of Kinross. When Billy woke up in the morning, he looked over at Trini's still sleeping face. _I'm glad I didn't stay on Aquitar. I can't believe I went most of my life without her._ He then went back to sleep.
That's it for now, people.
In the immortal words of Will Smith, "PEACE!"
I however will not shoot a nuclear missile at you.