Author's Note: Nothing to say this time except this is my first attempt at a Kai story. I'm also using characters and a storyline I created while in college. Enjoy, feedback is welcome. Please!?!
On Terra Venture, Kai Chen and Johnny Hunter sit and listen to music at the new Dog Star Club. . .
"What are we doing here again?" Kai shouts to be heard over the noise.
"I told you," John calls back, "I did some art for this girl's web page and I'm supposed to meet her here. Now stop stalling" John demands, "what happened between you and Hanna?"
Kai rubs the back of his neck uncomfortably. "We decided it would be better if we went our separ..."
"She dumped you!?!" John interrupts in surprise.
With a sigh, Kai drops his head. "Yes thank you, she dumped me."
"She give you a reason?" John asks.
Kai strikes the table in anger as he looks back to John. "She said I was to much of an over achiever!" he grumbles. "She actually told me I cared more for my career than our relationship. Is that the silliest thing you ever heard?"
"I think she's..."
"She said I ignore her! Is that not crazy!?! When have I ever ignored anybody!?!" Kai demands.
"Well..." John starts.
"She said I was obsessed with being a good little TOY SOLDIER! Where does she get off..."
"Hey!" John exclaims, "Would you like me to leave while you have this conversation?"
"I'm sorry, it's just that. . .everything she said is true!" Kai laments. "It's just the way I grew up. All the men in my family were soldiers. All my life, I've been taught to do things by the book, no quarter asked, and none given. Don't get me wrong, I like military discipline. But sometimes I feel like a damn robot!?!"
"Look, Kai," John tells him, "I've known you since the academy, so don't take this the wrong way. But you are the biggest Jar-Head robot I've ever seen!"
"Oh gee," Kai says sarcastically, "how could I take that wrong?"
"No seriously," John argues, "you've gotten WAY better since then, but you still can't relax. You do a great job as a soldier and a Ranger, but you need to learn when to leave it at the office."
"It's not that easy when your JOB is helping run a space colony," Kai jokes weakly.
"What do you...John? Hey, John, are you listening to me?" Kai asks, suddenly noticing John staring off into space.
John slowly comes back to his senses. "Uh...No, I wasn't. I was watching her," John admits pointing past Kai.
Turning, Kai sees a young blonde woman rise from her table and walk toward the exit door. Briefly their eyes meet and the mystery woman smiles at him. In that instant, Kai suddenly concludes she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.
"Oh Yea, the boy has it bad," John laughs.
"What do I have?" Kai says suspiciously.
"You wanna talk to that woman, you flirt!" John says smiling.
"I just LOST a girl, and you want me to go after another!?!" Kai asks in disbelief. "Why don't you talk to her?"
"Because I'm already head over heels for a beautiful, intelligent, sexy, young woman who I'm fairly sure could kick my butt if she wanted to," John tells him. "Besides, she looked at you, not me."
"Oh," Kai scoffs still watching the woman, "so now I'm supposed to find an excuse, any excuse, to go chasing after her like a love starved puppy? I think no. . ."
"She forgot her purse," John interrupts.
"EEEYEESSS!" Kai says rushing to retrieve the handbag.
John simply smiles as he watches Kai run out the door. * Who needs Dr. Ruth? *
Outside, Kai quickly looks over the parking lot, searching for the mysterious woman.
Suddenly, Kai hears the sounds of a struggle coming from a nearby alleyway. "NO!" he hears a woman shout.
Without a moment's hesitation, Kai discards the purse, and rushes toward the dark footway.
In the alley, the subject of Kai's infatuation finds herself pinned against a brick wall by a hand clutched around her throat, a hand holding her several inches off the ground!
As the woman struggles, her bald powerfully built assailant only smiles. "Go ahead Kari, make this as painful as you want," he smirks.
"Let the woman go, NOW!" Kai shouts from the mouth of the alley.
Letting the woman drop, the huge man turns to stare at Kai. "This doesn't concern you, boy," the man snarls.
"We'll see," Kai says as he launches himself into the air.
To Kai's surprise, the man makes no attempt to block his kick. Instead, the hulking brute smiles as the crippling blow strikes him dead center in the chest with no effect.
Not letting up, Kai delivers a savage barrage of punches to the big mans face, also to no effect.
"Oh crap," Kai whispers.
As a last resort, Kai levels a side kick at the man's head, only to have the brute catch his leg in mid-kick. With almost no effort, the man swings Kai, slamming him into the alley wall with a sickening thud.
Crumpling to the ground, Kai watches as the big man raises his arm and a long glowing rod extends from it. Kai isn't sure what it is, but he's sure it'll hurt.
Slowly, the assailant levels his weapon at Kai and the unconscious woman beside him. "Don't worry son, It'll hurt like hell. But only for a minute," he snarls.
Before the man can fire, a beam of energy stabs through the night, striking the rod-like weapon, and exploding it in a hail of sparks!
Stunned, Both men turn to see John standing at the rear exit of the club, Battleizer charged and ready for a second blast. "You lookin' to start somethin' Tex?" John demands.
Without a word, the hulking man spins on his heel and springs over the low brick wall closing off the rear of the alley.
Staring in awe at where the man had just stood, John says, "Nimble little Red Neck ain't he."
"How did you know?" Kai asks as he helps the woman to a sitting position.
"I was in the can when I heard the noise," John tells him. "Look, you get her to a hospital, and I'll track down Mr. Clean."
Watching John sprint after the mystery man, Kai shouts a warning, "John, watch out, He's stronger than he looks!"
Slowly, the woman stirs as Kai lifts her. "Please, no doctors or hospitals... just need rest," she begs weakly.
"Okay, okay," Kai says trying to calm the woman, "No doctors." Then, as he carries her toward his car, Kai marvels at the woman's condition. "No bruises, no blood, she's not even sweating. What's goin' on here?"
Several moments later, Kai leads his weary guest into his apartment and sits her in a chair at the kitchen counter. "Don't worry about company...." he says waiting for a name.
"Kari," the woman says nervously.
"Well don't worry Kari," he assures her, "my other two roommates are at work, and John is out chasing the guy who jumped you."
"Then this John is in great danger!" Kari exclaims, "He has no idea what he's dealing with!"
"Hunter can take care of himself," Kai insists. "Now lets get a look at those cuts I saw."
Retrieving the fist-aid kit, Kai begins examining a gapping gash along Kari's back. "I gotta hand it to you lady," he says in surprise, "most people with a cut like this would be howling in pai..."
Kai is shocked to silence as he peals back a flap of torn skin to reveal a plate of shiny silver metal beneath. "Holy Crap!" he shouts.
Reacting to Kai's shock, Kari jumps up from her chair and raises her hands in a peaceful gesture. "Please," she begs, "I can explain!"
"Explain what!?!" Kai demands. "That your some kind of ROBOT!"
Calmly, Kari returns to her seat. "I have a LOT of explaining to do."
Meanwhile back at the club, The manager, Farkus "Bulk" Bulkmeier, has just closed for the night when John enters through the rear door. "Hey, Bulk," John greets him.
"Hey Hunter, you left your bag at your table, so I put it in back for ya," Bulk calls back while stacking chairs. "What was your hurry?"
"Oh, there was a little trouble in the alley, nothing major. But thanks for watching my stuff, man."
"It's the least I could do!" Bulk says his face lighting up, "Those ads you did for me really put this place on the map!"
"How could I resist?" John asks, "The former top dog of all Angel Grove's bullies finally becomes a reputable businessman. I just wish Skull were here to see it!"
"Yeah," Bulk says sadly, "but then we've both grown up since then. As he speaks Bulk doesn't see the mop bucket behind him. "We're more mature, more..." Bulk breaks off in mid sentence as he steps in the soapy water, "sure of where I'm going," he finishes with a sigh.
Both men are surprised as a third walks into the club. "Mind if I use your phone, mop boy!" the stranger shouts.
"Hey, pal!" Bulk snaps, "We're closed."
"Bulk RUN!" John orders as he recognizes the new man as Kai's attacker from the alley.
Startled into action, Bulk runs for his life, only to slip on the soapy water from the mop bucket still caught on his foot. With a whoop, the former bully topples to the floor knocking himself out.
"Typical," John says in irritation.
"We have some unfinished business, boy!" the intruder shouts.
"No probe, just let me put on my work clothes!" John calls back. "PHANTOM RANGER POW..."
In a blur of motion, the intruder crosses the length of the room grabbing John's wrist, and interrupting his morph."
"AHHHGGGH!" John screams in pain at the incredible pressure that threatens to shatter his wrist.
"An Extra Dimensional Energy Conductor?" the man asks seeing John's TransMorpher. "Where'd you get this, boy?" the intruder demands.
"A box of Cracker Jacks," John answers while punching the man with his free hand.
The big man just smiles. "You got guts boy," he says, "and after I have my target and your Asian friend, I'm gonna show 'em to ya!"
With that, the big man smashes John across the face with an incredible blow, sending him plunging to the floor unconscious. "That's just a preview," the big man promises as he assails John with a powerful kick to his rib cage.
"Now where's that phone?"
Back at the apartment, Kari begins her tale. . .
"It all started ten years ago," Kari begins. "A brilliant scientist, named Richard Springthorpe, discovered a way to generate lab grown organic material which could be manipulated in the same way DNA can. Using this material, Dr. Springthorpe created a humanoid machine he called an Automatron.
"So this...Springthorpe created a new kind of robot?" Kai asks confused.
"Yes and no," Kari answers him, "In effect, Springthorpe had created a new life form. Totally manmade and programmable just like any machine, yet...alive. With feelings and emotions."
Shocked speechless, Kai can only listen.
Kari continues, a far away look in her eye, "Dr. Springthorpe wanted nothing more than to help humanity, so he decided that the first use of his Automatrons would be as "servants". They would perform tasks too dangerous for human beings. Law Enforcement, Fire Fighting," Kari waves her arms indicating the colony around them, "Space Exploration, an Automatron could be customized to perform any of these tasks."
"So you and that guy...that THING I fought tonight are these AUTOMATRONS?" Kai asks finally getting a grip on Kari's story.
"Yes," Kari answers, "I was Springthorpe's prototype for the Automatron's. He created me in the image of his dead daughter, and named me Akari Crosse after a breed of insect supposedly created by a scientist in the eighteen hundreds. I was supposed to be the first in a series of Law Enforcement Automatrons. Perfect police officers, fearless, totally free of corruption, and practically impervious to injury. At least till First Blood came along.
"The Stallone movie?" Kai inquires.
Rubbing her eyes, Kari laughs a sad little laugh that somehow touches Kai Chen's heart. "No," she says amused, "First Blood is the code name of the monster you fought tonight."
"Let me guess," Kai jokes, "he's the prototype for the LAPD Automatron."
Again, Kari laughs, "No not really." Suddenly her smile is replaced with a look of deep sadness. "He's a murderer, literally an assassin. Not long after I was built and programmed, the Feds dropped the Automatron program. Enter Division Six."
"Oh, man," Kai says shocked at this revelation. Like all members of the military, he had heard rumors and legends of the "Shadow Organization" called Division Six. The rumors ranged from top secret research to government sanctioned assassinations. Nothing could be proven though. No one even thought they existed. Until now.
Kari continues. "Division Six entered the picture with plans of turning the Automatrons into spies, super soldiers, and assassins. First Blood is the second prototype for their "First Bloods."
"But what about the police units? What about you?" Kai asks already knowing the answer.
Kari walks to the window and stares off into space. "Like any discontinued line, I was to be deprogrammed and retrofitted to be part off the new First Blood series. But something happened. Something I can't understand."
"Tell me," Kai says gently as he joins her.
"The Automatrons were never meant to function on their own. We were supposed to follow the edicts of man without question. Follow orders with no question, no quarter asked none given, the perfect TOY SOLDIERS."
Kai shivers at Kari's eerily familiar words. He to felt like a machine sometimes. Yes sir, no sir, By the book. Only after becoming a Ranger had he begun the change, but still... "But you became something more?" he asks hopefully.
"Yes," Kari replies. "As I said, Dr. Springthorpe took a special interest in me. He taught me the ways of the world, the moral roots behind the laws I was compelled to enforce, he even read to me."
"Philosophy, theology?" Kai asks.
"Dr. Suess," she answers with a grin. "I think he saw me as a surrogate daughter. Like Gipetto, he created the child fate had cheated him of. I think that's when it happened. I acquired the one thing that separates living, breathing beings from cold, calculating machines. I became SELF AWARE."
Kari continues, her voice tinged with wonder. "Suddenly, I was a living entity. I was real! I existed in this universe, as part of the tapestry of life around me. For the first time since my "birth", I was ALIVE."
"So when you realized they were going to scrap you...?"
"I ran," Kari finishes. "I had a life now, and I didn't want to give it up. Sooo, they sent they're top killer after me."
"The guy from the alley," Kai guesses.
"No," Kari corrects him, "when I left, they sent they're first "First Blood" after me. Luckily, I was able to destroy him. The First Blood from tonight is a smarter more powerful version."
"But how did you get here!?!" Kai asks.
"I...uh, I met up with some people in New Metro, and they helped me get here," she answers. "As for how HE got here, I have no idea."
Suddenly, Kai remembers John taking off after First Blood. "Oh, man! John is in trouble!"
At that moment, a beep from Kai's computer terminal announces an incoming call.
Answering the call, both Kai and Kari are shocked to see the face that appears.
"First Blood," Kari whispers.
"Where are you!" Kai demands angrily.
"I'll do the talkin' here, boy!" Blood retorts. "Now if you wanna see the kid in the black shirt or his chubby pal again, I suggest you send Crosse to the club where we fought.
"If you hurt them I'll..." Kai begins.
"Save it, pal! Oh, and if you have any more of these," Blood produces a TransMorpher and Battleizer from off screen, "leave 'em at home."
And once again the screen goes black.
Kai feels his heart drop as he replays the message in his head. "There's no way he would've gotten those from John unless..."
"He won't kill either hostage," Kari insists. "He's a stone killer, but he's also a professional. They live till he gets what he wants, me."
"So what now?" Kai asks her.
"Now," Kari says seriously, "I gotta go to work."
"No wait," Kai insists. "If he wants to kill you, then stay away from him."
"And what about your friends?" Kari asks pointedly.
"I can... I mean...I know some people who can stop this thing. Just stay out of it!" Kai pleads
"You mean the Power Rangers?" Kari says noting Kai's shocked expression. "I've seen them a few times since I've been here."
"Then you know they can help!"
"It's not so easy, Kai." Kari says on the verge of tears. "Even if they could help, I'd still have to go!"
"Then take me with you," a determined Kai insists.
"No way!" Kari says flatly, "I will not endanger a helpless civilian."
"I'm a member of Terra Venture Special Forces, NOT a civilian! Besides," Kai says summoning his TransMorpher and showing it to her, "POWER RANGERS don't do helpless."
Later, in the main room of the Dog Star Club, the creature called First Blood sips a drink at the bar.
"What kind of jerk opens a Night Club that don't serve liquor?" he complains.
"Actually," a voice calls from the other end of the room, "serving alcohol on Terra Venture is illegal."
"Hello Crosse Breed," Blood asks without turning around. "You can't stop being a cop, can you? That's just the way we are, I kill you roust speeders."
"Your half right!" Kari says pointing a long glowing rod at him. "You kill, I put freaks like you away."
"Put the Ion Rod away, honey." Blood says turning toward her, "You can't shoot me in the back and you know it."
Reluctantly, Kari lowers her weapon and returns it to the holster secreted within her forearm. "I can't shoot you," she says, "but I can ask you to leave." With that, four-inch double-edged blades extend from each of Kari's fingertips.
"How ever you want it, baby." Smiling, First Blood extends three twelve-inch blades from the back of each hand. "I've been waiting for this.
"What's goin' on out there!" Bulk cries from his position of listening at the door. "First there was a woman's voice, now it sounds like World War Three in there! Do you think it could be the Power Rangers? He asks.
"Probably not all of them." John whispers bitterly looking at his bare wrists.
"What did you..."
Bulks question is abruptly cut short by the explosion that rips through the back wall, and sends both men flying.
Slowly, a silent figure in an over coat makes his way through the cloud of dust. "Anybody need a rescue?" he says happily.
"Kai!?!" John shouts. "But where are the Power Rangers!?!"
Silently, Kai gives John a shushing sign as he helps Bulk up. "No idea. Now you two get to safety." Kai orders.
Confused, but taking the hint, Johnny leads Bulk out and leaving Kai behind.
"I think we've got this covered." Kai says confidently.
But in the front of the club all is not going well.
After a vicious battle, Kari now lays sprawled on the floor, the stronger and better trained First Blood holding his claws at her throat.
"Don't look so surprised, Crosse Breed" First Blood smirks. "This is the only way the hunt could've ended."
With sadistic pleasure, First Blood raises his Fist Blades to the most vulnerable spot on Kari's neck and...
"I thought I told you to leave her alone!" a voice booms from the shadows.
Slowly, Kai steps out of the shadows, still wearing his beaten up over coat.
"I'm actually glad to see you, son," First Blood laughs. "We have some unfinished business."
"Are you gonna talk me to death, or show me how good a killer you are?" Kai challenges.
"Actually," First Blood says turning his full attention to Kai, "I'm just gonna cut that smile off your face!" Charging at his full super speed, First Blood swings his left fist and its foot long blades at Kai's head.
"You gotta do better than that." Kai says as he catches Blood's fist in his own white-gloved hand. Then with little effort, Kai pivots into a judo toss that sends First Blood flying across the room.
Stunned, First Blood stumbles to his feet and stairs at the little human who just threw him. "No way you could be human and still be that strong. Unless..."
"That's right Virginia, I am a Power Ranger!" With a wave of his arm, Kai tears the trench coat from his body revealing his Ranger uniform underneath.
"BACK TO ACTION!"
"Don't make us kill you, Blood," Kari pleads. "Just walk away. Leave this place."
"You know I can't do that, girl." First blood answers, "No more than you could have stayed away from here tonight."
Confused, Kai turns to Kari. "What's he talking about?"
"We're hard wired in the head!" First Blood exclaims. "Machines built to do a job. Neither of us can walk away, anymore than a gun can tell itself not to fire.
"He's right, Kai. I was born to be a cop," Kari says sadly, "I will be till I'm shut dow...til I die."
"Only difference between us is we like what we do!" First Blood laughs.
"We?" Kai and Kari ask together.
"Oh that's right, you left Earth just when it got good. Division Six has started mass production. Hell, by now there's probably a thousand of me!"
"And your not there to stop them!!!"
Martialing all his power into a last assault, First Blood charges at his two opponents like a runaway train.
Summoning his TransDagger in Beta Blaster mode, Kai drops to one knee and unleashes a powerful volley sending First Blood sailing backward, mortally wounded.
"Take a good look, Kai!" First Blood says, an insane smile across his face. "We're both soldiers, both order takers, you could be me so EASY!"
And in a final explosion, First Blood is destroyed.
"Guess that's one less we'll have to worry about, Kari," Kai says.
"Kari?" he asks. But she is gone.
Outside, a downhearted Kari makes her way through the early dawn shadows. Away from the place, and the person, where she had found the greatest comfort.
"You were just going to leave?" Kai asks sadly.
Not even able to turn around, Kari sighs deeply, her lip quivering with emotion. "Don't make this any harder Kai, please," she sobs.
"Look, if you have to be a cop, stay here and do it!" Kai pleads, "God knows the other Rangers and I can use the help."
"It's not that simple, Kai. You heard First Blood. Division Six is even now creating more of him, more killers. I can't let them do that."
"Because you're a cop?" Kai says accusingly.
"Partly," Kari answers, "but also because of one man's dream. A dream to help humanity, not foster its darkest evils."
Overcome by emotion, Kai can no longer hold back his feelings. "I....I want you to stay, please! You're the only one who understands me. Why I am the way I am. It's not about following the rules in some damn book; it's about dedicating your life to something good. About taking a cause and making it your own." Kai takes a breath and continues. "I dedicated my life two stone cold military order, but if you leave, I don't think anything will ever be in order again."
"Kai," Kari sobs, "every part of me wants to stay, but I can't! This damned computer in my head tells me to go play cop, and I can't say no. Sometimes, I think its going to tear me apart!
Running to each other, the doomed lovers embrace as if for the last time.
"Then I'll go with you. If...if you can't stay, then I'll go with you," Kai swears.
Slowly, Kari pulls away from him. "Would you, Blue Ranger? Could you? Could you walk away from your duties on Terra Venture, your responsibilities as a Power Ranger? What about your friends, could you leave them!?!"
With a single fluid motion, Kai powers down and rips the TransMorpher from his wrist, throwing it away. "YES!" Kai cries.
"No, Kai. No." Not for me," Kari smiles, "You couldn't walk away from your work anymore than I could leave mine. It's that dedication to duty and honor that makes you so special. Don't ever let anyone tell you different."
"So, I guess we say goodbye now," Kai whispers.
Without replying, Kari turns and walks back toward the diminishing shadows. "Don't be so sad, Kai," she calls over her shoulder. Someday you'll find someone who appreciates duty and honor the way we do. After all," Kari looks back at him with a smile, "even us toy soldiers can find love."
Kai wipes the last of the tears from his eyes, as he hears footsteps behind him.
"Hey Kai," John says gently, "I...uh, I found my TransMorpher. Funny thing is, I found yours to."
Joining his friend, John hands Kai the small device. "You gonna be okay, bud?" John asks.
As a new morning dawns over Terra Venture, Kai sadly watches Kari walk away till she is out of sight.
"Yeah, I'll be fine," Kai says quietly, "but not for awhile."
That night, Kai sits quietly in the apartment. Leo and Damon wouldn't be back 'til tomorrow, and John, tired of Kai's "sulking", had gone to pick up a couple of pizzas.
Kai was glad. He wanted to be alone right now, alone to think about Kari. Alone to feel the pain.
Her last words to him play over and over in his mind. "Even us toy soldiers can find love." He doubted it. The way he felt right now, he never wanted to try to love again. There was too much pain. Yes Kai Chen would spend the rest of his life alo...
Dee-do. The doorbell rings.
Kai rolls his eyes in disgust. *Maybe they'll go away. * He thinks.
Angry, Kai jumps up from the sofa and stomps to the door. "Serves me right for trying to find privacy on a freakin' space station!"
As the door opens, it reveals a pretty young woman in a blue Terra Venture uniform reading from a crumpled piece of paper in her hand.
Noticing Kai, the girl brushes her brown hair out of her face and smiles.
*Wow! * Kai thinks.
For several seconds the two stare at each other as if mesmerized. And finally...
"Uh..." the girl says shaking her head to clear it, "is this where Johnny Hunter lives?" she asks.
Kai to comes to his senses slowly. "Oh, yea, but he's not in right now. Can I help you?"
*Please, Lord let her say yes! * His mind screams.
"I hope. You see John was doing some images for my website, and I was supposed to pick-up the disk at the Dog Star. Only he didn't show, and this morning the club looked like a disaster area and I can't find him, but I need those images quick so I came to the address he gave me..." Noticing the bewildered expression on Kai's face the girl finally falls silent.
"I'm sooo sorry," she says earnestly, "I forgot how I go on sometimes. My names Mary." She says holding out her hand.
"I'm Kai," Kai says shaking Mary's hand. "John just went to grab a few pizzas, would you like to wait, and maybe join us for dinner?"
"Thanks, that would be great!" Mary chirps enthusiastically.
Happily, Kai leads Mary into the apartment. The pain he felt before still present, but somehow not quite as bad.
"Just one thing," Kai asks, stopping in the doorway, "how do you
feel about toy soldiers?"