Author's Note: Okay, Here goes. This story takes place simultaneously with "Countdown to Destruction". The Galaxy Rangers are the stars, but aren't yet Rangers. For obvious reasons, Maya is not involved in this story, nor is Damon. This fic contains some PG level language. Enjoy, and remember Feedback is Welcome.
“WHO AM I!?!” Karone Lanrydon screams as she bolts straight up in bed.
It was the dream again. The same dream she'd experienced every night since her modification. Always the same blurry images, half memories, and unanswerable questions floating around in her head.
Wiping the sweat from her brow, Karone crawls out of bed, and shuffles toward a darkly ornate mirror. Frowning for several minutes at the pale face staring back at her, she finally asks sadly, “Who are you?”
Suddenly, Karone flinches at the wave of unbelievable pain that washes over her, a thin line of blood trickling from her left nostril. She knows this pain all to well. A result of her MODIFICATION, it passes quickly.
With a vicious smile, she wipes the red liquid from her face, admiring it happily. “You," she begins slowly, "are ASTRONEMA, Queen of Evil!” She boasts.
“You’ve been dreaming again, haven’t you?” A voice asks from behind her.
Startled, Astronema turns to see Ecliptor, watching her with his cold photo-receptor eyes.
“That’s none of your concern!” Astronema scolds the cyborg. “And in the future, I strongly suggest you knock before entering my quarters!”
“Begging your pardon,” Ecliptor apologizes. “But you wanted me to wake you when the armada was ready.”
Astronema smiles a dark smile. “Excellent! Are the ground forces ready?”
Ecliptor motions toward a monitor showing hundreds of Quantrons and Pirranatrons standing at the ready. “Since Your meeting with Dark Specter, all our troops have been prepared, and anxiously await your final command.”
“Excellent! Have them attack Angel Grove City Hall first," she orders. "If the Power Rangers are back on Earth, I want them drawn out and destroyed quickly!"
"So be it, my queen," the obdeint machine answers.
“Then that’s it,” Astronema says in sadistic satisfaction, “By this time tomorrow, the forces of good in the universe will be crushed!”
Sometime later, deep within the NASADA compound in Angel Grove, four of the top students of the Global Science Advancement academy are involved in a time-honored exercise designed to teach both physical health, strategy, team work and competitiveness. This time honored exercise? ROUND BALL!
“Hey, Fowl!” Mike yells as he handsprings to his feet. He had been knocked down, again, by his best friend, Chow “Joey” Chen.
“All’s fair in love and war, Mikey!” The muscular Asian man shouts as he sails down the basketball court to sink, yet another, basket. “Hey Kai, slap this!”
Joining his older brother, Kai Chen gives the taller man a high five, as he dribbles the ball with his free hand. The two young men couldn’t have been more different. Kai, a straight laced, dead serious military man, and Joey, a seat of the pants wild card, who tried his best not to take anything to seriously.
“You realize that was against the rules,” Kendrix Morgan scolds the two boys.
Turning to face her, both men admire the sight of the pretty blonde in workout clothes before them. “Your right,” Joey cracks, “punish me. . . .hard.”
“Well, since you asked so nice. . .” Kendrix begins, purring suggestively.
Shocked by Kendrix reaction, Joey and Kai are taken completely by surprise as their legs are kicked out from under them. Stunned, they look up toward their attackers.
Standing over them, very proud of themselves, are Mike and his long time friend and classmate Johnny Hunter. “All’s fair in love and war, Joey!” The two attackers sing in unison as Kendrix sinks the winning basket.
Returning to his feet, Joey rubs his sore back and winces. “God, I’m ready for a vacation.”
“How lucky for you, then, that Spring Break starts tomorrow,” John says, slapping Joey on the shoulder.
“Is that all you guys think about?” Kai asks sharply, “Goofing off and having fun?”
“Yes!” Joey, John, and Mike call together.
“Forget them, Kai, I know what you mean,” Kendrix says as she towels herself off. “Would you believe I’m only three days ahead of schedule on my Hybrid Thesis?”
“Only three!?!” John cries in mock panic, “You’ll be drummed out of the service!”
“I could be! Have you seen how many established scientists are trying for research posts on Terra Venture? The Olympics aren’t as competitive.” Kendrix argues.
“Look, Kendrix,” Joey says earnestly, “You’re the smartest person I ever saw, and nobody knows their way around a lab like you, but you and Kai are gonna have matching ulcers before you hit twenty-five. You have to relax!”
“You relax enough for all of us!” Kai retorts.
The group shares a big laugh at Kai’s joke, but they all knew the truth. As much as Joey liked taking it easy, he had worked hard to get to the rank of Student Commander, a rank that assured him a post as Terra Venture’s Second in Command. And the way he cared for his fellow students told them he was the perfect man for the job.
“Joey’s right,” John adds, walking nervously toward the exit, “it’s important to relax every once in awhile, but this probably isn’t a good time.”
“Because. . .?” Joey asks curiously.
“Because. . . . we’re ten minutes late for Prof. Phenominus’ Astro-Physics class.” John answers, breaking into a run. Giving each other a quick look, the remaining teens rush out after him. There was a time to relax, but this was definitely not one of those times.
“. . . .ood morning Angel Grove! This your man in the morning, Eddie Hawks. In next half hour we’ll be hearing Angel Grove’s favorite radio call in show Ask Crystal, and a song from up and coming new artist Brittney Spears, but first a little news. Astronomers report several unidentified objects have been seen at the edge of our solar syst. . .”
“Oh Shut Up!” Leo Corbett cries groggily as he finally stirs from a fitful night’s sleep. Hitting the snooze button on his clock radio, Leo sits up on his bed and looks around with dismay.
“Oh Man, I gotta clean this place up,” he grumbles, looking over the mess strewn around his small bedroom. At various points along the hardwood floor are piles of dirty clothes. In front of the CD player next to his bed, a heap of CD cases sit in various states of disrepair. Even the various posters of Martial Arts events, Motocross races, and super models he hung on the wall look especially untidy. In one dusty corner a stack of old mail. . . *Mail?*
“Oh God, the Mail Girl is coming!” Leo yells, looking at the clock radio in horror.
Jumping out of bed, Leo rushes to put on a faded pair of jeans, and a wrinkled red T-shirt. Dressed sufficiently, he darts out his door and charges downstairs!
As Leo reaches the bottom step, he’s forced to stop short to avoid the spatula that’s suddenly thrust in his path. “Freeze, Mr. Corbett!” An angry female voice commands.
As Leo pears sheepishly through the doorway at the bottom of the stairs, he comes face to face withe a dark haired woman in her early forties, wearing flannel pajamas and a house coat. Not to mention a very serious expression.
“Morning Mom, I love you,” Leo says, flashing his best “to cute to be mad at” smile.
Despite herself, Mirriam Corbett smiles a tiny smile at her youngest sons desperate attempt at cuteness. Truth be told, Mrs. Corbett could never stay mad at her sons for long, but Leo seemed to be especially good at playing on her sympathies. “Don’t give me that, boy!” She manages a little less fierce than intended. “Your not stepping one foot outside that door until you shower, eat breakfast, and CLEAN YOUR ROOM.”
“But Mo. . . .” Leo begins.
“I don’t wanna hear it. Mike is going to be home tomorrow morning, and I want this place to look spotless. While your at it, clean up the guest room. John’s only going to be here one night before his plane leaves, but I’m sure he’ll want a bed to sleep in.”
“But. . .”
“No buts, Leo! Now. . .”
“Yeah I know,” Leo says petulantly, “not one step. .out. . .the. . . .door. Turning on his heel, Leo rushes back upstairs, barely able to conceal his impish grin.
“Just like his father,” Mrs. Corbett says smiling after her son.
Back in his room, Leo smiles at the open window near his bed and the tree just beyond. *Okay, I won’t go out the door,* he thinks.
With a final deep breath, Leo gets a running start and leaps head first through the open window. Flipping in midair, Leo catches a tree limb and allows his body’s momentum to swing him upward to wrap his legs around another branch. Dropping from his new perch, Leo flips again, making a perfect landing in front of the Corbett mail box, and the Mail Woman.
“Hi Leo,” the pretty blonde woman chirps, totally unsurprised by Leo’s entrance. She had delivered on this route long enough to know the wild seventeen year-old’s antics all to well. “Late with your chores again?”
“Uh, Yeah,” Leo says politely. “Did it come yet?”
“With a playful expression on her face, the mail carrier fumbles through her bag for a moment. “I don’t know, all I see is a letter from the. . . . GSA Selection Committee!” Smiling widely, she hands the official looking envelope to the anxious young man who grabs it from her hand without thinking. “Good luck, Leo,” she tells him, and with a wink she leaves to continue her rounds.
Leo had never been psychic, but he did usually know when something was wrong or right. Whether it was paranoia or cynicism, deep down he knew the letter in his hand was going to be one of those wrong things.
Opening the envelope slowly, he unfolds and reads the short letter within.
Thank you for your interest in joining us on this historic undertaking, PROJECT: TERRA VENTURE.
Your application was received and considered along with thousands of other qualified applicants. After careful evaluation and numerous interviews, we were able to fill our quota of citizens from your area.
Again, thank you for taking an interest in our project. Best wishes for reaching your goals here on Earth, what ever they may be.
High Councilor Project Terra Venture
Suddenly Leo feels his knees weaken beneath him, and he has to sit down on the front steps. His last chance to be part of Terra Venture was as a civilian passenger. For months he had prepared, gathering reference, transcripts, not to mention essays and tests. Each time he was a little more confident he would make it. But with one cold form letter, his dreams had been crushed.
“I’m so. . . .sorry Leo,” his mother says from behind him. She had walked as he read, and instantly felt her baby’s pain.
“No your not,” Leo retorts quietly, “You didn’t want me or Mike to go.”
“Your right, I didn’t, Mrs. Corbett says, fighting tears. “I wanted both my boys to be safe, down here with me. Not off on some space mission like. . . .like. . .”
“Like dad?” Leo finishes, made even sadder by his mother’s tears.
Now Mirriam Corbett joins her son on the stoop. Leaning on his shoulder like it could help with some great weight. “I begged Dillon not to volunteer for that scout mission, but he was to much of a hero not to go.” Looking at Leo thoughtfully, she brushes a stray hair from his forehead. “I guess all the Corbett men are.”
“Yeah, well your lookin’ at one hero who’s not going anywhere,” Leo shows her the crumpled letter. “Sorry kid, your just not good enough.” His voice cracks as he says the words.
“Now you listen to me, Leonard Tyler Corbett!” Mrs. Corbett’s voice takes on a more stern tone, but still retains the soft caring quality Leo has known all his life. “I don’t care whether it’s NASADA, GSA, or. . .or the Power Rangers! My boys are the best any job. . . any mother could hope for.”
“Thanks mom,” Leo says hugging her. “Me a Power Ranger! Mike would get a kick out of that. I wonder what he’s doing.
”If I know Mike,” Mirriam says, “he finish off a day of schoolwork with a night of studying.”
Later that evening, Mike Corbett and friends are doing anything but studying. Having grown tired of the health food that was the specialty of Ernie's Gym and Juice Bar, as well as the burgers and fries of the Surf Spot, two of Angel Groves main teen hangouts, he, John, Joey, and Kendrix had found their way to Mickey's Bar and Grill. Though none of them drank, the more adult atmosphere promised them a first night of vacation they would remember.
"Ha! Ya snooze, ya loose!" Mike cries happily, moving three cards around on the table he shares with his friends. Wit a little smooth talking, Mike had talked Joey into assisting in an exhibition of Mike's favorite hobby, sleight of hand.
"I can't believe you beat me again!" Joey complains.
"Hey, take it easy! It's magic." Mike says mysteriously.
"Magic nothing," John interrupts, "it's Three Card Monty, the oldest con game in the book!"
"So what?" Mike argues. We're only playing for peanuts."
"This is what we're sending into space," Kendrix cracks, rolling her eyes.
"Hey she right guys." Kai interjects. "We’re going to be the first humans to colonize a new planet! In the entire history of man's exploration of his own world, there's never been anything to rival the importance or scope of this mission. And we are part of it!"
"That get's me right here!" John sniffs. "Right where I live."
"I didn't know you felt so strongly about the project," Joey says surprised.
"Well. . . Yeah, that to, but I also have to use the uh. . .little explorers room."
As John quickly leaves the table, Kendrix rubs her temples in exasperation. "Oh Yeah, this mission is doomed," she jokes.
After making sure John is out of earshot, Mike turns back to Kendrix, a serious look on his face. I take it you haven't told him?" He asks.
"Well, no. I mean, look at him. John Hunter is the sweetest, most wonderful guy in the world. He's caring, sensitive, intelligent. . ."
"So why do you want to break up with him?" Kai asks bluntly.
"I don't," Kendrix insists, "It's just that. . .I can't handle a personal life and the mission. In less than a year, we're going to be launching a colony into space for a six year mission. Not only do I have to make sure we stay alive during the trip, but also when we get to the new world. I just can't let anything, anyone get in the way of that. That's why I have to tell him it's over. . . .soon."
"Look Kendrix," Joey says softly, "I've known you since you and Kai played when you were both four years old, so I'll support whatever you want to do. But you're right, Johnny is a stand up guy. If he's willing to put the effort into a relationship, maybe you should give it some more thought."
"Maybe it's better if they do break up," Kai says, a little to strongly. "This is a pretty intense mission. Whose to say that being uninvolved wouldn’t help them do their jobs."
"All I know is, John thinks the world of you, and I think it's mutual," Mike says, before sipping his cola.
"It is," Kendrix starts, "but. . . ."
"Hello, Ladies!" A slurred but familiar voice booms from behind the group.
Turning, the teens see a large muscular boy, about their own age, wearing a dirty blue GSA jacket. Obviously drunk, the boy has a clueless smile plastered on his face, and reaks of beer and cheap liquor. With a macho swagger, he, and his equally drunk entourage, approaches, their table with mischief in their eyes.
"Boone," Kai says flatly.
Kai and friends all recognise Arron Boone from his days as a GSAcademy cadet. The boisterous and bullying teenager always had a penchant for mischief and a tendency toward violence. Two attributes that served to get him expelled from the GSA, and Project Terra Venture. Since then, he and his cohorts passed their time commiting petty crimes, and hanging out at the regular GSA haunts picking fights with other cadets.
"So what's the good word from the butt-kiss brigade?" Boone asks sarcastically, waving the beer in his hand as he speaks.
"Exscuse me!" Kendrix snaps as the thick brown liquid splashes over her pink blouse.
"Pardon me!" Boone laughs. "Take 'at sucker off, and I'll clean it off for ya! HA!!!" As he howls, Boone grabs Kendrix' arm, jerking her to her feet.
Enraged, Mike, Kai, and Joey rise to Kendrix' defence, only for her to motion them off with an "I can take care of this" gesture. Hesitantly, they obey.
"Maybe while I'm at it, you can show me what they've been teaching you at the Academy since I quit."
"That's funny," Mike says, "I thought they kicked you out!"
Boone stares back at Mike with pure hatred in his eyes. "Shut your hole, Corbett!!!" He shouts, enraged.
"Hey," Kendrix whispers suggestively, "I'll be glad to show you what I'm learning in the Academy."
Smilling evily, Boone turns back to Kendrix. "Go ahead baby, show me. Show me all of it."
In a blur of motion, Kendrix strikes Boone in the face with an open handed punch, then sends him crashing to the floor with a Judo throw. "This Module, we're studying Hand to hand combat," Kendrix smirks.
As Boone screams about a broken nose, his fellow delinquents rush foward. "You little Witch!" The nearest one shouts, "Girl or no girl, we're gonna kick your. . . ."
Without a sound, or any wasted movement, Joey places himself between Kendrix and her would be attackers, his body coiled, ready for an attack. "You arn't all gonna jump her at once are you?" He says in mock amusement.
"Your gonna wish you stayed outta this, Hong Kong!" One of the punks shouts as he leaps forward to attack. In a blur of motion, Joey side steps the charge and delivers a powerful pile driver to the man's back.
As the other punks move forward, brandishing sticks, bottles, and other make-shift weapons, Kai and Mike jump to their feet, ready to join their classmates in battle. "You look tired dude," Mike says, back flipping away from a punk's right cross, "have a seat!" Hooking his foot in the chair he had just been seated in, Mike kicks out, sending the chair smashing into his attacker's face.
Seeing Kendrix surrounded across the room, Kai grabs a near by serving tray and tosses it like a huge frisbee, smashing one of the girl's attackers in the back, stunning him. "A long distance dedication!" Kai shouts to Kendrix.
Behind him, Kai is oblivious to Boone, who raises a bat over his head, ready to strike. "This ones for you," Boone says under his breath.
But as Boone swings the bat, he realizes with horror that it's stuck in place. Swinging again, Boone realises his hands are now empty, as the bat is jerked from his hands!
"Noooo," a voice says behind him, "this one's for you."
Spinning around, Boone barely has enough time to see John holding the bat before the handle of the makeshift weapon is rammed against the side of punk's head.
As the fight rages on, the sound of police sirens groes steadily closer, until they finally catch Joey's attention. "Hey, little brother!" He shouts to Kai, "What did one duck say to the other duck?"
"What!?!" Kai shouts confused as he punches another rowdy.
"LET'S GET THE FLOCK OUTTA HERE!!!" Joey answers.
Stopping only long enough to make sure their opponents are,nt seriously injured, Joey, Mike, John, Kendrix, and Kai rush out the back door, even as police rush in the front.
"I hate Spring Break," Boone complains groggily as the cuffs are placed on him.
Some time later, Mike Corbett’s beat up van pulls into the student parking lot of the GSA academy compound. It’s cargo, tired students, their mission, get home before anything else happens.
“Only this group could start a barroom brawl, in a family restaurant,” Kai admonishes the group.
“First off, we didn’t start it,” Mike argues. “Boone did. Second, You weren’t exactly Ghandi in there. You made a pretty good account of yourself.”
As the teens pile out of the van, John can no longer contain his curiosity. “How did it start? It seems like every time I go to the pot, something happens, and I end up missing out!”
“You didn’t miss anything,” Joey insists, “Boone just hassled Kendrix a little, spilt his drink on her, and stuff happened.” As soon as the sentence is said, Joey regrets it. John was known as one of the Academy’s quieter students, but nobody who aroused his temper goes to bed happy.
“He did what?” John says sharply. He stands in silence for a few seconds, then whispers to Mike, “I’m gonna barrow your van.” Then he runs toward the vehicle.
Catching up to him, and struggling to hold him back, John’s fellow students try to reason with him. “Really, I’m fine,” Kendrix insists.
“Boone isn’t even at the restaurant anymore. By now he’s where he belongs, cooling of in a drunk tank at Angel Grove jail.” Mike reasons.
“We’re gonna have enough trouble if Stanton gets wind of our little adventure. You go off on some vendetta of personal vengeance, and we’ll be making the first half of the Terra Venture trip OUTSIDE the domes!”
“Yeah, you guys are right,” John admits. “I just can’t believe all this crap went down, and I wasn’t there to help!” In anger John punches the van. “Ow!”
“Well at least your not bitter,” Joey jokes.
“Man! Why did I have to go to the bathroom!?!” John gripes.
“Because you drank six cokes.” Kai answers, slightly amused.
“Okay, now that we’ve go that settled, John are we still on for breakfast tomorrow?” Kendrix inquires.
“Uh, Yeah sure. My plane doesn’t leave till Sunday morning,”
“What, your not boarding at Mike’s place on vacation?” Joey asks.
“No, just tomorrow night. Then, I’m off to Arkansas to see my family.” John announces happily. “What about you guys?”
“Well, I’m all packed, so Kai, Joey, and I are driving back home to Stone Canyon tomorrow,” Kendrix answers.
“Whoa, that’s right!” Joey says excitedly, “Stanton pulled me and Mike out of last period today. We have an errand to run in the morning. We’re supposed to deliver some zoning papers, or some crap, to city hall.”
“What!?!” Kai asks sharply, “Why you guys?”
Mike answers Kai’s question, “Apparently, some councilman, or the Mayor, or whoever, wants to have his picture taken with a couple of Terra Venture heroes.”
“They must have seen my beautiful face, and couldn’t resist,” Joey kids.
“So you won’t be driving back with us in the morning?” Kai asks, ignoring his brothers joke.
“No, but Stanton said I could use a GSA jeep to get to Stone Canyon when I’m finished.” Seeing his brothers expression, Joey smiles at him. “I have to go, Kai. I’m the Student Commander.”
“That reminds me,” Mike says, pulling John away. “Can we talk for a second?” He asks.
“Yeah, okay,” he answers Mike, then turning to Kendrix, asks, “Kendrix are you sure your okay?”
“I smell like a brewery, but I’m fine really,” she says smiling. Quickly she kisses John, and makes her way back to the others. And with that, she, Kai, and Joey enter the dormitory, and head for their respective rooms.
“So,” John asks, “what’s up?”
“I know your heading to the house first thing tomorrow, and I’ve gotta be at City Hall, so I wanted you to let Mom and Leo know why I’ll be late.”
John looks at Mike curiously, “Okay, but why couldn’t you mention that in front of the others? Come to think of it, you never mention Leo to any of the guys. Your not ashamed of him are you?”
Suddenly a look of anger crosses Mike’s face. “Hey! Leo is the best brother anybody could have. So don’t ever say that, even in jest!”
John raises his hands in defense. “Take it easy, Corbett. I have a brother to, remember. I know how it is. But why the silent treatment?”
Somewhat calmer, but a little sadder, Mike looks up at the night sky. “You remember my dad, right?”
“I remember you and Leo talking about him. He was a NASADA astronaut. As a matter of fact, wasn’t he on the mission that uncovered Rita Repulsa on the moon?” John replies.
“That’s him, Mission Commander Dylan Corbett. Leo worshiped him. Then dad volunteered for a simple scout mission to investigate some UFOs, and. . . .”
John pats his friend on the shoulder, he knows how hard it is for Mike to talk about this. “. . .and the UFOs turn out to be the bulk of the Machine Empire’s Navy.”
Mike finds his strength again, and continues. “Dad’s shuttle was never heard from again. Mom’s heart was broken, and Leo became determined to follow in dads footsteps.”
“That I understand, but what’s that got to do with you talking about Leo?” John pushes.
“You know the line they fed us when we joined.” Mike pauses, recalling the hours of orientation all GSA students had to undergo. “If everything goes as planned, we’ll probably never see Earth or our families again. I. . . .I try to keep my life here, and my life there. . .separate. Maybe that way when I leave. . .I,” Now Mike takes a shot at the van. “I don’t wanna say goodbye anymore!”
“Look, Mike,” John chooses his words carefully, “A man’s life isn’t a series of unrelated events. You can’t leave part of it behind, without leaving a peace of yourself.”
“No man is an island,” Mike muses. Suddenly very tired, Mike excuses himself and begins the short walk to his dorm room. A solemn man, lost in his own thoughts of home, the future, and life.
Bright and early the next morning, Commander Jared Stanton makes his way through the massive GSA headquarters building, on his way to the Command Staff offices. If there were one thing he truly hated about being Commander, it was working on Saturdays. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the job, but he desperately missed the time with Jodie, his daughter. It was bad enough Jodie’s mother had passed on a year earlier, but now she barely got to see her father either. *But by God, if it means a better world for daddies little girl to grow up in, I’ll do it,* he thinks to himself.
Entering the reception room, Commander Stanton stops in front of the large, ornate mirror hung over the sofa, and checks his face. Or, to be more precise, the five o’clock shadow that he hoped would become a decent beard. If he was to be the Commander of the whole Space Colony, he would need a good beard. At least that’s what Jodie had claimed. *Just like that guy from Star Trek* he rememberes her saying.
“Commander Stanton, sir!” A young assistant calls nervously upon noticing his boss. “I have the weekend reports, SIR!”
Stanton smiles as he takes a folder from the young man. “Mr. Beckett, this isn’t the Army, and I have a headache, so let’s cut the volume on those sirs. Agreed?”
“YES, S. . .sir,” the rookie cadet stammers.
“I see we had another fight off-base last night,” Stanton says absently, reading the report. “Ah, the incorrigible Mr. Boone again. Well at least none of our people were arrested this time. I guess we can chalk it up to pre-vacation steam-blowing.”
“As you say, sir, but there is something else. These pictures came in from the Hubble this morning.” Producing another folder, Mr. Beckett gives it to Stanton. Normally, I know we don’t put much notice into UFO sightings, but there are over a thousand contacts, sir.”
“My God!” Stanton exclaims in shock, as he sees the photos. Rushing to the phone in his office, Stanton grabs the receiver and hits an ominous red button. “Communications? This is Commander Stanton. Someone better wake High Councilor Renier, I think we have a problem.”
Sometime later, Leo Corbett enjoys a mid-morning jog through the park. As he runs, he turns to watch as two women, one, a shapely brown haired girl with a gymnast’s build, and the other, an asian beauty with long, flowing black hair. *Oh Yeah, there are definite advantages to being stuck on Earth,* he thinks to himself.
As Leo runs however, he doesn’t notice the dark clad form watching him from the branches of a nearby tree. Patiently the figure watches, body coiled to pounce. Little by little, his target nears, closer and closer, until. . .
“KEEEYAH!” With a savage scream the dark warrior leaps from his perch, striking Leo with a flying side-kick.
Down, but not out, Leo handsprings back to his feet, and assumes a defensive stance. He didn’t know who had hit him, but nobody takes pot-shots at Leo Corbett! “Okay, ninja! Let’s see what else you got!”
To Leo’s surprise, the ninja simply gigles as he removes his mask. “You know that knee’s out to far. Your way off balance,” the ninja admonishes.
“Your calling me off-balance!?!” Leo questions, instantly recognizing his unmasked assailant. “Hey, Hunter!”
“I always could take you, boy!” John laughs.
“Oh Yeah!?! What if I just go ahead and kick your butt right now?” Leo retorts, jokingly.
John laughs. “You take me!?! Son, you must’ve hit your head when I floored you just now!”
Playfully, the two teens begin throwing punches and kicks. Each blow expertly blocked by both.
“Hey, is Mike here?” Leo asks suddenly remembering his brother. “Should I wait, or is he about to jump out dressed as Bruce Lee?”
Catching his breath, John wipes dust from his costume and replies, “Nope. I’m afraid he had some GSA business to attend to. He said he’d be home in time for lunch though.”
“Oh man, I needed to talk to him,” Leo grumbles.
“What’s up?” John asks, “Hey, your moms okay, right?”
“Yeah, she’s fine.”
“Then what troubles you so, Grasshopper?” John says in his best Kung-Fu voice. Both he and Leo spent many hours watching the show, and quoting it’s fortune cookie sayings. Unfortunately, John’s humor didn’t appear to help Leo’s mood.
“Aw, I got turned down by the Terra Venture committee. I won’t be part of the civilian population.” Just repeating the news brought Leo down a little more.
“Jeeze, Leo. I’m sorry,” John says sincerely. “I know what going up meant to you. After all, Terra Venture needs guys like you.”
“You really think so?” Leo says, surprised.
“Sure,” John answers, his smile returning, “who else is supposed to serve the drinks!”
“Alright, That’s it!” Leo jokes, as he runs back down the path.
“Leo where ya goin!?!” John shouts.
“If your Harley’s in the parking lot, Im takin’ a joyride!” Leo answers.
“Ha!” John calls. “You think I’m stupid enough to leave my keys with it? Huh, do ya!?!” Realizing Leo isn’t falling for his bluff, John runs after his impetuous friend. “YOU TOUCH MY BIKE, AND I’LL KNOCK YOU TO THE NEW WORLD!!! LEO! LEO!?!”
Angel Grove City Hall has always been a busy place. Hundreds of people working to keep the day to day workings of this great metropolis as flawless as possible. It’s not an easy job. Of course, being besieged by monsters almost on a weekly basis, doesn’t help.
Today however, is a quiet morning. One might almost think this were any other City Hall, in any other city in America. Today, it’s almost a pleasure to be at work in this grand building. For all that is, but two.
“God, it’s good to be out of there!” Mike Corbett exclaims, walking down the marble steps to the court yard. “I haven’t had so many pictures taken since the last Corbett family reunion.
“Oh give it a rest, ya big baby,” Joey scolds him. “You loved every minute of it, workin’ that camera like a Playboy model!”
“Oh, you’d know about that, wouldn’t ya, Mr. Lifetime subscriber.” Mike counters, “or do you read it for the articles?”
Joey stops and ponders the question for a moment. “No, I pretty much just read it for the chicks,” he admits.
“You are such a p. . . .” Mike stops short, as he hears explosions near by. “What the Hell!?!” He wonders aloud.
“I don’t know, Mikey,” Joey answers, “but it came from behind the building!”
“Come on,” Mike says, “someone may need help!”
As the two teens run toward the side of the building, they are suddenly knocked off their feet, and thrown several yards, by a violent explosion!
“Unnggh. . . .M. . .Mike!” Joey calls out to his friend, weakly, still stunned by the blast, he can barely move. Looking around frantically, Joey finally manages to make out a still form. He can barely see through the smoke, and the haze of his own pain, but he fears the worst. The male form laying before him is deathly still. Whoever it is, he’s either hin really bad shape, or. . . . “MIKE!!!”
As Joey crawls toward Mike’s still form, he becomes aware of strange alien looking aircraft flying overhead, firing bursts of energy at the surrounding buildings! On the ground, strange warps, like holes in space itself, open up all over the City Hall compound, and spew out strange men in silver and black armor. On the streets, creatures in fishy looking armor chase pedestrians on strange looking motorcycles.
Joey had seen enough news reports on alien attacks to know the silver ones are called Quadtrons, and the fish guys were Piranhatrons, but why had they teamed up. Why now?
Only one answer came to him. “Oh Lord! It’s an INVASION!!!”
Oblivious to the chaos at City Hall, Leo and John are enjoying a leisurely motorcycle ride home, when the sirens start. AROOOOOOO, AROOOOOOOOO!!!
“What’s goin on!” Leo exclaims, almost toppling from his seat behind John.
“Must be another Monster Attack!” John calls over the siren’s howl, and the roar of the bike engine. “Hey look, there’s your mom!”
As the boys pull into the Corbett driveway, a visibly upset Mirriam Corbett rushes to meet them. “Oh, Thank God your both home! But where’s Michael!?!”
“Mom! What’s going on!?!” Leo shouts over the noise. “Is it a Monster Attack?”
“It’s a full scale Alien Invasion,” Mirriam cries, near panic. “They just attacked City Hall!”
“Shit! Mike and Joey are at City Hall! John exclaims. “Leo, get off! I gotta find ‘em!”
“No way!” Leo argues, “He’s my brother! I have to go to!”
“Leo, Please!” Mirriam begs.
For a moment, son and mother lock eyes, and a message is shared. A sudden understanding grips Mirriam Corbett, and know she has to let him go. “You come back to me, Leo Corbett! I mean it!!!” With that, she embraces Leo like she’ll never let go, then gives him a kiss on the cheek.
To John’s surprise, Mirriam does the same thing to him, stopping just long enough to whisper in his ear. “Take care of him, and please. . . .bring my boys home.”
Uable to find words, John simply nod’s a silent vow, and guns the bikes engine. “Go inside, Mirriam! Lock that door and don’t open it for anything!”
With the roar of an engine, and a cloud of grass and dirt, the two men rocket down the street. Their mission, one of rescue. The stakes, higher than either could know.
“Leo my friend, looks like we’re in for one HELLUVA WEEKEND!!!