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Power Rangers Ride The Rails
#04 - "Learning Together" (Originally Written In: 2017)

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Phoenix walked through the doors of Lone Star High, and was met by a group of chattering students. As he walked past, he picked up on traces of their conversation.

-"Did you see the news?"-

-"Who were those heroes?"-

-"The Pink Ranger's the coolest!"-

-"The Red Ranger's my new hero!"-

He rolled his eyes and continued on to his locker, where he saw Kelly talking to Dominic. "Hey, guys," he said, unenthused.

"So, we're going to have a HUGE new set this year, and--" She stopped and turned around. "I'm sorry. Did you say something?"

"Hey, Phoenix," Dominic said, waving. "How's it going?"

"Not so good. I--"

"Oh, gosh! Look at the time!" She gave Phoenix a quick peck on the cheek. "I'd love to stay and talk about me some more, but I've got to meet the set designers in five minutes! Bye!" She ran off.

Phoenix looked at Dominic. "Set designers...? Should I even ask?"

He shook his head. "Lord knows, I've given up trying to get answers out of her. Girl's on a power trip with this show like you wouldn't believe!" When Phoenix didn't have any sort of reaction to that, Dominic moved toward him. "Hey? Everything okay?" Phoenix slammed his locker closed, causing Dominic to take a couple of steps back. "Whoa..."

"You saw the news, right? The new group of Rangers running around?"

"Oh-ho-ho, yeah, I did! Props to you for getting the Red gig! Up top!" He raised his arm for a high-five, but was left hanging. He glanced toward his opened palm. "Up top?"

"I'm not the Red one."

He went in for another high-five. "Big Blue!" Phoenix shook his head. Dominic lowered his arm and leaned in. "You're not the Pink one, are you? No offense, but I don't think your legs would look good in a skirt."

"Dude, I'm --" He lowered his voice. "I'm the Green Ranger."

"Really? That's awesome!"

"No, it isn't. I should be the Red Ranger. He's the leader of the team! He calls the shots!"

"He's also usually the main focus of the bad guys."

"...Come again?"

"Dude, it's Superhero 101. If you're the leader of the team - in the case of Rangers, typically the Red one - then you're usually the main target of the villains' evil plots. Being the Green one, you're probably going to be the one everyone loves, and you'll get to rise to the occasion when something happens to the Red one."

"But, I'm not number one."

Dominic rolled his eyes. "You're still not over yourself, are you? Look, this machismo behavior might have been okay in Middle School, but you're a SENIOR now. Graduation's coming, and so is reality. Your sheltered life that you've built for yourself on your parents' money is going to come crashing down. Out there, nobody cares that you come from wealth, unless you do something good with it. Right now, you're whining because you don't have to buy a new red-colored wardrobe. Never mind that you beat out hundreds of contenders to even BE a Ranger. No, your biggest problem is that you're not the top dog."

"Yeah, but--"

"No buts about it, man. Maybe you weren't picked to be the top dog for a reason. Did you ever stop to think about that?"

"Well... No, but--"

"Listen, I'd love to stand here and play Verbal Gymnastics with you, but I need to go and salvage something of the show, before Kelly makes me sit in the audience. I'll catch you later." Dominic walked off, following Kelly's trail.

Phoenix stood there, dumbfounded. "Wow..."

~*~

"So, the Green Ranger is mad that he's not the Red one," Xityrant mused, watching the scene unfold on one of his view screens. "I can work with this. Let me see how this plays out..."

~*~

Phoenix walked past an adjoining hallway, where Big Jack and Skinny Mack were eavesdropping on his conversation with Dominic. "Did you hear that, Skinny? Power Rangers!"

"You're planning something, aren't you? I can see the hamster turning the wheel in your mind..."

Big Jack turned around. "What if we can figure out who they are? We can tell the media and become famous!"

"I'm pretty sure that Phoenix just admitted to being the Green one..."

"I can see it now! I'll have my own TV show - 'Big Jack Presents... The Power Rangers!' - and I'll propel myself to superstardom with it! After that, who knows? I could become the Mayor of Venture Capital!"

"But, Jack, he said that he was --"

"I'll rename the city to Big Jack City!" He turned back around and started to fantasize about running the city. "It'll be great! I'll have handmaidens at my beck and call! Everyone will bring me gifts on Big Jack Day!"

"That sounds incredibly stupid..."

He turned around. "Did you say something?"

"I said, 'that sounds incredible!' How do you plan to pull this off? Are we going to intentionally get into trouble, causing the Rangers to come to our rescue, leading you to yanking their helmets off and figuring out who they are?"

Big Jack pondered that for a second. "I like it! Let's go, Skinny!" He grabbed Mack's hand and dragged him off.

"But, Jack, we have Geometry next...!"

~*~

Riley slowly opened his eyes, and was blinded by how bright the room was. "Why is it so bright in here?" He asked as he got out of bed.

"Because, mate, you slept in. It's 10:15," Chase answered. He was sitting on the couch watching TV.

Riley tied up his robe and walked over to his friend. He rubbed his eyes, trying to figure out what was playing. "Um, Chase?"

Chase took a spoonful of cereal into his mouth. "Yeah?"

"What are you watching?"

"It's something called..." He pressed the 'info' button on the remote. "...'Kawaii Sentai Nekoranger.' Apparently, it's a show that's basically Power Rangers, but with a five-to-one ratio of girls to guys. According to that summary, it's from a city called Kurosato, which is why it's in Japanese. It's subtitled, though, so I can still follow the story."

Riley watched as who could only be the lead villainess walked onto the screen. "Sure, you're watching it for the *story*."

After a few seconds, Chase responded, "I'm sorry, what?"

"Never mind. I'm going to hit the shower, get dressed, and go find something to eat. Want to meet up in the Lab in about an hour?" When Chase didn't answer, Riley turned back around. "Chase?" He caught what was on the screen. "I'll just write you a note." He wrote Chase a note and set it on the table, grabbed some clean clothes, and headed for the showers.

A few minutes later, Chase looked back toward where Riley was. "Did you say something?" He looked around the room. "Riley?" He shrugged. "I'll catch up to him later. Right now, I have to see if the Nekorangers can defeat Mistress Ember's latest threat!"

~*~

Phoenix walked out of class, and saw Gabriela standing by her locker. He walked up to her. "Hey, Gabriela."

"Hi!" She waved. "What's up?"

"Do you think I'd make a good leader? You know..." He lowered his voice. "...Ranger-wise."

"You're asking the wrong person about that."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Do you honestly care about what I think, or are you just looking for someone to agree with you?"

"I'll give you $100 if you agree with me."

"I don't believe you, Phoenix. You'd think that, after a YEAR of training sessions, you'd be over this whole Red Ranger thing. Don't you think that you were given the Green Ranger powers for a reason?"

"Yeah, I do. It's because those two Earthlings showed up and stole my leader role right out from under my nose!"

Gabriela shook her head. "I can't believe you. Do you really think that's the only reason why you're not the Red Ranger?" He nodded. "You're more hopeless than I thought." She shut her locker. "I've got to go."

"Gabriela?" Phoenix watched her walk off. He turned around and bumped into Skinny Mack. "What do you want?"

"Listen, Jack's got some scheme cooked up to try and figure out who the Rangers are. I tried to tell him that your identities aren't a real secret, but you know how he gets..."

"Is this going somewhere?"

"He wants us to get into trouble, so that you and your friends will come to our rescue."

"That's incredibly stupid."

"That's what I said! Of course, you know how Jack can be. I have to go along with him, because he can probably snap me in half like a twig."

Phoenix looked over Mack's shoulder and saw Jack coming toward them. "I'll handle this..."

"No! Don't let on that you know! Just... If and when this happens, save us quickly and give him some fake name or something. I'd rather chase some fake person around than keep trying to lure the Rangers into danger."

Phoenix sighed. "Fine."

"Thanks."

"What are you two talking about?" Big Jack asked.

"Oh, we were just... You know..." Skinny Mack chuckled nervously.

"He was telling me about his brother's plans to leave his show with Kelly and go back to filming with Manny. It's going to be some rogue webseries."

"Oh, really?"

Phoenix nodded. "Oh, yeah! I heard that they were looking for guests. They're supposed to film their first episode in the basement here, after school. Maybe you'd like to be their first guest? You could talk about your football achievements. Five touchdowns in one game... It's an unmatched record!"

"Didn't you score six touchdowns last--" Phoenix elbowed Mack in the side. "Oof!"

"That's right! 'Touchdown O'Donnell' scored five touchdowns in the game against Reflection Bay!" He sighed. "What a game!"

"Don't be late!" Phoenix said, walking away.

The bell rang. "We'd better get to class," Mack said. "If I'm late one more time, it's detention for a week!"

"...I caught the ball and ran from the opposing 20-yard-line to score the first one..."

"Oh, forget it." Skinny Mack walked away from Big Jack, leaving him to his fantasy.

~*~

"So, the Green Ranger is upset that he's the Green one, and he suspects that it's because of those Earth-grown former Rangers, eh?" Xityrant mused. "I can work with that." He pressed a button, broadcasting his voice to the basement-level training area. "Entoborg! Blackjack! Clerica! Come to my quarters, at once!" Within seconds, the three villains teleported into the room. Xityrant turned his chair around. "I have a plan."

"Isn't that our thing?" Blackjack asked.

"Remember our last plan?" Entoborg added. "It wasn't exactly your best effort."

Clerica coughed, interrupting their argument. "What is your plan, Xityrant?"

"There is a rift that has formed within the ranks of those new Rangers. Apparently, the Red and Blue Rangers are from some planet called 'Earth,' and their emergence in Venture Capital took away the leadership role from the new Green Ranger."

"Ooh, a rift in the Rangers," Clerica said, rubbing her hands together. "Sounds juicy!"

"I want the three of you to come up with a plan to capture the Red, Blue, and Green Rangers and isolate them from the rest of their group. I don't care how you do it, but make sure it's extremely difficult for the remaining members of the team to locate them. At that point, I fully expect a second monster to swoop in, defeat the remaining Rangers, and enable us to finally take over their miserable city once and for all!"

"Um, we've only attacked ONCE, and it wasn't Pickpocket's fault that those Earth-grown Rangers showed up," Blackjack countered.

Entoborg looked at his wrist, as though he was wearing a watch. "Would you look at the time? Clerica, we'd better get going!"

"Right behind you!" The two teleported out of the room.

Xityrant got out of his chair and approached Blackjack. "You're *this* close to becoming the newest head on my wall of former Generals. Do you understand that?"

"Y-yes, sir..."

"Good." Xityrant returned to his chair. "Remember my promise to you after the last time. If we do not succeed this time, I will be the last thing that you see. Keep that in the back of your mind." He rotated back toward his view screens. "Begone." He listened as Blackjack teleported away. "Good help is so hard to find."

~*~

Riley walked into the R&D Lab, only to see that Chase was already there. "It's about time you got here, mate," he said, high-fiving his friend as he walked in.

"But, I left you watching that show... How did you...?"

"A magician never reveals his secrets," he replied, smirking. "Now, Brandon was telling me how the elemental powers work with our special weapons. It's actually pretty interesting!"

"Thank you, Chase," Brandon spoke. "If you'll follow me, I'll show you the Weapons Testing Room, where our highly-unpaid interns are going to demonstrate how they work. We will begin with your guys' weapons, the Wind Saber and the Hydro Cannon."

"Wait," Riley interjected, "did you say 'Wind Saber'?"

"Mm-hmm." Brandon kept walking, with the two of them in tow.

"Isn't the Red Ranger typically associated with fire powers?"

"Mm-hmm."

"So...?"

"There's a saying with Phoenix - 'Fire of the Phoenix' - and, since he's the Green one, we thought it'd be fitting to let him keep his shtick, so we transposed the wind and fire attacks between Red and Green."

"I see. So, he gets whatever he wants because... What? He's rich?"

Brandon stopped and turned to face them. "Phoenix's family is one of the founding families of Venture Capital. They're pretty much a dynasty. As such, Phoenix has a bit of an entitlement problem. No doubt that, when you two arrived and became the Red and Blue Rangers, he's not too happy with my sister's decision to make him the Green one."

"We have ranks?" Chase asked, confused.

"Well, Red is usually the leader," Riley chimed in, "but the others? I'm not sure here. The suits have numbers, but does that really mean a rank?"

"The numbers are there to help us discern who's who. There is a special addition to the power set that we are working on, but it is nowhere near completion at this time. Now, let's go. We don't want to miss the demo." Brandon turned back around and headed toward the Weapons Testing Room.

"Ooh, pissy," Riley said. He looked over at Chase. "C'mon. We mustn't delay!"

"Heavens, we cannot keep His Majesty waiting!" The two of them started laughing.

-"Chase and Riley to the Weapons Testing Room... NOW!"- Brandon's voice boomed overhead.

"Uh-oh." The two ran after Brandon, catching up with him by a window. They looked in, and saw someone wearing a Haz-Mat suit with the Wind Saber in their hand.

Brandon pressed a button on the wall-mounted speaker. "Alex, are you ready?" After receiving a thumbs-up, he continued. "Begin the demonstration!" The three watched as a clearly-costumed intern ran into the room through a door at the left side. At the right, Alex stood with the Wind Saber. With a slash, a red-hued tornado flew out of the weapon and headed toward the costumed intern, consuming them and flinging them into a padded wall. The tornado disappeared shortly after the impact, shrinking down until it was completely gone. Riley and Chase clapped. Alex took off the helmet of the Haz-Mat suit and assisted the intern up, dusting them off and making sure they were okay.

"That Saber's amazing!" Riley cheered. "What do you think, Chase?"

"She sure is..."

Riley looked at Chase, then to the events going on in the room. "Oh, no, not again." He waved his hand in front of Chase's face. "Chase? Reality to Chase, come in!" He looked over his shoulder. "Look, it's Kaylee!"

Chase instantly turned around, shocked by hearing that name. "Where?! I wasn't looking, I swear!" He noticed that Kaylee wasn't there, and proceeded to glare at Riley. "Riley..." He growled.

"Whatever works, man."

Brandon coughed, getting the guys' attention. "*If* you two are finished, we're ready to show off the Hydro Blaster next."

Chase and Riley quickly quieted down. "Sorry, sir."

He pressed the intercom button. "Alex, are you ready for the Hydro Blaster demo?" She gave a thumbs-up. "Bring in the next victim!"

"Can you spray Alex with it? -- OW!" Riley elbowed him in his side.

"Keep your hormones in check, man!"

"Sorry, mate." Brandon glared at him. "What? You know how it is when you haven't... You know..." He sighed and rolled his eyes.

~*~

Blackjack walked into the training room, where Clerica and Entoborg were waiting. "So, you two probably know that I got my ultimatum from His Royal Pain up there."

Entoborg gasped. "No way!"

"I get your stereo. I'm calling 'dibs' on it right now," Clerica added.

"We need a phenomenal plan to trap those guy Rangers. Any ideas?"

"Well, I do have a friend that specializes in trash collection," she replied. "Maybe we can use his unique ability to capture the Rangers and hold them hostage here?"

"Why not use someone with their own dimension?" Entoborg asked.

"Nah, you don't want to do that. If he gets destroyed, then the Rangers would be set free. It defeats the purpose of capturing them if you're basically going to parade them around in front of their teammates."

"Good point."

"Enough, you two! Clerica, summon your trash man. Entoborg, dispatch the Spectres to flush the Rangers out! As for me, I'm going to write my will and divide up my assets." Blackjack teleported away.

"Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Clerica?"

"I think so, but how will we get three pink flamingos into one pair of capri pants?"

"...What?"

"It's a valid query. Figure it out on your little board while I get that monster." She teleported away.

"Uh... Right..."

~*~

Big Jack and Skinny Mack walked through the park, on the lookout for Power Rangers. "Can't we please go back to school?" Mack asked. "I don't want to have my future children spend their lives in Detention!"

"Oh, would you relax? What's the worst that could happen to us down here?"

Mack looked around and saw a platoon of Spectres materialize nearby. "Um, what if a bunch of aliens showed up?"

"Nonsense," Jack said, oblivious to his surroundings. "Aliens don't exist."

"Really?" Mack asked. He watched as a monster appeared about 500 feet in front of them. "What do you call that?"

"You're just grasping at straws," he replied, still walking and looking off to the side. Mack growled and grabbed Jack's head, turning him toward the monster standing in front of them. "Oh, hello." He looked slightly behind him. "You should've said something."

"I DID."

~*~

-"ALERT! ALIEN LIFE FORMS DETECTED IN THE PARK!"-

"Should we call the others?" Brandon asked.

"No, they're in class, and I know how that goes," Riley answered.

"Besides, we've got this. We beat that first monster with no problem," Chase added.

"Okay. We'll monitor things from here. Good luck!"

Chase and Riley pressed the yellow buttons on their Rail Morphers, teleporting out of the Weapons Testing Room.

~*~

"Hi, guys! Are you two the Power Rangers that I was sent to capture?" They stood there, dumbfounded, as the Spectres surrounded them and grabbed onto them. "Well, I don't have time to wait for you guys to stop playing 'Statue' and respond. Come here!" He shot two beams at the teens, transforming them into energy and absorbing them into his body. He rubbed his stomach. "Tasty! Let's go!" Suddenly, a barrage of laser blasts surrounded them, knocking the Spectres away. The monster looked around. "Who was that?"

"That was us!" Chase and Riley landed in front of him.

"A giant space dumpster?" Chase asked. "What, do you have Rita Repulsa in there, or something?"

"Who, or what, are you?"

"Allow me to introduce myself, gentlemen," the monster replied, bowing. "The name's Dumpster, and I've been sent here to collect Power Rangers. I already have two of them, and - judging by your fancy entrance - I'm willing to bet that you two are Rangers, too."

The two Rangers looked at each other, confused. "I don't know who you think you have, but you can't have any Rangers yet," Chase commented.

"That's fine, because I've got the two of you!" Chase and Riley felt hands grabbing onto them, and struggled to get free. "Now, hold still! This won't hurt... Much!" Dumpster laughed as he fired his capture beams at the two Rangers. The result, however, was not what he expected.

"Fight it, Chase! We can't let the monster win!"

"I'm trying, mate! He's pretty powerful!"

"Just... Don't think about girls, and you should be able to fight it!"

"Girls?" Chase started to zone out. Within seconds, he vanished, absorbed into Dumpster's body.

"Chase! No!" Riley kept struggling, trying to fight being captured as well.

"Come on! You know that you can't fight me, especially when I have your friends!"

-"Maybe the only way to save Chase and whoever those other two are is to get captured. C'mon, Riley, you've tangled with evil before and came out on top. You can do it again!"- He thought. Riley went limp, and was quickly absorbed into Dumpster's body, as well.

Dumpster sighed. "Thank goodness! Now, let's get out of here before more Rangers show up!" He teleported away. The Spectres looked at each other and decided to follow suit, teleporting back to the ship.

~*~

"Chase? Riley?" Brandon pressed a series of buttons, but heard buzzing in response. He lowered his headset. "Oh, this isn't good."

~*~

Up on the ship, Dumpster materialized in a prison cell. He evicted the four teens and teleported to the other side of the door to the cell. "Enjoy your new digs, Rangers!" He laughed and walked out of the ship's containment area, slamming the larger door behind him.

"Rangers?" Mack looked around, taking notice of Riley and Chase. "Are you...?" Riley nodded.

"Shh," Chase whispered, putting his finger to his lips. Mack nodded.

"Where are the Rangers?" Jack asked, excited to find the object of his newly-formed desire. He looked at Chase and Riley. "You guys?"

"What? Us? You've got to be kidding," Riley commented.

"How do we know that YOU TWO aren't Power Rangers?" Chase asked. "Huh? How about that?"

"Hm," Jack pondered, walking toward the door to the cell, "maybe I *am* a Power Ranger. You know, there are times when I don't remember what's been happening. Maybe being a Ranger causes memory loss!" He quickly turned around. "Skinny, that's it! I'M a Power Ranger! I've been looking... For ME!"

"Oh, boy," Mack replied, unenthusiastically.

Jack walked around the cell. "I wonder which one I am..."

Mack made his way over to Chase and Riley. "See what I have to put up with?"

"He's like Ivan, but MORE delusional," Chase commented.

"I'm so sorry," Riley added. "Trust us. We'll find a way out of here."

"Meanwhile, you'd better keep your friend over there occupied. I have a feeling that his fragile mind will crack if he actually knows what's happening."

"In other words, I should treat this like any normal day. Got it!" Mack walked back over to his friend.

"So, this 'master plan' of yours," Chase inquired, "is... What, exactly?"

Riley looked through the bars of the cell. "I have no idea."

~*~

Outside the containment area, Clerica approached Dumpster. "Well?"

"I captured four Rangers, Clerica!" Dumpster boasted. "I did a good job, huh?"

She looked into the area through the door, then turned around and shoved Dumpster. "Moron! Two of those humans aren't Rangers!"

He scratched his head. "They're not?"

"No!" She growled. "Just... Go back down there and fish out the Green Ranger. I'll take care of those two imposters."

"Yes, ma'am." Dumpster teleported away. Clerica opened the door and entered the containment area, making her way toward the cell.

"Shh, someone's coming," Riley whispered. Everyone stood motionless.

"You two," Clerica spoke, pointing at Big Jack and Skinny Mack, "begone." She zapped them, sending them presumably back to Venture Capital. "I only need *actual* Rangers, not imposters."

"Where did you send them?" Riley asked.

"I sent them back to your precious little city, but with no recollection of what happened. I've got you two, and I just need that Green one, and my plan will be set."

"What are you going to do to us?" Chase inquired.

"You'll see," she replied, smirking.

"I know what that means." He ran to the door to their cell. "Take Riley! I'm too handsome to die!"

"Hey!" Riley smacked the back of Chase's head. "I resent that!"

"Ow!" He rubbed the back of his head. "It's true, though."

"ENOUGH!" Clerica turned and walked toward the door. "I'll be back when we have the Green Ranger." She slammed the door behind her.

"You know," Riley mused, "maybe that thing you said can work in our favor..."

"What? That they should take you as a sacrifice and let me go? That'd give Phoenix the out he'd need to become the Red Ranger. Do you want to give him that satisfaction?"

He shook his head. "Not THAT. The bit that you're too handsome to die. Maybe... Nah, I couldn't ask you to do that."

"If it gets us out of here, I'll do anything!"

"Anything?" Riley grinned.

Chase looked at him with a worried expression on his face. "Well, not *anything*... Why? What's your plan, O' Diabolical One?"

"Well..."

~*~

Big Jack and Skinny Mack landed in the park, right where they were when they first saw Dumpster. They looked around, confused. "Did something just happen?" Mack asked.

"I don't think so," Jack replied. "Now, back to our plan to find the Power Rangers..."

-"You're still going on about that?"- Phoenix asked, startling Jack. He quickly turned around. He noticed that the two looked disheveled. "What happened to you two?"

"You know? I'm not sure," Mack replied.

-"I can answer that one, boys!"- Phoenix looked past Jack and Mack and saw the monster standing there. Dumpster waved at him.

"What was that?" Jack asked.

Phoenix quickly grabbed them, making sure they didn't turn around. "I'm not sure. Hey, I heard that there's free ice cream over by the main entrance to the park! You two had better hurry before the Rocky Road is gone!"

Jack gasped. "Outta my way!" He charged off toward the entrance to the park.

"I'm lactose intolerant, but I guess I'll follow him, just to make sure he doesn't eat ALL of it." Mack ran after his friend.

Phoenix focused his attention on the monster. "What are you supposed to be?"

"My name is Dumpster, and you must be the Green Ranger! I've been given strict orders to capture you and bring you back to Xityrant's ship!"

"Ooh, I'm so scared," he retorted, tossing his backpack to the ground. He pulled his Engine Charger out of his jacket's inside pocket. "Let's dance." He inserted the Charger into the Rail Morpher and lowered the gate, starting the transformation. "TQG, Activate!" His body became encased in a pocket of white energy, which dissolved into his Green Ranger uniform. His Charger projected an image of itself from the Rail Morpher, which flew around his head and transformed into his helmet. He assumed a defensive stance. "I'm the Green Ranger, and I'm here to make it rain all over your parade!"

Dumpster clapped. "Very nice." He stopped and raised a hand into the air. "Spectres! Attack!"

"Huh?" Phoenix looked around and noticed that he was now surrounded by several of the fighters. "Hah, this should be a breeze." He started to trade kicks and punches with the fighters, quickly noticing that he was evenly matched. After a couple of minutes, he saw that he'd only defeated one of them. "Man, this is more like a hurricane, and I'm the small island in its way!"

"I can rescue you!" Dumpster shouted, firing a transport beam at the Ranger, encasing him in a pocket of golden energy. The Spectres backed off and teleported back to the ship. "You'll be safe where I'm taking you!"

"What's... Happening... To me?" Phoenix struggled to break free, but couldn't. "My stereo...!" He was absorbed into Dumpster's body. -"Ugh, it smells in here!"-

"I'm a space dumpster! What'd you expect?"

-"Haven't you ever heard of Febreze?"-

"It'll only be for a minute." Dumpster teleported back to the ship, materializing outside of the cell where Riley and Chase were currently being held captive. "Here's one more for you!" He ejected Phoenix into the cell and quickly ran out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

Phoenix looked around. "Ugh, 'Early Dungeon' is NOT fitting for someone of *my* standing in society."

"Oh, and you think that we're having a party in here?" Riley asked.

"You know, my life was just fine until you two showed up," Phoenix said, confronting Riley. "Now that you and your friend are here, I have to share my room, my team, and now, I'm stuck here in this space prison! Why can't you two just go back to your precious Earth where you belong?"

"Wait just a minute, mate," Chase interjected, spreading Phoenix and Riley apart and standing between them. "Arguing between us isn't going to get us out of here any faster." He turned toward Phoenix. "Okay, so, yeah, we didn't intend on getting sucked into another galaxy and winding up here, and we certainly didn't mean to get recruited by TQG to help protect your city from aliens. HOWEVER, what you need to get through your thick skull is that *we* were put in charge because we've already been part of a Ranger team that stopped an intergalactic bounty hunter from conquering the Earth, and *your* bosses at TQG wanted to make sure that some egocentric jerk wasn't put in charge. Why should someone that only thinks of himself be put in charge of a team?"

Phoenix was stunned. "I... I don't have to take this from you!" He walked over to the opposite corner of the cell and sat on the ground.

Chase looked at him. "Really? That's how you're going to react to me telling you off? A tantrum?" He didn't respond. "Oh, and the silent treatment, too! Why, Riley, we've got a *real* leader here!"

"Oh, yes. I am in awe of your spectacular leadership abilities," Riley spoke, dryly. "O Mighty Leader, how do YOU plan on getting us out of here?" Phoenix didn't respond. "What's that? Oh, you don't *have* a plan, do you? WE do. Now, you can accept the fact that you're NOT the leader and listen to experience, or you can sit here and be a little baby about not being the Red Ranger. It's your decision."

~*~

Clerica walked into Xityrant's quarters. "I have good news to report, Xityrant. We have captured the male Power Rangers, just as you requested. What is the next step?"

Xityrant stood up and approached her. "That's pretty impressive. Phase Two is..."

~*~

TO BE CONTINUED!
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