-"Attention, everyone,"- the female news anchor spoke, -"curfew is going to be in effect in five minutes. I repeat, curfew will be in effect in five minutes."-
-"If you are on the streets,"- the male news anchor spoke, -"you must return home by the time curfew takes effect. The curfew will be lifted at 0800 hours. We will come back on the air at 0900 with our morning news. From all of us at Channel A9, have a good evening."-
The man turned the television off. "Of all of the people that we could have revived to be our news anchors, why did we pick Roseanne and Doogie?"
"Dad," a younger man said, entering the room, "his name is Neil Patrick Harris. He was one of the most respected actors of the Earth 20th century."
"Whatever," the older man replied. He got out of his chair and walked over to the refrigerator. He opened the door and looked inside. "Where's the milk?"
"Didn't you use the last of it when you made dinner?"
He closed the door. "Oh, yeah. I'd better go out and get some."
"Dad, you can't go out now! What about the curfew? We have to remain inside for the night!"
"Son, that curfew's just government propaganda. Besides, there's a market right down the street. I'll go and be back before anything happens. Don't worry!"
"But, what if something DOES happen?"
He grabbed his coat and headed for the door. "You worry too much, just like your mother used to." He opened it and turned back around. "I'll be fine, Ricky. Relax." He closed the door behind him.
The clock chimed for 7:00, sunset and curfew. "Hurry back, Dad."
The man walked down the street, accompanied by the sounds of sirens off in the distance. As he walked, he looked at the buildings surrounding him, all of which were closing up for the evening. "People sure are taking this curfew thing seriously." As he approached the market, he saw the lights turn off. He ran to the door and tried to open it. "I just need some milk!"
"Sorry, but it's curfew," the shopkeeper said, closing the security gates behind the glass doors. "You should really get home!"
The man punched the framing to the door, hurting his hand. "Ow! Rotten bastard!" He decided that his milk would have to wait, so he started to walk back home, when he heard some movement coming from behind him. He turned around and saw a small group of thugs emerge from behind the store. As they approached him, he started to slowly back away.
"Don't do it, old man," the lead thug said, "if you know what's good for you."
"Yeah!" A secondary thug chimed in. "Give Donny what he wants, and nobody gets hurt!"
"Jackal, you idiot," Donny said, "what happened to our code names?"
"You didn't say we were using code names tonight!" Jackal replied.
A female thug shook her head. "Morons. Watch as a woman gets the job done." She pulled out a small pistol and aimed it at the man. "Give us your money."
The man reached for his wallet. "All I have is the §2 that I brought to buy milk. If you want it, it's yours!"
The girl snatched the wallet and looked through it, stopping at a picture. "Hello! Who's this hottie?"
Donny looked at the picture. "That's probably his kid. He looks too straight-laced for you, Shawty."
"Look, Downtown, this guy lives just down the road. What do you say we go and ransack his house?"
"That's a good idea," Donny said, tossing the man's wallet back to him. "Take us to your house."
The man put his wallet into an inside coat pocket, making sure that he had his special something else in there as well. "Are you sure that you want me to do that?"
"Did I stutter when I asked you to take us to your house?" Donny asked, pulling out a switchblade and popping out the knife. "Take us to your house."
With his hand still in his coat, he smirked. "You're sure?"
"Uh, Don-- I mean, Downtown," Jackal chimed in, "I don't like the look of this."
"What could this old geezer possibly do to us?" Shawty asked. "Jump him!" The trio of thugs ran toward the man, with their weapons drawn. As they approached, he pressed a button on his special something else in his coat, causing him to instantly transform into a red-suited hero. The thugs stopped dead in their tracks. "What the heck?"
"What are you?" Donny asked.
"I'm going to clean up the streets of this city, starting with you!" He pulled the blaster out of its holster and aimed it at the thugs. "Got any last words?"
"You think a shiny costume can protect you? Think again!" Shawty fired at the Ranger, who swiftly dodged her bullets. Her jaw dropped. "How did you...? That's impossible!"
He laughed. "Nothing's impossible."
"Maybe we should leave him alone," Jackal suggested.
"Good idea. Go back to your homes and rethink your lives," the Ranger said, turning around and walking off.
"No way," Donny replied. "WE own this street at night, not some red-costumed old man!" Donny charged at the Ranger with his knife drawn. "Take this!" Donny leaped through the air toward the Ranger, stabbing him in the back. The Ranger screamed in pain and fell down. Donny stood over him. "Guess that costume can't handle a knife, eh, old man?" He heard a siren and looked up. "Aw, crap! The fuzz! Let's get out of here!" He pulled his knife out of the Ranger's back.
The thugs ran off, leaving the Ranger lying on the ground. He demorphed, and was still bleeding. A short time later, an armored police cruiser pulled up beside him. The officer inside called for help.
An hour went by, and Ricky's concern grew. "Where are you, Dad?" The phone rang, and he ran to answer it. "Hello?"
-"Enrique Acevedo?"- A female voice on the other side spoke.
"Yes, that's me. Can I help you?"
-"This is Nurse Flameel at the Dominion Falls General Hospital. We have your father here. He was attacked by a gang outside of the Micro Mart. If you would like to come and see him, visiting hours begin a half-hour after the curfew is lifted, at 0830."-
"Is he all right? What happened to him?"
-"His condition is stable right now. He suffered a stab wound to the back. Amazingly, it's not nearly as bad as most other cases we've encountered."-
"Well, that's good. I'm just glad he's in your hands. I'll be by first thing after curfew. Goodnight." He hung up the phone, and his anger began to set in. "I *told* him not to go out this late! He *never* listens to me!" He growled and punched the nearest wall, immediately realizing that they were made of solid concrete. "Ouch! Son of a...!" He headed for the bathroom to prep his wound and bandage it, before going to his room and getting ready to go to sleep.
Back in the city, Donny and his gang walked into the abandoned theater, which was serving as their hideout. Donny was in front, with Shawty and Jackal behind him, as they approached a room labeled "KEEP OUT." As Donny was about to knock on the door, Jackal grabbed his hand. "Are you sure that this is a good idea?"
"Yeah, Downtown, you know how the boss gets."
"Relax, guys, we did good tonight. We stabbed that guy and probably sent him to the hospital!"
"But, what if he comes to and rats on us?" Shawty asked. "I don't wanna go out like that!"
"Yeah! Me, either!" Jackal added.
"You two... Why'd you join the Dominion Mafia if you're afraid of 'going out like that'?" Donny knocked on the door. "Boss, it's Downtown, Shawty, and Jackal."
-"Enter."- Donny opened the door and entered the room, dragging Shawty and Jackal in with him. They stood right by the door, watching as the large chair turned around slowly, revealing an older gentleman. "What did you get tonight?"
"Well, we would have gotten more, but--" Jackal was silenced by Donny's hand across his mouth.
"What my associate means, Grandfather, is that we could have accomplished more, had the police not shown up on the scene."
"I see," Grandfather spoke, drumming his fingers on the table. "So, what you're telling me is that you failed."
"'Failed' is such a strong word," Shawty commented.
"But, it's the right word, correct?"
She lowered her head. "Yes, Grandfather."
"Of course, we did send some guy to the hospital with a stab wound to his back. It was the strangest thing, too."
"Oh?" Grandfather perked up. "Go on."
"Yeah," Donny explained, "we was approaching him, okay? Suddenly, he reaches into his coat, and - WA-BAM! - he's wearing some kind of red costume! Shawty fired some bullets at him, but he dodged every single one! It was, like, craziness! We made like we was going to leave, then I flew at him from behind and stabbed him in the back. We left him on the sidewalk when the police came."
"A costume, you say? This is intriguing." Grandfather stood up from his chair and came out from behind his desk, slowly approaching the trio. "I want you three to go back out there and comb the city for this man. Start with his house and go from there. Leave no area of this city uninspected. Do I make myself clear?"
"But, Grandfather, your excellency, we don't know where he lives," Donny replied.
"I think I remember his address," Shawty added, "plus, there was that picture of his son in his wallet. I can have my connections at the Motor Vehicle place run a scan for him."
"This pleases me," Grandfather said. "Go and seek that boy out. You're dismissed." Shawty nodded and ran out of the room. "Now, as for the two of you, like I said... Go out there and find that man. If that technology exists out of my hands, it could be enough to bring down my syndicate. I can't allow that to happen. You can't allow that to happen."
"What'll happen if we do?" Jackal asked.
"Remember Puma and Leopard?" Jackal gulped upon hearing those names. "Their fate shall be your own." He walked back to his desk and turned around, noticing that they were still standing there. "Well?"
Grandfather sat down. "Costumed hero... It's almost akin to..." He shook his head. "Nah. It couldn't be."
The next morning, Ricky flipped through the channels, stumbling across Roseanne on Channel A9's morning news. -"In a daring robbery last night, a man was attacked by a gang outside of the Micro Mart. The man, identified as Leo Acevedo, suffered relatively minor wounds. He was in the territory of the Dominion Mafia, one of the more prominent gangs in the city, after curfew. At this time, it is unclear if he was trying to get home, or if he had gone out after curfew. He is currently at the Dominion Falls General Hospital in stable condition. Police are warning the citizens to --"- He turned the TV off and threw the remote across the room. "I don't know why I even watch the news anymore." He finished his cereal and put the bowl in the sink. He grabbed his coat and opened the door to head over to the hospital, only to have someone meet him right at his doorway. "Can I help you?"
"Is this the Acevedo residence?" The woman asked.
"I'm sorry, but we don't want any," Ricky replied, closing the door on her and locking it. "Better try the back door."
-"Nobody locks Shawty out of their house!"- Ricky turned around in time to hear gunfire.
"Shit! She's shooting at the door!" Ricky ducked and narrowly missed the bullets. The door flew open and Shawty walked in. Ricky stood up. "What do you want?"
"I want your father's weapon!" She grabbed a nearby vase and threw it at Ricky, missing him. The vase collided with the wall and shattered, falling to the ground. "Where is it?"
"What are you talking about? Weapon?" Ricky asked, confused.
"Oh, don't play innocent with me," Shawty replied, pulling her gun out once more. "Give me what I want, and nobody gets hurt. You have five seconds to produce the weapon, or you'll lose your life. Five..."
"Seriously, I don't --"
-"That's enough!"- A female voice shouted from outside. Shawty turned around and saw a warrior in a pink costume standing in the doorway. "I'll not let you harm this nice man any more! Prepare to be put under arrest!"
Shawty rubbed her eyes. "My God, there are MORE of you?"
"More?" Ricky asked, confused.
The Pink Ranger pulled out a high-tech stun blaster and aimed it at Shawty. "YOU have five seconds to leave this house and never come back."
She looked between Ricky and the Pink Ranger. She dropped her gun. "You know, this is SO not worth it. Don't think this is over, Ricky Acevedo! One way or another, the weapon will be mine!" She ran out of the house, past the Pink Ranger, who fired a stun blast at her anyway. Shawty shouted from the impact, then collapsed on the front lawn.
"That'll teach her to mess with one of us," the Pink Ranger said. She turned back to Ricky. "Are you all right?"
"I... I'd be better if I knew what the hell was going on," he replied.
"Demorph," she said, pressing a button on her wrist and causing her costume to dissolve. Underneath was a young Asian girl in civilian clothes. "My name is Maya. Is your father, Leo, here?"
Ricky looked at her oddly. "I... He's at the hospital. He got stabbed last night by some gang members from the Dominion Mafia, according to the news."
Maya's eyes widened. "The Dominion Mafia? That girl that was just here is in that gang!" She looked back out the door and saw that Shawty was still laying there. "Where's your phone?"
"It's in the kitchen. What's going on?"
"I'll fill you in later. Excuse me." Maya walked into the kitchen and picked up the phone. She dialed a rather lengthy number. Ricky could overhear her. -"Control, this is Maya. I just apprehended Shawty of the Dominion Mafia at the Acevedo house. ... No, he's not here. He's at the hospital. ... He was attacked last night. ... His son is here and is about to-- ... What? Okay. Maya, out. Oh, and send someone here to take Shawty to jail. ... Yes, she's stunned. ... No, I only used it on '3'. ... Good."-
"Um," Ricky said, "I don't mean to eavesdrop, but who was that?"
"I'll tell you later. We have to get to the hospital. NOW. Shawty's capture will make its way through the Mafia grapevine very quickly. It's not safe here. At least, not without the weapon."
"What is this 'weapon' everyone's talking about?"
"Trust me, once you find out what the weapon is, you'll love it. You do trust me, don't you?"
"You're a woman packing a stun gun," Ricky replied with a smirk. "Do I have a choice?"
She shrugged. "Not really. Let's go. We'll take my van."
Downtown and Jackal approached the hospital. "Um, Donny," Jackal said, "we can't go in there looking like this."
Donny looked at his gang outfit. "Oh, yeah." He looked around and saw a thrift store nearby. "We'll duck in there and snatch a new outfit."
"Thrift store?" Jackal asked, looking at the store. "Really?"
"You're going to question me?"
"Good. Let's go. We have to get to Acevedo before his kid does."
Back at the Acevedo house, three more heroes - clad in blue, black, and yellow clothing - pulled up in an armored vehicle. They got out and stood around Shawty. "Guess Maya wasn't kidding when she said Shawty was here," the girl in yellow spoke.
"I dunno, Kim," the young man in black spoke, "she's kind of cute. In another life, we might have been an item."
"Ugh! Ken, that's gross. You don't know where she's been!"
"I said, 'in another life'! Now, though... Not so much."
"Okay, you two," the man in blue ordered, "that's enough. Let's get her to HQ for questioning." Ken and Kim nodded and loaded Shawty into the car. The man pulled out a cell phone. "HQ, this is Brandyn. We have Shawty and are coming in."
-"Excellent. Her capture is going to be a blow to the Dominion Mafia's ranks."-
"I thought so, too. We'll be back in a bit. Over and out."
As Brandyn put his phone away, Ken walked up to him. "She's cuffed and in. Let's go."
Downtown and Jackal walked into the hospital and approached the Information Desk. Donny addressed the elderly woman behind the counter. "Beautiful day, isn't it?"
"Oh! It sure is!"
"My brother and I are here to visit our uncle, Leo Acevedo. Can you tell us what room he's in?"
The woman punched his name into the computer. "I apologize, but only immediate family - spouse and children - can see him. Nephews don't apply."
"Are you sure?" Jackal asked, pulling out a §1 bill. "Maybe this will change your mind."
The woman pressed a button under her desk, triggering a silent security alarm. "Sonny, I think you're trying to bribe me."
"How'm I doing?"
-"I'd say you're doing just fine, gentlemen,"- a burly man spoke from behind them. He lifted the two of them off the ground by their shirt collars. "Now, the woman said IMMEDIATE FAMILY ONLY. What part of that DIDN'T you punks understand?"
"I, um... We were just leaving," Donny replied, "weren't we, Jackson?"
"That's what I thought." He tossed the two out of the hospital through the sliding front door. "And, don't come back until we notify you that you can see him!" He looked around. "Wow, it IS a nice day."
Downtown and Jackal stood up and brushed themselves off. "What are we gonna do now, Donny?"
"We'll have to think of something. C'mon, let's go back to the hideout. We don't want to risk getting busted." He grabbed onto Jackal and dragged him off.
Soon after, a van pulled up to the front of the hospital. Ricky got out and turned around. "Aren't you coming?"
-"You go on ahead and see your dad. I'll be in in a bit,"- Maya said from inside.
"Okay," Ricky said. He walked into the hospital and approached the Information Desk.
Upon seeing that he was safely inside the hospital, Maya pulled out her phone and dialed a number. "Brandyn?"
-"Go for Brandyn."-
"I didn't want to alarm Leo's son, but I just saw Downtown and Jackal walking out of the hospital as we were driving up."
-"You're kidding. They're out during the day?"-
"I think the Mafia is after Leo. They must want the weapon for themselves."
-"How'd they even find out about it?"-
"My money's on Leo transforming in front of them to scare them off. He never was one to follow the protocol."
-"Didn't he learn from the rest of our parents? You'd think that his four comrades falling to four different incidents of gang retaliation would teach him a lesson to NOT utilize the weapon in front of the gangs."-
"Obviously, it hasn't. You guys have Shawty in your possession, correct?"
-"We sure do. Ken thinks she's cute. Go figure."-
Maya snickered. "That's our Ken."
-"We're taking her to HQ for questioning. Do you want us to intercept Downtown and Jackal as well?"-
"Could you? I'm going to go back and get Ricky. Something tells me that we might need him."
-"You're going to let him use the weapon?"-
"I am. If he's anything like his father, he'll be a valuable addition to the V5 ranks."
Brandyn sighed over the phone. -"I suppose you know best, now that you're the most senior member of the team. Shouldn't we run it past the boss first?"-
"I don't think my uncle will mind. Anyway, I'd better get this thing parked. I don't want to arouse suspicion by sitting out here for too long."
-"Right. We'll keep in touch. Brandyn, out."-
Maya put her phone away and drove off to park her van.
Inside the hospital, Ricky approached the information counter, where the same woman was still sitting there. He spoke, "Excuse me?"
"Can I help you, sonny?"
"I'm looking for my father, Leo Acevedo. I heard that he had been taken to this hospital."
She typed his name in the computer, then looked at him. She smiled. "You must be Ricky."
He hesitated. "How'd you know my name?"
"Oh! It... It's right here on my computer: 'Next of kin: Ricky Acevedo.' That's how I knew!" She smiled. "Your father is in room 343. Third floor."
He looked at her confused. "Thanks... I think..." He headed for the elevator.
Shortly after that, Maya walked in. "Does he suspect anything?"
"I almost let the cat out of the bag, but don't worry. I covered for myself."
"Good, Bernice. We mustn't let on that this hospital is part of the organization. If that word got around to the gangs, there'd be no stopping them. Now, where's Ricky?"
"He went up to see Leo. He's in room 343."
A few blocks away, Downtown and Jackal were plotting out their plan of attack. "So, Jackal, here's what we're gonna do. First, we'll --"
Downtown turned around. "Do you mind? Private conversation!" He noticed who was standing behind him. "Hey, you're one of them costumed freaks!"
"We prefer to go by the title V5," the Blue Ranger spoke. "We also prefer our gang members to be arrested."
"You ain't takin' me in. I don't care WHAT you're packing," Downtown replied.
"Is that so?" The Yellow Ranger asked. "We have VERY sophisticated technology, you know."
"It can't be that sophisticated if I can stab your friend in the Red suit and leave him for dead, now, can it?"
"So, you're the one that stabbed him?" The Black Ranger asked.
"We've been trying to figure out who it was," the Yellow Ranger added.
"Your confession has been logged," the Blue Ranger said, "so you now have one of two options. You can either come along willingly for questioning, or we can do this the hard way. Which will it be?"
"We're gonna do this the hard way! See ya!" Downtown ran off in the opposite direction.
"Um... Can I pick the easy way?" Jackal asked. "I'm tired of running around town, and I'd rather not know what the hard way is."
Yellow shrugged. "Sure, I guess." She summoned a pair of handcuffs and put them on Jackal's wrists. "We'll get your friend later."
"C'mon, gang, let's go back to HQ."
Ricky walked toward room 343, not sure of what to expect. His father had gotten stabbed the previous night, and, if he's in the hospital, he can't be doing too well, right? He walked into the room and was in shock. "Dad?"
"Ricky!" He turned the TV off and got up out of his chair. He walked over to Ricky and hugged him. "What are you doing here?"
"My father's in the hospital from a stab wound. Why wouldn't I be here?" He looked his dad over. "Say, what happened to your stab wound?"
"Oh, um... I'm a quick healer?"
He backed away. "Seriously, Dad. There's been a lot of freaky shit going on, and I'm a little weirded out by everything. Can you PLEASE tell me what's going on with you?"
Leo sighed. "Have a seat. I'll explain everything." He sat on the bed, and Ricky sat in a nearby chair. "You see, son, I'm a part of a crimefighting organization that's been given the codename of 'V5.' We go out after dark and fight to take back the streets from the gangs. We've taken down the Scorpion Cartel, the Ermac Cartel, and even one branch of the Noob Saibot Organization. One thing we've prided ourselves on was to keep our real identities a guarded secret, so as to protect our loved ones from being harmed. Well, last night, I made a mistake and transformed into my costume in front of three members of the Dominion Mafia. You see, I'm the Red V5 Ranger, and, being the oldest member of the team, I'm also the de facto leader of the group. With my identity out in the open, I had to have Maya stop by the house and look in on you, to see if you were okay."
"Maya's the Pink one. I caught that this morning when Shawty showed up at my door."
His eyes widened. "They found you? Oh, this isn't good."
"Wait a minute. This... Ranger thing... Is that codenamed 'the weapon'?" Leo nodded. "So, wait... If you're the Red one, why is Maya - someone younger than you - the Pink one? Are there others?"
"There are five of us. Maya's mother - and the other three members' parents - were the original pioneers of this technology. As time passed, things happened to the others, and their kids stepped up to the task. As this has happened to me, the last of the old guard has to step down."
"But, if you step down, who will -- Oh, no..."
"Ricky, will you follow in your old man's footsteps and join the V5 to help restore peace to the city?"
"Dad, are you serious?"
"It's the only way," Maya interjected. "Ricky, the Mafia knows where you live, as well as who you are. Even if you just join us while we take them down, that would be a big help for both us and your family. The sooner that we take them down, the less chance there is that your identity will make its rounds through the crime syndicates."
"This is a lot to take in. I mean, it's quite an honor, but --"
Maya's phone rang. "Excuse me." She answered it. "Hello? ... You've got Jackal? That's great! ... Yes, we'll be right there." She ended her call and put her phone away. "The rest of V5 has Jackal at our HQ."
"That's great news," Leo spoke. "That means that Downtown is still out there. He's not going to be happy."
"We have to get you two to our headquarters for protection. This hospital is not safe," Maya said. "Will you join us?"
"Can I have the ride back to HQ to think it over?" Ricky asked. Maya nodded. "Okay. Let's go."
Donny ran into an alley, and turned around, noticing that Jackal was nowhere to be seen. "JACKAL! Damn it, where is he?" He pulled out his phone and called him, but got immediately transferred to his voicemail. He closed up his phone and put it back in his pocket. "I'm getting sick of playing babysitter to him, and WHERE is Shawty? Let me try her." He pulled his phone back out and dialed her number, only to be sent to voicemail right away as well. He growled. "Where IS everyone? I wonder if it's my phone." He called his boss. "Grandfather?"
-"This had better be important. I was in the middle of my seaweed body-wrap."-
"I was just wondering if Shawty had made it back to the hideout yet."
-"No. By the way, while I'm thinking about it, how did--"-
"Whoops, tunnel! You're - *kk* - breaking up!" He closed the phone and tossed it into a nearby trash dumpster. "Wait a minute." He jumped into the dumpster after his phone. "Why would you throw it away?"
"Something's not right," Grandfather said. He wriggled around, noticing that he was still wrapped in seaweed. "Downtown was acting very weird on the phone. Send the rest of the Mafia out to find him."
"Um... All three of your henchmen went out. Jackal was with Downtown, and Shawty left on an errand."
He shot up. "WHAT? They're not here?!" He growled. "They'd better be dead. If they're not, they're going to be by the time I get done with them!"
At the V5 Headquarters, Brandyn and the others pulled up in their van with Jackal in their possession. They parked the van and exited. Jackal looked at the massive high-rise. "Wow! This is much nicer than our hideout!"
"You'll have plenty of time to tell us all about it when we get you inside," Brandyn said, leading him into the building. Ken and Kim followed behind with their stun guns at the ready, in case he tried anything. They approached the receptionist. "Good morning, Shantisha!"
She popped her gum and continued filing her nails. "Mornin'."
"Um..." Kim spoke. "Excuse me?"
She looked up and noticed who was in front of her. "Oh, my gosh! You... That's Jackal! He's even hotter in person than he is on the wanted poster!"
Ken and Kim looked at each other. "He is?"
"Aw, shucks," Jackal said, blushing, "you're makin' me blush!"
"You puttin' him away?" Shantisha asked. Brandyn nodded. She pushed a button. "Use Elevator D, and put him in Holding Cell 21."
"Thank you," Brandyn replied. "Also, we're so sorry to disturb your manicure time."
"Oh, it's no problem at all!"
As they walked past, Ken looked at her. "That was sarcasm."
A few moments later, Maya's van pulled up. She, Leo, and Ricky got out of the van and entered the building. Ricky looked around in amazement as Leo and Maya went up to the desk. "Shantisha?"
She stood up and saluted. "Mr. Acevedo, it's a pleasure to see you! How are you?"
"Cut the pleasantries, Shantisha. There's no time," Leo replied. "We need to get my son into a room here for protection against the Dominion Mafia."
"Oh, the rest of V5 just brought Jackal in a little bit ago, and Shawty was brought in earlier this morning."
"That leaves Downtown and the Grandfather." He turned around. "Oh, this isn't good."
"What's not good?" Shantisha asked.
"If the Grandfather finds out that his gang's been captured, there's no telling what will happen. We need to get Ricky into training ASAP."
"Whoa, hold the phone," Ricky said, running up to the counter. "We've got to get me into what?"
He put his hand on Ricky's shoulder. "Son, you must take on the mantle as the V5 Red Ranger. If I go out there, they'll surely finish me off and get their hands on the weapon. If this technology falls into the Grandfather's hands, he'll become unstoppable."
Ricky took a deep breath and sighed. "Fine, I'll do it. Now, what's this training?"
Brandyn, Ken, and Kim led Jackal to the elevator. Jackal kept a constant stare in Kim's direction. She finally noticed and turned to him. "Can I help you?"
"You're pretty," he said. Brandyn and Ken snickered. "I mean, is there any way that I can help you guys take down the rest of the Mafia?"
"You're offering to help us?" Kim asked. "What's the catch?"
"Yeah," Brandyn added, "why should we trust you?"
"I can get you guys to our hideout and past our security. Not only that, but, if you have any sort of extra costumes, I do look good in green."
"Well, there is the prototype V6 suit," Ken said. "It's green, and it has a scarf!"
Jackal's eyes widened. "I love scarves!"
"First and foremost," Brandyn explained, "we need to make sure that you genuinely want to help, and aren't just using this as an excuse to get some of our technology to your superiors."
Jackal looked at Brandyn, confused. "Get the who to my what?"
"He means, we need to be certain that you won't simply take the V6 suit to your hideout and turn it over to the Grandfather," Kim replied.
"To do that, we're going to hook you up to a lie detector and ask you a series of questions," Brandyn continued. "If you pass, then we're going to put you through a rigorous training session to make sure you can handle being our V6 operative."
"Before we do that," Kim added, "we're going to give you a shower."
"Thank goodness," Ken said, looking at his watch. "Boy, this elevator's taking FOREVER today!" Just then, the elevator dinged and the door opened. "Well, that was oddly convenient."
Downtown ran into an abandoned office storefront and closed the door behind him. He looked around for something to block the door and saw that the room was full of desks. He pushed one over to the door, hoping that nothing could get in. He turned on the lights and sat at one of the desks. "What am I going to do? Grandfather's bound to be suspicious. I'd better lay low until tonight, then get out of town. Hopefully, those V5 clowns don't find me." He looked at a clock on the wall. "It's only 2:00? This is going to take FOREVER." He opened the drawers in the desk and found a pad of paper and some pens. "Guess I'll plan my escape."
Leo opened the door to his room and walked in, followed by Ricky, who was shocked by what he was seeing. "This room is AWESOME! I should've found out about this sooner!"
"No, son," he said, "you shouldn't have." He closed the door. "This is serious business. First of all, you must NEVER reveal your identity as a member of V5 to anyone. As the saying goes, you trust no one unless they've earned it. Second, until the Dominion Mafia is taken down, you are to remain here at all times. HQ has everything you could possibly need, which you'll find in your own room. It's being prepped as we speak and will be ready by tomorrow morning."
"This is great and all, but what about our house? Our other obligations?"
"We have people here that will take care of them for us. Like I said, it's not safe out there until the Mafia is out of business." Leo smiled. "Besides, once you see everything V5 has to offer, you'll never want to leave."
"It's a lot to ask, for me to give up the life I've known for 18 years to take this on," Ricky said.
Just then, there was a buzz, and Maya's voice came over the room's speakers. -"Mr. Acevedo, Ricky's training will commence tomorrow morning. We might have a recruit for the new V6 technology. He's going through the screening process. If all goes well, he will be instrumental in the takedown of the Dominion Mafia."-
Leo walked over to a wall speaker and pressed a button to speak into it. "That's great news, Maya. What should my son do in the meantime?"
-"Ricky? He is free to tour the facility. Don't worry about him leaving. We have the doors all on lockdown. He can't get out without a REALLY loud alarm sounding."-
"I can tell that she's smiling on the other side of that speaker," Ricky commented. He looked around. "Say, where's this screening process going on? I'd like to watch."
-"The screening process has an audience room next to it. Currently, they are in Sub-Basement 2. If you'd like to watch, I can come by and take you there myself."-
"It's a date," Ricky said, smiling. "Oh, but can we hit up the cafeteria first? I'm starving!"
-"I suppose, but this is NOT a date."-
The speaker clicked off. "She's just in denial," Ricky said.
Leo nodded. "Sure she is, son."
Down in the sub-basement, Jackal was led into the interrogation room by Brandyn and Ken. Kim went into an adjoining room. The two men sat Jackal down in a chair and hooked him up to a polygraph machine. In the adjoining room, Kim was waiting patiently for the interrogation to begin. Once he was connected to the machine, Brandyn began the questioning.
"State your full name."
"Jackson Pollack Turner, the third. Gang name Jackal."
"What gang are you affiliated with?"
"The Dominion Mafia, led by the Grandfather."
"Were you, or anyone in your gang, ever after Leo Acevedo and/or any member of his family?"
"In the beginning, no, but, once he transformed, Downtown wanted the weapon for himself. When we told the Grandfather about it, he sent us out to get it, whatever it took."
"Which meant that you'd attack Leo's son at their residence?"
"No. Shawty went to his house. Downtown and I went to the hospital to try and get Leo there, but we were thrown out by security."
"I have a question," Ken said, chiming in. "Do you think Shawty is cute?"
"Cute? Ugh, no! She's my sister, man!"
"Okay," Brandyn said, pushing Ken out of the room, "you, get out. Go wait with Kim." He closed the door behind him. "This is why I never let him do the interrogating." He walked back over to Jackal. "Now, where were we? Oh, yes. Are you ready to give up your life of crime and join us on a probationary basis to take down your gang?"
Jackal hesitated. "Well..."
"You said before that you would do whatever it took to help us. You wouldn't have been lying to us, right?"
"I... It's a lot to commit to in the heat of the moment, man! I... I'll do it. Yes."
Brandyn looked at the readings from the polygraph machine. "You're telling the truth. You really ARE committed to helping us. Either that, or you're a good liar."
"I'm not a good liar! Trust me, I'm not!"
Brandyn snickered. "How'd you wind up with the gang, anyway?"
"It all started a long time ago..."
Maya and Ricky made their way to the cafeteria, and were seated at a table with their meals. Ricky began to eat his very quickly, while Maya made sure to cut everything up and take small bites. Ricky looked up and noticed what she was doing. "Why are you doing that?"
"Oh, so you're questioning how I eat? I could ask you the same question."
"I haven't eaten yet today, and this is the first decent meal I've had in FOREVER," Ricky said. "I'm entitled to eat like a pig once in a while."
She snickered. "Well, if you must know why I take my time, I like to enjoy my meal by savoring each and every bite."
"Seriously?" Ricky asked.
"Yes," she replied coldly, "and I'll let it slide that you're pigging out this once, but don't let it happen again."
Ricky put down his soda. "Sorry." He let out a loud belch.
"Ew. You know, you're just like your father."
"Where do you think I learned it from?" He asked, smiling.
As darkness descended on the city, Donny knew that he had one chance to get out of town. He'd plotted his escape down to the smallest detail, with one glaring exception: How he was going to get far enough away from the city fast enough that The Grandfather wouldn't be able to follow him. "Obviously, I'm going to need a car, but do I just steal one and arouse the cops?" He snickered. "Cops, at night. That's a good one." He looked at the clock. "6:30. Curfew's at 7. It's almost time to get this show on the road."
"... That's the story."
Brandyn looked at his watch. "Wow, that was... Very long. You passed my test."
The door opened, and Maya walked in with Ricky. "Brandyn, I'd like for you to meet Ricky Acevedo. He's Leo's son."
"Nice to meet you," Brandyn said, shaking Ricky's hand. "This is Jackson Turner, the third. He's going to be a new recruit."
Maya pulled him aside, out of earshot of Ricky and Jackson. "That's JACKAL from the Mafia! What do you mean, 'new recruit'?"
"He's going to use the prototype V6 suit and help us take down his old gang. He wants to be good, and he passed the polygraph."
She looked around. "You two, wait here. We'll be right back." She grabbed Brandyn by his uniform collar and dragged him out of the room.
Ricky looked at the room. "So, this is what an interrogation room looks like."
"Did she say 'Acevedo'? You're that guy's son?"
Ricky nodded, then hesitated. "Wait... How do you know my father?... Wait, you're part of the gang that put him in the hospital!" He charged at Jackson, ready to beat him senseless.
"Nononono! Wait a minute!" Jackson put his arms over his face. He lowered them and saw Ricky glaring at him. "I was ready to call off the attack when the police were nearby. It was Donny that actually stabbed him, and it was Shawty that got the idea to find your house! If you want to beat me up, please make it quick. I don't like pain."
Ricky stopped and calmed down. "So, let me get this straight. You're going to join this group and help to take down your own gang? What's in it for you?"
"Well, I get to avoid going to jail. I get to avoid being killed by Grandfather. I --"
"Whoa," Ricky interrupted, "back up. 'Avoid getting killed'?" Jackson nodded. "Why would he do that?"
"You don't know about the gang mindset, do you? You see, if a gang member defects from their gang, the rest of that gang has the free rights to take that ex-member out by any means necessary."
"They're like an ex-employee: They have access to secret places, passwords, vital information..."
"...That," Ricky continued, "if it gets into the wrong hands, could mean the gang could be brought down."
"Better to silence the infidel than try to get them back," Jackson finished. Ricky nodded. "So, you still gonna hurt me?"
"Look, I'm sorry about almost punching you in the face," Ricky said. "I've got anger management issues. I haven't had it easy in life. We're not rich. Hell, we're barely middle-class anymore. I've been given an opportunity to take over for my father in the ranks of V5. It's a lot to ingest in one day."
"So's trying to turn your entire life around."
"Want to start over?" Ricky asked. "Let bygones be bygones and try to be friends?"
"Sounds good," Jackson replied.
"Good," Maya said, walking back into the room, "because you two will be sharing a room during your training."
They looked at each other. "WHAT?!"
The clock chimed for 7:00. Donny opened the door and looked around outside. Seeing nobody, he headed out onto the street. He went to the right, remembering that there was a used car lot nearby. He walked toward the lot, passing by a darkened alley. As he walked past, a pair of shadowed figures rose out of a dumpster. One held up a walkie-talkie. "We have movement on Downtown. He's headed toward 15th Street."
-"Copy that, Change Dragon. Red Eagle, out."-
As Donny approached an intersection, he saw two figures emerge from the shadows behind a building. He stopped and looked around, knowing that he wasn't in the Mafia's territory. He turned to the left to run down that street, but stopped when he saw more figures approaching him. "Shit."
-"Yo, Downtown! Word is that you're trying to leave town!"- Donny turned around and saw the two figures from before. "Grandfather's not happy."
"Helicats," Donny growled. "Yeah! I'm getting out of this city! Who's gonna stop me?"
"There's a bounty on your head of §50,000 right now," Adonis replied, "and the Helicats are gonna be the ones to get it. Ready, boys?" Donny looked around, as all of the gang members simultaneously pulled out guns and pointed them at him. "Now, Downtown, I'm gonna ask again: You gonna come along peacefully, or do me and the boys have to turn you into swiss cheese?"
"You'd really fire at an unarmed fugitive? For shame, Adonis!" Donny replied. He pointed behind Adonis. "Look! It's Grandfather!"
They all turned to look where Donny was pointing, allowing him the opportunity to duck into the sewers. Adonis turned back around and noticed that he was gone. "Where'd he go?" The rest of the Helicats shrugged. "Aw, you're all useless! Fan out and find him! I want that §50,000!" The gang members spread out. Adonis looked around and noticed the slightly ajar manhole cover. "Did we go into the sewers, Downtown?" He walked over to the cover and kicked it away. "Ow! Son of a--!"
Ken and Kim walked into the interrogation room. Ken introduced himself. "I'm Ken. This is my sister, Kim. We're the Black and Yellow V5 Rangers. It's great to meet you!"
"Speak for yourself," Kim said. "Jackson needs a bath."
"Kim!" Brandyn yelled. "Be nice."
She scoffed. "I *was* being nice. I could've said that he--"
Ken put his hand over her mouth. "That's enough out of you."
An intern walked into the room. "Mr. Acevedo's and Mr. Turner's room is ready."
"Great! Follow me, boys," Maya said. She walked out of the room, followed by Ricky and Jackson. Brandyn glared at Kim. "You couldn't be nice for ONE minute?"
"He's a gang member! He should be in a confinement cell, not one of us!"
"Everyone deserves a second chance, Kim," Ken said. "Remember when you joined V5? You didn't want any part of this. Now, look at you."
"I know, but, still... He's a GANGSTER."
"If he doesn't make it through the probation, then we'll put him in confinement," Brandyn spoke. "However, for right now, he's our major link to the Mafia and taking down the Grandfather."
"And, as long as Grandfather is out there," Ken continued, "Mr. Acevedo's not safe. We need to protect him and Ricky, no matter what it takes." He noticed that Kim wasn't buying it. "Okay, I'll tell you what. If Jackson gets out of line, you can use your stun gun on him."
She perked up. "Really?"
"On 'low,' but yes."
"I'm in!" Brandyn rolled his eyes. "What?"
Maya pressed a code on the keypad outside of a room, opening the door to reveal a white room with two sets of furniture. "Here you go."
Ricky walked in first. "I get two beds?"
"I think one's for me," Jackson said, following him in. "I'll take the left one."
"That's fine with me. Hey, Maya, can we decorate the room however we want?"
"You can, but I don't think you want to go back to your houses until we complete our mission." She looked at the clock. "You'd better settle in. Training starts at 0700. We meet in the cafeteria for a quick breakfast, then we head up to the 3rd floor fitness center."
"We'll be there," Jackson said.
"Great. See you then!" She exited the room, closing the door behind her.
"Is it fine if I hit the shower first?" Jackson asked. "I REALLY need one."
"Go for it," Ricky replied.
"Thanks!" Jackson walked into the bathroom. -"Wow! This bathroom is HUGE! And there's a STEAM SHOWER!"-
Ricky snickered. Just then, he heard a doorbell. He walked to the door and looked through the peephole. He smiled and pressed a button to open the door. "Yes, Dad?"
"I just thought I'd come down and see how you're doing," he said. "Can I come in?" Ricky nodded and stepped aside, letting his father walk in. He looked around. "Kind of plain, isn't it?"
"Maya said we can fix it up after we complete our mission."
Leo sat on the bed. "Ricky, I'm sorry. Had I not morphed in front of the gang, none of this would have happened."
"Are you kidding? This place is GREAT! Jackson yelled that we have a steam shower and a huge bathroom. There's a cafeteria, a floor-wide fitness center... What more could a guy ask for?"
"How about to be able to see his girlfriend again?"
"Oh... I'll bet Shannon's getting worried."
"You can't let her know about V5, son. If she's let in on the organization, then her safety will be compromised."
"She's going to suspect something if I don't get in touch with her soon, Dad."
"We've got it covered. Like you were told, V5 can handle all of your loose ends. She'll probably get a letter that says you were drafted into the military and had to leave immediately. You're sorry that you couldn't let her know in person, but you'll be in touch as soon as you can."
"And that works?"
Jackson came out of the bathroom, wearing nothing but his heart-shape-printed boxers. "That steam shower is INCREDIBLE!"
"Aw, dude!" Ricky covered his eyes. "Put some clothes on!"
"You'll find that your dressers have the essentials you'll need, and your closets have your downtime and training uniforms. Training's at 0700. Rest up, guys!" Leo walked out of the room, and the door closed behind him.
"This uniform fits like a glove," Jackson said, pulling up the pants. "It's as though they knew we were coming."
"It's pretty spooky how this all works," Ricky commented. "I'm just concerned about your old gang. Don't you think they'll be looking for you?"
Jackson shook his head. "Downtown's probably gone AWOL, too. They'll be after him, first. As far as the Mafia is concerned, I'm a low priority."
"What about that girl?"
"Shawty? She's my sister. Like I said, low priority."
"I see. I'm gonna hit the shower, then go to sleep. It's getting late."
"I'll go and grab a snack. Where's the food?"
"The cafeteria's on Level 2. Follow the signs from the elevator."
"Thanks." He walked out of the room and headed down the hall to the elevator. He passed by one of the other cadets' rooms and stopped to listen to what they were watching.
-"And, then, she said, 'No, Doctor! That's MY spleen!"-
"Sounds interesting," Jackson said. He knocked on the door. A few seconds later, it opened to reveal a blonde girl standing on the other side, wearing the female cadet uniform. "Um... Hi."
"Can I, like, help you?" She popped her gum in his face.
-"Okay, Jackson, turn on the charm."- "I couldn't help but notice that you were watching something interesting on TV. Could I, by chance, come in and watch it with you?"
"Ew! Like, get lost!" She slammed the door closed.
"Diva!" Jackson yelled to the door before continuing on to the elevator. As he walked down the hall, he heard a male voice call for his attention. He stopped and turned around. "Yeah?"
"So, I hear that you met Wendy," the young man spoke. "She's the town bitch. We also call her 'crack whore,' 'diva,' and some other not-very-nice things." He walked out of his room and up to Jackson. "Name's Tyquan."
Jackson shook his hand. "I'm Jackson. Are you going to be in V5 as well?"
"Don't I wish!" Tyquan replied. "V5's only for the best of the best. No, I'm in training to be one of the Sinclair Sentinels."
"Dude, it's AWESOME. We get to police the streets during the day and enforce the curfew at night."
"But, this is Dominion Falls. Why are you the Sinclair Sentinels? It doesn't make sense."
-"I think I can answer that question,"- a young brunette in glasses chimed in, walking toward them. "You see, the Sinclair Sentinels are named after the Sinclair family, the original founders of this city. As such, the Sentinels uphold the values that the Sinclair family established years ago. Speaking of upholding things, shouldn't you be getting ready to get some sleep, Tyquan?"
"So sorry, ma'am. I'm heading back to my room now. Jackson, it was great to meet you. We'll have to hang sometime. See ya!" Tyquan ran back to his room and closed the door.
The brunette looked at Jackson. "What about you?"
He chuckled. "No, I'm a new recruit for V5. I'm just trying to find the cafeteria."
"I can take you there!" The girl grabbed Jackson's arm and dragged him to the elevator. "My name's Karen! Oh my gosh, we're going to be BFFs!"
Ricky turned on the TV and saw a strange short cartoon.
"'Five-ever,'" he scoffed. "How lame. What else is on?" He changed the channel.
-"Welcome to Dominion Idol!"- *click* -"Today on 'Deadliest Batch'..."- *click* -"...And, it can be yours, for only §19.95!"-
He turned the TV off and put the remote on the nightstand by his bed. "I think I'll read a book. Maya said there'd be some reading material in the drawer of the nightstand." He opened the drawer and pulled out a book with a picture of a metallic train-shaped game piece on it. He read the title. "'Monopoly, first in a series, by Yvonne Benes.' Hm, sounds interesting enough. Let's see what it's about." He turned the book around and read the summary on the back. "'In a world much like ours, streets and utilities can be bought and sold for a fraction of their actual worth. One man had a vision: He wanted to own everything. In this fantasy novel, Yvonne Benes has crafted a cast of characters unlike any she has written before.' Well, it sounds interesting enough." He turned the book back around and started reading.
In the sewers, Donny found his way to an old train station. "I think I'll be safe here for a while. At least, I'll be safe until --"
-"Oh, Downtown! Where are you?"-
"Seriously? HERE? Well, so much for resting!" He ran out of the train station.
As Donny left, Adonis ran in, sniffing the air. "I can smell your cheap cologne from here! Where are you?" He heard a splash come from one of the adjoining tunnels. "A-ha!" Adonis ran into the tunnel.
Soon thereafter, Donny exited a different tunnel. "I think I lost him. Guess staying down here's out of the question. Better go back." He quietly made his way out of the abandoned train station and headed back to the manhole he came in at.
Back at the headquarters, Brandyn was in the Surveillance Room with some of the V5 staff. They were looking through the security cameras posted around town. Everything seemed relatively quiet tonight: Just some minor graffiti work and the usual gang shenanigans, except for one particular area of town, which Brandyn pointed out. "Stop for a second. Zoom in, Camera 19." The technician zoomed in on what was going on. Brandyn saw a large number of the Helicat gang members converged on an intersection.
"What do you think is happening?" The technician asked.
"I don't know, Charlie," Brandyn replied, "but call the others and have them come here ASAP. Leave Ricky and Jackson in their room. If we decide to pursue this activity, we might need them as an emergency, last-ditch backup, especially Jackson."
"Yes, sir," Charlie said. He pressed a series of buttons on the control panel, which caused signal lights to come on in Ken's, Kim's, and Maya's rooms.
A short while later, the three V5 members ran into the room, led by Ken. "What's going on?"
"We've got a large amount of Helicat activity around Camera 19," Brandyn explained. "I'm not sure what's going on, but I want us ready to go into action, should the need arise."
Maya looked around. "Where are Ricky and Jackson?"
"It's their first night here, and they're untrained. I advised Charlie to only let them know what's going on if we get in trouble. I'm not even sure IF we're going to do anything."
Ken was watching the camera footage. "Did that sewer cover just move up for a second?"
"I don't think so, sir," Charlie replied. "Do you want me to rewind the footage?"
Ken shook his head. "Nah." He kept watching and saw that the gang had moved away. "Guys, the Helicats left the scene."
"Well, good. I'm glad you all got me out of bed for nothing," Kim said. "I'll be --"
"Wait a second, sis," Ken interrupted. "Check it out. The sewer lid DID move earlier!"
The four of them watched as the sewer lid moved off of the manhole, and Downtown climbed out. Brandyn pointed at the screen. "There's our man."
"Why do you think the Helicats are after him?" Maya asked. "The Mafia and the Helicats don't have any conflicts that I know of."
"There must be a bounty out on him," Brandyn replied. "Grandfather must be looking for him. Odds are that if we find Downtown..."
"...We'll find Grandfather," Ken added, "and we'll have taken down the Mafia."
"Shouldn't we let Jackson deliver the final blow in picking up Grandfather?" Maya asked.
Brandyn pondered. "It would be a bittersweet ending. Picture it: The Dominion Mafia, taken down by one of their own." He shook his head. "Guys, we're going to go out and get Downtown. Charlie, keep an eye on us. If you see Grandfather show up, have Ricky and Jackson get suited up and send them to our location." Charlie nodded. "Ready, guys?" They nodded. "To Transport!" Brandyn and the others headed to the Transport Garage.
The door to the room opened, and Jackson walked in. "Hey, what's up?"
"Shh!" Ricky said. "I'm totally engrossed in this book!"
Jackson looked at the title. "Oh, 'Monopoly'? I read that. Everyone dies in the end."
Ricky laid the book down. "Everyone *what*?"
"Oh, yeah. Everyone dies in the end."
Jackson snickered. "Dude, I'm kidding! If it's good, can I read it when you're done?"
"Sure." He picked the book back up and continued reading.
Jackson laid down in his bed. After a few minutes, he turned toward Ricky. "You know, this organization's doing great things for the city. Here, I've been doing horrible things with the gang at night, all because I got bullied into joining up with them. Now that I'm out of their clutches, it's like I can breathe again. I honestly feel like a whole new person. Don't you feel the same way?"
He stopped reading, bookmarked his page, and put the book back in the nightstand. "My dad and I have had it rough for years. When my mom passed away, he tried his hardest to ensure that I had a good life. We were poor, so we never had much. One thing he always had, though, was his pride. Sure, we could have gotten assistance, but he wanted to work to support us. Now that I have a chance to make people's lives better, I'm going to take it. We *can* make a difference." He looked at the clock. "Dude, we need to get some sleep. Morning will be here before we know it." He clapped twice and turned the lights on his side out. "Good night!"
"See you in the morning!" Jackson clapped and turned his lights out.
"Oh, dude," Ricky said, "if you snore, I will put a pillow over your face and smother you in your sleep. G'night!"
Donny took refuge in an old video store-turned-internet casino. "Maybe I'll hold up here tonight, then head out in the morning. I'll get a disguise, and--"
-"You're not planning on *leaving* town, are you?"- Donny turned around and saw his boss standing by the back door. "Surprised to see me?"
"Grandfather!" He gulped. "What are you doing here?"
Grandfather walked toward him. "The bigger question, my boy, isn't what I'm doing here. No, the bigger question is where you think you're going. Speaking of, where ARE you going?"
"I was, um, out doing... Recon work! Yes, that's what I was doing!" He laughed nervously. "Recon work!"
"Oh, really? Recon work, huh? Where are Shawty and Jackal?"
"I haven't seen Shawty all day, but Jackal was captured by those V5 kooks!"
Grandfather shrugged. "Well, he's no big loss. I still have you, my boy, and there's nothing that can stop us!" Suddenly, the front windows to the old store were blown out. Grandfather and Donny covered their faces in the wake of the blast. "What the hell?"
-"You are under arrest, in the name of V5!"- Brandyn's voice boomed through a loudspeaker. -"Surrender now, or face the consequences!"-
"V5!" Donny exclaimed. "How did you find me?"
"You'll never take me alive!" Grandfather shouted. "Never!" He ran toward the back door and opened it, but was immediately stopped by Ken and Kim, standing on the other side.
"We've got you surrounded," Maya spoke, entering the building with her stun gun drawn. "You might as well give up."
"Okay, fine," Donny said. "I'm tired of running away. I'm tired of the whole gangster lifestyle anyway. 'Oh, you can't go there! That's Helicat territory! Oh, you can't go there! That's part of the Sub-Zero Cartel's territory!'"
Kim entered the building through the back door, while Ken stepped around the side and contacted Charlie. "Charlie, we're going to need them. We're at the Hollywood Internet Cafe. Triangulate my communication signal and use that to get our location. ... Okay, good."
Charlie called Ricky's and Jackson's room. Jackson clapped his hands and turned the lights on. He then reached over and picked up the phone. "Hello?"
-"Jackson? This is Charlie down in Ops. You and Ricky need to suit up and meet the others. They're taking down the Dominion Mafia RIGHT NOW."-
"But, we've had, like, ZERO training."
-"You're a former member of their gang, and Ricky's a legacy. You guys can handle it! Get down here, and we'll get you guys ready. NOW!"-
"Okay." He hung up the phone. He got up and walked across the room. He tapped Ricky on the shoulder. "Ricky?"
"Mnf, five more minutes..."
"We've got to go into combat right now. The team's taking down the Dominion Mafia, and we've been called in to help!"
Ricky shot up. "What?"
"We've got to get up to Ops. Charlie's going to quickly prep us on what to do. C'mon!"
Ricky rubbed his eyes. "Can we stop for coffee first?"
"I... I don't think so. Crime doesn't wait for coffee, y'know."
Inside, Grandfather ran up to Donny. "What are you DOING?"
"I'm giving up. What does it look like I'm doing?" He turned to Maya and held out his hands. "Here, Pinky. Cuff me and take me - ironically - Downtown."
"Um, okay," Maya said, pulling out a pair of handcuffs and placing them around Donny's wrists. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you..."
"You may be taking Downtown, but you'll never get me!" Grandfather pointed out the window. "Look! The Helicats are coming!"
The four V5 members looked out the broken window, then turned back around. "Hey, Grandfather's gone!"
"Really?" Donny asked. "You guys fell for that trick?"
Outside of the casino, Grandfather looked for a good escape route. He saw that the road up toward the East was unobstructed, so he started running that way. He looked behind to see if he was being followed, completely losing focus on where he was going. He smacked right into another V5 member. "Oh, sorry," he said, stepping back. He looked at who he had run into. "Actually, I'm NOT sorry. You're that Red guy that my gang tried to take down the other night!"
"That would be me," Ricky said, mimicking his dad's voice, "and I'm here to take you in once and for all."
"I took you out once before, and I can do it again!" He reached for a gun in his back pocket. "Prepare to--" He felt a hand grab his. "What the--?"
-"Hold it right there, Grandfather."-
He looked behind him and saw a green-costumed hero standing there. "Who are you?"
"I'm the next big thing in V5 technology, and my friend here and I are going to take you in!"
He struggled. "You've got quite a grip there, greeny. Y'know, I could use you in my ranks. You and me, we could OWN this town! What do you say?"
"I say, you're trying to bribe a law enforcement official. That's 5 years easy," Ricky said. "Cuff 'im."
Jackson grabbed Grandfather's other arm, bringing it behind his back. He put the cuffs on his wrists. "Still think we could go places? The only place you're going is to jail!"
"Aw, c'mon, greeny! Reconsider! I could give you everything you've ever dreamed!"
"Save it for the judge, Grandfather." He heard the V5 transport pull up. "Your ride's here. Enjoy your permanent vacation!"
Brandyn and Maya got out of the van and escorted Grandfather into the back, where he was reunited with Donny. "Fancy seeing you here," Donny said. "What happened to, 'oh, you'll never take me alive!'?"
"Bite me," Grandfather replied as the door closed.
Maya walked up to the two of them. "You two captured Grandfather?"
"It was mostly Jackson here," Ricky said, patting him on the back. "Did you know that his suit comes with a super grip?"
"It's amazing!" Jackson shouted.
"Shh," Brandyn said. "We've got to get back. You boys have training in a few hours!"
"But, we captured Grandfather and ended the reign of the Dominion Mafia," Jackson pleaded. "Can't we celebrate?"
"We'll celebrate AFTER your training," Maya said, gesturing toward the van. "C'mon. Let's go."
"Can we PLEASE stop for coffee?"
"No! You'll never sleep if we get coffee at this hour," Maya replied.
THE END ... Or, is it?
It probably is.
Although, evil never really rests.
Yeah, the story will continue. We can't say exactly when, but it will.
I said, we can't say exactly when.
No, I don't know if Ricky ever gets his coffee.
BONUS SCENE! Remember the "Monopoly" book that Ricky was reading? This video pretty much sums up the story. Enjoy!