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Day of the Starship

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Somewhere in the Sea of Tranquility

The surface of the moon was dusty and boring. That was what the astronauts were planning on writing in their report. Nothing marred the Sea of Tranquility, stretching out as far as the astronauts could see; miles and miles of barren wasteland, with no distinguishable features. The astronauts scanned the area halfheartedly. Nothing to see here folks, move it along...

blip

Oh.

blip

Wait.

One of the scanners blipped again and the astronauts looked up. Nothing to see except a crashed starship, that is. A still smoking starship, even. The astronauts exchanged an alarmed, but excited, glance, then ran over quickly (or, well, as quickly as one can run on the surface of the moon anyway).

The surface of the starship was a silvery, smooth metal marred by dark scorch marks. Wherever the ship had come from, it had been through quite a rough ride. The astronauts circled round the ship to try and find a door, or an escape hatch, or something.

It was bolted shut.

"Who bolts a door shut from the outside?" one of the astronauts asked the other.

He shrugged. "Who cares? Our report is going to be so much better than Johnson's. Help me get this thing open." He moved towards the side of the ship, examining the bolts and trying to decipher the writing along the side.

After a few futile attempts at prying the bolts off, the astronaut sighed and turned back to his companion, who was watching him skeptically. "Lend a hand?" He gestured at the door.

The other astronaut hesitated but finally moved forward to help. With both of them pushing on the bolts, they gave way. The astronauts stumbled backwards as the door immediately began to open with a hiss of compressed air. They looked at each other nervously, struck by the realization that opening a bolted door on an unknown starship probably hadn't been the brightest of ideas.

Light shone out of the starship as the door slammed the rest of the way open, and a fairly normal looking male stepped out on to the descending ramp. Well, as normal as any male could look when he was 6'4" and wearing a blinding combination of neon green pants with a day-glo pink and purple hooded jacket and bright blue sunglasses. He stood on the ramp and stretched his arms above his head.

"Fuck yes! After 10,000 years, Gabe Saporta is finally free!" The man grinned widely as his gaze fell on the two staring astronauts. He lowered his sunglasses, dropping his head to peer at them over the top of the frames. "My rescuers!" He threw his arms out wide and took a step forward. "Come. Let me tell you about the all-powerful Cobra."

The astronauts stared with wide eyes at the man - Saporta? The Cobra? - and then at each other.

"He's completely insane," one of them whispered to the other. "We released an insane alien on to the moon."

"We? What's this we business? This is all your fault," the other whispered back furiously.

"MY FAULT? Who's the one that was concerned about writing a better report than Johnson?!"

"Who wanted to open up a BOLTED DOOR ON A STARSHIP?"

Gabe watched them argue back and forth for a moment and sighed heavily. "Fucking humans," he groaned. He put his hands together lazily. "Fangs up!"

Green fire flew from his curled fingertips to fry the two astronauts where they stood. They were still arguing as they disappeared into oblivion.

Gabe blew on his fingers, buffing them against his jacket. He then turned to call over his shoulder, back into the starship. "Victoria! Wake the others."

A beautiful dark haired woman walked down the ramp, fluffing up her hair with one hand and covering a yawn with the other. She glared at Gabe. "Don't call me that."

"Aw Victoria..."

Her gaze narrowed and sparks appeared in her eyes. Gabe leered at her. "You know how I like it when you play rough, babe."

"Are you harassing Vicky-T again? You know how cranky she gets when she just wakes up," an impossibly tall man said as he joined them on the ramp.

Vicky-T rolled her eyes at both of them and turned on her heel, heading back into the starship. "I don't know why I put up with you all. Bunch of fucking assholes. Suarez had better have made coffee."

"Hm." The tall man turned to stare after her. "I think she's mad."

Gabe shrugged, turning to stare up at the green-blue planet that dominated the sky. "Nah, Vicky-T loves us." He tilted his head. "Hey Ryland, what's that planet?"

Ryland looked up at the sky and frowned. "No idea."

"It's Earth."

They turned at the new voice, and Gabe threw his arms up. "Nate! You live!" He narrowed his eyes. "I thought you died a thousand years ago."

Nate shrugged, staring up at the sky. "You were supposed to." He ignored Gabe's glare and Ryland's delighted laugh. "So, what's the plan?"

Gabe cackled, rubbing his hands together as he turned to stare back up at the sky. "The Cobra declares it's time to conquer Earth!"

---

A random city in New Jersey. Let’s call it Belleville

Gerard sighed as he walked down the hallway and spotted Bert and Quinn giggling at the end. Bert and Quinn giggling was never a good sign.

He hitched his backpack more firmly over his shoulder as he slowed, finally coming to a stop in front of them. He stared at them expectantly. He really didn’t want to deal with this today.

Quinn looked coolly at him as Bert continued to giggle. "What do you want, Way?"

Gerard raised his eyebrow at Quinn. Really? "For you to move."

Quinn crossed his arms over his chest. "What for?" Bert giggled and mimicked Quinn's posture. "Yeah, what for?"

Gerard eyed Bert tiredly, and waved at the wall of lockers over Quinn's shoulder. "You're standing in front of my locker." Seriously, they did this every day.

Quinn opened his mouth, thought for a moment, then shrugged. "Oh." He nudged Bert and they moved aside.

Well, that was easier than normal. Gerard rolled his eyes, stepping past them to open his locker. Ah, of course. He ignored Bert and Quinn's sudden burst of laughter as he sighed again and leaned on his locker door. "Hi Frankie."

Frank scowled at Gerard from inside the locker. Gerard bit his lip to keep from grinning. Frank scowling was pretty adorable- not that he’d ever tell him that. He preferred not to get kicked in the balls. "Hey Gee, took you fucking long enough." He shifted position, kicking some of Gerard's crumbled sketches out of the locker and on to the hallway floor.

Because Gerard had totally known that Quinn and Bert had decided to stuff Frank in his locker. That only happened on Fri- Oh. Gerard reached in to give Frank a hand out. “Sorry Frankie. I forgot it’s Friday.”

“How the fuck do you forget it’s Friday, you loser?” Frank complained, though he grabbed Gerard’s hand as he scrambled out of the locker. He flipped off the laughing Bert and Quinn. "Assholes," he muttered, hitching his jeans up higher before they fell.

Gerard nodded, pulling open his backpack and grabbing his Statistics and History textbooks. Bert and Quinn sort of were assholes. Well, not really assholes. More like guys who thought it was funny to put freshmen in lockers, even though they were freshmen themselves. Or maybe sophomores, he wasn’t actually sure. He dropped the books into his locker and slammed it shut.

He ducked to grab the scattered papers – sketches from Study Hall, when he was supposed to be doing his homework - and tried to smooth them out. There was a huge crease through Séance’s head and he frowned. "Different day, same shit," he agreed, shooting a glare over his shoulder at Bert and Quinn.

Quinn glared back at him, but Bert darted forward to give him a sloppy kiss on the cheek before grabbing Quinn’s sleeve and dragging him down the hall. Probably off to harass someone else, Gerard thought, wiping his cheek with the sleeve of his hoodie.

He stuck the drawings into his bag and zipped it shut. Frank was glaring down the hall after Quinn and Bert, and Gerard poked him in the arm. “Hey, you coming to band practice?"

Frank turned to look at him like he was insane. “Of course, where the fuck else would I go? Home?” Frank’s house was empty, Gerard knew, because on Friday his mom worked double shifts. He rarely went home on Fridays until late, if he went home at all. Frank hated being alone.

Gerard shrugged as he headed back down the hallway and Frank fell into step with him. Who knew if this week would be different? Gerard had given up trying to predict Frank’s behavior ages ago. He brushed his hair behind his ear. “Who knows? You could have a sudden desire to do your homework.”

Frank rolled his eyes. “Yeah, if I’d been replaced with a fucking pod person. Actually,” Frank wrinkled his forehead in thought, “I’m not even sure I have homework…”

“Fucking freshmen,” Gerard muttered, hefting his backpack even higher on his shoulder. He had two papers to write and three chapters to read. Not that he was actually planning on doing it, but it was the principle of the thing.

“Hey, just because we’re not all ol… Bob!” Frank took off down the hall and pounced, scrambling up until he was situated with his arms locked around Bob’s neck and his legs around Bob’s waist. Gerard watched him without surprise. Okay, maybe Frank was a little predictable.

Bob sighed as he put his arms under Frank’s knees and hefted him higher. “One day Iero, I’m going to drop you on your fucking head.”

“You would never do such a thing, Bobert, you love me!” Frank proclaimed, smacking a kiss on Bob’s temple. “Ray Ray, doesn’t Bob love me?”

Ray’s eyebrows rose as he joined them, and he looked over at Gerard. “Gee, I thought we agreed to cut down on his sugar?”

“Hey! I’m not his fucking keeper,” Gerard argued.

“Keeping Frank from sugar is like keeping fish from water,” Mikey said, and they all jumped, Bob nearly dropping Frank.

“Jesus Mikeway, what’d we say about sneaking up on us?” Bob demanded.

Mikey blinked at him from behind his glasses. “Um. Don’t?”

Gerard grinned at his brother. He brushed his hair back behind his ear and ignored how it immediately fell back into his eyes. “Mikeyway, ninja!”

Mikey’s eyes lit up, and the corner of his mouth curled a little. “I could learn karate.”

Frank started laughing, burying his face in Bob's shoulder and Gerard glared at him a little. As great a friend that he was, Frank could be a little shit sometimes.

Bob must have agreed, because he hefted Frank a little more, then unhooked his arms and let Frank fall to the floor with a thump. Gerard loved Bob.

Frank bounced back to his feet, seemingly unconcerned that he’d just been dropped on his ass. "So! Band practice?"

Ray nodded, hair waving with the motion. Gerard stared, fascinated. He'd never get tired of watching Ray's hair. It was practically a separate life form. He wanted to sketch it, it could be a superpower of Ray’s; maybe it was unbreakable, like titanium, and Ray could use it to tie up criminals. Or maybe it really was a separate life-form, like an alien hiding—

Gerard jumped when Mikey pinched his arm, and immediately felt guilty. He had a tendency of getting lost in his head. He smiled lopsidedly at Mikey and tuned back into the conversation.

"... garage," Ray said. "Dad finally cleaned it out."

"Fucking awesome," Frank declared. "Ray Toro, you are the man," and Gerard nodded in agreement. Ray had always been awesome, even back when they'd been five years old and refusing to leave the music corner of their kindergarten classroom.

Bob frowned and opened his mouth, but Ray rushed to reassure him. "Don't worry dude, you can use my drum kit today. It's not as good as yours, but it's not bad, and then we can go get yours this weekend." Well, one of Bob's kits, Gerard figured. He had enough pieces to probably build three.

Bob thought for a moment, then shrugged his agreement. "All right."

"Cool. Mikey can use my bass, but we'll have to go by your place to get your guitar, Frank." Ray grinned. "I don't think any of mine will fit you."

"Oh you ass-" Frank dove at Ray, fists flying, and Ray fended him off, laughing hysterically.

Gerard smiled, moving with them slowly down the hallway, even as Frank continued to try and beat the shit out of Ray. He had the best friends.

---

Some undisclosed location on Earth, that's probably somewhere in New Jersey

The Command Center had stood silent for centuries. Dust covered every inch of every console; the viewing globe in the corner stood dark; and, the giant stasis tube that loomed overhead was empty.

That didn't stop a lone alarm from beginning to sound.

Weeeeoooo! Weeeeoooo!

Lights began flashing as the Command Center automatically rebooted itself. Panels came to life; screens flickered with static; and, through it all, the alarm continued to wail.

Weeeeoooo! Weeeeoooo!

"Oh, for fuck's sake." A small, humanoid shaped android shuffled into the main chamber, grumbling crossly as it shoved a green trucker hat onto its head. It stumbled over to one of the blinking consoles, hitting a few buttons in sequence.

Nothing happened.

Weeeeoooo! Weeeeoooo!

"Fucking hell, piece of crap..." The android scowled at the console, pressed the sequence of buttons again and gave the console a mighty kick at the same time.

The alarm fell silent, though the flashing lights continued to illuminate the chamber in a series of red and yellow.

"Oh finally. Pete? Where the fuck are you? I know you're not sleeping, you never sleep. PETE!" The android shouted into thin air, all the while pressing buttons on different panels, and resetting screens.

Static electricity flickered between two poles, and a face flickered into being inside the giant stasis tube, mid-yawn. "What the hell PATRICK? I finally fall asleep for the first time in three centuries and... oh," he paused, face turning this way and that inside the giant tube, taking in the newly re-powered Command Center, and the flashing warning lights. "Problem?"

The android - PATRICK - crossed its arms and glared up at Pete. "Yes, a problem! One that you created, you asshole!" It pointed at the Viewing Globe just as the security feed from the moon started playing.

Pete and PATRICK watched in silence as the astronauts freed Gabe from his starship and got themselves vaporized for their trouble.

"... I fail to see how this is my fault," Pete finally said.

PATRICK's glare intensified. "If you hadn't locked him and his followers in that damn starship, we could have dealt with him back on Decaydance a couple millennia ago!"

Pete frowned in confusion. "Since when do we have a security feed of the moon?"

PATRICK stomped its foot. "Focus! Don't make me accidentally lose your connection."

"Aw, Patty-cakes don't be like that," Pete pouted at it. PATRICK continued to glare and Pete started looking uneasy.

"Okay okay! But what the hell PATRICK, Saporta deserved it! He stuck me in a fucking time-warp. Getting him locked in his starship wasn't even close to the worst thing I could've done," Pete protested. "Hm. Or that I should have done."

"You were hitting on his boyfriend," PATRICK snapped.

"Ah yes. William..." Pete grinned with nostalgia.

"Pete!"

Pete blinked down at him. "Don't be jealous, TRICK. You know you're number one in my heart."

PATRICK rolled its eyes- only slightly mollified - and turned to jab at a console that remained stubbornly unlit. "It really doesn't matter, because you're stuck in there, I'm stuck out here, and because of your stupid revenge plot and two idiot astronauts, The Cobra has just been unleashed on a defenseless Earth." Sparks flew into the air as PATRICK kicked the console, but it started up with a hum.

Pete snapped his mouth shut and pouted at the android. "Sorry PATRICK." He attempted to school his expression into something approaching seriousness. "Well, if The Cobra has escaped, then you know what to do. Recruit a team of teenagers with attitude!"

PATRICK winced and turned to stare up at Pete from under its hat. "Attitude. Seriously? You want me to find a group of five teenagers with attitude and give them access to almost unlimited power? Is that really the best idea for the defenders of Earth?"

Pete looked down at PATRICK and grimaced. "Hey, I didn't make the rules. Take it up with the Council on Nemar. Until then, yes. A team of teenagers with attitude!" He paused for a moment. "See if you can find ones that are cute, too."

PATRICK decided to ignore Pete's final comment for the sake of its sanity. It sighed, pressing buttons on the panal and entering search parameters for teenagers in the immediate area. It beeped and started searching with a quiet hum. PATRICK leaned against the console, watching the scrolling numbers as the computer scanned and discarded teen after teen. "Ayi yi yi, fucking hell. This is such a bad idea."

---

A palace on the moon that appeared out of nowhere

Gabe pushed his sunglasses on top of his head and crossed his arms. He frowned thoughtfully at the Earth. "Hey Alex," he called back over his shoulder. "Where are my Cobra Soldiers? We can't attack Earth without my Cobra Soldiers!"

Alex didn't bother to look up from the table where he was building little models of humanoids with cobra heads out of clay. "I'm working on it."

Gabe sighed and threw himself on to his throne, one leg dangling over the armrest. "Well work faster," he ordered. He looked around the balcony. "Where's Vicky-T and Nate?"

"Probably in bed."

"Again? We just escaped from that fucking starship that Pete locked us into, and they went back to sleep?"

Alex looked up then, one eyebrow raised. "I said they were probably in bed. I didn't say anything about sleep."

There was a beat of silence then Gabe grinned. Suarez turned back to his work.

“Hey Alex...”

“No.” He didn’t look up.

“Come on…” Alex didn’t look up. He knew Gabe would be pouting. Or leering. It was 50 / 50, really.

Gabe sighed heavily and Alex rolled his eyes. Pouting then. “Why not?”

Any other time… “You wanted me to finish the Cobra Soldiers, remember?”

Gabe picked up one of the clay models and turned it around in his hand. Alex watched him out of the corner of his eye.

Gabe frowned thoughtfully, looking back at the Earth and then down at the model again. Alex could tell he was definitely considering delaying his plans, but then Gabe shrugged.

His eyes hardened and he tossed the model back at Alex, who barely caught it and grimaced. Not that he couldn’t just remake the damn thing, but really. A little care was all he was asking.

"Finish up," Gabe said, his voice cold. “You’ve got an Earth hour.”

Inwardly Alex winced, but he nodded. Teasing Gabe was all well and good normally, but that tone of voice promised -- well not death, but a very painful trip to one of the pocket dimensions with Gabe’s pet cobra.

He worked faster.

---

Back in Belleville

Gerard sipped at his water bottle as he listened to Ray and Frank argue over chords. Bob kept shifting Ray’s kick drum around and frowning. Mikey bent over the bass, his eyes fixed on the frets as he moved through the song at half-time. Gerard grinned. His band was awesome.

“Don’t you agree, Gerard?” Frank spun around and Gerard blinked at the question. What? He didn’t even know what they were talking about.

“Um…” he hesitated. Why was Frank asking him? He hardly played the guitar.

“He’s Switzerland,” Mikey said from his corner and Gerard sighed in relief. Mikey was the best little brother.

“Yeah, I’m Switzerland.” Gerard settled himself more firmly against the wall, pulling his knees up to his chest.

“Fine. Mikey then, what do you think –“

“I’m also Switzerland,” Mikey replied.

“You can’t both be Switzerland!” Frank complained.

Mikey blinked at him and Gerard beamed. Fuck yeah they could. Way!Switzerland. Maybe he could fit that into a comic somehow…

Frank rolled his eyes, but turned back to the argument with Ray. Ray shook his head, leaning forward to press down the strings on Frank’s fret board and Frank scowled. Gerard shook his head. It wouldn’t be Friday if Frank and Ray weren’t arguing about music.

Bob tapped out a 4/4 beat on his snare, pushed it forward a little and did it again. He nodded, apparently satisfied, and settled himself more firmly on his seat. "Ray, your drums are shit," he told him.

Ray looked up. “They are not!” He glared and Gerard tried not to laugh. Ray glaring was about as intimidating as a puppy. Gerard thought it was the hair. It got even more frizzy than normal.

Bob pointed a drumstick at Ray. “Who’s the drummer here? You or me?”

Ray frowned. “Well you but I pl-"

“Right! Me.” Bob nodded and tapped out a beat on the drums. “We playing?” He looked over at Gerard and Gerard blinked. Oh right.

He pushed himself to his feet, shooting an apologetic look at Ray. Bob had a point; Ray played a little but he was much more of a guitar player. He was totally the best guitar player Gerard knew. Not that he’d tell Frank that.

Ray shrugged, so he probably didn’t actually care. Frank moved to plug in his guitar and Mikey settled himself back near Bob’s kit. Gerard looked around at everyone and nodded. “Okay?”

Ray nodded back, smoothing his guitar strap over his shoulder. “Okay.”

Frank snorted, but Gerard ignored him. Whatever, he had totally thought it was awesome when they’d come up with it.

Ray ripped into the song, followed by the others and Gerard leaned on their mic stand, banging his head, getting a feel for the music. Ray to his left, shredding; Frank throwing himself around on his right; Mikey and Bob a steady beat behind him. Just the way it was supposed to be.

“Well if you wanted honesty, that's all you had to say...”

Halfway in Bob stopped playing. Ray and Gerard both stopped immediately, turning around to look at him, but it took Frank a few bars to realize the others had stopped. He blinked up from the floor where he was laid out on his back. “What happened?”

Bob sighed and shrugged. “I lost Mikey.”

Mikey didn’t look up from his bass, fingers tightening around the neck. Gerard winced. Mikey was trying so hard, but he was still learning to play the bass, let alone the songs Ray and Frank had written.

Ray looked over at Gerard and Gerard shrugged. He wasn’t going to be any help, he couldn’t play bass either. He was just the singer.

Bob raised an eyebrow at Ray, and he nodded. He pulled his guitar over his head and rested it on the ground. “Hold on Mikes, I’ll go get my other bass.”

Mikey nodded but didn’t look up, and Gerard felt his chest tighten. Shit. “Mikey-” He moved over and bumped his shoulder against Mikey’s. He raised an eyebrow at Mikey, asking if he was okay.

Mikey shrugged his shoulder a little, but the corner of his mouth quirked up, so he was pretty much all right. Gerard grinned and rolled his eyes as Mikey’s eyebrow went up. Okay and a little annoyed. But not mad.

Gerard bumped his shoulder again and Mikey bumped back. Satisfied, Gerard gave Bob a half-hearted glare for good measure – one that Bob rolled his eyes at, because Gerard was pretty sure his glare wasn’t even as intimidating as Ray’s – and moved back across the garage to where Frank was still laid out on his back, playing a Green Day song.

Gerard kicked Frank’s foot. “Cliché.”

Frank stuck his tongue out at Gerard, fingers stilling on the frets. “Shut up, you love Green Day. You have a massive crush on Billie Joe, do not even try and lie to me.”

Gerard flushed. He did not. He respected Billie Joe as an artist and musician okay? It was not a crush.

Frank giggled and strummed a melody. “Crush crush crush… Gerard has a crush,” and Gerard kicked at him again. Frank was such a little shit.

“Ow ow, shit my guitar.” Frank continued to giggle, trying to fend of Gerard’s foot. “Cruuusshhh.”

Gerard decided that sitting on Frank’s head was a perfectly valid response.

“Ass! Gerard’s ass is on my — ow you fucker you’re heavy, I can’t breathe, get off me – Mikey! Save me from your brother’s ass.” Frank shoved at him but Gerard just settled himself more firmly. Whatever, he was still giggling, clearly he could breathe.

Mikey looked up from where Ray was going over the bass part with him, while Bob played the drums softly. He blinked, tilting his head back to peer at them through his glasses. “That’s something I never thought I’d hear you say,” he mused.

Gerard flushed; what the hell was that supposed to mean?

Frank twisted beneath him, pushing up and Gerard let himself be tumbled to the side. Frank tackled him a second later. “Revenge will be mine!”

“Guys, keep it down, we’re actually practicing over here,” Ray sighed, not sounding very annoyed at all.

Gerard stopped trying to fend off Frank, arm still extended and pushing Frank’s face back. He blinked up at the lights. “What was that?”

Frank tilted his head a little, trying to see above him. “What was what?”

“The lights flickered,” Bob said, sounding equally confused.

“It’s probably just a short-” Ray started, but cut off as the lights flickered again. “Um.”

Gerard and Frank climbed to their feet and looked around, moving closer to the others as the lights continued to flicker. Sparks crackled between the lights and Gerard flinched. He grabbed Mikey by the sleeve and pulled him to his side. “I don’t think that’s a short.”

Mikey frowned, looking up at the lights. “It looks like a static charge. Like lightning?”

Bob stood up from the drum kit as the lightning – or whatever the fuck it was, Gerard wasn’t sure lightning could happen inside a garage – started hitting the ground around them. “Shit!”

Gerard gripped Mikey’s arm tighter and reached out for Frank’s as he started feeling a tingling sensation in his gut. It felt like all the parts of him were simultaneously being pushed together and pulled apart.

“Holy fucking balls what the fuck is going on?” Frank swore, moving closer and latching on to both Gerard and Ray.

Gerard opened his mouth to answer – having no idea what he was going to say, because holy fucking balls was about right. Frank sounded freaked out and Gerard had to say something; but then the tingling sensation grew worse, all his muscles tensed, and the world disappeared in a flash of white.

---

The Command Center, still in a random part of New Jersey

PATRICK turned away from the console as electricity crackled between the rods and five teenage boys appeared out of streams of white light. The teenagers gaped at their surroundings, spinning in circles to take in the whole of the Command Center as PATRICK nodded to itself. It supposed the Command Center was rather impressive looking. PATRICK kicked at the console and it lit up again. Even if it was falling apart around it, fuck.

The dark haired one's eyes widened as they fell on PATRICK and he nudged the tall one beside him, pointing. The others glanced over in its direction.

"What is that?" the dark haired one asked, and PATRICK bristled. It is not a that.

"He looks like a fully sentient, multifunctional automaton," the tall one with the weird hair and glasses said with no inflection. Even PATRICK blinked in surprise, as the other four teenagers turned to look at the tall one blankly.

"What?" the short one with the two-toned hair asked.

The one with the crazy curly hair rolled his eyes. "He said it's a robot."

The one with the glasses sighed. "Yeah."

The dark haired one frowned. “I knew that,” he muttered. He looked sideways at the one in glasses, who raised an eyebrow back. Dark Hair – PATRICK had to distinguish between them somehow – huffed and crossed his arms.

"Hey!" PATRICK glared at Curly Hair. "I'm not a robot, I'm an android. And my name isn’t ‘that’, it's PATRICK."

"Really?" Two-Tone asked, walking over and poking at PATRICK's head, like if he stared hard enough he could see the circuitry inside. "What's the difference?"

"Nothing," Pete commented, appearing in his timewarp. "Except that PATRICK will definitely kick your ass if you call it a robot." PATRICK shot Pete a glare. He was kind of an asshole.

Five heads snapped up and their eyes widened. Well, except for the big blond one. His expression hadn’t changed yet. PATRICK was rather impressed with that one. After 10,000 years of monitoring Earth, it’d figured out that teenagers were overly dramatic and annoying. So far the other four weren’t exactly changing its mind. Big Blond though, he seemed okay.

"What is that?" Dark Hair asked.

“It’s a face floating in a giant tube,” Glasses said, and the others turned to glare at him.

“Oh really?”

Glasses blinked at Dark Hair. “Well. No. It’s probably a projection of whatever’s inside the giant tube.”

PATRICK arched an eyebrow, then shrugged and walked over to a computer. It started to press the sequence to get the power coins out of their storage pocket. "Close. That's a Pete," it said, kicking the console a little when it didn’t respond quickly. "But I wouldn't ask for any more details."

Pete pouted. "TRICK, don't be like that, you know you love me."

"Sure Pete," PATRICK sighed. It was true, Pete didn't mean to be an asshole most of the time. And asshole-ishness aside, Pete did kind of grow on you. Didn’t mean he didn’t get annoying.

It grabbed the coins when the panel finally opened. It turned back to the five teenagers who were still staring up at Pete. It should probably learn their names at some point.

“No really, what the fuck is that?” Two-tone asked. Pete preened under the attention and PATRICK rolled its eyes. Great.

“I am an interdimensional being from Decaydance,” Pete informed them. If he’d been out of the timewarp, PATRICK knew he’d be striking a pose.

The five of them exchanged glances and looked back up at Pete. “Right, sure. Of course,” Curly Hair said slowly.

Dark Hair walked forward and poked at the bottom of the tube. “So why are you in there? Is it another dimension?”

Pete scowled. “Not really. I got stuck in here by this evil guy, Gabe Saporta.”

“Who?” “Why?” Two-Tone and Dark Hair spoke over each other. Dark Hair just seemed fascinated, while Two-Tone sounded pretty skeptical.

“It was a complete frame job; a simple misunderstanding. William didn’t tell me he was with Gabe…”

PATRICK hit a button, sighed, and smacked the top of a computer. The Viewing Globe lit up. “Let’s focus, for the love of Nemar?”

Pete looked down at PATRICK and cleared his throat. “Right! Observe the Viewing Globe!”

The five stared blankly and PATRICK sighed. It had a feeling it’d be doing that a lot. “Turn around.”

They turned around and blinked. The scene from the moon replayed – the astronauts prying open the door to the crashed starship, Gabe vaporizing them for their trouble. PATRICK gave them a few moments of silence after the scene ended to process, then clapped its hands together.

"So. Aliens are attacking the Earth. Who wants to be a Power Ranger?"

He got five blank faces. "A what?"

PATRICK sighed. Earthlings. "A Power Ranger. A defender of good. A fighter of evil."

Dark Hair brightened. "A superhero? Oh fucking awesome."

Two-Tone rolled his eyes. "Gee, this isn't a comic, superheroes aren't real. Aliens aren't real. The robot's talking nonsense." He stopped and shook his head. "I can't believe I just said that."

“Power Rangers draw strength from the Morphin Grid, which is a multidimensional energy source that underlays every dimension in this universe and…”

“What. The. Fuck.”

“Um…”

PATRICK ignored them and continued. “Since we’re on Earth, the power manifests in the form of ancient dinosaurs-”

“There’s another kind?” Two-Tone muttered.

“-Tyrannasaurus, Pteradactly, Mastodon, Saber-Tooth Tiger and Triceratops.”

“Um, you know that mastodons and saber-tooth tigers aren’t dinosaurs, right?”

PATRICK scowled. For that, Two-Tone would get the pink coin. “Look, you point your morpher at the sky, call out the name of your dinosaur-” it stressed, glaring at Two-Tone, “and you’ll morph.”

“Morph?”

“Metamorphosis,” Glasses commented.

“It means to change,” Curly Hair translated, and the other three glared at him.

“We all took freshmen English, thanks. You know sometimes we understand him.”

Dark Hair’s – what’d Two-Tone call him, Gee? - mouth turned down a little and he crossed his arms. “He’s my little brother, I always understand him.” Glasses and Gee did their eyebrow thing again. If PATRICK didn’t know more about humans than it wanted, it might have thought they were telepathic.

Gee sighed, “Fine, most of the time I understand him,” and Glasses rolled his eyes. Curly Hair and Two-Tone continued to glare at each other.

Big Blond frowned at PATRICK. “So we’re going to become dinosaurs?”

Gee’s head snapped around. “Really?”

PATRICK sighed. Again. "Here." It shoved the coins at each of them. “I'll just show you, for Nemar's sake."

It pulled the switch on the console. There was a crackling of electricity and power, a flash of colored light, and where the five teenagers once stood there was five brightly colored, spandex clad, Power Rangers.

"Dammit PATRICK, you're supposed to warn me before you do that," Pete whined, hands appearing in the projection as he rubbed at his eyes.

The Red Ranger took off his helmet and grinned. He examined the face of the tyrannosaurs that curved over his helmet, around the tinted visor. "This is so fucking cool."

The Pink Ranger took off his helmet and glared at the red one -- Gee, PATRICK reminded itself. One name down, four to go. "Says you. How come I have to be the pink one?" He looked down. “And why am I wearing a skirt?”

"Well actually," Pete began and PATRICK reached out and jabbed at a button. The tube went fuzzy for a moment, and Pete's projection faded from view.

"That's the way it works," PATRICK explained. "Colors are locked in."

Gee frowned at the pink one. "Seriously Frank, don't be so hetero-normative. There's nothing wrong with a guy wearing pink. Or a skirt." Two names down.

"Oh yeah?" Frank glared, running his gloved hand through his black Mohawk. "Why don't you be the pink one then?"

“Um…” Gee’s eyebrow furrowed. “Because you look much better in pink than I do?” Frank scowled.

The others pulled off their helmets and the black one caught Frank's attention. He clamored up the black one's back, wrapping his arms around his neck and clinging. "Bob Bob Bobert..... you want to trade with me, right?"

"No."

"Pleeeasse?" Frank whined, and PATRICK started wondering why they had to choose teenagers again.

Bob calmly reached up, grabbed Frank by the back of his neck and flipped him over his shoulder to the ground. He stared down at him. "No."

Frank looked up beseechingly at the blue one. “Mikeymikeyway. You want to be pink and wear the skirt right? You have much better legs than me!”

Mikey – four names! – didn’t even look at Frank.

Frank pouted from his spot on the floor, but the other four ignored him. Apparently this was a common occurrence. PATRICK adjusted its hat and looked at them all. "Convinced now? Aliens attacking, you fight. It's a whole good versus evil thing."

The one in yellow - fuck, PATRICK still hadn't caught his name - looked hesitant. "I'm not really sure..."

Frank popped back up to his feet. "Seriously, aliens? The light show was pretty awesome, but this spandex is already chafing, and do I really have to be the pink one?"

"Yes," PATRICK stated, before going back to ignoring him.

"I'm not sure this is spandex," Mikey frowned, picking at the suit. "It looks like some kind of nanofiber. Probably fused with an intercellular memory alloy."

Bob blinked at Mikey then turned to the yellow one. "Ray, what did Mikey just say?"

Ray shrugged. "No idea." Excellent, all five names.

Mikey ignored them both and continued to squint through his glasses at the blue suit.

Gee and Frank exchanged glances and then looked back at Mikey, twin expressions of confusion on their faces. “Mikey, when’d you start spouting all this techno-whatever?” Frank asked, waving his hand in the air.

Mikey looked up from his examination and frowned. “Dr. Johnson moved me up in Science?” he offered hesitantly.

“How does that ex-“

“He did? Wait when? How come I didn’t know this?”

Mikey sighed. “I told you Gerard—“

“No you didn’t I’d remember-“

“Mikeyway that still doesn’t expl-“

PATRICK rolled its eyes at all of them. "Look." It pointed at the Viewing Globe, and replayed the scene from the moon. It let it fade back to static as Gabe disintegrated the astronauts. "This isn’t a joke. Aliens. Attacking Earth. You, Power Rangers. Defending Earth. Get it?"

Gerard grinned. "Yes!" Mikey looked interested too, at least PATRICK thought he looked interested, it was hard to read the kid’s face, but he was still examining the suit, so probably.

“You get to control the Zords,” PATRICK tried to convince the others. The dinosaur shaped Zords appeared on the Viewing Globe, and Ray and Frank started looking a bit more interested. “They are personal mechanical transportation devices that come fully equipped with weapons and the ability to combine to form the Megazord.” It pushed a few buttons and on the screen the Zords joined together.

Ray whistled. “Now that’s a robot.”

“Looks like a transformer,” Gerard commented excitedly, and Mikey huffed a laugh. PATRICK was surprised, it’d been beginning to think Mikey didn’t actually have emotions.

They kept studying the Viewing Globe, clearly hesitating, but then Frank shook his head. "No fucking way," Frank responded. He pulled the coin out of his belt and the suit dissolved around him, leaving him back in his jeans and hoodie. The others followed his lead. Gerard held out the longest, but a series of back and forth eyebrow wiggles and slight mouth quirks with Mikey, and he sighed as he pulled out the red coin.

"And we're out of here. Have fun with that alien dude that can disintegrate you with his fingers," Frank said and headed down one of the corridors out of the main chamber.

The others left their coins on the top of the console and followed Frank out. PATRICK huffed in frustration and poked at the buttons until Pete reappeared with a scowl.

"You know I hate when you... oh hey." Pete frowned. "Where'd they go?"

PATRICK glared up at him. "It just had to be teenagers, didn't it?"

---

Meanwhile, back on the moon

“VICTORIA!” Gabe shouted down the hallway, and she appeared with a huff, running her hand through her hair.

“What?” she asked with irritation.

“Alex finally finished the Cobra Soldiers. I want you to go down to Earth and attack the random city conveniently located near Pete’s Command Center.”

“Um… why? Wouldn’t it make more sense to attack on say, the other side of the planet?”

Gabe narrowed his eyes at her and she held up her hands in contrition. “Right, right, random city near Pete. Got it.” She turned and walked back down the hallway.

“I just need to grab my swords.”

Gabe sighed, throwing himself into his throne and absently running his hand down the length of the cobra wrapped around the back of it. He glared down at Earth, seeking out Pete’s Command Center. He narrowed his eyes, sitting straight up in his throne.

The cobra hissed, but Gabe ignored it. “Victoria!” he called. “Change of plans.”

---

Outside the Command Center

Gerard stumbled on the loose dirt and nearly fell on the rocks. Only Bob grabbing the back of his hoodie saved him.

“Thanks,” Gerard sighed, heart racing. He adjusted the hem of his hoodie before continuing downwards.

“The rocks are deadly,” Mikey informed him. Gerard looked over at his brother and blinked. Yeah, he’d sort of realized that. What with the almost falling to his death and all.

Frank scoffed, jumping from rock to rock down the hillside with no apparent concern for his safety. “It’s not the rocks, it’s the fucking dirt and sand.”

Ray frowned, shaking his head. Dust particles drifted down from his hair. “When’d we get a desert in Jersey anyway?”

Gerard’s eyes widened. “Maybe we’re not in Jersey anymore! Maybe we’re in fucking Egypt or something. How the hell are we going to get home? Mom’s going to kill us.” It was one thing to not come home after school; their parents were pretty used to that. He didn’t think they’d be very understanding about calling home from the other side of the world.

The others all stopped to stare at him, and Gerard shrank back, pulling the hood up over his head and scowling. Well, it could have happened.

Frank finally shrugged and hopped down to another rock. “We just talked to a giant floating head, who apparently got himself stuck in there for flirting with some evil dude’s – who can kill people with his FINGERS – boyfriend. Plus a talking robot. About aliens. I think a magically appearing desert, or ending up on the other side of the world, is the least weird thing to happen today.”

Actually, Gerard could agree with that. Mostly. “I still think we should’ve stayed. Superheroes! Or well, Power Rangers, whatever the fuck PATRICK called them. How often do you get the chance to be a fucking superhero?”

“Never,” Ray nodded. “He’s kind of right. It would be pretty awesome. Yeah?” He looked over at Bob.

Bob shrugged. “I like black.”

Frank dropped to the bottom of the hill, turning and rolling his eyes at them all. “You never get to be a superhero, because superheroes aren’t fucking real! I know comics are awesome and all, but be fucking real for a second.”

Gerard tilts his head in confusion at Frank. Frank could be annoying, but this was over the top, even for him. “But just last week you wanted to be a superhero. You wanted to be able to fly.” He knows. Frank had hung over his shoulder, pointing at the sketchpad and smudging the pencil lines until he’d drawn Frank in his superhero costume just the way he wanted.

“That was before there were evil space aliens that could kill us by shooting lasers out of their fingers!” Frank’s voice rose shrilly. “Which don’t exist! None of this exists!”

“How do you explain Pete and PATRICK then?”

Frank sighed. “Who the fuck knows? Mass hallucination?”

“But we’re the only ones that can save the Earth!” Gerard protested. “Besides, I didn’t take anything. Um, today,” he conceded when Mikey raised an eyebrow at him. Really, a mass hallucination? That didn’t even make sense.

“Really? The only ones? What about, oh, you know, the Army, the Air Force… hell the fucking Marines?”

Ray shrugged and looked at Gerard. “He’s got a point.”

Bob arched an eyebrow at Ray. “I don’t think you can agree with both of them, Toro.” Gerard nodded. Exactly. Besides, Ray was supposed to be on his side. He was his best friend.

“I’m just saying, if we’re the only ones that can protect the Earth, the world is pretty fucked.”

Gerard opened his mouth to protest – seriously, they weren’t that bad, just because they were teenagers, look at the Young Avengers! – except suddenly the ground rocked beneath their feet and Gerard slipped, tumbling the rest of the way down the slope.

“Ow,” he groaned, resting his head on the ground, not caring about the dust. He grunted as Mikey landed on top of him. “Jesus fuck Mikey, get your bony elbow out of my kidney.”

Mikey, being his little brother and all, made sure to dig his elbow in harder as he pushed himself off Gerard. He didn’t say sorry. Gerard made a mental note to retaliate later.

Gerard climbed to his feet, making a cursory attempt to brush the sand off of his hoodie and looked around. Frank was jumping back to his feet, but Bob and Ray seemed to have managed to stay upright.

“Since when do we have earthquakes in New Jersey?” Bob said slowly.

“Maybe they come packaged with the fucking magically appearing deserts,” Frank shot back and Gerard sighed. This was really getting old.

“Frankie, what the fuck?”

Frank scowled at Gerard, looking a little hurt, and Gerard immediately felt bad. Frank was only fourteen and clearly freaked out. Fuck, he was a little freaked out, and he was almost eighteen. (Well, he would be in five months, but it totally counted.)

“Look just because I’m apparently the only sane one –“

“Hey,” Bob interrupted and Ray looked equally annoyed. Frank ignored them.

“- I can’t believe you guys are buying this bullshit. It’s imp-“

A blast from above caused them all to drop to the ground and cover their heads. Gerard shuffled over to Mikey, throwing his arm over his back. He didn’t have a fucking clue where the blast had come from, but hell if he was going to let Mikey get shot. He doubted he was really doing much to protect him, but he could try.

“What the fuck was that?!” Frank looked around wildly.

“I have no ide— Look!” Ray pointed up towards the rocks where a beautiful girl stood, dark hair blowing in the wind. Clad in a short black dress, heels and carrying two swords, she was at once the most beautiful, coolest, and terrifying thing Gerard had ever seen.

“Wow,” Bob commented, and Mikey nodded, eyes wide. “Who is she?”

“You think she was one of those aliens Pete and PATRICK told us about?” Ray wondered, and Frank dropped his head to the ground with a groan.

“No seriously you fuckers…”

The woman smirked at them and pointed one of the swords. Flames licked down the blade before shooting directly at them. By some miracle, all five managed to roll out of the way.

“Never mind, I don’t give a flying fuck who she is, let’s just get out of here,” Bob said decisively. Gerard agreed.

“On three, run like hell?” he suggested, and they all nodded. “Right. One, two-“

He didn’t get to three. The woman, shot another blast at them – seriously, who had a sword that fired lasers? – and shouted “Cobra Soldiers, attack!”

Out of nowhere, a group of green, scaly creatures flipped into view, quickly surrounding them. They all scrambled to their feet and formed a huddle, their backs to each other as they looked around at the creatures. They looked human enough, despite the green and scaled skin, but their heads were shaped like a cobra, hood and all.

One of the creatures – what had she called them, Cobra Soldiers? Rather fitting – hissed at Mikey and he jumped back, pushing further into the group.

Frank ran his hand over his Mohawk. “I must be having a nightmare. Can I wake up now?”

“Pretty sure this is real, Iero. Otherwise you have some pretty wacked out dreams,” Bob replied, and Frank spun to face him, narrowing his eyes.

“Wait, this is wacked out if it’s a dream, but not if it’s real? Seriously Bryar? The fuck?”

Gerard eyed the Cobra Soldiers warily, moving slightly so that he was between Mikey and the creatures. “Um, guys,” he said over his shoulder. “Could you argue about whether this is real, or we’re all in Frank’s fucked up dream later? These guys don’t look like they’re friendly.”

As if to prove his point, one of the soldiers moved forward, fist swinging. Gerard barely managed to duck.

The group broke up as the rest of the soldiers moved to attack. Frank, apparently deciding it didn’t matter or not if it was real or a dream, gave a kamikaze yell and threw himself at one of the soldiers, taking it down to the ground and punching wildly at its face.

Bob was doing all right as well, ducking the punches and blocking the kicks the Cobra Soldiers were throwing at him. Of course Bob had some martial arts training, Gerard remembered vaguely. In Chicago, before he’d moved to New Jersey. Something about the neighborhood not being very safe.

His musings about Bob broke off as one of the soldiers pushed forward and kicked Gerard in the stomach.. He tried to dodge, but he didn’t have Bob’s training, or Frank’s experience in getting in fights. Scuffling with Quinn and Bert didn’t really count as real fights. He was pretty much fucked.

Mikey wasn’t doing much better. Two of the soldiers had latched on to his arms and a third punched him in the gut, making him gasp and hunch over. Gerard saw red and pushed the Cobra Soldier off of him. He jumped at the soldier punching Mikey. No one fucked with his little brother.

Ray kicked at one of the soldiers and moved to help Gerard free Mikey from the soldiers. The three of them moved together, backing up towards the rocky hillside. The Cobra Soldiers followed them, hissing, and they exchanged nervous looks.

“I think they’re multiplying,” Ray said, and Mikey nodded. His glasses were askew, smudged and dusty. Gerard wasn’t sure he could really see what was going on anymore.

The woman jumped down from her perch, landing easily on the ground, not a hair out of place. She stalked towards them, evil smirk on her lips and delighted amusement in her eyes. She stopped a few yards from them; swords crossed in front of her and cocked her head slightly to the right. “Ready to be destroyed, Rangers?” she hissed.

“What? We’re not the Power Rangers!” Mikey said nervously. “We said no!”

The woman paused, narrowed her eyes at them, studying them for a moment. “Lies,” she replied. “I can see the power surrounding you. Prepare to be destroyed!”

“You fucking psycho, we’re not Power Rangers!” Frank exclaimed, looking up from a Cobra Soldier. Distracted, he was pulled up off the soldier he had been punching into oblivion, and tossed through the air. He crashed into Bob, knocking him away from the group, and the two of them fell in a heap to the ground. The Cobra Soldiers descended.

“Frank!” Gerard shouted, but his voice was lost as all his muscles tightened and his vision filled with crackling red light.

--

On the balcony of The Cobra’s palace

Gabe swore and slammed his fist down on the balcony’s railing. “Fucking Pete and that damn robot of his,” he hissed, scales running up from his hands, across his arms and over his neck. The pupils of his eyes slit.

Alex and Nate backed up nervously, exchanging glances. “Ryland?” Alex said quietly to Nate, and Nate nodded. Ryland was the only one that could calm Gabe down when he got like this. Nate edged towards the doorway, one eye on Gabe’s back.

Gabe didn’t turn around, too busy glaring at the Earth, and Nate managed to get to the hallway without attracting any attention. He headed for the stairs, and towards the observatory where they were storing the starship. Gabe, Alex, Vicky-T and himself were all avoiding the damn thing, having had enough of it in the 10 000 years they’d been trapped inside with very little to do. But Ryland actually seemed to like it.

Or, well, Nate thought as he reached the top of the stairs and stepped into the huge room, he at least liked practicing his aim on the damned thing.

He waited until Ryland shot one last blast at the side of the starship, leaving a dark scorch mark, and had lowered his hands. “Ryland?”

“Hm? What can I do for you old chap?” Ryland asked, turning towards Nate as he buffed his fingers on his jacket and Nate frowned, momentarily distracted.

“What’s with the voice?”

Ryland grinned. “Isn’t it fascinating? Heard it while observing the Earth; lovely people, those British.”

Nate nodded slowly. “Sure.”

“I’m thinking of going by Guy Ripley,” Ryland contemplated, looking off into the distance, and Nate was reminded that there was a reason Ryland and Gabe had been together for thousands of years before they’d gotten locked away by Pete. Ryland was just as fucking crazy as Gabe.

“Gabe’s losing it,” Nate said, trying to get Ryland’s attention again. He didn’t really care what Ryland wanted to call himself, as long as he got Gabe to pull himself back under control. Last time Gabe had fully transformed into The Cobra, they’d lost Elisa.

Ryland blinked, turning back to Nate and narrowing his eyes. “How far?” he demanded.

“Just the scales so far.”

“Oh well, that’s not too bad,” Ryland mused. “That happens fairly regularly.”

“…and his eyes,” Nate finished, and Ryland swore. Scales were one thing, eyes slitting to look like The Cobra’s was on a whole other level of “shit we’re fucked”.

Ryland walked swiftly towards the door, grabbing Nate by the elbow and dragging him down the stairs. “What set him off?”

Nate hurried to keep up. Fucking Ryland and his freakishly long legs. “He sent Vicky-T down to attack a bunch of teenagers, but Pete teleported them away before the Soldiers could destroy them.”

Ryland stopped dead in his tracks and turned to stare at Nate with wide eyes. “Pete’s on the planet?”

Nate frowned. Hadn’t Ryland heard Gabe bitching about it earlier? With a certain degree of glee, too. “Yeah?”

Ryland sighed heavily and turned to continue back down the stairs. “What a coincidence. Of all the planets in the universe to crash land on, it just happened to be the one where Pete got stationed.”

Huh. Nate’s brow furrowed. Good point.

“Gabe!” Ryland exclaimed as he stepped on to the balcony. “How are you my dear fellow?”

Gabe started and turned to look at Ryland. Nate breathed a silent sigh of relief that the transformation hadn’t continued any further. He was rather fond of his existence. And Vicky-T's. And Alex’s. Even Ryland and Gabe’s on a good day.

“What?” Gabe hissed.

“Guy Ripley, at your service.” Ryland threw his arms wide, cheery smile on his face, and Nate used Gabe’s distraction to edge back around and grab Alex’s sleeve, dragging him further away.

“What’s up with the accent?” Alex asked Nate, eyebrow raised. Nate shrugged. Sure Ryland had said it was some Earth accent – British? – but who knew for sure? Ryland was rather eccentric in general, and 10,000 years locked away with only the four of them for company had just worsened things.

“Who cares? It’ll distract Gabe enough so that he reverts back to normal.” Well, as normal as Gabe ever was. “You really want another Elisa?”

Alex shrugged, but kept one nervous eye on where Ryland and Gabe were talking. “I like Vicky-T,” he answered.

True. And Vicky would never have joined The Cobra if an opening hadn’t appeared with the demise of Elisa. Gabe had a random obsession with it only being the five of them.

Well, him and his four minions. They let him keep his illusions. It made things easier. And Gabe could be fucking terrifying, so they did tend to do his bidding. After arguing a bit, of course.

“Take a deep breath Gabe dear, scales aren’t a good look for you.” Ryland motioned to the cobra curled around the throne. It was sleeping. At least he thought it was sleeping, it was hard to tell, with the lack of eyelids and all.

Gabe eyed Ryland with distrust, but his pupils returned to normal, so Nate knew it was working. Distract Gabe enough, and his anger faded away to controllable levels. He was much better to work with when he wasn’t angry.

“New accent?” Gabe asked after a long moment, scales retreating back down from his neck and under the sleeves of his jacket. Ryland grinned.

“Like it? Lovely chaps, those British. It’s almost a shame to destroy them,” Ryland pondered. Gabe’s gaze darkened and Ryland hurried on. “Not that we won’t of course. Cobra demands it, must carry on.”

“Correct you are, Ryland my boy. Correct you are.” Gabe threw his arm around Ryland’s shoulders and turned to face Alex and Nate, dragging Ryland with him. “Summon Vicky-T back, and you, Alex, build me some new soldiers. I don’t care what Pete’s doing with his little teenagers. Power Rangers or not, we’re going to destroy the world!”

Nate wasn’t so sure they should be brushing off the Power Rangers – most of the Ranger teams around the universe were a pretty big fucking deal. There was a reason Travis hadn’t attacked a planet himself in a while. He much preferred to let the others fight than face his own possible destruction.

Then again, this team was brand new and probably didn’t have a fucking clue what they were doing. And Gabe was ordering it, and no matter how much they bitched, they did generally do what Gabe said. Otherwise they ended up in the Basement, and no one really wanted to go there. Again.

Vicky-T Nate called silently to her.

Coast clear? Vicky-T answered, sounding distracted. Nate took a moment to track her location and shook his head, amused. She was indulging in some retail therapy. Sort of. If shopping included walking through the stores and taking whatever she wanted, throwing her fangs up and firing lazy bolts of energy at those who tried to stop her. Citizens were fleeing in terror.

Ryland calmed him down, Nate answered. He’s still set on attacking the Earth. I’m pretty sure it’s just Pete’s presence that’s driving him now.

Good, she replied and Nate could picture her scowl. Pete stole those Rangers away from me before I could destroy them. Annoying.

Nate watched Alex lean over the table and start molding more Cobra Soldiers. Finish up your shopping and come back. Gabe’s planning an attack and you should be here before he gets upset.

Gabe chose that moment to spin around from Ryland and fix his eyes on Nate. “Navarro! Where’s Vicky-T?”

Vicky! Nate shouted in his mind and Vicky-T sighed.

She appeared a second later in a puff of smoke, hands on her hips and pout on her lips. “I was picking out new clothes.” She walked over and rested her arm on Gabe’s shoulder, leaning into him. “Don’t you want me to have nice things, Gabe?”

He leered at her and Nate rolled his eyes. Gabe was so predictable. He was lucky Nate wasn’t the jealous sort. That was Gabe’s arena. Just look at what he’d done to Pete, because of William.

Nate stopped for a moment, frowning in thought. What was William up to, anyways? Looking back at Vicky-T smirking up at Gabe, he shook his head and headed towards the communications room. Time to find out what The Academy were up to this millennium.

---

Back in the Command Center, ten minutes ago

PATRICK sighed as the teenagers reappeared in the Command Center. That hadn’t gone well. Frank and Bob were in a heap on the ground, and Gerard ran over to them as soon as he’d fully materialized.

“Frank! Frank are you okay?” he babbled, tugging at Frank’s hoodie and helping him to his feet.

Frank nodded, but let Gerard pull him up. He was visibly shaken. He didn’t protest as Gerard flailed a little helplessly, trying to check for himself that Frank didn’t have any broken bones.

Bob pushed himself up from the ground. “Sure Gee, I’m fine too. Thanks for asking.”

Ray snickered as Gerard turned to Bob, chewing on his bottom lip and looking contrite, but still clearly distracted by Frank. “Yeah? That’s good, that’s awesome. I’m glad you’re okay, getting hit by Frank. But you’re used to getting hit by Frank, yeah? I mean…”

PATRICK had a feeling Gerard could babble for a while, judging by the mildly resigned faces of the others, so it decided to interrupt before the kid really got going.

“So. Like I said, aliens attacking Earth.”

Bob raised an eyebrow at it. “Really? We hadn’t noticed. What the fuck were those things?”

“Those were the Cobra Soldiers. Alex, one of Gabe’s,” PATRICK frowned thoughtfully, “well, I wouldn’t call them minions, per se, but they’re part of Cobra, and they do listen to him more often than not. Gang? Whatever. Anyway, Alex makes them. They aren’t too bright, but they are pesky things.”

Mikey rubbed at his stomach absently. “Pack a punch,” he mused, and Gerard’s attention spun to him.

“Shit shit, Mikey are you okay?” He rushed over to his brother and his hands fluttered over Mikey’s stomach. Mikey rolled his eyes and pushed Gerard’s hands away.

“I’m fine Gee, I promise.” Gerard eyed him, mouth quirking and Mikey’s eyes widened, one eyebrow rising up. It was another moment before Gerard subsided, nodding in satisfaction and stepping away.

Ray turned from watching Gerard and Mikey and crossed his arms, frowning at PATRICK. “Who was that woman? And why’d she keep calling us Power Rangers? We gave you those coins back.”

PATRICK hesitated, wondering how to break the news, but Pete – in true Pete fashion – decided to pick that time to chime in on the conversation.

“That’s Vicky-T. Gorgeous isn’t she? Legs for days…” He smiled in memory for a moment before shaking his head. “Right, beautiful lady, but rather deadly. Recruited by Gabe after one of his minions disappeared under mysterious circumstances.”

“Mysterious circumstances?” Frank repeated incredulously, clearly having recovered from his shaken state.

Pete tilted his head. “Well…”

“Gabe vaporized her,” PATRICK cut in dryly, and it watched in amusement as Frank’s eyes got wide.

“Oh,” he said, subsiding. The fight with the Cobra Soldiers had clearly proven something to the tiny teenager, as he was much quieter than he’d been the first time around in the Command Center. Thank Nemar.

“And the reason she was positive we were the Rangers, despite the fact that we most definitely did not keep the coins?” Ray pressed, not letting it go. He was frowning, and his eyes were hard. Even his hair looked angry.

Pete winced. “Well see, the coins are sort of a binding talisman to the Morphin Grid. Once you morph with them, you’re pretty much bonded to the grid, so the power is yours. You can’t access it without the coins, but it leaves the mark on you.”

The five teenagers exchanged glances. None of them looked happy, not even Gerard. PATRICK had been counting on Gerard to convince the others, since he’d been so in to being a Ranger before, but now it wasn’t so sure. Fuck.

“So basically, we have no choice.” Bob said flatly. “You gave us those coins, you morphed us, so now we’re stuck with this connection to your super mystic energy field or whatever, whether we take your stupid coins or not.”

PATRICK looked up at Pete and shrugged. There wasn’t much use in lying to the kids. “Basically.”

“You painted a target on our backs,” Mikey said crossing his arms across his chest and hunching his shoulders. He leaned into Gerard, and Gerard wrapped his arm around him, letting him rest against his shoulder. It wasn’t a question.

Well. Put that way… “Yes?” PATRICK said. It felt a bit of contrition. It’d never had to deal with actual Rangers before, not new ones anyway. It wondered vaguely if all Rangers responded like this. Probably not, most planets had had Rangers for generations. It was usually considered a great honor to be chosen. But Earth had never had Power Rangers before.

Frank spun around, kicking at a console. Sparks flew up and PATRICK huffed. It’d taken it hours to get the damn thing working.

“Don’t break the Command Center. You’re going to need it.”

Gerard shot Frank a look and Frank scowled back, but settled. Looked like Gerard wouldn’t be a bad leader after all. Well, PATRICK mused, at least one thing was going alright.

Ray crossed his arms over his chest. “I think you better explain,” he said, leaning back against a console. The others mimicked him – well Frank sat down on the ground, leaning against Gerard’s legs – and fixed their attention on PATRICK.

Oh no, not this time. PATRICK rapped on Pete’s energy tube, and Pete blinked down at it in confusion. PATRICK glared and Pete’s eyes widened.

“Oh, right. Okay. Well when the universe was created there was a lot of excess energy and it had to go somewhere, so the Morphin’ Grid was created and it kind of flows through everything-”

“Like the Force?” Gerard asked, eyes lighting up, and Pete frowned.

“Um sure. Maybe? Right so, the Morphin’ Grid was created and-“

“Could you just skip ahead to now?” Frank asked. “Long version later.”

Pete looked a bit relived and PATRICK rolled its eyes. Mikey and Ray looked disappointed, and PATRICK made a note in its memory bank to give them a tablet with the history of the Morphin’ Grid on it. At least one of the Rangers should know it.

“Right. There’s a council on Nemar that oversees all the Power Ranger teams in the universe and their mentors – that’s me. You guys fight the forces of evil and keep enemies like The Cobra from destroying the planet. Easy!”

“Easy?” Bob repeated and Pete hesitated.

PATRICK sighed and saved him. Pete wasn’t great on the details. “No, not easy, but you do get superpowers. Accelerated speed, extra strength, innate knowledge of your powers and fighting abilities.”

Gerard lit up and nudged Mikey. “Ninja Mikey,” he said, and Mikey grinned. “Awesome.”

PATRICK continued, “So when they at-“

Weeeeoooo! Weeeeoooo!

The lights started flashing and all five teenagers looked around in alarm, turning this way and that. PATRICK scowled and poked at a panel. “Shut the fuck up,” it muttered at the alarm, and kicked the console.

“Hey you said don’t kick the-“

“Shut up Frank,” Bob said quietly.

Frank scowled and spun – presumably to yell at Bob – but stopped dead in his tracks, eyes wide as he stared at the Viewing Globe. “What. The. Fuck.”

Weeeeoooo! Weeeeoo--

PATRICK managed to get the alarm to shut off, and ran its hand under its hat, settling it more firmly on its head. It joined the Rangers as they crowded around the Viewing Globe.

On the screen, Vicky-T and Alex were walking around downtown, accompanied by a whole mess of Cobra Soldiers. Vicky-T was using her swords to shoot lasers at buildings, setting them on fire, while Alex followed behind her, directing the Cobra Soldiers to attack random civilians.

Well shit. “That’s Alex,” PATRICK explained. “Looks like Gabe’s not waiting around.”

“You need to go,” Pete said from behind them. He sounded resigned, and maybe a bit apologetic. “They’re going to destroy Earth if you don’t.”

The five exchanged nervous looks, then Gerard straightened his shoulders and nodded. He looked determined as he looked at PATRICK and then up at Pete. “Right. What do we need to do?”

PATRICK looked at the teenagers, caught off guard as it suddenly felt sorry for them. They were just kids. Fuck. It shook its head. It’d told Pete teenagers were a fucking bad idea.

Refocusing, it poked at the console and grabbed the coins. It passed them back out. “Here. Gerard, Red Tyrannosaurus. Mikey, Blue Triceratops. Ray, Yellow Saber-Tooth Tiger. Bob, Black Mastodon. And Frank, Pink Pterodactyl.”

Frank scowled as he took his coin. “I still don’t get why I have to be the pink one. And a saber-tooth tiger still isn’t a fucking dinosaur.”

PATRICK was feeling less bad. “Point the morpher at the sky, call out your dinosaur. You’ll be automatically transported to the fight.”

Ray looked down at the coin in his hand. “It gives us fighting abilities, right?”

PATRICK nodded as Gerard frowned into space. “Like Green Lantern maybe? No, he needed training…”

“Gerard?” Mikey said, nudging his brother. Gerard blinked and looked at him. Mikey raised an eyebrow and Gerard flushed.

“Right! Um.” He looked down at his coin, there was a crackling of red light, and a flat belt buckle-shaped mechanism appeared, with Gerard’s coin held in the center. He looked wide-eyed at the others.

Another crackle of light – this time a mix of yellow, pink, black and blue – and the other four held similar looking mechanisms in their hands.

PATRICK blinked. It’d been expecting them to take a little bit longer to figure out how to access their powers. But this, this was good.

Straightening his shoulders, Gerard exchanged one last look with the others before holding his morpher out in front of him. The others followed suit.

“It’s Morphin’ Time!”

“Mastodon!”

“Pterodactyl!”

“Triceratops!”

“Saber-Tooth Tiger!”

“Tyrannosaurus!”

There was a flash of colored light and the Command Center was suddenly a lot emptier.

PATRICK sighed and looked up at Pete. Pete looked back at it. “May the Power protect them,” Pete said.

PATRICK looked down and poked at the console until the Viewing Globe zoomed out and they could see the whole of downtown. “Don’t start sounding like a Council Member now,” it muttered.

---

Downtown Belleville

 

Gerard looked around at the others as they reappeared downtown. They’d all managed to stay on their feet this time. He considered it a win.

Frank looked down at his costume and crossed his arms in a huff. “I still have the fucking skirt,” he muttered, and Gerard rolled his eyes. At least he’d laid off about the color. Seriously, there was nothing wrong with pink.

“Um Gerard?” Bob said, eying the civilians all around. “Where’d those aliens go?”

He blinked and looked around. There wasn’t a single sign – well except for the fire in that building and the scorch marks on the ground – of the Cobras and their soldiers. Where the fuck did they go?

Gerard started as a computer interface popped up on the screen of his visor. The overlap scanned across downtown, even through the building. Holy fuck, it was like being Superman. X-ray vision!

“Mikey, Mikey! I have X-ray vision!!”

“Mmhmm,” Mikey responded, sounding distracted. “I have it, too.” He looked around and pointed off down a side street. “There’s Cobra Soldiers over there.”

Gerard looked over and, sure enough, he could see the vague outlines of the cobra heads through the building. “Right, okay.” He looked around at the civilians who appeared calmer now that the attack had lulled and were beginning to eye them curiously. “Bob and Ray, you guys get the civilians out of here. Frank and Mikey, you come with me.”

The others nodded and they split up. Gerard led the others down the side street, focused intently on the sensor overlay. He really didn’t want the Cobra Soldiers to catch them off guard again. And they still didn’t know where the fuck Vicky-T and Alex were.

Frank grabbed Gerard’s shoulder right before he turned a corner and glared at him. Or at least Gerard thought he was glaring, it was kind of hard to tell through the helmets. “They’re right there,” Frank hissed, pointing at the corner and Gerard grimaced. He totally knew that.

“Okay.” He took a deep breath. “Ready to find out if PATRICK was telling the truth about that fighting ability thing?” Which really, would be really fucking cool. He hoped it was true, or they were going to get their asses kicked. Again.

Frank nodded and threw himself around the corner with a yell. Gerard and Mikey exchanged a glance and followed him, jumping and somersaulting to land in the midst of the Cobra Soldiers.

At his side, Mikey laughed. “Definitely wasn’t lying,” he said with some glee, throwing himself at a Soldier and punched it in its hood, followed up by a kick straight to the chest. The Solider went flying into another one and they both crashed to the ground.

Frank was on the other side of the Soldiers, cackling as he dodged, punched and kicked, knocking them around. “All right I take it back, this is really fucking cool,” he called as he tackled a Soldier around the waist, dragging it to the ground and rolling back to his feet. “These Cobraheads have got nothing on me!”

Gerard grinned – they’re fucking superheroes - and threw himself into the fight. Bob and Ray were going to be pissed they missed this.

A laser beam came from above as they were kicking the ass out of the last of the Cobra Soldiers – actually Gerard liked Cobraheads better – and they had to roll out of the way.

“Well fuck,” Gerard gasped, holding his chest as he tried to catch his breath. They looked up to see Vicky-T and Alex standing on the fire-escape of a building, looking down at them. Vicky-T looked pretty pissed, while Alex looked – what the fuck, he looked bored?

Mikey edged closer to Gerard. “I think we’re going to need the others,” he muttered and Gerard nodded. Instinctively he lifted his wrist to his mouth, tapping into their communications system.

“Bob, Ray, we could use some help over here.”

Ray’s voice crackled through the speaker in his helmet a second later. “We’re on our way, Bob’s convincing the last of the people to leave right now.”

Gerard lowered his wrist and lifted his head to stare back up at the fire-escape. “What the fuck do you guys want? Get off our planet!”

Vicky-T grinned and jumped down, leaving Alex up on the fire escape. Gerard tried to split his attention between both of them, but a laser from Vicky-T’s sword convinced him that she was probably the bigger threat at the moment.

“Seriously, what the fuck did Earth ever do to you?”

Vicky-T shrugged, but the smirk didn’t leave her face. “Guess you were lying before, Power Punks.”

Mikey crossed his arms as Ray and Bob appeared from the side street and join them. “Well not technically."

“Um,” Gerard started, eying Vicky-T warily. “I don’t think she cares about technicalities.”

“Time to die, Rangers!” Vicky-T declared, brandishing her swords and running at them.

They scattered, Gerard rolling to his feet a few feet away. He was pretty sure that was never going to stop being cool.

Mikey and Ray ran at Vicky-T together, attacking her from opposite sides, throwing punches and kicks. Ray looked like he was trying to knock at least one of her swords out of her hands. But Vicky-T was clearly stronger and more skilled, easily dodging their attacks and slashing Mikey across the chest with her sword.

He went down in a shower of sparks and Bob joined Ray in attacking Vicky-T as Gerard and Frank ran over to Mikey.

“Shit, Mikes, are you okay?” Gerard asked, putting his hand on Mikey’s chest. The suit didn’t even look damaged.

Mikey nodded, letting them pull him back to his feet. “Yeah,” he replied, sounding dazed. “She just caught me by surprise; it didn’t hurt at all. The suit is definitely not spandex.”

Frank bounced on his toes a little. “Awesome!” he breathed, and turned back to the fight. “Let’s go!”

One last check of Mikey and Gerard joined Frank in the attack. Surely they could take on one alien between the five of them, even if she did have laser swords and at least 10,000 years experience on them, right?

Blasts from above reminded Gerard that, oh yeah, she wasn’t alone. Fuck.

Alex was still up on the fire escape, using that stupid hand motion – okay it did kind of look like cobra fangs, but still it looked stupid – to fire bolts of energy at them.

Gerard ducked a blast and eyed the fire escape. He could totally make that jump, right? Superheroes could always jump really high. He crouched and jumped as hard as he could, arms up to grab the bottom railing at least.

It really wasn’t necessary, Gerard realized, as he easily flew up over the railing of the fire escape and landed next to Alex. So. Fucking. Cool.

Alex recovered from his surprise quickly, throwing a punch at Gerard’s head and Gerard ducked. Shit, there was barely any room to maneuver, and Gerard moved in closer, trying to get in under Alex’s reach and brought his knee up into Alex’s stomach.

Alex doubled over and Gerard grabbed the back of his shirt, heaving, and threw Alex over the railing to the ground below. A second later, what he did registered in his mind, and Gerard gasped, grasping the railing and looking over. Fuck, had he just killed someone? Superheroes weren’t supposed to kill anyone, no matter how evil! Batman never killed Joker, no matter how psycho the Joker was!

Alex was up on his feet, having clearly recovered as he exchanged blows with Ray and Frank, and Gerard breathed a sigh of relief. Evil aliens or not, he really wasn’t ready to kill anyone.

Suddenly a beam from above came down and illuminated the fight. Vicky-T and Alex stopped fighting and spread their arms out, heads tilted back to look up at the beam.

“Guess Gabe got impatient,” Alex snarked, and Vicky-T laughed.

Thirty seconds later, the two were taller than the buildings.

“Holy shit,” Ray breathed as Gerard jumped down to join them and all five looked up at the towering aliens. Holy shit was right, Gerard thought in panic. They didn’t look human anymore, more like the Cobraheads with scaly skin and snake like heads. As they watched, Vicky-T – at least Gerard thought it was Vicky-T, judging by the swords – hissed, forked tongue licking at the air, and bolts of energy fired at the buildings.

“I think I liked her better when she looked like a girl,” Bob mused, and they all turned to look at him. Seriously? Bob looked over at them and did a double-take. “What?”

Frank shook his head and looked back up at Vicky-T and Alex, who were beginning to move away, towards the business district. The ground shook below them as they stepped and it was all Gerard could do to stay on his feet.

“Well fuck,” Frank said. “How are we supposed to fight them now? Kick them in the ankles?”

“That’s all you can reach any way,” Bob said, and Frank whirled on him, fists tightening.

Gerard stepped between them. “Save it for later, God. Fifty-foot aliens to deal with first.”

“We could call the fully automated transformer mechanisms,” Mikey said, head still tipped to the sky. “The Zords," he clarified before any of them could question.

His little brother had the best ideas. Gerard thought of the Zords and immediately knowledge flowed into his brain. “Dinozord power, now!”

“Mastodons and saber-tooth tigers still aren’t dinosaurs.”

"Frank let it go," Gerard snapped.

"I'm just saying, in the interest of accuracy-"

“Frank?” Bob interrupted calmly.

Frank turned to look at him. “What?”

“Shut up.”

“Both of you shut up,” Ray said, sounding awed. They all turned to stare at Ray, but he was looking off down the street, where a huge mechanical yellow saber-tooth was running towards them.

“Holy shit,” Frank breathed and Mikey nodded.

“I know right? Really fucking cool.”

They really were. Gerard could see the other Zords now, making their way out of – well he didn’t know where actually, where do you hide five building sized robots? – and heading downtown towards them. Gerard felt his fingers itch and he wished he had his sketchpad. The image of a ten story high red mechanical tyrannosaurus practically demanded to get drawn.

A hiss sounded from above and Gerard shook himself out of his thoughts. Right. Aliens attacking. “Let’s go guys,” he told the others. “We’ve got to stop them.”

The others nodded, and Gerard eyed the top of his Zord, thinking back to his leap to the fire escape. He could make this. Probably. Of course he could. Maybe. He bent his knees and held his breath. Had to get up there somehow. He pushed off the ground as hard as he could, eyes on the top of his Zord.

He landed seconds later, crouching on the top of the tyrannosaurus’s head, and his breath pushed out of him in a rush. “Fuck.” It was really fucking high. Gerard looked around. How the hell was he supposed to get in now?

The trapdoor was rather obvious once he looked down, and he quickly dropped through it and into the seat of his Zord. He peered out through the window in front of him. “Guys, this is so fucking awesome.”

Mikey’s voice crackled through the speaker in his helmet. “Yeah.”

Bob sighed over the radio, but it sounded fond. “Mikeyway, master of the understatement.”

“Guys I think my Zord is talking to me…” Ray said slowly.

Wait really? That’d be awesome. How come his Zord wasn’t talking to him? Gerard frowned and thought hi really hard at his Zord, but nothing happened except his head started to hurt.

Gerard pressed a few buttons on his console, making his Zord roar and lasers shoot from its eyes. Lasers. God his life had become so cool.

“Frank?” Ray asked, and Gerard frowned, distracted from the lasers. “Frank?”

There was silence over the speakers and Gerard started to panic. Shit was Frank okay? What if he hadn’t made it up to his Zord, it was a much higher jump than all the others. Who the hell had decided to give Frank the flying Zord? Fuck fuck…

“This cockpit is really, really small,” Frank said, sounding nervous. Oh shit. He’d completely forgotten about Frank’s claustrophobia.

“Yeah,” Mikey agreed. “But you can fly.”

Frank was silent. “Yeah,” he finally said. “I can.”

“That’s because a pterodactyl has wings,” Ray replied dryly, and Gerard snorted.

“When this is over Toro, you’re going down,” Frank swore, and Gerard relaxed. If Frank was plotting revenge, he’d be okay.

Gerard threw his hand up to cover his eyes as bolts of fire hit his Zord and sparks flew up. “Okay, enough chatter,” Gerard said, trying to sound in charge. “Let’s get rid of these guys. Megazord power, on!”

Mechanical clanking noises filled the cockpit as lights flashed. Gerard watched through the window as Ray and Mikey’s Zords started shifting, transforming so that they could connect to the bottom of his own.

“Whoa!” Gerard grabbed the armrests of his chair as it suddenly moved backwards, through a tube and into a control room. Mikey, Ray and Bob appeared almost simultaneously through their own tubes. “This is so-“

“Awesome, we know Gee,” Frank said as he appeared behind the others, chair moving along the track to put him at the pink set of controls. He looked around the room. “Oh, this is much better.”

Come on, he couldn’t help it! How could the others be taking this so calmly, they were sitting in the cockpit of a giant transformer. This was the best day ever.

Well, except for the aliens attacking. Gerard winced as lasers exploded against the chest of their Megazord.

Mikey pressed some buttons on his set of controls, and Gerard watched as lasers fired back at Alex and Vicky-T. They both hissed as they went flying and hit the ground with a resounding thud, but were back on their feet in seconds.

“Damn,” Gerard swore. This was going to be harder than he thought. A thought tickled at the back of his mind and he tried to focus on it. Oh. Oh. This just kept getting cooler.

He grabbed the crystal joystick in front of him and smashed the large button on the bottom of his console. “Activating battle mode!”

Lights started flashing in the control room, and Ray looked around. “What the hell did you just do, Gee?”

Gerard grinned, even though he knew Ray couldn’t see it under his helmet. “Best thing ever,” he replied, which of course told Ray nothing, but Ray would see in a second.

“Megazord sequence has been issued…” a mechanical voice informed them, and Gerard could hear the clanking as the Zords completed their transformation into the Megazord.

“Oh shit,” Bob breathed as the view through the window changed, showing blue sky as the Megazord lifted on to two feet. “That’s really fucking high.”

Gerard nodded absently, eying Alex and Vicky-T through the screen. “Now we’re the same height as them. Let’s kick some ass.”

Ray pulled on his joystick and the Megazord shifted, kicking Vicky-T in the chest, sending her flying into Alex. “I think we each control our own section of the Zord.”

“Really?” Bob poked at one of the buttons on his console, and the Megazord punched out, one of its hands detaching and flying through the air to punch both Vicky-T and Alex. Gerard watched in fascination as the hand flew back on its own and reattached.

“I think you’re right,” Frank replied, leaning over his console to peer out the window. “Awesome.”

“You’re no match for us, Rangers,” Alex said as he and Vicky-T regrouped. They both hissed, eye slits narrowing, and lasers flew from their eyes. The control room shook as they took a direct hit.

Gerard grabbed on to his console to stay in his seat. Shit, could they take another hit like that? Did they have shields or something? “We need to end this, and fast,” he gasped.

Mikey nodded, examining a screen in front of him. “Yeah. I think our shields are at 75%? Or maybe it’s our power levels. I don’t think this is English.”

“Well that doesn’t make any sense…” Ray mused, leaning over Mikey’s shoulder, falling into him as another bolt shook the Megazord.

Gerard pulled himself back into his seat. “Fight now, translate later,” he snapped. He was surprised when Ray immediately moved back into his seat, but he suppressed it. He was supposed to be the leader, he had to take charge.

“I summon the Power Sword!”

“The what?”

Lightning crackled overhead and with a crash of thunder, a giant sword flew down from the sky and landed in the ground in front of them. Gerard grinned as Bob pressed a few buttons on his panel. “I’ve got this,” Bob said.

The Megazord grabbed the Power Sword and swung it through the air at Alex. He dodged, and Bob made the Megazord swing again, the sword cutting through the backswing. The blade caught Alex in the chest, and he went down with a high-pitched hiss and shower of sparks.

Vicky-T moved to pull him to his feet and glared at them. “This isn’t over, Rangers!” she hissed, before they both disappeared.

Stunned silence filled the control room and then Frank crowed, clapping his hands. “That’s right motherfuckers! Better stay on that moon, we will fuck you up!”

---

The Command Center

PATRICK turned away from the Viewing Globe as the Rangers reappeared in a flash of light, already demorphed into their regular clothes. Frank was giggling, climbing all over Bob and trying to sit on his head. Mikey and Gerard were checking each other over, probably reassuring themselves that the other was alright. Ray just kept beaming at all of them.

PATRICK sighed. Teenagers.

“We did it!” Gerard grinned, finally looking up from his brother.

Frank nodded from his perch on Bob’s shoulders. “We fucking kicked their asses.”

PATRICK shook its head. “You did good,” it conceded. “But it was just one battle. It’s only the beginning. Cobra’s not going to go away because you managed to get in a good shot at Alex.”

The Rangers all fell silent, exchanging nervous looks. Frank slid down from Bob’s back.

“Hey, why the long faces?” Pete asked, his face appearing in his tube. “You guys did good! It’s not just anyone who can figure out how to use their Zord that fast.” He winked at Mikey and PATRICK rolled its eyes. Great.

Ray beamed, nodding his head. His hair kept moving after he stopped, and PATRICK stared. It was pretty sure it’d seen a life-form that looked just like that on K-12.

“Mikey this is so awesome, we gotta go home, I need my sketch pad,” Gerard babbled, grabbing his brother’s shoulder. Mikey let himself be pulled, clearly used to it. “This is going to make the best com—“

PATRICK glared up at Pete and Pete blinked down at it. PATRICK glared harder and Pete’s eyes widened. “Oh yeah! Wait! You can’t leave yet. There’s rules.”

Gerard stopped and groaned, turning on his heel to pout at the others. “There are always rules.”

Ray nodded, looking equally morose, and patted Gerard on the shoulder. PATRICK shook its head. Gerard seemed like he’d be a good leader, but he was so fucking dramatic.

Pete looked guilty. “Sorry guys. Council rules.”

There was much groaning, but the Rangers looked up at Pete expectantly. Pete cleared his throat. “Right. You can never use your powers for personal gain.”

Gerard nodded. “That’s always a rule. Superheroes help other people or they go evil. Remember Spiderman 3?”

Bob rolled his eyes. “Not if I can help it.”

Gerard opened his mouth, frowned then nodded. “True. But he definitely started going evil once he-“

PATRICK kicked the console and sparks flew up. Gerard’s mouth snapped shut and he looked over. PATRICK shrugged. “I have more work to do.”

Pete shot PATRICK a look – which it ignored, what the fuck Pete, it didn’t want the teenagers there all day – and continued. “Right, so. No personal gain. No escalating the battle.”

“That’s a stupid rule,” Frank argued, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring up at Pete. “We should just go blow up the Cobra dudes on the moon. Why wait for them to attack us?”

Bob smacked Frank in the back of the head – cutting Gerard off, PATRICK noticed. It knew it liked Bob. “Superheroes defend. Superman never went off and attacked LuthorCorp, even though he knew it was evil.”

“Superman was a pussy,” Frank grumbled, but subsided. PATRICK definitely liked Bob.

“Hey, I didn’t make the rules, I just tell them,” Pete said. “And three, you guys can’t tell anyone you’re Power Rangers.”

PATRICK had expected this rule to get the most complaints but, despite the disappointed looks, none of them looked surprised.

“School would be so much better if we could tell people,” Gerard said, sounding wistful, and Mikey nodded.

“It’d be dangerous though,” Ray said, and Bob cocked his head.

“Well Cobra already knows who we are, so really…”

Frank nodded, jumping on his toes and bumping into Gerard, who just moved with him. “Bobert’s right! And imagine the kids’ faces at school, I bet I’d never get shoved into another locker again.”

“But think about Batman! He keeps his identity secret!”

Frank waved his hand, nearly knocking Gerard in the face. “Batman keeps his identity secret from everyone, including the evil guys! It’s not the same—“

PATRICK hit the button on the console and the Rangers disappeared, mid argument. PATRICK adjusted its hat and turned to look up at Pete.

Pete grinned at it. “I think that went well.”

PATRICK sighed. “Ai yi yi,” it muttered and turned back to its computers.

 

---

The Cobra Palace

Gabe hissed as he stared down at Earth through slit eyes. Scales smoothed over his head and down, melding the hood of his jacket into a cobra hood.

“Fucking teenagers; fucking Pete,” he hissed again, hands tightening on the railing of the balcony. “Damn Victoria and Suarez running away, they should have stayed and destroyed them!”

Ryland winced, keeping his distance. Even he couldn’t calm Gabe down when he was like this. They could only hope that he calmed down on his own, unlikely considering those fucking power brats – not even Rangers for a day! – had managed to drive Vicky-T and Alex from their attack.

A cobra slithered down from where it was wrapped around the throne and across the floor to twine around Gabe’s leg. It moved slowly up Gabe’s body until it settled around his torso, head laid over his shoulder.

Gabe’s hand came up to pet the snake’s hood, without turning his gaze away from Earth. “We need to destroy them,” he hissed to the snake. Or himself; Ryland wasn’t sure and either was possible. “The Cobra will not be defeated.”

Nate appeared from the hall and stopped short when he saw Gabe. He winced, and moved closer to Ryland. “Alex is resting, but he’ll be fine. Vicky-T’s hiding upstairs in the starship.”

Ryland nodded, eyes still on Gabe. “Probably best,” he mused. Gabe wouldn’t hesitate to vaporize her – either of them – if he came across them while he was in this state.

Gabe spun away from the balcony, pacing across the room. He hissed and his eyes brightened and a blast flew into the wall, leaving scorch marks. Ryland sighed. That was going to be a bitch to clean.

Nate bounced on his toes and Ryland looked over at him, doing a double take. Gabe was almost fully transformed and blowing up the palace, Vicky-T was hiding in the starship, Alex was injured and Nate was grinning? What the fuck?

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Ryland asked. Nate was supposed to be the sane one.

Nate shrugged. “Nothing.” He kept grinning.

“How can you be grinning at a time like this? Pete’s little brats just beat us with no experience! This is not a time to be grinning!” Ryland couldn’t believe he had to explain this.

Nate’s grin grew wider. “The Academy is coming.”

Across the room, Gabe spun around, scales disappearing in a wave and his eyes brightened. “William’s coming?”

Nate nodded.

Gabe threw back his head and laughed. “Excellent.”

--

Next time, on Power Rangers!

The evil galactic force known as The Academy arrives on the moon. Joining forces with The Cobra, they launch an attack on the helpless town of Belleville! Will the new Rangers be able to defeat them? Find out next time on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers!

---