#02 - "All Aboard!, part 1" (Originally Written In: 2016)|
[ Song du Jour | Close ]
"I'm really glad you invited me along with you to New Zealand to finally meet your parents," Riley spoke, tossing the last of his suitcases into the back of Chase's car. As he closed the trunk, he continued, "Do you know that I've never been there? You know, outside of Ranger duties."
"Aw, mate, you've been missing out!" Chase boasted, "New Zealand's a fantastic country. Wait until you see the rolling hills where they filmed 'Lord of the Rings'!"
"Sounds incredible," Riley commented, dryly. "Who wouldn't love grass?"
Chase's expression turned sour. "Are you mocking my homeland?"
His eyes widened in fear. "No, I'm sorry! I didn't mean it!"
"Remember what happened the last time..." Chase smirked.
"No, not that!" Chase made a goat sound. "Not the goat again!"
"Now, what were you saying about New Zealand?"
"It's the greatest country in the world!"
"That's more like it." Chase got into the driver's seat and started the car. Riley got into the passenger side. The two of them closed the doors, and Riley turned on the radio, which was tuned to the local 'Mix' station.
-"You're tuned into Amber Beach's home for today's best music variety, the new Mix 106.7. This is Alaska Nebraska, and you've just listened to a solid hour of One Direction! Up next, our Rock Block kicks off with 'Nobody's Listening' from Linkin Park, followed by 'Butterfly' from Crazy Town. Stay tuned!"-
"All right, the Rock Block!" Chase exclaimed. "Turn it up!" Riley turned it up as Chase backed the car out, and a commercial began.
-"Are you a fat slob and want to lose weight? Sure, who wouldn't? Hey, guys, this is Big Sweaty from Mix In The Mornings, here to tell you about the greatest weight loss solution since just not eating. It's this great place called Bodygenics. They will literally just slap food out of your hands if you try to eat the wrong things. I've been going there for every meal for a month now, and I'm down 20 pounds! Sure, it might not be healthy and I might be a bit bruised, but I'm going to look AMAZING! If you want someone to slap food out of your hands because you lack any self-control whatsoever, give Bodygenics of Amber Beach a call! 555-2639! 555-BODY! Bodygenics!"- Chase turned the radio off.
"I'd rather listen to absolute silence than commercials like that," he commented. "Do you believe that places like that exist?"
"Are you surprised?" Riley asked. "We're the same culture that has invented things like the Green Bean Diet. Do you REALLY think that Bodygenics will be around forever? It's just a fad, like every other diet craze that's come around since the dawn of time."
"Still, though, they shouldn't be promoting just not eating. It's very unhealthy."
"I believe Bodygenics just slaps food out of your hand. Technically, they're not STOPPING you from eating altogether. They're just encouraging you to make healthy food choices. If you can go there, have someone beat the tar out of you, and you STILL want to eat that seventh pack of Twinkies? There's just no hope for you."
"Now, Riley, we shouldn't joke about food addiction."
"That's just some made-up quackery by the diet pill manufacturers. People used to just have favorite foods. Now? If you like to eat, say, chocolate, then you're an addict and need treatment. It's ridiculous."
"You know, I remember a certain someone in this car being addicted to Cheddar & Sour Cream flavored Ruffles chips..." Chase looked over toward Riley. "Remember the intervention?"
"Oh, yeah," he replied, chuckling. "That *was* a rough couple of weeks."
"Seeing you chained up in that chair, though..."
"Okay, that's enough!" Riley turned the radio back on.
-"A sexy traffic report? Hold on, let me open a button my blouse."- The female traffic reporter breathed deeply and began speaking in a sultry tone. -"480 Eastbound backing up near 271. Debris on the highway. Maybe it's lingerie. That'd be sexy!"-
Riley turned the radio back off. Chase looked over at him. "Why'd you do that, mate? That was hot!"
"Who does traffic reports with a porn overtone?"
"Um, it's called RADIO. They've got to be entertaining! Otherwise, it'd be just monotonous talking, and nobody would listen." He paused, noticing Riley's mannerisms. "Is something the matter?"
"No." Riley looked at him. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, you just seem very off-putting today. First, you go off about the diet place, then you go off about the reporter having fun on the radio. It's just... You've got a snide answer for everything. It's almost as if you're... Well..."
"What? An evil clone? I can guarantee you that I'm not." He sighed. "I'm just nervous about meeting your family."
"Relax, mate. They're going to love you. If your crazy family can accept me, then my normal family will definitely accept you."
"I know. It's just... Flying halfway around the world with JUST meeting your family as the objective is really overwhelming."
"Well, you've got a long flight ahead of you. You'll be able to relax for a long time. Once we get there and you get to explore all of the nooks and crannies of New Zealand with us, it'll be like a whole other world's opened up to you!"
Riley sighed. "You're probably right. I'm sorry for getting myself so worked up."
"Hey, you don't need to apologize. You're finally showing some weakness in your character. Personally, I think it's long overdue."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You've always been the 'steady hand' of the team, both on and off the field. Between you and Ms. Morgan, you've kept our ragtag bunch of misfit Rangers in line. Now, you're in a situation that's basically out of your control, and you're afraid because you don't have that ability to take charge. I think you're afraid that I'm going to lead you into some wild adventure, or something like that."
"You wouldn't do that..." He looked over at Chase, who was grinning. "...Would you?"
"Well, not intentionally." Chase glanced over and saw Riley's concerned expression. "I'm joking!"
"Knowing you, it's hard to tell." Riley pressed a different preset on the radio, and his eyes widened when he heard Britney Spears singing Shelby's old Triceratops song.
-"Life is like a Triceratops..."-
"Is that Shelby's song?" Chase asked.
"Sure sounds like it, but Britney singing it makes it seem sexier."
"I'll bet she's still kicking herself for selling it to those record producers for only $500."
"Well, who knew that it'd be doctored up to sound like... Well, THAT?"
"I guess that, with the right team behind it, any song can be made into a hit."
"I wonder if Erin took credit for it," Riley commented.
"Is she still doing that? I thought she learned her lesson."
"Please. Once you spend most of your life taking credit for other people's ideas, you don't just stop overnight. I think she said that she invented Post-Its, too."
Chase glanced over at Riley. "You mean, she didn't?" Riley looked at him with a deadpan expression. "Aw, man! Next, you'll tell me that it wasn't Shelby's idea to make them yellow!" Riley maintained his expression. "My whole world's come crashing down around me!" Chase started laughing. "I'm sorry. I couldn't keep it going."
"Oh, thank goodness! I thought you were serious." After Chase didn't respond, Riley continued. "You weren't serious, were you?" Riley waited. "Did you really think Erin invented Post-Its?"
"Well, *someone* had to, and Erin's story was so believable..."
Riley shook his head. "Chase, what am I going to do with you?"
"My cluelessness is one of my best features," Chase replied, "besides my dashing good looks, of course!"
Riley rolled his eyes. "Oh, brother..." He smiled.
"Have we come up with a plan yet?" Entoborg asked.
"Well," Blackjack replied, pointing to a series of doodles on the board, "we have this one."
Entoborg walked over toward the marks on the board and looked at them closely, examining them. "Looks impressive. What is it?"
"It's just some squiggles. Gotcha!" Blackjack backed up a little.
Entoborg looked up at him, eventually meeting him, eye-to-eye. "We need a plan, and we need one now. Do you want to suffer the same fate as the others?"
"Calm down, Entoborg! I've got this in the bag! Or, rather... She's got it in the bag!" Blackjack pointed toward the door, and a two-headed monster walked through. Her design aspects resembled a purse. "Meet, um..."
"You can call me 'Pickpocket,'" the monster replied in a valley-girl accent. "I'll trap the people down there in giant coin rolls, immobilizing them and making your conquest of the city a breeze."
-"There you go again, Danielle,"- an older female voice piped up, -"always assuming that it's going to be easy."-
"Geez, Mom! Go back to sleep!"
-"Don't make me smack you..."-
"I'd like to see you try it! I'm in control of our body now!" Suddenly, Pickpocket's left hand smacked the right head in the face. "Ow!"
-"See? It's not so easy, is it?"-
"Would you excuse us?" Entoborg interrupted, grabbing Blackjack by the arm and dragging him into an adjacent room. When they were alone, he released him and turned around. "No."
"NNNOOOOOO. There's no way we're turning... That... On the city!"
Blackjack crossed his arms. "Do you have a better plan?"
"A bickering mother/daughter hybrid monster that's based on a purse? Seriously, I think we can do a *little* better than that."
"C'mon, mate, it's an initial assault. We could send one grunt fighter down, and it'd be a successful attack. Besides, trapping the people in coin rolls *is* pretty genius. Have you ever been caught in one of those Chinese finger trap things?"
"I don't have hands like you, so... No," Entoborg replied. He sighed. "I guess we can send her - them? - down for now, and come up with better plans for the future."
Chase and Riley took their seats on the plane and buckled their seat belts, preparing for takeoff. "How long is this flight, anyway?" Riley asked.
"Seventeen hours," Chase replied, putting a sleep mask over his eyes and reclining his seat back ever-so-slightly.
Riley gulped. "Sev... Seventeen hours?" Chase nodded. "I didn't think it'd be that long. We're only going to New Zealand."
"After the first couple of times, I got used to it. You learn to occupy yourself. Find the right thing to do, and the time just whizzes by!"
"Hm... I guess I could people-watch." He looked around. "Here comes one now."
A woman with red hair approached them. "Excuse me, but I think my seat is right there," she said, pointing toward the empty window seat.
Riley looked over at Chase, noticing that he had fallen asleep. "I think he's settled in for the long haul. You'll have to climb over him."
She smirked. "That's one mountain I'd *love* to climb. Hey, toots, I have an idea. Why don't you sit somewhere else, and I'll just sit here?"
"The plane hasn't taken off yet," Riley commented. "Even if it had, why should I give up *my* seat?"
"I could make it worth your while," the woman spoke in a sultry manner, running her finger down Riley's chest.
Riley looked up and saw her smirk, noticing that she was missing more than a couple of teeth. "You know what?" He quickly unbuckled his seat belt and got up. "You can have it. I've... I've got something to tend to that suddenly came up. Would you excuse me?" He ran toward the back of the plane, where the restroom was located.
The woman snickered. "I have that effect on so many guys," she said, making a whistling sound with every 's' as she spoke. She sat in Riley's seat and buckled herself in.
Riley made his way toward the back of the plane, tripping over a young lady's leg as he approached the restroom. He fell to the ground. "Ow! Hey, watch it!"
-"I'm so sorry!"- The young woman unbuckled her seat belt, got up, and stood over Riley. She extended her arm to help him up. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Riley replied, his voice muffled by the carpet. "Luckily, my face broke my fall." He turned and looked at the woman. His eyes widened in surprise. "Kaylee?"
"Riley!" She grinned. He grabbed her hand and got back up, brushing himself off. "How are you?"
"Well, considering I just got a taste of carpet... I'm fine. What are you doing here?"
"Shh! I'm going to surprise Chase when we get to New Zealand! After he got me that thoughtful gift for Christmas, I wanted to return the favor."
"...By buying a plane ticket halfway around the world to surprise him at his house? That doesn't make a lot of sense."
She glared at him. "What are you saying?"
"Um, that you could have spent your money on other things..."
"Oh... Hey, where's Chase, anyway?"
"There's some hooker that stole my seat right next to him, and--"
"--and that's why I was coming back here--"
"No, no, shush. What did you say? Hooker?"
"Yeah." Riley pointed toward the woman and the dormant Chase near the front of the plane. "Right up there."
Kaylee grabbed her drink. "You will excuse me, won't you?"
He pointed toward her seat. "Can I sit here?" She nodded. "Have fun!" He waved as she walked away, smirking as he buckled himself in.
A couple of minutes later, he heard a woman shriek. The entire plane - except the still-dormant Chase - looked at Kaylee and the other woman, who was covered in grape juice. She started quickly walking toward the restroom. "Don't worry, girl! Some club soda, and that stain will come right out!" Kaylee shouted. Riley started laughing, trying to contain himself as the toothless hooker ran past him. He heard the door to the restroom slam closed. He made eye contact with Kaylee, who gave him a thumbs-up as she sat down next to her man.
Riley sighed. "Well, that was a fun few minutes. Just seventeen more hours to kill, and we'll all be in New Zealand." He peered through the seats, trying to get a view of Kaylee and Chase. "She really is good for him. Maybe I've been wrong about her?"
"Shay, shtudmuffin, ish thish sheat taken?" Riley slowly turned toward the voice, spotting the toothless hooker. "I need a playsh to sh--"
"Yesh -- I mean, yes, this seat's taken."
"Drat." She looked around, spotting a rather shady looking character with an empty seat next to him. "Shay, maybe that shekshy beasht will let me sh--"
"Good! Go!" He turned her toward the man and pushed her away. "See ya!" Riley plugged his headphones into the port on the arm of the chair and prepared to watch the first of many in-flight movies.
It's time for the annual Costume Ball in nearby San Angeles. Chase was invited by his old skateboarding nemesis, Vincent, who probably wants to show him up. Since he's better with directions, Chase is bringing Riley along. The two of them are dressed up as animals - Chase is dressed as a rabbit, and Riley is dressed as a duck - because that's all that the costume shop had, this close to Halloween.
Riley programmed the address that Chase got on his invitation into his GPS, which took them on a three-hour route. The two of them followed the directions that Riley's GPS was giving them, taking notice that they were getting further and further away from civilization.
"The road stopped back there," Riley said. "Are you sure we're going the right way?"
Chase pulled out the invitation. "It says right here, '1 Mountain Way.' Are we near any mountains yet?"
"We just went through one." Riley took one hand off the wheel to scratch his itchy chest. "Couldn't you find us some better costumes? This duck suit is itchy!"
"What do you expect for free out of the Good-Nature donation bin?"
Riley glared at his friend. "You cheap bastard. For all I know, this thing's probably riddled with fleas!"
"Or other things."
The two kept driving, passing by a sign written in a strange language. Translated, it says 'Beware: Abominable Snow-Man Ahead.' Eventually, Riley's car ran out of gas, and stopped. "What happened?"
"We're out of gas."
"So, get some more."
"Where am I supposed to get it from?"
"I don't know. That's why you're the smart one." Riley sighed and got out of the car. He put his jacket on and started to walk to try and find some sign of civilization. While he was gone, Chase started to play around with Riley's GPS. "Hm, I knew he should have taken that right turn at the Cheerful Crossing."
Riley came walking back to the car. "Where exactly ARE we?"
"According to your GPS, we're somewhere in the Watt-Er-Mee-Lawn Mountains."
"That's pronounced 'Watermelon.' -- WATERMELON?! You two-legged Ferdinand Magellan, that's on the Northern side of the country! Watermelon Mountains... No wonder why it's so cold." He walked away from the car.
Chase peeked out. "Where are you going?"
"I'm going to go and find someone that can get us back to the right side of the planet. Don't wait up." Riley stormed off, muttering something about how hare-brained Chase was, and how being a rabbit was strangely appropriate. He kept this muttering up, until he bumped into a giant white foot and fell back. Getting up, his jacket had moved up his body, and now looked like long ears. He shook his head. "Hey, watch where you're..." He looked up at the fifty-foot-tall white creature who was looking down on him. "Going?"
"Duh, oh, goody! My very own bunny rabbit!" He scooped Riley up and started to cuddle him. "I'm going to love him, and squeeze him..."
"I'm not a bunny rabbit."
"And I'm going to name him George..." He squeezed Riley tight against his gigantic fur-covered chest.
"You're hurting me. Put me down."
"And I'll love him forever, and --"
"I AIN'T NO BUNNY RABBIT!"
The creature held Riley in his hand and looked at him. "If you're not a bunny rabbit, then how come you have long ears?"
Riley looked up. "Oh, those? Those are sleeves." He adjusted his jacket. "Now, if you'll let me go, I'll --"
"For shame, George. Pretending to be a bunny rabbit. I'll have to punish you!"
Riley's eyes widened. "Punish me?"
"Sure! I'm going to spank you and teach you the error of your ways."
"WAIT!" Riley glanced over in Chase's general direction. "What if I can get you a bunny rabbit? Then, will you let me go?"
"Set me down, and I'll get you your rabbit." The creature obliged, and Riley ran back to the car. "Hey, Chase, come with me!"
"Don't ask questions. Just do it."
He shrugged and got out of the car. He and Riley started walking back toward the creature. "I want to know where we're going."
"You'll see soon enough." A short time later, Riley stopped, with Chase in tow. "Here's your bunny rabbit!"
"Duh, bunny rabbit?"
Chase looked at the creature, then back to Riley. "Bunny rabbit? Me?"
"Yes, you. Here you are, Mr. Abominable!"
The creature scooped Chase up, and--
Riley was awakened by the sudden shaking of the plane. The captain came on over the PA system. -"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We are experiencing some minor turbulence. Do not be alarmed. It should only be temporary. Thank you for flying with us."-
He scooted over to the window seat and looked out, hoping to see something. A few moments later, he felt a weird energy field pass through him, and noticed that the scenery outside of the window had changed. He looked around, wondering if anybody else noticed anything, only to see that the entire rest of the plane - including the still-dormant Chase, who was now being used as a pillow by Kaylee - was sound asleep. "That's weird. Did they slip something into everyone's drinks? How did nobody else feel that turbulence?" He shrugged. "Maybe it was nothing." He scooted back over to his seat, put his headphones back on, and focused on the next in-flight movie.
Clerica stormed into the room. "Is your plan ready yet?" She looked over at Pickpocket. "What is that thing?"
"Ew," Pickpocket's younger self spoke up, "who's the old hag?"
"'Old hag'?" She growled. "Why, I oughta..."
"Your Evilness," Blackjack interrupted, walking toward the monster. "This is Pickpocket. We're sending her -- them? -- down to Mirinoi to conquer the city."
"What's that?" Pickpocket's older self asked. "Speak up! Damn kids talking so quietly..."
Clerica approached Blackjack and whispered to him, "Really? This is your master plan?"
"It's only an initial assault. Entoborg doesn't think that we need to put our best foot forward on a first attack."
"Oh, no, you don't," Entoborg ran toward them. "You're not pinning this on ME, Mister!"
"ENOUGH!" Clerica shouted. "Send that thing down to the city, and work on a better plan for next time. You're just lucky that Xityrant doesn't like to move that much, otherwise you'd be wise to go down and face any opposition yourselves." She turned and walked toward the door.
"What a wench," Pickpocket's younger self muttered.
"I heard that!" Clerica said, exiting the room. The door closed behind her.
"Well, you heard the woman," Entoborg said, turning toward Pickpocket. "You'd better get going!"
"Can I have some backup? Perhaps a few Spectres?"
Blackjack shrugged. "Why not? Take four."
"Gee, thanks." Pickpocket teleported out of the room, taking four Spectre fighters with her.
"So, for our next attack, we should..."
The aircraft touched down at a futuristic-looking airport. As the passengers' bags were unloaded, a large tube was pulled toward the door of the plane from the building. Chase and Kaylee were among the first passengers out of the plane, followed closely by Riley. Inside the terminal, the three met up by the baggage carousel. Riley looked around. "Doesn't this look a little different to you, Chase?" When he didn't hear a response, he looked over at his friend, who was busy making out with Kaylee. "Chase?" Again, there was no response. "CHASE!"
He broke the kiss. "I'm sorry, mate. Were you asking something?"
"Doesn't this airport seem a little different to you?"
"Oh, no. We must just have come in through a different gate. It's totally the same airport!"
"Yeah, Riley," Kaylee sneered. "Why are you always so inquisitive?"
"Well, *Kay-lee*," Riley sneered back, "we did pass through some weird energy thing during the flight."
"Weird energy thing?" Kaylee asked, turning her attention back to Chase. "Did you feel anything?"
"Only my growing love for you, Pookie," Chase replied. She hugged him, and he mouthed 'help me' to Riley. "You're squeezing a little tightly, dear. I kind of need to breathe..."
"Well, you two seem to have things under control here, and there's my bag!" Riley grabbed his luggage. "Bye!" He ran toward the nearby restaurant.
"Riley, wait!" He tried to push Kaylee away, but couldn't break her grip. "Riley! Come back here!"
Kaylee gasped. "Look at that!" She released Chase and ran toward the plate-glass window by the gate. Chase grabbed his luggage and ran to catch up with Riley. She turned around. "Chase, the view is fantastic!" She noticed that he wasn't by the baggage carousel anymore. She looked for him. "Chase?" She shrugged, turning back to admire the view.
Chase caught up with Riley, who was picking up his order at the second counter of the restaurant. "If you ever--"
Riley turned around, holding a pair of shrimp kabobs. "Shrimp kabob?" He grinned.
"Airport shrimp?" He thought back to Kaylee and the embrace that wouldn't quit. He snatched the kabob out of Riley's hand. "Gimme." He pulled off one of the shrimp and ate it. His eyes widened. "This is incredible!"
"It *is* rather tasty, isn't it?" Riley asked. Chase nodded. "C'mon, we'd better get to the cabs outside." They grabbed their luggage and headed for the front door of the airport.
Outside the airport, Pickpocket touched down in an explosion, followed by four smaller ones for the Spectres. She stood up and surveyed the area. "No sign of opposition in sight," her younger voice spoke. "Excellent! Spectres, attack the civilians!" The fighters drew their swords and charged toward the people outside of the airport, who fled in terror, leaving their suitcases and cabs behind. "This is great!" Pickpocket laughed.
Chase and Riley walked out of the airport and saw what was happening. They stopped, hoping that the Spectres wouldn't see them. Chase leaned over toward Riley and whispered, -"Do those look like Vivix to you?"- Riley shook his head. -"That's what I thought. Should we morph?"-
-"Not yet,"- Riley whispered back. -"Let's wait and see if they notice us."-
Chase felt someone behind him. He slowly turned around. "Kaylee?" He came face to face with a Spectre. "Nope! Not Kaylee!" He kicked the fighter to the ground. "Looks like they noticed us, mate!"
"Let's do this!" Riley and Chase summoned their Dino Morphers and started firing at the fighters, knocking them to the ground for a bit. They quickly got back up and continued their destructive behaviors. "This isn't working," Riley said.
"We'd better morph," Chase added.
"You're sure it'll work?"
"Do you two humans think you could stop me?" Pickpocket asked. "I'd like to see you try it!"
Chase smirked, glancing over at Riley. "You heard her." He and Riley took out their Dino Chargers and held them out in front of them.
"Dino Chargers, READY!" They clicked them and activated them, inserting them into their Morphers.
-"Para Charger, Ready! Raptor Charger, Ready!"-
"Unleash the power!" Chase and Riley fired their Morphers, sending an image of their respective dinosaurs swirling around them, forming into their Ranger uniforms, ending with their helmets forming around their heads. They stood tall, assuming defensive stances against the monster. "Power Rangers Dino Charge!"
"Power Rangers? Nobody told me that there'd be Power Rangers!"
"Surprise!" Riley yelled. He summoned his sword and leapt toward the monster, slashing her and knocking her back. "Chase!"
"Para Chopper Blast!" Chase fired an energy shot at the monster, knocking her down.
Pickpocket slowly got back up. "You foolish Rangers are no match for me! Take this!" She fired a pair of energy beams toward them, but Riley knocked them away. "What?! That's supposed to work! Why are you so strong?"
"Your puny attacks are no match for experienced Rangers like us, and you can tell Sledge that his monsters are as useless now as they were 65 million years ago," Chase taunted.
"Sledge? I work for Xityrant," Pickpocket retorted, "and I'll be back!" She disappeared, taking the Spectres with her.
Chase and Riley walked toward each other, confused. "Xityrant?" Riley asked. "Who's that?"
"Eh, he's probably another one of Sledge's goons. C'mon, we'd better--" Chase doubled over in pain. His body started to crackle with black energy, and his uniform started to disappear. He screamed in pain, collapsing to the ground. Everything went dark.
"Chase! What's--" Riley doubled over as well, and his uniform started to dissolve, surrounding his body in green energy. He screamed in pain, as everything went black.
TO BE CONTINUED...