Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. They belong to whoever holds that copyright. I also do not own Doctor Who, which belongs to the BBC.
From the Shadows
"Oh what a beautiful morning," Vypra sang as she trekked across the rooftops of Mariner Bay. "Oh what a beautiful day. I've got a wonderful feeling..." A ball of purple flame erupted in her palm as she growled the last line of her song: "The humans are going to pay!"
She took a moment to enjoy the sights, relishing how much there was to destroy.
"This city is so beautiful. I can't wait to see it burn. This is the last morning those humans will ever see!"
She threw the fireball at one of the larger skyscrapers, well aware that it would be enough to draw the attention of Lightspeed. A few more fireballs for good measure and she lowered herself to the city streets and led her Batlings on a stroll of destruction, ensuring that the humans would know where she was at all times.
"Am I the only one that finds this odd?" Joel asked again as Carter directed the Rescue Rover through the streets of Mariner Bay. "A demon lights a few fires and then sticks around so that we can just find her?"
"We know Joel," Carter assured him. "She's up to something."
Lightspeed had been fighting the demons for some time and they had been able to use those encounter to build up profiles of how those demons behaved. Vypra did not normally act in such a way unless she was trying to draw them towards a trap; they all remembered the taco incident.
"The only way we'll know what she's up to is to spring the trap and be ready for anything," Kelsey agreed.
"She heading for some of the warehouses," Dana pointed out. Before considering the matter. "Miss Fairweather, can you get a list of what's being stored there?"
"Doing it now... Just a few sporting goods and some soap."
"That's it!" Carter realised. "Send out a message for all citizens to get inside and to keep their windows closed."
"Fumes?" Dana asked.
"Fumes," Carter confirmed as he turned the vehicle into the entrance of the warehouse and the Rangers clambered out of their vehicle.
Combusting potentially lethal chemicals in an attempt to unleash poisonous gases on the population of Mariner Bay had not been Vypra's intention, but as she continued to set fire to anything in her path, she really didn't object if she accidentally killed a few humans in the process.
As she made her way from one warehouse to the next, she was concerned only with leaving a trail the Lightspeed Rangers could follow.
"It's only a matter of time before Mariner Bays falls to the power of Queen Bansheera," she told the Batlings, only to suppress a smile as they exploded around her. It seemed the Rangers had caught up.
"Oh! I know when that'll be..." Green Lightspeed quipped: "Never!"
"You! You'll pay for that," she promised. "Destroy them!"
The Batlings attacked and the Rangers fought them off with ease. After months of training, fighting and more training, they had reached the point where they could handle large numbers of Batlings without breaking a sweat.
"You're outmatched here, Vypra!" Red Lightspeed warned. "Time for you to get out of Mariner Bay."
"And stay out!" Yellow Lightspeed added.
"Yeah!" Green Lightspeed offered. "And leave the rest of the planet alone too!"
That brought Carter and Kelsey up short as they remember the demon threat was not just against their city. Demon attacks had been reported around the world and had it not been for the teams of Demon Hunters that Lightspeed had engaged, the Rangers would have been overrun.
"Oh I assure you, nothing could make me leave right now," Vypra told them. "This is where you meet your match, Rangers."
She started chanting in an ancient tongue, twisting reality to her will, conjuring smoke and cloud along with thunder and lightning that made it difficult for the Rangers to see. A shape started to form in the cloud as white and silver sparks ran up and down the walls. There was a loud thunderclap that caused the Rangers to cover their ears and a flash that blinded the visual feeds from their helmets. Something hit them, hard and the Rangers hit the floor.
There was a second flash and their visual feeds cleared, allowing them to see the cloud had dispersed and been replaced by the Titanium Ranger.
"The Titanium Morpher, that's impossible!" Green Lightspeed protested. "Nobody was able to use it, right?"
The others nodded. They remembered the failed tests and the pain those test subjects suffered during attempts to make the Titanium Morpher work.
"That morpher is Lightspeed property!" Pink Lightspeed stated.
"Not any more," Titanium Ranger answered.
"Just who do you think you are stealing our property?" she pressed.
Dana could be a little pushy sometimes and it seemed that her attempt to 'reason' with, which most of the Rangers thought of as nagging, had failed.
"I'm your worst nightmare," Titanium Ranger told them.
"Look you're a Ranger, we're Rangers too," Blue Lightspeed tried. "We don't want any trouble."
"Trouble, oh you have plenty of that," Titanium Ranger told them.
He moved so fast that the Rangers had difficulty realising he had even started to move. He drew a large laser and after bracing it against his forearm, raised it in the Rangers' direction.
He opened fire, striking both the Rangers and the wall behind them. He increased the intensity of his shots until the wall gave way and the Rangers were thrown through the hole. Titanium Ranger was in hot pursuit. He kicked Green Lightspeed into a pile of wooden pallets before turning his attention on Pink Lightspeed.
Pink Lightspeed fought back, but Titanium Ranger was stronger. He blocked her punch, swept her legs out from under her and then delivered repeated stomps to her abdomen. He laughed as he heard her groan in pain, but was too busy pummelling the downed Ranger that he failed to notice Red Lightspeed approach.
"That's enough!" Red Lightspeed yelled as he tried to spear the evil Ranger.
Titanium Ranger hardly moved from the impact. He then leapt over Red Ranger and delivered a sharp chop to the back of his head. As Carter recovered and turned to engage, Titanium Ranger let loose with a flurry of punches and kicks that sooner had the Red Ranger on the ground.
"Follow if you dare," Titanium Ranger hissed as he grabbed a hold of Yellow Lightspeed as she tried to assist her team-mates and leapt onto the roof of a nearby building.
"Sir, we've lost visual feeds from all Rangers," Miss Fairweather said.
"Bring up the command codes for the Titanium Morpher and send the remote shutdown! Captain Mitchell ordered. "Tell Carter that as soon as it deactivates he is to detain whoever has that morpher and bring them back here."
When a Lightspeed Morpher activated, it was connected to the Aquabase's computer systems. This allowed the computer to send guidance to the Rangers during battle. It also allowed the Aquabase to shutdown the morphers and in the right circumstances, permanently deactivate them. Since the Titanium Morpher had been stolen the technicians had been searching for a way to render it safe by remote control. This was their opportunity.
"Sir, something is interfering with the command," the technician replied. "It's the Titanium Morpher, its infected our systems!"
"We can't! It's locking us out!"
Miss Fairweather moved to one of the consoles and start typing furiously as she tried to remove the foreign program.
"It's accessing the Tactical System," she reported. "I've locked it out of the Arsenal and Zord Systems."
There was no way they wanted a rogue Ranger having access to their weapons and machinery.
"Sir, video feed has been restored."
"Kelsey!" Pink Lightspeed cried as she made her way over to the Yellow Lightspeed Ranger.
Titanium Ranger had discarded his hostage as soon as he reached the rooftop, knowing full well the other Rangers would be right behind him. A metal bar took Green Lightspeed out of the punch while he traded blows with Blue Lightspeed. Chad managed to hold his own for a short time, but the Titanium Ranger seemed to call on another burst of power to deliver a strong kick that knocked Blue Lightspeed away.
"Unilaser!" Red Lightspeed called, realising that their current fight had them at a serious disadvantage. As the others regrouped behind him, the Rescue Bird arrived and converted into its firing formation. "This has gone far enough. Stop where you are!"
Titanium Ranger did so long enough to change the position of his Titanium Laser. Then he continued to stalk towards them, shifting its side arm to resemble an axe as he did so.
"You were warned," Red Lightspeed told him. "Fire!"
The Titanium Ranger took two more steps forward, then stopped as he raised the axe to meet the oncoming blast.
"Sir the Titanium Ranger just accessed our files on the Unilaser," Miss Fairweather reported. "He's looking for something... he's found the energy emission frequency. Rangers, take cover!"
As the Rangers received the message, the axe started to glow as it absorbed the energy from their blast. Titanium Ranger made a show of twirling his weapon in the air as he lined it up to swing back in their direction. As he did so the energy they had fired upon him was released along with some of his own power, catching them dead centre and blowing them off the top of the building.
"Rangers, break off the attack and withdraw," Captain Mitchell ordered.
Reluctantly - for despite the beating they had taken their anger drove them to want more - the Rangers did as instructed and left, allowing the Titanium Ranger his moment of victory.
"This isn't over, Rangers," Titanium Ranger promised as he placed his axe over his shoulder. "This won't be over until you are destroyed."
"Who was that guy?" Joel demanded. "I thought nobody could use the Titanium Ranger."
"Diabolico must have found somebody," Kelsey replied.
"There is no way that guy was human," Joel pressed. "Even with Ranger powers he shouldn't have had that much power."
"It's not possible for demons to use our technology," Miss Fairweather countered with a slightly insulted look on her face. "We' taken steps to make sure that those that use it are human."
She typed in a few commands, causing the display screen to come to life.
"The Titanium Morpher is a transition between existing Lightspeed powers and the next generation of Power Ranger. They're designed for extreme rescue situations, being immune to higher levels of heat and energy dispersal. In short the reason why he was stronger was because his powers are designed to be stronger."
"And that thing he did with the Rescue Bird?" Carter demanded.
"When he morphed he was able to gain access to the Aquabase computer systems. We locked him out of most of the systems, but he was able to gain details about your powers, including the Unilaser. Normally he should have been able to shield against such attacks, but with the correct frequency he was able to channel and use it against you."
That was bad news. With his increased strength and durability, the Titanium Rangers was already a problem. Having gained access to their systems and being able to use their weapons against them, made him more of a threat.
"Can't we just change the frequency?" Kelsey asked.
"We can, but he'll know the moment we do so," Miss Fairweather replied. "Right now everything that we can see or hear on our systems can be seen by him. That's how he knew where to catch Joel when he jumped onto the roof."
They needed something new that the Titanium Ranger could not access. Something that was not on the system... She pressed a button on her earpiece. "Kendrix Morgan, Damon Henderson and Kai Chen to Rescue Ops, now!" she instructed before rushing out, leaving Captain Mitchell to take over the briefing.
"Regardless of how he managed to use the Titanium Morpher, the most important thing now is to find him and get it back before he can cause more damage." He pressed a few buttons as he gave the Rangers a stern look, making it clear that what he was about to do was something they would not like, but now was not the time to argue. "I'm calling in every resource Lightspeed has to track him down. That includes Garth and Nancy."
He could see the almost mutinous look on Kelsey's face when he said that. It was well known that the Rangers had acted to stop Nancy being made a Lightspeed Ranger. When they had tried to stop Captain Mitchell from making her a part of the Demon Hunter teams, they had been told clearly that he would accept their resignations over the matter. That had stopped the formal objections, but Kelsey and Dana had proven reluctant to involve Nancy in any of their missions since.
As far as Mitchell could tell Nancy really didn't care about their objections when it came to doing her job. And as far as Garth was concerned he was doing what he had been designed to do... hunt and kill.
He stared into the depths of the Titanium Morpher. His morpher, HIS power! He had spent years as a nothing, fighting to survive in the demon's dimension, faced with constant beatings as the demons trained him to become their weapon. The Titanium Morpher had changed him, given him the power to fight back. In the weeks since he had stolen it he had trained himself to use its power, safely hidden inside the demon's domain. He had established himself in the pecking order, ensuring that the beatings had quickly stopped as he focussed his ire on the Lightspeed Rangers.
"You have done well," Diabolico commended. "Your mastery of the Titanium Morpher has proven your worth. You are truly the Titanium Ranger. And now we shall use your power to destroy those Rangers and restore Queen Bansheera's kingdom."
He continued to stare at the morpher, but he was not thinking about how to defeat the Rangers and restore Queen Bansheera. The Rangers were just the start. With them gone he would destroy Lightspeed piece by piece until he stood over the helpless form of William Mitchell and showed him what it was like to burn to death.
Carter wasn't sure why they were walking around Mariner Bay searching for the Titanium Ranger. He figured that when the Rogue Ranger reappeared he would not be trying to blend in while sipping coffee in the mall. And since they had no idea what he looked like when not in his uniform, and no means of tracking the Titanium Morpher, their only option lay in waiting for him to show up.
"Guys, this is Joel, everything's quiet here at Bay Plaza."
"Too quiet," Dana responded as she met up with Carter by a fountain in the park.
Various other reports and comments followed as the many agents Captain Mitchell had deployed reported in.
"Hey Kels, did you see that?" he heard Chad say after a few minutes. He remembered Kelsey and Chad had been sent to the down-town area.
"Yeah," Kelsey responded. "What is that thing? Guys, I think we've found it. Big yellow ball of something heading for down-town Marina Bay."
"Okay guys, rendezvous with Chad and Kelsey. All non-Rangers clear the area, now!" Carter ordered.
Surprisingly, Captain Mitchell did not counter the order.
Dana was already in the Rescue Rover as Carter clambered in and started the engine. "Let's go!"
Kendrix Morgan was in her element, surrounded by state-of-the-art computers as she furiously created new loading protocols. Behind her the vast Weapons Bay was at work creating new tools for the Lightspeed Rescue's Rangers. Overseen by Kai Chen, one of Lightspeed's many keepers of lost knowledge, Damon Henderson and his team of modern day blacksmiths produced up-to-date interpretations of the weapons found in some of Kai's texts.
And as they worked, with Miss Fairweather overseeing the project as she had done many times before, they knew that this time they had to come up with a working model in a matter of hours.
"Triple feed configuration is done," Kendrix stated.
"Okay somebody get me the oscillating frequency tuners and a large mallet," Damon said. He was the guy that had solve a problem with one of the Zords by hitting it with a hammer.
"We're not going to be able to test this so make sure you get it right," Miss Fairweather warned.
The clock was ticking.
The ball of light slammed into the side-walk, drawing the attention of the citizens. The landing caused a small quake that damaged nearby property and caused a huge cloud of smoke to rise from the street followed by an explosion. From the debris stepped the Titanium Ranger, his Titanium Laser resting on his shoulder. The crowd hesitated, realising on some level that he had caused the explosion, but not considering a Ranger to be a threat. That changed as he growled and levelled his weapon at them, ready to pick off the nearest target.
An engine roared and he twisted as the Rescue Rover slammed into him at full speed. Titanium Ranger was thrown up and over the bonnet of the machine as Carter turned the wheel, placing the Rover between the Titanium Ranger and his prey.
"You realise that is coming out of your salary," Joel commented as he arrived alongside Chad and Kelsey.
"It'll buff out," Kelsey said as she helped a few more civilians on their way.
"This isn't a good place for a fight," Chad noted.
"I don't think we have a choice in the matter," Carter answered, his eyes fixed on the Titanium Ranger.
The Titanium Laser flickered up as he unleashed a volley of random shots, striking buildings, vehicles and punching large holes in the ground. It quickly became clear as he turned in the Ranger's direction that his intention had been to stop them from using the same trick again, as he raised his laser a second time and did the same thing to the street behind their vehicle.
"Who are you?" Carter demanded.
"Who I am doesn't matter any more," came the reply. He sounded angry.
"Look, we don't want to hurt you," Joel tried. "Just lower the gun and let's talk about this."
"Hurt me? Your pathetic powers are no match for mine!"
"We'll see about that," Carter said. "Lightspeed Rescue!"
The five Rangers charged and Titanium Ranger quickly kicked them aside, taking extra time to nail Red Lightspeed with some powerful kicks before struggling a little with Blue Lightspeed. After dispatching Blue Lightspeed and flipping Green Lightspeed to the ground, he zeroed in on Pink Lightspeed. He grabbed her by the throat and leapt upward to land on the Rescue Rover where he slammed her repeatedly into the bonnet before tossing her to the ground
Green Lightspeed jumped up onto the vehicle to fight him as Yellow Lightspeed used her zip line to gain some height before diving back toward him. Green Lightspeed had managed to hold Titanium Ranger's right arm in such a way that he could not fire his weapon. Of course that meant that Green Lightspeed had left himself open for a series of sharp kicks.
Titanium Ranger dropped back as Yellow Lightspeed landed, her Rescue Baton striking heavily against his right arm. With a growl he raised the Titanium Laser and fired, pulverising the Rescue Rover and throwing Green Lightspeed and Yellow Lightspeed into the air as Blue Lightspeed hauled Pink Lightspeed clear.
Bang bang bang bang bang!
His advance on Red Lightspeed was cut short as a series of projectiles connected with his body, pushing him back. He looked up to find Nancy and Garth in their Demon Hunter armour ready for action.
"You shouldn't have interfered," he growled.
The two Demon Hunters did not answer, raising their side-arms while waiting for the computers in their helmets to tell them where to shoot. The computers failed to find a successful shot so instead they fired and moved, keeping the Titanium Ranger off balance as the Lightspeed Rangers regrouped. Armour enhanced strength allowed Nancy to withstand a few kicks from the Titanium Ranger while Garth's altered biology made him versatile enough to take a few punches.
"Miss Fairweather, we're out of time," Captain Mitchell stated as he watched the battle unfold.
Ordering Garth and Nancy into battle had been a risk, but it had bought the Rangers a little time to recover. But that short rest would be worthless if they could not find a way to breach the Titanium Ranger's defences.
Nancy had chosen to use her sword while Garth relied on his shotgun. The combination of close combatant and long range fighter made it difficult for Titanium Ranger to use his weapon. Any time he raised the Titanium Laser to fire at Garth, Nancy used her sword to spoil his aim. And when he tried to use his axe, Garth opened fire to remind him he was still there.
The only problem was that unlike the Rangers, Garth and Nancy had a limitation on how long they could remain in combat before their armour needed to recharge. And while their fight with Titanium Ranger had been short, it had been brutal. Nancy was starting to tire.
"Their finished," Miss Fairweather reported, "but they're completely untested."
"We'll just have to hope for the best," Mitchell replied. "I'm ordering Garth and Nancy to pull out. Get ready to send."
With a sigh she gave Kendrix a signal to start compiling the teleportation codes. After that the new equipment would be integrated into the Lightspeed Rangers' arsenal and ready for use.
"Kai, we have to finish up," she warned.
The Lightspeed Librarian was adding the final inscriptions to the weapons, embedding spells known to weaken Queen Bansheera's forces into the modern technology. He gave a quick nod and removed himself from the safety area as Damon made a final check of one weapon's edge before he nodded his approval and gave a thumbs up. They were as close to ready as the could be without hours of testing every component.
"Carter, I'm sending you an update. Activate V-Lancers!"
"Tekno Shield!" Garth bellowed.
It was a clear sign of how much the battle was taking out of him that he was having to shout the commands. In less stressful situations he could achieve the same result without any verbalisation. The heavy shield exploded out of his left hand, blocking the Titanium Axe, allowing him to level his modified shotgun and fire two of his special demon buster rounds into the Titanium Rangers' midsection.
As the Titanium Ranger was not a demon the rounds had very little effect although the impact was enough to back him up. He responded by delivering a powerful kick to Garth's chest, knocking the Demon Hunter aside before he turned to block Nancy's sword strike. Nancy's pistol shots were ineffective against his suit although when she used her gun as a club it caused his head to rock to one side from the concussion.
Titanium Ranger's response was to fire his Titanium Laser indiscriminately, no longer caring if he managed to hit an opponent or not. His actions made it difficult to block and both Demon Hunters were forced to back away from the rage-fuelled onslaught.
"Garth, Nancy, pull back!"
"Understood," Nancy replied.
There was no question in her voice, no protest. Unlike the Lightspeed Rangers, the Demon Hunters understood that their role sometimes required them to step back and allow others to act.
The Lightspeed Rangers had regrouped while Garth and Nancy had taken their turn with the Titanium Ranger. As they watched the two Demon Hunters fight, they realised just how skilled Nancy had become. When they had blocked her from becoming a Lightspeed Ranger, they had worried about losing another team member. And even when Captain Mitchell had found an alternative role for her, they had fought him every step of the way.
Now it was clear their fears were unfounded and that the Demon Hunters were extremely capable and more than a little vicious.
"Carter, I'm sending you an update. Activate V-Lancers!"
"Understood," Red Lightspeed replied. "V-Lancer!"
A large metal red V appeared from his hand. A quick glance confirmed that the other Rangers were holding similar objects in their own colours. Instinctively he raised it in the Titanium Ranger's direction and then threw it. The other Rangers followed his lead.
Titanium Ranger was not sure what to make of this turn of events. V-Lancers were not a part of the Rangers' arsenal that he had seen. However, the moment Red Lightspeed had called for it, Titanium Ranger found his display flooded with data. So much so he failed to react when the fiver Rangers threw them at him. The metal shapes energised as the spun through the air, striking him at full power before bouncing off and returning to the hands of their Rangers.
As he sifted through the data he had received he realised that somebody had used his access to their systems against him, dumping a massive load of computerised garbage into the data feed to cause distraction. With a growl he terminated the feed and turned his attention to the Rangers. It looked like he would be facing them without knowledge of their new weapons' capabilities.
"Defence!" the Rangers called.
At their command, the main part of the V-Lancer was teleported to its corresponding Ranger. As they attached the metal Vs, which functioned as the power core of the completed weapons as well as boomerangs for distant attacks, the weapons extended to their full length, deploying a sharpened blade at the end.
Titanium Ranger raced forward, but this time the Rangers were on the attack. The knowledge of how to use their new weapons had been uploaded through their helmets, giving them an almost instinctive skill when using them. And even though Titanium Ranger was still more powerful, the use of teamwork and their new weapons prevented him from landing more than a few glancing blows.
Working together they were able to slow their opponent down and position him so that Red Lightspeed could knock the Titanium Laser from his grasp. With the five spears pointing in his direction they had expected him to back down. Instead he fought even harder, dodging around their lances as he did so. But they had the numbers advantage and managed to land more than enough glancing blows to slow him down.
As Pink Lightspeed and Yellow Lightspeed ran passed him, dragging their blades across his side, Red Lightspeed stepped forward and swiped his V-Lancer across the Titanium Ranger's chest, knocking him backwards.
Still as the Rangers once again regrouped, it was clear the Titanium Ranger had not given up as he laid eyes on his side-arm.
"Don't do it!" Red Lightspeed warned, but his words went unheeded as the Titanium Ranger lifted himself up and started to sprint to where his weapon rested.
"Rangers, switch to Blaster," Miss Fairweather instructed.
"Got it," Right Lightspeed confirmed. "V-Lancer, Blaster Mode!"
The base of the V-Lancer was pushed forward, causing the weapon to retract its blade as it shrunk. Even as Titanium Ranger retrieved his gun, the Rangers attached their Blaster Grips to the V-Lancers, transforming them into blasters.
There was a moment of stillness and then the Titanium Ranger lifted his weapon and pulled the trigger. The Rangers responded to the threat, firing the V-Lancers and striking their opponent in multiple spots. For the first time their weapons actually brought him to a dead stop before he was thrown backwards. It was still not enough to keep him down though.
"V-Lancers, Spectra Blast!"
The Rangers aimed at a spot above Titanium Ranger's head and fired. The combined energy from their weapons merged into a mass of energy and with a slight twitch of their weapons, they brought it crashing down upon their opponent where it exploded.
Captain Mitchell watched the video feed from each of the Rangers. From his terminal inside his office he could retrieve the data that the various sensors on their suits constantly relayed back to the Aquabase where its computers performed countless tests and filings so that command decisions could be made. As he watched the Titanium Ranger struggle to his feet, clearly weakened by the blast, he saw that the helmet visor had lowered - no doubt to counter the effects of the blinding light on his visor-, allowing the sensors to lock onto the facial features beneath.
It would have been a long shot to have identified someone just from the small area of face that had been revealed, but Captain Mitchell had been running another program in the background just days earlier and had not closed it down when the Titanium Ranger had first appeared. The two programs shared data, resulting in an unexpected match.
"Stand down before this escalates," he heard Red Lightspeed say. "Don't force us to destroy you."
The Titanium Ranger was either unable or unwilling to stand down though as he continued to stagger forward, his weapon drawn and ready to raise again. As the visor closed and he levelled his blaster, the Rangers prepared to respond.
"Energy Level Ten!" Miss Fairweather instructed.
It would have been unsafe to fire the V-Lancers at full power without testing. Now that they had proven safe, the Rangers were free to use maximum power.
He noticed the box indicating that a match had been found and clicked the accept button, loading the profile.
"No," he breathed, not believing what the computer was telling him. That was replaced by panic as he saw the Titanium Ranger about to attack again and the Rangers lifting their V-Lancers ready to unleash a second potentially deadly shot.
"Full Power!" he heard Red Lightspeed command. A separate display indicated the Rangers had turned up the power of their weapons to their maximum settings. "Lock on!" The visual feed showed them levelling the V-Lancers into position. "Target Locked!"
He hesitated, uncertain what to do. The Titanium Ranger was a deadly foe, a dangerous threat. Yet if the computer was correct... If there was even a slim chance that the computer was correct then he had no option.
Red Lightspeed had been about to pull the trigger when Captain Mitchell had spoken.
"What? Please repeat sir," he said.
"Hold your fire," came the repeated command.
"What is he talking about?" Blue Lightspeed asked.
"But sir, this is our chance to finish him," Yellow Lightspeed protested.
"Don't shoot." The voice sounded uncertain.
Even though the instruction had been given, in the field the decision lay with Carter. For a moment he considered disobeying and taking the shot, but he trusted Captain Mitchell to have a reason and that was enough to stay his hand.
"All right, V-Lancers, stand down," he instructed as they watched Titanium Ranger falter. For the second time in recent battles, they left the scene with the mission incomplete. "Let's go!"
"We're not finished!" Titanium Ranger protested as he managed to stand once more. "Come back!"
But the Rangers walked away; they had no choice since the Rescue Rover had been reduced to scrap by the Titanium Ranger's offensive. A frustrated Titanium Ranger punched the ground with his fist as exhaustion overcame him and he was teleported away.
It was a long walk back to the Aquabase after a battle. When the Rangers arrived they were hurt and tired, and not in the mood to be palmed off by Captain Mitchell's staff.
"Retreat?" Carter demanded as he burst into the Briefing Room. "Sir, we had him!"
"He would have shot at us without thinking twice!" Joel added.
"Now he knows about the V-Lancers," Chad reasoned. "He can learn to counter them just like he did the Unilaser."
"That was our chance," Kelsey snapped, "maybe our only chance. We want an explanation."
"Well sometimes you don't get what you want, Kelsey," Mitchell replied, his back to them. "I am in charge of Operation Lightspeed and I make the call on what orders I give. If I choose to share my reasons with you I will, but you do not get to demand anything. Am I clear Miss Winslow?"
It was very rare for Captain Mitchell to allow his agitation to show. Even when the Rangers had tried to force him to cancel the Demon Hunter project he had remained calm in his response. At that moment he was unable to keep the irritation out of his tone and a part of him enjoyed seeing Kelsey flinch.
"Until further notice you are not to engage the Titanium Ranger. You're dismissed. Carter, please stay."
Chad, Kelsey and Joel left, but Dana lingered.
"I meant you too, Dana," Captain Mitchell told his daughter.
"I think I should stay, Sir," she replied as she closed the door. "I did a little research before we got here. I checked what you had been doing before you decided to order us to stand down."
"You didn't tell me that," Carter protested.
"You had no right," Mitchell argued at the same time.
"I have every right, Father," Dana replied. "You forget that I am more than just a Ranger. I am also one of the stakeholders in Operation Lightspeed. This is my heritage as well as yours and I have a right to know if something has compromised you." She paused before explaining. "I only looked at what you were doing, not what you saw that made you change your mind. I respect your privacy enough to wait for you to tell us."
"Please sir," Carter begged. "Help us understand."
Mitchell sighed, but saw little choice in the matter.
"A few weeks back I ran a computer program to find out what my son would have looked like if he was alive today," he explained. "It was just a way of dealing with the memories."
"I'm sorry sir, I didn't know," Carter said, but Mitchell waved the comment aside.
"When the Titanium Ranger appeared I thought I'd closed the program, but it had been left in the background. When his helmet was up I saw an opportunity to find a facial match."
"You thought he was a criminal," Dana realised.
"Or a policeman, fireman, paramedic... just about any circumstances where a photograph is stored on government networks there was a chance of a match. It was a long shot, but if we could have found out his identity, there was a chance to find out how he managed to use those powers."
"So what happened?"
"The two programs interacted and the computer made a match," Captain Mitchell said. "I don't know how it is possible, but there is a very high probability that the Titanium Ranger is my dead son, Dana's brother."
Dana was unable to respond, not sure how she should be feeling to learn that her brother was alive, and had just tried to kill her. So it was left to Carter to ask the question...
"So what now?"
End of Part