Author's note: This story begins in 2009, shortly after the start Book Three: Ultimate Origins. Ultimate Origins and DECA Rangers run concurrently.

 

DECA Rangers: Chapter One

Emergency!

 

She could hardly see. Streetlights barely reached the dark alleys of Angel Grove's Crown Point neighborhood at night, and the dense fog made visibility even worse. But the lack of sight was the least of the young woman's problems. She was running for her life.

 

The woman screamed as she ran, but no one could hear. Even if they had, they wouldn't have cared. No one did. Angel Grove was becoming a dying, rotting city, and its people had lost all hope and empathy.

 

She tripped over an unseen trash can and slid across the pavement, skidding her bare knees. She heard cruel, hissing laughter come from behind her. The woman tried to scramble to her feet, but a cold hand reached around her ankle and pulled her back. The same cold hands flipped her onto her back.

 

"No, get away!" she shouted as her pursuer tugged on her dress. "Somebody help! Somebody, please! No!"

 

Her attacker snarled with laughter. "Scream all you want, young thing..." He leaned closer to her face. The being had wrinkled, tan skin and a pair of stubby antlers extending from its bald head. Its eyes were yellow, and its teeth were razor sharp. "Do you really think anyone will care if another one of you cows winds up dead in a gutter?"

 

The woman shivered with fear, and her attacker shushed her mockingly as he ran a finger along her cheek. "Now, now...don't be afraid. No, no, the dying part will hardly hurt. I'll make it quick. As for the foreplay...well...I can't exactly say the same."

 

A hand suddenly grabbed onto the creature's shoulders and hurled him off of the girl. The rescuer spun forward with a reverse sidekick that slammed against the attacker and knocked him against an alleyway wall.

 

The creature cursed and snarled at the stranger, who wore a dark jacket and pants that made him hard to spot in the dense fog. "That was a mistake, meat-sack. Never get between an Artode and his dinner!"

 

"Artode, huh?" the stranger asked. "Is that what you creeps call yourselves? Doesn't sound very menacing. I guess it's fitting."

 

The Artode sprang forward, and the stranger slammed a front kick upside the creature's head that knocked him off his feet. The Artode crashed against the pavement and blacked out. The rescuer snorted. "Definitely fitting."

 

He turned towards the young woman, who was curled up in a fetal position and sobbing on the pavement. He reached down a hand to help her up. "It's okay...he can't hurt you now. Let's get you home."

 

The girl sniffed back her tears. "Home? I...I don't have a home..." She looked up to her rescuer. "Who...who are you?"

 

"My name's Nat," he said. "I'm here to help."

 

***

 

From the rooftops, two figures stared down at Nat as he lead the girl to safety. One of them was dressed in a black military uniform, trimmed with silver and red with a badge that said "SPD" on the left side of his chest. He had the head of a blue-furred K-9. His name was Kruger.

 

His companion appeared as a human woman in a white lab coat, which covered a white-and-orange colored uniform. Her name was Swan. "So that's him?" she asked.

 

Kruger nodded. "I've been watching him for weeks now. He's a good fighter. Persistent. Determined."

 

"Dark. Brooding," Swan said. "He seems...troubled."

 

Kruger folded his arms across his chest. "He needs purpose. Direction. We can give him that."

 

Swan shifted uncomfortably. She had her doubts. She knew nothing of this Nat or where he was from. She knew nothing of his background. But she'd learned a long time ago to trust Kruger and his instincts. His leadership.

 

She sighed with defeat. "I'll get his morpher ready..."

 

***

 

Nat walked down the steps of an old warehouse basement, where he'd set up a small, make-shift apartment for himself. He was homeless otherwise. The cold, concrete basement was scarcely decorated with a table and a few folding chairs. An old mattress was in a nearby corner. Newspaper articles were scattered across the table and bed. And large maps of Angel Grove City were pinned to the walls.

 

He used the maps to track them- the aliens, who lived secretly among the humans of Angel Grove City. They'd started moving into the city in early 2008, following the end of what the media sometimes called "Countdown to Destruction II- The Mogralord War." Many of the aliens adopted identities of the dead, along with technology that made them appear human, and tried to live peacefully in small societies of their own. Others, like the Artode, were scum. Criminals. And Nat did his best to find them.††

 

The alien criminals started thriving after the city was quarantined. They slithered even further out of hiding and made the alleyways their playgrounds.

 

Nat walked up to one of the maps and tacked a red pin on the spot where he had fought the Artode. He looked back towards the entrance to the basement and noticed that the girl he had saved was still standing on top of the staircase.

 

"You can come down, it's all right," Nat said. "It's not much...but it's safe."

 

The girl, Tia, wrapped her sweater tightly around her body as she slowly walked down the stairs, her eyes looking back and forth across the bare room. "You...you live here?"

 

"For a while now," Nat said. "It's not as bad as it looks." He glanced at the cracked floor and walls. "Most of the time."

 

"What happened to your parents?" Tia asked. "You look so young."

 

"I'm old enough," Nat said. "What about you? This isn't exactly a safe neighborhood to be walking alone at night."

 

"It's just me and my older sister," she said. "My parents, they...got sick. Turned..." She shook her head. Her parents had obviously fallen victim to the undead plague. "We're staying at a hotel until..." She snuggled her sweater tighter around her body, even though the basement was rather warm. "I don't know." She stared ahead blankly. "I have no idea what I'm doing anymore."

 

"Well...you can stay here for the night if you need to," Nat said. "We can figure it all out in the morning."

 

"Why are you doing this?" she asked as she took a seat on the steps. "Why go out of your way to help someone you don't even know..." She wrapped her sweater tighter around her body. "Is it for..."

 

Nat shook his head. "No, no. It's nothing like that. It's just...I know what it's like to be helpless."

 

***

 

Z unzipped her light-black jacket, which covered a yellow undershirt, and took a seat at a rear booth in Starbucks, the last Starbucks in the Crown Point neighborhood. Most of the other businesses along the road had closed, but the coffee shop remained.

 

Her table was below a ceiling speaker that played Frank Sinatra music. Most of the lights in the coffee shop were dim, and street lamps from outside cast a pale glow through the window. It was the shadiest Starbucks she had ever visited.

 

Another young woman joined Z at the table. She wore a gray jacket over a black shirt, and her brown hair was bundled back behind her head. She pulled up a wooden chair and sat across from Z. "A Starbucks?" She laid a manila folder on the table. "You chose this place to meet?"

 

Z glanced up. "The speakers drown out any wayward listeners. Plus, I'm not going to lie, I love their Cinnamon Dolce lattes."

 

"I'm surprised anyone in this neighborhood can afford a $7 cup of coffee," the woman named Rai said. She slid the envelop closer to Z. "This is everything I have on Damien Tryp. Enough to confirm everything you already know. Enough to lock him away for good."

 

Z took the envelop and opened it- but it was empty. She tilted the envelop and shook it upside down, but nothing fell out. "Rai, there's nothing here."

 

Rai opened her eyes wide with panic and shook her head. "There has to be. This evening when I left work, there-"

 

A gunshot shattered through a nearby window and blasted through Rai's head.

 

"Shit." Z pulled out her sidearm, dove for cover, and rolled across the floor. She looked through the broken window to see the doors of a black SUV slam shut as the vehicle sped away.

 

Z dashed outside and ran after the van while pulling out a badge and flipping it open like a cell phone. "Mission failure, we're compromised. Syd, where the hell were you?"

 

"Not now," said another voice, a young man named Sky. "Bridge, move in along Fox Drive. I'm coming in around Yandes Street."

 

The black SUV swerved around a corner, and from the other side of the street, a black motorcycle throttled across the sidewalk towards the vehicle. The motorcycle rider was Sky, dressed in a black jacket and black helmet with a solid-black visor.

 

Sky pulled out his sidearm and fired armor-piercing bullets that blew out the SUV's tires. The SUV screeched across the pavement, slammed over a curb, and smashed against a nearby building.

 

Sky pulled his motorcycle to the stop and hopped off the bike while pulling off his helmet. Z was at his heels, along with his two other teammates: Bridge and Syd.

 

The driver's side door to the SUV opened, and the driver staggered out, her forehead damp with blood from the crash. Oddly enough, she wore a tight-fitting business suit and looked like a professional in her mid 30s.

 

Sky and his team aimed their weapons at the woman.

 

"Drop to the ground," Sky said. "Your pretty suit might get a little wrinkled, but frankly, I don't give a damn."

 

She smiled mockingly at him. "You're just a kid. What are you? Twelve?"

 

"It wouldn't matter if I was nine, I'm still the one holding the damn gun, so drop onto the damn ground," Sky said.

 

She laughed and shook her head. "You don't seem to understand how seriously we take the safety of our clients."

 

prspd-vi-krybotsThe back doors to the SUV burst open, and more than a dozen metal spheres rolled out onto the pavement. Each sphere released a liquid metal that expanded and solidified to form an automated grunt called a Krybot.

 

One of the Krybots immediately turned towards the woman. She opened her eyes wide with fear as she remembered her own words, about the lengths her organization would take to protect its clients. "Oh shi-"

 

The Krybot blasted off her head.

 

Sky and his teammates pulled out their badges. "Spread out," Sky said. "This is what we've trained for."

 

They flipped open their badges. "SPD..." They thrust their badges forward. "Emergency!"

 

Energy shimmered around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms. They were the four members of the Guardian Task Force DECA Rangers. Sky, DECA Blue; Z, DECA Yellow; Bridge, DECA Green; and Syd, DECA Pink.

 

DECA Blue armed his D-Knuckle, which wrapped around his fist. He connected his D-Baton to the weapon to form a blaster. "Take them down."

 

The Blue Ranger fired bolts of cyan-tinted energy that ripped through some of the grunts with bursts of spark as the soldiers spread out to attack.

 

***

 

Nat had slept on the floor so Tia could sleep on his mattress- although she probably would have been more comfortable on the floor- and he walked the girl to her hotel the next morning. The sky above was cloudy, grey, and gloomy.

 

"You're staying at the Hyperion?" Nat asked.

 

Tia nodded. The Hyperion was formerly a high-class hotel, but during the past few years, the business had turned into the crown jewel of the slums.

 

They walked through the hotel lobby, dimly-lit by flickering, pale lights, and walked up a wide antique staircase towards the hotel's second floor, where Tia and her sister shared a room.

 

"What's wrong?" Nat asked. "You've barely said a word."

 

"It's just..." she said. "I'm not looking forward to this. My sister and I...we got in a fight last night. That's why I ran out...to get some space."

 

"Sounds like it must have been serious," Nat said.

 

"It was," Tia said. "Ever since we lost our parents...my sister, Rai, she's been involved with this man named Damien Tryp. Everyone in the neighborhood knows he's slime. Even the cops know it. But his attorneys are with Wolfram & Hart, so that makes him untouchable."

 

"Wolfram & Hart...I've heard of them," Nat said. Wolfram & Hart was a questionable law firm that often represented extraterrestrial clients that posed as humans. "If one of their clients is involved with your sister...that won't end well."

 

"That's what I tried to tell her, but she wouldn't listen," Tia said as they walked towards the door of her hotel room. "After we lost our parents, he offered to help us. He set us up with this hotel. But it's only because he wanted something. And with a pervert like Damien Tryp, you can guess what that something was."

 

They stopped in front of the door, and Nat looked to her with concern. "You two should get out of here. I could..." his voice trailed off.

 

Tia smiled and squeezed his hand. "You've done enough. Thanks for all your help. I'd be dead if it wasn't for you."

 

"Someone's got to fight the good fight," Nat said.

 

She smiled. "Thanks again."

 

***

 

Tia walked into the hotel room and noticed that her sister was gone and her bed hadn't been slept in. She poked her head into the open bathroom, but Rai wasn't in there either.

 

She opened her cellphone to call her sister, but before she could dial, a voice spoke up from the shadows. "She's not going to answer..."

 

Light seemed to ripple near a corner as a man stepped into view, like a chameleon dropping its cloak. He pulled out a handgun and fired.

 

***

 

Nat was walking down the stairwell when he heard the gunshot. His eyes opened wide. "Tia..."

 

He turned back and ran up the staircase, dashed down the hall, and bolted towards her room. Nat sprinted to the door and turned the handle, but it was locked, so he kicked the door down.

 

He stepped inside and found Tia lying on the floor with a bullet hole through her head.

 

***

 

DECA Base was a fortress that looked out upon Angel Grove North. The building housed the Earth branch of SPD, along with the Silver Guardians that Dr. Cranston had created in 2006.

 

Inside, near the top of the base was a round briefing room walled with holographic monitors that tracked extra terrestrial activity across the planet, but more specifically, in Angel Grove. A round table was in the center of the room, and a holographic projector was on the center of the table.

 

The four rangers sat around the table while Kruger stood and activated the center projector, which displayed an image of an odd-shaped, high-tech trident about the size of a hand.

 

"Those Krybots might have disposed of the shooter, but they never had a chance to clean up their mess," Kruger said. "We found this on the body."

 

"What is it?" Sky asked.

 

Bridge looked to his team leader. "A Zylon-class trident. Not exactly the most reliable of subspace transceivers, but it will do in a pinch. I had one once at the academy, but I couldn't get it to stop blinking on and off each time I tried to tune into the..." He trailed off when he noticed Z staring at him with an eyebrow raised. "Sorry. Shut up, Bridge. Got it. Shutting up. This is me, being all-"

 

"So the trident," Kruger said to get them back on subject. "This means the shooter was getting orders from someone off world, which is probably how she secured the Krybots; they're hard to come by on the black market."

 

Sky nodded. "Which means it shouldn't be too hard to find out where they came from, or where the shooter was getting her orders."

 

"But I don't get it," Z said. "I was working on the Damien Tryp case. He was a client with Wolfram & Hart. I assumed it was them who hired the shooter."

 

"It very well may have been," Kruger said. "We have too many questions and not enough answers. The four of you will have to work the streets. See what you can find out about the Krybots and this trident."

 

***

 

It didn't take long for Nat to find the offices of Damien Tryp. The man's main office suite was on the 40th floor of a high-rise building, which had a lobby that was scarcely guarded; Nat assumed that few people would try to attack Tryp in the man's own skyscraper.

 

Nat was one of those few.

 

The teen ignored the shouts of security guards and rode the elevator up to the 40th floor of the building. He stepped out into the hall and walked towards the boardroom, where he knew Damien Tryp would be sitting, likely in a meeting.

 

Nat kicked down the doors of the boardroom and walked inside, where about ten suited men sat around a long table near a wide window.

 

Three of the men rose from their chairs and pulled out guns, but a man at the head of the table lifted his hand to stop them from shooting. "Don't," the man said with a look of arrogant amusement. He was clearly Damien Tryp. "I'm sure the boy is just making a friendly visit. He'd have to be suicidal to attack me here."

 

Nat narrowed his eyes at the man. "You killed Tia."

 

"No, I had someone hire someone to kill Tia," Tryp said. "And her sister, but that's really not the point. My men have noticed you around these past few weeks. You're a skilled fighter. You're a-"

 

"Why'd you do it?" Nat asked.

 

"I tried to help them," Tryp said. "In exchange for only a few small favors here and there. But one of them betrayed me." He stood from his chair and walked towards the teen. "You see...what I have built here is an empire. A sense of...order. This city was falling apart, its criminals killing pointlessly without direction. Its so-called crime lords unable to maintain control. I have started to change that, in only a matter of months."

 

"You're still a criminal and a killer," Nat said. "Why'd you bring the girls into it?"

 

The man smiled. "For more...personal reasons. The women of this world are so...there's just something about the salted taste of sweat on their smooth skin that-"

 

Nat pounced forward, grabbed Tryp by the arm, and hurled him at the window. The man shattered through the glass and plummeted towards his death, more than 40 stories below.

 

Three of the men around the table rose from their chairs and pulled out guns, but Nat kicked up a chair and hurled it at the men to knock them backwards. He leapt onto the boardroom table and moved down its center while kicking back the rest of the men and knocking them out.

 

Nat hopped down onto the floor and walked towards the boardroom door.

 

One of the men, an attorney, squirmed and rose back to his feet. "That was stupid, kid. You don't know who-"

 

Nat snapped back a sidekick that knocked the lawyer out.

 

***

 

Nat kept his head hung low and his hands clenched into fists as he walked back towards his

make-shift apartment.

 

He stepped down into the basement, tossed his jacket onto his bed, and stared at the maps on his wall. He glanced at each pin that represented one of his fights. Was he even making a difference? What did he have to do to keep innocents like Tia from dying?

 

The teen snapped around into a fighting stance when he heard footsteps come down his stairs. He slightly lowered his guard when he saw the intruder. It was an alien, but the blue-furred, dog-like being was dressed too...officially...to be a street thug.

 

"Landlords don't allow dogs," Nat said. "They're strict like that."

 

Kruger breathed a laugh, which sounded like a quick, low growl. "Nat...my name is Commander Kruger. I've been watching you for some time."

 

"Should I be flattered or freaked?" Nat asked.

 

"That all depends on your perspective," Kruger said. "May I come in?"

 

"You're already in," Nat said. "Whether you stay depends on what you're a commander of exactly..."

 

"SPD," Kruger said. "Earth branch."

 

"Never heard of you," Nat said.

 

"We're still relatively new," Kruger said. "We have dozens of bases on dozens of worlds."

 

"And you do what exactly?" He shook his head. "Wait a minute, why have I not kicked you out yet?"

 

"Your curiosity," Kruger said. "Are you familiar with INET?"

 

"Who isn't?" Nat asked.

 

"The founder of INET, Dr. Cranston, had a vision for the organization. You see, the Earth is faced with threats on a constant basis, typically from cosmic warlords or demons bent on world conquest. Cranston formed the ISIS Defense Initiative to deal with these threats. The Initiative's team of Aero Rangers has already won a war against inter-dimensional villains known as the Vyram.

 

"But not all threats come from the grand, cosmic scale. Galaxy-wide, meta-level threats are involved with criminal activity ranging from petty theft to mass murder. These meta-level criminals have rampaged across the cosmos for countless years in various forms. Some arm themselves with strength-enhancing gears, others use biological weapons, and some are simply born with raw power.

 

"During the Age of Legends, millions of years ago, an Order of Masters and Rangers fought these villains galaxy-wide, acting almost like a space patrol force. Dr. Cranston wanted to recreate that patrol force.

 

"He started laying the groundwork in 2005, during a galaxy-wide war against a villain named Sauron. A year later, meta-criminals from the future attacked Earth, and Dr. Cranston helped form the Silver Guardians to fight against them.

 

"Now the Silver Guardians have evolved into a global police force to combat meta-level and extraterrestrial criminals. The Guardians operate under the Earth branch of Space Patrol Delta, which, like every SPD branch, is assigned a Ranger team."

 

"So what?" Nat asked. "You here to arrest me?"

 

"I'm here to recruit you," Kruger said.

 

"No thanks," Nat said. "I prefer freelance work. Can't beat the hours."

 

Kruger looked around the cramped basement. "Not to mention the accommodations."

 

"You're boring me so much right now, it's not even funny," Nat said.

 

Kruger pulled a small business card from one of his pockets and placed it on the nearest table. "Think about my offer. Taking out muggers in dark alleyways is...admirable...but let me know when you're ready for something bigger."

 

Kruger walked up the steps and left, leaving Nat alone.

 

The teen's thoughts drifted to Wolfram & Hart, and the girl he'd been unable to save.

 

Nat walked over to the table and picked up the card.

 

***

 

Bridge and Z walked down a dark alleyway as the sun began to set in the distance and cast a pale hue across the streets. They moved towards the rear entrance of a small jewelry shop and walked towards the door to knock.

 

"Did you know the original owner of this jewelry shop was a member of the Gumbwei race?" Bridge said. "Fascinating people...they have actual blocks on their heads."

 

"Do you ever stop talking?" Z asked.

 

"Not really, no," Bridge said. "I don't like awkward silence."

 

"No, you just like being awkward," Z said.

 

Z knocked on the door, and the two rangers waited several minutes before it finally opened. A short man with a scruffy beard poked his head out and opened his eyes wide with shock at who he saw. He quickly flashed his best smile to hide his surprise and stepped outside.

 

"Z, Bridge," he said with a laugh as if greeting two old friends- which they clearly were not. "You shouldn't just knock like that at this time of night. You'd be surprised how many people have tried to rob the place lately."

 

Z smiled. "And I'm sure you handled the matter by contacting the proper authorities and not doing anything crazy like, oh, I don't know, eating them or something."

 

He chuckled nervously and rubbed the back of his head. "No, nothing like that, I'm a changed man."

 

"Of course," Z said. She looked to Bridge, and he pulled out a small, handheld holographic emitter to display an image of the trident.

 

The man tilted his head and ran his fingers along the stubble on his chin as he looked at the image. "Is that a Tribar-class Trident?"

 

"Zylon-class, actually," Bridge said. "You can tell by the missing tong on the dorsal side."

 

"Oh yeah, I've never really noticed that," the man said.

 

"Few people do," Bridge said. "It's-"

 

"Boys," Z said. She pulled out one of the empty Krybot capsules and lifted it towards the shop owner. "What can you tell me about this."

 

The man opened his eyes wide. "No...don't ask me that. Ask me anything but that."

 

"Really?" Bridge asked. "Did you think before you said that? Because really, why would we stop our line of questioning when clearly-"

 

A blaster bolt suddenly cut through the air and shot through the man's head. He collapsed to the ground, dead, as his body reverted back to its native form: a brown-skinned alien with large bug-like eyes and a gaping mouth.

 

The rangers looked up to see a cloaked man, who was obviously the shooter, leap from the rooftops.

 

"After him," Z said as she and Bridge ran in the direction of the shooter, and she flipped open her badge. "There's another shooter. Form up on my location."

 

***

 

Sky and Syd regrouped with Z and Bridge, and the four rangers tracked the shooter to a vacant warehouse area, which up until about a year ago was a hub of industrial activity.

 

The rangers ran towards one of the larger warehouses as Bridge looked at his badge's sensor screen. "From what I can tell, our shooter is a mecha human."

 

http://www.supersentai.com/database/2004_dekaranger/images/deka-vi-batsuroid.jpg"We need him alive..." Sky said. "Or at least mostly intact."

 

The rangers dashed into a warehouse and blocked the path of the mecha human, which stopped in its tracks at the sight of the teens. The villain dropped its cloak and revealed its true form: a Blue-head Krybot.

 

"Morph," Sky said.

 

The rangers flipped open their badges. "SPD! Emergency!" Energy shimmered around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

"Go," DECA Blue said, and the Rangers fanned out to attack.

 

DECA Green swung his baton at the drone, but the villain blocked the blow, knocked the Green Ranger aside, and turned his attention towards DECA Pink. The Pink Ranger swung her baton towards the villain's midsection, but he parried the blow and kicked her aside.

 

DECA Blue moved in and chopped his blade high, but the villain blocked the blow, grabbed hold of the Blue Ranger's wrist, and slammed him against a pile of crates before tossing him aside. DECA Yellow moved in, but the villain slashed his blaster arm across the Yellow Ranger with a burst of spark.

 

The Green Ranger pounced back to his feet, dashed forward, and tackled against the villain. The mecha human crashed against the ground and rose to his feet, but before he could attack, the Blue Ranger leapt off the Green Ranger's shoulders and angled his decent towards the villain. DECA Blue landed while slashing across the villain with a burst of spark.

 

"Ha!" DECA Yellow and DECA Pink somersaulted through the air and slashed their batons across the villain with bursts of spark.

 

The mechanical creature crashed against the cement floor as smoke hissed from his injuries.

 

The Rangers regrouped to attack, but before they could strike, the mecha human pulled a silver sphere from behind his back and tossed it to the floor. Holes in the sphere leaked liquid metal that formed an army of Krybots.

 

The Krybots dashed towards the Rangers to attack, and the Blue-head Krybot used the distraction to flee from the rear of the warehouse. The villain dashed around the corner of the building and ran towards the outskirts of the abandoned industrial park.

 

Suddenly, sirens blared from the nearby streets, and a zord shaped as a red patrol car sped towards the scene. The zord extended a grappling arm that grabbed a hold of the mecha human and hurled him backward.

 

The mecha human crashed through a warehouse wall and skid across the cold cement floor. The villain looked up to see the zord's driver run through the hole in the wall and dash forward through the cloud of dusty debris.

 

The zord's driver was Nat, dressed in a red-and-black colored SPD uniform.

 

The teen pulled out his badge and flipped it open. "SPD! Emergency!" Energy shimmered around him as he morphed into his Ranger form: DECA Red.

 

The Blue-head Krybot hurled another grenade that spawned a wave of Krybots that spread out across the floor.

 

DECA Red stepped back into a defensive stance. He felt The Power surge through his Body, enhancing his every muscle. "You wanna play?" The Red Ranger asked. "Let's play."

 

The grunts charged and attacked.

 

DECA Red grabbed a grunt by the throat, swept its legs out, knocked it to the ground, and smashed a punch across its head. A Krybot charged towards the Red Ranger's back, but DECA Red leaned back and smashed his elbow against the grunt's chest.

 

Three grunts charged at him from the front, but he spun forward with a flying spin kick that smashed the soldiers to the ground.

 

The Blue-head Krybot waited until he had a clear shot and aimed his cannon arm at the Red Ranger while firing bolts of blue-tinted energy.

 

The energy blasts exploded against the Red Ranger with bursts of spark that sent him flying from the warehouse and onto the cement ground outside. The Red Ranger rolled into a crouched fighting stance and looked up to see a wave of Krybots leap from the warehouse and charge at him.

 

DECA Red stood tall and pulled two blasters, called D-Magnums, from the holsters on his belt.

 

The Red Ranger charged at the grunts while aiming his blasters forward and firing high-yield, armor-piercing rounds that blasted through the grunts with bursts of spark. His guns blazed a path through the wave of grunts, but several of the Krybots closed in around him.

 

DECA Red blocked a blow and slammed the end of his pistol across a Krybot's head. He looked to his left, sidekicked a grunt away, then swung his weapons around to shoot down three more of the mechanized soldiers.

 

The final Krybots leapt at the Red Ranger from both sides, but DECA Red simply swung his blasters out in both directions and blasted the grunts from the air.

 

A few warehouses away, the other four Rangers ran outside just in time to see the Red Ranger blast the final two grunts from the air.

 

"Um, who is that guy?" DECA Green asked. "Or am I the only one who notices him? Because that would really suck on my part."

 

The Blue-head Krybot moved towards the Red Ranger and fired an arm-mounted cannon, but DECA Red leapt from the ground and flipped to the top of a small smokestack.

 

The Blue-head aimed upward and fired, and explosions sparked around the Red Ranger as he leapt down, dashed downward along the side of the smokestack, and fired both weapons at the mechanized human.

 

DECA Red's blasts sparked against the villain and knocked him off balance, but he managed to stay on his feet.

 

The Red Ranger somersaulted through the air and landed in front of the grunt, and he combined his two D-Magnums into a short rifle-type weapon.

 

The Red Ranger aimed the weapon at the Blue-head Krybot, and DECA Blue shouted at DECA Red to stop, but it was too late.

 

DECA Red triggered a twirling burst of crimson energy that punctured through the Krybot with a massive explosion that scattered the grunt into scrap metal.

 

"You idiot!" DECA Blue shouted as he and his teammates ran over to the new Red Ranger. "We needed him intact. Who the hell are you anyway?"

 

DECA Red looked down at his suit. "I'd say I'm the Red Ranger, judging from the Red Ranger uniform. I'm not really sure why there's a No. 1 on my chest, but still."

 

"You think you're smart?" DECA Blue asked. "You think that's funny?"

 

"Sky, relax," DECA Pink said. "He didn't know."

 

"He had no business being here," he said to her. He looked back to the Red Ranger. "You had no business being here."

 

"Did I have business being here?" DECA Red asked.

 

"That's not funny," DECA Blue said.

 

"The Green one laughed," DECA Red said.

 

"He did not," DECA Blue said.

 

"Well, I did, a little," DECA Green said. "I'm surprised he could hear that. I tried to muffle the sound, but it's a wonder-"

 

Kruger's voice spoke through their helmet communicators. "Rangers, return to DECA Base for debriefing."

 

"Sir..." DECA Blue said. "This Red Ranger..."

 

"I'll explain everything, Ranger Blue," Kruger said. "Just report back to base. An INET team is going to recover the scrap of the mecha human to see if there's anything salvageable."

 

***

 

The trident stirred within one of DECA Base's cargo bays. And the device emitted a signal that disrupted the systems throughout the fortress.

 

The DECA Rangers' headquarters went to lockdown.

 

To be continued...Chapter Two